NaNo Advice, part 5

Today is the last day of NaNo, and I have only one last piece of advice for you today.

Don’t forget to submit your novel today!

I mean, come on, you’ve worked so hard!  If you managed to hit 50,000 words, get it in.  Sure, all you get are some nifty little winner things and a certificate you can print at home, but if you’ve written a novel in 30 days, get the credit.  Claim the glory.  Go for the win!

NaNo Update, Day 29 (What’s Next?)

Everyone I know has congratulated me on completing my novel for NaNo.  A lot of them follow it up with this question: So what do you do with it now?

I’ll tell you one thing I won’t do with it right now.  I won’t be trying to send it anywhere.  It’s incredibly rough, hasn’t had any revisions, and as every piece of advice you’ll ever see will tell you, it is not a good idea to send a first draft to an agent or publisher.  Yikes!

Here’s what I will likely do with Unexpected, now that’s it complete.  I’ve already sent it to a trusted friend who is going to act as a First Reader and give me feedback on plot, characters, grammar and spelling.  (Sorry, Mom, I know that’s normally your job.  I figured we’d both enjoy that experience better if I find a way to tame my swearing fairy a bit first.)

I’m also planning to ride the Unexpected train into December, at least as far as blog posts are concerned.  This weekend I’ll get some Kiwi’s Crazy Comments up for you; some will be from the running series on my Facebook page, some will be new. I’m also planning to find a tame(r) section and post an excerpt.

After that, well, I’ll let it sit for a while.  I like to wait a couple of months between finishing a novel and reading it for revisions.  That way I can go at it with fresh(er) eyes and be a touch more critical.

If it turns out to be not too bad, I might put together a query for it (after a few revisions and a bit more effort on Dragon, of course).

Looming Butterflies

When I finished Unexpected on Monday night and finally went to bed, I had a strange experience.

Butterflies reappeared in my head.

You would think after spending a month writing obsessively, my brain would be ready to take a break.  Apparently not.  I immediately started thinking about  the ways I want to disassemble and re-approach my first novel.  (That’s The Queen’s Butterflies, which is the butterflies in Butterflies and Dragons.)

My best friend is coming to visit me this weekend, and I know that my creativity needs a break.  The massive project won’t be started in the next few days.  I don’t want my surprise motivation to disappear, though, so I’m going to keep the idea of the Butterflies overhaul alive.  Perhaps it will be my major project for 2013!

Chicken Dinner! A NaNo Update

Okay, there’s no chicken.  The title is the second half of a saying that starts, “Winner, winner”…

That’s right, I finished Unexpected and am now a two-time NaNoWriMo winner!

The novel is done, complete with crazy twist and a lot of fun character interaction.  Final word count according to the NaNo validating program is 50,301 words.  Finishing time was Monday night, November 26th at 11:30pm.

I powered through the end and got it done.  It’s a great feeling!  Thanks for following along on my adventure, and good luck finishing yours!!



Fight! Fight!

One of the most fun things about having a collection of odd women in my novel is to have them interact with each other.  I just wrote a fun argument between two of them.

I feel really bad for Doug, who was driving the car while these two opinionated ladies shouted at each other.  They all eventually got it resolved, but it was very fun to imagine being in the shoes of each of the participants, trying to figure out the best argument to yell into the mix.

It’s awesome to have characters that are, well, characters. 🙂

The end is nigh, and thus this post is short.  I’m going back to Unexpected, hoping to sideways-shuffle my way through the squeeze at the end of the tunnel…


NaNo Advice, Part 4

Apologies!  I thought that I published this on Friday, but it turns out it got saved as a draft…

We are nearing the end of the line, folks, and once again I have some advice for myself that others might appreciate as well!

Don’t stop when you hit par.

For those who aren’t writing like crazy people (also known as participating in NaNo), the NaNoWriMo website has a stat tracker that tells you if you are on pace to finish on time.  It has a daily “par” or word count that you should be at to hit 50,000 by November 30th.

