Thursday, November 29, 2012

And another NaNo bites the dust!


Ahhh NaNoWriMo is almost over for another year, and for me, and others, it’s already done. I was hoping to finish Sunday evening, but too many 0 and low count word days put a kibosh on that. I will settle for finishing last night J.

I think this was my most successful and mind expanding NaNo yet.

I started out with my outline, and while didn’t follow through as closely as intended after the first act, the basic idea was there. I still love my board and my lined sticky notes! I think I am now a full-fledged Plantster, - a half breed. The secret of writing is to find what works for you and follow it. Then when it stops working, go find something else. I found my something else J.

I didn’t skip. No jumping and writing bits and pieces. Now, to be fair, this is sort of violating NaNo since they want folks to finish a book. I already know I can finish a book. Been there, done that (a few times). So for me having a nice solid start was my goal. I think I’ve done that J.

I also learned that going out on location writing might be a good thing for me. I’ve done a few Starbuck’s write ins before, and the counts were decent. But it wasn’t until Thanksgiving day and a speedy 2050 words (in about an hour and fifteen minutes) at a coffee shop that I realized the power of writing out in the real world.

I’ve re-found my mojo J. Been limping along for almost a year or more with a broken writer mojo. This stomped that problem into the ground. I realized that I need goals and challenges to keep my writer powers activated- so next year I’m going to challenge the heck out of myself- and keep moving forward!

My goals are to finish the rough of this book by end of Jan 2013 (The Four Dragons of the Apocalypse- it’ll have a new word count listing up on this site soon ;). Then finish last year’s project, Sakari’s War in Feb and March. THEN start edits for Dragons and you guessed it—start yet another book ;).

If you NaNo’d this year-congrats- even if you aren’t going to finish, you tried something outside of your normal comfort zone and you should be proud! Hopefully you learned something about your writing along the way J.

And for those of you who finish by Friday night-WOOOO! Rock on, you did GREAT!

Now go finish the book ;).

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Why all writers should be thankful

       I will be the first to admit that writing can be a very painful and depressing task. Not the words themselves, although many fights have been fought and lost with stories running amuck, but the field of writing for publication. Getting published is truly painful and for most of us that path is filed with a lot of heartbreak. Shear stubbornness is probably the best weapon in any writer’s arsenal.
       But for all of that we have to still be truly grateful. We have the skill and the drive to follow the wild ideas that pop in our heads. Heck we HAVE wild ideas that pop in our heads! I have seen many friends post on FB how bored they are from time to time, I have NEVER seen a writer friend post it (or say it).We are armed with an imagination that knows no bounds. Have nothing to do? Work on a story. Feeling low? Dive into an amazing world of your own creation. Mad at your day job? Take it out on your villain.
       Even if publishing never comes our way--or not the way we dream—we still have to be grateful for this amazing gift- the ability to tell stories.
We must never lose track of that.
Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

Friday, November 16, 2012

Half way into NaNoville...

NaNo is a great chance for writers to find out what they’re worth, and new writers to see what it takes to complete a book (ok, caveat- obviously 50,000 words isn’t a book in 90% of genres…but work with me here ;)).

I love it because it pushes me to write more, to think about my stories in a different manner. This year I really pushed the “something different” issue. I did an outline (light in act 2 and 3 but still way more than I’ve ever done), I’m not skipping (more on that in a bit), and I’m doing a “pre-write” each day.

The outline: Ok, halfway through and I’d say it’s helped a lot, and I think I will incorporate it into my writing style. But, I’m a half-breed now (half pantser/half plotter)- not going to switch completely to plotter, but no long as pantsy as I was. The outline hasn’t been followed as well as one would have hoped however-LOL. I have to say out of all of the changes in my writing this month- this was the biggest. And had to most impact. And probably manages to terrify both pantsers and plotters alike!

See, as a half breed I’ve got the best of both worlds (in my opinion) or the worst of both. I did sit there with my board and my stickys and write down notes for chapters. Act one was blocked with 10 solid (or so I thought), general scene ideas were tossed out for the other two acts. (That sigh you just heard was from all the plotters feeling at peace with at least my act 1).

However, I didn’t stick with the plan. Oh I used the general ideas, but my midpoint of act one is happening way further down that predicted, and my chapters are a might off. As I wrote, my “plan” changed. As I wrote my characters grew and a critter side kick suddenly appeared (the second sigh you hear is from the pantsers who now feel better that I was following my characters and not the other way around ;))

Not skipping:  Ok, this is in a way not being true NaNo- the actual goal of NaNo is to have a skipped/lean 50,000 words that cover the book start to finish (rest to be filled in latter).  This year I’m not jumping or skipping (something I normally do when I write- I often will think of a great scene and jump ahead to do it).  Problem with jumping is sometimes they don’t fit, and you’re left with trying to connect the dots.  Sooo no jumping- almost 80 pages all in order.

Pre-write:  This is all Rachel Aaron, I take 5 minutes before I write and map out that days writing.  It gives me more direction and gets me excited about what I’m going to write!

So those are the main ways NaNo has changed me so far this year- what about you?

Thursday, November 8, 2012

To The Pain...

Now for those of you familiar with the classic movie, The Princess Bride, you know where the title of today’s blog came from. For the rest of you- GO WATCH IT!
Ok, to sum up for you non-believers of the power of The Princess Bride, the line is from a scene where our hero, Wesley, who is recovering from being mostly dead for a while, finds himself facing his very able enemy.
When the big bad prince challenges Wesley to a duel to the death, our hero counters with, “No, to the pain.” He then elaborates how to the pain is much worse than to the death because after disfiguring the bad prince he will leave his ears- so he will hear all of the shrieks when people see him.
Now what has this to do with writing you ask? I am in the middle NaNo madness, ya know…to the pain seems very appropriate ;).
But this is really going that extra step as writers and making our characters go an extra step too. Wesley couldn’t fight at that point, he could barely get off the bed. But he convinces the prince that to fight Wesley would have such dire consequences (because he obviously thought this out) that the prince throws down his sword, and allows himself to be tied up.
All because the writer made the character go way beyond what was expected.
So next time you’re writing- don’t take your first idea, or even your second- find one that takes you to the pain J. Keep things fresh and unexpected.
Side note on my nano and the great outline experiment- about 50 pages in, haven't completely followed my outline, but using it more as tent poles.  I'm on target for my sequence one ending though (I'm doing a three act/eight sequence outline- so in other words- I'm almost to the the half way point of act one ;)).  Even though I'm not sticking with it as much as hoped, I will say the book is turning out much better because of it!