Category Archives: National Novel Writing Month

Writing Hub -Books, Writing, Tips & more…


writing-hub

Writing:

The Twesome Loop

I managed to hide away in my local library last night prior to my writers meeting and work on revisions for my reincarnation romance, The Twesome Loop. With twenty-two pages revised, 510 words added (I don’t count deleted ones!) I felt satisfied at it’s progress. Now I have found a superb cover designer I’m already thinking of a cover for this novel, the illustrated one was the NaNoWriMo proof copy. This novel is one I will be finalizing (hopefully) at the writers retreat later this month. Countdown is on to 18th May…

Our meeting was fun and I shared a part chapter of Twesome, which was well received. It always bolsters an author’s confidence when their words are liked.

My ghost writing project will have several changes made this week, although as I am accompanying my daughter to her reptile show all weekend I doubt I will get any writing done until the evenings.

Books:

The Other Life

The Other Life by Ellen Meister- I finished this book, thoroughly enjoyed it. Here is my review on Goodreads.

Love the struggle Quinn has in this story, whether to stay with her current family life or switch to a more glamorous one, she once had. There are many factors for and against in both lives and this narrative beautifully demonstrates that.
Mothering has its challenges and Quinn has to make some hard choices, so even if you are not into ‘alternative or parallel worlds’ this story will capture you.

Her Fearful Symmentry by Audrey Niffenegger. I am now absorbed by this tale, which is set in London, England on the outskirts of Highgate Cemetery of all places. Obviously this appeals to my warped sense of drama.

Symmentry

While I was at Authors for Indies on Saturday at the Sherwood Park Bookworm, I requested a book with a reincarnation theme. Luckily for me, Leanne the owner found it so it is now on my TBR pile.

Reincarnation by Suzanne Weyn      

Reincarnation

How many books do you read in connection with or research for, your current work in progress?

Writing Tips:

Keep a journal or notebook handy at all times so you can jot down all of your brilliant ideas. If you’ve got a smartphone, make sure it’s loaded with a note-taking app. A voice-recording app also comes in handy for recording notes and ideas.

Personally I keep a notebook beside my bed and one in my handbag/purse all the time – when an idea strikes it is best to write it down – later it will allude you!

Make sure you have a dictionary and thesaurus available whenever you are writing.

Do you have a favorite writing tip you would like to share?

A Writers Conundrum – Finding Time to Write..


To have inspiration for our writing we must observe life, to avoid our family and friends abandoning us we need to engage with them, to pay the bills we must usually work a day job, to maintain our word count or deadline we must organize writing time. So the question is, how can we juggle all of these demands on our time with failing at each one?

Finding the ‘perfect’ balance between these is always a challenge. You may be in the depths of a scene when a small hand lands on your lap, a teenager ‘must’ be taken to a friends house, your husband needs help with a project or dare I say it your boss needs something from you? We inevitably crumble and leave the narrative in the hope you will remember the details later? We may scramble to jot down that idea, phrase or even paragraph before being torn away. I have looked to other writers, famous or not, and tried to delve beyond the obvious and gleam an insight into their methods of finding time. There are numerous hints and tips populating the internet but in the end you know your life and its limitations best. You may get up extra early, stay awake until the breaking dawn or cram a few paragraphs into your lunch hour – whatever works for you and your writing – is the right way to go. The trick is how to organize your time productively.

How do you schedule your writing?

What time of day works best for you?

I have to admit my writing is not scheduled. I take advantage of any time I’m left alone and once absorbed find it difficult to let go. Weekend mornings are good for me as I get up early and have several hours while my daughter is still sleeping and my husband is playing about in the garage! Other times I can use are the evenings when I arrive early for writing group meetings and write until the allotted time. Other ‘escape’ opportunities do arise and I always take advantage of them: a cancelled appointment, the house to myself or the glory of a  writing retreat! Obviously, I dream of the day I can shut myself away with my laptop and not have to answer to anyone…it will happen I just need to be patient.

With my freelance work increasingly demanding more of my time, I have to split my writing with that of clients. Maybe I am wrong but I tend to complete a client’s work prior to my own. Having a deadline for a paying job and completing it is, to my mind, more important and vital: a) for repeated work b) for remuneration. That is not to say I believe my own writing is secondary, far from it. Within my writing group, Writers Foundation of Strathcona County, I am fortunate to have other writers who engage in an annual novel workshop. At the beginning of the year, when several of us have participated in NaNoWriMo and others are ready to share their first draft, we meet every month until June (sometimes longer). We section our novels and email them to each other, then edit and comment on the narrative. Then at month’s end email our editing and meet to discuss the stories. It is beta reading within a ‘safe’ environment if you will. This mutual assistance enables me to edit my current manuscript with the views of several other authors and a ‘faster’ editing process too.

Care to share your writing schedule or tips you found useful?

My writing area expands a little each year! Where do you write?

New Writing DEsk 003new writing deskPicture Wall

NaNoWriMo Winner 2014 and a Prompt…


Winner-2014-Twitter-ProfileNow for the hard work revisions, continuity, editing etc… The Giving Thief is officially pending.

