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NaNoWriMo 2019: Update 2

November 10, 2019

I reached 12,022 words. That is nearly to the halfway mark, when my goal was just to get 25K. Although, I still have a lot of work ahead of me. A lot more than you would think and I’ll explain.

This week as I came to reach the near middle of my goal for my story I realized something. About 12K in, I found it hard to write. I was struggling again to fill the space on what should happen next and most of my characters were falling flat. Some were jumping at me though from off the page (in my head at least) and trying to grab my attention. The problem I came to realize this week was that I was coming at my story from the wrong time in the plot. I needed to go back farther in time in order to fully give the this story its proper way of being told.

Also I needed to lighten it up a bit. It was getting pretty gritty and philosophical so I needed to tone that down immeasurably. But, I would not have realized all this without first attempting to write the story. So NaNo was not a loss in the least. But a win.

That 12K that I did write is also a win. Those words will hold a place, just a smaller, better paced space in the new draft. In order to write that new draft though I need to fall down into the research hole. I’ll still be writing everyday as I do the extra research but not as quickly as I was going. I’ll be doing character sketches because the original ones I had planned are either taking on a larger role or moving to a smaller one, all still important but in a better place for their stories to be told. I’ll also be doing some world building exercises to get a feel for the different vibe I want to go for. So not really traditional NaNo writing but still writing nonetheless and that is important.

I’m choosing to look at this as a win but when I first realized it I felt such a huge crushing despair. That was because I had already done so much work and now I had to start over again. Also because it was November now and everyone was writing their stories now. But that was the wrong way of looking at things and when I changed how I thought I felt so much better.

I’m still writing, just slower, and every step leads to making this story the best it can be. That’s something I’m proud of now and still will be when it’s finished.

Writing is hard. I knew that. Susan Dennard, an accomplished and published author, said it to me too. Every true writer knows. No matter how much you’ve achieved or experienced writing is still hard. But that is what makes it worth it. Let’s keep going guys!!! How are you NaNo novels coming?

Till next time,

NaNoWriMo 2019: Update 1

November 3, 2019

Another day done, another day done, another day bites the dust.

So, it is Day 3 of NaNoWriMo and…. I’m tired. Also, worried and hopeful and sad and happy and lost and also very cold ALL at the same time. So that’s something, right? Good? Maybe?

My project for this year is the same story I’ve been trying to sing for nearly three years now but finally I think I found a few of the right notes to turn this WIP into a finished song. (A lousy first draft of a song but STILL a song!) I’m determined and I won’t quit until I get it done. (It’s been three years and I still haven’t given up lol.) Metaphors aside, my goal this NaNo is to go for 25,000 words instead of the traditional 50K because from prior years experience I have never reached that goal. So this is much more realistic and attainable for me because, as I have learned through experience, I am a slow writer.

So far I’m at 5,008 words and honestly, I AM VERY PROUD OF MYSELF. I’m above my target word count and I just hope I continue with the momentum. In years past I usually die down at the middle of the month unfortunately and this year I’m hoping to counteract that. Starting out strong is a good indication so far. (Hopefully my curse will be broken!)

This is just a mini check-in since my posting is going to be sporadic throughout the month (because of NaNo) and my mood is going to be erratic throughout this month (because of NaNo). Crossing my fingers I’ll be in a pleasant state of mind to do more check-ins throughout November but no promises.

Are any of you participating in NaNoWriMo? How’s it going so far? (Are you also a mess of emotions?)

Till next time,

Snapshot 10/31/19 // Something Spooky This Way Came

Currently listening: “This Is Halloween” – The Nightmare Before Christmas
Currently (re) watching: Over The Garden Wall
Currently reading: Ninth House by Leigh Bardugo

Boo. (Sorry I couldn’t resist!) Happy Halloween! Thank goodness for October. After the harshness of September, October never fails to cheer me up. Pumpkin spice lattes, apple picking, orange leaves and sweater weather. Also, (*cough*) CANDY (*cough*).

Me, tonight.

My October goals were (*drumroll, please*):

  1. Rework my WIP, which is a check. I definitely changed things around a bit and now have an idea for how I’m going to handle NaNo!
  2. Post 1 Living Life vignette, HAHA CHECK! I posted two.
  3. Go pumpkin and apple picking, check check! This one was easy since I go every year.

Heading into (NANOWRIMO) November this is the plan:

  1. Write 25,000 words for my WIP. I’m a slow writer I’ve learned, so I set a more realistic goal for myself this NaNoWriMo.
  2. Post at least 1 Living Life vignette again this month. Honestly with NaNo I’ll be lucky if I have time for just one. But I’m going to try!
Me, this entire month. Probably.

