NaNoWriMo 2011: T-13 Hours and Counting

NaNoWriMo 2011 starts in less than 13 hours now. I’m fairly prepared. I know my characters inside and out, because they’re Stig and Isabell from Aboard the Unstoppable Aerostat Fenris and The Great Healion Race. I have no idea yet what the next two books will be called. I do know they’ll likely be the last two books in the series (though I have an idea for a short story that I may publish for free or add to one of the other books as a bonus). I was originally planning on six books, but I feel like that might end up dragging the series out for too long, and upon looking over my original outline, I can cut and combine two of the books without taking anything of substance away from the overall story.

And, to be quite honest, I’m ready to move on to other things. I love The Steam and Steel Chronicles, I love the characters, but I also have a lot of other projects that I love and want to work on.

So, I’ll leave a few tidbits about what will be happening in the next two books:

  1. A certain device from ATUAF will be making another appearance.
  2. A certain character or two from TGHR will be reappearing in a fairly major role in Book 3.
  3. Things will most definitely be resolved between Stig and Isabell.

I’ll also offer you this photo of how I always pictured Stig (sorry if you’ve always pictured him differently). If there’s ever a film version of the books (which I honestly hope there will be, and will consider producing myself at some point in the future), I’ll be lobbying hard for Grant Bowler.

Now, as for NaNoWriMo itself, I may stay up until midnight tonight to try to knock out a thousand words or so before bed. If you’re new to NaNo, you might want to check out My Guide to Surviving NaNoWriMo (which was also republished on Publetariat).

I’m going to aim for 2,000 words a day so that I can take days off around Thanksgiving if I need to. And for those days when I’m just not feeling it and only manage a few hundred words. It’s always a challenge to manage a full-time writing/editing/copywriting job, plus a college-level class, plus writing at that rate, but I’ve done it before and I’m 99% sure I can do it again (you just might see me a lot less on Twitter/Google+/Facebook until December).

Also, if you want to “Buddy” me on the NaNoWriMo site, feel free to do so here.

My Guide to Surviving NaNoWriMo

NaNoWriMo officially starts in less than three weeks! I’ll be participating again, this time hopefully finishing up the third and fourth books of The Steam and Steel Chronicles. I feel like I’ve finally got some plot issues tied up in my head, so I can move forward with it. The thing is, when I wrote the first two books last year (for NaNoWriMo), I didn’t really have an overall story arc in mind. I just sort of threw everything in there and waited to see what stuck.

So now I’ve got all these potential plot threads that need to be tied up in the third and fourth books (I’m thinking those will finish the story, though I’m also planning a short story or two that will take place between books one and two). I’m not one to just let things go unanswered, and I want to make sure that things people liked in the first two books are featured again in the third and fourth books, without being shoehorned in. I’ve got them all figured out now, though, so I’m eager to get writing again!

But I wanted to put together a guide for surviving (and even winning) NaNoWriMo. I’m hoping it will be useful whether you’re a NaNo veteran or a first-timer. Continue reading

Online Resources for Fiction Writers

I was talking to a friend on Facebook the other day and he mentioned something about how I knew all these great resources online for writers. I have a tendency to forget that not every writer out there knows a lot about the resources the internet has to offer them. I work online on a daily basis, constantly looking up new resources for one project or another, and come across new tools all the time.

So I’m going to attempt to put together all the best resources I’ve found useful into a single reference guide for fiction writers. I’ve scoured my Google Bookmarks to come up with this list. If you have other tools you’ve found useful that aren’t included here, please share them in the comments! Continue reading

NaNoWriMo Day #29: I WON!

So, here it is on day #29 of NaNoWriMo and I just hit 50k words. It’s not all on the novel I originally started, though. I finished that at about 42k words and then started on another novel rather than add a bunch of crap into the first one that I’d just end up deleting in revisions. My original NaNo “novel” will be a novella in the end. I might even split it up into two novellas. The plan at this point is to finish up this other novel I started at the end of NaNo and then go back and edit the first one. Then I’ll release it as an ebook, since the market for novellas is so limited (especially steampunk novellas). I plan on developing a series based around these characters and in this world, probably a mix of novels and novellas.

