Category Archives: Nanowrimo

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.

UPDATE UPDATE UPDATE

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.

HAH!

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?

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Filed under Bloghops, channeling success, Nanowrimo, Nanowrimo

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?

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

Grow up!

Moonday Mania

a blog for writers et al

Why does it take so long to grow up? IMG_0500I think it might take my entire lifetime to learn things I should have learned earlier. Like the fact that all the things that didn’t fit into a “normal” job do fit into my dream job of being a writer. I’m a jack of all trades, maven, daydreamer. None of that applies to real life, but it sure fits being a writer. Just wish I’d listened to my heart twenty years ago, instead of all the people who said “writing doesn’t pay.” No, it doesn’t, but neither does half-heartedly doing the day job.

And that’s what I do right now. I show up. I do the day job. But while I’m there I dream of being here, at my computer, doing all the myriad things that add up to a writers life. Including writing. One would think that I would be one of those people who can write while working, but it doesn’t turn out that way. That’s why I’m trying NANOWRIMO this year. (Check out my progress HERE.)

You see, my day job is  full time for part of the year. Yeah, you read that right. So, during November I’m working full time, but during December through March, I will not be working at all. Then I’ll be back at work through July.Working

It’s crazy, but for me it works. Why? Because remember, I’m no good at writing while I’m working. Nano is applying pressure to me this month. We’ve hit the middle of the month and I am over 5K now. That sucks for Nano, but it’s actually great for me. Last November, when I worked, I wrote zero words. That’s right, zero. I did blog three times a week and I edited for my CP at the time, and I kept up with some other writing related jobs, but I didn’t write. And that is the job.

See CJ Lyons blog HERE for details on how a writer is successful by planting butt in chair. I need this on a big poster!

How am I growing up this month? Besides trying Nano and realizing that for me, 30k or 10k or even 5k is a win, it’s by cutting back on the blogs, (I will not be here on Thursday, Turkey day!) and focusing on what is important. Writing. Growing up means setting goals, trying to achieve them, and figuring out what the #$%* happened when you fail. Because right now I’m looking at not hitting 50k, or even the 30k that I thought I could try for while working. Am I still trying? Yes. But I’m also being realistic. If I want to hit anything more I need to pull up the big girl pants and say no to all the things dragging my attention away from writing.

In other words, time to grow up and get my writing groove on!

What has made you grow up lately? Do you even feel like a grown up? When does that happen? Does it ever happen?Low Resolution-4

Want to read another great post about growing up? Check out Kristen Lamb’s

Maturity–The Difference Between the Amateur and the Professional

FYI: I will not be posting on Thursday, Thanksgiving. Enjoy the pie! (All you Canada people already had yours, so back to work with you!)

 

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

Discover Progress! and how to track it

Moonday Mania

a blog for writers on writing

I’ve started Nanwrimo this week and I’ll be posting my progress on my NEWS page. And just to make it fun I’ve started a counter to keep track of my progress. Here’s what it looked like on day one, Thursday, before I had written a word.

And here’s what it looks like now that I’ve been writing for five days! (IN case you can’t figure it out, this is the “shocked” look.)

If you are curious as to where I am and what I’m feeling as I go through the NANOWRIMO process, just check the meter!

Oh, and if you want a meter for yourself (and I know all of you do!) the code is on the Writertopia page HERE. Thanks peeps at Writertopia!

spreadsheet from jamie raintree

Another terrific way I’ve been keeping track of my wordcount all year is the amazing spreadsheet by Jamie Raintree. Jamie has done what I (in my Excel inept fashion) would never be able to do. She not only put together a year long spread sheet with a calendar and space for mulitple projects that does all the math. It looks fantastic too!

Here is another picture. I’m hoping she does this again for 2013 because I certainly don’t have the know how. If she does I’ll post the link for you, but in the meantime Jamie has some fantastic writer helps. And if you want to check out some free quality women’s fiction, she also regularly posts her writing. The Stretch Mark Club rocks!

http://jamieraintree.com/2011-writing-progress-spreadsheet/
How do you track your writing? Do you have any fun tricks up your sleeve like Jamie or the peopple at Writertopia?

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

Waving Your Magic Wand

Thursdays Bite

a paranormal blog

It’s November first, and I’m going into Nanowrimo hibernation this month, so don’t be surprised if you don’t see me around. I’ll reappear in December like I usually do, even without attempting Nano, November tends to be a busy month. But I’m going to continue to keep up with the blogging. At least that is my intention.

So to celebrate last night’s Halloween I’m  sharing some of my favorite items from my house. I think someday I would love a house as interesting as the Adams family mansion, where everything you look at was collected by someone interesting, and everything tells a story.

A few weeks ago I blogged on being a mermaid and where you could obtain a real mermaids tail to make your dream come true. If you missed it click HERE. I didn’t just discover that you could purchase a mermaid tail, I read about it in my local paper- The Daily Camera.

