Tag: NaNoWriMo

December 8, 2016

 

NaNoWriMo 2016 officially ended 7 days, 12 hours, and 53 minutes ago (as of this writing).

 

So now seems like the perfect time for a recap post!

 

If you’ll remember, I decided to challenge myself to something I was affectionately calling #2books1month. And if you don’t remember, it was my silly little goal to write 100K words over two different story ideas for the month of November.

 

I failed.

 

Not NaNoWriMo. You can’t fail NaNoWriMo unless you don’t try.

 

No, I failed #2books1month.

nanowrimo2016-winner

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November 7, 2016

 

Y’all – we did it! We finished Week 1. Okay, collective breath in. Aaaaaand collective breath out.

 

Good. We’ve survived! We’ve made it past (in my opinion) the hardest part. First week down, just a few more to go!

 

Here are my current stats on Day 7:
nanowrimo-day-7-data
Now, I mentioned it vaguely in my post about How To Plan for NaNo, and you may have seen me talk about it if you follow me on social media, but I never fully explained what my goal is this November or why I’m doing #2books1month.

 

So here’s the reason:

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October 10, 2016

It’s my favorite time of year again! Not only is Halloween the best holiday, right after Halloween is National Novel Writing Month!

http://gph.is/2dmCTQY

 

November is almost upon us and as my excitement for NaNo has crept into October, this month will forever be known to me as NaNoPrep month!

 

And you know what I do during NaNoPrep month? I outline.

 

Especially since this will be my first year going above and beyond the 50K word goal. If you see me on social media, I’ll be using #2books1month since that’s my goal this year! (Thanks to my friend for suggesting it.)

 

There are some people – affectionately known as pantsers, because they’re flying by the seat of their pants – who don’t plan at all for NaNoWriMo. They may have an idea for what they want to write, or they may not, but regardless. They. Do. Not. Plan.

 

I used to think I was one of them. (Spoiler: I’m not.)

 

I like planning. (This is true in all facets of my life so why I thought writing would be any different is beyond me.) And even if you don’t usually like planning, if you’re kicking around the idea of participating in NaNoWriMo, I ABSOLUTELY RECOMMEND IT.

 

Why?

 

Because 50,000 words in one month is no joke. This comes out to ~1,667 words per day, which is more than a lot of people are used to writing. If you’re working part- or full-time, going to school, have kids, etc., this can be a difficult number to achieve each day. And it is SO easy to get behind, especially in a month where a lot of people either get the holidays off to visit family, or are working extra hours during Thanksgiving.

 

Basically, what I’m saying is, don’t underestimate the 1,667 words.

 

You may be thinking that’s silly because you can type 100 words/minute because you’re a superstar like my friend who’s going for a crazy 500K words this month. That’s fine, congrats on your insane speed, now humor me for a minute while I crunch some numbers.

 

Let’s assume you actually only type at 60 words/minute (“above average”). That means it would take you approximately a half hour to get all your words for the day. But hold up! That’s typing without thinking. That’s not wondering what word you want to use for the greatest impact, that’s not thinking up what a character should say or do next to advance the plot, and that’s not considering the fact that you wanted to create a world with magic and – oh shit – you’re now realizing one of your magic rules contradicts the other and AHHHHHH.

 

This isn’t meant to discourage! This is meant to help you realize that there’s something you can do about it now, rather than being derailed halfway through NaNoWriMo and wondering why you let yourself get so far behind and if it’s even possible to catch up. (Hello ‘07, ‘10, and ‘13 me!)

 

The best tip I can give to make November easier is to outline. This takes away a lot of the sitting around, wondering what on earth you’re going to write next. (And it means, if you can type 60 words/minute, NaNo won’t take up a huge portion of your day!) Now I don’t think you need to get crazy with it! All I want you to do, at first, is fill out Freytag’s Pyramid (aka the dramatic structure):

freytags_pyramid-svg from wikipedia

This is the original structure (and plenty of people have made changes and better updates to it), but basically it can be characterized by:

