Archive for the ‘NaNoWriMo’ Category

November 17, 2010

It’s that time — the midway NaNo update. I had planned to tell you about my progress a little more often, but here we are on the downslope of November (don’t get me started on that…) and I haven’t told you how it’s going.

I knew going into NaNo as a gainfully employed person that I may not reach my goals, and not reach them I did. Well, I reached my personal goal of 1000 words per day, then played massive catchup the first weekend. I even topped my all-time daily word count and hit 4000 words in one day (in three sittings), for a grand total of 7000 words in two days.

The second week went better and I reached the NaNo goal of 1667 words almost every day. On Saturday Erica and I got together again and I wrote my daily words in one sitting. This may not sound exciting, but one of the purposes of NaNo is to train yourself to get into the habit of writing every day.

In 2008 I learned that I am able to write that much in one day. This year I’ve learned that I can write 1000 words in 45 minutes, as long as I have the story plotted out. Monday night I wrote my 1667 words in an hour and a half and passed the halfway mark (25K words).

Will I keep all of it? I hope so. I’m sure some will get cut but I don’t let myself write fluff just to reach my goal. Yesterday I only wrote 500 words, and while I’m disappointed at falling beneath my goal, I know that forcing it doesn’t work for me. I’ll catch up this weekend.

Finally, a brief excerpt. I realize I still haven’t told you the premise so this is a little out of left field, but I haven’t written my hook yet. This is the first draft, so bear with me.


Light pulses across the imitation leather of the dashboard.

Light. Dark. Light. Dark.

My eyes stutter and my heart jumps around in my chest, but I blink it away. My tongue strokes the grainy piece of cement stuck between my back teeth. The orthodontist swore he got it all, but that was as true as his promise that it wouldn’t be uncomfortable.

Uncomfortable. Right.

A tingling sensation pricks the tips of my fingers. I press them together, watching the blood shift beneath my skin. The tingling turns to those sharp needles that remind me of anything but sleep.

I press harder and my toes start tingling too. What the hell?

The dancing on the dashboard gets faster. The trees here are taller, straighter, and the sunlight strobes through the branches. My breath catches and a sudden heaviness pushes me deep into the seat.

I glance at my mom but she’s concentrating on the road, humming along with golden oldies or whatever the hell it is she listens to, oblivious to the fact that something very weird is happening to her daughter.

I close my eyes. The heaviness lifts. Too much. Now I’m floating and—

“But mom, I’m fine.”

My mom crosses the kitchen and leans against the counter. “Luz, you’re going. The dentist said your face will get all out of whack if you don’t get braces. Your entire face could change…”

A sense of déjà vu slams me over the head. I’ve had this argument. Next mom is gonna grab the stack of mail that dad set there earlier and toss it in the basket.

She does.


The words stumble out of me. “Mom…” The déjà vu doesn’t lift. This isn’t a memory. I’m not in the car anymore.

I’ve gone back to yesterday.


November 10, 2010

Last week I had the honor of meeting another online writing friend, Erica. We’ve been friends for a couple years and even though I’ve been in Michigan for over eight months, this was the first time we’ve gotten together.

She drove an hour and a half (!!) to join me at a local NaNo write-in. I’ve met quite a few online friends over the past year so my biggest concern was not recognizing her (Starbucks was filled with brunettes when I arrived) but I was her first. Once I realized that, I thought back to meeting MY first online friend and how nervous I was, but Erica was fine. We split a blueberry dessert minutes after meeting and debated skipping the write-in altogether. (Which probably would have been more productive.)

Neither of us had attended a write-in before and weren’t really sure what to expect. I haven’t sat in a roomful of people and been expected to write since high school, and even then I still talked to my neighbor. (Shocking, no?) We arrived about half an hour late (that dessert was goooood), sat down, and started taking pictures.

It’s a very important part of the writing process. Don’t question it.

There were maybe ten people there and while everyone had their laptops out (except for one girl writing by hand, oy) no one seemed to be actually writing. Conversations popped up at each table, then we all introduced ourselves. No one really knew what to say when I said I’m querying my novel from 2008. Maybe they aren’t writing with publication in mind, I don’t know.

Anyway, we shifted to the sofas since Erica’s computer was dying, and I was able to bang out 500 words — but that’s only because we did a word wars thing through the NaNo website. After the word wars one girl proceeded to tell us the plot for her SEVEN book series, then which jeans make her butt look good. Srsly.

Erica stopped at my house afterwards to meet Owen, who would NOT leave her alone. After twenty minutes of him gnawing on her fingers and trying to make her face his own, she headed out for the hour and a half drive home. Then I went back to writing.

We’re meeting again this Saturday, but I think we’ve agreed to skip the other writers and just do our own thing. And maybe go to dinner — but only after we meet our daily word goal.

Ahh, Plotting
October 27, 2010

One of the rules of NaNo is you cannot start writing the actual story until November 1st. I wrote eight or so pages last spring, and while I plan to use them, I’m no longer going to start the story in the same place so it’ll just be filler. I figure I’m going to need an extra 1000 words to pad here or there.

What you CAN do prior to November 1st is plot, outline, research, meet your characters, and whatever else you need to do to get ready to write the story. I also did a lot of research last spring so while I’m looking over those notes, my biggest task this week is outlining my plot.

I know how the story begins, I have a kick@ss ending (which can be turned into a series, but I’m not getting ahead of myself here) but the middle is a bit of a mystery to me. I have sticky notes all over my desk that say things like “betrayal” and “love interest” — things I need to weave in to keep the reader hooked.

Only a few days left to figure it out. Because I CAN’T start without knowing where I’m going!

Writers, how do you plot? I know quite a few of you are pantsers, so you’re excused from sharing your secrets. But you can still share a story if you’d like.

Stop! NaNo Time*
October 22, 2010

It’s that time of year! NaNoWriMo — National Novel Writing Month for those of you not in the know — starts November 1st and I’ve already signed up. NaNo challenges writers to write a novel in a month. Simple, right?

Yeah, yeah. Stop laughing. It’s been done before. Even by me. After the Fall, which I’m querying now, was a nano novel (affectionately titled nanonovel08 until I got to the second draft).

The thing that most concerns me is I’ve yet to write a novel while working a full time job. I know there are gazillions of people who do this every day — some even have FAMILIES — but I’m trying to be realistic. I fully expect this to be a challenge for me and I’m okay with not hitting the 1667 words a day goal. I’m mostly excited to be a part of the delirium.

For those of you who don’t write, consider this your warning that the month of November may be heavy on the writerly talk. I hope you stick around to cheer on me and my conanoers (tee hee, I just made that up) and if you’re good maybe I’ll tell you what my novel’s about before the end of November.

Now.. roll call! Who’s in?



* The post title is for Lisa.

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