NaNoWriMo 2017 Is Coming

Even if you’re not a fan or avid viewer of Game of Thrones, I’m sure you’ve heard the famous tagline “Winter is coming.” Well, for all of us denizens within the Northern Hemisphere of planet Earth, winter is coming and that means yet another November dedicated to NaNoWriMo.

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Courtesy of NaNoWriMo

 

I’ve never dove into a NaNoWriMo event head first. Usually because I think too hard about the deadline and 50K words and shrug it off. Granted, I’ve used the push from others to force myself into dedicated daily writing and completed existing drafts.

What Makes NaNoWriMo 2017 Different?

A friend at my small critique group slipped me a copy of “No Plot, No Problem” by Chris Baty. In case you’re not familiar with his name, he’s is one of the founders of NaNoWriMo. Within its pages I’ve discovered that my previous method and mind-set were completely off-base and essentially at odds with the manner in which any would be author should approach a #NaNoWriMo event.

As An Aid to Other Indie Authors

Throughout this October, I’ll have a series of blog posts that will serve as a quick “How To NaNo” guide. So forget about finding a coffee maker with an intravenous tube, three cases of Twinkies, or a special box to lock up your cats. The good news is you will not need to do push-ups or run for miles in this training program.

My Project For This Year’s NaNoWriMo

A few weeks ago I was having a sleepless night. While I tossed and turned, book III for my Tales of Tyrennia came to me in a flash. So, it’s a sure bet what I’ll be working on this November. In the next post, I’ll reveal the correct mind-set to have concerning your end product.

Use the Comments To Tell Me About Your NaNoWriMo 2017 Project.

Every Time You Reply – Little Frankie Doesn’t Cry

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Music: The Other Writing Muse

 

I once read that you should never listen to music with lyrics while writing. Naturally, I ignored that suggestion and later learned that it is truly a sound piece of advice.

Luckily, besides my towers of classic rock CDs, I have a cabinet full of classical music. There’s Vivaldi, Tchaikovsky, Mozart, Prokofiev, Chopin, Wagner, and many others. Classical CD’s are quite the bargain as well. You can get a stack for the price of two or three of the stuff charting on Billboard. Not sure if they’re a bargain on iTunes, but I’m sure someone will post in the comments about it (psst…that’s a hint).

trebleBeside a broad paintbrush approach, think about music that compliments your subject. Listen to Chopin while writing something romantic, Wagner for a major battle scene, Grieg for a morning scene or writing about Dwarves. However, if you need to listen to something between writing spurts, then go ahead and break out that classic rock catalogue.

At those times, when I take a break, out comes The Beatles, Yes, The Stones, Pink Floyd, Dylan, or ELP. Yes, I’m a classic rock child of the ‘60s and ‘70s and I hope you are one too. If you’re wondering about my classic rock choices, then check some of those artists out on YouTube. There’s a plethora of uploaded music and you may be pleasantly surprised.

Another Inspirational Source

Last November during #NaNoWriMo, I wanted to complete the first draft of my second #fantasy novel. The second book in the Tales of Tyrennia Series is set in the Dwarven Kingdom of Eismark. At one point I became stuck. I wouldn’t call it a writer’s block episode, but rather a malaise. During NaNoWriMo 2016, I caught a bad flu and didn’t write for weeks.

So, I thought about what could serve as a healthy push about Dwarves. In a flash, I had an idea. I created a Dwarf toon on Lord of the Rings Online (LOTRO). After running around Thorin’s Hall and a few quests in the mines, I found myself itching to write again. Suddenly the last three chapters flooded onto my screen. They poured out of me and practically wrote themselves.

The #LOTRO gaming experience turned a fledgling NaNoWrimo into something of a success.

What music or other media inspire you to write?

DON’T GO – COMMENT BELOW

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A New Short Story

Although it will not be ready for another month or two, I finished a new long short story last night. Right now it stacks up at 22 pages, but with my scant writing style, I can see it expanding to almost 30 pages.

The end came as a pleasant surprise. #NaNoWriMo ended almost a month ago, and I’ve been furiously editing my fantasy novel “An Easterly Sojourn.” For some reason, I got the #amwriting bug a few days ago and hammered out the last half of the new short. The first half had been floundering in stasis for over a year. Then in an instant, the rest of this very complicated plot flashed in my mind.

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Public Domain Image Courtesy of Pixabay

I never told or discussed this story with my resident grammar nazi…editor…wife…um…The Queen. I felt that it would be important for her to read through it without any previous knowledge. Therefore, I’d know if the plot got too confusing, had glaring holes, or paths of least resistance were sufficiently blocked. Also, some characters have more than one name. I was somewhat worried about that as well. In the end, she read through it without confusion. Phew (*wipes brow), looks like I’ve managed to handle those potential baddies.

