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Monday, October 31, 2016

The Night Before NaNo

Well, tomorrow is the big day. I have to admit that I am pretty nervous. I have an idea and I have my characters, but man, I'm not sure how I will pull off this National Novel Writing Month. The important thing is that I am going to try my hardest.

Things I am going to do tonight: 
  • Take my kiddo treat-or-treating
  • Eat some candy
  • Watch a scary movie
  • Outline the scene I will be writing on November 1st
  • Sleep
Tomorrow I am going to:
  • Go to work
  • Write at least 2,000 words (I prefer to start off over the 1,667 words a day just incase I fall behind.)
  • Outline a scene for the next day
  • Sleep
I would like to wish all my fellow NaNoWriMos good luck! I hope that you find the story you want to write. I hope that writer's block never rears its ugly. I hope that you get the crazy awesome rough first draft that you need!

Remember, the world needs your novel.

(P.S. I will try to post things to inspire you throughout the month, good luck again.)

Saturday, October 29, 2016

NaNoWriMo Preparation

Well, we are three days away from the beginning of National Novel Writing Month and I can't wait to dive into writing recklessly for thirty days of November. 

Since NaNoWriMo is so close I thought I would share some prep tips.

  1. Hold yourself accountable. Let people know that you are participating. Text your friends, tell you family, scream it to the world via social media. The more who know you are doing it, the more people who are going ask how it is going, the more likely you are to actually do it. No one wants to face the embarrassment of failure, but I feel its worse to face that you honestly just didn't try.
  2. Find others to help keep you motivated. Raimey Gallant put together a site to list people participating in NaNoWriMo. Click here to be added to that list. Also visit NaNoWriMo's Forums to discuss your story and to receive advice and motivation to keep writing.
  3. Visit NaNoWriMo's Pep Talk page for advice from fellow writers.
  4. Write down any ideas you have for a story. Write down names and places that interest you. 
  5. Buy a notebook dedicated to National Novel Writing Month. Fill it with plots and character descriptions. Use it to write in when you aren't near a computer.
  6. I know that Halloween is the night before NaNoWriMo begins but adequate sleep is a must and not just the night before it begins but every night. You can't think straight on only 2 hours of sleep. You need sleep.
  7. On the flip side you also need things to keep you from getting sleepy during the middle of the day. So do what you need to do: Load up on coffee, soda, or tea. Drink your water. Fill up on sugar. Run a mile. Whatever energizes you, do it!
I hope you find these tips helpful and I'll share more tomorrow and Monday. Happy Saturday everyone!

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Inspiration for NaNoWriMo

In order to prepare for NaNoWriMo I need to feel inspired. So, I thought I would share some quotes that inspire me to be a better writer.

"You own everything that happened to you. Tell your stories. If people wanted you to write warmly about them, they shave have behaved better." - Anne Lamott, from Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life.
That quote reminds me that my writing is mine, my life is mine, and I should write about my experiences no matter how other people feel about them.

You are a writer even if you haven't been published.

"And by the way, everything in life is writable about if you have the outgoing guts to do it, and the imagination to improvise. The worst enemy of creativity is self-doubt." - Sylvia Plath, from The Unabridged Journals of Sylvia Plath.
Again, write for you and from your own experience. I find that writing is a whole lot easier when I do it with only my expectations in mind.

"Write what disturbs you, what you fear, what you have not been willing to speak about. Be willing to be split open." - Natalie Goldberg, from Writing Down the Bones: Freeing the Writer Within. 
Man, when it comes to this quote I feel like the writers of The Walking Dead live by it and you should too. Let yourself take a plot too far, take an idea too far, go dark, just do it. You may end up hating what you write but it will cathartic.

"I write to give myself strength. I write to be the characters that I am not. I write to explore all the things I am afraid of." -Joss Whedon 
Why do you write? Find that out if you can and run with it.

Writing isn't rainbows and butterflies and it can break you, but it can also save you.

"If it's still in your mind, it is worth the risk." - Paulo Coelho 
If you can't shake an idea or character or image, you should write about it.

"If I waited for perfection I would never write a word." - Margaret Atwood
No story ever started off perfect and ready to publish. I mean, that is what makes National Novel Writing Month so great, it demands imperfection. You write like a crazy person without editing, without stopping to make sure what you wrote makes sense, it doesn't allow you to beat yourself up.