The one thing I plan on continuing now that NaNo is over is writing fiction every day. I’ve been really bad about that in recent months, and I want to get back into the habit. I wrote nearly every day this month (I think there were three days total when I didn’t write and a few days where I only wrote a few hundred words). I want to keep writing every day. And on days when I’m not writing, I plan to edit. I want fiction writing to be a career eventually, and writing every day will bring me closer to that goal.

So, how did everyone else do? Are you still working toward 50k? Or have you won already? Given up? Anyone plan on calling in sick to work tomorrow and making a marathon effort to hit 50k? Let me know in the comments!

The Two-Thirds Slump

I’m about 2/3 of the way through my NaNoWriMo novel. And I’ve hit the two-thirds slump. This happens to me with virtually every novel I write. I get to this point, and then I get bored with it. I should clarify, that this always happens somewhere between the half-way and two-thirds point, not always at exactly two-thirds. But I always feel like it’s about 2/3 of the way through the story.

Part of this is that it’s about half-way through the middle. I’ve got all the fun beginning stuff done. I’ve been slogging through the middle for awhile now, and I just want to get to the end. But I’m not at the end yet. I’m still working my way up to the climax. I’m always struggling to keep this part interesting, to keep raising the stakes. And I’m always afraid that I’m failing miserably. Continue reading

NaNoWriMo Day 18!

Here we are at day 18 of National Novel Writing Month and I’m proud to say that I’m still on track to reach 50k words by the end of November. So I’m upping the ante a bit: my new goal is that I want to have this novel complete by November 30th. I’m thinking it’s going to come in somewhere around 70k words, which means I’ve got to basically double my word count for the remaining twelve days.

But that’s okay. Yesterday, using Write or Die, I managed 1,000 words in 15 minutes. If I just do four sessions like that each day, I should have no problem completing this novel. The prose isn’t perfect, but I’m so into the story at this point that what I’m writing in those short bursts is actually pretty good. I just think about it for a few minutes before I start, so I have an idea of what I want to write in those 15 minutes, and then I write. It’s been working really well so far. And if I’m even more pressed for time, I’ll do 500-word sessions (which take me about 8-9 minutes).

I’m hoping that even after NaNoWriMo is over, I can keep writing 2-4k words each day with this method. I’ve been neglecting my fiction for too long. But if I can’t figure out a way to spare a few 15-minute blocks during the day, then I don’t really deserve to call myself a writer, do I?

NaNoWriMo Day 10! And an Excerpt!

Let me just say that I’m really, really psyched about NaNoWriMo this year. It’s ten days in (1/3 of the way), and so far everything is going brilliantly.

Despite a slow start (as of Day 2 I was only at 338 words), I’m now slightly ahead of schedule, with nearly 18,500 words (I’m hoping to get to 19,000 by the end of tonight). I love my story. Not just a little bit, like A LOT.

I finally went with a steampunk love story. It’s a rewrite of my third novel, though the only thing that’s been kept the same is the main love interest (mostly) and my main character’s name. I’ve also got plans for at least one sequel, and I’m hoping I’ll be able to turn this into a series.

Here’s an excerpt. Please remember that this is a first draft, written a break-neck speed, so don’t hold it against me that it’s not perfect!

He wasn’t lying when he said the bunk was small. Isabelle didn’t take her sweater or other clothes off, simply climbed into the top bunk where it would be warmer, and covered up with the heavy wool blanket she found there. She was glad the door there had a lock on it, though she assumed Stig had a key, but at least it made her feel a bit safer. It meant she only had to worry about one person, rather than dozens or hundreds like she would have in the city streets.

The wind howled outside and she wondered if the whole hangar was going to come down on top of them. No sense worrying about it, all she could do was hope the airship would hold up if it did.

She yawned but didn’t feel tired enough to sleep yet. Her belly was full, something it hadn’t been in weeks, and she wondered if it would make her sick. Rich food like that wasn’t the best thing to put on an empty stomach. On more than one occasion she’d seen other street kids eat something rich from a dumpster or stolen from a restaurant just to puke it all up ten minutes later.

