Saturday, December 3, 2016

Congratulations Dayton Ohio Wrimos!

Dayton out wrote the Cincinnati region in our first ever regional word war. Congratulations are in order to both groups for writing over 16 million words combined. That is an incredible feat!

Dayton also out donated the Cincy group by $55.00. Great competition between the neighboring regions. Dayton is looking forward to some kind of ode, poem or other creative work dedicated to Tippy the three legged cat (Dayton's lovable mascot). Happy writing Cincinnati and congrats again to Dayton!

Thursday, December 1, 2016

NaNoWriMo Is Over: Finish That Novel!

Some people will breathe easier and some will go through withdraw. My after-Nano plans are simple: finish The Companion. I'm about 75%-80% done. I should be able to accomplish this in a relatively short time now that my characters are speaking to me.

This story is based on a dream I had years ago. I actually wrote an outline (of the dream), character list and four chapters of the story. Even with this preparation and thinking about the dream weekly, when I sat to write I didn't feel it.

I believed my characters were being stubborn. I didn't feel the chemistry between them. The switch from third to first perspective threw me, computer problems frustrated me, family and ML duties pulled my focus away. I shouldn't have blamed my characters they'd been speaking to me from the beginning. Vanessa Warsaw tells us: 


I had to get away. So I left. I quit my job and ran away from my family. I loved the job but my family…


This is how she started her story and everything is how I dreamed it with the exception of one thing: she quit her job. Didn't see that coming. Leave of absence-maybe. Vacation-most likely. Quit-no way!

As my hero and heroine began interacting, the subtle flirting started and he was able to crack her shell. I continued working through the chapters I'd already written then I found an excerpt that Vanessa had written in a journal. Hallelujah! My character's voice in first person of all things. (thank you past self for giving into the first person urge)

Here is the original journal passage:
I left home to be alone, to have silence and what did I do? I sabotaged my chance at solitude by opening my mouth. My good sense was thrown out for a challenge. What is wrong with me? The irony is, I came out here to get away from people and then I got myself saddled to one. Not just anyone, a man! Although, I will say he has surprised me so far. He hasn’t whined or complained about anything. He hasn’t made any crude remarks. This alone, almost gives me hope in mankind. Almost.

Losing my privacy wasn't a total loss because I did experience some things I could not have experienced alone. Today, I played in the ocean as a child, carefree of all things adult. I would not have done this by myself. Alone, I would’ve walked in the water or sat in it and enjoyed it but being with someone is a completely different experience.

The sunset this evening was beautiful. The blue sky faded into pinks, orange and violets. Clouds were lined with vibrant pink and gold. Words cannot describe the striking beauty. How can I define my feelings? The peacefulness of the night will haunt me. Yet, I did not encounter this alone. Only he will understand these words as pictures.

Even now my characters continue to surprise me. Things like a wedding dress bought years before by a dying mother and impromptu shopping trip to the tropical island jewelry store, while they weren't planned, fit organically into the plot and story line. Vanessa and Cole, thank you for taking an active part in your story.  

I plan to work in December to finish The Companion. While my daily goal no longer is 1,667 words, I will endeavor to write every day. 

Wrimos, I challenge you to do the same. Finish your story. No one can do it but you. Happy writing!

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Jumping In With Both Feet Without Really Looking: Just Like My First Quilt

In 2002 my maternal grandmother passed away suddenly and as the only woman in my family without a sewing machine, it was decided that I should have hers. I had never really used a sewing machine but accepted it as a material connection to a woman I admire and miss daily. A few days after receiving the machine I just up and decided to make a signature quilt for my mom’s upcoming 50th birthday. Did I mention that I had never so much as threaded a sewing machine, had no idea how to make a quilt, and her birthday was less than six months away? Yeah, that’s how I do. There is something about crafty things – I jump in with both feet without really looking. It’s also how I have amassed a large collection of hobbies and crafts!

And that is how I’ve come to NaNoWriMo.

I have no plan, except I will write 1667 words per day for the month of November, am committed to attending at least one write-in per week (Please say hi if you see me at one!), and will do most of my writing under the watchful eye of my lifecoach, The Agnes.


I have no prep, except I signed up on the NaNoWriMo website, joined the NaNoWriMo:: Dayton Facebook page, and will attend the Kick-Off Party (is there an end of the month party?!).


I have no outline, except a vague notion of writing something kind of autobiographical because people tell me I should but also kind of fictional because I’m a pragmatic daydreamer and… why not write the story however I want? I created and use the hashtag #UDoUBooBoo because I’m all about honoring who we are at any given moment and celebrating every single day who we are becoming. So maybe I’m a little zany, out there, and quirky but I’m jumping in with both feet without really looking

SeaDreamerCas/Dayton
Dandelion in Bloom – autobiographical fiction 
NaNoWriMo Newbie – First year!
I learned about NaNoWriMo from my dearest friend Cindysama in Indiana who has been talking about this for a few years and this year I wanted to support her in reaching her goal. As I looked into it more, I realized I wanted to give it a try.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

NaNoWriMo - It's My Thing!

