Ishness of NaNo 2016

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November NaNoWriMo 2016

(What do you mean, the month is called November? Pssh. It’s obviously been wrongly informed on that count and has been renamed NaNoWriMo. *nods*)

Hello, Roadlings! It being December somehow (whaaat?) I’m thinking it’s about time for another post about all the ishness I got up to this November!

Instead of having a sub-division here called WRITING, let me just tell you all about my NaNo this month, because NOVEMBER IS ALL ABOUT THE WRITING.

There will be non-NaNo-related stuff (whaaat?? That happens?) afterwards later on in the post. ^_^

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So… the month started off on a slightly down note, when I ended up losing hundreds of words on the first day of NaNo due to my laptop getting unplugged and the fact that I was not yet acquainted with Scrivener’s backup systems. That was… a bit of a downer, I’ll admit. (I got a new battery that doesn’t die in five minutes, and a better power cable that didn’t fall out every two seconds, and started regularly backing up my novel after that. Highly recommended.)

But after that, other than the daily struggle to come up with exactly what to write (since other than a very rough outline/list of chapters, I was basically pantsing each chapter) and the occasional downs that come with a month full of busyness and having to write 50,000 words… it was really a great NaNo, overall!

I wrote 51,134 words of The Library in the Stars (the NaNo site says less than that, due to their different wordcounter, but pfft, I’m totally going with mine. ;)) and wrote 7589 words on November 27 (my personal record other than the last day of my first NaNo back in 2010, which was just over 8K) and FINISHED NANO. Three days early, at that.

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Bucky helped me to keep my wordcount on track. ^_^ Picture not mine: gorgeous Bucky art belongs to Svenja Gosen — check out her AMAZING wordcount spreadsheets with awesome fandom etc. art. ❤

I didn’t fall behind on my wordcount at all! This was my first time in seven years of NaNos to stay on track the entire month, and let me tell you, it. felt. good. I even got to take a few days off from writing in there, which was glorious. I’m very much of a sprint writer. I would much rather write 3K in a day and then skip the next day than have to write the necessary 1667 words every. single. day. Honestly, the idea of writing several days in a row exhausts me more than writing 3.5K two days and then 4K another day and getting to take off four days that week in amongst that (an actual example).

lscoverNumbers aside… it was fun to write this story! I mean, it was totally confusing too, and ended up nothing like I expected, but the characters were fun, and writing a sci-fi-ish story (admittedly a heavily fantasy version) and a bunch of different plot threads and dabbling slightly with time travel all presented very interesting challenges! It will be interesting to see how the rest of the story ends up and how edits will change it…

(Yes, I know what you’re thinking. Don’t worry, there will be snippets. Just… I have to find them first, so that might take awhile. Expect some hopefully next week, though! ^_^)

Scrivenerrrr ❤

I used Scrivener for the first time, to write my NaNo novel, and it’s officially my precioussss and I love it, and ended up getting the actual program with my NaNo coupon. I’m very very excited. Honestly, it was SO useful for setting daily goals (the little progress bar in the corner!) and for organizing my chapters to write, and being able to focus on one day’s writing at a time, or a chapter at a time, or looking at the whole thing. I JUST LOVE IT SO MUUUUCH. ❤

Wordsprints

Another life-saver was the group wordsprint feature the NaNo site debuted this year. I just loved being able to sprint with people in person or online (I used it at my write-ins with great success), and even if no one else was doing it, it was SO helpful for me. I loved being able to have the countdown open in one window and Scrivener in another (with my fast music, of course — a necessity) so that I could be typing and aware of how much time was left (and the wordcount at the bottom of Scrivener was helpful too, since I could make a new sub-document for a wordsprint and vaguely assess how far into the sprint I was).

That last day, I was writing 900 words in 20 minutes with the help of the NaNo wordsprint timer and Scrivener and my fast music.

Roadlings mine, I average 1K per hour.

I have NEVER in my LIFE written that much at once.

Seriously, this was just amazing. (I’m not trying to brag. I’m trying to express how mind-blown I am and how wonderful wordsprints and Scrivener and fast music are.)

