20 Days to go….

It’s almost that time again!! Time for what you ask? NANOWRIMO of course!

I love it! I’ve been checking out the website today – there’s the Nano Video which has that awesome soundbite at the beginning and end. Let me tell you – that sound is one of my favourite sounds ever. Whenever I hear it I get so excited!!

I’m so happy to see Chris Baty will be back to give a Pep Talk this year! For those of you new to Nano, Chris Baty was actually the founder of Nanowrimo, as he and his friends decided to try and write a novel in 30 days, way back in 2000! I have been watching (via Nano Video) and reading all of Chris’s encouragement and motivation over the last 4 years of Nano. He retired at the end of last year to become a full-time writer, making millions of wrimos around the world very very sad. How could we possibly get through Nano, without him!!?? Thankfully we don’t need to, as he’ll be one of the authors sending wrimo participants a bit of pep throughout the month.

But probably my most favourite thing on this years website is something new. A list of all the authors whose published work began as a Nanowrimo novel. That’s right, Nanowrimo CAN lead to publication. I’ve been waiting and wishing for such a list ever since I learnt that Nano novels had been published. It’s a big list, and I want to print it out and show it to all those people who said writing a novel in 30 days was a waste of time and would never lead to anything! (Except, I didn’t have any of those people say that to me – but I think that’s just because I knew they would say it, so I never ever told them about Nano, because I didn’t want to hear it.)

My Nano planning has began, and I’m so excited about it this year.

Is anyone joining me? What do you like about the new website? And are you planning your novel or will you sit down on Nov 1 and just see what appears on the page?

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Camp Update

I realised that I have not updated you all on my progress in Camp Nano this month!

Sadly, progress has slowed. I wrote the final scene of my novel at around 30k, and writing the remaining 60k goal I set for myself has been an uphill battle. So far I’m still on track, and I wrote enough during the first two weeks that I can now cut back my daily word goal to 1500 words per day and still be on track to reach the 60 by 31 August.

So what went wrong? I introduced some great ideas into my story to begin with, but somewhere over churning out all those words I forgot to continue the great bits. Now I am trying to go back, and recapture those brilliant pieces of story ideas, but I just can’t seem to get the same sense about them. It feels forced, chunky. Most of what I am writing now is repetitive – a rewriting of past sections, not intentional but somehow still happening – as I try to get to that elusive 60k. And it feels elusive. Word count as it stands is 42,483, but I haven’t completed today’s 1500 yet, in fact I haven’t even reached 200 words. But I’m stubborn when I want to be – and I know I can get to 60k in a month, so I am determined to do it again!

But for now – I need to write another 1330 words before bed…

You’re Invited to Party!! :D

Introducing LaVerne Clark!

A very good friend of mine, LaVerne is having an online party on Wednesday 27th to celebrate the release of her 2nd e-book, Affinity! LaVerne writes suspense and light fantasy/paranormal romance set in New Zealand. Her first novel – Guardian of the Jewel is a great read and I am very much looking forward to reading this one!

So pop in to her blog at http://laverneclark.blogspot.com.au/ on Wednesday 27th June and join in the celebrations!!

In the wrong hands, Jenna Thomas’s legacy could be a curse—in her mind it already is.

As a child, a routine x-ray awakened an abnormality in Jenna’s DNA giving her the ability to “call” creatures and take on their attributes. Labeled a freak since then, Jenna’s learned to keep everyone at a distance. But all that changes the day she saves a young boy from drowning, and the story goes viral.

Nick Hawke, an off-duty policeman, witnesses part of the drama. Captivated by Jenna’s exotic beauty, he decides to investigate, not sure what to believe. Jenna puts his cynicism to the test—even as the attraction between them grows.

As word of her extraordinary rescue spreads, a dangerous man who will stop at nothing to control Jenna’s abilities draws near. With her feelings for Nick putting him in danger too, can Jenna risk everything to protect them both?

***

An excerpt of Affinity:

“Back off everyone, give us room,” boomed Nick with authority. Everyone took a step back. An attractive woman holding a microphone stepped into the created space. Her phony smile flashed teeth like a shark. Circling, she came in for the kill, her cameraman capturing the moment.

“Are you the lady who jumped in to save the boy? What made you do something so heroic? Witnesses say you were under for over ten minutes. How is this possible?”

The questions fired at her like a volley of bullets. Jenna flinched as each one hit its mark. She couldn’t answer honestly without sounding like a freak. So she said nothing, burying her head into Nick’s chest. His arms tightened around her. The subtle turning of his body shielded her from all those eyes.

He pitched his voice to address the crowd. “It’s been a traumatic event for everyone involved, and as you can imagine, it’s not over for us yet. We’ve no comment to make at this stage, so please, give us some time to come to terms with what’s happened. Thank you.”

“Could you at least give me a little snippet, Sergeant Hawke?” pouted the reporter, pushing her chest out and fluttering her lashes.

Jenna’s spine went rigid. A sick feeling of dread settled in the pit of her belly.

Police. Nick is a policeman. Dear God, I’m in trouble.

 Her head pounded and her hands shook. His arm tightened when she tried to pull away, holding her firmly in place. Any other person she could have fobbed off. Now she understood his aura of authority, his all-seeing gaze and concern at the thought of a child left alone in her car. He would be relentless uncovering the truth.

The end is nigh??

