My journey through the world of writing and everything that lies in between…

Posts tagged ‘nanowrimo09’

Post-NaNo and All That Follows…

So, I’m just realizing that today is actually the start of December. 😛

November seriously went by faster than I could blink. It seems like it just started, and that I was preparing for NaNo and all the write-ins. Now it’s all over. I’m always a little sad at the end of NaNo–it’s something I look forward to for months and then it’s all over so quickly. But that’s always how it goes with anything you’re looking forward to–it comes and goes so quickly that you hardly realize what happened.

Anyway, now that NaNo is over and I’ve reached my 50K goal, there’s another one I have yet to meet: finishing the first draft. By January 1st.

It should be easy for me after last month, yet I always have an incredibly hard time continuing the writing spree after November 30th. The last two years I’ve failed miserably at this, always coming up with excuses as to why I couldn’t finish the draft. I can already feel the excuses attempting to materialize in the back of my head, but I’m doing my best to try and vanquish them before they take hold.

I believe the biggest obstacle I have throughout the year in writing is keeping myself motivated and accountable. So, a big favor to ask of my loyal readers–help keep me accountable. Ask how I’m doing writing-wise and if I refuse to answer, keep badgering me about it. I know writing is supposed to be a “solitary” profession–at least that’s what many say–but I thrive under people holding me accountable. If it’s left up to me, I guarantee I will fail. Every. Single. Time.

Perhaps I’m weak in that sense, or maybe I’m just more of a people person than I originally thought–or a combination of both. But it’s who I am, so I should embrace it 🙂

Anyway, I’m going to try and write at least 1K today. I’ll definitely let everyone know if I met that goal–or failed–tomorrow.

Brief NaNo Update

I did it. I typed as fast as my fingers could carry me and put in more words today than I have all November. And I passed the 50K mark 🙂 Now to finish the rest of the first draft by January 1st! Can I do it??


Common Errors in the 1st Draft

writing-main_FullEvery first draft has common errors, like telling instead of showing, too many adverbs and adjectives, pacing issues, etc.

While we as writers know we must avoid these, I find that during NaNo, they are my constant companions 😛 Much of what I’ve written falls under the massive error of telling instead of showing–and I know it even as I’m writing it–but in order for me to get the story out, I don’t bother myself with sitting there and trying to word it correctly.

A mark of an amateur?Maybe, maybe not. At this point I don’t really care. I know I’m going to have to edit it, and I recognize where there are places of clarification/research/overall crafting that needs done. But I’ve shut the inner editor off, for the time being, and told myself NOT to concern myself with such issues. Sure, it’s taken until week three of NaNo to have finally silenced temporarily the inner editor, but it normally takes this long for me 😛

I’m hoping come December my inner editor doesn’t decide to pout and stay silent…

When you’re writing your first draft, are there any writing rules that you ignore–at least temporarily?

The Death of a Character

Yesterday I was pretty frustrated with my NaNo project. That generally occurs at least once during the month of November, and the second week is right around the time it hits me.

So I took a step back, wrote a little over 700 words, and let my mind just rest. And when I didn’t concern myself with all the book’s issues, the ideas for the rest of the book were born.

I have to kill off one of my characters.

As in the case of most of my mini-writing epiphanies, the idea came to me while in the shower. Perhaps it’s the hot water or the steam stimulating the creative juices.

The others I just systematically got rid of as they were adding nothing to the story; this one however will actually die in the course of the story. It’s heartbreaking I have to do this, especially since I know how hard it’s going to be on my one character, but the story advances better. If anything, it’ll also help make Miyuki more human after she witnesses how a family is affected when a loved one dies–something she never gave any thought to before.

This will be, oh, probably the third or fourth person that will end up dying over the course of the book. I don’t like killing off my characters like that but if that’s where the story is taking me, then that’s what needs to be done.

I Want to Pull My Hair Out…

Warning: Massive rant ahead about my rough draft. If you should continue reading, consider yourself sufficiently warned.

As I get farther and farther along in my first draft, more and more questions around the storyline keep popping up as I’m writing.

And I’m beginning to feel a great deal like this woman below…hairpull23

I’ve been assaulted by so many questions that I’ve had to make a running list of them. I keep changing things so that the story really doesn’t flow at all from the beginning to the current chapter (most important one being the fact the entire village and family that my MC is staying with is highly hesitant towards her, thinking she may be some sort of supernatural creature–which she is. Of course she has to try and convince them that she isn’t in order to be trusted).