Oh yeah, did I mention fast music? Skillet, Newsboys, Skyworld, and Colton Dixon helped me out with that. Never underestimate the help of such things for typing faster. 😛

Playlist for 2016 NaNo

(miscellaneous inspiring music or just what I felt like at the time)

  • Feel Invincible — Skillet
  • Stars — Skillet
  • I Want to Live — Skillet (Damian’s themesong)
  • That’s How You Change the World — Newsboys
  • Restart — Newsboys
  • Go Glow — Newsboys
  • In and Out of Time — Colton Dixon (essential for any time-travel novel)
  • Walk on the Waves — Colton Dixon
  • Limitless — Colton Dixon
  • Aurora — John McCutcheon (I have a character named this. ‘Nuff said.)
  • Skyworld — Two Steps From Hell (Strange band name, but this is my traditional wordwar melody ever since 2014)
  • Hard to Find — Skillet
  • Sleepsong — Secret Garden
  • Savin’ Me — Nickelback
  • Northern Lights — Gaelic Storm
  • This Time — Cara Dillon
  • Never in a Million Years — Cara Dillon
  • Tell Your Heart to Beat Again — Danny Gokey
  • Dream Song — Nordik Fire
  • Starkindler — Michael Card
  • Wintersong — John McCutcheon
  • Lord of the Dance soundtrack (particularly “Lament” and also “Warriors” and “Gypsy”)

Other NaNo/Life Things

I was also an ML for my region, on my own for the first time, and survived/stayed on top of that, which pleases me muchly. I had like six writing events so… I’m kind of amazed that I managed to stay on top of things. (This introvert doesn’t always get a lot done when having to go places…) So I organized a NaNo region, held writing meetings, ran a forum, and sent out weekly peptalks, all by myself, and lived. I’m very pleased and thankful on this count.

Speaking of meetings… I got to meet Claire Banschbach!! She’s awesome, FYI. ❤ And also hang out with a few other homeschooled authors, which was so fun. ^_^

Oh and I caught a cold! Right when I hit 50K, basically. So I spent the last three days of NaNo doing things like reading, Not Writing, and flipping through Howl’s Moving Castle for all the parts where Howl has a cold (not to mention other parts, because I’m easily distracted). Yes, this is a continual occurrence when I catch colds. I’m not even sorry.

BOOKS

Notice how I cleverly disguised this section as “Books” instead of “Reading”

  • A library sale happened, which was glorious as usual, and involved my snagging some fairytale retellings including some for Tam Lin and the Twelve Dancing Princesses, among other intriguing-looking books. …My to-read bookcase has become crammed to the point where I mayyy have to avoid library booksales until I read a lot more. (I never thought I’d say that.)
  • Book mail! I don’t know about you, but book mail is one of the joys of my life, rare though it may be. ❤ Thanks to BookLook Bloggers for the copy of The Silent Songbird, and thanks to Jill Williamson for the copy of Project Gemini I won in her bimonthly giveaway on her website!

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I also actually (gasp!) managed to READ three books during November! :O What is this nonsense? Reading doesn’t happen during NaNo, does it?? Evidently it did this time, which makes me pretty pleased.

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  • The Silent Songbird  was delightful and I reviewed it (Little Mermaid retelling, huzzah!).
  • Crooked Kingdom… how am I conflicted about thee…? let me count the ways. Clever but dark and with Things I’m Very Displeased About, but I love the characters and writing and I’ll admit I really enjoyed it but I can’t/won’t recommend it to anybody… (I have no idea what to rate this thing somebody halp)
  • Ghostly Echoes… only one of my top anticipated reads of the year… and I still haven’t decided what I think of this one either. Wut.

Basically I read three books that came out very recently and have fairly confused feelings about two of them and what even is this reading life where I have to have concrete opinions on things.

But I’m so happy I got to read them, and not fall behind on NaNo in the process, so yay!

Blogging

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On my book blog:

Around here:

December Plans

Whenever December hits, I have this delusion that after my month-long writing journey of epicness and exhaustion, I should totally get to take a whole month to relax. I mean, it stands to reason, right?? But noooo, apparently life doesn’t work that way. (I want it to. Let me live in my delusions.)

I kinda-sorta-almost-maybe-possibly-perhaps may have neglected many things during November (it happens, Roadlings), so I have much catching up to do, as well as Christmas things. Basically, this month I am ALL OF THE BUSY.

