Starting Over

press-start-fa915ffe8a6fb32bb3eabf7f771620b44782 became 2517 about 5 minutes ago.  I’ve started over.

With a 1700 per day daily average, NaNoWriMo is a wonderful challenge if you want to make your writing a daily practice. If you beat it, you can look back on it and say you’ve written a book. It may not be a very good book, but that doesn’t matter, you can always edit later. You aren’t pulling the trigger yet, you’re just loading the gun.

The Junk Maiden is a short story I have had rummaging around in my brain for a while now. I didn’t do any writing, not much anyway, the first couple of days, but busted out 4782 over the course of a couple late night oil sessions. My heart wasn’t in it though, she was calling. You know, that one character that just won’t leave you be. She had other plans you see and, a different story, so I decided to listen. After all, she wasn’t going to shut up until I did.

Beyond Sleep (working title) is up to bat now. The 2517 came from a session this afternoon and I already like where I’m heading with it. I’ll be working on a synopsis and log line, always seemingly the hardest part. It’s like writing an author bio. It is always easier to write one about someone else.

So 4782 became 2517 today and I’m looking to watching that number grow over the course of the month.

Let the wordiness begin!

“I didn’t have time to write a short letter,
so I wrote a long one instead.”
– Mark Twain

Well, it’s that time of year again. No, it’s after Halloween and Christmas, thankfully, is still a few weeks away. Nope, it’s write-till-you-drop month. That’s right, it’s November – National Novel Writing Month AND National Blog Post Month.

But I Already Have Too Much To Do

Any serious writer knows that you have to make writing a daily practice. Daily. I cannot stress that enough. Writing requires effort, and good writing even more so.

I write all the time. Cheap, quad notebooks and my black, fine point .5mm gel pens are always with me. I make lists, doodle, jot down notes for story ideas, and sometimes pen a few serious pages of plot. But even I get caught up in the day-to-day and have to remind myself to get a word down at times.

Day One is my eight-ball in the corner pocket. I schedule it to pop up around lunchtime and make myself write a few words, even if it is crap, just to make it a habit. I don’t allow myself to skip or dismiss it, which takes discipline, even as simple as that sounds.

Connect With Me

http://nanowrimo.org/en/participants/renmeleon

Also, if you are a Full Sail University student, drop me a note as I am looking into setting up a virtual classroom writers group if there is enough interest.

 

Careful, Fiction!

The Great American novel. Well, I wouldn’t actually call it that but I am working on my novel from last year and and am again using NaNoWriMo as incentive to get closer to my goal.

When I stopped last year I was at around 35,000+ words and had since added probably another 5,000-something, maybe more. This year I didn’t start writing till the 7th but it was actively mulling around in my head and pushing against brain cells trying to force its way out. I normally do between 2,000-4,000 in a sitting after everyone is asleep, which is my best time to work. I compiled everything I have written into one document to get a base word count then anything over that went toward this year’s NaNo goal.

This year has been particularly busy for me. At the beginning of the year I promised myself to be more artful on a daily basis – in both word and illustration – and I have done just that. I have learned a great deal in both aspects and am looking forward to the coming year. I hve successfully completed almost all of my goals, have re-evaluated a few and let myself off the hook for the two that I was not able to complete. My goals for the new year are lined up and waiting so I am looking forward to a very fruitful year.

SUMMARY

My story? I don’t even know where to begin to write a short summary on it so, for now, it is under wraps.

OUTLINING

For this particular project I started with an outline last year in MS Word and deviated from there. I use the outline as a framework, a way to order scenes. It is nice to be able to make a list of events that I want to cover and move them around on a whim in the computer. The analog version would be to write scene ideas on 3×5 cards so that you can shuffle them around and put them in a more ordered fashion. I have found that having the outline in the computer helps with my creative flow though as my hands are better able to keep up with the flow of streaming conscious thought. Once I have the basic layout, a basic point A to point B, several subplots usually present themselves just to make things more interesting.

FILLING IN THE GAPS

One thing that I have really found helpful in keeping me from going into “edit brain” is to footnote or annotate my work.

What usually happens when I write is that I will be cruising along at a good clip when a stray, invasive, attention-demanding idea sideswipes me and tries to derail my train of thought. Now, my brain doesn’t remember things at times – a long story in itself on the wonders of medical malpractice and Prednisone – so something like this could be detrimental to actually completing my original thought. When this happens I have a specific procedure I go through:

I stop.
I write a number, letter or word in subscript or in a margin.
I write the same at the top of another sheet of paper and quickly jot down the offending idea and anything I need to remind myself what and why I was thinking that or what breadcrumbs led me to that place in my thinking.
Doodling sometimes occurs.

