NaNoWriMo 2018 – Prep


I “won” National Novel Writing Month for the very first time last year thanks to The Charlatan and the Coinshot, my forthcoming fanart collaboration project. I went in with no plan, no outlines or ambitions other than to write as much as I could.

But this year, I’m taking steps to prepare myself for a hectic month of working full time (sometimes more) and writing a whole new, original novel. What does that preparation look like?

  • Research. Lots and lots of research. My Scrivener project for this novel is the most informed and resource heavy of any I’ve made so far.

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    My research files in Scrivener…
  • Outlining. Now, I’m not usually one to outline with any sort of detail, I’ll be the first to tell you that. And it’s still true. My outlines are purposefully vague, because I don’t really know what’s going to happen in any given scene, chapter, or story until it’s written. But, I made an effort to at least have a general idea of the first few chapters so that I’m not going in completely blind come November 1st.
  • Music. Each story I write has its own playlist in Spotify, and that’s what I listen to while I write. I made sure to spend some quality time building a diverse but thematically close playlist for this novel.
  • Pre-Writing. This goes along with research, but I sat down and sketched characters and settings. I gathered resources and images to refer to while writing so that I won’t have to leave the Scrivener project if I get stuck on something. And, I let myself write if the urge hit. I wrote about 1100 words of the prologue/opening scene, and I refuse to feel bad about it. And yes, I will count it toward my nano total word count, so there 😛

Typically, the goal for Nanowrimo is to write 50,000 words in 30 days. Last year I wrote just over 52k, which was no easy feat and I was working part time! Now I’m working full time, and sometimes more. I need to be realistic about my goals and my time this year. Otherwise I’ll only set myself up for failure.

NaNo 2018 Goal:

  • 800 words/day – 24k words for the month

I actually think I’ll be able to hit 25,000 words, maybe even more, but thought 800 words a day sounded doable. 1,000 seemed a little daunting, but 500 is basically nothing, so 800 it is. I also intend to go to a majority of my Nano Chapter’s events and write-ins, and I’m always game for a good Facebook sprint. With all the activity, 24k shouldn’t be a problem.

But, I really don’t believe I have the time to write 50,000 words this year. With two jobs, the Thanksgiving holiday and the various social obligations it comes with it, I just don’t see 50k happening. And I don’t want to set an unrealistic goal only to guilt trip myself into freezing up.

So that’s it. I still have a bit of research to do, and my outlines can always be more detailed, so I’ll be prepping right through to the start of National Novel Writing Month. If you want to be my Buddy on the Nanowrimo site, my username is HIMluv and I’ll be happy to add you!

I’ll talk to you all soon when I come back to talk about the month of October in the Monthly Recap.

Until then, Blogland!



The Writer’s Inner Demon

My brain is sort of lilting. It sways in time with the song playing in my ears, and flashes of the scene I’m about to write make themselves known.

I opened this morning, but before my alarm blared at 3:20am, I slept hard, which was a relief. The night before last had been full of bizarre dreams, the vivid afterimages of my mind’s effort to absorb ‘The Gunslinger’.

I could talk about it now, could try to explain and really grasp at the bits and pieces it offered, but this isn’t the place. Or, at least, not the time.

So, I’m reading ‘The Drawing of the Three’, and I had to take a trip to an all new bookstore to find it. It was 100% worth it. But, though I’d love to write the raptures of Escape Fiction, it’s just not the time.

Maybe next time.

Because today my brain has one goal. Today I warm up here, and then I delve into chapter 15. I just want to type that and think it again. Chapter 15.

We’re getting close now. I think it’ll wind up at 20 chapters, plus the Epilogue. It’ll be just over 60k words. It’ll get bigger too, in the editing, but that’s a long way off to be thinking of just yet.

‘The Gunslinger’, even in its expanded version, was only 57k words. It bolsters me. Each piece I write is longer than the last, but its ok to be shorter than most. At least, that’s what I tell myself.

But, I’m in too deep to let word count slow me down now. The time for doubts has passed, momentarily. Now my only purpose is to finish it. My second novel. I cherish this one, as much, if not more, than I did ‘Vessels’ last summer.

I remember the feeling. My fingers trembled as they typed ever faster, sprinting toward the blank space in my mind. Blank, bright white. The End. And as my fingers hovered over the keyboard emotion swirled in my stomach and water glistened in the corners of my eyes.

I pressed the last key. The final period dotted at the end the final sentence of my first novel. I remember it, and can feel that rush building all over again. This novel will be done before the wedding, and my mind and my fingers are eager to get to it.

The less goal oriented part of my mind wants to slow down. To cherish the time left with these characters, but even as I think it the rest of me rebukes. There will be plenty of time with them, because you have plans for after this book. They’ll come back, when there’s another mystery to solve.

But, I don’t really know that. I’ve never written a series before. And though I believe that Whit’s story has only really begun, I’m not really sure why I feel that way. I have no over reaching plot arc. I mean, I have a vague, and very dim, idea of what could be one, but no details. No specifics.

As usual.

But, what if they don’t come back?

I have every intention of finishing the edits on ‘Vessels’ after this, since the co-editing/writing didn’t really pan out. I needed time after the first novel before I could really write again anyway, so it’ll be the perfect distraction.

And after that? I know the next project. A trilogy. The real story behind the first short story I ever wrote. I’m excited, and a little afraid. What if I’m not ready? What if it’s beyond my skill level? What if I completely butcher this story that set me on my path? What if I do these characters such little justice, and they don’t even come to life?

Such silly, yet real, concerns.

We’re writers. We know these demons. We see their faces in the mirror, and know the tenor of their voices, though we may have never actually heard them. The inner critic. That version of ourselves determined to ruin us. The one inside who knows our every flaw, and sees them so much more clearly than we ever could.

And, oh, how they love to point them out.

Most days, that version of myself is content to sleep with one, wandering eye open.  Rarely does it stir enough to speak up, at least with any real strength. I can turn up the music and tune out.

But, as the end of ‘Cards’ looms ever nearer, my demon-self is muttering in her sleep. She fidgets and grumbles, her lips murmuring mistakes just low enough that I can’t quite hear them. But I know they’re there.

And once ‘Cards’ is done, she’ll wake up. She’ll point and laugh. She’ll mock every word, if I let her at them. And she’ll relish it.

I think that’s why most writers give themselves space between creation and editing. They need to let the demon rage on something not so dear to their hearts. Something older, removed from the coveted spot nestled in our ribcage, to a less vital organ.

Now I’m grinning at the image of manuscripts claiming space in my organs. Imagine it! A 200+ page manuscript just chilling on someone’s spleen! I think it’s funny. Probably because I’m reading too much King lately.

Anyway, despite the darkness lingering in my mind, I’m ready to get some work done. I only have a couple hours to devote, before errands and a catering tasting demand my attention.

And, now that I think about it, I should probably eat something.

See you next time, Blogland.