"Get it down. Take chances. It may be bad, but it's the only way you can do anything really good." - William Faulkner
Again, this is what is so great about NaNoWriMo, it allows you write recklessly and to write really bad things that could turn into a wonderful story. You have to get the bad ideas and stories out of you before you can find greatness.

Never be afraid to write something controversial. Never be afraid to write the truth. Never be afraid to write. 

"You can't blame a writer for what the characters say." - Truman Capote
Never ever let the fear of offending people stop you from writing a dynamic character. Characters that have the most depth tend to be the ones that say and do things most wouldn't. You are not your characters, if your villain is a racist asshole that doesn't mean you are one. If you protagonist is depressed and suicidal it doesn't mean you are. Think about the books you have read with horrible characters in them, did you ever think the author must be a horrible person too? Probably not because you know it's fiction.

"If you don't care for obscenity, you don't care for the truth." - Tim O'Brien
Don't be afraid to have your characters cuss or make obscene gestures. Obscenity isn't bad or wrong, don't let anyone convince you otherwise.

This quote is true in more ways than one. How many times have you laid in bed at night, starting up at the ceiling, replaying your day and how you would have done things differently? How you should have told someone how you felt? It happens all the time. Use your writing to say what had previously been left unsaid.

I hope these quotes inspire you and help you during National Novel Writing Month.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

One Week to Go

Well, next week is the start of something amazing, National Novel Writing Month! So, to begin the count to it I thought I would share this year's writing playlist.

I am a firm believer that every book ever written has a soundtrack even if the author was conscious of it while writing it. That soundtrack could be rain hitting a window, the sound of their surroundings, or actual music. Music inspires me and really helps me set the tone of what I write. Try making a playlist for your story or let a playlist create itself by hitting shuffle on your choice of music player.

Well, here is my list (in no particular order), I hope it inspires you!

  1. Arsonist's Lullaby by Hozier
  2. Kansas City by The New Basement Tapes
  3. Okay I Believe You, But My Tommy Gun Don't by Brand New
  4. Wild Sun by The Strumbellas
  5. This is Gospel by Panic! At the Disco
  6. Talk Too Much by Coin
  7. Critical Mistakes by 888
  8. Bad, Bad, Bad by LANY
  9. Battle of Who Could Care Less by Ben Folds Five
  10. Do You Remember? by Jarryd James
  11. Give Me Love by Ed Sheeran
  12. Got You (Where I Want You) by the Flys
  13. How Soon is Now? by the Smiths
  14. I'll Catch You by the Get Up Kids
  15. Life Itself by Glass Animals
  16. Mess is Mine by Vance Joy
  17. The Mother We Share by Chvrches
  18. Settle Down by 1975
  19. Vacancy by Socialburn
  20. Ditmas by Mumford and Sons
  21. Rainy Girl by Andrew MacMahon in the Wildness

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Take a Break!

So,  you're staring at a blank screen, the prompts and visuals aren't working, no amount of advice is inspiring you, what should you do?

Take a break!

Sometimes your brain needs some time off. Go for a walk, play some Pokemon Go, listen to some music, watch your favorite show, read a book, or take a long nap. 

Whatever you do, make sure you take a notebook with you because you never know when an idea will hit and you will want to be able to write it down.

Also, don't feel bad for hitting a wall, it happens to all of us. Think about it, one day you might write 5,000 words or even 7,000, so taking a break, skipping a day, it will not ruin your chances of winning National Novel Writing Month. But, do try to start writing again as soon as possible, the longer you wait the easier it is to just quit.

Next week I will begin the count down to NaNoWriMo, good night and good luck!

Monday, October 17, 2016

Advice from Legendary Authors

These tips are exactly NaNoWriMo related but they are great tips for becoming a writer in general. I hope you find them helpful.

