NaNoWriMo 2016 – Week #4

I did it! I won Nanowrimo (National Novel Writing Month) for the second year in a row! I reached the 50,000 word goal on November 21, 2016. However, I finished the actual story on Saturday, November 26th with a final total of 58,547 words. I participated in three Nano sprints this year. They were my first three ever.

nanowrimo_2016_webbadge_winner

This year, I made it a goal to write 2000 or more words a day to meet the 50,000 word goal by the end of November. With my daily word goal working for me, I wound up giving myself a little more time to do some plot development during my writing process.

I came into this Nano without too many notes and I let the story create itself. However, I did have some challenges concerning how to end my story. I planned on making this novel the last one in my “The Way” trilogy. So, I had to wrap up some storylines I had started in either The Hard Way or The Bully’s Way. And I wanted to end The Street’s Way at a point that would make sense within its story line. One of the Nano sprints I participated in helped me focus on just writing the end of the story and helped me come up with my perfect ending. Once I got that figured out, my next struggle was trying to fill the story in from the point I stopped writing to where I wanted it to end. You know what I ended up doing? I wrote it  backwards from the end of the story to the point in the story I had left off. It was a different way for me to approach it, but it worked.

Now I have a draft in hand that I can edit when I’m ready. Next month I’ll be getting back into editing The Hard Way and get that one ready to publish. My goal is to publish it on April 15, 2017. It will definitely take some work, but I think it can be done.

What did I learn through this year’s Nano?

  • That my process of a 2000 word per day goal made the whole thing a little less stressful. It gave me a chance to develop the plot which ultimately gave me more to write about.
  • That I can pick a point in the story and work backwards to get it written. I know I never tried to do that before, but it seemed to work for me this time. Another tool to put in my writing toolkit.
  • I enjoy the process of writing for NaNoWriMo. The challenge of it really excites me and the fact that I have an actual full draft of my third novel at the end is something to be proud of.

I’ve seen that Nanowrimo isn’t for everyone. To me, you win if just try.  All of the work that you put into it, leads to a reward at the end of the month. Either a full or partial draft of your next project.The whole idea behind Nano is that at the end of the month, you have more words written than you did at the beginning of the month. Writing 50,000 words is a great thing to try if you like a writing challenge.

It is time for me to put the writing on the shelf for a bit and do some reading. Be sure to look for a book review on the blog next week!

NaNoWriMo 2016 – Week #3

Lots of writing happening this week. At the end of Sunday, my Nano word count is at 48,808.  I should reach the 50,000 mark tomorrow. The manuscript will still have a little ways to go after that, but the Nano goal will be reached. I’ll continue to write the story until the draft is complete.

The story itself is coming together and I’m in the process of killing off my first character ever.  I’ve been struggling with it a bit. It has been an emotional journey for me to do.

Continue reading “NaNoWriMo 2016 – Week #3”

National Novel Writing Month 2016

Guess what I’ll be doing in November! Nanowrimo!

Those of you in the novel writing world have probably heard of National Novel Writing Month. According to Wikipedia, it is an annual, Internet-based creative writing project that takes place during the month of November. NaNoWriMo challenges participants to write 50,000 words (their minimum number of words for a novel) from November 1 until the deadline at 11:59PM on November 30. The goal of NaNoWriMo is to get people writing and keep them motivated throughout the process.

It winds up being an average of 1667 words per day. You can do more or less depending on your schedule, but to win, you need to have 50,000 by the end of the day on November 30th. Last year I think I had my 50,000 on November 24th, a couple of days before Thanksgiving. But continued to write to finish the draft of the story.

I participated last year and won with approximately 63,000 words and a rough draft of the sequel to The Hard Way called The Bully’s Way. This year’s novel is called The Street’s Way, which will be the third book in this series. Same characters continuing their story lines. Be sure to look for these books coming soon.

If you are also participating in Nano and want another buddy, I am in as SelmaPVerde. It is a great motivator to get the draft done and a fun activity to participate in with other authors on their writing journies.