Once out of my head I return to my original path and continue until I sputter out or decide to switch trains and go back to elaborate on the other outside path. When I go back to my little “side path” later I can refer to my notes and trigger the same train of thought. Some good “trigger inducers” would be to make note of what music I was listening to at the time or what was going on around me. This has proven, on more than one occasion, to be a good trick to keep me moving forward.

FEEDBACK

As a writer, I always like to see what other people think of my writing, how it flows and whether or not I can keep their interest as a storyteller. This has its pitfalls. If you are not very confident in your abilities. here is a word of advice: Do NOT, I repeat, DO NOT let anyone read your story till you are done with it. Everyone will have an opinion and some are less than charitable. I have seen first-time writer’s put down their pens and never pick them up again after taking personal opinion from friends who were, in their mind, “only trying to help”. This is the Kiss of Death.

Share a summary, share a favorite quote or scene, but do not let them read your story. For now you are writing for you. Once you have crossed that 50,000 word NaNoWriMo finish line, and have the confidence in your story and your writing ability that you should have at that point, then you can share your novel with those who are supportive and can give constructive criticism.


HOW TO BE SUPPORTIVE

Being supportive is an art form when you are put on the spot and asked to read someone’s work. You should always be honest but keep in mind that what you think is not the end-all-be-all and should not be offered as such. There are thousands of brilliant books that have done just fine without your opinion and one you are reading should be treated the same.

Are there any gaps or events that don’t make sense? Ask questions. Lead the author to fill in their own answers.

Suggest making a list of points to cover or make a list for them BUT remove yourself from it. DO not take things personally or push if they do not take your advice. In fact, refrain from giving advice altogether. Encourage them to write more and see where it takes them. Give them ideas to think on, things to add, but do not lead them down the dark path of editing. Don’t.

As the year continues, my main goal is to get as much out of my head and onto paper as possible. I am not going to allow myself to go into edit mode until I feel I am at a reasonable stopping point. I know that once I start the editorial process I will invariably add more to the story but that is what editing is for. As Nora Roberts would say, “I can fix a bad page, but I can’t fix a blank one.” In the meantime, keep moving forward.

Careful, Fiction!

The Great American novel. Well, I wouldn’t actually call it that but I am working on my novel from last year and and am again using NaNoWriMo as incentive to get closer to my goal.

When I stopped last year I was at around 35,000+ words and had since added probably another 5,000-something, maybe more. This year I didn’t start writing till the 7th but it was actively mulling around in my head and pushing against brain cells trying to force its way out. I normally do between 2,000-4,000 in a sitting after everyone is asleep, which is my best time to work. I compiled everything I have written into one document to get a base word count then anything over that went toward this year’s NaNo goal.

This year has been particularly busy for me. At the beginning of the year I promised myself to be more artful on a daily basis – in both word and illustration – and I have done just that. I have learned a great deal in both aspects and am looking forward to the coming year. I hve successfully completed almost all of my goals, have re-evaluated a few and let myself off the hook for the two that I was not able to complete. My goals for the new year are lined up and waiting so I am looking forward to a very fruitful year.

SUMMARY

My story? I don’t even know where to begin to write a short summary on it so, for now, it is under wraps.

OUTLINING

For this particular project I started with an outline last year in MS Word and deviated from there. I use the outline as a framework, a way to order scenes. It is nice to be able to make a list of events that I want to cover and move them around on a whim in the computer. The analog version would be to write scene ideas on 3×5 cards so that you can shuffle them around and put them in a more ordered fashion. I have found that having the outline in the computer helps with my creative flow though as my hands are better able to keep up with the flow of streaming conscious thought. Once I have the basic layout, a basic point A to point B, several subplots usually present themselves just to make things more interesting.

FILLING IN THE GAPS

One thing that I have really found helpful in keeping me from going into “edit brain” is to footnote or annotate my work.

What usually happens when I write is that I will be cruising along at a good clip when a stray, invasive, attention-demanding idea sideswipes me and tries to derail my train of thought. Now, my brain doesn’t remember things at times – a long story in itself on the wonders of medical malpractice and Prednisone – so something like this could be detrimental to actually completing my original thought. When this happens I have a specific procedure I go through:

I stop.
I write a number, letter or word in subscript or in a margin.
I write the same at the top of another sheet of paper and quickly jot down the offending idea and anything I need to remind myself what and why I was thinking that or what breadcrumbs led me to that place in my thinking.
Doodling sometimes occurs.

