Book Reviews and Writing Tips

Book Reviews and Writing Tips

Sunday, November 30, 2014

The NaNo Challenge is coming to a close

This is the last day to slay 50K and win the NaNo Challenge.  How are you doing?

I hope you didn’t give up and throw in the towel.  Even if you are short of the 50K, you still have that much written toward what may become a masterpiece later.  And even if it doesn’t, the NaNo is a good writing exercise to keep your mind active.  I know firsthand it’s been a stressful month.

I attained my goal of hitting the 50K mark the day before Thanksgiving.  I set that date for myself from the get-go and I would do it no matter what.  This contest takes a lot of determination.  You can’t let anything stand in our way of writing daily or going on long marathons of writing at one time.

On the twenty-sixth, my husband asked me if I’d finished.  Yes, he discovered I was doing NaNo this year.  I told him no, but the day wasn’t over yet, at which he gave me a look that either said “are you crazy?  Or you mean you’ll continue writing until midnight if that’s what it takes?”  Of course he knew the answer to that already because he knows how tenacious I can be.

So at 11:30 PM on Thanksgiving eve, I checked my word count to verify my novel on the NaNo site and found I had 51,781 words and enough to win the competition even though my book isn’t finished.  Now I could breathe easier and have a more relaxed Thanksgiving.

I’ll set that manuscript aside for now with notes on how I intend to finish the story and go back to my first mystery novel, rewrite the next chapter, and get that to the girl who is kind enough to read it for me and make suggestions.

One day down the road, I’ll have a mystery series I can publish.  I’ve got three books written so far although the last one, which was my NaNo entry this year, isn’t finished and all three need to be edited and rewrites done. 

But I feel I’m making headway as a writer and learning a lot along the way.  I know I still have the stamina to finish 50K in a month and that feels good.  This was my third year at NaNoWriMo.

Does anybody else want to share how they did?

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving, a day set aside to appreciate your blessings

Ah yes, turkey day and all the trimmings that go with it.  But stop sometime today and be thankful for all your blessings.  That includes family and friends and your devoted pets.  Be grateful that you have the day to spend with them and that they are safe and well.  Tragedies happen all too often and there’s chance you won’t get another opportunity to show your gratitude.

Be well and safe everyone and don’t get too much, especially those of you working on NaNo.  Don’t get too full to write a few words after the activities have died down and your guests have gone home.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Week Three NaNo Update

What a grueling process this can be.  You certainly have to have the right mindset to take this on every year.  But there is one thing for certain; NaNo forces you to write daily in order to keep up, unless you’re able to pound out 5,000 words in a day.

Fortunately, I’m able to type 5,000 words in one day, but this doesn’t happen often.  I love those days when my mind is filled to over flowing with brilliant ideas on where to go with my WIP.  It really makes up for the days when the well is dry and nothing at all comes to mind to get me going.

We are down to the last week so it’s most important to keep our butts glued to the chair and really buckle down.  I want that winner’s badge, don’t you?

Last night I finally got to the point where I can see the light at the end of the tunnel.  I reached 43,655 words before calling it a day.  A headache was bursting out all over from so much thinking.  I still hope to finish by Thanksgiving, but I haven’t written a word today so far.  However, the day is far from over.  I keep telling myself there are only 6,345 words to go.

How is everyone else doing?

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Week Two NaNo Update

We’ve reached the halfway mark now and hopefully everyone who entered the NaNo this year has a good start on their book underway.

I know finding time to write is a big bridge to cross, especially when it comes to writing with the kind of intensity that NaNo demands.

There are also times when we reach a point and wonder which direction we’re headed in.  If a moment like this strikes me, I pick up a book and read a couple of chapters or look through my Writer’s Digest magazine and soon I’m inspired again.

The whole point is not to let yourself get down if you’re behind on your word count.  You can always catch up unless you’ve hardly started.  But the worst thing to do is to stop writing because you think you won’t finish the competition so why bother.  Throw that type of attitude out the window and sit your little butt down in front of your computer and write something everyday, even if it’s only a hundred words.  That’s still one hundred words closer to the finish line.