How are you doing in NaNoWriMo?

Snowfall

Apologies for not writing an extended post – we are enduring a mammoth snowfall hence driving and all normal chores and activities are requiring extra vigilance.

Stay safe out their my fellow Albertan’s.

Prompt:  You are snowed in – what do you do to pass the time?

 

Writing Retreat in NaNoWriMo Month…


Overlander sign

My good friend, Linda and I escaped for a wonderful long weekend of writing on Thursday night to Jasper National Park. Our cabin was perfectly situated for us to enjoy peace and quiet. We find it companionable to write together as we share the passion for the written word. Hours may pass and we have not spoken a word, just typed a lot! This mini writing retreat was perfectly timed to give us both much needed time to devote to our respective NaNo novels.

I have many demands on my time with work, volunteering, home and family and so treasure pure writing time. However, Linda has even more demands as she is a publisher (Dream Write Publishing) as well as an author and volunteer and much more! Due to our shared discipline we managed a substantial word count even when we treated ourselves to a trip through the park into Jasper itself on Saturday. We were extremely fortunate to encounter stunning wildlife and the opportunity to refresh our connection to nature.

Elk

Mountain goats

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A browsing session in a couple of souvenir shops gave us gifts and I found a perfect promotional item for my upcoming Western romance, Willow Tree Tears. A figurine of a female barrel racer – my protagonist.

Barrel girl 3

Barrel girl 2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We experienced the trip down to Jasper in rain and darkness on Thursday night, bright sunshine and magnificent mountains on Saturday and a large snowfall on Sunday morning greeted us. Each experience was inspiring and special. Returning to our normal routines was difficult – we could have stayed a lot longer but we have our spring writing retreat to look forward to – so let’s start counting the days.

What get-away has given you writing time?

Where do you go?

With whom?

Good luck to my fellow NaNo participants.

 

 

NaNoWriMo – Madness or Opportunity..?


Nano 2014 banner

For those of you who have made the commitment to this mad, exciting, panic inducing challenge – I say good luck, may your muse always be at your shoulder and your words flow smoothly upon your page.

To find those extra minutes in the day to write is tricky to be sure but it is a mind set. Do you have a lunch hour? Can you slip away whilst your family is watching TV? Does it really matter if the slow cooker is the only means of cooking for the month?

I know I become totally possessed during NaNo and write several paragraphs while the meal is cooking, skipping lunch so I can address a characters next move or ignore my eyelids closing as I write into the early hours. This year the challenge began on a weekend, which was an added bonus as well as our clocks went back – whoop an extra hour!  NaNo may seem like a daunting assignment to undertake but there are incredible benefits too. It can be a personal challenge to see how you manage under a deadline, an out pouring of ideas, character development or finally beginning that wished for novel.

Writing to a deadline, for me anyway, results in almost complete novel length stories. These can be revised, added to and edited at my leisure in the following months. Even if you do not manage the fifty thousand word total, you will have laid down enough words to forge ahead with your own narrative. It can be the start you have avoided for months or years.

Knowing there are many, many writers around the world absorbed in the same challenge is not only exciting but a companionship of sorts. The NaNoWriMo site has a buddy system and you can connect with other participants, giving and receiving encouragement and support. Whether you use a pen and notebook or type your story, it is the words that matter.

This month will see thousands of stories created, their characters forging forward and over coming obstacles. Some will be happy, some will be sad but your story will be told.

Enjoy the process, scary as it is – the result is so very rewarding.

cabinMy novel this year is called The Giving Thief, a thriller/suspense/erotic – if there is such a genre!

It is a combination of three true news stories I found fascinating. My protagonist murders someone and flees – for what he believes will be a short time…but things do not go to plan. The photo is similar to how I see his hideout in the mountains.

Where Is Your NaNoWriMo Manuscript Now..?


articles

So it’s seven months since the frantic November writing frenzy. It’s hard to believe time has passed that quickly. We participate in NaNoWriMo for various reasons and levels of success but what happens to those fifty thousand or more words once the 30th November deadline has been met?

Where is your manuscript from that month now? Has it been discarded? Are you working on it or did you publish it?

Do you have a stack of NaNo manuscripts piled up somewhere from previous years left in limbo? Will they ever be revisited?

My NaNo manuscripts have seen a variety of outcomes.

Life in Slake Patch – speculative fiction – awaiting revision and editing.

The Twesome Loop – reincarnation romance -awaiting revision and editing.

The Rython Kingdom – published as an e-book and print book – Smashwords and Amazon.

Ockleberries to the Rescue – edited and awaiting illustrations – launch October 2014

Willow Tree Tears – cowgirl romance – in editing and revision mode.

Maybe it would be an idea to revisit past NaNo manuscripts – would you like to ‘finish’ them for publication or utilize the theme to re-write a new narrative. We should not let all those hours of creativity go to waste.

What outcomes have your NaNoWriMo exertions had? 

3d3df1f7d1f382285315cbfd851c3329b33bce46-thumbLife in SlakeTwesome Loop 001

 

Is Your Green Showing..?