  • Beginning, with Inciting Incident
    • Why does your story start? Why are we following this character? What do they have to gain/lose? Why should the reader care?
  • Rising Action
    • Throw all of the crazy crap in the way of your character(s)! This is filled with all the complications that are keeping your character from getting what they want. Or, if you want to think of a mystery novel, this is the uncovering of the clues and the setbacks faced to find them. (This can be used for any genre.)
  • Climax
    • The turning point, the tip, the part of the story we’ve all been holding our breaths for! In our mystery example, this is the section where we find out whodunit or realize we’ve been chasing the wrong person all along.
  • Falling Action
    • The aftermath of the climax, it can sometimes include one final twist.
  • Denouement
    • Resolution! “The End”! This is the part that ties the entire story together for the reader.

Here’s an example of Freytag’s Pyramid/the dramatic structure for The Great Gatsby:

freytags-pyramid-for-great-gatsby

And here is (in my opinion) a more accurate version of what the dramatic structure should look like in a novel:

better-freytags-pyramid

But you get the gist! Basically, you have a beginning, a middle with the most important events, and an end. If you do no other planning or prepping than this, I think you’ll find NaNoWriMo much easier than going in blind or pantsing.

 

(Of course, once you have this, it’s easy to separate the dramatic structure out into a chapter-by-chapter outline. That’s what I like to do!)

Are you participating in NaNoWriMo this year? Are you a planner or a pantser? If you’re a planner, how do you do it? Any tips and tricks for the rest of us?

September 1, 2016

Will I reference Disney again before this post is done? Probably.

If you haven’t ventured over to the About Me section, and you’re extra confused about who I am and what I do and you’re wondering “why do you even have a blog?” then this post is for you! If you have read my bio and you’re just curious where the best place to get bubble tea is because you, too, have an addiction verging on the unhealthy, then this post is also for you!

The quick and easy version is I’m an aspiring author. I’m also a lot of other things, but the writer-bit is why I created this blog.

See, for years (a decade, even), I’ve wanted to be a professional writer. In fact, in researching for this blog post, I found the first time I ever wrote “The End” on a story. It was Harry Potter fanfiction when I was in the seventh grade. I still remember this story in great detail and it can actually be found floating around on the internet, but I think I’ll keep its whereabouts secret for now.

(I’m not alone in testing out the waters in the ocean that is writing with fanfiction. Meg Cabot, The Queen of YA – well, one of them, if we can allow a kind of Polyarchy of YA – says that she first began writing with Star Wars fanfiction.)

But I quickly learned that there was more to writing life than just fanfiction because of NaNoWriMo. It’s been a yearly ritual for me ever since to ‘compete’ each November — but more on that later.

With several NaNoNovels behind me, my writing life changed when I got into college. Instead of keeping my writing a secret from everyone besides my family and closest friends (I mistakenly told a doctor that I wanted to be a writer when I grew up and they laughed at me and said they hoped I had a back-up plan…I was twelve.), I joined the local writing group and then, with the help of a few people I met through that group, formed an on-campus writing organization through the university! That group is still trucking along, amassing more members than I ever saw from the two years I led it, and I couldn’t be happier.

We’re almost coming to the present day, so I’ll keep this bit short. I graduated with a more technical degree and worked at a Fortune 100 company for three years as an Account Manager. The best way I can summarize this time period is “fine and occasionally fun” but ultimately not what I wanted out of life.

So now I’m a full-time writer! And I’m hoping within the next couple years, I can change that to  “Published Author.” I’ve completed five first-drafts of stories, but the editing process is still something of a mystery to me. This blog will be a documentation of all the trials and tribulations (and successes and joys!) I experience on the road to publication.

Now, given that I just wrote about ten paragraphs above, all centered on writing, you can guess that this blog will focus on that. But! It will also focus on books I’ve read (because writers love to read!) and places I’ve been to! I’m a huge fan of traveling and have at least one overseas trip planned in the next year and four different trips to The Place Where Dreams Come True in the next five months! (I know, I know, I’m obsessed.)

Enough about me! If you’re a YA reader, who is your Queen or King? And if you’re a writer, is publishing your dream goal? Leave a comment or feel free to email me and let me know!

(By the way, the best place to get bubble tea in San Antonio is Tealicious!)