Camp NaNoWriMo: April 2015 Winner!


Hooray! Look at that fancy Winner banner!

I’m happy to say that I hit my goal of 50,000 words this month. As of today, my word count is 52,540. My total word count for the project is around 65,000. Now that I’ve hit my word count goal, I don’t feel the need to writing like a crazy person every night, so I took it easy yesterday, and I may not write much over the next few days.

So, what’s next? Well, now my goal has shifted from just a word count to actually finishing the project. I still have a significant chunk of story to get through, so I can’t just sit around. In November, that’s exactly what happened. I wrote so much during NaNoWriMo that I basically burned out on the story, and then in December, I was just sick of it. I didn’t know where it was going, and I was tired of the characters invading my mind.

This month feels different. I still love my story and (most of) my characters, and I have a clear idea of where the story is going (not to say that there haven’t been a few surprises along the way). My end date for this project is June 30th. That gives me two months to write what will probably be another 50,000 words or so. That means I only have to write about 800 words per day to make that happen–so I have no excuses.

My other goal, moving forward, is to write a little bit every day. I’m giving myself a little bit of leeway here, because I may step away from the project for a few days, up to a week, just to get some distance and clarity. But once I jump back into it, I want to make sure that I put something on paper–even if it’s just one word–every day. I think this is a good practice in general, but I also think it’s crucial in the middle of a project. If I can finish this by the end of June, perhaps beta reading could take place in July and August, editing after that–who knows? Maybe it could be a polished final project by the end of the year (fingers crossed).

To those of you who are still working on your projects: don’t give up now! The finish line is so close, and even if you don’t meet your word count goals, it’s still worthwhile to keep putting words on paper. Good luck to everyone!

NaNoWriMo 2014: The Aftermath

Ah, welcome to December.  Normally I’d write something in about cold, dreariness, and snow, but it’s shockingly warm in my part of the world.  November is done, and with it, another wonderful month of NaNoWriMo.  My final count was 56,315, which is less than I wanted (I was hoping for 60K), but better than 50K, so I can’t complain to much.  As I’ve said on here before, I still have a long way to go in the story.

The most recent message from the powers-that-be at NaNoWriMo asked writers the following three questions, and I think it’s a good exercise to actually answer them.

What are you most proud of achieving this month?

I’m proud that I wrote almost every day, and that my daily word count was consistently over 1,667.  Even while I was on vacation, I made time to write.  I think that none of us really have time to do anything–we make time for the things that we prioritize.  I’m proud of myself for sticking to my plan.  I’m also proud of hitting 50K.

What did you learn about yourself as a writer?

Writing non-linearly really helped me this month (thanks Scrivener).  When I got stuck on scenes, instead of forcing myself to write crap, I could just switch to something else.  That’s not something that I used to really allow myself to do.  Part of that was because my brain used to go crazy if I didn’t work linearly.  But using Scrivener helped me make sure that the parts were still organized enough that switching scenes or even complete parts of the story worked out well.

What excites you about this draft of your NaNo-novel?

It’s a LOT different than anything I’ve written previously.  I found myself browsing the Science Fiction forums because I missed writing that kind of story.  This is solidly more in the Fantasy genre.  It’s a challenge, but it’s interesting to see what I can do with this new world and what the characters can do in that world.  There’s something pretty great about being about to tailor the world to whatever it is that I want.  I’m also really excited to see how this story ends.  I had an idea in my head, but now I’m not so sure–there have already been some twists that I wasn’t expecting.

Overall, I definitely think this was a successful November.  Looking forward to continuing my daily word count into December and beyond!

Day 18 – Anybody out there?

Well.  I sort of fell off the blogging world.  Sorry about that.  I have no excuses other than (a) I went on vacation, and (b) I’ve been deep in NaNoWriMo.

It’s Day 18 of NaNoWriMo, and my word count is 37,588.  Pretty good!  I’m proud of myself for getting beyond the minimum word count goal.  That’s the good news.  The bad (?) news is that I’m almost at 40K, and I don’t think I’ve hit the halfway point of my story yet.  I think I’ll definitely be able to hit 50K and “win” NaNoWriMo, but I’m not sure I’ll actually finish the project by the end of November.  That bums me out a little bit.

I did a very rough outline before this month started, and damn, did it help.  Last year I was just sort of floating around in my mind, thinking, “Welllll, now what will happen?”  I never thought outlining would be my thing, but it’s kept me on track.  Plus I’m using Scrivener, which is amazing.  It allows you to write non-linearly, which, again, was never my style, but it’s helped me so much this month.  When I get fed up with one of my two main characters, I just switch to the other one.

I’ve found some surprises this time around.  The basic set-up of my story is that part 1 includes setting up the two MCs, and weird stuff starts happening to them.  In part 2, the MCs unite and end up traveling to the other world.  I haven’t even really hit part 2 yet.  I don’t even know what’s going to happen (for sure) when they get the other world.  This could be a very long project.  I didn’t think it would take me so long to set the characters up, but it turned out that there was a lot that I wanted the reader to know about them before they really embarked on this adventure.  Plus, writing the weird/creepy stuff is fun, so I threw more of that in that I expected.  I also have one secondary character who I wanted to have a bigger role, but he’s turned out to be useless.  In contrast, a secondary character who was going to disappear fairly quickly is actually going to be a critical link.

So, in short – NaNo is awesome, and I like my story, but it’s going to be more of an endeavor than I thought.

Hope all of you participating in NaNo are having a great time!  What have been your accomplishments and challenges?

Days 1 and 2 – NaNoWriMo

It’s official!  November is here!

