NaNo Day #23:Dealing with Interruptions

23 11 2015

Weather  is slowly warming up, which means the snow is melting rather quickly. Not complaining. We have to do some driving this week, and I’d rather the roads are clear.

Apologies for the lack of a blog last night. Got too late and the brain couldn’t brain anymore.

Unexpected things come up when you make the best of intentions to write. NaNo has the disadvantage of having a major Holiday (Well, at least here in the U.S.) right smack at the end when you’re trying to get your wordcount caught up and are trying to make up for those days when the well went dry or a cat related emergency cropped up or , as in my case, you’ve had to work a  few full days rather than having your afternoon free to write.

My friend Kara and I were talking and we both swear by banking wordcount when you can. She did it by starting writing just after midnight on October 31. I did it by having a couple of afternoons early in the month where I doubled or more my wordcount. It gives you a bit of a cushion to save your butt when you have those unexpected derailings that just happen.

Don’t look at the 1,667 number as the magic goal for each day. If you can eke out an additional 1oo-200 words each day, you’d be surprised how much that can save you in the long run. You’re not a failure if you have an off day. Just build in some insurance to help you. I was able to take a day off writing because I’d banked enough words to let me take a break. It helps when you realize you’ve steered yourself into a corner.

It also helps when the last Thursday of November rolls around and you’re carting yourself off to regions unknown to share food, libation and political arguments with those nearest and dearest to you. 😉

Didn’t do too bad today, considering the crunch time writing this evening. (Had to postpone watching Supergirl, but it needed to be done.Alas.)

So daily wordcount for today was 1756, which brings my total to?
Just under 8000 words to go!

Off to watch another ep of Jessica Jones, then heading off to bed.


NaNo Day # 21: Finally getting some Sexy Tiem in the story

21 11 2015

So we got some snow. About 6 or so inches. And its that wet clingy heavy stuff. So everything looks covered in fluffy white icing. Gorgeous. Of course with the wind, it’s all falling in chunks and making a THWUP noise when it hits. Temps are going up quickly so I imagine the snow’s not long for this world. It’s pretty for now.

Finally managed to get a love scene written into the story. It was earned and doesn’t halt the forward motion of the story. Two big criteria  that I try to fulfill in a novel. Sex is earned. It’s not something to shove into a story just because you want your two leads to be together. It shouldn’t stop the story or feel like a detour that was pasted in. I’ve got nothing against a gratuitous scene, graphic or romantic, in a story. But seed the story with believable sparks. Build it up so your reader is a little impatient for the scene to happen. When it does, they’ll cheer. They’ll be excited for them. Otherwise, they’ll skip it and it was a wasted scene.

Of course make the nature of the scene fit the nature of the novel as well. If you’re not using rough language or graphic violence, don’t make the scene acrobatic or porn worthy. Keep the tone of what you’ve written before. And keep the nature of the scene in line with the nature of the characters.

I’ve read some particularly awful sex scenes and some amazing ones. Reading is a good way to figure out what you’re comfortable with. If you’re not comfortable using anatomical terms, use euphemisms. If you’re not comfortable writing ALL the action, hint. Or just go dark when they head to the bedroom. Or kitchen. I don’t know, whatever you’re into. 😉

One thing I do try to keep intact is the emotional investment in the scene. It doesn’t have to be schmoopy, but clinical isn’t fun either.

Anyway you go about it, just make it natural and earned and keep the story moving.

Wordcount for today ended up a respectable 2111 words. Total is inching closer to 40K. Hoping still for tomorrow.


Off to watch some more Jessica Jones. (Which is pretty damn awesome!)


NaNo Day # 20: Short Bit Today

20 11 2015

Waiting for the snow to hit. Wind finally died down, but there’s white stuff crawling toward us over the lake.

Got about 1769 words in today. (I blame Jessica Jones on Netflix for being so damn distracting!)

Wordcount Total?  Still hoping for 40K by weekend’s end.


Off to watch more Jessica Jones. Longer blog tomorrow.

NaNo Day #19: Storm’s a’Brewing…

19 11 2015

Weather.: Wind. Cold. Snow imminent. November in its best beat down mode.