"It's doubtful that anyone with an internet connection at his workplace is writing good fiction." — Jonathan Franzen

"Don’t tell me the moon is shining; show me the glint of light on broken glass." – Anton Chekhov

"Fiction that isn't an author's personal adventure into the frightening or the unknown isn't worth writing for anything but money." — Jonathan Franzen

"Remember: when people tell you something's wrong or doesn't work for them, they are almost always right. When they tell you exactly what they think is wrong and how to fix it, they are almost always wrong." — Neil Gaiman

“The first draft of everything is shit.” -Ernest Hemingway

“Writing a book is a horrible, exhausting struggle, like a long bout with some painful illness. One would never undertake such a thing if one were not driven on by some demon whom one can neither resist nor understand.” — George Orwell

“If you don’t have time to read, you don’t have the time — or the tools — to write. Simple as that.” – Stephen King

“If writing seems hard, it’s because it is hard. It’s one of the hardest things people do.” – William Zinsser

“Here is a lesson in creative writing. First rule: Do not use semicolons. They are transvestite hermaphrodites representing absolutely nothing. All they do is show you’ve been to college.” – Kurt Vonnegut

“Substitute ‘damn’ every time you’re inclined to write ‘very;’ your editor will delete it and the writing will be just as it should be.” – Mark Twain

“Don’t take anyone’s writing advice too seriously.” – Lev Grossman
“Start telling the stories that only you can tell, because there’ll always be better writers than you and there’ll always be smarter writers than you. There will always be people who are much better at doing this or doing that – but you are the only you.” ― Neil Gaiman

“You can only become truly accomplished at something you love. Don’t make money your goal. Instead pursue the things you love doing and then do them so well that people can’t take their eyes off of you.” ― Maya Angelou

Friday, October 14, 2016

NaNoWriMo Winners who Became Successful Pt. 2

Advice from Stephanie Perkins:
  • Start your project without a lot of preconceived ideas and notions.
  • Start your project without a lot of preconceived ideas and notions.
  •  Remember: Your novel is supposed to suck right now. The only way you can mess this up? That’s if you stop writing. So keep going! Keep sucking! You’re doing great. I’m proud of you.

Advice from Lydia Netzer:
  •  Silence your inner editor. Don’t worry; just write. Go, go, go.
  • A lot of people frown on NaNoWriMo, believing it produces reams of garbage, and that writing quickly can only lead to writing poorly. We’ve all run into this attitude. Maybe we’ve had someone say “Why would you waste your time writing something you know will be bad?” I respectfully disagree with these people, as I have found that during this mad dash, I find different layers of my projects that I would not have been pushed to uncover at a steady, reasonable pace.

Advice from Rainbow Powell:
  • That’s not writing, I thought, that’s just piling up words. But then I thought about how wonderful it would be to have a pile of 50,000 words…
  • I set three goals:
  1. To write every day.
  2. To write at least 2,000 words every day.
  3. And—this was crucial for me—to keep moving forward.
For more advice from National Novel Writing Month winners, check out NaNoWriMo's Pep Talk Page.

Thursday, October 13, 2016

NaNoWriMo Winners who Became Successful Pt. 1

Advice from Sara Gruen:

  • I think the hardest part is getting a draft finished. It’s important to stop thinking about writing and just write. It’s something I grapple with every day—stop thinking, start writing.
  • However far behind you are, take comfort in knowing that there is somebody else out there in the same boat, and look for that next fun scene. And then the next. And if that doesn’t work, set someone on fire. In your book, of course.

Advice from Marissa Meyer:
  • Never fear. Anyone who has ever written “The End” on a manuscript knows that, sometimes, inspiration eludes us. No one looks forward to those lulls in the writing process, but they are natural, and they can be overcome. These are the times when we must proceed on willpower and caffeine and the unflappable confidence that each word we write is one word closer to a finished novel. I can promise that, tough as those times may be, they often lead to some of our most proud and beautiful writing moments.
  • Maybe you’re being called toward eye patch-sporting pirates and buried treasure. Maybe you’re dying to write about a hitchhiker with aspirations of being the world’s greatest baseball player. Maybe your dystopic, plague-ridden society is bringing you down and you’d love to send your characters on a romp through a whimsical wonderland.Make your list, choose what’s calling to you most, and drop it into the next chapter just as if you’d been planning it all along. Watch as your plot and characters scramble to make it work, and the words once more begin to pile up.
  • For more advice from her check out her pep talk on NaNoWriMo's Site.