Thoughts in the Writing House

Monday night: I’m sitting in my recliner watching some major league playoff baseball; the Dodgers versus the Nationals. Just letting myself relax after a hard day at work.

It feels weird to not have any writing to work on right now. It is a nice break, but I keep thinking that I am supposed to be doing something. Guess I am excited to get working on The Hard Way’s manuscript again.

Thursday: Next batch of edits came from my editor Michelle. I plan to jump into those over the weekend. Like I have said, it is a lot of work, but so cool to see how the clean up is really bringing the story out and making it shine. It also gives me a great opportunity to clarify ideas and fix the storyline that needs fine tuning.

Saturday: I am seeing the colors of the leaves changing and the cooler air of fall settling in. Gives me a beautiful view as I write. Sitting at my computer today with a comfortable feeling provided by an extra sweater. Love this time of year. Will continue to work on the edits as I enjoy a pumpkin spice coffee to keep me warm and comfortable.

Sunday: While watching a little NFL football, I read through the rest of manuscript showing all of the edits from Michelle. I worked through the suggested changes and either accepted them or rejected them. I’ll let it sit for the rest of the night and read through the manuscript a couple of times during the upcoming week to make sure the story line works and everything still sounds right.

The goal is to have this section revised and sent back to Michelle by the end of the month. I think it will be more than doable. It feels really good to be making progress.

Writing House Status Update

Just when you think it sounds right, the next sentence comes along and then there is more work to do.

The editing process continued at the Writing House this week. Not only did I get the second read through done, but I spent some time reading the manuscript out loud. It really helped me to hear what it sounds like. After listening to my reading, I seem to be on the wordier side of life when it comes to writing. I think I may speak that way too.

The first ten chapters went back to Michelle this week and I’m looking forward to the next ten coming my way next week. I took a little break from writing to read a story that my friend’s daughter wrote and to take care of some other tasks around the house. It was a nice mini break to celebrate the completion of the first round of edits.

Over the weekend, I hosted our book club meeting on Saturday. We read South of Superior by Ellen Airgood. Great read. Very relatable for people who have visited the small towns and cities found on the coast of Lake Superior. It had mixed reviews in our group. And with our last day of fall baseball on Sunday, we had a full weekend around our home.

Each round of editing brings me one step closer to having it published! The editing process will continue into this week. Be sure to look for another progress update next Monday!

Back to the Writing House

Since last weekend, I’ve been working on a couple of formatting changes to my blog, including new categories and colors. Trying to give it a fresh look and clean it up a bit.

After some soul searching last week, I decided to jump back into my edits for my WIP, The Hard Way. My goal is to get the manuscript done and get the novel ready to publish. Lately, I have been spending a lot of time with the blog, which has been keeping me writing. However, I had a voice nagging in the back of my head asking, “when is it time to finish the novel?” I guess I can say that life got in the way, but that seems to happen to me when it comes to my own writing goals.  Maybe I’m scared of achieving my dream or maybe I’m waiting for the right moment to do it. I’m not sure. But I have decided that now it the time to make it happen.

Part of building this writing house is getting the novel done. Not only is it a goal of mine, but it is also a big milestone on my writing journey. I enjoy the writing that I do on my blog, but once my first book is out there, the writing house takes on a whole new look. We will then have to install bookcase in the house, for our own books.

I still plan to do a weekly post for #MondayBlogs and WordPress postaweek, but will be keeping things a little shorter for a while. Now on a weekly basis, I will have status updates on how my editing is going and what interesting things I’ve learned by doing it.

By taking two days of vacation from work and making a four day weekend out of it, I decided it would be the perfect time to get started. So, on Wednesday night after work, I cleaned off the writing desk to get ready to jump back into my Word file that holds the current version of The Hard Way

Thursday morning comes. After getting the kids off to school and Sam off to work, I took care of some things around the house so I could clear my plate to get started. After grabbing a cup of coffee, I sat down to my laptop and the system needed to do some updates. I sighed and decided to do them. One more hurdle to my starting my project. It took quite a while to get those updates done, must have had a lot of them to do. Finally the computer is ready. It is time to begin!