On top of which, I really should turn this month into NaBeReMo (National Beta-Reading Month) or something like that, with all the books I promised to read and haven’t yet. We’ll see how that goes. Wish me luck!

And, oh yes, I have a review for Once: Six Historically Inspired Fairytales coming to the blog later this week, and some snippets hopefully next week, and I’m finishing out the year with a couple more tags, so at least there are a few things going on around the blog — I can’t wait! And then it will be the new year (2017??) and WHAT EVEN IS TIME. *collapses*

Anyhoo, that’s what’s up with me. I’m off to go see about some of that busy-December stuff. *picks nervously at mile-long to-do list*

*I accidentally typed that as “mile-long suit.” Apparently I have Howl on my mind. Because of when Sophie accidentally made his suit too big:

“Oh dear!” said Michael. “Howl, it was my fault I–”

“Your fault? Garbage!” said Howl. “I can detect Sophie’s hand a mile off. And there are several miles of this suit.”

— Howl’s Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones

HMC

I will leave you with that. *proceeds with dignity to wade away wrapped in mile-long to-do list*

Beautiful Books: NaNo Update (The Library in the Stars)

NaNo update time!

I’ve been writing The Library in the Stars for NaNoWriMo and I thought  it was about time to do a sort of update on it — so fortunately there’s another edition of Beautiful Books this month (cutting it close on the timing) to help my tired brain out with that. XD

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Beautiful Books is a linkup for writers hosted by Cait @ Paper Fury and Sky @ Further Up and Further in. Join in the linkup if you like!

1. Overall, how is your mental state, and how is your novel going?

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Well, I hit 50,000 words on The Library in the Stars on Sunday night and therefore finished NaNoWriMo a few days early, so… I’d say my mental state and my novel are both doing pretty good. XD I do seem to have a cold (UGH), and I still have at least five (probably very long) chapters left to finish the novel, and the book itself so far is a confusing plot-hole riddled nonsensical mess, but in spite of all of that I’m pretty enormously ecstatic to have completed my 7th NaNo!

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2. What’s your first sentence (or paragraph)?

lscoverThe first time the doorbell rang, the sixteen-year-old Coltridge twins simultaneously looked up from where they were sprawled comfortably with their very different books on opposite sides of their shared rooms at the university.

Veronica, surfacing from her Galaxy Timeline History 0000-5300 textbook, dropped her book onto her desk on top of a volume of Science and made for the door, nimbly dodging stacks of her brother’s novels on the floor in her way. “I’ve got it!”

Brendan, from his low over-stuffed couch in the corner, eyed the doorway curiously over the top of the book he was reading as she pulled the door open.

–from The Library in the Stars

3. Who’s your current favourite character in your novel?

Drayke Essengale (space elf) and Damian (shadowy hero) are currently fighting for that position. I love them both a lot. ❤

4. What do you love about your novel so far?

lswinThe characters. The fantasy in space. Getting to write scenes from several different ideas that I’ve had for a long time, all in one story.

All of the things?

(Except the plot holes and monstrous first-draft-ness of it, but shush, we’re not thinking of those things right now.)

5. Have you made any hilarious typos or other mistakes?

nanowrimo_2016_webbadge_winnerProbably.

Mostly missing a word or forgetting where a sentence was going and not really completing it because it got so long…

I also one time wrote Drayke when I meant Damian… Whoops.

#ThePerilsOfCharactersWithTheSameStartingLetters

6. What is your favourite to write: beginning, middle, or end — and why?

They all have their pros and cons. I honestly don’t know.

7. What are your writing habits? Is there a specific snack you eat? Do you listen to music? What time of day do you write best? Feel free to show us a picture of your writing space!

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I don’t really have “writing habits”… which is part of my problem. XD

I don’t eat while I write. I write best in the evening when I have no distractions… which sometimes translates to VERY LATE. I wish I was a morning writer but that didn’t really happen this NaNo.

I have been listening to music and it’s been helpful. Mostly a few songs from Skillet’s latest album, “Unleashed” (Feel Invincible, Stars, and I Want To Live), some songs from the Newsboys’ album “Restart” because it’s fast with a good beat (That’s How You Change the World, Restart, Go Glow), and “The Lord of the Dance” soundtrack because it’s epic and perfect. ❤

8. How private are you about your novel while you’re writing? Do you need a cheer squad or do you work alone (like, ahem, Batman)?

