I talked about Life in Slake Patch and it’s long history from initial draft through multiple revisions to it’s final publishing date and the redesign of the front cover. We discussed my writing journey and how I create my stories.
If you have any questions please feel free to ask in the comment section here. I’m always happy to connect and chat.
As we enter the last week of NaNoWriMo, I thought I would share my experience of the challenge and share some tips.
National Novel Writing month is a crazy experience, whether it is your first attempt or one of many. We all tend to become rather manic as we write to our daily goal of 1667 words (or more if possible). I remember my first NaNoWriMo was back in 2009. At the time my writing experience was minimal, and my longest piece of writing was maybe three paragraphs long, substantially less than fifty thousand words.
The panic I felt at the mind-blowing word count and the deadline date made me completely obsessed. I would race home from work to write, threw the easiest meals together for my family and ignored household chores, for the most part. This was my focus. Now, after twelve years of the challenge, I have become more relaxed knowing I am capable of writing at least 1667 words in an evening. My average daily word count fluctuates between 1700 and 1900 words this year. That is not to say I do not experience some anxiety; I just know how to handle the challenge better now. As with everything – practice makes perfect, or in this case ‘bum in seat’ makes an achievable word count.
Here are a few tips I found worked for me:
Cultivate your story idea before NaNo starts. It may be a character, a location or even a whole scene that propels you into the story.
Jot down notes for plot, character names & personalities, anything that you see being included in your narrative.
Find a time and a quiet place to write that works for you and your family. Designate a time, if that helps.
Don’t make excuses – write first then watch TV or scroll social media.
Use unexpected spare/free time to write, even if it’s only a paragraph. Every word counts.
Try writing bursts – time yourself to write a certain number of words in an allocated amount of time.
Aim to write over the daily word count of 1667 this helps you stay ahead. So, any unforeseen circumstances are not so drastic to your end goal.
Let the words flow – leave editing and revision for later.
Use the word count tracker on the website, it helps you stay on goal.
Mark or highlight a sentence if fact checking is required. This stops you going down internet rabbit holes.
Believe in yourself, your story and your success.
Celebrate the smaller victories – hitting a sprint goal, writing a smashing paragraph, learning a new word.
Make sure you rest, exercise and eat.
Enjoy the process of immersing yourself into creating a world of your imagination.
Even if you don’t achieve 50,000 words you have managed to write a fair amount – that is success. Remember this challenge is only the beginning of your narrative’s journey. The editing and revisions come later.
The great thing about re-reading a book many times is you are immediately transported back to the imagery you have of the characters and their location. It is like visiting an old friend. I will never tire of this story.
Which book do you return to and why?
What I’m reading now: The Midnight Library by Matt Haig.
From this description you can probably tell why I chose it. Between life and death there is a library, and within that library, the shelves go on forever. Every book provides a chance to try another life you could have lived. To see how things would be if you had made other choices . . . Would you have done anything different, if you had the chance to undo your regrets?
What are you currently reading? Why did you choose it?
I am continuing to write the second book in The Delphic Murders trilogy – The Tainted Search through November’s National Novel Writing month and have past 41,000 words so should succeed by 30th November and reach 50,000 words! There have been a couple of surprising twists already from my characters and a solution to one plot point I was struggling with, so in all a good process.
As always I am open to question s about what I’m reading and writing. Take care.
I was excited to be the Author of the Day on Many Books talking about Life in Slake Patch, my speculative fiction novel. You can read about how the story was created, a glimpse at the characters and the extended time it took to write the story. Here:
If I did not answer aquestion you would like to ask, please put it in the comments and I will happily reply.
While I have admittedly never READ a mafia romance, I am obsessed with the history and lore behind several of the world’s successful crime organizations. Chicago alone has a long history with the mafia but all over the world different variations of organized crime have, while somewhat controversial, still been a vital part of society. They are always protrayed as a villian, a heartless and honorless beast that must be fed…but I never saw them that way. I always thought for these families to exist and maintain power as long as they have, they MUST have had their internal codes of honor, trust, and sense of community that knit everyone together, and so I decided to write that.
Additionally, what mafia romances I have watched on the silver screen seem to stick to the same three motifs: Either the female MC was kidnapped, or she witnessed something she wasn’t supposed to, or she was forced into an arranged marriage.
I wanted to do something different, so I had my story originate from the unintentional collision of two worlds: Jaxon’s world of the underground, and Natalie’s of what we view as “normal society.”
2. Did youknow it would be part of a series when you started writing it?
Yes! I have plans for 16 books in this series!
3. Which character really propelled the narrative for you?
Jaxon. He is flawed but protective, dangerous but compassionate. I love Natalie, but she’s more who I aspire to be, less of who I identify with now. Haha!
4. What draws you to Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s writing?
The complexity and his drive to make his readers think-while still delivering a satisfying yet surprising ending!
5. Have you formulated your narratives as homage to his style?
Absolutely. I agree with him that great and relatable stories are often pulled from human experience. As he once said:
“Life is infinitely stranger than anything the mind of man could invent.”
6. Where do you typically write?
While I love my office at home, the world is my office and I am constantly writing all day long on my phone. I have thumb muscles of steel!
7. Are you a member of a writing group?
Not officially, but I do have a little community of writers that have come together as fans of “Heart of the Inferno” and we have created a Discord. They are the most incredible ladies, who support and inspire me DAILY.
8. What do you enjoy most about writing?
It is truly relaxing for me. It allows me to be creative without the messiness and chaos that typical creative processes take, something my type-A personality appreciates.
9. Where can readers find you and your books?
Amazon and Kindle
10. Do you have more writing projects in the works?
Oh yes! Book three, the conclusion of THIS part of the story with Jaxon and Natalie, drops at the end of May 2022. However, as I mentioned there are 13 more books planned, featuring side characters in HOTI as the main characters (and don’t worry, Jaxon and Natalie will continue as side characters too!)
Big plans indeed!
Nicole’s debut novel, Catalyst, is the first incendiary installment of the Heart of the Inferno Series, which follows the story of a dangerous mafia don and the girl who became his only exception
Nicole is an author, copywriter, wife and super proud dog mom to three rambunctious rescue dogs. And is also an old school romantic, with a proclivity for a little mischief, and an obsession with Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. With a background in marketing, and Human Resources, she has often found that the human element is by far the most colorful, complex and most interesting in the world. As a child, Nicole devoured every book she could get my hands on, and spent her free time writing fictional short-stories to share with her friends, probably the reason she decided to write (and publish) her first book series: Heart of the Inferno. It’s an action-romance about a dangerous mafia lord named Jaxon Pace, and Natalie Tyler, the girl who became his only exception.