So here at week two, I have 31,555 words so far.  That leaves me on track to finish ahead of time, which I was counting on.  But in case something comes up and I can’t write at all for a day or to, it also takes the pressure off.  Life does get in the way sometimes and not everyone in the house may be as passionate about writing as we are.

Remember, in the end, we are all winners anyway because we started and have accomplished something, as shitty as it may be.  It’s a start and something we can work on and make perfect.  So don’t give up.  Keep writing.  I know you can do it.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Up to my neck in NaNo

Sorry to all of you for my erratic posting of late.  My life has been hectic with keeping my house clean at all times, and weeding things out in preparation for a move once it sells. 

Now I’m up to my eyeballs in my NaNo project, so I don’t have a lot of spare time left over for anything.  If any of you are doing NaNo this year, how’s you’re project coming?  I’m hoping to make it to the halfway mark today, but it may be tomorrow before I reach that milestone.

If any of you are ready for a change, or perhaps are tired of shoveling snow and want out of the cold areas of the country, take a look at my other blog here.  I just posted my house over there.

Keep writing everyone.  Every little bit add ups.

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Week One of NaNo is under our Belts

How many of you are tackling this competition this year?  Or do you have better sense than me?

This is my third year participating in NaNo.  I think I must be a glutton for punishment and stress because I always think I need to put myself through this since I discovered it in 2012.

If you’ve never done it, you won’t know what I’m talking about.  But if you have, you’ll know the writing frenzy we all undertake.

I’m the kind of person that thinks I can always accomplish something, even if I know the odds are against me from the get go.  Nevertheless, this doesn’t dissuade me from trying.  I’m not sure what a psychologist would say about the state of my mind, or where I get this trait from.  I simply can’t pass up a good challenge and have always been this way.

Week one hasn’t been easy, but I have persevered and slacked off in a few other areas.  Of course I knew this was rough going in because this is my third time.  I did finish the first two times and I intend to finish this time, even if it kills me.  I don’t enter anything without those expectations from myself.

My advice is to keep writing until you are spent daily.  Then write a bit more, if you can coax it out of your head from someplace.  DON’T EDIT anything.  This is a rough crappy first draft you’re writing.  Polishing and cutting can come later.  So can filling in any holes.

I’m not a plotter before I write, but I do an outline and character sketches before November for the NaNo.  I keep that in a separate file to refer to.  You should not have to waste your time looking things up and figuring all this stuff out once November first arrives.  Your purpose then is to write every chance you get.  If you get stumped on a name or description, put a question mark there and keep going.

Stock up on snacks and have ideas for quick meals to prepare if you don’t live alone, so you can get that out of the way as fast as possible and get back to writing.  No TV or social media during November -- not unless you are way ahead of schedule and want to reward your efforts by taking one day off.  That’s up to you.

I sit and write for hours without getting up.  I have a huge tumbler that holds four glasses of water by my side, along with a bag of trail mix, or crackers, or chocolate, and don’t even take a potty break unless I’m about to pee in my pants.  I’m obsessed when I’m on a deadline and I feel that the NaNo is a big deadline.

It feels so good to reach some of the pillars though, such as the 10,000 word mark, or the 25,000 when you know you’re halfway there.  I’m finishing week one with 14,199 words, so not bad.

If you’re one of the crazy ones doing this, keep writing and good luck!

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Turning back the clocks again

I always hate this time of year because the days are too short.  There’s never enough time anyway, but an hour is such a drastic change.  Sometimes I wish they left the time alone.  Losing the daylight gradually doesn’t seem as bad as all at once.  To have the dark and the cold is too much for me.  Today is crummy anyway.  It’s windy, rainy and dark.  I had to move my tropical plants into the garage today, a full two weeks earlier than usual.  I about froze doing it too.  I want to cringe when I think that this is just the start of the whole mess.

I was trying to think of something positive I can post about this thing that we humans do when we play with the clocks and then it dawned on me.  We writers can seize the moment here and get an extra hour to write on our WIP today.  So let’s get crackin’.