I do pretty much write alone in general, but my family will usually hear about how it’s going (and cheer me on accordingly; they’re amazing) and I’ll have a sibling or two read the chapters as I write them, and I do chat about how it’s going with a couple of online friends throughout the month. Mostly, though, the loner thing.

(Pretty much: I’m Batman. Or Tare. Tare works alone too… *cough* But even Batman needs his Alfred and co., and even Tare needs his Chess Club.)

9. What keeps you writing even when it’s hard?

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This NaNo, it’s been my wordcount goals and the helpful Scrivener progress bars each day… so mostly the determination to stay more or less on track and get my words done each day.

I’m verrrry pleased to announce that I actually stayed on track and never fell behind par on my wordcount ONCE this month! This is big news. In 7 years of NaNos, this is my first time to stay on track the entire month. 😀

10. What are your top 3 pieces of writing advice?

Not sure if they’re my top three, but off the top of my head:

  1. Keep writing: don’t give up.
  2. Wordsprints! (And fast music for them.) I wrote SO much my last NaNo day this year by using the awesome wordsprint feature on the NaNo site. SO MANY WORDS. Never underestimate the power of setting a timer and writing the whole time with fast music.
  3. Don’t be afraid — if you’re afraid of the next scene, just cheat. XD

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There you are. My NaNo update. Now excuse me while I ignore the fact that I still have probably a quarter of The Library in the Stars to write to finish it, and go burrow somewhere comfy and read away my cold to avoid feeling miserable and possibly nap for a week BECAUSE I FINISHED NANO! I’m very happy and looking forward to reading other books now that I don’t have to write my own at the moment. The books are caaaalling me…

10 NaNoWriMo Survival Tips

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So I was throwing some random NaNoWriMo advice at a friend on Goodreads, and decided to actually post that advice and a couple other things as a blog post. Because hey, why not? Maybe someone will benefit. 🙂 (Plus, how better to procrastinate plotting that book I need to start writing tomorrow than by blogging, amIright? 😉 )

In no particular order, here is some random advice for how to survive NaNoWriMo. Because writing a 50,000 word novel in 30 days definitely calls for survival tips.

(You may know all of these and/or I may have said all of this before, in which case OH WELL you may as well hear it again. XD We could probably use a refresher course…)

1) Know your plot! …If you don’t yet, you’re in a little bit of trouble, but don’t despair, you still have a day-ish left. 😉 And you haven’t, you can try to do some outlining during the month. Just be aware that you may need to do this… (If you’re a pantser, I salute you, brave soul.)

2) Lots of wordwars/wordsprints! If there’s nobody to wordwar with, I like to just set a timer and wordwar against that. If there’s a timer going for 10-15 minutes, I feel like I need to be writing the whole time and so I actually WRITE; and it’s a very rewarding feeling, writing down the amount of words I get each time, to know that after that amount of time I actually got words written. 🙂

(EDIT: New on the NaNo site this year is a wordsprint timer with optional prompts! Check it out!)

3) If you can, write to music. Turn on some fast music with a steady fast beat if you can write to music, because I’ve found I type faster with that. (May just be me.)

4) Try to stay on top of the 1667 per day goal if you possibly can — it’s no fun being behind later in the month. Falling behind really adds up. That being said, also try to write more at the beginning if you can! Chances are you’ll be more excited about your story at the beginning and not tired out yet, so the more you write early on, the better it will be. 🙂

5) Be willing to just write anything, and do not even think about going back to edit! That will derail you pretty fast if you go back and tweak. Leave a note to yourself about what to change if you need to and move on.

6) Get some encouragement if you’re feeling behind. Reading a pep-talk or ranting to a writing friend about being stuck/behind and getting reassured, or having some chocolate, or rewarding yourself when you hit that particular goal by getting to read a chapter of that book you really want to read or something, can totally help. (Of course, I’m the first to admit that the reading-a-chapter thing can backfire if you accidentally read the whole book… >.> So, beware!)

