NaNoWriMo Update

I’m still writing! I’m almost to 40,000 words. I’m rewriting a previous story, and I’m at the point where the previous stuff is not working, so I’m having to write new stuff. I hope this new version is better, but at this point I can’t tell for sure. All I know is that the old stuff didn’t work anymore.

For those of you who are writing, how’s it going? Are you still passionate about your story? Maybe that’s what’s slowing me down – I’m not feeling that urge to write. But I’m writing anyway! Anyone who thinks writing isn’t work should try it for a while, right?

Good luck to all of you! And if you’re behind, don’t give up! Your story needs you!

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Quote #5

book aestheticsThe police were done with their interviews, but a strange tension seemed to have crept over the lab. The nurses and other staff had taken to leaving in pairs so no one had to go out to the parking lot alone. Security was more alert, and several memos had circulated reminding employees of safety procedures. Too little, too late, in Lutie’s opinion.

–WIP, Cindy Bohn

 

Information about my Work in Progress –

30,000 words

mystery/thriller

biracial MC

set in Grand Junction, CO

about halfway done, outline for the rest!!

Nanowrimo check – in

How’s your book going? Are you still excited? Or has the push to write every day slowed you down too much?

Writing should not be a chore, IMO, but it also shouldn’t wait until you’re “in the mood” to write. Sometimes good stuff comes from pushing yourself to write when you don’t feel like writing.

Here’s my book stats so far.

Title: The Second Killer

Setting: Grand Junction, Colorado

Protagonist: Lutie Mitchell, lab technician

Other characters: Eli, Lutie’s brother, also biracial, Special Forces; Josh, Lutie’s boyfriend, Maddy, nurse, Lutie’s best friend, Agent Daniel Stapleton and Agent Jen Moreda, both FBI.

My biggest challenge so far has been continuity – keeping the story in a logical timeline and making sure things are happening in the right order

My biggest triumph has been writing through some emotional stuff and still getting in the words, even when I had a migraine.

How are you doing? Any tips you want to share? Anything you’re struggling with? Let me know!

NaNoWrimo is underway!

Hey you writers out there! How’s it going so far? Have you been writing every day? Did the prep help? What are you struggling with?

I’m up to 18k words and starting to hit the hard stuff. At first, I was mostly rewriting old chapters, but now I’ve got some original stuff I need to include and I think it will slow me down.   🐢

Remember, the goal is to write. Hitting your target number, writing every day, doing word sprints – those are just tools. Find your own style and make it work for you. Good luck!

SR

NaNoWriMo is Here!!

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NaNoWriMo 2017

It’s here! It’s here! Are you ready? I’m so excited that I stayed up on Halloween so I could start after midnight. I’m already up to 3580 words. It helps that I’m rewriting a book I did last year, but this year is my year and I’m going to finish! Good luck to everyone else! Post your word counts below.

NaNo Prep #3 – Character

World building is great, solid writing is a must, but if your characters don’t stand out, then your book isn’t worth reading. BOOM.

OK, you say, I want to write amazing, three-dimensional characters. Where do I start?

There are a lot of ways to get moving on your characters, but it all comes down to understanding what makes them work. And before you truly understand them, you need to define a few basics. I searched for character worksheets, and came up with this one from writerswrite.com.

Character Profile Worksheet

Basic Statistics

Name:
Age:
Nationality:
Socioeconomic Level as a child:
Socioeconomic Level as an adult:
Hometown:
Current Residence:
Occupation:
Income:
Talents/Skills:
Salary:
Birth order:
Siblings (describe relationship):
Spouse (describe relationship):
Children (describe relationship):
Grandparents (describe relationship):
Grandchildren (describe relationship):
Significant Others (describe relationship):
Relationship skills:

There’s much more at the link, but this is a good place to start. For me, I started with a person in my head and then used the worksheet to help me answer some questions I didn’t think of on my own.

Once you’ve filled out some sheets like this one, it helps to write some scenes with your characters as you’ve written them. These scenes are not meant to be in your book; they’re just writing exercises to get you thinking about how your characters interact. You can search for writing or character exercises – there are a LOT on the internet. Nanowrimo.org has some great links there listed in the forums. This will help you see if your characters have more to tell you than you get from a worksheet.

Again, why are characters so important? Ask yourself, if I read a book with a beautifully detailed world, intricate and well thought out, or a realistic setting I could imagine walking into, a world described by the most amazing writing you’ve ever read or imagined and a truly unique plot that just blows your mind

BUT

peopled exclusively by the most generic, boring characters you’ve read a thousand times over, acting with no discernible motivation….

Would you finish reading the book?

No. Because it wouldn’t matter. If you can’t connect on an emotional level with the action or the setting, then it doesn’t matter. Characters are where we connect to the emotional content of the story. But with flat characters, the struggle in the plot has no immediacy; the writing describes a great world but that’s all. You put down the book and forget to pick it back up again. When you finish it, IF you finish it, you don’t care what happened or how it happened. You just vaguely remember a couple of details and then move on.

So we want characters that readers care about. Part of that is in building a great back story, one that may not ever be seen by readers but will nevertheless shape everything we write. And we want to rewrite until our characters and their struggles become more and more real. Sure, our characters may – will! – surprise us as we start writing, but they shouldn’t BORE us.

Hope this gives you a place to start. November is just a couple of weeks away! Good luck!

Nano Prep #2

This is for all of you who are planning to write a book next month. It can be daunting to get started. Here’s an exercise I came up with to get you started thinking about your story.

  • What is your story about, in one sentence?
  • What is your story about, in one paragraph?
  • What is your story about, in one page?
  • Who is your main character? (more on this at a later date)
  • What genre is this book?
  • What is the setting? Date, place?
  • What is your intended audience?
  • What is the theme of your book? More here.

Here’s an example. Let’s say that I wanted to write a story about a couple trying to have a baby. My sentence description might be, “A couple in their thirties face a series of challenges trying to have a child of their own.” That sounds a little weak. Maybe I could change it into “A couple in their thirties must overcome a series of challenges in trying to conceive a child of their own.”

That’s better, but I could still expand on it some. Is my main character the man or the woman? Or is it a same sex couple?  So my sentence might read, “A woman and her partner must overcome a series of challenges in trying to conceive their own biological child.”

I could expand more on that, discuss what the challenges are, or maybe what kind of book this is, but that’s a place to start.

Then I need to discuss the genre. Is this science fiction or contemporary fiction? It’s probably not fantasy, horror, or mystery. Let’s go with plain contemporary fiction.

That helps me narrow done the setting. It’s present day. I’m most familiar with the US, and since I want to write about some cutting edge reproductive technology, a big city would be a good place to start. Maybe New York City.

And it’s pretty obvious that this would be geared to an adult audience.

But theme – that might take some thought. There are lots of way I could take this story. But let’s say that I want my readers to see that a challenge like this uncovers a lot of secrets in a relationship, that I want to describe a relationship that isn’t quite the way it seems on the surface. So my theme might be “Challenges uncover who we really are.” I may not be phrasing it just right, but that’s the general idea. Obviously, it will become more clear as I write it. But I hope you can see how this is done.

Now I could go back and rewrite my one sentence, moving on to a paragraph and then a page that details what my story is about. All this can be done now, before you really start to work in November.

Hope that helps! Good luck to you writers! Next time we’ll work on character.