That’s going to be an editing nightmare.

I had to add a minor subplot because I had to give the antagonist some more depth to her character.  I use “antagonist” loosely because while she’s a threat, she’s not a significant one–the main one is my MC’s own nature–you know the whole, man vs. self thing. Still, she’s a thorn in Miyuki’s side.

I’m also shifting around some village hierarchy and may be putting Miyuki in the village headman’s family–the village headman currently being her love interest (and still rather new in the position since his father was killed by her that winter before). If that’s the case I need to see if that meant they had servants and whatnot.

Considering this is a small (like less than 200 people small) village, they probably wouldn’t have been much higher than the surrounding countrymen; they also would’ve still been in the same caste, even if they were “higher end” farmers. Caste system in feudal Japan was very strict and to limit my research woes, that’s why I’m placing all the characters in the farmer’s caste as well as setting it in a small enough village where I don’t really have to worry about samurai and any other higher castes.

Of course that’s the plan now; the way this book is going, it could be completely different by the end.

I know, I know, I shouldn’t worry about it–just keep writing through it. But sometimes all the changes are hard to keep up with! And it’s scaring me to think about what I’ll have to deal with after the first draft is all done…

Obligatory NaNo Update and Word Wars


I’m officially past the 20K mark at 21,367. Very, very soon I’ll be hitting the halfway point 🙂

I also have to say that engaging in word wars with a fellow writer during this time is especially great for getting the story out and duct taping that inner editor’s mouth shut–at least for a short period of time. I generally engage in one of these battles once or twice a week with my younger sister who is also taking part in NaNo.

What is a word war? Well, you pretty much see who can write the most in a given period of time. Sis and I generally do half hour increments, though sometimes they are a little longer (we always specify the ending time during our phone call). The moment we hang up, we type as fast as the fingers can carry us.

The first word war I beat my sister with a count of a little more than 1100. Yes, 1100 in 30 minutes IS possible (I triple checked it). This time around, sis won with a total of 1400 (I had a little less than 1000). We battled for about 40 minutes. Getting a high word count in a short amount of time is certainly possible if you’re willing to be a little mean to that inner editor of yours.

November 9th Already? Seriously??

calendar2Is it already the 9th of November? Wow. Last week was kind of a blur for me–though it was slow, all the days just blended together and I kind of forgot what the date was…


Sometime later in the month I may do another little series on the Mythical Creatures of Japan, despite the fact there was little interest in it last week (the fact that my page views per day were hardly above those on days when I didn’t write a blog post at all, it kind of says something…) I guess people just aren’t as fascinated with Japanese mythology as I am! But I will continue in a week or two with some fun and fascinating creatures, despite lack of interest. 🙂

As for NaNo updates…are you ready? This could be a little long-winded, so feel free to skip past this if you don’t care.

{Begins long winded NaNo rambling here}writing_tablet

I’m doing good on the word count (slightly past the 16K mark) however, the story just doesn’t seem to be, well, flowing like I want it to this time around. I don’t know why, but the last two years when I worked on Promise of the Plum Blossom, the words just seemed to come easier. And the prose seemed to be better. 

Not saying there isn’t any salvageable material in Lady of the Snow just…well, there just doesn’t seem to be as much. As others have told me no writing is absolute garbage, so I know there’s some of this that I can use and edit to make it shine.

 Wouldn’t you know it–as I’m working on Lady of the Snow, I keep thinking of things to change in Promise. But I’m being good and not looking at it–solely focusing on Lady of the Snow until it’s done.

Yes, I know I shouldn’t be re-reading anything I’ve written at all, but too bad 😛 I haven’t changed any of it, just marked where things need clarification and examination. I already decided to make a complete change in one regard.

I initially had Kazuhiro’s family (Miyuki’s future husband and my second viewpoint character) welcome Miyuki/Yuki-onna with open arms (since she’s a human, at least physically). However I was reading one of my research books, because I wanted to look up some aspects of rice farming (fun stuff huh?) and I saw that it mentioned how young women found on mountain roads traveling alone were regarded with extreme caution because of the prevalence of the stories about them being supernatural beings (like kitsune, or “fox women”).

So probably around 30 page mark, I changed it to where the family–and the village in general–is a little hesitant of this strange girl found on a remote road. On the plus side, it adds another little challenge for my character–she’s got to gain the trust of the family and the townsfolk in order to be accepted.