7) Remember to get up and move around. …Wait, what? For real, you should try not to spend the ENTIRE month of November sitting hunched over a laptop/notebook. (As someone who spent a few months this year with serious back pain from using too much computer and not moving enough, take it from me: you don’t want that.) Stretch! Take a walk! (It’s amazing the benefits of a good brisk walk to brainstorm scenes. Almost as good as the notorious in-the-shower-inspiration. I still maintain both of these are because you can’t actually write down your ideas at the time…)

8) Drink water. You thought I was going to say coffee, didn’t you? 😉 Which is good in the caffeine/warming-up categories, but seriously, it’s important to stay hydrated, and  you’d be surprised how much better I feel when I drink 8-10 glasses of water every day. Give it a shot. 🙂 Coffee and tea, while also good November drinks, especially when it’s cold, just don’t hydrate like good ol’ water. I fill a gallon water jug up to the line I marked after measuring 10 cups into it, and just pour the water into a glass throughout the day, which is an easy way to keep track. It helps SO much, especially since I tend to get headaches when I don’t drink enough water; and it’s super hard to write with a headache.

9) Don’t give up! Even if it looks like you won’t hit the goal for the day, or for the month, just keep writing anyway. You’ll be surprised with where you end up if you just keep going. 🙂

10) Have fun! Enjoy the ride and try not to get too stressed out — just enjoy the crazy fun that is writing and knowing others are too. 🙂 (I’m trying to remind MYSELF with this one… I tend to get stressed instead of enjoying myself. :P)

Aaand while I’m in a NaNo-y mood . . .

If you haven’t seen it, you can pop over to my post from last year, NaNoWriMo, My Dear Watson, which is NaNo-in-a-Nutshell-with-Sherlock-gifs.

(And even if you have seen it, go see it again, because NaNo + Sherlock Holmes = why wouldn’t you? 😉 )

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’ll just be over in the corner wrapped in my shock blanket, because NaNo’s TOMORROW???

Share your best advice for NaNo in the comments! We can all always use more tips! 🙂 Best of luck, everyone! YOU’VE GOT THIS.

The Library in the Stars (NaNo 2016)

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NaNo is only a WEEK away (WHAT EVEN) so today I’m here to finally tell you a bit about what I’m writing this NaNo!

So how fortunate that Cait @ Paper Fury and Sky @ Further Up and Further In have a pre-NaNo edition of Beautiful Books: Introduce Your Novel! (Feel free to join in the linkup because it’s a blast.)

Without further ado… here are the questions, and my answers, as I shall now proceed to introduce my NaNo novel for 2016!

*drumroll*

Meet…

libraryinthestars

What inspired the idea for your novel, and how long have you had the idea?

Very complicated question.

It was inspired by a title I came up with in February 2015, The Library in the Stars, and the fact that I had about four different ideas which I’d previously planned to be short stories, and that the “feel” of them seemed to fit together… and which I decided to put together with this title into a space-fantasy adventure.

The idea to put them together was earlier this year, March 2016. So in that sense, I’ve had the idea for only 7 months, but in another sense, much of it comes from ideas I’d had for a long time (ranging from at least the beginning of 2013 to the end of 2015). Further complication: the main part of the plot only started being hinted at in June of this year, when I wrote a snippet from a dare, and the snippet decided to attach itself to the novel as the central plot thread.

So, my answer: I’ve had the idea for 4 months, and I’ve had it for 3 years as well. It’s both old and new. Which fits perfectly with the fact that it has time-travel in it… 😉 And also works well for NaNo, since it feels both like a new and exciting idea, and at the same time an old familiar one that I know better and will therefore be less difficult to write (I hope).

What inspired it were many different seemingly unconnected ideas, but largely a wish to write a time-travel space fantasy adventure in another universe.

Describe what your novel is about!

A space-fantasy adventure in another universe with a dash of time-travel, steampunk, and bookishness.

Le blurb:

lscoverWhen Veronica Coltridge’s twin brother vanishes, she sets out through time and space to find him.

She teams up with a time-wisp agent whose time was stolen, a traveling space-elf, a blue-haired pilot girl on a quest to find the Sentinel of Time, a space-station librarian, and a mysterious young man cursed to live in the shadows and slowly become one himself.

The paths of this motley crew lead them to the mystical Library in the Stars: a library which holds all the books ever written — and has a mind of its own.

But someone is tampering with time, and when split alternate realities begin tearing the fabric of the universe, maybe not even the Library in the Stars can help.

The clock is ticking . . .