Zach says,"You should be writing!"
In mid October, fellow ML Styrch and I gave a Nanoprep mini-seminar for the Antioch Writer's Workshop. The week leading up to it, I became nervous. I hadn't stood in front of a group and made a speech since speech class in college- and that was about bra types (fun class and I got an A). The night before the seminar I verbalized these concerns to my husband. "Why are you worried? This is your thing." That simple statement bolstered my confidence.

He's right. NaNoWriMo is my thing.

My NaNoWriMo story began in 2008 when I was first introduced to it by a friend. I love the challenge of nano. The first few years I remained isolated and didn't attend any functions. Oh, how that has changed. Now I plan the write-ins and parties. This will be my ninth year participating and my second year as a municipal liaison. I've also participated in several camps.

Through NaNo, I've defined my genre. Alone, I couldn't decide if my stories were chic-lit or paranormal w/ a romantic arc but other writers helped me discover I'm a romance writer. I love HEA (happily ever after).

Through NaNo, I have developed a sense of community and made lifelong friends. Several of these friends meet monthly if not weekly. We hold each other accountable. Remind each other of our goals and work out plot or timeline problems together.

These writers- published and unpublished- have encouraged me to get out of my writing box, to meet the world, venture to conferences, enter contests, learn to edit, take online classes to perfect craft and find my voice.

Wrimos take advantage of word sprints, writing dares and writing crawls. The Harry Potter word crawl seems to a favorite and the pub crawl got me through a mid November writing slump two years ago. You can find these things and many more in the Nanowrimo forums. Dayton Wrimos can be assured that they can find nightly word wars on our Facebook page. Since becoming an ML, making daily word count has been a struggle. I become very social at writing events and my word count suffers. Online word wars have been my saving grace. Most nights someone suggests a starting time and we write as fast as we can for fifteen, twenty or thirty minutes. All those words add up and I can usually hit my daily goal when I'm behind.

For years, I've heard the motto: Write in November, Edit in December. I hate that red squiggly line telling me something is wrong. I don't know how much time I've wasted hitting the backspace key. Last year, I succeeded in turning off my inner editor. Okay, maybe I didn't turn it off completely, only muted it (stuffed it in the closet and locked the door). Resist the urge to edit as you go. If necessary, rewrite the same sentence three different ways but keep going forward. National Novel Writing Month might turn into Rational Navel Whining Mouth but just keep writing.

Nano has expanded my boundaries as writer. I usually thrive during November but due to computer issues at the start of the month (curses!) I fell behind, way behind. I struggled to stay motivated. It took me awhile to hear my MCs voice, but when I tuned in she spoke up loud and clear. Now I'm on track (thanks to our nightly word wars!).

My advise to you as you get near the finish line...whether you've written 10K, 25K, 50K or even 100K... Keep writing! Only you can give birth to that story in your head. Only you can nurture it and make it grown to a full length novel- So don't give up! Keep writing!

Keep in touch with me:

RochelleBradley.com
Facebook Author Page
Twitter: @AuthorRochelleB
Pinterest
Google Author Page
Instagram

Happy writing! ~Rochelle

Monday, November 28, 2016

Failing NaNo Isn’t the End

I’ve known about NaNoWriMo for awhile now. Maybe ten years. Maybe less. I signed up for an account six years ago, but I never participated until last year. I thought maybe I was finally ready. I’ve written two novels. I have a collection of short stories I’ve written. I know what it takes to complete a novel and I wanted to finish my current WIP, so I thought NaNoWriMo would be the perfect opportunity to do so.

I started out strong. But I failed. I failed hard.

I don’t remember how many words I ended up with last year. All I know is that failing NaNo stung a lot more than I thought it would.

And yeah. You’re going to feel bummed if you do fail. But you’re starting a novel. Do you know how many people want to be an author? Some statistics say up to 90% of Americans want to write a novel. But how many actually do? And you, fellow WriMo, are one of the few who did pick up a pen (or open up a word processor) and you started writing.

Failing NaNoWriMo shouldn’t discourage you. It should empower you.

Those words sitting in front of you right now? Guess what? They weren’t there before. And that’s however many words you have toward your book that your neighbor probably doesn’t have. They’re just dreaming about writing a book.

Here in America, November is a crazy month. If you’re a student, there’s school to write around. New fall shows are on. The holidays are starting up. New fall book releases are coming out! There’s so much stuff that keeps tempting you away from writing.

There’s other less hectic months in the year. You can create your own personal NaNoWriMo and finish your work. Or don’t NaNo. Sometimes the stress of trying to meet this lofty word count (especially if you’re a new writer) is really daunting. You see the vast number of words and you wonder, “Can I even write that many words?”