Are you ready to join me on this writing journey?

A Girl writes Mentoring a Dream

Happy Father’s Day to all of those special men in your world. I hope they got treated to the special day they deserve for all they do for us.

Along with working on this blog, I enjoyed the day with the fathers that mean the most to me yesterday. They are some of the most supportive people in my writing journey. Watching how they raised and are raising their kids has provided inspiration in my writing about kids and families.

In my first blog post this month, I mentioned the foundations of my first WIP Mentoring a Dream. When I think back to that Memorial Day weekend twenty-two years ago, I remember the drive I made on a cloudy day to get to Duluth, Minnesota. I had no plan other than getting out of town for the weekend. I was going to let the agenda create itself. All I really knew is that I was going to stay at a Bed and Breakfast, something I had always wanted to do.

Going away that weekend was my chance to think about what was important to me. My job and my life were both at a plateau and I was trying to figure out what I wanted to do. At the time, I worked for a college that included flight training as part of its curriculum. Through that part of the college, we offered kids programs to promote flying as a career. In my writing that weekend, I realized I wanted to be a part of that program and share the passion that I have for flying with them.

I really enjoy being around kids. It is fun to see what they are thinking. While I was growing up, I wanted to be a teacher. I was turned away from it while I was in college because there were a surplus of teachers and no jobs available. I wound up getting an accounting degree and worked in a private college’s accounting department for years.

After I got back from my weekend, I wrote a short story about my experiences. That short story wound up jump starting my passion for creative writing again and made me want to write more. That was my inspiration to start the rough draft of what would become Mentoring a Dream.

Mentoring A Dream is an appropriate title for my first WIP. The story is about a woman who mentors a young girl in the world of aviation and ultimately learns something about herself along the way. Writing this manuscript helped me to realize my passion to help others get where they want to be. Finding ourselves through writing is a very common thing that happens. It is just another part of the Writing Journey.

Not only do I find passion in helping others, I am a natural problem solver. I use my creative thinking to find a way to make things happen. I see in myself as a person who wants others to be happy and I do everything in my power to help people get there, sometimes putting my own goals aside to make things happen for them. But the one thing that I need to remember is that I have quite a few of my own dreams to make happen. They are important too.

This year, with a little urging from Sam, I’m on the brink of making one of my dreams come true. With my constantly putting my dreams aside, it took me a long time to get to this point. As I am getting ready to work on the edits of my first to be published WIP, The Hard Way, I remember back to the day that I started this draft that I’m getting ready to edit. And now I’m taking the steps to get it published almost three and a half years later. Sometimes things happen when they are supposed to and they have to be waited for. I work really hard and do all the right things. Sometimes I think that will be enough for me to just get what I want when I want it. Not always the case.

It’s very exciting to see other authors that I have been getting to know in social media groups do the things that I want to do with my writing. I’ve been adding their books to my Goodreads list so I can start enjoying them as well. It is good motivation to keep working and get my project done, but it can also make the waiting even tougher. Now I understand the path they followed to get there. It can be a long one.

My hope for the books I write is that they make an impression on the younger reader. Not only for enjoyment of the book, but to help them make the hard life changing decisions they may face. Sometimes kids need to get information on their own and not be influenced by other kids their age that may not be making the best decisions. What a better way to do it than read it in a book with a character that they can relate to? I hope that the trilogy I’m currently writing for middle grade readers will do just that very thing.

Maybe one day Mentoring a Dream will come off of the shelf, be edited, and published. For now, it will remain the inspiration for my about to be published middle grade novel. There are many fond memories attached to it, but it will always be my first completed rough draft. And my first step in my dream to publish a novel.