What is your book’s aesthetic? Use words or photos or whatever you like!

Words: Time. Space. Minds. Shadows. Books. Clocks.

But a picture’s worth a thousand words, and I’ve already shared the cover, so here are a few more:

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dreamedlibrary

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Introduce us to each of your characters!

Veronica Coltridge – Red-haired, sixteen, spunky (I mean, red-haired, hello), and into all the history and space-things and sciencey stuff, she is a Time Wisp and has the ability to travel back in time. Which is a very needful skill if she’s going to rescue her twin brother. Speaking of which…

Brendan Coltridge – Twin brother of Veronica, Brendan is also sixteen (obviously), likewise red-haired, easy-going and friendly, and he loves reading all the novels of ever. Literally. He also conveniently goes missing in chapter 1, kicking off the novel. He can time travel too but his special ability is — shhh spoilers.

Nate Pendleton – Time Wisp the third on this list, Nate is in his thirties, wears a trench coat and hat, and time travels on a mission to find out what’s going on with this time stuff. But really, all you need to know is his name + trench coat + time traveler. Isn’t that cool enough — come on? 😉

Kelly Fonray – Librarian at a space-port, Kelly is in her late twenties, brown haired, and her destiny gets tangled up with Nate’s, for good or ill, when she has to help him with things that are… ahem… less than legal.

Drayken Essengale – Also known as Drayke. He has longish dark green hair and green eyes and looks about late-thirties but in actuality is approximately 736 years old, because, oh yeah, he’s a space-elf. A wanderer at heart, he travels the galaxy in a spacecraft with a mind of its own, trying to escape his sad past, until he meets Veronica and runs quite literally into a shadow problem…

Damian – Eighteen year old Damian (pfft, who needs last names?) is… complicated. He’s been cursed to steal the shadows of everyone around him, with devastating results. Slowly turning into a shadow himself, he’s determined to fight against the people who did this to him… who, incidentally, he used to work for. #awkward

Briley Emberfar – Fifteen years old, she is from a steampunky planet, is the pilot of a space ship, and is questing for the legendary Sentinel of Time — whoever that is, and if they even exist. She also has blue hair. Because obviously.

How do you prepare to write? (Outline, research, stocking up on chocolate, howling, etc.?)

A good deal of howling and denial, yes… But I tend to outline. I write a blurb for the novel, get up a mock cover, list my characters and some things about them, and write a rough outline for the novel, usually using a bullet-points list, and sometimes a chapter by chapter outline.

Also, this year for the first time, I’m trying out the Scrivener free trial to help with my outlining. It took awhile for me to figure it out/get used to it, and I’m still doing some of that, but otherwise I… kind of love it so far? Like… LOVE LOVE LOVE. So far. I’ll have to give a more complete report at some time once I figure out if it’s actually helping me or if I’m just in love with its fluid organizational aspects. XD

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a look at my current plotting

Scrivener has a special NaNo 2016 free trial right now, where instead of only working for 30 days, it works from now till December 7th. So if you’ve been thinking of giving it a try to see if you like it, now’s a great time to do so since you get an extra week before and after November. *nods* If you’re interested, you can find the NaNo free trial of Scrivener here.

For NaNo-specifics of how I prepare for NaNo, see this post I did last year: Checklist: 30 Things To Do For NaNo Prep. (Which is unexpectedly getting lots of views? Apparently a lot of people are desperate for tips on NaNo prep. XD)

I also usually put together a handy NaNo bulletin board (a pinboard program which came with my laptop) like this:

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What are you most looking forward to about this novel?

All of it! *flailing around in excitement* Messing around with time travel a little and just having a blast with this cast of fun characters and several different things that sound fun to try to write.

List 3 things about your novel’s setting.

In space with fantasy elements (a universe not our own). On different planets including a steampunky one. And in a library. A very big library, with a mind of its own, out in the vastness of space. Also spaceships. (I know, that’s four.)

What’s your character’s goal and who (or what) stands in the way?

There are many characters. They all have goals (I hope). Some of those goals are different. Veronica wants to find her brother. Nate wants to find out what’s happening with other Time Wisps. Damian wants to not turn into a shadow. The rest have other things they want. They all kind of would prefer if the fabric of space and time doesn’t get shredded because that would be kind of unpleasant. What stands in their way is pretty much… well… the villains. Surprise!