Once out of my head I return to my original path and continue until I sputter out or decide to switch trains and go back to elaborate on the other outside path. When I go back to my little “side path” later I can refer to my notes and trigger the same train of thought. Some good “trigger inducers” would be to make note of what music I was listening to at the time or what was going on around me. This has proven, on more than one occasion, to be a good trick to keep me moving forward.

FEEDBACK

As a writer, I always like to see what other people think of my writing, how it flows and whether or not I can keep their interest as a storyteller. This has its pitfalls. If you are not very confident in your abilities. here is a word of advice: Do NOT, I repeat, DO NOT let anyone read your story till you are done with it. Everyone will have an opinion and some are less than charitable. I have seen first-time writer’s put down their pens and never pick them up again after taking personal opinion from friends who were, in their mind, “only trying to help”. This is the Kiss of Death.

Share a summary, share a favorite quote or scene, but do not let them read your story. For now you are writing for you. Once you have crossed that 50,000 word NaNoWriMo finish line, and have the confidence in your story and your writing ability that you should have at that point, then you can share your novel with those who are supportive and can give constructive criticism.


HOW TO BE SUPPORTIVE

Being supportive is an art form when you are put on the spot and asked to read someone’s work. You should always be honest but keep in mind that what you think is not the end-all-be-all and should not be offered as such. There are thousands of brilliant books that have done just fine without your opinion and one you are reading should be treated the same.

Are there any gaps or events that don’t make sense? Ask questions. Lead the author to fill in their own answers.

Suggest making a list of points to cover or make a list for them BUT remove yourself from it. DO not take things personally or push if they do not take your advice. In fact, refrain from giving advice altogether. Encourage them to write more and see where it takes them. Give them ideas to think on, things to add, but do not lead them down the dark path of editing. Don’t.

As the year continues, my main goal is to get as much out of my head and onto paper as possible. I am not going to allow myself to go into edit mode until I feel I am at a reasonable stopping point. I know that once I start the editorial process I will invariably add more to the story but that is what editing is for. As Nora Roberts would say, “I can fix a bad page, but I can’t fix a blank one.” In the meantime, keep moving forward.

Wow, I wrote how much?

Ok, I am a few days late with an update on this but I have been sick so that is my excuse and I am sticking to it. hehe

NaNoWriMo ended on the last day of November and, though I did not make the 50,000 word count by deadline, what I did do is nothing to sneeze at. Chris Baty (the founder) was right. All you need is a deadline.

I wrote a total of 35, 164 final count. We had a write-in the last night at the local Baskin Robbins/Dunkin Donuts combo till midnight and I didn’t get home in time to update the final count. Driving home I realized there was a chunk I had not included in my final count. I’d gone somewhere with my laptop and forgotten to take the disk so it was still on my laptop! hehe It was only about 2,000+ words, the equivalent of a college essay, but I had done it and forgotten about it till I read my story over in my head.

I had taken my laptop to the write-in but it was more like an ice cream social. The group’s ML ordered a wonderful ice cream cake and handed out certificates to the winners. I even got a “pre-winner” one which I thought was really sweet. All of us had written our fingers off till our brains turned to vapor and we were more than ready for a break. hehe

Now the task of editing begins. Some of us are still writing and all of us are planning the TGIO party for some weekend coming up. I will be launching Word Whimsy this week and hope to encourage our NaNoWriMo group to meet once a month for writing and editorial sessions. The photo above is a screen capture of the main home page for the site. Being sick waylaid any plans I had to finish it before NaNoWriMo, but everything has it’s own timing and I think the launch will be well timed.

I plan to publish but am in no rush at this point. There are several projects on my plate that currently have my attention. Once those are out of the way, I will self-publish first on Lulu then mail out about 5 copies to publishers to see if I get any bites. Will keep everyone posted!

Wow, I wrote how much?

Ok, I am a few days late with an update on this but I have been sick so that is my excuse and I am sticking to it. hehe

NaNoWriMo ended on the last day of November and, though I did not make the 50,000 word count by deadline, what I did do is nothing to sneeze at. Chris Baty (the founder) was right. All you need is a deadline.

I wrote a total of 35, 164 final count. We had a write-in the last night at the local Baskin Robbins/Dunkin Donuts combo till midnight and I didn’t get home in time to update the final count. Driving home I realized there was a chunk I had not included in my final count. I’d gone somewhere with my laptop and forgotten to take the disk so it was still on my laptop! hehe It was only about 2,000+ words, the equivalent of a college essay, but I had done it and forgotten about it till I read my story over in my head.

