Category Archives: Nanowrimo

Heading to Camp NaNoWrimo

Moonday Mania

a blog for the writer in all of us

camp nanowrimo 2014 participant badgeIt’s summer time here at Jessica Aspen Writes! Okay, it won’t officially be summer until the middle of July, but for the rest of us, summer starts Memorial Day Weekend. The kids are out of school and it’s starting to get hot. Time to think about heading off to summer camp and for writers that means Camp NaNoWrimo, or Camp Nano for short.

I’ve done regular NaNoWrimo before. In November all the Nanoists try to write 50,000 words. In 2012 I counted my Nano experience successful because I wrote 30k and mostly completed the rough draft of Goldi and the Bear. (You can find Goldi on Amazon HERE)

Not a win by Nano terms, but a win for me. A novella in a month while I was working full time? Success!

But summer time is a time when we can relax and Camp Nano is just that. They have one in April and one in July and at Camp Nano you don’t have to write a novel, you can write whatever you want! Your dissertation, your memoirs, poetry. They don’t care.

Goals are different too. Instead of the community setting 50k as everyone’s goal, you get to set your own goal. I’m still going to set mine at 50k, since I’m planning on writing a novel that will eventually top 80k, so 50k is a good start.

In NaNoWrimo you’re divided up by your location, and you choose your friends. At camp, there are cabin assignments. You can choose your own cabin if you want to, or you can see who ends up in your cabin. As a child I went to camp many summers. I loved meeting new friends in all my cabins, and in fact I’m still very good friends with one of them. (Waves, hi K2!)

This is my first Camp NaNoWrimo experience so I’m going to try to let them pick a cabin for me. I tend not to be very social when I’m trying to get that many words done in a month, and I’ll be working part-time in July, as well as dealing with having my kids at home, so adding a social piece may or may not work, but I’m going to try!

The cool thing about this year is I believe both my daughters are going to Nano with me. Maybe we should ask to be in the same cabin?

Are you thinking about writing during July? If you have never written before, Camp NaNoWrimo sounds like a great place to start. You can choose your own project, set your own goals, and have a supportive group of writing friends to help you along. Let me know if you are thinking about participating and what your project is. We can support each other along the way!


Filed under Moonday mania, Nanowrimo, Writer's Journey, writing organization

Nano Envy

Moonday Mania

a blog about writing for everyone

nanowrimo badgeIt’s November and it’s time again for thousands? millions? of people to start writing their novels with Nanowrimo. (National Novel Writing Month). Sadly, this year I will not be participating (too many edits on Prince by Blood and Bone, book two in my fantasy romance series) but next year I am determined to be ready with an outlined novel and have the time and energy to get it won! WOOT!

The funny thing about not doing Nanowrimo this year is that, even though it’s completely my decision, even though I have tons to do and no time to really devote to writing anything new during November, I still have Nano Envy.

I want to be Nano-ing. I am missing out on all the fun. All the writing parties, the prizes, the enthusiasm. I want to be curled up like Jo in Little Women,  pen in hand, stocking cap on, scribbling away on my fantastic work of fiction with little thought to literary merit. Writing whatever wild mysterious story pops in my head, just because it’s fun.

That’s the magic of nano. You can pre-plan your story, but you are perfectly able to wing it. To sit down and type without fear or constraints. Without fear of judgement. Without planning on having anyone look at what you are writing. That’s why I think everyone, readers, non-readers and all kinds of writers should attempt Nanowrimo. You never know until you try how difficult it can be to get words on the page and how exhilarating it is when they flow like a river from your keys to the page. Even if when you go back and  read them in December they aren’t quite as stellar as when you wrote them.

I first attempted Nanowrimo when it was in its infancy. The internet was a rough place, everyone used “Got Mail” and no one had even heard of Facebook. I didn’t sign up on the site, I just tried to write, but kids and life interfered and I didn’t get very far. But it planted a seed. Maybe I could do this. Someday. Maybe I could write an entire 50,000 word book in a month.

Well years later and several completed books later I have yet to write that many words in one month. But last year I wrote over 30,000 and that’s pretty good. Two months like that and you have a novel. One month of that and you have Goldi and the Bear, novella extraordinaire! What could you do in one month of writing?

Have you ever attempted to write a novel? What did you learn about yourself? Did you wing it or did you plot out the entire book?