Finding that using the “Holes in History” method of research is yielding a lot of helpful info. I’m a fan of mythology, all kinds. I love the richness of the stories and the creativity that was  involved in the creation of gods and their interactions. The concepts of evil and good, and how they vary depending on the culture that is involved. Some deities and their nemeses have complicated concepts of what is moral and what is caprice and what is destructive.

I love the second tier of supernatural elements as well: the demons, the angels, the good and bad support spirits, the way animals and nature are integrated into the very characteristics and personalities of the elementals.

Such a rich tapestry of characters to draw from, and also, so many little loopholes in factual history to exploit, to pull the ribbons of myths through and tie little bows. I can create origin stories from the spaces in the timelines, in the gaps in the histories, in the missing elements of archaeology and biology and texts. Statuary without explanation can be woven into a story-line, as can unknown figures in carvings and paintings and mosaics.

I  love using actual artifacts and those question marks as the foundation of a story, or the backstory of a character.

Weirdly enough, I don’t have as much fun with warping actual facts or giving documented timelines a tweak. As much as I love Sleepy Hollow‘s fantastic twisting of Revolutionary War facts and participants, I’m not as enamored of doing the same in my stories. I’d rather work in the backdrop, in the sidelines. A better example would be what Tom Stoppard did with “Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead“, taking side characters, who only spoke Shakespeare’ lines when they were interacting with the other characters from Hamlet. Left on their own, they engaged in existential and absurdest exchanges that turned the whole of the story into something else entirely. (It’s one of my favorite plays, if only for the line,”England? It’s a conspiracy by cartographers.” )

So, my latest pastiche of story and myth and sort of history, with an icing of vampires, werewolves and ancient gods, oh my! managed an additional 1872 words today.

So my new total?
Friday tomorrow, and back in the word mines. This weekend is looking shite, weatherwise, with our first real snowfall for the year. Living lakeside can be a crapshoot with the weather, so we’ll see.

Till tomorrow!

NaNo Day #18: Building a world

18 11 2015

Weather turned quite ugly today. Still in the 60s, but boy was the wind brutal. Added in some really hard rain half way through the day. Quite bracing. 😉

Writing continues apace. Reaching the point in the story where I’m starting to make notes of things I need to go back in and add and remove and change.

Happy that the story seems to be unfolding organically. I’d take a lot of time off writing for a while. I’d been focusing on my art and my writing kind of took a back seat. So it’s been quite heartening that this go around I’ve been able to keep writing, even though there have been the expected bumps in the road. The ideas still seem to be coming so I’m not finding I’m writing gibberish to fill the pages.

Very excited that Jessica Jones is starting on Friday. Been looking forward to it for quite a while now. My stories have an element of darkish noir to them, so this might give me a bit of atmospheric inspiration. I’m finding that the world I’ve set this series of stories in is not dystopic, though it is a little on the brutal gritty side. I try to keep some hope in there as well. Unremitting darkness only works if you can give it some light to contrast against.

World-building is one of my favorite parts of writing. I love creating the settings, the mythology, the science & magic, the monsters and the humans that all interact in my playground. I’m primarily a visual person, so I need to have concrete ideas in my head for my characters and the scenes they find themselves in. It’s like a movie unspooling in my head. (Thus my need for soundtracks! 😉 )  I highly recommend creating a world “bible” if you’re going  to be writing a multi- book series. It helps you keep continuity with your characters and also keeps your systems of magic and timelines consistent.

So–Today’s wordcount was light- 1872.
Total is sitting at:

Not too bad. Trying to give myself some breathing room before Thanksgiving .

See you all tomorrow!

Nano Day #17 Back to the Writing Mines

17 11 2015

Temps dropping. Winds picking up and we’re seeing the “s” word showing up in forecasts. Can’t really complain. It’s mid November and I’m still wheeling around in my hoodies.

Skipped a writing day yesterday to give my brain a rest. I was starting to wander, plotwise. I needed a day to get my head out of the bracken, so to speak.

Online news and online bad behavior brought out the worst of my moods and I made some rather pointed statements on my social media. I don’t regret it though. I hate conflict, but for once, I felt that I couldn’t stay quiet anymore. I don’t like bullies and I don’t like the ugliness that is starting to show up both online and off. It’s driven by fear and it brings out the worst in everyone. I’m a big believer in compassion. Which, contrary to popular belief, is not the same as gullibility or agreement. You can despise the actions of evil people, but still want to know why they do things. I can’t abide the wide brush being used as an excuse to lump groups of people together so that small minds can lash out with little thought.

