Archive for the ‘NaNoWriMo’ Category

It’s twenty days into November.  I feel as though my brain is in hyper-drive.  My story is moving so quickly I can’t seem to keep my fingers typing fast enough to keep up. These are the days when I wish bio-connectivity to my laptop was possible.  Then all I’d have to do is think and it would type the words automatically.

I understand that my brain doesn’t think in words and the amount of processor power and training to understand this fevered mess I call my mind would be overwhelming to build.

But still, there are days when I wish it were so.

According to my word count, I’m 67% of the way through my novel.  If my novel ends at 50,000 words.

I’m just going to tell you now, so we can be honest with each other.

I don’t think it’s going to end there.  I’m two thirds to my goal finish and we’ve just found out that Stevie is involved in the mystery some how.  But more importantly, Lee’s disappeared.

Every muscle in my body aches.  I feel what Stevie’s feeling right now.

I don’t know if it’s capturing your attention or not, but I’m so involved right now, I couldn’t stop if I tried.

I think my heart would burst.

I want to know what’s going to happen.

But more than that, I need to know…

Keep watch, will you?

‘Cause I’m goin’ in!

Stevie excerpt...

Stevie excerpt…

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Where do you leave off writing for the day?

Apparently, for me, it’s in the middle of a car crash scene.

I know, it’s crazy.

After reading it, my girlfriend asked me, “What happens next?”

Say it with me, kids, “I don’t know!”

I have an idea and I’m not too happy with it, personally.  But, when I start writing in the morning, we’ll know for sure. So, today’s excerpt is from that moment.

It reminds me what someone once told me.  Life is a series of moments.

One moment today involved bugs. It was slickly terrifying.

One moment included a pink and silver 1970’s Holiday Rambler Vacationer Camper, a crusty old man, and firewood.

Another moment included blood.  Not a good way to have a moment, I would say.

But, for Stevie, this is her current moment.

What’s your moment?Leaving...

For those of you following NaNoWriMo, according to the calendar, today marked 10,000 words, if you have written every day at 1,667 words.  I’m happy to report that I’m actually at 10,171 words this evening.  I’m still trying to decide if I want to continue or not, because the story, at least as far as I can see at this point, is unfolding quite nicely.  Stevie and Lee have had their first kiss and people seem to be vanishing without a trace and leaving their belongings behind at the camp.  Two characters I never thought would play a vital role have come to the forefront. They have this chemistry with each other  that makes me laugh and endears me to them.  I hope you’ll like them, too.

I had a very interesting question today.  A close friend of mine said, “Lee is going to die, isn’t she?”

I replied, “I don’t know.”

She huffed and exclaimed, “I need to know!”
I exclaimed right back, wide eyed, “Me, too!”

It’s true, I don’t always know what happens next.  Ultimately, I have control where the story goes, but in the end, the characters control the outcome just as much as I do.  Do I control the characters?

Maybe.  Maybe not.

I don’t really think I do.  I just picture them in my head, they take on a life of their own and tell me what they will do.  Based on that, the story unfolds.

So what happens in the next 10,000 words?

I don’t know.

But I can’t wait to find out! How about you?

Stevie Excerpt 3

Excerpt from Stevie

Today is the start of NaNoWriMo where authors commit to write 50,000 words in 30 days. A mean feat for many, including me. To be honest, I’ve been remiss in writing lately, so this is going to be my kickass kickstart to get back to me. To what I love most. Writing stories that scare me and hopefully, you too.

Someone made the statement a while back that I write horror stories. I have to politely disagree. Do my stories have an element of fear and horror in them? Certainly, they do. It’s a story that needs to be told, however. A story of someone who has fear and has choices. Because of the choices they make, they may either be consumed by what they fear or they overcome what they fear.

Stevie1
Isn’t that what our daily life is about? Facing our fears and either being consumed by them or overcoming them?
That’s what I write. Stevie is a story of a woman who is faced with a choice. Be consumed by her fear or face it. Is she strong enough? I honestly don’t know right now. But, together, you and I, my reader, we are going to find out.

I’m giving you my partial playlist of music I use to write. I thought you might like to listen to some of these as our journey starts. If you have suggestions for me to add to my playlist, comment below.  I would love to add new stuff.
I’ll be posting updates and excerpts along the way.

Shall we begin?