So if you think you’ll fail NaNo this year, don’t worry. You got this. You will finish the story that you need to tell. I believe in you because it took me another two months to finish the first draft of my WIP. Sometimes stories want to take their time getting told and that’s okay.
=======================
Official NaNo name: bellesfairytale
Title of 2016 Project & Genre: The Guardian | YA Fantasy
Years Participated? Camp? 1 | 0

How did you find out about writing for NaNo: The internet. Probably something I read on some sort of social media platform

Sunday, November 27, 2016

The Awesome-ist Trip You’ll Ever Take (because making up words is okay during NaNo)

Official NaNo name/region: bhoney, Dayton
Title of 2016 NaNo project and genre: Breakout, YA horror
How many years have you participated? I have done NaNo 5 times and Camp NaNo 8 times.
How did you find out about writing for NaNo? I’d heard other writers talking about NaNo, but didn’t really know what it was. I finally decided to look it up and see what all the fuss was about and knew I had to give it a try. Of course, that was like 2 days before NaNo started so I didn’t have much time to prepare, but I decided just to dive in and hope for the best! LOL

I get asked a lot what advice I would give aspiring writers. My biggest advice is to find out what method works for you, whether you’re a plotter (someone who outlines and plans it all out before starting) or a pantser (someone who writes by the seat of their pants and discovers what’s going to happen as it goes) or a mixture of the two. Either way, I find the most motivating thing for actually finishing a project—whether it’s flash fiction, a short story, or a novel—is to have a deadline and accountability.

NaNoWriMo is one of the best resources I’ve found for this, and it’s one that I recommend to all aspiring writers. Not only is it a great motivator that provides accountability and a deadline, but it provides companionship with other authors and turns the novel-writing experience into a wild, crazy roller coaster of writing fun. If nothing else, it’s nice to hang out with other people who won’t look at you funny if you say something like, “I just found the coolest way to kill someone!” And if you’re competitive, like I am, you can turn that to your advantage through things like word wars—you get the thrill of winning and it pushes you to write on your novel at the same time. Win win!

Seriously, though, NaNo is the tool that enabled me to finally finish a novel for the first time. I’d tried for years to write a novel, only to stall out midway through. For me, the push to get the first draft down as quickly as possible without stopping to edit is key. I tend to be a perfectionist, so once I get started editing and revising, it really drains my energy for writing the rest of the draft. I always remind myself of what NaNo founder Chris Baty says—you can polish crap, but you can’t polish what’s only in your head. Getting down that first draft, no matter how rough it is, is a HUGE step.

I know a lot of people who want to write a novel, but who never manage it. Starting is the easy part—it’s always fun to start a new project! It’s finishing that’s hard. By establishing a word count and a deadline and knowing people are going to ask me how my progress is going, it’s just the pressure I need to stick with it and get it done, no matter how many other distractions or cool ideas may present themselves (and there are always a lot!).

For this reason, my true goal for NaNo is actually to finish the first draft of the novel I’m writing, however long that ends up being. I push myself to go beyond the 50,000 word goal so by the end of the month, I have a complete novel. I do this because I know that once the deadline’s passed and the pressure is off, my motivation to finish the book will drop off, too, and I just can’t bear to have another unfinished novel on my hard drive. LOL Luckily, I write YA instead of epic fantasy, so I normally just have to hit 70,000 words or so to finish my first draft—though I did have one that was 110,000 words (trying to get that done in a month nearly killed me, LOL).

NaNo has really changed my life. It’s allowed me to fulfill a lifelong dream of finishing a novel, a lifelong dream of seeing that novel published, and it’s provided friendships that still encourage and support my writing to this day. It’s one of the best journeys I’ve ever taken and I hope it will be for you, too. Good luck!





Saturday, November 26, 2016

How 2016 NanoWriMo Is Going To Cure Writer’s Block

Nanowrimo name dkblinux98

Title & genre of 2016 project:  Seventy Six Falls (Thalia Chase: Sex Therapist, Book Two), LGBT+

Years participatedThis is my first year participating. I’ve not ever done the camp.

How did you find out about Nano?   I found out about Nano through Literature & Latte’s Scrivener application, which is absolutely the best writing software ever!



I published Book One in the Thalia Chase: Sex Therapist series on June 11, 2016. When the idea for the series came to me last November, I had everything neatly planned out. I would release book one, Eagle Cove in June. I would release book two, Seventy Six Falls, in September, three in April 2017 and four in September 2017.

Writing Eagle Cove had been easy. It never occurred to me I would struggle with Seventy Six Falls. I moved the release to November, scheduled my editor, and my audio performance artist, and continued to delude myself that I would make the deadline.

By the end of September, I was halfway through the first draft, much of it very rough due to using dictation. And I had to face the fact that I wouldn’t finish in time.  So, with my head down and my ego bruised, I wrote a blog post notifying my readers that I was delaying the release to the Spring of 2017.

Last year I didn’t find out about NaNoWriMo until after November. So when I was alerted to the event this year, it couldn’t have come at a better time.

I love the fact that I’m going to be able to connect with local writers. I’m not the sort of person who can sit isolated in front of a laptop and write. I need people and activity, or at least a change of scenery.  Much of Eagle Cove and Seventy Six Falls was written sitting in a cove on my pontoon boat on Lake Cumberland in Kentucky.