Anyway. I threw a grenade out there and I can’t whine that some of the shrapnel hit me. Kind of expected, I guess.

Writing was better than expected today. I managed to squeeze another 2000+ words out. Story is back on track. Glad I took the day off. I’m still ahead of the curve for NaNo.
Total as of today?


Makes me happy that I’ve been able to keep going. I’m cramming in wordcount where I can. Hopefully I can keep enough of a gain to allow for Thanksgiving Day next week. (And the Jessica Jones marathon I’ve got planned for this weekend! 😉 )

NaNo Day# 15: Midway of the Month-Time to regroup & refresh.

15 11 2015

Sunny weekend. And reasonably warm temps. Brain refuses to accept that Thanksgiving is a week from Thursday. Oy.

Hitting that point in the story where I’m having to pause and regroup. Figure out where everything’s going. Because I suddenly find myself wandering off in disparate directions and my antagonist seems to be sitting at the bar, tapping his toes and waiting to have a moment to wade into the fray.

I see a lot of fellow NaNo writers starting to throw in the towel for a variety of reasons. For some it’s just time. That’s understandable. Some are getting waylaid by the Fraud Police. (See video below for reference. They are pernicious and a plague on all creative endeavors)

Truth be told, it’s a marathon not a sprint. There was a great flowchart making the rounds with my fellow writers a while ago. (And if you know the original source for this–LET ME KNOW! Lots have posted this with no source attribution. Bad Internet-No cookie!)
Writing FLow Chart
This– This is as good a kick up the backside as you’ll get. Post it somewhere near where you write. And use it.

Anyone “waiting for the muse” might want to check the pub. Just kidding. You are the muse. Your characters might whisper things to you, but most often they are silent. And that’s when you need to go poke them. Ask them questions. Why are you doing this? Where are you at and how did you get there? Sometimes just answering these questions can at least squeeze a few more sentences out of you.

One last video– Watch this. Elizabeth Gilbert, regardless of how you feel about her books (I like them), has some very good advice on shaking loose the “muse abuse” syndrome. It’s not long and it’s funny, so you won’t feel like you’re attending a lecture.

Thus endeth my barrage of inspiration for the day.

Managed a sad 1928 words today, but will strive to crack 2k tomorrow. The widget says?

(That was me taking a break and catching up on my shows. Gotta take a break now and then. 🙂 )

Catch you all tomorrow. KEEP WRITING. Drivel can be edited. Blank spaces can’t.

NaNo Day #14: Not getting discouraged and doing the work, because it IS work.

14 11 2015

Weather is SO MUCH BETTER. Still cold, but at least the sun is out and the winds have all but gone.

No wordcount or blog post yesterday, because me and the husbeast were at a Gala at The Box Factory for the Arts, where we have our studio. We had our studio open so attendees for the fundraiser could come see what we do and we could hand out business cards etc. Plus food and wine were had and we got to hang out wit our other artist friends. I’m ahead on wordcount, so I figured I could have one day off for these things. 😀

Now– Today? Today I’m breaking my butt trying to get double wordcount so I can stay ahead of the game. After all these years I’ve learned the one hard truth about writing: It’s more craft than art. Which means– Butt in chair, and make the wordcount you set for yourself.

Noone is expecting a shiny perfect novel at the end of NaNo. If you are, you are seriously putting WAY too much pressure on yourself and that alone can defeat your progress. This is an exercise, nothing more. An exercise to give you the discipline to write everyday, no matter what. The goal (and the high wordcount) are simply a challenge to you. If you win or don’t win NaNo, you still end up with words on a page that can eventually become a story that might be publishable. But not right away.
Some people find that 50K words is too much for their story. So maybe you’re writing a novelette. Or maybe it’s just a short story. And both of those things ARE FINE.
Some find that 50K is not enough to tell their story. Maybe it will end up being huge, Or maybe you end up splitting it into two books. Or maybe it’s just a lot of filler that doesn’t move the story, so it will get pared down in subsequent edits.

NaNoWriMo isn’t an absolute. It’s not like you failed if you didn’t make 50K words. Hell, if you managed 2 or 3 sentences and had an idea for where you wanted the story to go…you’re 100% ahead of those that didn’t try or fancy themselves writers, but then only talk about the stories they’re going to write.