By doing that, she’s got to act more “human” and by extension, this ultimately transforms her, making her realize ever so slowly that being mortal is a lot more than she expected. It’s one of those things that I wouldn’t have figured out except through writing–and of course, reading my history book and applying that one little truth nugget to part of my story.

{End of rambling}

This week doesn’t seem to be as busy as the last…at least not yet. Still planning to go to a few write-ins and hopefully catching up on some housework. Oh and hoping that our garbage disposal gets fixed since it’s now busted and using that side of the sink causes water to leak out below the cupboard.

How’s everyone else doing at the start of this second week of November?

NaNo 2009 Update and Other Randomness

Brief update on NaNo progress. I passed the 6K mark with an official count of 6766 words. Got a little more than 2400 done today. Much of that has to do with the word war I had with my sister, in which I had a little over 1100 words in a half hour. Impossible? Yeah I thought so too but I checked and re-checked what I’d written three times and it always added up to the same amount.

If only I could keep at that pace, like all the time.

This week has been crazy busy and in some ways, not the best first few days of my 25th year. Work has been slightly on the crazy side; I’ve had to drive all over town the last few days, with write-ins (which I love, don’t get me wrong!), vet appointments and just traveling to and from work. Today was particularly crappy with all the driving and then the $400 vet bill we got for Potato and his mysterious skin condition. But it ended on a good note when I came home to a belated birthday cake made by my wonderful husband and a birthday card 🙂


Poor little puppy...

Still, the rest of the week proves to be equally as insane with another write in tomorrow at Books & Co, going to a friend’s house on Thursday, back to Books & Co on Friday night with Phil’s cousin for Jamie Ford’s author signing (which I have been geekishly counting down for like the last month),  and Saturday I will spend most of the day baking kolachky (fruit filled cookies) for a recipe party that I’m going to on Sunday.

Not to mention I need to squeeze in my 2K of words every day.

Bah I’m exhausted just thinking about it and reading this over…

Ok well I’m off to bed. It’s early by my standards (meaning before midnight) but I don’t think I can physically keep my eyes open any longer.

Oh and I’m still planning on doing the series on Mythical Creatures of Japan the rest of the week, and month, hopefully 🙂

Quarter of a Century

That’s how old I’ll be come Sunday.

You all can figure out how many years that is without me coming out and saying it 😛

While it’s not old in the least, I still have a hard time believing I’m that age. I can seriously remember turning 13 like it was just last year…

So, what am I doing for the big day? Most of it will be spent in a car driving home from West Virginia (nearly 6 hour drive…). I’ll also stay up late the night before until midnight comes  because that’s also the start of NaNo. I won’t get much in during the drive and will probably be too road tired to want to do anything when I get home, so it’ll have to be the night before. I’m more of a night owl than early riser anyway.

NaNo’s about to start….and I’m getting old(er). Two exciting yet terrifying things on the same day.

A Little More than a Week

Imagination Rain

A week from this Sunday is the beginning of NaNoWriMo 2009.

I’ll be spending six hours in the car that day. 😛 Phil and I will be visiting friends in West Virginia, who just finished building their new house. We haven’t seen them in awhile so I’m excited to visit. A little sad that I’ll be in the car so long on the first day of NaNo–and my 25th birthday–but such is life.

I’ve decided I’ll either stay up late getting my word count in or get up early–or both. I may try to type some in the car, but motion sickness probably will prevent me from doing that for too long, as well as the fact that my laptop battery lasts about 30 minutes before dying.

It’ll all work out though. I’ll get my word count in that day if it means losing a few hours of sleep.

I’m aiming for a daily count of 3000 words. If I do that, I should be able to finish my first draft in the month. I’m not sure if I’ll be able to do that, as I tend to get incredibly unfocused around the 2200-2300 mark. We’ll see!

I’m also a co-ML for the Dayton region for NaNoWriMo. I met with our area ML last night (who’s also part of our critique group–essentially it was a critique group meeting sans critique) and we planned out where we’ll have our write-ins for the month. I called Books and Company, a local bookstore, to see if we can set up some write-ins there, but I had to leave a message for the person who coordinates that. Not sure if we’ll be able to get any scheduled times or not since it’s a little late, but we’ll try.

Also figured out that I’ll probably be an ML for the area next year as our current one is being relocated to L.A. in late December/January. There are a couple of others that can help me next year too…at least I hope so!

Anyway, if you’re participating in NaNo, are you prepared for it to begin? Do you plan on attending any write-ins? I’m curious 🙂

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