I’m a new writer.  I’m working hard to establish good working habits and a schedule that includes time for social media, marketing, podcasting, and writing. I’m putting a lot of faith in 2016 NaNoWriMo and my writing buddies to push me to establish a writing schedule and discipline that will carry me not only through book two but well into my future writing projects.

NaNoWriMo, I won’t fail you. Don’t fail me.

Friday, November 25, 2016

Urban Fantasy Writer: Leslie the Inkweaver

• Official Nano name: Leslie the Inkweaver

• Title of 2016 nano project & genre: The Amazon Triangle (Urban Fantasy)

How many years have you participated? This will be my 6th year!

How did you find out about writing for Nano? When I was doing college online, a few other students were participating, and at the time I don't think I was writing 50K in a single story, much less a month. I started tracking my word count and just experimenting with writing every day, and I had so much fun that the next opportunity (two years later... Because my second attempt "accidentally" happened in October...) I actually registered, and I've been doing it officially ever since!

What is your favorite part of Nano? My favorite part is the camaraderie and community that it brings out over writing. I am meeting people in my area and making connections all over the world (via the Facebook group) by being a part of NaNoWriMo.

Strategy or tip for making the daily 1667... My strategy is just to write all the words that come into my head. Describe exactly what the character's eyes are seeing; describe their feelings, describe all the nuances. If you have trouble describing, practice "watching in slow motion." Pretend the scene is a key part of a film and you're watching it in slow motion. If you slow it down in your head, you don't feel the pressure to get through it, and you can use more words in describing it.
Http://www.upstreamwriter.blogspot.com
Http://www.facebook.com/leslieconzattiwriter

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Faith As a Mustard Seed

Hi.  My name is Shari. My Nano name is Archadia, and I write Christian Fiction.

I joined NaNo in 2011 after my husband passed away. It had been several months, and I was looking for ways to express myself/find myself, get out of the house, and meet new people. A friend had told me about this a couple of years before, but I had too much on my plate. In 2011, my daughter asked me if I wanted to do this with her and I jumped at the opportunity. Unfortunately, I had made too many commitments, and nano was the first to go. I didn't come close to my goal, and just kind of forgot about it over the next few years. Life got in the way again, but I was always journaling. 

One day in 2015, I was going through my journals and came across this document without a title.  I read it and thought, "wow! This is really good!  I wonder who wrote it and how it got in my google docs?"  Slowly, it came back to me that it was the piece I had started in 2011. I really liked it when I thought someone else had written it, and tried to continue it, but could never get that voice back. Besides, there were a lot of other stories in my head.  One had been nagging at me for years. I rewrote the first paragraph numerous times over a 5 year period but never got past it. 

So I decided that was the year I was going to do it! And guess what?! I did! 

I was so excited and printed out the whole thing, dedicated to editing it in December and January.Turned out it filled a 3" 3-ring binder, so it was a little too overwhelming for me. It's still in the binder, under my bed, and I promised my husband I would get it published in 2017 (assuming I'll just do it as an e-book only on Amazon and hoping to make enough money to pay for the editor and cover art).

NaNo is my motivation and inspiration, and without it, I would have never finished writing my first book. Thank you, NaNo!

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Outrunning the Enemy: Self-Doubt

I can’t believe I’m doing this! I NEVER let people read what I’ve written. Nine times out of ten I don’t read what I’ve written. But when Rochelle put out the call for guest bloggers, I couldn’t resist! What a great opportunity to break out of my comfort zone, and finally allow other people to read my work. Plus, if this blows, Rochelle won’t post it :)

This is my first year participating in NaNoWriMo, although I did sign up in 2015. Last year I signed up with every intention of writing an amazing novel, being published, and living happily ever after. Obviously, that didn’t happen. But what did happen was my desire to finally achieve my dream of writing a book became a necessity, and not just a fantasy.

One of the hardest parts of participating in NaNoWriMo is not (surprisingly) reaching the goal of 50k words, but the self doubt. Every day I delete WAY more words than I commit to my novel. I read, then reread every sentence. I second guess myself, my motive, my main character, everything. And even though I know my work will never be read by anyone other than myself, the very thought that someone might accidentally get ahold of it makes me physically sick. I can’t stand the thought of someone reading my work and hating it. What if they think I’m stupid? What if they don’t get the jokes? What if they think I am pretentious for even thinking I could possibly write a novel?

Just two days into NaNoWriMo, I talked myself out of it. I couldn’t do it. There’s no way I could possibly be good enough to join the ranks of writers like Erin Morgenstern, Rainbow Rowell, and Marissa Meyer. I can’t even let people read my work!!

So I went to the library and checked out a book guaranteed to make me feel better. The Gunslinger by Stephen King. It may sound like a weird choice, but if you ever feel like you're having a bad day, just think about Roland Deschain. His entire LIFE sucked. And while I don’t usually read a book’s forward, this time I did.

