NaNoWriMo Day 6 #NaNoWriMo #NaNoWriMo2017

I know one thing. Having a good outline and story helps a lot (for me). This outline is now carrying me through my third WriMo. I’m still excited about it. I can write details and scenes every time I sit to write. The outline is really good. So, that’s one battle won. I can apply this to future NaNoWriMos.

The problem comes…when life comes and barges in. Gotta make dinner. Gotta vote. Gotta do laundry (oops I left that in the washer…). And then writing fits in somewhere. So I’m 2k behind right now. But honestly if I’m 2k behind every 8-10k, that leaves me at 40k, which is practically done. Yes, 40k is easy to jump to 50k from. It’s just a matter of getting through the sloggy teens, the long 20ks, and the evil 30ks. Going from 40k – 50k is the easy part. I’ve never not finished a novel when I’ve gotten past 25k, for that matter.

This year will be good. Just gotta keep on keepin on. I’m so excited to actually finish this thing – that motivation is carrying me.

NaNoWriMo Day 5 #NaNoWriMo #NaNoWriMo2017

You have one good day, and then the next day life catches up with you…

I wrote a total of 400 words today. For my story, that is. I wrote a lot of words for other things. That whole pesky life thing coming back.

Oh well. I’m “behind” by 1000 words. But heck if I’m right around the average all the way through this year, I’ll be very happy. And so will my wrists.

I think this blogging thing is helping too. Since I have to (“have to”) come here and say what I did daily, I actually need to do things daily. So…tomorrow’s another day…

NaNoWriMo Day 4 #NaNoWriMo #NaNoWriMo2017

I again had to reread last year’s book in order to get up to speed on characters and plot. I’ve got multiple spreadsheets with plot, characters, timing, etc – but reading works better for me. So I read for a while today, and then wrote quite a bit. I’m ahead of the average! I don’t know if I’ve ever written more than the 1667 average words suggested. I’m always behind. But not this year. (And I don’t know how long it’ll last, but I’ll take it for now!)

I reeeeally like my book. All the stuff I read today made me really happy. Again, it’s got lots of problems. But I really want to finish this NaNoWriMo, which would mean I finish the book, and then I can start editing the 150k in its entirety. Which will be awesome.

I also kinda feel like I’m getting better at writing. Might just be me. But… yeah. It’s interesting. I mean, overall, I’ve been doing this since 2006. So I would hope I’m getting better. But I hadn’t really noticed before.

Progress 🙂

NaNoWriMo Day 2 #NaNoWriMo #NaNoWriMo2017

Day 2. I took another bundle of time to find the right chapter outline spreadsheet, read more of last year’s book, and get my headspace right. And then I actually started writing more for my characters. As you may recall, yesterday I wrote a new thing. Which was fresh and nice. But it’s also good to get back into the actual story. It’s fun and exciting to write my characters again.

I reread some parts of the end of my last book. And it’s so good. I mean, there’s a lot to do. Characters need to be fixed. Plot needs to be fleshed out. Scenes need to be described better. Etc Etc. You know, just about everything. But parts of it just sing, and are so cool. I had forgotten. Who knows if anyone else will think it’s cool, but I love some of the parts I read. Which is a good sign.

So…day 2, I continue to trek on. Running behind the average that the website wants me to hit, but hey I’m writing so I’m happy. As long as I don’t have a huge 33k deficit on day 27 (oh yes you read that right), I’ll be happy.

Last year I went from 17k on day 27 to 23k to 36k to 50k on the 30th. My hands really hurt after that. But it really showed me that, if I have a good outline and good momentum, I can write a heck of a lot in a short period of time. The stuff that I mentioned above, that I love, was at the end of that insane sprint. So yeah. Other years I gave up at 15k or 20k. But last year… that was something else. So I’m excited this year to finish it off.

Oh also, I now know three other people locally that are doing NaNoWriMo! That’s a record for me, out here. I haven’t had that since I lived in Grantham and did this my first year in 06. Warms me heart, it does.