Advice from Erin Morgenstern:
  • Never delete anything. If you can’t stand to look at it, change the font to white and keep going.
  • If possible, get a running start. It gives you flexibility for later in the month when you desperately need to do something, anything that doesn’t involve writing once in a while.
  • Do something, anything that doesn’t involve writing once in a while. Take a walk, go to a museum, do yoga, paint your toenails, spin around in circles. Shake your brain up so the ideas can move around.
  • Backup. Frequently. Flash drives are your friends. Also, I hear you can store things on clouds now but I’m not sure how that works. It sounds very whimsical, though, and I am a fan of whimsy.
  • Take risks. (Microsoft Word wanted to autocorrect that to “Take care.” Clearly, Word does not understand NaNoWriMo. Also, this is why I normally write in Scrivener. Scrivener would never suggest such a thing.)
  • When in doubt, just add ninjas. (Ninjas do not need to be actual ninjas.) (But they can be.)
  • Let yourself be surprised.

I hope these winners and their advice help you write your novel! Tomorrow I will post more advice from successful National Novel Writing Month winners.

      Tuesday, October 11, 2016

      50,000 Words and Counting...

      I am going to preface this post by saying that these tips are strictly for NaNoWriMo. Why? Because these tips don't lead to amazing writing, or at least they normally don't. These tips are literally just advice on how to boost your word count and if used, they should be edited out of your novel later. 

      50,000 words is a lot to write in 30 days and fluffing up you novel with unnecessary words isn't cheating when it comes to National Novel Writing month. I would only use these tips if you are a little shy of your goal and not throughout the whole process. (Remember, this draft is going to be super rough and you can always edit once November is over.)

      Tip 1: Do not use contractions. Won't becomes will not, shouldn't becomes should not, and we'll becomes we will. This is guaranteed to add to your word count.

      Tip 2: Use chapter titles (this is one that works even after NaNoWriMo is over because you may grow to like them.) Using chapter titles can add quite a bit to your word count.

      Tip 3: Add a dream or flashback (this is also one you might end up keeping during the editing process.) Dreams and flashbacks can add a lot of words and also add a lot to your story.

      Tip 4: Become a maximalist! Describe everything down to its last detail. Think Johnathan Franzen. 

      Tip 5: Use wordy phrases instead of the shorter alternative. 
      • The reason why is that instead of because.
      • He is a man who instead of he. 
      • A great number of times instead of often.
      • At some future date instead of later.
      • Despite the fact that instead of although. 
      • At the end of the line instead of last.
      Tip 6: This one isn't about adding random words or scenes to your novel, this tip can help you throughout the whole writing process. Keep a small notebook with you everywhere you go. You never know when an idea will strike and having something to write it down in will help you immensely. You will not only remember your idea, but it will help add to your word count in the long run.

      I hope these tips help you on your NaNoWriMo journey. Tomorrow's post will be a surprise. Have a great day!

      Sunday, October 9, 2016

      Where Do I Begin?

      Sometimes being told you can write about what ever you want makes it difficult to write about anything. So, here are some writing prompts to help you on your NaNoWriMo journey:

      1. After accidentally killing the hero, you (or main protagonist) must embark on an adventure to complete his/her quest.
      2. Write a story about a hitman for the supernatural. Why do the supernatural need a hitman? Well, sometimes ghosts need revenge before they can rest in peace.
      3. Write about someone finding out that Earth is actually just an insane asylum for the Milky Way.
      4. Every 100 years the seven deadly sins meet up for a tournament, the tournament determines which sin will plague the human race until the next tournament comes around.
      5. Use the first line of your favorite nursery rhyme as the beginning a very dark narrative.
      6. Write a story, that as it ends, the main protagonist realizes that they were the villain all along.
      7. Write a story about a world where dreamcatchers have to be emptied of the nightmares they catch once a year. Who empties them and what does that person see?
      8. Write a story that takes lace immediately after a tragedy, but never once mention the tragedy. Let your readers discover it themselves.
      9. Write about a world in which heartbreak causes physical breaks and fissures to the earth's landscape, creating cracks in pavement and valleys. Write about the heartbreak that caused the Grand Canyon.
      10. Every full moon an extra hour is added at midnight and only a few people get to experience it, write about the witching hour, what happens and who gets to live it.
      11. Write a story the involves a countdown. Start with 10 and countdown to 1 or use time (10 hours until... 30 minutes until...)
      12. One day you (the main protagonist) notices a new key on your keychain, you have no idea what it unlocks, but you are determined to find out.
      I hope that these prompts help inspire you to write your story. Remember, the world needs your novel.

      Tomorrow I will give you some visual prompts to further inspire you and help you with your NationalNovel Writing Month journey.