I had taken my laptop to the write-in but it was more like an ice cream social. The group’s ML ordered a wonderful ice cream cake and handed out certificates to the winners. I even got a “pre-winner” one which I thought was really sweet. All of us had written our fingers off till our brains turned to vapor and we were more than ready for a break. hehe

Now the task of editing begins. Some of us are still writing and all of us are planning the TGIO party for some weekend coming up. I will be launching Word Whimsy this week and hope to encourage our NaNoWriMo group to meet once a month for writing and editorial sessions. The photo above is a screen capture of the main home page for the site. Being sick waylaid any plans I had to finish it before NaNoWriMo, but everything has it’s own timing and I think the launch will be well timed.

I plan to publish but am in no rush at this point. There are several projects on my plate that currently have my attention. Once those are out of the way, I will self-publish first on Lulu then mail out about 5 copies to publishers to see if I get any bites. Will keep everyone posted!

NoWri: Day 5

The word count, so far, looks like this:

Day 1: Zilch-o-rama. Brain is vapor, too much to do. Tuesdays are ‘analog’ so I’ll get a good start then.

Day 2: 400, need quiet to focus.

Day 3: 3189, wrote 6 pages longhand on looseleaf, blogged it here.

Day 4: 5084, expounded on the looseleaf transcription and filled in the gaps.

Today, day 5: 6,057 as of a little after 1pm today.

Spent most of the morning capturing ideas that I wanted to incorporate. Timeline was a big hangup for me so I started working on an outline of sorts. The outline has the normal layout, but there are points that spread out into complete dialogue or full scene layouts that I gratefully accepted as they came. Hoping that happens more often but I have a lot to work with right now so it’s cool.

Plot is forming and unfolding its wings. Knew my beginning and wrote my entire first chapter first. Reacquainted myself with Caitlyn and went, “Oh crap. That wasn’t how it happened, I forgot that. Grrr. How am I going to work that out.” Simple: Set it aside, ignore it’s existence. Come back to it. DON’T edit.

I know how my main character Caitlyn is going to handle things but no clue about the rest. Ok, I’m lying. I have no clue, in truth, how Caitlyn is going to handle it since she is already developing some personality quirks I’d not seen before. You think you know a person…

Caitlyn is an old LARP character of mine; LARP is “live action roleplay”. Basically, as I have been quoted in print, it is “Interactive Impromptu Theatre”. I made her as a ‘one night wonder’, storyline fodder for the night’s game. You know…go in, throw a few plot twists to mess with people, get gacked and build another character for the next game…

Fat chance.

I played Caitlyn for over a year.

I have never had so much fun as a character actor in my life. She was nationally known by people I had never even spoken to. There was always a little bit of pride mixed in with the unnerving feeling I got meeting people from other parts of the state/country for the first time. I never got used to hearing “OH!! YOU’RE Caitlyn!”

Caitlyn had depth and her background was fun to research. Writing and developing character backgrounds has always been a greta love of mine and it has been a HUGE help with participating in NaNoWriMo. I learned a lot about (various parts of) history and even about myself in the time that I spent with her.

It has been like having an old friend come stay for a long visit. So much to talk about. hehe Decidely, I am leaving the storytelling to Caitlyn since she knows what’s going on. I am just along for the ride apparently so I might as well kick back and enjoy the show. hehe

Ok, back to the storyboard, literally!

NoWri: Day 5

The word count, so far, looks like this:

Day 1: Zilch-o-rama. Brain is vapor, too much to do. Tuesdays are ‘analog’ so I’ll get a good start then.

Day 2: 400, need quiet to focus.

Day 3: 3189, wrote 6 pages longhand on looseleaf, blogged it here.

Day 4: 5084, expounded on the looseleaf transcription and filled in the gaps.

Today, day 5: 6,057 as of a little after 1pm today.

Spent most of the morning capturing ideas that I wanted to incorporate. Timeline was a big hangup for me so I started working on an outline of sorts. The outline has the normal layout, but there are points that spread out into complete dialogue or full scene layouts that I gratefully accepted as they came. Hoping that happens more often but I have a lot to work with right now so it’s cool.

Plot is forming and unfolding its wings. Knew my beginning and wrote my entire first chapter first. Reacquainted myself with Caitlyn and went, “Oh crap. That wasn’t how it happened, I forgot that. Grrr. How am I going to work that out.” Simple: Set it aside, ignore it’s existence. Come back to it. DON’T edit.