Filed under Moonday mania, Nanowrimo, Writer's Journey

Picking Up After Ourselves on Elaine Cougler

Wednesday Jump-In

Congratulations to my Goodreads Giveaway Winners! WOOT! Ten print copies of my brand new, fantasy romance, The Dark Huntsman, will be going out to ten lucky winners in the mail this week. WOOT!

Today I am a guest on Elaine Cougler’s blog HERE and since she writes anything but paranormal I wrote a fun little post that dog lovers and writers alike will enjoy. I love to read a variety of authors and Elaine’s book The Loyalist’s Wife is burning a hole in my Kindle waiting for me to have the time to really dig into some historical fiction. I figure that will be November at this rate, when I go back to the day job and writing becomes very difficult for me to accomplish.

Tomorrow I start a brand new blog hop with the October New Release blog hop. Tons of new authors for you to meet, all with brand new books this month. Like me! And there will be prizes available, so check back for a non-paranormal Thursdays Bite, tomorrow.

And speaking of prizes there is only one week left to hop to the rest of the authors on Sam Cheever’s Trick or Treat Blog Hop. There are TWO grand prizes in that hop, two Kindle Paperwhites! As well as lots of books and goodies, including a print copy of The Dark Huntsman! Click HERE for details.sam cheevers trick or treat blog hop

Now on to the blog.


Prince by Blood and Bone, A Fantasy Romance of the Black Court will be back from my editor this week! WOOT! That means I need to get a jump on my Christmas novella, The Ghosts of Christmas Past. This was supposed to be a 20-30 k novella when I started it and as of now it has topped 35k. I think it will be closer to 40k by the time I send it to my editor and if it hits over 40k it is no longer a novella. It will be a novel. But a small one.

What is a novella? Isn’t it a small novella?

Typically a novella is defined as a fictional book between 20,000 and 40,000 words. Anything over 40k is considered a novel. But when you consider that The Dark Huntsman, and Prince by Blood and Bone are both 85,0000 words, is it fair to count a book that is half their length as a novel?

Well, the answer is, yes. But I would consider anything under 65k a short novel. Most short contemporaries, think Harlequin’s traditional little books, are under 65k. They are novels. And NANOWRIMO (National Novel Writing Month), which is coming up soon, considers a 50k novel to be a complete work.

Why is that?

NANOWRIMO braceletsTraditionally novels used to be shorter. In the times of expensive paper and ink and handwriting a book a fifty thousand word novel was an amazing accomplishment. It still is, it is just easier to achieve now that we have computers and e-readers and the cost of writing and production has dropped to just about nothing. But actually sitting down and writing that novel is tough. Thousands of people attempt NANOWRIMO in November, I’ve tried it several times, and most of us fail. That’s right. Me, who writes long involved novels, has never won NANOWRIMO.

It’s hard!

It’s really very difficult to write a novel and to do it in November is (for me) very tough. I work and there is a holiday, which helps some people because they are home and not working, but for me it means EVERYONE is home and not working and my house is crowded and noisy. Not my favorite writing environment.

So this year I am not attempting NANOWRIMO, but I would love to encourage those of you who are. I will be looking at my editors’ comments for both Prince by Blood and Bone and (hopefully) The Ghosts of Christmas Past (should it ever get finished). I will be formatting both of them and bringing them to production so that by January they will both be out and about and available for consumption.

Actually, I’m planning on the Christmas novella on being available for consumption much earlier than January, but today a lot depends on my long-suffering editor’s schedule, since I’ve bumped it up twice due to Jury duty, flood, and just general not getting it done. See, it takes at least two months for me to write a 35k novella. Writing 50k would be a huge challenge. But I’m up for it! I still would love to complete NANOWRIMO some time and I think next year I will plan my year around it. I’ll make sure I have a plot ready to go and outlined and all my other projects are on hold for November. And maybe, just maybe, I’ll kick everyone out of the house for Thanksgiving and get to writing.


Are any of you planning on attempting NANOWRIMO? What have you done to make sure you can accomplish this Herculean feat? Have you prepped your loved ones to expect no turkey or stuffing on Thanksgiving? Have you finished your Christmas shopping early? Is your house clean and ready for guests at the drop of a hat so you can focus entirely on your manuscript?


