Free Writing

NaNoWriMo Day 18: Record Breaking Change of Plan

See that picture right there? Yeah, that one to the left, and there’s a larger one at the bottom. See them? That’s what getting caught up with NaNo after being almost two weeks behind looks like. That’s what forcing myself to pound out nearly 6,000 words looks like. That’s what writing my butt off looks like. (And I mean that quite literally. My butt was numb for quite a while yesterday.)

I know to some of you that may not seem like much, but to me it’s the most I’ve ever written in one day. My previous record was a little over 5,000 words during Camp NaNoWriMo.

 

I know the more I force myself to write every day, the easier writing will come, but I noticed something in common with both of those record breaking days:

I planned.

That’s right, this so-called ‘pantser’ actually sat down and took the time to plan out where the story was going. It was only after planning, that I was able to pound out 5 and 6k words. Almost like they were nothing.

 

I think it’s also getting easier because because I’m nearing the end of the book. Soul Weaver currently sits at 94,515 words with a total goal of around 115k. But that’s only for NaNoWriMo purposes. I won’t be disappointed if I only write another 5k before typing “THE END”, but I have a feeling that’s not going to happen. There’s so much I have yet to write. The climax is coming. The MC needs to grow. The bad guy needs to be defeated. People need to die. (In the book! In the book!) I know I have another good 10-15k to write.

 

The problem with being a pantser is that you never really know what to write until you write it. There are times you get stuck because you’re not sure where it’s going. Like introducing a new character. Or ten. That was the case a few days ago when my MC met a group of people that I knew would be instrumental in the end, but I had no idea how to write them. I had to take the time to sit down and name them; give them a back story; find out what their personalities were; and what their role would be, before I could continue.

Had I planned all of it out from the beginning I would have been able to write through that chapter without an issue. So after I wrote them into the story, I took the time to plan out where the rest of the book was going.

Chapter by chapter I wrote what needed to happen next. I gave myself some flex room in case a character decided to do something odd without asking first. (We’ve all had those moments right? We think our characters are going to do something, only to find out that they do something totally different.) In the end, I planned from the next chapter until the end of the book.

And you know what happened? I was able to punch out 3k, 4k, and almost 6k words in one day. Not only that, but I felt much more comfortable with my writing. By this time I know my MCs well enough that was easier to write their story in the direction I now know it’s going.

 

To say that I think I may have learned a lesson here would be an understatement. I have a sequel in mind after finishing Soul Weaver and it might be safe to say that it will involve a lot more planning beforehand. Maybe I’ll be able to be one of those people who finish NaNoWriMo in one day!

Wait a minute. Who am I kidding? Let’s not get ahead of ourselves here. Maybe I can just shoot for 75k in 30 days instead. Yeah, that sounds a little more reasonable.

 

So I leave you with this: If you’re still lagging behind, struggling to catch up, and maybe thinking you won’t be able to finish – try doing something different. Something you don’t usually do. If you’re a planner, try pantsing. If you’re a panster, try planning. If you’re a little bit of both, take a break and challenge yourself by writing a short back story for a side character.

Another thing you can do is to find someone to challenge you. A little bit of writing truth or dare if you will. My friend Aaron Steinmetz and I did that during Camp WriMo this year and I’ll be darned if one of his challenges didn’t wind up becoming an important part of my novel.

If you’ve never played, it goes like this:

You: I dare you to write about a three legged dog.

Friend: Okay, I dare you to have one of your characters use the word ‘fart’.

It’s as simple as that. You both write the other person’s challenge and before you know it, you’ve just added another couple (or hundred…or thousand) words to your novel. Rinse and repeat. Keep in mind: if you don’t like it, you can always edit it out later.

 

If you’re still struggling, don’t fret. NaNoWriMo is meant to get writers into the habit of writing every day. Even if it’s just a few words. So if you don’t wind up with 50k words by November 30th, but you continue to hammer away at your writing every day then you, my friend, have already won.