I know how my main character Caitlyn is going to handle things but no clue about the rest. Ok, I’m lying. I have no clue, in truth, how Caitlyn is going to handle it since she is already developing some personality quirks I’d not seen before. You think you know a person…

Caitlyn is an old LARP character of mine; LARP is “live action roleplay”. Basically, as I have been quoted in print, it is “Interactive Impromptu Theatre”. I made her as a ‘one night wonder’, storyline fodder for the night’s game. You know…go in, throw a few plot twists to mess with people, get gacked and build another character for the next game…

Fat chance.

I played Caitlyn for over a year.

I have never had so much fun as a character actor in my life. She was nationally known by people I had never even spoken to. There was always a little bit of pride mixed in with the unnerving feeling I got meeting people from other parts of the state/country for the first time. I never got used to hearing “OH!! YOU’RE Caitlyn!”

Caitlyn had depth and her background was fun to research. Writing and developing character backgrounds has always been a greta love of mine and it has been a HUGE help with participating in NaNoWriMo. I learned a lot about (various parts of) history and even about myself in the time that I spent with her.

It has been like having an old friend come stay for a long visit. So much to talk about. hehe Decidely, I am leaving the storytelling to Caitlyn since she knows what’s going on. I am just along for the ride apparently so I might as well kick back and enjoy the show. hehe

Ok, back to the storyboard, literally!

NaNoWriMo Update

Well, two days ago, when NaNoWriMo officially started, I had absolutely no clue where to start. Actually that isn’t true. I knew exactly where I wanted to start but didn’t have the time or motivation to actually do it. I spend my Tuedays analog so I figured I would make up for lost time. 400 words later I decided to give up for the day as there was too much going on.

Leftover Chinese food and a movie. Read and replied to email. Put my daughter to bed then transcribed 43 pages of my ex’s book into the desktop using Dragon Naturally Speaking. (read: love Dragon-Speak) Made some CS Lemon Zinger tea with orange blossom honey, lemon juice and Taylor’s Light Sherry in it for my steadily going hoarse voice. Dictated the remaining 12 pages. My brain was vapor so I went to bed after making a few “to do list notes” for today.

Woke up to L sneaking our daughter out of the house for breakfast so V and I could sleep in. Hugs and kisses goodbye gratefully accepted, a trip to the bathroom and I crawled back in bed to roll over and try to sleep again. My novel running rampant in my head, I finally gave up and sat up in bed. Wrote, printed in my all caps style on looseleaf. Picked up speed on page two, wrote six pages total. Phone ringing me had me running to the other end of the house to grab it.

Mental note: Buy another cordless phone. Grrr.

Plans made for mom to pick up my girl and free us up for the two writer’s meetings today. Thank you mom. :) Decided it was time to transcribe everything because my hand was not keeping up with my head. Tried reading it but it was so…violently deviant?…I was actually “embarrased” to read it aloud. hehe Actually, just didn’t want V to wake to the subject matter and wonder if I had lost my mind or if he should fear for his safety. It is a horror/thriller after all. hehe Transcribed it in manually.

Word count: 1,626 posted at 11:11am. WOOT!

Made coffee, by that time L and my girl were home having run rampant at the McD’s playground. hehe She had a blast and we have another new toy. :::bangs head slowly on desk::: A plastic 007 looking mouse with a compass in his belly. Who thinks up these things? Spent some time with her, talked to L, rousted V out of bed, wrote some more.

Word count: 3,189 posted at 1:15pm. Double WOOT!

Time to get ready for the rest of the day and the first write in at the local library. Looking forward to seeing everyone again and get back to my story. L is actually going with us this time so I am excited. Hoping he lets me make a profile for him on NaNoWriMo today. :::happy dance:::

Hoping to have his book, the one he wrote last year (a brilliant 370 pages in 2 months) completely transcribed by the end of the weekend to surprise him with it. Might take a little longer though as Dragon-Speak didn’t recognize my voice very well this morning; still a little hoarse. hehe Know he writes better analog so it is worth it. He is 150 pages into the second book in the trilogy. I always look forward to “storytime” when he shares what he’s written. Very, very proud of him and ecstatic to see V’s 3,000+ word count has been posted. Knew he’d do well with this. We’ve got a house full of writer’s when you count my girl practicing her letters. hehe

Ok. Time to go. Rest of the day here I come! :)