#Nanowrimo Begins Wednesday – Happy Ten Years of Writing

As this November approaches, I can’t help but to feel a little nostalgic. It is, after all, my tenth year of participation in the event. Hard to believe.

On one hand, I feel a little sad admitting it when it seems I have so little to show for my efforts. I mean, where are the stacks of published books? But published books or not, I’m proud of how much my writing has changed over the years. I may not be where I want to be yet in terms of a full-fledge career but if you were to compare my first Nanowrimo attempt with the last, you would insist they weren’t written by the same author. Yeah, the first one was that bad.

For anyone who doesn’t know (and if you don’t know, have you been living under a rock all these years?), Nanowrimo is National Novel Month and it happens every November. The goal is to write 50,000 words in 30 days. It’s more about the commitment to finishing a novel than the word count, I believe. The people who run the show do an excellent job of promoting enthusiasm amongst its participants and offering great advice along the way to keep you motivated.

In 2007, I was a stay-at-home mom looking after a toddler just shy of his second birthday and a six month old baby. Both were in diapers. But being very routine-oriented, I had both on a similar schedule that included at least an hour long afternoon nap. That’s when most of my writing happened although I do remember squeezing in free moments early in the morning before they woke or in the evening with a glass of wine after they went to bed.

I had little reason to think I could actually write a novel but I’d always wanted to try. My entire school career, I’d never met an English teacher who didn’t go crazy over my creative writing. I’d had an entire lifetime of people telling me I should write a book and I always thought I’d be good at it. I mean, how hard could it be, right?

HA HA HA HA

Turns out, writing a book is a lot harder than I’d ever imagined and although I “won” Nanowrimo by completing 50,000 words that first year, my so-called story was a royal mess. A couple of times I’ve looked back and wondered if there is anything in that jumble of words I could salvage but the answer is no. Just no.

BUT! It taught me a valuable lesson. Before that attempt, I’d never tried to write anything longer than a short story. I discovered that it was not only possible to sit my butt in a chair and work on a novel but I actually really loved the process. I had a blast. Even though I knew I didn’t have a story worth rewriting and submitting – I was hooked. Most Novembers I have participated in Nanowrimo, I have successfully written 50,000 words. I think there have only been 2 I did not.

Fast forward to 2017. Now I have a young man just shy of his 12th birthday, a 10 year-old, and I’ve added a third kid to the mix who is now 8!

I kept writing even when it wasn’t November, although some days that’s easier than others with small children. Now that all three kids go to school, however, I have the days to myself to write to my heart’s content. I forget sometimes how crazy the days used to be. And some days I kind of miss that. It was fun having little kids around with big imaginations and they forced me to be more focused in time management.

My approach to Nanowrimo has changed. For so long I insisted that November was my play time as a writer. I would approach the month with only the inkling of an idea and just let the story unfold as the days went by. Sadly, as much fun as it is to write this way, the end product still tends to be chaotic at best.

I’ve finally accepted that in order to produce something that stands half a chance of being worth working with come December, I have to plan. Maybe not every scene but I have to know something about my story. I have to understand story structure. I have to know characters and plot points. There is just no way around it. I’ve been spending a lot of time studying books on writing and I still struggle with it. Sometimes I swear it makes sense so I put together an outline and bam, I write … and I still stall out.

Take Waking Fire for example. There is a story there, I’m convinced of it but the rewriting process, to me, is almost painful. Not nearly as much fun as the creating stage. I’ll get there eventually but just not nearly as soon as I’d like.

So… this November I try again. It’s my tenth year anniversary, after all, so I’ve got to make this special, right? I have this little voice in my head that keeps whispering this is the year I am going to write something great (okay, I’ll settle for publishable). I have an idea and I’ve put a lot of thought into that idea. Today and tomorrow I will attempt to complete at least a high level outline. At the very least, I need to know the main turning points and how it all ends and I need to feel confident those choices are solid so that every scene I write during the 30 day frenzy makes sense.

We’ll call this  year’s attempt at a novel “Hope” and I’ll sit down to write on November 1st with the same flurry of excitement I always feel when the story is still fresh and new and anything is possible…

Anything.

Are you participating in National Novel Writing Month this year? Want to be my buddy and cheer each other on? You can find me by clicking here -> Nanowrimo

 

What’s Up, December 2015

Nano winnerFirst of all, congratulations to all my fellow writers who took the plunge into NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) and came out winning on the other side. Whether you wrote 50,000 words or not, tackling the challenge is still something to be proud of and I hope you had fun along the way.

Obviously, NaNoWriMo is one of those challenges I can’t resist because 2015 marks my eight year signing on and my seventh year winning. I now have a 50,000 word “paranormal romance” currently titled Blood Moon. This mess, err, I mean book, will undergo extensive rewrites during the month of December and with a bit of luck, will be ready to submit to publishers sometime early in the new year.

My zombie story is on hold. It stands at just under 10,000 words. Hoping to jump back into that story as soon as the dust settles from my previous writing frenzy.

Rise of the Angerroots is also still waiting in the wings. I have high hopes to submit this one to the Amazon Scout Program in early 2016 and/or simply self-publish. More on that soon.

As the year ends, I look ahead to my goals for a new year of writing. I am happy to have settled into a regular routine and I am excited about having stories to share in the near future, both long and short.

For starters, I have entered the 2016 Short Story Writing Competition. Round one begins on January 22nd. This is my first time participating in this type of challenge and my stomach is in knots.  Stay tuned for details on how you can cheer me on.