As the great Stephen King says, “Take my hand, dear reader.” Let’s go see what happens.
Marlie’s partial playlist –

Styrofoam Bible – Sympathy for the Devil
Suck Soundtrack – The Winners – Suck
Against All Will – All About You
Slash – Anastasia
Godsmack – Awake
Digital Dagges – Bad Intentions
Redlight King – Bullet In My Hand
Digital Daggers – Can’t Sleep, Can’t Breathe
Pentatonix – Daft Punk
The Pretty Reckless – Heaven Knows
Icona Pop – I love It
Apocalyptica – I’m Not Jesus
Santana – Into The Night
OneRepublic – Love Runs Out
Florence + The Machine – No Light, No Light
Serena Ryder – Stompa
Stone Sour – 30/30 – 150
Shinedown – 45
Eyes Set to Kill – Little Liar
FFDP – Bad Company
FFDP – Wrong Side of Heaven
Stevie Ray Vaughn & Double Trouble – Voodoo Child (Slight Return)
AHS Soundtrack Feat Jessica Lange – Gods & Monsters
AHS Soundtrack Feat Even Peters – Come As You Are
TWD Soundtrack – Fink – Warm Shadow (Dactyl Remix)
SOA Soundtrack – Curtis Stigers & The Emerald Forest Rangers – This Life (Celtic Remix)
SOA Soundtrack – Battleme & The Forest Rangers – House of the Rising Sun
Suck Soundtrack – The Winners – I’m Coming to Get You
Suck Soundtrack – Styrofoam Bible – Sympathy for the Devil
28 Days Later soundtrack – John Murphy – Rage
Shinedown – Cut The Cord
Halestorm – Amen
Talking Heads – Psycho Killer
The Bangles – Hazy Shade of Winter
Yeah, Yeah, Yeahs – Zero
Bow Wow Wow – I Want Candy
Digital Daggers – Just Beneath The Flames
Halestorm – Gonna Get Mine
The Doors – People Are Strange

It’s morning in Idaho, USA and I’m contemplating what it feels like to start a writing stint. So, for those of you who don’t normally write 1,667 words every day, the below graphic gives an idea of what that means.

For many of us, it’s like running a marathon. Well, it actually IS a marathon, of sorts.

Today is that last day of sanity until December. My family has gird themselves with NaNo armor. Such as treats to throw at me when I’m growling in my office. Whispers of encouragement are being prepped for when I cry my eyes out because the words will NOT come. And finally, coffee, because, well, coffee.

It’s the dawn before the story begins. All is quiet and my love has just brought my first cuppa this morning.

I say, let’s do this, NaNo. Let’s do this, my buddy’s. 

But, most of all, let’s do this, my readers, because in the end, this is about you and giving you what you want. A story that grabs you, takes you with her, and leaves you, changed.

  

My first NANOWRIMO I won and was very proud. It kickstarted my desire to write and gave me an amazing vehicle to meet an incredibly diverse set of wonderful friends. Fellow writers, if you will. I learned a lot in the last year.

I learned how to self-publish a book.

I learned how to survive being temporarily homeless.

I learned what’s important and what I’m willing to sacrifice for.

But I didn’t learn a very valuable lesson this last year. Until now.

This last month I learned a hugely valuable lesson that I needed to learn.

I learned how to lose at something you love to do.

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I didn’t finish the 50,000 word challenge this year. I don’t get the t-shirt.

But most of all, I don’t get the bragging rights.

That hurts. It hurts a lot.

You see, I’ve been on this discovery mission, this last year, and I thought I was doing pretty damned good. I have lots of accomplishments to claim. I guess you could say, I got cocky, sort of. I didn’t know I was cocky. But I guess I was.

See, there is a difference between confident and cocky. Confident, you know you can do it. Cocky, you think you can do it.

Confident is having the street cred to back up your demeanor. Cocky is blowing the horn before the last lap is run.

I thought I was confident. It turns out, I was cocky.

NANOWRIMO taught me that to be confident, you have to put in the blood, sweat, and tears.

You have to do it, even when no one is watching. That’s confidence.

So I lost NANOWRIMO, but in the end, I think I am a winner. Because the lesson is now learned. Once you see something, you can’t unsee it.

My confidence is back. I won’t let it get buried, again.

What did you do? Did you win NANO? what lesson did you learn from this last month?

This photo inspired this tiny flash fiction. Can you see what happened? How often do we tell the reader what we want them to see?
In truth, the picture is already in their head.

Enjoy.
M.

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2013-Winner-Facebook-Cover

I usually don’t toot my own horn, but this month has been an amazing journey for me.  As you know, I started a novel with the intention of forming 50,000 words in 30 days.  That meant writing 1,666 words, at least, for 30 days.  Every day.  No breaks.  1,666 words.

It’s a lot harder than you would think.  And over the course of this last month, I’ve learned a lot about myself personally and as a writer.  See, I can honestly say that now because I feel it.  In the end, on November 27, 2013, I clocked in at 53,441 words.  So, I am a writer.  I realized that I had won, but I still was. or rather am, in awe of it.  I’ve still got the ending to finish, also.  Which means… I am not done.

Yes, That’s right.  I. Am. Not. Done.

But here is the real interesting part.  At the beginning of the month, I was naively proud and cocky that I would succeed.

It’s not that hard to write 1,666 words in a day.  I’ve read blogs where professional writers are clocking in at 3,000 even 5,000 words in a day.  I can puke up a mere 1,666.  I laughed heartily…. HaHA!