NaNoWriMo Day 1 – The Start of The End #nanowrimo #nanowrimo2017

Book III has begun! I’m so excited. It took me a little bit to get back into the headspace of writing, and the scene and pace of my novel. By a little bit, though, I mean like 20 minutes. Which was awesome. Last year it took me a few days to actually get into the swing of things.

I did cheat a little – I started out this book with some new characters and a slightly different angle for the first chapter. But I think, first of all, it helped me ease into things…but more importantly – it will give the book a little fresh perspective, instead of just having the same repetitive characters and scenes over and over again.

So, yeah. Fun stuff so far. But this is just day 1. 30 days is a long time. Trust me, I know.

NaNoWriMo…again #nanowrimo #nanowrimo2017 #whee

I always seem to want to start stories with lists or with data, but I’m going to try and resist the urge – practice makes perfect. Very early on, in my 2006 NaNoWriMo novel, I talked about generals and counted up the number of stars they had, in the text of the book. My brother remarked about it, both because it showcased my love of military rank and also because it was a somewhat cumbersome bit of writing. It’s not terrible, and he was nice about it. But yeah, I definitely could rewrite it. I like lists and data and counting…but stories are really more than that, so here’s my current story about writing NaNoWriMo stories…with as few lists as possible:

Instead of rewriting my 2006 complete novel (well, 50k is more of a novelette) or my 2011 complete novel(ette), I started trying something new three years ago. (See how I can get some of my precious stats in there, but in context instead of a list? Look at me trying to be better). In 2014 I wrote up a whole huge outline with names and places and each chapter cut into thirds, etc. This was because my earlier tries often petered out when I lost sight of what was supposed to happen. Some authors thrive on having no outline (so I hear), but I need one to continue. I have, in the past, outlined on the fly when I ran out halfway through WriMo. I have also been able to ad lib a few thousand words at the end, as needed. But overall, a big outline is what I need. So anyway, in 2014 I wrote this huge outline and I finished the book…but only used a third of the outline.

This was it! This was my chance to maybe actually have a real regular-sized book! So in 2015 I…took a year off, because I figured I deserved it. And because after my 2011 win, 2012 and 2013 both didn’t go so well. So, I rested in 2015. In 2016 I wrote Part II of my novel. And it worked! Oh man it was hard. Starting from scratch and writing for a month is pretty easy, compared to picking up characters and pieces from two years earlier. My characters are pretty darn cardboard (two dimensional), and even they were not easy to bring back to life again. I honestly don’t envy GRR Martin or Patrick Rothfuss. Their stories have life to them, their characters are full, and they need to think through so much context and subcontext when writing the next books. I…mostly just need to remember who was where, and a few other sad details.

So, anyway, I wrote part I in 2014 and part II in 2016, and so here we are. On the eve of another NaNoWriMo. I haven’t done anything with the ’06 or ’11 novels that I finished. And I definitely haven’t done anything with the rest of the partial novels I wrote all the other years. But this one…I actually do want to finish this year (both the outline and NaNoWriMo). And then I want to edit and then find an agent. Because this could be it. Or not. But hey I might as well try.

NaNoWriMo also has all sorts of cute badges and achievements etc for people to look at and shoot for. One of them is “longest NaNo streak”….which I had pretty long, until I took a break in 2015. Kinda makes me wish I didn’t, but seriously achievements are not the goal. Novels are the goal. So…I push on.

It starts tomorrow. Once again, just like last year, I’ve barely prepared. I thought briefly about taking this year off (since I won last year), but this novel has been waiting since 2014. And seemingly I don’t have motivation to write any other time of the year, so this is it. So I’ll write by the seat of my pants, and also try and blog a bit. We shall see how it goes…

May 15th, 2004 – Messiah College graduation

Graduation walk

Has it really been a decade? Ten years? Ten years ago today, I was wearing a black robe, sweating in the hot sun. A long line of us, all dressed in black robes, walked along the sidewalk that I had walked on almost every day for the past four years. We sang Under the Sea and other Disney songs as we walked. We marched across the covered bridge, onto the soccer field, and filed into rows of plastic chairs. Soon most of us had our robes open and our top shirt buttons undone to try and escape the heat. Black robes don’t mix well with the somewhat muggy south central Pennsylvania summer weather.

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