NaNoWriMo – Winner!

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I finished! I know I posted this a couple of days ago, but it was worth posting again.

This was my third year of participating in NaNo, and my first win. The first year I didn’t come as close as I would have liked, about 38k. I tried planning that time. I had an enormous epic fantasy planned and found myself drowning in details as I kept going back and trying to get everything just right before moving on. Rookie mistake, I think.

Last year I got right up till the last day and ran out of story ideas with 5,000 words left to go. I think if I had met my daily goals I would have been OK, but trying to catch up at the end was just too hard.

This year I “cheated” by rewriting last year’s book. I made sure to get my daily goals and I realized that I needed an entirely new ending. In fact, I still haven’t finished the ending, but I’m thinking it over and I feel like I’m close to getting it.

My book is tentatively called The Second Killer and I finished with 50,168 words. Yay!

How about you? How did you do? What did you learn? What are you planning to do next?

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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!

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!