Thanks to a super day last Sunday, where I wrote 10,028 words (to be exact) and the odd 2000 word day, and yesterdays 3000+ word spurt, my Camp Nano Novel is now sitting just above the 38,000 word mark. Less than 12,000 words to go to reach my 50k goal. But I think I have a problem. The end is looming – I know what has to happen, and I am inclined to rush to get there, but I fear it will end before I reach the magic 50,000 words. It’s a common problem I have – I see the end and I write towards it – often skipping important details along the way. I haven’t done that so much this time. Writing a chapter a day has helped to keep me a little more focused on the ‘present’ in the story rather than racing ahead, but now I’m getting close and I can feel the urge to just rush towards the end. I know I can go back and fill in the details later, which after all is what I’ve done in the past, but I’d like to try and write my way, slowly, to the end.

There are some important things to come. Morgan, my main character, must learn the truth about her mother, and in turn about herself. I shouldn’t rush the telling of these things. She has a spell she must reverse. And sadly, another character is not going to make it to the end of the book. He is going to die soon – quite unexpectedly, although I have to admit I don’t know how yet. A poisoned dagger maybe? Or death in battle? Or…

I love how writing out the way of things, gives my thought-processes time to work. I’ve had a couple of answers come to me with the writing of this post! How the male character’s sister died so young, how he’s going to die, and when. So excited!! Time to get back to writing!! 😀

Pondering Neil’s speech

Having had some time to think over Neil Gaiman’s words in the speech I reblogged earlier, I’ve been able to narrow down things he said that gave me hope. He said he never had a career plan – nothing aside from a list he wrote when he was about 15 of things he would like to do during his life. Sounds a little like my plan. But while his list consisted of a few different things – writing a novel, a comic book, a movie etc, mine really only has one – write novels. One after the other, after the other. I’ve never really been one for planning. When asked where I hope to be in the next 5 years I always think “How can I know? Who knows what may happen in that time, what opportunities may arise.” That has changed a little since having children and gaining a mortgage, and I should say, committing to being a writer. I can now say, in 5 years my children will be x age, and both at school, so I will have more free time to pursue my writing. My mortgage I want paid off as soon as possible and so I’m working towards that too. I once read something Sara Douglass had written – about having the perfect life – she worked for I think it was 7 or 8 months of the year – getting out one book (or it may well have been two I can’t remember exactly now – someone else out they may have read/know this?), which gave her an advance to budget off. Any further income was simply icing on the cake. This lifestyle also gave her the remaining 4-5 months of the year to focus on her other passion – becoming self sufficient. This lifestyle sounded (and still does) brilliant to me. It gave me a concrete idea of something I’d like to work towards. But this idea is the only ‘plan’ I have. It is no more detailed than Neil Gaiman’s list.

Another thing he said was that the things he sent out that he was not certain about always surprised him with how successful they were. I know I have sent many many stories to competitions over the years – over confident, certain of success, only to be disappointed. I am about to submit my first novel (not the first one I have written, but my first submission to a publisher). The novel is okay. It has some bits I am really proud of – sentences I highlighted during the editing process and gave a great big tick. But for all the work I’ve put into it there are still sections I wonder about – could this be improved? Could that be extended? Maybe the story would be more interesting with a few changes here or there?

But I can’t spend forever ‘fixing’ it, for I daresay it will never reach perfection and instead would spend forever hiding in my home, preventing me from working on new stories.

I hope I haven’t lost you along the way. This post seems to have been a bit of a babble. Thanks to everyone who’s stayed with me this far!

There’s one more thing I’d like to say about my novel.

It’s printed (one massive stack of paper there!!) – all it needs is one last skim for spelling/grammer errors, and I will send it off.

Wish me luck! 🙂

The Big Edit

I’ve been working through the novel I wrote during National Novel Writing Month last year. Attempting to edit the beast. At 100,153 words it is massive – easily 40,000 words longer than anything else I’ve written.

40,000 words is almost a novel in itself.

I’ve read through it all once, and I’m relieved to say that I’m mostly happy with the story. There are a few scenes that will be deleted entirely, some that are on a ‘maybe’ list, and obviously many that need editing. But there are also large sections that flow well, scenes in which I miraculously managed to write what seems (to me at least) like perfect prose; great word choices, sentence structure, paragraphing. But now I’m onto the actual work.

I’m using Scrivener. It’s a great program – it allows you to break the novel down into scenes, allowing you to view them on a virtual cork board. This makes it much easier when it comes to moving scenes around, and seeing how the story flows from one scene to the next.  My problem is that I have around 130 scenes. It feels too big. It’s overwhelming.

I’m trying to focus on the little bits. How each scene works in itself, whether it is necessary to the story, or whether it is one that I should let go. But I still find myself wondering how on earth I’ll fit it all together, how the big picture will look.

I remember this feeling well. The first time I managed a novel, just over 50,000 words, I looked back at it to edit. It seemed too big, too hard, and I’m sad to say I gave up. I have since edited another novel, around the 60,000 word mark, and it doesn’t seem so daunting anymore. I think about that first novel sometimes, and wonder… maybe I’ll get back to it one day.

I wonder if a time will come when editing 100,000 words no longer seems daunting, but I just can’t picture it.

But I’ll get back to it now… focusing on the little bits… and maybe by the end it won’t have been so bad after all.