How does your protagonist change by the end of the novel?

I haven’t written it yet, so I don’t know. XD

What are your book’s themes? How do you want readers to feel when the story is over?

Good vs. evil, love, friendship, the usual. *shrug* And I’d like readers to feel like they read a good tale, fell in love with the characters a bit, and possibly had a bit of that lovely “mind blown” feeling that tends to happen with stories relating to time travel. 😉 (No idea if it will be good enough for the mind blown feeling, but I hope to try all the same!) I want them to close the book and grin and say “That was good.” 🙂

So there you have my NaNo novel, roadlings-mine! What do you think? 🙂 And are you doing NaNo? (If you are, are we buddies on the site? Because we should be! My profile is here. ^_^)

The Ghost of NaNos Past

The Ghost of NaNos Past

As we approach the NaNoWriMo season (*sound of panicking in the background*), I thought it would be fun to look back at the last six years of NaNos, ever since I started.

It’s amazing how different they’ve all been! Ups and downs… And each year I step deeper down the rabbit trail as it were. 😉

(I did also do 4 Camp NaNo sessions — a 20K goal and three 10K goals, all of which I reached — but for the sake of continuity I’ll be ignoring those this post. XD They are, however, little footnotes in my NaNo history, so maybe someday I’ll do a post about them! But 6 + 4 = 10 times I’ve participated in (and won) a NaNo-ish event! *celebration*)

Here are my NaNo experiences . . .

NaNo #1: 2010 — The Chaos Year

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(Since I didn’t join the NaNo site my first year, I don’t have a handy graph from the site of my wordcount, so this one will have to do. Blue bars = where my wordcounts should have been to be on par. White bars = where my wordcounts actually were.)

Twelve Fugitives in the Wild — set in another world, without fantasy elements but with an 18th-century time period. Muskets, carriages, a dark tower, missing persons, and lots and lots of unexpected plot-twists…

Brave new step: Undertaking my first NaNo.

My first year was utterly insane. It was an unofficial NaNo (i.e. I didn’t sign up with the site) and I had no idea what I was getting into. I decided to do it the night before, and pantsed the whole thing, which I had very little experience with… I managed to reach my goal but not without falling dreadfully behind most of the month, and having to do an enormous catch-up day, writing 8,000 words on the last day. It took the entire day and much chocolate and family members pushing me back to the computer every time I wandered away in despair… *cough* But I made the 50,000! I was so happy.

NaNo #2: 2011 — The Perfect Year

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Far-mark’s Dream — to this day, the only novel I actually finished during NaNo. A fantasy adventure story featuring prophecies and salt fairies and bats and a serpent, and three friends (one reluctant; okay, he hates them and opposes everything they stand for, but to be fair he’d been enchanted. *cough*) who set out to defeat the Empire, with much epicness along the way.

Brave new step: Joined the NaNo site and forums.

My second NaNo was a complete dream come true. Learning from my mistakes of the first year, I planned ahead and had the whole novel plotted before day 1, made sure to stay on top of my wordcount, and just had a blast. I hit a few snags through the month, but always came through, and finished two days early… actually finishing the novel itself as well. I still look back at this year as my ultimate NaNo experience. ❤ I loved the book too. I still do… though I’d like to rewrite it a bit and expand some of the things. *nod*

NaNo #3: 2012 — The Overconfident Year

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Grey Betrayal — Book #1 in my several-book Epic Fantasy series, this one features plots and war and mountains, a talking bear, and the adventures of two friends, one of whom has many secrets…

Brave new step: I stepped out of my introvert writer shell and went to write-ins and a victory party at the end!

Oh, this year. I had grown arrogant, I fear… After my insane impromptu first year, followed by one where I took precautions and nearly everything went smoothly, I thought that NaNos were a breeze, apparently, as long as you planned for them. Alas, I was wrong! I didn’t realize that my second year had been the best and easiest NaNo I’d ever have the pleasure of being a part of. I started out pretty well on this third year, especially thanks to the numerous rambling thoughts of my main character, which gave me lots of words (thanks, Faron). But then I hit a snag a third of the way through called running-out-of-plot. I had neglected to plot further, and the rest of the month was a serious struggle. I pushed through at the end, but emerged a humbled NaNoer, realizing my good fortune of the previous year for what it was.