A friend of mine told me about a book King wrote about writing. He told me how it wasn’t just a ‘how to’ but a genuinely great book. So I went ahead and read the forward. It started out normal, King talking about the journey of writing The Dark Tower, and all the bumps and missteps he had along the way.

About halfway through, King made a statement that slapped me upside the head and changed my thinking in an instant. “'...my method of attack has always been to plunge in and go as fast as I can, keeping the edge of my narrative blade as sharp as possible by constant use, and trying to outrun the novelist's most insidious enemy, which is doubt.”

Holy hell, Stephen King doubted himself! STEPHEN KING ONCE EXPERIENCED DOUBT!

All of a sudden, I understood. It’s ok to doubt yourself, it’s ok to worry that you might be writing crap. But it is NOT ok to quit. You have to push through the crap, through the doubt, to reach the story inside you. The story you NEED to tell, even if you only tell it to yourself.
And yeah, I know that sounds super corny, and cheesy, and ridiculous. But it’s the God’s honest truth. And yeah, I still doubt my story, my talent, even my ability to reach 50k by November 30th. But that won’t stop me from trying. And if I don’t make it this year, I’ll be back next year, with a vengeance.

So, before I end this incredibly well written blog post (snicker) I will leave you with a bit of encouragement. You can do this! You got this! You rock! If you need a buddy, find me on NaNoWriMo as mizphill. And, if that doesn’t do it for you, here are some awesome quotes from King himself.




You can do it! Advice by Sora Moto

Hello, my name is Andrea, but my friends mostly call me Kanna. This is my 4th year participating in Nano. I first found out about it while at an anime convention. There was a panel on writing fanfiction early on Sunday and I thought it would be fun. I was not disappointed. The panelist also told all of us about a yearly writing event called Nanowrimo, so when November rolled around I looked it up and said ‘why not’.

You can do it!

I’ve always found that positive encouragement can help when you’re stuck or just in a bit of a slump. So we will start this out with that.

Moving on to more practical advice, over my years of writing I have found that the best way to meet a word goal is to not worry about how many words you may have written. Instead, focus on what point in your story you want to get to each day. This can be as simple as having a scene in mind that you want to get out of your mind before it flies the coupe or a plot goal, such as making sure those two characters meet today! By not focusing so much on the number of words written and instead on the content you want to get down on the page that day it can be easier to focus on just writing, whether you are a total pantser or a planner with detailed outlines.

My next bit of advice is to find your characters’ voices. I usually do this by listening to a variety of music and imagining which songs best fit my characters, but other’s may find them by looking up or drawing pictures of their characters. Whatever best helps you to separate each character and allows them to develop as individuals, unique to themselves and not just cookie cutter characters of the same person. Letting your characters find their voices makes it easier to get through those moments where you aren’t sure what a character should do, because you can basically ask them what they would do. This can be hard though since I have had entire plot points derailed by characters not doing the thing I want them to because it is not in them to behave a certain way. This will lead me down entirely new storylines and plots, it can make the story more organic but it can also make it feel more genuine.


I hope my favorite tips and tricks will help you all out this month. Good luck and happy writing!

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

@ShinySouthpaw Shares Fun Facts

Sitting at my computer, staring at this little blinking cursor, I’m reminded of a few fun facts about myself.

First, the genre that flows best for me is Fantasy, and while writing in my chosen genre, I can hold my own when given an assignment of sorts. But give me the task of crafting a blog post, something that’s both creative and non-fiction, well… that’s when my confidence waivers. I won’t go into how many times the backspace key’s been hit or how many different evolutions this posting has seen.

Second, I have a weird username for my NaNoWriMo account. Starchampion. It certainly is not your typical name for an online presence. I’d like to think it was created back when I was such a newbie at creating an online persona and didn’t know any better. Now, well, I guess I keep it for nostalgia.

Third fun fact, I write. Yeah, I know we all write, but I mean it in the literal sense. When I wield my craft, I do so with a pencil and a spiral-bound notebook. I’d like to think, that being a lefty, and write longhand, my creations travel an unfiltered path from The Source to the page. The only time I’m at a keyboard is when I’m transcribing my work into a Word doc or editing an existing story.

Ha. It’s most likely a combination of fun facts one and three that’s contributing to my struggle to craft this post.

NaNoWriMo 2016:
My title is still pretty rough, but it should be close to: The First Champion [From a Union of Two Armies].
Genre: Middle Grade Fantasy

My inspiration for this year’s project came during my chapters of SCBWI’s fall conference/retreat. I was telling a fellow writer about my current work in progress (WIP) involving a set of triplets and the prophecy they fulfilled. She asked about the timeline and backstory about my WIP and its cast of characters, specifically one of them. As I went into those details, the realization hit me that one of the girls fell victim to the classic “middle child syndrome”. Thus my project for this year was born.

This year marks my 5th November participating in NaNoWriMo. My first one was back in 2009. I took a few years off but then, my inspiration for doing this wacky event—Rochelle Bradley—tempted me to try it again in the best way possible to try my hand once more at the annual challenge: meeting up halfway through the month for a weekend write-in and catching up.