I have a tendency to breathe a sigh of relief when I hit par, close my document, and do something else.  This is not a good idea!  Inspiration hits at random times, and just because I’ve hit par doesn’t mean I’m done writing for the day.  Not to mention that it’s always a good plan to get ahead if you can.  It’s impossible to know when the lazy bug will bite or life will prevent writing for a day.  Especially as we near the finish line, don’t just stop because you have enough words.

Keep writing as long as the ideas hold out and your fingers still work!

An Unusual Experience

For the first time that I can remember, I pictured an entire room as my characters entered it.  (Usually I only see the section of the room where the action is taking place, if that.)

It was refreshing, and made writing the description so much easier!

Now I can appreciate how the authors with big, descriptive sections must feel.  I wanted to make sure my reader saw all of it; without any of the usual effort, I filled 300 words with the room in my mind.  I’ll probably add even more details later, during the first revision.

What a cool experience!

NaNo Update, Day 22 (Happy Thanksgiving!)

No work today, but lots of writing!  Here’s where I stand with Unexpected.

Current total word count is 37,309, putting me about 650 words ahead of par.

I wrote a whopping 4,000 words today, making it my highest single-day word count.  If I feel so inclined I might write a few more later.

The twist is proving to be a very useful tool, and should get me quite a bit closer to the end goal  At one point today I got so into the action in the story that I think my words per minute count went up.  Hopefully it reads as exciting as it was to write!

I did interrupt my writing to cook my favorite Thanksgiving foods and then eat them.  Now I get to clean up the mess that is my kitchen, and maybe go back to writing.

Saturday is my last day off of work until the end of the month.  I hope to write like a fiend and get ahead.  I’ll let you know how that ends up in next week’s update!

Happy writing!

Writing All Day

I spent a large portion of my day writing.  I took a few breaks, wrote lots of words, and even had to do quite a bit of talking things out and formulating what I was going to put on paper.

I did not, however, make any progress on my story.  All of that writing?  Work.

The end of the year is almost upon us, which means I get to submit a comprehensive proposal for next year to my supervisors.  Don’t get me wrong – I still love my job, including this project.  It’s nice to be in a position that requires this much of my brain to work on something that I’m passionate about.  I am glad to work on it and I’m sure I’ll be working on it again on Friday.

It did, however, make me really not want to write when I got home.  So, knowing that tomorrow I don’t have to work and the day is already mostly budgeted for (story) writing, I gave myself the night off from NaNo.

Sometimes you just need a break.  Between a little time to rest and the upcoming twist to excite me, I should be able to get caught back up by the weekend.  (Of course, should is the operative word.  We all know how long plans last.)

Look for the weekly NaNo update tomorrow, and have a great Thanksgiving!

With a Twist!

It’s always when things look a bit bleak that inspiration is the most appreciated, and tonight was one of those moments.

I am getting close to the end of Unexpected, and I’m only looking at about 35,000 words.  I’ve been facing (and somewhat ignoring) this difficult possibility for a while now, and the more I write, the more it looms.

So while I was walking my mutt tonight, I started contemplating ways to draw out the story.  There are legit ways to do it without seeming forced, unlike my 7-pages-become-11 essay tricks from high school.  How, you ask?  I could go back and add more description, since my first drafts are always light on it.  I could re-read the story and find places where it can use a little fleshing out (also something I usually do during a revision).  Or I could make upcoming things take longer than I originally planned.

This is where I was when the inspiration lightning hit.  Not only can I make something that was supposed to be straightforward turn out to be more difficult than anticipated, I can use it to bring in a crazy twist!

No, I’m not going to tell you the twist!  I will tell you that I am really excited about it, to the point that I was jumping around a little when it occurred to me.  Now I just need to find a way to resolve the secondary issue presented by this surprising direction.

Yay for a twist!!

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