Saturday, November 5, 2011

Taking a Day to Think

Okay, this may seem crazy, but I took a day off yesterday. Right in the middle of NaNoWriMo, I took a day off and did absolutely no writing on my project.

Unfortunately, I didn't do it on purpose, and it didn't feel like a day off. What I did do was put it off and put it off and feel guilty until I just decided to go to bed without writing or blogging or reporting. Not good.

I woke up tired on Friday. And I stayed tired all day, which explains the paragraph above.

In the middle of the night, I had a dream that I was running through a campground full of Amish families having picnics. The dream dictionary says that the Amish represent my desire for a simpler life. Yes, that's true. The running represents my determination and motivation to succeed and signals that I will rise above and meet my goals. True again. And the picnic baskets indicate an opportunity to share my ideas and opinions with others. Well, of course it does?

I'm thinking I should have just stayed in bed all day yesterday and dreamed. It would have been more useful.

Anyway, I'm back to work. 2025 words today. Not quite 3000, but I am still a solid 1200 ahead of where I need to be for nano and my story is going well. I'm getting close to my first turning point and then the excitement really begins.

Until then . . . I'll to try to figure out how they got that meaning for a picnic basket . . .

Thursday, November 3, 2011

A Word About Outlining

I'm a by the seat of my pants writer. I have a vague idea of where the story will go and I head toward the happily ever after (usually) and let whatever happens happen.

I think this might be why I haven't sold a book manuscript yet. That, and the fact that I haven't sent anything to an editor for quite some time. I'll just say, I'm working up to it.

Deep into the next scene in my book, I started thinking that I wasn't sure where I was going. Surrounded by ideas and  afraid some of them might be lost, I spent the rest of my nano time writing out my story in short form. I was able to work through the important turning points and motivations needed to make this a salable book.

I feel better about now going back and expanding each of those sections into scenes and chapters.

This outlining stuff isn't so bad. And I didn't use one roman numeral . . .

Today's count 2503.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Procrastination = Desperation

Ever noticed how many things you can find to do when you have something you're supposed to be doing, but are avoiding?

Laundry, filing, finances, dusting (I never dust), cooking, writing in my journal, spider solitaire, reading other people's posts, watching Modern Family, and on and on. These are just a few of the things I did today to avoid nanowrimo.

Why? Why do I sabotage myself when I'm supposed to be doing something I WANT to do?

It will take someone smarter than me and with some kind of degree to figure out that mystery . . .

At 8:30 p.m., desperation kicked in. I've made a commitment. I have to report to Nano before midnight. I have to report to ANWA. And She Writes. I need to post on two different blogs. I need to have something to report!

So, I resorted to a little trick I learned from the FlyLady. (Google her) Here's my trick. 15 minutes. That's it. 15 minutes.

I sit and think for a bit, getting the next scene in my head. I set my timer for 15 minutes, then I let the scene play out like a movie in my mind while I type what I see, until the timer goes off. As fast as I can type.

Sounds crazy, but it works. If I end in the middle of a scene, I might just record my word count, set the timer again and do another sprint. I did four in a row with these results: 483, 465, 427, and 417. That's 1792 words in an hour. I'm not sure I could do that normally. It's the urgency of racing the timer that gets me moving. (That and dialogue - lots of dialogue)

I've found that this works well, especially in the beginning of a book because long passages of characters talking and reacting to each other, is a great way for me to get to know them. Usually, I discover that, like me, my characters talk too much.

But that's another blog post.

I still have 7 more 15 minutes left before midnight. I think I'll try for at least a couple of more before I report.

I made my goal plus a little - a very little. 3001 words today. My total is now 5010. Wow. It's a good thing that regency family had twelve kids and I named them all ... Goodnight.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

The Story So Far . . .

A few years ago, I started NaNoWriMo with no idea what I was going to write. On Halloween night, I finally wrote out 30 life questions (heavy things about marriage, children, death, taxes, you know) on strips of paper, folded them and threw them in bowl. Each day, I read a question and then tried to write a 2000 word chapter from that prompt.

On the fifth day, I don't remember the question, but as I got into my story, I realized that this was the beginning of what would be my nano project. When I finished, I had my first regency romance, Miranda's Heart. And it wasn't a bad story, either. I let go of all of the things I needed to research and just put myself in Austen mode. It was probably the most fun, I've ever had writing a story.

My story took my hero Miranda through a broken romance, to meeting and befriending three brothers who moved in nearby. Through much fun and quite a bit of sorrow, she eventually marries the middle brother. Happily Ever After, right?
Well, I thought so, but this year, I again had no idea what to write. I'd just spent the last 5 months mostly on the couch, unable to write or even read much. After having my thyroid removed and along with it, the cancer it contained, I knew that my celebration had to be writing a book. But it had to be a fun book.

So, I hit on the idea of another regency. And so, the plot for Miranda's Daughter started to form in my brain.

Today, I got a late start, but finally during my writing group at the library, I started on the story. Unfortunately, I wrote the first book on my desk top computer - at home. Today, I was away from home and on my laptop (with lack of preparation) and did not remember the love interest's name, or even Miranda's last name or her husband's. After, the tenth time of typing in "what's his name" and giving up on finding a suitable name for his son (I just started calling him Reggie), I stopped at just over a thousand words.

Tonight, though, I was able to get a little more into the story and start seeing where it was going. The love interest's name is Caldwell and Reggie became Oliver. The conflict is developing nicely. I'm having fun.

My goal was 3000 words each day, but today I'm settling for 2009. It feels good to have my brain back and to be writing again. I'll catch you up on the story tomorrow.

Until then . . .

Monday, October 31, 2011


Here it is, October 31st, a very scary day for some of us . . . specifically, those of us who participate in Nanowrimo (which to those who don't know) is National Novel Writing Month.

Every year, writers (most, a bit crazy), in the month of November, starting at the hour of midnight, begin pounding out words at an average of 1,666 per day. At that rate, and by adding 20 more words somewhere along the way, we each write a 50,000 word book, in a month. All the frendzy ends at midnight on November 30th.

There are some secrets to success. First, a writer has to tie the internal editor to a pipe in the corner of the basement and write like every word is golden. And keep writing, day after day. The first days are easy -- the words flow, the story opens and blossoms and then the turning point and the exciting moment that changes the story . . . and then somewhere around the middle of the month, we stumble. Words escape us. Fear grips us. We can't plot to save our lives. We get behind in our word count and think we will never catch up.

But somehow, we do. Or at least many of us do. We fight on, through the pain, even if we spend paragraphs describing the ruffle on our characters sleeve or write insane dialogue that will never make it through the final edit of the book, but help us find hidden sides of our hero. Or maybe we just find barely concealed cracks in our own personalities. When you're in that deep, it's hard to tell what's sort of real and what's really real.

It's a couple of hours until midnight. I have a title for my story. That's about it. My hero doesn't have a name yet. I'm not much of an outliner, although I do have a bit of a plan, thanks to Larry Brooks. I have a vague idea where this regency romance is headed, but the fun will be the shady areas between here and there.

Scary? Yeah. Ghosts and goblins are nothing compared to beginning Nano.

At least I have bite sized chocolate trick or treats to get me through the month. But do I have enough? Let's see, if I start at twelve, write until five, and cover my hair with a hat, the Halloween candy should be on clearance by the time I get to Walmart. Sleep? Who needs sleep?

I'll be blogging about my adventures - here & on She Writes. Feel free to peek in occasionally and if I write something good, I might share it. And that just might be the scariest thing of all.