I’ve also attended 3 NaNo Camps, making use of revisions to current WIPs or just adding to their word count. While the November projects enforce the regular practicing of my craft, the camps are more fun for me. I think it’s because the relaxed word count meshes better with my crazy lifestyle, where I keep trying to balance more and more projects and duties into my daily life.

Okay, back to my method for bringing my imaginary friends and their adventures to life. Being a long handed writer normally has it’s own challenges—broken pencil tips, used up erasers, and smudged hands/pages—but things get especially interesting during NaNo.

Unlike most NaNo participants, I don’t have a computer to keep track of the word count. So, competing in Word Wars require a great deal of patience from the other people involved as I manually count out each word. Believe it or not, if the flow is really there, I can hold my own in the number of words produced in those wars and that in itself is pretty gratifying. At the end of every writing session or series of wars, I take a few minutes to total up my word count and then go online to the NaNoWriMo homepage to update my month-to-date totals.

To those fellow long-handers out there, I salute you. We wield an ancient craft in a way that is quickly fading. Participating in NaNoWriMo is tough enough, but doing so onto paper deserves its own merit.

To everyone, I wish you the best of luck at reaching your goal, whether it be to “win” NaNoWriMo, or to see how many words you can write.

As for me, I’d just be happy beating last year’s personal best. One day I will reach that goal of 50,000 words. It may not be this year or the next, but I have faith it will happen. So far, each year I get closer and closer.

In addition to beating last year’s personal best, I hope to keep my website (www.shinysouthpaw.com), Facebook profile (https://www.facebook.com/shinysouthpaw/), and Twitter account @shinysouthpaw) current in my progress. Wish me luck!!

Monday, November 21, 2016

My First NaNoWriMo – A Tale of Healing!

National Novel Writing Month healed me.

If you ask the Dayton, Ohio, NaNo group, those who know me likely consider me a prolific writer.  I can hammer out seven hundred words in a fifteen-minute word war and have little problem writing fifty thousand words in less than three weeks.  I'm focused and intense, man!

But I didn't always live in Dayton.  For the previous three years before my first NaNo, I lived in Miami, Florida.  It was the most consistently miserable time in my adult life.  I felt trapped, I didn't have many friends, I didn't want to go anywhere.  While I was in Miami, I finished a couple of short stories, but that's all.  Prolific?  Pshaw.  I'd be lucky to write at all in the course of a month.  I was seriously concerned that I had lost the ability to write, lost the magic that allowed me to express myself in words, and was trying to adjust to the idea that I wasn't a writer, after all.  It was a rough adjustment because I didn't want to make it.  I loved writing.  It had defined me as a person since I was a kid!  Since almost before I can remember, I wanted to be a writer, and I have worked to hone my craft.  For those three years, I was in and out of dark moods brought on by my inability to write, and when I did it was dark stuff indeed.

Then, Ohio.  I didn't know anyone and went to a NaNo kickoff party.  I sat there awkwardly, not knowing what to do, really, other than write.  But before the end of the kickoff party, I had been invited to an afterparty.  Many of the people that were at that initial meeting became lasting friends.

Even better, I could write.  The floodgates were open.  After three years of almost no productivity, I wrote seventy-five thousand words in a month.  The magic was back as if it had never gone, or even had grown stronger in its time away.

NaNoWriMo restored me to myself.  The fears that I wasn't a writer evaporated in the warmth that the people there gave me, without being asked for it, without even knowing they were doing it.  I will always love NaNo and the alchemy of experience that brought my art back to life.

Kit Bradley
NaNoWriMo name: swordandlion
2016 NaNo Project: editing Lord Goblin novels



Sunday, November 20, 2016

Taking Chances

Sleep “E” here, working to finalize Taking Chances, a creative non-fiction. This will be my 2nd year of NaNoWriMo.

I love NaNo because it gives me the avenue to focus and hone the craft I love. I'm a writer. I write. It's what I do. Last year was my first year. I was nervous about the commitment, and whether or not I could write 50,000 words in a month. Turns out, I only wrote 25,000 words...MORE than I would have written otherwise.


A close friend, Danny Rodriguez, put me on to NaNo and what he was able to accomplish through it. I'm grateful he shared the opportunity with me. And I'm grateful to have met Rochelle and the spectacular team of writers and writing she helped cultivate leading the Dayton NaNoWrimo group! The encouragement through the Write-Ins, Word Wars, and wotivation (trying to keep the alliteration going) is simply amazing and keeps us inspired through deadlines, schedules, and carpal tunnel

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Writing in Gnomilieu

Hello, Wrimos! I’m Dawn from the Dayton region and my official NaNoWriMo tag is dmpaul. I also participate in Ohio: Elsewhere and will be hosting a Greene county write-in this year.