Rustling noises came from the room on the other side of her locked door, and a minute later she saw the sliver of light shining under the door go out. It took every bit of will she had to relax enough to close her eyes, but soon she was on the verge of drifting off. It was a dreamless sleep that night, and when she woke up there was light filtering under the door again, but this time it had the cool grayness of daylight.

Again, it’s just a short excerpt, but it gives a taste of what I’ve been working on.

NaNoWriMo Day 3

First of all, let me apologize to anyone who got a warning about malware on this site over the past day or so. My site was hacked a few months ago, and while I thought the problem was entirely fixed, there was still one file that, while dormant, hadn’t been fixed. Somehow Google picked up on that file and flagged the site. It’s all fixed now and hopefully it won’t happen again. Thanks to my husband, Mike Moffit, for taking the time to fix it today so I could focus on work and NaNoWriMo!

So here we are on day 3 of NaNoWriMo. I’m currently sitting at around 2200 words. The first day, I wrote nothing. November 1st was the day from hell around here, so it wasn’t surprising that NaNo got sidetracked. Yesterday I finally settled on an idea and started writing, managing about 300 words. Today I finally hit my daily word count goal, plus an extra 100+ words to help catch up on the two days I missed (I have to write about 115 extra words per day to make up for the two days when I basically wrote nothing). Continue reading

NaNoWriMo Countdown: The Temptation to Wing It

So here we are, with less than 72 hours to go before the start of NaNoWriMo 2010. And I’m still not sure what I’m going to write about.

There’s the rewrite of the story from NaNoWriMo 2008. That’s what I planned on doing all along. But now I’m wondering if the only reason I wanted to write that one was because it won in 2008, so I feel like it has a better shot at winning this year.

The second option is a story that’s sort of semi-autobiographical, but set on a generation starship traveling millions of light years from earth. I came up with the idea for this one over the summer, and have been sort of half-thinking about it ever since.

And then there’s this other one that’s been nagging me, about four friends on a road trip together before (or maybe right after) their last year of college.

There are pros and cons to each of the above. I wonder if the first one shouldn’t be done in a more methodical manner, since it’s fully outlined and I’ve technically written it before. It kind of feels like that would be a good idea. Part of the fun of NaNoWriMo is getting crazy with your story. The first one leaves little room for getting crazy.

The second one has a ton of potential to get crazy, but it’s also more of a hard sci-fi story. I’ve never written hard sci-fi. It’s kind of intimidating. And generation ships present so many potential technological pitfalls and impossibilities that it’s pretty intimidating. But maybe I can just gloss over those parts and come back to them and make sure everything works in the editing phase.

The third one is one that I’m still very unsure about. That could work in my favor or not. I have a general idea of the story, but I’m not sure where it would fit, genre-wise (maybe YA if I changed the ages and made them a bit younger, maybe lit fic, maybe something else). I’m also afraid this one might turn out to be more of a novella, and if the point of NaNo this year is to write 50k words, that could be a problem. Then again, I could always finish the novella (if that’s what it turns out to be) and then start something else to meet the 50k goal.

Honestly, I’ll probably make up my mind Sunday night or first thing Monday morning and then just go with it. Or I’ll have a complete meltdown.

Who else out there still isn’t sure what they’re going to write for NaNo and is thinking about just winging it? Anyone?


NaNoWriMo Countdown: Crisis of Confidence

This happens to me every year. I get close to the start of NaNoWriMo and start to doubt my idea. Despite the fact I’ve done loads of planning and have my idea all sketched out, I start to wonder if it’s the right idea for NaNo. What if I lose momentum on it? What if it bores me? What if it sucks?

Okay, that last one doesn’t usually bother me. There are two reasons for this: I’ve been writing for a long time and while not everything I write is good, I’ve gotten better about not writing stuff that sucks. The other reason is that it’s NaNoWriMo; it’s completely okay if it sucks. Continue reading