I stayed up until midnight on the 31st to kick the 1st off right, and so far, I’m off to a strong start – over 5,000 words in the past two days.  I might write a little bit more before I head off to bed tonight.  I’m trying not to applaud myself too much, because I know from last year that these are the easy days.  When the project is fresh and exciting, it’s easier to find the words and the ideas.  I know that soon, I’ll hit that wall of “what do I write now?  what should happen next?”

So far, nothing crazy is happening with my characters – my main character’s mother is a little more intense than I originally planned, and my main character is turning out to be slightly more introverted than I wanted (I tend to write introverts – probably because I am one), so I need to work on that.  Also, found a way to make my prologue creepier than intended – so that’s a win.

I hope everyone is enjoying their writing so far, and I hope you all are meeting your word counts!  Keep typing!

Tackling writing distractions, part 1 – Other lingering ideas

Well, we are down to less than a week until NaNoWriMo! I think I’m going to stay up on Friday night and churn out some words at soon as the clock hits midnight (I know, I know – nerd alert). I’ve been less than enthusiastic about this upcoming month for a few reasons – delays in the self-publishing of my first book, getting a serious cold/infection that put me out of commission for awhile, etc. So, I’m trying to stay positive. One thing I’m definitely concerned about is handling distractions.

As weird as this might sound, I get easily distracted by other story ideas. I often have a few projects in process, and when I get bored with one, I’ll switch to another. I don’t want to do that during November, because I think it’s important to devote all my time to the NaNoWriMo project. But I already know that my other 4 outstanding projects are going to be lingering in the back of my mind, insisting that I write them.

I also get distracted by new ideas. New ideas pop up everywhere, and I love the process of developing an idea. Sometimes I think I like it better than actually writing, which is why I probably take so long to finish stories.

But not this month, fellow writers! This month, I’m vowing that I won’t let undeveloped, unwritten ideas distract me from completing my project. If an idea won’t go away, I’m going to write it down in my notebook, label it “December,” and put it away. Likewise, if I get an idea for a scene in an existing project, I’ll outline it in a few words and put it away.

What about you? What things distract you from finishing projects? And more importantly, how do we stop that?


Happy Tuesday everyone! I had a busy weekend, so I didn’t get much work done regarding my writing. I’m trying to make some more progress on a story of mine before diving into NaNoWriMo. Unfortunately, it’s sort of taken a back burner to outlining and continuing to edit The Historian.

But I did make progress on my NaNoWriMo project: I came up with a title! Some writers wait and come up with titles after the project is completed, but I prefer to have a title up front. I tell myself that the title isn’t set in stone, and that I can always go back and change it if they title doesn’t end up reflecting the story at the end.

Coming up with a title for The Historian was fairly simple – after all, that story is truly about Emilia. As much as there are other questions to be answered, it’s ultimately a story of her journey.

So my title for this upcoming project? Into the Void.

Kind of ominous and weird, right? I think it reflects the general plot well (at least, the plot that I have so far). I think I may end up changing it, but for me, I hate seeing the word “untitled” on my draft. Titling a story makes it so much more real to me.

How do you come up with titles for your projects? Do you find that to be an important, or even necessary, part of your process?

NaNoWriMo: Preparation and Choices

In less than four weeks, November will be here, and with it, National Novel Writing Month!  As I’ve mentioned before, NaNoWriMo gets a lot of heat on the internet, and the consistent criticism I’ve seen is that it encourages participants to produce subpar products.  I have a couple problems with that critique, because I don’t think it’s fair.  It assumes that the writers participating in NaNoWriMo signed up on October 31st with no prior thought about their novel.  Maybe some of them did, but I seriously doubt that’s the bulk of the writers.  Second, it also assumes that working on the novel ends November 30th.  Completely untrue.  Anything that it thrown together in one month will be far from perfect – but the point of NaNoWriMo isn’t to achieve perfection, it’s simply to finish.  Any writer who is serious about this endeavor knows that there is a lot more to do in December and the months beyond.

Let’s go back to the first assumption – that writers are jumping in with no preparation.  While I wouldn’t say that I did that last year, I was definitely not as prepared as I could have been.  I’m trying to fix that in 2014.  But before I can get to preparation, I face a more difficult dilemma: choice.

I have three projects that are currently in progress, and while I would love to continue on any of them, I know that the rules of NaNoWriMo say that I need to start something new.  I’m debating between two ideas.  One idea falls into the category of science fiction, while the other is more of a dark fantasy/horror.  The science fiction story, like the novel I wrote last year, involves time travel, so I’m a little reluctant to repeat that concept so soon (even though the plot is completely different).  The fantasy/horror story seems more challenging to me, because it will require a lot more worldbuilding, and because I don’t have a clear outline in my idea.  But I’ve been thinking about that one a lot more, and so I have a better grip on the characters.  I think I’m leaning toward the fantasy/horror story at this point, if for no other reason than that it’s writing in a new genre, but the concept of worldbuilding another dimension for this novel is terrifying.  None of my previous projects have required extensive worldbuilding – what if I’m terrible at it?  (Ah, there it is:  That quiet yet determined voice of criticism in the back of my head).

The answer to this problem is clear: preparation!  If I’m writing a fantasy novel that involves a different world, I need to sit down before November 1st and flesh out what that world looks like.  I can’t wake up on November 1st without the bones of the world built.  Just like I shouldn’t sit down to write without having my main character at least somewhat developed in my head, I shouldn’t sit down to write this story without a structure for its world.

What are you doing to prepare for NaNoWriMo?  Have you picked your story yet?  What factors did you consider in picking?