Writer write. That’s it. It’s work. It’s not Magic. It’s not a Superpower. It’s something that you get better at through doing. And learning. And weathering criticism. And being true to your vision.

Don’t be discouraged because you weren’t able to bash out a pulitzer prize winning book because life intruded on your writing. If you were able to get your thoughts down on paper, keep going. Because your writing endeavors don’t stop at November 30. Even the people who manage to get their 50K words know that November 30th isn’t the end of their work, it’s just the end of that version of their story. Now comes the hard work. The editing, the hard decisions and probably, more writing.

Keep going. An arbitrary date is just that: Arbitrary. If you want to keep working on your story, keep working on it. Noone is going to pop out the woodwork and say “Put your pencils down. No more time for you!”

You can do it! Just keep on working.

Okay– Daily wordcount for today– 2004 words. Not quite the double amount I wanted, but more than the required for the day. Total is where, mighty wordcount widget?

So, hopefully a bit more wordcount tomorrow.

NaNo Day #12: Halfway done and Second Wind is kicking in.

12 11 2015

HOLY CRAP THE WIND! Our power was out this morning, due mostly to the 50 mph winds we were having. A couple of branches came down, but nothing hit the house, thank the gods.

Writing today was a little muzzy, slow to start and a little sluggish to advance. I’m trying to advance plot by showing rather than telling. Things got a bit bloody, and the myth arc is finally starting to gel. I’ve kept y antagonist off screen too much, I think. He can’t be much of a threat if he’s not visibly doing threatening things. Makes for a cry wolf scenario unless I deliver the goods.
So, in the next few chapters, I’ll be getting the main group of characters into some scary scenarios and realizing they’re in a bit over their heads.

It’s the halfway point in the story, so I’m really wanting the the direction that seems evident to be less so. I need to have some surprises about characters who are established, but not anything that would seem diametrically opposed to their nature or motivations. Lots of calculation, and machinations need to be made. Justification has to be there for any sudden shifts in alliances or emotions.

This is where the writing gets interesting. And where you start seeing if the plot you’ve been building can withstand some stress or storms. Or will it collapse under the weight of your intentions?

Total for today: 1844 words. Kinda less than I hoped, but I’m about to make a hairpin turn and I need to build up the right kind of speed and the right combination of moves to get me safely around the bend.

Whats my total, Magical Wordcount Widget?

Halfway there! And still ahead of the curve!

See you all tomorrow!

NaNo Day #11: Voices in my head are getting a bit shouty

11 11 2015

Weather is WINDY. Like Looking-For-Witches-on-Bicycles kind of Windy. WOW.

Skipped a blog post yesterday because I wrote right up until my brain was reduced to just shouting “GO.TO.SLEEP.” at me. So I did.

Got in 2007 words yesterday and 1880 today. Just getting bogged down in the middle, but that’s normal for me.

I’m juggling a lot of characters, mostly because I’m working the the 4 main and 3 secondary characters from the previous 2 novels in this series and the new characters plus new villain for the new book. So…lots of voices and story lines vying for supremacy. It’s a balancing act and it’s important to remember what is the MAIN story line and what are the supporting story lines/ story lines I’m tying up.

A few characters are not long for this world. Some of the newer characters might be around for their own spinoffs. I have a lot of plans for this world of mine.

I joke about my Muse Enclave, which is where my characters live when I’m not writing them. They also have a pub that they disappear to when I’m needing their voices and they’ve decided to go bugger off and drink instead.

It’s a helpful way to herd my thoughts.

This novel is gonna need a lot of rewriting. Mostly because right now, there’s a lot of people sitting in rooms and talking. My first book had a lot of running. Second, a lot of battles and fighting. This one…so far just a lot of Captain Exposition waxing poetic. Which is fine for a first draft. The story’s getting told, but not much of it is getting “acted”. But at least I have a plot. That’s going somewhere. I have an idea of the ending. So I have a destination. Now I just need to keep the passengers in the car and make sure no one drunk gets a hold of the wheel.

Think I need to sit down tomorrow and re-work my outline. The original one is in a bit of shambles, which may explain my wandering prose. Good plan.

So as mentioned, I got 1880 words today. Which brings me to what, wordcount widget?

Just about at the halfway mark. Might be able to break through 25K tomorrow. Here’s hoping.