What will win in the end, love or greed? Well you’ll have to read it to find out. You didn’t really think I’d offer a spoiler at this moment, did you?

At first, this short story had the working title “The Psychic.” However, after numerous attempts to re-title, I’ve narrowed it down to two others, either “Psychic Games,” or “Psychic Confidence.” I’m leaning heavily toward the latter over the former.

Keep an eye out for a cover reveal in January

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A Week in the life of #NaNoWriMo 2016

Hello Peeps!

I know I should have posted earlier about a very busy 1st week of #NaNoWriMo2016. However, I picked up a particularly nasty bug that takes seven to ten days to run its course. This is the first time that I have been feeling well enough to tickle my keyboard.

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Week one started on Oct. 30th for the Treasure Valley group. We had a kick off dinner at the Black Bear diner in #Boise. Quite a few wordsmiths turned out for some fun and writer’s talk…too bad there wasn’t any whiskey around.

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I made it to a write-in at Barnes & Noble in Boise on Tuesday, Nov. 1. A fairly decent crowd once again. Big thankies to B&N and our coordinator Kelley Thibodeau for arranging those write-ins and the kick-off dinner.

The Mountain Home Writer’s Guild hosted a write-in at Common Ground Coffee on Sunday, Nov. 6th. I prepared a German luncheon. We offered assorted links with flavored sauerkraut, German tater salad (What’s taters precious?  J), a cool refreshing beet salad, and some homemade pretzels. We had six writers. I really expected more, but we all had an enjoyable afternoon.

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I still managed over 2K for the week. Too bad I caught this flu and my word count sank to nothing.

Anyway, how was your first NaNo week? Do anything interesting? Meet any new authors? Did you host an event? Attend a write-in? How’s your writing and word count?

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Get Ready For NaNoWriMo 2016

I’m really fired up for this one and can’t wait to get started. My first fantasy novel, Tales of Tyrennia Book I: An Easterly Sojourn is still in the editing stage. However that hasn’t stopped me from working on book II of the series. The working title is The Frozen War. Within these pages, I’m delving into the Dwarven Kingdoms of the north.

I’m about 65 pages into The Frozen War, and I would really like to do some open field running. In the weeks preceding #NaNoWriMo, I’m going to review the new novel in order to bring myself back up to speed.

Next there is my writing space. As some of you know, my wife and I are expecting. Therefore, many renovations have been going on. One of the changes was to convert our office into a guest room. We moved our computers and bookcases into some “dead space” in our entry hall. At first it felt strange, but in the past few weeks, I’ve become accustomed to my new writing area.

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Got my guitars, album covers, stereo, and books around me

Our computer desks didn’t fit, or look right, in the new space. We purchased two new identical desks. The black frames and the glass tops look great. Except, our glass desk tops are now covered in paw prints from the cats. 🙂

Also, there will be many NaNo functions in town and Boise. It is always good to meet up with my fellow-travelers, have a snack, some coffee (mandatory), and let our fingers do the walking on the keyboards.

What are you working on for NaNoWriMo 2016? A new novel? Restarting an older idea?

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Camp NaNoWriMo 2016 (Final)

The thirty days of furious quill scratching is now over. I know that we all use keyboards now, but didn’t that sound quaint?

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We had some good write-in sessions and got to meet and exchange a few ideas with new authors in the area.

 

Of course I didn’t reach the 50K word milestone, but I did get to the point where I wanted to be. The second novel in the “Tales of Tyrennia Series,” is now taking on definite form. I made it to 10,249 words or 50 pages.

Now I can relax (I hear you laughing) and get back to editing the first novel and another short story collection.

The shorts collection “Pressure Points,” is very close to completion. However, I’m going to get more of the novel “An Easterly Sojourn” edited before going back to the shorts collection. Breaking up the work at hand helps me to deal with it.

How did Camp #NaNoWrimo 2016 turn out for you?

 

Camp NaNo 2016 (Update)

I always find the #CampNaNoWriMo  events to be more difficult because of the time of the year. In November it’s easy despite the minor distraction of Thanksgiving and the coming Holiday Season.

Springtime makes the April NaNo more difficult. There are many home projects that demand attention. Besides the age old “Spring Cleaning” tradition, landscaping and gardening tend to dominate April and May.

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I promise to do a post next month with pictures concerning my landscaping and gardening projects.

Despite all the chores, I have managed to attend two “write-ins” and have a word count of about 10K completed for my second #fantasy novel in The Tales of Tyrennia series. However, I am not done with NaNo. The novel has taken off in a new direction, therefore I #amwriting more. Also, I released a new short during the NaNo season, which means mucho social media time.