I first heard about NaNoWriMo several years ago at a writers’ group in California, but I never thought I would be capable of completing 50,000 words in one month. I let NaNoWriMo drop from my brain - until last year, when my writing buddy, who lives far far away, brought NaNo up in one of our many writerly conversations. I didn’t engage with the idea at first, but as it rolled around in my brain, the idea began to grow until I couldn’t ignore it anymore.

I buckled down, looked myself in the mirror and asked, “What are you afraid of?”  It was a worthy question. It really made me think, and I realized there was nothing to fear. I mean, what would happen if I failed? Nothing. I would be no better and no worse off than where I was in that moment, if I failed. But what if I succeeded? Well… The world.

So, in 2015, I won. I completed 52,406 words in my “novel.” I have now divided that manuscript into a series of four middle grade fantasy books that I am currently editing and illustrating. In that series, a young gnomeling must complete a mission to become a human guardian – the ultimate gnome job. For NaNoWriMo 2016, I am writing the next series with my main character, Christian Tompta. I am temporarily calling it CT & Zach.

I really love the people you meet through NaNoWriMo. A fun atmosphere has been created by the openness of the writing parameters. Wrimos use words like sprints, word wars, pantster, planner and plantser – which is my writing style label. I learned last year that I need to have a roadmap of where I'm going, but I love the open creativity of no boundaries on how I get there. The fact that it’s an organization helping literacy is pretty cool too. I will also add that this has been the most successful way to “get my butt in the chair” to write consistently and regularly. NaNoWriMo is so many good things that it truly inspires me!

Hope you’re writing fervently!

Dawn

Follow my blog at: https://dmpaul.com/
Connect with me at: 

Writing in Gnomilieu

Hello, Wrimos! I’m Dawn from the Dayton region and my official NaNoWriMo tag is dmpaul. I also participate in Ohio: Elsewhere and will be hosting a Greene county write-in this year.


I first heard about NaNoWriMo several years ago at a writers’ group in California, but I never thought I would be capable of completing 50,000 words in one month. I let NaNoWriMo drop from my brain - until last year, when my writing buddy, who lives far far away, brought NaNo up in one of our many writerly conversations. I didn’t engage with the idea at first, but as it rolled around in my brain, the idea began to grow until I couldn’t ignore it anymore.

I buckled down, looked myself in the mirror and asked, “What are you afraid of?”  It was a worthy question. It really made me think, and I realized there was nothing to fear. I mean, what would happen if I failed? Nothing. I would be no better and no worse off than where I was in that moment, if I failed. But what if I succeeded? Well… The world.

So, in 2015, I won. I completed 52,406 words in my “novel.” I have now divided that manuscript into a series of four middle-grade gnomeling must complete a mission to become a human guardian – the ultimate gnome job. For NaNoWriMo 2016, I am writing the next series with my main character, Christian Tompta. I am temporarily calling it CT & Zach.

I really love the people you meet through NaNoWriMo. A fun atmosphere has been created by the openness of the writing parameters. Wrimos use words like sprints, word wars, pantster, planner and plantser – which is my writing style label. I learned last year that I need to have a roadmap of where I'm going, but I love the open creativity of no boundaries on how I get there. The fact that it’s an organization helping literacy is pretty cool too. I will also add that this has been the most successful way to “get my butt in the chair” to write consistently and regularly. NaNoWriMo is so many good things that it truly inspires me!

Hope you’re writing fervently!

Dawn

Follow my blog at: https://dmpaul.com/
Connect with me at: 

Friday, November 18, 2016

The Adventures of an Author Errant…

My name is Michelle Mavity and this is my first NaNo. I probably would have participated last November, but I didn't know it existed until this summer (too late for Camp, unfortunately). My best friend from high school clued me in and she will be participating, too!

I have a couple of projects on the back burner for NaNo, but I haven't made a firm decision on which one I will write. One is a Faustian horror tentatively titled "Longing and Lust in Louisiana", and the other is an untitled romantic suspense. I have vague character sketches for both but I haven't spent much time on either one.

As far as strategy goes, I'm pretty prolific. I've been known to put down 10,000 words in an afternoon. My big problem is going to be choosing a project! I don't have a writing buddy, per se, but I do have a couple of Pandora stations I like to listen to while I write. Reggae and Motown for romance, and metal (Korn, Tool, etc.) for darker, edgier stuff.

Everything inspires me! I work part time for Walmart and I can't tell you how many times customers and coworkers have inspired character ideas. I've even been inspired mowing my grass. I don't think I necessarily seek out inspiration, but I try to keep an open mind so that inspiration is more likely to happen.

I was given a piece of advice from a lady a few weeks ago. Her husband is a past NaNo participant and she has writing experience of her own. She told me to write drunk and edit sober. I've found it's a very good idea to not reverse them!

