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Welcome Nanowrimo 2017!

NANOWRIMO!!! WOOT!

NaNo-2017-Participant-Badge

This is the year! This is the year that I write fifty thousand brand new words in one month!

I’ve participated in National Novel Writing Month several times. Including the year, a very long time ago, when I didn’t sign up on the website but I tried to write something, anything, that looked like a novel. Needless to say, that year wasn’t my greatest success. But this year will be.

Why?

Because I’m an experienced Nanowrimo writer now. And I understand my writing process. You see, some people can write their minimum 1,667 words per day and make it to 50k. Not me. If I try to do that, I’ll hit a day when I don’t write at all, and then the next day I need to do 3,333 to catch up. But something will happen, and I won’t, so then I’ll need 5,000 words in one day. And we all know that that’s a lot of words.

Can I do this? Let’s look at the stats:

The most words I’ve ever achieved during a November Nanowrimo is back in 2012 when I wrote GOLDI‘s rough draft of 21,588. I’ve done more during Camp Nano, mostly because the month is not interrupted by a major holiday, like Thanksgiving. During Camp Nano, my record was this summer when I wrote 41,220 and completed a rough draft of PACK ENFORCER.

If I can do 41,220 words in a month, than 50k is totally doable!

So, here’s the plan:

  1. Have a cohesive idea for the book
  2. Outline the book (okay, I do a very loose outline of story beats, but it works!)
  3. write as much as I can during the first three weeks

Yeah, having a major holiday in November sucks for me because I have Thanksgiving for the extended family at my house, but there is no reason I can’t do this. It will just take strategic planning.

Hence, the rest of the plan…

  1. Shop for Thanksgiving early
  2. Follow the Fly Lady’s holiday prep plan
  3. Delegate
  4. Don’t stress!

I have a plan, I have an idea. Now, all I have to do is get some kind of an outline in place so I can hit the ground running on November 1st.

Who’s with me????

*****

Author Bio:

Jessica Aspen

Jessica Aspen has always wanted to be spirited away to a world inhabited by elves, were-wolves and sexy men who walk on the dark side of the knife. Luckily, she’s able to explore her fantasy side and delve into new worlds by writing paranormal romance. She loves indulging in dark chocolate, reading eclectic novels, and dreaming of ocean vacations, but instead spends most of her time, writing, walking the dog, and hiking in the Colorado Rockies. You can find out more information and read about Jessica’s paranormal romances at http://JessicaAspen.com

 

Your Jessica Aspen Starter Library is waiting.

Click HERE to discover Jessica Aspen’s fast-paced world of paranormal romance

jessica aspen starter library

 

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My Writing Process Blog Tour-Jessica Aspen Style

Moonday Mania

a blog for writers and readers

This is the next stop on the My Writing Process Blog Tour, and I want to thank Joan Leacott for inviting me to this tour. Thanks, Joan! If you didn’t come here from Joan’s site I would like to introduce you to her lovely contemporary romances set in Clarence Bay, Canada. If you love complex family dynamics, intertwined relationships, and  quite simply, romance, then check out Joan’s first book Above Scandal, HERE. And to find out about Joan’s writing process, click HERE.

Now for my writing process.

1) What am I working on?
Currently I am working on the third book in my Tales of the Black Court series. Book one: The Dark Huntsman came out in October 2013 and book two: Prince by Blood and Bone is off to the final editor. (Whew!) I am in the process of just starting book three: Broken Mirror which will complete the trilogy and tell the tale of the last MacElvy cousin, Cassie. I’m currently working on the outline, and while I have some ideas for this book that I’ve known I want to work on for a long time, I’m not really ready to give you all the details. All I’ll say is that if you’ve read the books, you’ve met the hero already. Hint, he’s fae and a member of the Black Court.

2) How does my work differ from others of its genre?

I have two different series of twisted fairy tales out, each one has it’s own unique twists and turns. Tales of the Black Court takes place in both the modern world and the fae world between the worlds of Underhill. While I use fairy tales as a scaffolding for my plots, I never stick exactly to the classic tales. There are no traditional princesses, my evil queen is not the only true evil in the court, and the prince is never what he seems. What you will find are elements of the fairy tales: Poisoned apples, enchanted beasts, and psychics who are actually magic mirrors.

In my other fairy tale series I write about modern day shapeshifters hidden in the Colorado Rockies. These tales are contemporary twists of the old tales. In my Twisted Tales: Come Into the Woods series you’ll find werewolves and werebears as well as glimpses of the classic fairy tale elements. A great example is in Snow and the Seventh Wolf, the step-mother is an online talk show host of a show called The Queen of Bitch. I love the tongue in cheek elements I’ve been able to insert into these spicy, new adult tales.

3) Why do I write what I do?

I started twisting fairy tales because I’ve always loved the way authors have done this. I’ve read fairy tales, and fairy tale twists for years, but at the time I started there weren’t many romance writers doing it. Now there are many and I love to explore how each of us can take the exact same story and twist it a different way. I’ve even twisted the same story, Snow White, in both of my series, and I expect that will happen again as I explore the next trilogy planned for my court series and also continue to play in the woods with my shape-shifters. I like both types of stories and I don’t think I’ll be giving either up soon!

4) How does your writing process work?

My writing process has changed over the last few years. I used to be a total seat-of-the-pantser. I wrote both Little Red Riding Wolf and The Dark Huntsman by just sitting down and letting go. But they both required extensive editing for plot, as well as time spent thinking about what might come next and I realized that if I continued to write that way, I’d be writing very slow. So I’ve changed now. I go through a plotting process called The Snowflake Method, by Randy Ingermanson. (I’ve written several posts on this, you can find some of them HERE, and HERE.)

The Snowflake Method is a very quick outline of what your story is going to look like overall and doesn’t take much time. After a week or two I have a great scaffold for my story to rest on. Next I write a fast draft, NANOWRIMO style, getting as many words down on the page without worrying too much about mistakes, or details. If I need to do some research, I make a note on the side of my document. All of these notes and the fleshing out part comes with the next draft. Draft two: I refine the plot, fill in the blanks, and add words. Usually about twenty percent more than the original draft.

Then comes the editing. I go through each chapter line by line before sending it to my crit partner, ML Guida. She sends it back with little notes like, “Slow down, honey.” or “I don’t understand this.” or “Yes, you got that one right!”

I go back through that chapter again, then send her the next one. We do that for the entire manuscript and when it’s finished it goes off to my professional editor for developmental edits.

Then it comes back to me. I re-write, make corrections, and send it off to my OOOPS! editor, who catches my grammar and spelling errors, and (hopefully) any weird things like changing hair color.

And then it’s finished! WOOT!

fairy tale rose in mirrorWow! This is a super long post on my writing process. This blog hop is an exponential blog hop. Every time an author is chosen, she’s supposed to choose three more authors, but that means that at some point most authors have already participated. I’m coming in at that point, so instead of three new authors with brand new writing processes, I’m going to direct you to a few  you might have missed on the tour. Authors Lizzie T. Leaf asked me to participate, as did author Elaine Cougler and Lynn Cahoon, and for various reasons I had to decline. Please check out these authors blogs and enjoy what they have to say about their writing processes.

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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