Did you get much writing done this month? Did spring get in the way?

Camp NaNoWriMo 2016

I know that some don’t give the April #CampNaNoWriMo the same attention as the main NaNoWriMo event in November. However, I am going to approach 2016’s Camp NaNo with all of the same seriousness as the November event for the first time.

Editing can be a more grueling process than writing a first draft. To be honest, I’ve had it up to here (my hand is under my chin) with editing. I’ll gladly switch hats for the next thirty days.

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To Display My Sincerity

My writer’s group has decided to change our April meetings from critique sessions to write-ins. We are also going to make the pilgrimage to Boise in order to write with our comrades in the Treasure Valley Group. They tend to sponsor a lot of write-ins in the local Barnes & Noble. A perfect situation, I get to write, and my wife gets to browse. Rather, she’ll say she’s going to browse, but will wind up with a stack of books at the cash register.

What Will I Write?

Well, I did not finish the draft of my second fantasy novel, “The Frozen War.” Although the first one, “An Easterly Sojourn” is not yet edited, I decided to start the second. Remember, you can’t edit a blank page. Of course how much better will it be that after publishing the first novel, I can jump right in and start editing the second one.

***Put Ragged Souls on your Kindle at Amazon U.S.***

The Best Part

I don’t mercilessly push myself during a NaNo event. There’s no sweating of blood or feelings inadequacy due to not meeting a goal. I simply look at the files at the end of the month and get a sense of satisfaction from a stack of pages that wouldn’t exist were it not for NaNo. That doesn’t mean that I approach it half-heartedly either. I simply allot more time for writing and attend write-ins.

What about you?

What writing project will you work on?

#NaNoWriMo 2015: Week 1

Well the first week of #NaNoWriMo is over. It could’ve been more productive but there are extenuating circumstances. 1) My wife is home from deployment and was still enjoying leave time. It would’ve been really wrong of me to shun her and spend selfish time at the PC. 2) Also she’s on a renovation quest. The kitchen needs an overhaul, so we spent a lot of time at Lowe’s & Home Depot.

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Image Courtesy of NaNoWriMo

Aside from domesticity, I did manage to squeeze in some writing time and made it to a “write-in” in Boise, Id. This is my first attempt at NaNoWriMo from scratch. I did participate last year but only to finish off my manuscript for “An Easterly Sojourn.” Book one in my #fantasy series called Tales of Tyrennia.

For NaNoWriMo 2015, I started the manuscript for Book II: “The Frozen War.” So far I’ve managed 6,232 words. Already the book has taken off despite my planning. I love it when a plot or a character takes on a life of their own and moves away from my notes in a different direction. Don’t you love that too?

I’m though the first six chapters and had to update my notes because the subject matter of Chapter six was never planned. So back to my notes and change the chapter numbers.

Stay tuned…I’m hosting a “write-in” at a local coffee shop for the #Treasure Valley Group. I’ll let you know how it goes.

How far along is your NaNoWriMo 2015 manuscript?

Your Second Draft: Paragraphing

Now that #NaNoWriMo 2014 is over, many authors, including myself will be scratching our collective heads in the #editing phase of bringing our works to market.

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Journal Entry by Joel Montes De Oca used under CC License

What you should look for in your first glance at your manuscript is spelling, grammar, punctuation, and paragraphing. The first three, spelling, grammar, and punctuation are obvious enough, but you’re going to have brush up on their rules.

If I were to go into every rule for those three concerns, then this would be a book rather than a blog post. Try to obtain a copy of the Harbrace College Handbook, or if you’re in a pinch check out the Ask a Grammar Guru page on Facebook.

In the end, paragraphing seems to perplex quite a few #authors out there. After all, your paragraph can be spelled and punctuated properly and yet be considered wrong.

As far as the mechanics go, the general consensus out there for proper paragraphing is as follows…

When the speaker-tag changes, then a new paragraph is needed. If done right, then you can actually avoid the over-use of tags.

The action of one character causes a reaction from another character. The action-reaction dynamic needs to have its own separate paragraphs.

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A Crumpled Paper Ball by Turinboy used under CC License

A character can only think, say, or do something. Therefore, keep it all in the family in the same paragraph. However, this can lead to paragraphs that are just too long.

Keep the length of a paragraph to five or six lines. If your character says and does a lot, then keep any internal dialog separate in order to avoid a lengthy paragraph.

You can go as far as half a page in one paragraph, if your intention is to slow down the pace.

Did you find this helpful? Did I forget to address something?