Yeah…

Well….

It’s a pretty humbling experience to sit in front of a screen and stare at that blank page.  It’s like standing up to give a speech.  You shake.  You try to picture it in it’s underwear.

You get up and get a drink of water and come back.  Stare some more.

You poise your fingers over the key board the way it was taught in typing class (back when they had typing class).  You take a deep breath.  You close your eyes.  You picture the scene in your head.

And you type.

You keep typing, until typing is the only thing you can do.  Your mind breaks open like a watermelon hitting the pavement from a ten foot drop.  It bursts into a million tiny pieces of imagination.  and you type.  Furiously, until you feel as if your hands won’t ever move again.

Finally in exhaustion, you stop.  Your fingers are cramped and crooked.  You are so very proud of yourself.  You say, “I have written a novel!”

Then you look at the word count.  You stare at it in disbelief.

1,642

Your parched throat constricts.  If you weren’t so dehydrated, you would feel tears drip down from your lashes onto your pallid cheeks.  Your chapped lips form each of the numbers, cracking and bleeding as they do.  One thousand, six hundred forty-two words.

You hang your head, your greasy hair falling around your face.  You look like a girl from those Asian horror movies.  You feel even creepier.  Your mind can’t seem to get around the fact that you haven’t written enough.

“Maybe I should quit.  Just give up.  There is no way I can do this for 30 days.”  You shake your head slowly, defeated.

But your mind has already been opened.  You realize that, while it seems that you’ve just poured your soul out into a bottomless pit.  There is more.   There is more where that came from.  The story has just begun.  You aren’t done.  Your mind has already started thinking and processing what comes next and then after that.

You raise your head and look at that number again.  1,642.    When you had started this day, it was zero.  Now it was much more than that.   So, it wasn’t the exact amount needed.  So what?

Did word count really matter?

To quote an author I admire, Scott Sigler, “It’s all shite anyway.”  Just put it down and worry about the rest later.

So I squared my shoulders, shook the hair out of my eyes, took a long drink of water, and I started again.  Every day.

Halfway through the month, I realized I could type more and faster.  So I prepared for the holiday, ‘cause we all know they ain’t gonna be no typing when your belly is full o’ turkey!

And here I am.  53,441 and still going.  I’m okay with that.  I’m more humble.  But also, much more determined.  If this were easy, there would be a million of us doing it.

Oh wait, have you looked on Amazon lately?  Let me rephrase that.  If it were easy to write well, there would be million of us doing it.

I aim to write and I aim to write well.  Or at least tell the stories that are in my head well.  But that’s for another post.

Now that my first goal has been reached, saying, “I am a writer.”  My next goal will be to say, “I am a published writer.”

By the way, I’ve started a couple of short stories, too.  One is a horror story called “Emil’s Boat.”  I hope to have it published in an anthology I am submitting to.  But, again, that’s for another post.

Hope you join me.  See ya soon, right here.

M.

I realized, after reading my last post, that I am nervous. When I get nervous, I tend to fall back on old behaviors, like shutting down my creative side and writing as a robot.  I don’t know if you’ve ever experienced this.  Perhaps it’s writers block to some.  I don’t know.  But, the creative juices are blocked, like a hardened artery full of plaque just a few days away from a myocardial infarction.  I will call it “writer’s coronary artery disease” or wCAD for short.

Writer’s CAD is brought on by three factors.  These factors are writer’s angina, emotional stress, and cold weather.

  1. Writer’s angina – intermittent chest pain that often has squeezing or pressure-like quality.  Yes, I have that.  I’ve got to write 50,000 words in 30 days with no experience or idea of what I am doing or how I’m going to do it.  Let the squeezing begin!
  2. Emotional stress – We all know what that means.  But just in case you don’t, that’s the emotion that comes when you are looking at a blank page and your stomach tightens up, the bile lodges in the back of your throat, and your eyes dry up like the Nevada Alkali Flats. Check.
  3. Cold Weather –  It’s November.  For me, that means cold weather.  If I were in Australia, it would be a different case, but I’m not.  I am in Idaho, USA.  That makes a difference.  The cold is leaching into my bones as I type.  Its brittle freeze beginning an ache in my arthritic knees.  My finger joints feel like knots in tree limbs, immovable and creaking.

Yup, I surely have writers CAD.

Because it’s not an actual diagnosis from a real doctor, I can self medicate.  I have a couple of ideas, but I am really looking for more.

What are your ideas to help with writers CAD?   Copious amounts of alcohol don’t work for me, so that one is out.   Do you have any other creative releases or idea?

Let me know in the comments below.

Shall we journey down the dark road of NaNoWriMo together?  Why yes, yes, I think we shall.  Take my hand, little one.  There is nothing to be afraid of …

I’ll.  Be.  Right. Here.

M.
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