 

CaughtupNaNo2014

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Free Writing

NaNoWriMo Day 23 – 41k+

Last night I busted 40k for Camp WriMo. For some reason I don’t seem to be as proud of that as I was of 25k. I now know I won’t be satisfied until I hit 50k. I’m in the homestretch now, though. I’ve done my best to keep above the daily goal. My first weekend have been the only two days so far that I was unable to do so, but only by a few words, so I’ll cut myself some slack.

As I write this novel, I know I’m going to end up with much more than 58,233 words (which is my current goal for WriMo purposes.) While I’m not sure if I’ll get to the 100k mark, I do think I can easily get between 60-80k with what I have left to write.

I’ve also decided to re-work my chapters once again. I’m pushing 40 right now and I think I’ve just hit the halfway point (and slightly beyond.) I could probably get away with halving the current chapter count and still having close to 30+ chapters when it’s all said and done.

I must say, it’s been hard keeping my inner editor at bay while pushing this out for WriMo. While it gets easier with each passing day, any time I need to look back at previous chapters, my inner editor likes to pop out and say hi. Most of the time I beat him back with sweets or hot tea, but I have to make sure I’m not too abusive to him otherwise he may not be so happy to help when I need him. 🙂

 

I must add that this past weekend brought some pretty cool news. I managed to get in touch with an old writing friend of mine who I have not talked to in nearly 10 years. I admit that due to our playing catch up, my writing suffered for it. Not that I’m complaining at all. I was still able to keep above the daily goal, so I think it’s only fair that I allowed myself some “me” time right?

What’s really motivating to me, is seeing that my old writing buddy – Aaron Steinmetz – has managed to go much further with his writing, than I ever dreamed I could with my own. He has 4 novels published already. One of which is a collection of short stories that he wrote around the time I came into his life. It’s been fun reading through them again, and once WriMo is over, I’ll be taking a look at his other novels. I know if they’re anything like what he used to write, I will love them. So be on the lookout for a review on them. In the meantime, if you’re interested, here’s a link to his Amazon. I invite you to take a gander at his works and support a dear good friend and fellow indie publisher by purchasing one of his books. I’ve been told that one of them has been dedicated to yours truly. 😉

 

So with 9 days left before WriMo is over, I have less than 9k words left to go. I have no doubt that I will be able to knock those out within the next couple days and consider myself an early winner. My inner editor has been, for the most part, pretty tame. As an added bonus, now I have another person on my cheering squad to motivate me to finish this thing (even bigger bonus that he’s already been in my shoes so I’ll probably use that to my advantage – Sorry Aaron!) I’m looking forward to doing NaNoWriMo with him in November. He’s managed to win the past 4 years of November WriMos, so I have someone to look up to!

 

My next blog will likely be once WriMo is over. With any luck, the title will be “NaNoWriMo: Winner!” or the like.

Good luck to the rest of you out there also doing Camp WriMo. Push yourself and reach the goal you’ve set for yourself! Dedicate the time to do it, and just put one word after the other. Even if it’s crap. You can always edit it later. You can’t edit a blank page.

snoopy writing

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Guest Blog

NaNoWriMo Isn’t Proper Writing

And that is what all of the Nano writers are doing without any concern for the level of craft they have reached. They are all learning. And they are writing. And that’s a good thing. … They will get better. They will be good. And one day the Aspiring Author, will be an Author.

(Emphasis added)

I love this so much. Sooooo much. 🙂

I feel like she was talking directly to my heart and I love her for that.

stirlingwriter

I’ve heard this many times and often with some venom behind it. Of course it isn’t true. If you write then you are a writer. It doesn’t matter if you are sitting studiously in a library or running naked in Bermuda, if you write, you are a writer. And please note here, those of you who’ve produced several thousand words so far, if you do it, you are it, no ifs, no buts, and no Aspiring.

But, the mind splurge of Nano produces some truly awful work, you say? Well, yes, yes it does. It produces first drafts, which as Hemingway always reminds us are…horse apples. But some of those pieces of work will be edited and revised and turned into really great work. Some won’t. Some people have the temerity to enjoy the whole experience and miss out on the angst altogether. Some people just aren’t ready to be…

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