Jessica Aspen's Magic Want

It’s amazing to me the variety of stories our paper comes up with. In preparation for Halloween they also ran an article about where you could obtain a real wooden wand. Not a plastic wand from a toy store, but the kind that is made especially for you. That article is HERE.

Yes it’s true. In the town of Lyons, a few miles away from where I live, you can obtain a real wooden magic wand.

But I don’t need to.

I already have a magic wand and it was made especially for me by my brother-in-law. Just like in Harry Potter he carefully chose the type of wood, walnut. And he even hand crafted the box.

Isn’t it gorgeous.

Handcrafted just for me by the wizard of wood himself, my very own wand.

Green glass ball on creepy tree stand

And as if that isn’t enough, I have my very own magic (not so crystal) ball. Actually I have a few of these, but I love the colors swirling around this one. It makes it really look magical, especially perched on my latest pillar stand.

I love Halloween and I hate to pack away the decorations, especially since so many of them are real works of art. Several years ago I started collecting decorations that are not plastic or orange, although I still have lots of those. Some of these stay out all year and I think my new creepy tree pillar stand may have to do that this year. Why not?

Dragon with crystal ballAnother interesting thing about my house is that I am not the only collector. My husband loves dragons. And gargoyles. I used to fight it. People will think it’s weird. The neighbors, the children’s friends, his mother. But I’ve given up. Now I just enjoy them. So to close out this spooky season, here’s one of my favorite dragons.

Oh, and is that another “crystal” ball? Thanks mom for that one!

Maybe someday I’ll have the mansion with the secret passageways to match, but meanwhile I’m enjoying leaving a little Gothic around the house all year long.

Do you have any decorations you hate to put away? Something unusual that doesn’t scream “I live in the suburbs”? What about Christmas decorations, or other holidays? What can’t you bear to put away?

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Filed under About the Author, Magic, Nanowrimo, paranormal inspiration, Thursdays Bite

Why Every Writer Should Face Their Fear and #Nanowrimo at Least Once

Moonday Madness

a blog for writers about writing

I’ve avoided Nanowrimo for years. I did try once, a long time ago, when it was a much smaller event with just a few thousand people. But I didn’t even sign up or try to connect with anyone. I just decided I would do my best to try to write fifty thousand words in a month. I knew before I started that it would be a failure. And it was. I stopped after the first week.

So now I’m attempting it again!

Why would I do that?

Well, for one thing, I’m a different writer now. I actually have finished projects. Not just one, but several. I know my writing strengths and weaknesses better. Back then I was a seat of the pants, had no idea of my plot or characters, or even when I would sit down to write, kind of person.

Now, I know exactly how many words I can pound out in an hour, when I know my scene. I’ve learned all  about Goal, Motivation, Conflict and I’m deep in the middle of scene and structure immersion. All these things make my writing process smoother. So I should do better, right? Write!

But why should every writer try this? Why do I believe it will make a difference?

Deadlines.

Not only do I have a deadline as to when the 50k must be finished. I can’t even start early! I must do it within the 30 days. That’s pressure. That means no editing, no hand holding, no prioritizing cleaning the bathroom over my keyboard. (Sorry family, things are going to get dirty!)

Did you hear the no editing?

Did you hear deadline?

Did you hear no cleaning? (Okay, if you have time, maybe a little.)

This is what all my author friends sound like when they have a book to turn in and the deadline is approaching. For authors with a contract and a book to write to that contract. Every book is a Nanowrimo book!

They’re up at all hours, deep in the pressure cooker, trying to get those words on the page. They have to stick to their outline. Why? Because if they don’t they don’t have time to go back and fix it! They can’t listen to their inner editors (sorry Gloria, Gracie is in trouble when the contract arrives) because if they do they will not finish, let alone on time.

When you are unpublished, or like me, an author with books to write without a contractual timeline, then you can waste time on other things and no one gets upset. (Well maybe you do.) You can take the time to go to coffee with a friend and say, oh  those words can wait until tomorrow, because there is no one else telling you they must be done by Tuesday, or else!

Nanowrimo becomes the evil editor. The one who makes you turn your book in on time. She makes you think about your story line ahead of time, because if you don’t, you run the risk of not being able to write 1,666 words per day for 30 days. And she’s the one you blame when you turn your best friend down for coffee. Or don’t clean the kitchen. Or send out for take out again and again and again. It’s all the fault of your editor, the person who needs this book by Novemeber 30th or the sky will certainly collapse.

Once again, why should you all practice this? Because fake it until you make it is how we get to be better authors. Practicing being an author with a deadline helps you finish books. Then you have to start submitting them. Which we all know is the harder part of the equation and may be why that book doesn’t get finished in the first place. Face your fear and attempt Nano! I am.

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Filed under Goal Setting, Moonday mania, Nanowrimo, Writer's Journey