NaNo #4: 2013 — The Leading Year

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Underground Rainbow — contemporary fantasy featuring a young photographer and his adventures with various fantastical creatures: gnomes, griffins, leprechauns, and the like.

Brave new step: I stepped into a co-leadership role as a NaNoWriMo ML for my region. (Municipal Liaison: volunteer event organizer/local leader.)

This year started out all right, and then life crashed around me. It was my first year as an ML and that took up a lot of my time and creative juices, plus I was kind of in a writing slump, so that took its toll. This year is actually kind of hazy in my memory… But the story was a lot of fun, despite that, and I did make it in the end. Not to mention the wonderful camaraderie of my region this year, which was fantastic. ^_^

NaNo #5: 2014 — The Roadtrip Year

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Heartseeker — original fairytale YA fantasy romance type thing, featuring the princess who goes on a quest to find the heart of her betrothed.

Brave new step: Well, it wasn’t very brave, exactly, since I had no choice, but it was definitely crazy. I managed to do NaNo while being on a roadtrip most of the month AND ML-ing at the same time. It. was. insane. But I’m also very proud of me for surviving and doing okay. XD

Although it was arguably my most difficult year, due to a roadtrip in the middle on top of life and ML-ing, this is also one of my favorite NaNos, looking back at it. I’d say this and the Far-mark year were the best. Writing in the car was a new challenge, and one I only survived due to helpfully-pestering family members, and the kindness of my co-ML lending me a power adapter so I could use my laptop in the car and some rewarding letters from her characters which I could only open at certain points. I also was thankful for being snowed in at my uncle’s house for a couple of days, which allowed me to catch up in the middle of the trip. I finished off this NaNo with a spectacular write-in at a library late at night, which is my favorite NaNo memory. ❤ I can’t believe I survived it, and I definitely wouldn’t have without the support of wonderful friends and family, but it was a challenge and, despite the stress, was a blast as well.

NaNo #6: 2015 — The Rebel Year

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  • The Silver Forest — retelling of The Twelve Dancing Princesses
  • The Rose and the Raven — novella retelling of Sleeping Beauty
  • The Secret of Kedran’s Wood — book #2 in my modern-fantasy series starring Tare and the Chess Club

Brave new step: Turning rebel (not so much brave as insane) and actually working on THREE different stories during NaNo in order to hit my 50K goal, instead of just one like the “rules” (made to be broken. ;)) state and like I’d done every year.

I did all right with my 12 Dancing Princesses story until exactly halfway through the month when it decided to inform me that I’d gotten the whole beginning wrong and would have to scrap everything I’d written and completely restart the novel. Um. It was going to be so much awesomer with the new twists that had emerged, but SERIOUSLY?? IN THE MIDDLE OF NANO?? What kind of bad timing was this? (Answer: it was the best of times; it was the worst of times . . . You can read the story of my Mid-NaNo-Crisis here.) I ended up abandoning it for the time being and instead taking the opportunity to work on my novella for the Rooglewood contest, with bits of KW2 to help whenever the painstaking shortness of the novella got too much. I survived this one too (despite a nasty cold near the end and running out of plot a couple times) but wow, it was definitely a new challenge! Writing more than one story in a month is super hard, because you have to get into the right mindframe for each of them, and switching between them is difficult. But it turned out okay, so huzzah!

NaNo #7: 2016 — ???

Story to write this year: To Be Announced…

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Brave new step: I’m going to be ML-ing this  year totally on my own. In my previous three years as an ML, I’ve had wonderful co-MLs and helpers with whom I’ve shared the burden. I’m all alone this year and just hoping I’ll be able to do it without those wonderful people having my back. Wish me luck, because this is scary. XD

Obviously, this year’s NaNo adventure is a mystery yet to be discovered (unless you happen to be a time-traveler, which I, unfortunately, am not…). What will happen this year? I’m as curious as you are!

Stay tuned for next week’s post which will (hopefully) be all about what I hope to work on this NaNo! (No promises, of course; NaNo projects are notoriously slippery beasts.)

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So there you have my past NaNo exploits! What about yourselves, my roadlings? Have you done NaNo? How many? What were your best (and worst) NaNos? Tell me aaall in the comments!