I also have a short story in the works for hopeful submission to a horror anthology. I will be carving out some time to get that finished and polished in the coming weeks. There are few other potential anthology submissions I have pegged with deadlines coming up throughout 2016. It’s my goal to submit to at least three of them by the end of 2016.

Be sure to follow me on Twitter for fun in #1lineWed and the #DecWritingChallenge and keep your eyes on the blog for weekly snippets of my works-in-progress via Weekend Writing Warriors.

And… most of all, have a happy December! 🙂

 

Weekend Writing Warriors #8Sunday – The Beast Attacks

wewriwa2Happy Sunday! Once again, it is time for the gathering of the Writing Warriors as we emerge from our writing caves to share a snippet of what’s been unraveling on the page during our long week of writing. I’m looking forward to reading what my fellow authors share. You can find the official list at http://www.wewriwa.com along with the rules if you would like to join in next week. The more, the merrier!

I love National Novel Writing Month – not because I find it particularly challenging to write 50,000 words in one month (okay, sometimes I do), but because I love the camaraderie that goes with it. You don’t find that any other time of the year and let’s face it, the writer’s life can get a little lonely. We should seek out more ways to encourage creativity and the drive to finish what we start.

But … as much as I love NaNoWriMo, I hate it too. Why is it that with every new project I plunge into, I hit a point around the 35,000 word mark when I just can’t take anymore. If you’re wondering why you’ve not read much from me lately, well, this is why. This month I didn’t reach that point until 40,000 words but when I hit it, I hit it hard. Right now, it’s difficult to find a snippet to share when I am convinced that my story kind of sucks, to be blunt about it. As I scroll through this week’s work, I cringe. Oh boy, December is going to be quite a month of rewriting!

Anyway, without further ado, I offer you these 10 sentences…

**

A loud bang at the front door brought her thoughts back to the present.full moon

“Hunter,” she called out, feeling relief flood her system. He’d returned as promised.

She rushed to the door to greet him but stopped short when she came face to face with the beast crouching in the entryway. Its eyes glowed red as it regarded her. She froze. The beast sniffed the air and snarled.

“Hunter, it’s me, Elise. I’m trying to help you, remember?”

If there was recognition in his eyes, she couldn’t see it.

**

It seems a little cruel to leave you hanging there, doesn’t it? Well, I can tell you that it doesn’t end well for one of them…  😉 I do look forward to your thoughts, as always.

In the meantime, be sure to head over to http://www.wewriwa.com now and check out the other snippets. See you next week!

Paranormal Love Wednesday Blog Hop – Wolves

paranormal love imageI’m always looking for new ways to share snippets of my writing so when I came across a link on Facebook to the Paranormal Love Wednesday Blog Hop, I knew I had to enter my link. I love reading and writing paranormal romance so I already feel right at home and I know I will have fun with it.

Welcome! This week I will be sharing a snippet from my current work-in-progress, which also happens to be my NaNoWriMo project, Blood Moon. If you’ve been following my blog already, you have had a couple glimpses into the werewolf story that I’m creating. If you haven’t, I hope you enjoy today’s introduction. I look forward to your thoughts either way.

**

full moonShe studied him as he drank. Despite the dirt and dried blood that covered him, she imagined he would be a rather attractive man probably in his late twenties or early thirties. He looked up at her as he handed her the glass and wiped his mouth with the back of his hand. She shivered a little.

“No doctors,” he said, breaking the silence between them.

“You are hurt.”

“No doctors.”

“What happened to you out there?”

He looked down at his feet and then shifted his weight to lay back on the bed. She began to think he wouldn’t answer.

“Wolves.”

Chills rolled down her spine as Caleb’s words echoed through her mind.

“There are no wolves in these woods,” she insisted.

He cocked one eyebrow as he returned his attention to her and seemed to consider his words carefully.

“I can assure you, there are monsters in these woods that you could never begin to comprehend.”

**

Be sure to return to the Paranormal Love Wednesday Blog Hop Main Page and check out the links to the author participating author pages. Thanks for reading and I will see you next week!

Weekend Writing Warriors #8Sunday – Answering the Call of the Moon

weekendwritingHappy Sunday! Another week has disappeared through our grasp and I am happy to say that I spent much of that week absorbed in writing. I’m excited to share another little snippet of my NaNoWriMo project in all its unedited glory and I’m very grateful to the Weekend Writing Warriors for giving me the excellent opportunity to do this. Be sure to check out the official page at http://www.wewriwa.com. It’s a friendly blog hop where several authors gather to share 8 to 10 sentences of a current WIP and all are invited to join in the fun.

Last week I introduced my male protagonist, Hunter. This week, it feels only fair that I share a few sentences that feature my female lead, Elise. After a fitful sleep, she is drawn to the woods. What will she find?

**

And yet, somehow the moon called to her and soothed her racing heart. As if in a trance, she opened the front door and stepped out into it’s soft light. Immediately, she felt at ease. Without even bothering to turn around and grab her shoes, she began walking toward the woods, drawn to some unseen force that she couldn’t reconcile.

“Maybe I am still dreaming”, she thought. She closed her eyes and felt the chilly autumn air caress her hair. The silk of her nightgown was not enough of a barrier but she didn’t notice the cold or the dampness of the earth as mud sank between her toes. Elise walked, knowing she had a purpose without knowing what that purpose might be.

“Elise?”

She heard his voice but the darkness under the umbrella of skeleton trees with their dry leaves bristling overhead kept her from locating him.

**

I hope that you have enjoyed my snippet and I look forward to your feedback. Be sure to check out the other participating authors at http://www.wewriwa.com Thanks for stopping by! 🙂