Enviable – definition: worthy of envy; very desirable

envy

As we juggle normal life whilst competing in National Novel Writing Month, it is hard not to envy some participants word counts. One of my blogging friends has surpassed the 50,000 mark already and we are only on the twelfth day. So do we give up or persevere? 

I will persevere because it is foremost a personal challenge – it’s you against the hours in the day, the days of the week. No matter what the final word count, it is the accomplishment that counts. From the words we have created in this month will come works we can mold, revise and edit into something wonderful. It may be a short story, a novella or a novel. Whatever it is, we have endured and conquered our own writing challenge.

Don’t get discouraged…

Share your word count. Share your thoughts.

writing-fast

Fervor in Your Romance Novel…


Fervor – definition: 1. great warmth, passion, or earnestness of feeling; 2. intense heat

rose

While pondering which direction I should go with this word, I came across a list of romance books. The amount of novels in this genre is mind blowing, and the list I found is only the best known. Romantic fervor is obviously alive and well. As you can see there are 61 pages with 150 novels on each.

http://www.goodreads.com/list/tag/romance?page=1

As quoted ‘ According to the Romance Writers of America, “Two basic elements comprise every romance novel: a central love story and an emotionally-satisfying and optimistic ending.” Both the conflict and the climax of the novel should be directly related to that core theme of developing a romantic relationship, although the novel can also contain subplots that do not specifically relate to the main characters’ romantic love. Other definitions of a romance novel may be broader, including other plots and endings or more than two people, or narrower, restricting the types of romances or conflicts.’

My current NaNoWriMo project is a cowgirl romance, a new genre for me and one I am learning about all the time. Working title – Willow Tree Tears – Trinity is a barrel racing champion who meets a gorgeous Italian boot maker. A jealous ranch hand plots to keep her and the ranch as his.

We have to show the two main character’s fervor for each other but along the way create a conflict ensuring the love element is hard won. The romance genre is global as is it’s language as shown here. Have you written romance? What is your experience of this genre?

Romance-lg-classification-en

Pernoctation Sufferers Unite…


Pernoctation – definition: insomnia

large_insomnia

Let’s have a show of hands, who’s not sleeping now we are into NaNo? Are the ideas coming thick and fast making sleep impossible? Or have they stalled, again making sleep difficult?

It is bizarre how both situations result in the same problem – sleeplessness. Let’s take them one at a time. Our mind becomes crowded with characters, plot lines and new stories often, it is a writer’s curse or blessing, depending on how you view it and at what time. Imagine you are just falling asleep and a story idea pops into your head. It is your best conception yet. You now have a choice – go to sleep hoping you remember it the next morning or you get up and write it down, knowing in your heart of hearts it will evaporate during the night.

The second situation is much more troubling. You have begun a narrative and it is flowing really well. You feel happy in its direction. Then suddenly you hit a stumbling block. These emerge in numerous ways, such as the character is not true to themselves, the plot crumbles, the perceived direction and outcome twist into something you are unsure of. What is the cure for this most dire condition? Actually, it could be a good night’s sleep – if you can stop your mind from worrying about the story.

We need to have the ability to shut off and relax. Our sub conscious can overcome the problem much better than our conscious mind, which is polluted with constant ‘what if’ and ‘maybe’ questions. Take a long hot bath or go for a walk or read a book in a different genre. Turn off the worry in whatever way you can. Step back and let the story mend itself in your mind.

I sympathize with insomnia sufferers because I have been there on many occasions for various reasons. Use your awake time constructively if you can. I wish you all a good day and a good night.

Do you have a cure or trick to get to sleep?

No Time to be Lax in November or is There..?


Lax – definition: 1. not strict or severe; careless or negligent; 2. loose or slack; not tense, rigid, or firm

English: "Guy Fawkes in Ordsall Cave"...
English: “Guy Fawkes in Ordsall Cave”. Google books edition. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

For those of us embarking on the madness that is National Novel Writing Month, we certainly do not have the luxury of being lax. Every moment writing/typing those words is precious.

However, our minds do need to be refreshed from time to time. If we focus too hard we easily become frazzled and ideas or flow can be lost. Take a break of some kind. Focusing on something else can spark a new direction or plot twist so don’t be afraid to leave NaNoWriMo occasionally.

That being said, I am escaping for a couple of hours this evening to enjoy the English tradition of Guy Fawkes. Bonfire, fireworks and good heartwarming food in the company of lots of expats. here in Alberta. Traditions for anyone are a link to ‘home’ no matter where you reside.

Just in case you are curious here is a link to Guy Fawkes: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Guy_Fawkes and the rhyme follows:

Remember, remember, the 5th of November
The Gunpowder Treason and plot;
I see of no reason why Gunpowder Treason
Should ever be forgot.

Guy Fawkes, Guy Fawkes,
‘Twas his intent.
To blow up the King and the Parliament.
Three score barrels of powder below.
Poor old England to overthrow.

guy

Left to right the Conspirators.

Thomas Bates, Robert Wintour, Christopher Wright, John Wright, Thomas Percy, Guy Fawkes, Robert Catesby and Thomas Wintour