Filed under Bloghops, channeling success, Nanowrimo, Nanowrimo

Nanowrimo Wrap-up

Moonday Mania

a random blog about writing

It’s over! JumpMy first Nanowrimo. And it was a pretty interesting experience. I was pretty sure that working full time during November was going to mean I would not hit the 50k mark, but what I didn’t know was how close I could have gotten.

Now, before you get too excited, my total word count was 21,588 total words written on my ms during November. Not even close to fifty thousand. But about 14,000 of those words were written in the very last week. Imagine if I’d been able to apply myself the entire month the way I did at the end. And I could have.

I could have gone to the coffee shop two nights a week and the library one day on the weekend and I think that would have made the difference. So I’m going to try again. Even if I work full time next year, I’m going to try for the whole shebang. I think I can do it.

This past week I have written a minimum of 3,000 words every day. And some days it was very hard. But other days I ended up surpassing my daily goal and it wasn’t difficult. So I’m going to try to keep up that kind of speed all year.

Will I hit 3,000 words every day. No, I know I won’t. But it’s going to be my new word count goal, when I’m not working. And when I am working? I’m not sure yet. I have until March to decide, so we’ll see how it goes.

And as for my 21,588?

Holiday Gifts of Love Blog Hop

Coming December 14th! Prizes galore!

It wasn’t 50k. It wasn’t my goal of 30k, that I thought I set as my goal while I worked. But it is 21,588 more words than I wrote last November. And I learned I could write during November and while I worked. So I’m happy.

Have you ever set a goal that you didn’t meet, but you will still satisfied with the results. Do you get down on yourself when you miss a goal, or do you look for what you can use from the experience? Does it make a difference if you expected to hit the goal?

Don’t forget there will be lots of prizes during the Holiday Gifts of Love Blog Hop! Hop on by on December 14th!


Filed under About the Author, channeling success, Moonday mania, Nanowrimo, Writer's Journey

Closing in on Nanowrimo (or not)

Moonday Mania

a blog for writers

Want to see how you do with deadlines? Want to push your boundaries and act like an author who has to turn in the full ms by the end of the month? The end of November is approaching and the close of National Novel Writing Month. One of the interesting things that is happening is how people react to a deadline. Those who are close to the fifty thousand word goal are pushing hard to finish. But those who aren’t close? Well, they have a variety of reactions.

There are the one’s who just give up. They know they can’t possibly hit 50K by the end of the month so why bother? These Nanoites just stop. It might be that they stop early, once they realize the month is not going to end like they want it too. It might be that they are giving up this week. When they realize they only have four more days left to cram an extra 25K in, and there simply aren’t enough hours in the day.

Then there are the ones who push on, no matter what. They resolutely keep struggling to finish. Even though they, and anyone who is sane, should know it ain’t gonna happen. But that doesn’t matte to them. They might make it! And if they don’t, they are sure going to be able to say they tried.

Of course there are the people like me. I never expected to actually finish the entire 50k this month. I knew going in that I was commuting, and working, and had other obligations that would make 50k impossible. But, I wanted to give myself a boost this month. Last November I didn’t write anything. Not one word. I know there are writers out there who work full time and still churn out books. That ain’t me.

Thanks Writertopia!

So, I set the goal of trying to finish a 30k ms instead. But I knew I might hit some bumps. And I did. My edits came in during week two and while they were extremely light, they still took some time. My CP (the amazing ML Guida) needed some editing done. So I took some time to do that. I could have said no, but she helps me out when I’m in a crunch. And I knew I wasn’t going to come close to finishing Nanowrimo.

So we come to the people like me. Great first week, declining second week, non-existant third week. Should have caught up over Thanksgiving, but I spent time with my family instead. So here I sit with 6963 words done out of my 30k goal. But I have four days left! So I’m going to be one of those optimistic people trying to push to at least get something done so my word count looks less pitiful. I figure I can reach 10k easily, so the goal is to hit 15K before the end.

And possibly 20K. If nothing crops up. Sure.

How do deadlines work for you? Does it make a difference if it’s set by someone else? What about deadlines that are for work or family members? Are you like me and put off the self-imposed deadlines for the “real” deadlines? What does this mean for your career?


Filed under channeling success, Moonday mania, Nanowrimo, Nanowrimo, Writer's Journey