      Saturday, October 8, 2016

      To Read or Not to Read?

      Sometimes people find it hard to read a book and to work on their own story during National Novel Writing Month. I completely understand why, reading a book while you are writing your own story can cause you to mimic it and that can be problematic, but reading can also be a learning experience.

      If you do choose to read while working on your NaNoWriMo novel, read books that are completely different from what you are writing about. If you are writing a Sci-Fi war novel try reading a period romance novel. Let the other genre inspire you to get more creative. You should also read books that were horribly written so that you can learn what not to do. Fifty Shades of Grey is one I recommend for reading when you want to see how not to do dialog tags or repetition. It's also a book that proves you need to do more research if you are writing about something that you have little knowledge of. 

      I would suggest limiting the amount of time you read during NaNoWriMo. A good book can be hard to put down so you should really focus of your own story during November and only read when you need to take a break from writing. 

      Tomorrow I will post some writing prompts to give you some inspiration. Have a great day!

      Friday, October 7, 2016

      Write What?!?

      So, you have decided to dive in and take part in National Novel Writing Month, but what should you write about?

      The answer: ABSOLUTELY ANYTHING!

      You can write from the usual genres, like sci-fi or romance. You can dip you fingers into memoir or erotica. You can mesh genres together and come up with something completely new and unique. You could even go old school and write a verse novel (think the Iliad or the Odyssey.)

      You could try to take a page out of Once Upon a Time's book and rewrite a fairy tale, modernize it or maybe explore a character that isn't part of the main story. Or rewrite history or show what the history books leave out. 

      Honestly, you can write about whatever your heart desires. My only piece advice would be to write about something you love or something you are interested in learning more about because writing about something you are not passionate about is miserable. 

      Tomorrow I will be discussing whether or not it's a good idea to read while trying to write your own story.

      Thursday, October 6, 2016

      Why NaNoWriMo?

      Why should you participate in National Novel Writing Month this November?

      Well, do you want to be a writer? If the answer is yes, then NaNoWriMo is definitely for you.

      The way I see it, if you want to be a writer, you have to write daily. Since, NaNoWriMo requires you to write at 50,000 words in 30 days, you will have to write every day, and while 50,000 words in 30 days sounds like a lot, it is only 1,667 words a day.

      Also, since you only have 30 days to write those 50,000 words, you have no time to edit. I know, that sounds crazy right? But honestly, it is actually the best thing about National Novel Writing Month. It forces me to stop self-editing as I go and to write all of my thoughts down with reckless abandon. Normally, I write a paragraph and edit it a million times before I move on. Not only is that counter productive, it is actually crazy. Writing without editing allows me to get my story down on paper completely without forgetting things because I was too busy fixing spelling and punctuation. 

      The number one reason for participating in NaNoWriMo is that at the end of November you have your first rough draft of your story. Yes, it will be extremely rough and definitely not ready to send off to publishers, but you will have a good start to what could be a great novel. When November is over, take a break and enjoy your achievement. When you're ready you  can finish the story if 50,000 words wasn't enough and you can start editing it. 

      Bonus Reason: If you reach the 50,000 word goal you reason some awesome prizes, and one is typically some form a free self-publishing so you can have a copy of your novel (beware, if you want the novel published later by an actual publisher this could make an agent/publisher decline to make an offer on your story, but some companies do purchase books the were originally self-published.) For more information about the prizes please visit: The Winner's Goodies Page.

      Tomorrow I will be discussing what you can and can't write during National Novel Writing Month.

      Wednesday, October 5, 2016

      Countdown to NaNoWriMo

      In about 25 days National Novel Writing Month will begin and I can't wait! For those who don't know what NaNoWriMo is, please, let me explain. NaNoWriMo takes place during November, from November 1st to the 30th you are to write with reckless abandon in order to reach 50,000 words. While there are technically no rules you shouldn't write the same word 50,000 times and it is recommended to start on a whole new story, but that isn't to say you couldn't start outlining a story in advance.

      Throughout the month of October I will be blogging tips and tricks for prepping for and making it through November.

      If you are interested in more information about National Novel Writing Month or would like to sign up to participate (it's free and there are some cool prizes for completing) please visit:

      Tomorrow I will be discussing why you should commit to 30 days of craziness even if you don't think you are a writer!