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Dig Deep, Admit You're Scared, Cry it Out and GO

A friend of mine told me about Nanowrimo and I was instantly sold. That year, I didn't have a novel in mind, so I tried doing a picture prompt every day. I didn't make my 50k that time, but a lot of really interesting stories spilled out and I wrote a lot of things I didn't know I was capable of (I also discovered that sometimes writing a little poem is a great kick-off for a sprint!) A few years later in 2013, I got all riled up about Nano again and this time I had a novel in mind. I had been watching Star Trek TNG and getting into old-school Sci-fi. Following a prompt, I wrote a novel about a man who finds an alien, throws it in the water, ends up at a government research facility, and later discovers his very strange connection to said alien. Like any good story, it took me on a ride and went places I never dreamed of.

As far as making my goal? Well, you always start off on-task in the beginning. Then you hit a wall, such as unexpectedly moving your story twenty years into the future, and realizing that you have to sit down and try to imagine the next twenty years of technology before you can continue. One thing I will say is read those pep talks (if you run out of current ones, check out the archives!) During a tough writers block, I was wondering why I couldn't just pump out the words. I opened my Nano inbox and the words staring at me made me tear up. I forget the author, unfortunately, but they said writing is hard because you care. It's not hard because you suck or because you're broken, it's because you really want your story to be good. And then it was less of an up-hill climb and more like a triathalon. I felt like an athlete warming up her muscles and getting ready to tear up some pavement. By the end I was writing 5000k a day, but realizing I was capable of such a feat was exhilerating! I kept typing right up until the last day, the last minute, and when I hit that 50k my boyrfriend came in the room and we jumped up and down.


One trick I had to get over little bumps in progress was to break form. When we write, even if we skip punctuation (which I highly encourage,) we still write on form.... you know, in our "voice." Sometimes it helped to push me through to just type, "and then the stupid thing falls from the ceiling and the guy jumps over it..." etc. Another was to reach a meditative state and stare at a candle while I wrote. Meditate for 15 minutes if you can, 5 if you're in a pinch, or even just 1 minute makes a difference. Though I've come back several times and tried, I haven't reached 50k again, and I've never published a novel. But Nano has inspired me, helped me realize my potential, and carried me through some cold winters.

After Nano ended that year, I got my first T-shirt (I figured I earned it, plus it's the 8-bit one, and you know, I'm a videogame nerd) and got to editing. I started publishing every week on my blog https://tezzatipoca.wordpress.com/, but I eventually hit a big road block there and never finished. Recently I went to a writer's meeting where we read aloud to each other. Reading The Foreigner aloud was nerve-racking, but I found myself enjoying the read, and reliving content I had long forgotten. My peers all gave me praise, and, looking back, there is still a lot of value in that old thing. Now I am thinking about an 80% rewrite. The "voice" I was using back then was experimental and I feel like it doesn't translate well. At least one character needs to be eradicated, and she's in almost every scene. So hopefully there is a future for The Foreigner, and maybe even a future for me as a writer. But who knows, I'll never find out unless I put my fingers on the keyboard and start typing. 
Happy Wrimo! Good luck in November!


Becca (SITCID) (Friend me!)

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

When You Meet Your Muse on the Road, Kill Her

When writing, you're going to get stuck.  You'll be sitting at your computer or your notepad, and you'll wonder "what happens next?"

My A#1 writing buddy,
Her Imperial Highness, Princess Irulan
It is my experience that many of you will wait for inspiration.  You'll want for a white-limbed goddess to whisper something into your ear that thrills you, fires your soul, makes your mind race.  Then, only then, will you rush to your place of work and the words will flow from your fingertips like wine into a glass.

However, muses are fickle, and you've got a deadline.

The most practical advice, then, that I can give is: kill your muse.  She'll try to talk you out of it; do not listen.  She'll beseech and beg; ignore her.  Others will plead on her behalf; reject them.  Take your muse out back, put a gun to her head, and scatter her brains on the ground.  Then leave her face down in a ditch for the badgers and coyotes, return to your place of work and write.

Writing is work.  It's wonderful work where you get to be creative, to express yourself, and all that happy gooey stuff.  However, it is also work.  The number of people who get to work when they want to do it is minuscule – only a few people are so blessed as to have their souls constantly inspired, or a dream that doesn't require them to work hard.  For the rest of us, we roll up our sleeves and get to work.  We do it when it is a beautiful autumn day and we'd rather be taking a brisk walk among the golden-leafed trees with our lover, we do it when it's overcast and gray and we'd rather be curled up in front of a fire with a good book all alone.  We do it when we want to and when we do not want to.  Because you've got a deadline to meet, buddy, and when there's work to do, you can't afford to wait around until the planets align and some goddess whispers in your ear.  You roll up your sleeves and do it.

Here's the good news: no one will be able to tell the difference.  I guarantee it that writers you like have done it and done it in books you like.  They have moved forward with their story precisely because it was their job to write and they had no time to wait for inspiration.  You can't tell when they were inspired and when they were not; neither will your audience.  Because skill is not developed by inspiration, but work.  The writer who does the most work will be the best writer because hard work is key to improving any skill!


Therefore, I repeat: kill your muse.  Then get to work.

Kit Bradley
Nanowrimo name: swordandlion
2016 Nano Project: editing Lord Goblin novels