A Girl becomes a Blogger

Blog? What even is a blog? When I first heard the word, it sounded made up to me. And me become a blogger? Didn’t know that would happen. Let’s see if I can find some information about it on Google to understand what it is all about.

After a basic online search, I found out that blogging is a fairly recent phenomenon in our history. Its creation came with the art of website development becoming more user friendly. According to Wikipedia, it was originally called a weblog by Jorn Barger on December 17, 1997. He used the term to describe the process of logging (posting) information on the web. He began his “logging” with daily entries on his blog, Robot Wisdom. He wrote a lot about James Joyce and artificial intelligence in those posts and his written works are almost all self published. Peter Merholz broke the word up into we and blog on the side bar of his blog Peterme.com in April or May of 1999 which is how it got known as just a blog.

The typical blog that one sees on the internet today evolved from what was known as an online diary. It was a webpage where people kept a running journal of their personal lives or a travel log for their trips. I think part of the origin goes back even before the computer, when that information was in more of a handwritten form found in a diary or journal. The entries contained in those books went from being written on paper to being typed in digitally on a computer.

People have been sharing their lives through writing for years. There are journals and letters dating back to the time when when writing was done on stone tablets and parchment paper created from animal skins. Most of that writing was not intended to be shared with many people other than an intended recipient, but some of it has been found and used to add other people’s experiences to our history. Blogs are a popular way to share our experiences with many people in real time. They are also an important writer and author’s tool to present their writing style to potential readers all over the world.

Ever heard of a vlog? What is the difference between that and a blog, I asked? Back to Wikipedia. They are both regularly updated websites or web pages typically run by a person or small group. A vlog is where the postings in the feed are primarily in video form. A blog has postings that are written in an informal or conversational style and posted as written posts.

There are many places online where one can set up a personal or author type blog. WordPress.com, Blogspot.com and Weebly.com  are just a few options. Once a person sets one up, they need to decide what they want to do with it. Is it just for their own personal writing? Is it going to be shared with a few friends? Or maybe with the world?

As an up and coming author, it became apparent that I was going to need to start writing a blog. Not only for honing the craft, but also to get my name and writing out there for the public to read. It is fine to journal and write for myself, but if I want to get a book published and be successful, I have to put my writing out there. Not only is the blog important for promoting my writing, but I also have to recruit other authors and readers to follow me on it. Just like I had to do with Facebook and Twitter. Most authors I have talked to say it takes a while to build the following from scratch. I have found that it also takes daily attention to make it happen.

At the beginning of 2016, I started my Monday Morning Blog posts. Not only has it been a fun and educational journey for me, it has also worked out well to get on a writing schedule for about 1000 words a week on something that is separate from my novel project. It has also enabled me to give my followers a weekly post to check out and read every Monday.

Many of my blog posts are a combination of creative writing and researched facts online. I often find it is fun to just start writing about something random and see where things go. I took a writing class in college many years ago that talked about Rush Writing. It is a writing method where you just start writing about whatever comes to your mind at the time. For me right now, I’m thinking about a calculator. So that would be my subject to write about. I’ll have to use that as a writing prompt someday. It is a great way to get the writing head warmed up and get some creative work done. By using that method, I have written some pretty neat things and when I have added them to my other writing, it has given those projects an extra boost.

Then there are the writing prompts I have used to get the creative juices flowing too. I actually used writing prompts as the subjects of my April 2016 blogs. They not only gave me something unique to write about each week, it also gave the readers a little different feel for what my blog can give to them. For one of them, I had no idea what I was going to write about and I just let the story role out onto the computer. It actually became a mini story of its own. You can check it out with this link, Writing Prompt #3 from April 18, 2016.

All of this blogging is in addition to working on my first novel that I’m planning to self publish by the end of this year. I also have two additional novels, one as a draft and one in idea/outline stage ready follow it to complete a trilogy. The blogging and recruiting followers on social media not only helps readers get to know me, it also paves a path to market my books on, once they are ready. It also keeps this soon to be published author very busy.