What I Read:

Books Read:
The Secret History by Donna Tartt. I don’t think I can do this book justice. It just needs to be read to be understood. Wow. It’s dark… but the characters are alive. They breathe just like you and me. So many connections to the classics. CHARLES, OH BABY . And Henry, I don’t even. Honestly, (*beware, spoilers coming*) I expected more people to die at the end the way this story was going and Francis even comments on it somewhere at the end that Henry should have just killed them all. Enthralling story that no matter how dark it gets you just need to see it to the end. Very dark… can put you in a black cloud/ endless dark tunnel mood. SO WELL THOUGHT OUT AND WRITTEN. Julian, and the depiction of evil in him (as something that seems good on the surface). I need a mental break.
Something Wicked This Way Comes by Ray Bradbury. I was meaning to read this for a while and then someone mentioned it at work and I took it as a sign to just BUY IT. This book is a TRIP. Whoa baby. In the best possible way. An October book, true and true. I’m going to read this again next October and maybe the October after that. It’s a great book, not necessarily one of my all time favorites but it’s a GREAT book. It’s simple (the moral) but haunting and well played. Out there prose that paints a definite picture. The story will stay with you long after you finish it.
The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson- The story ends the same way it begins and I got chills after reading the last paragraph. I see where all the inspiration for the show came from. Good bones. Chilling and atmospheric. The show goes a lot more in depth, and that is what I knew first so my impression may be a little skewed. But I enjoyed reading the book. Nell, poor baby, and the house is quite the character itself. Madness. Loneliness. Theo was my favorite and Luke grew on me. But Nell, Nell, Nell still lingers in my mind. The foreshadowing all along makes it so clear from the beginning of the story to the end.
Ninth House by Leigh Bardugo. I’m only three chapters in but I can tell that this book is amazing. I’m sold. Next Snapshot! I’ll go into more detail but right now I’m LOVING it.

What I’ll Be Writing:

This month, no lie, my WIP and NaNoWriMo is my main priority so my posting will be sporadic at best. I’m going to try to post 1 Living Life vignette, and of course any poetry or tags that cross my way but not much more than that. I’m still debating on whether or not to post weekly NaNo updates… would you guys be interested in hearing about that?
And of course at the end of the month you can expect my ever consistent Snapshot! post.

Some posts I enjoyed this month! :

-Kal @ Reader Voracious “Bookish Banter I Have the Memory of a Goldfish, So I Annotate
– Sophie Li @ Sophie’s Corner “My Editing Process Part 2 (+ more templates!)

My Round Up of October Posts: (LOOK HOW PRODUCTIVE I WAS)

I watch Over The Garden Wall every Halloween, and right after I post this I’m going to go grab a Twix and head into the Unknown. October was fun and I’m hoping to have just as much fun in November. That pesky WIP of mine that has been haunting my mind for years is going to get written!

Are any of you doing NaNoWriMo this year? What are your stories about? I’d love to hear about them!

Till next time,

“Trick or Treat”

Waiting there
at my door.
Dressed up,
to allure.

A crown sitting
upon your head.
“I’ll be your prince
tonight.” he said.

Teeth shining
pearly white.
Not a cavity
in sight.

Flowing hair,
in Skittle red.
Carefully groomed,
not just out of bed.

Hershey bar
in your eyes.
Distraction
for all your lies.

Reeses Pieces freckles
on your skin.
Snickers remnants
in that grin.

Coins made of
candy corn.
Kit Kat laugh
turned to scorn.

Square jaw
with a strong bite.
A wicked Crunch
filled with might.

Will it be
a trick
or treat
tonight?

Living Life # 16 “Spelled.”

(a collection of independent vignettes)

Bubble bubble toil and trouble…

Cassie spread the the pages of the tome out before her. It was easier to read the handwritten scribbles and see the crawling illustrations this way. They scattered across the page and in the dusk light, almost seemed to be moving with a word jumping a few lines here or the picture of the lemon going fuzzy and then rapidly going into focus again. After she lit the three candles, it got better. The dust was a different issue.

The book had not been touched in over twenty five years, Cassie was sure. It had been her grandmother’s a long time ago. She had passed it onto Cassie’s mother and then she had passed it to the attic where it sat long and lonely for a quarter of a century. At least till it had found its way onto the kitchen table right now. Every time Cassie flipped a page, a cloud went up, a cough rattled her throat and the dust clung to wood of the table in tiny finger prints.

So she began by lighting the sage. A small bowl, the bundle of herbs and a match that burst and then died. Then that was complete. It filled the room with a rush of scent, earthy and natural, taking over the air and it wasn’t long before the dust was forgotten.

Looking at the tome was like reading a manual for building a chair or a recipe for pumpkin cookies. All that needed to be done, now that she could see and breathe, was follow the steps.

Bubble bubble toil and trouble…

The pot of boiling water on the stove was starting to salivate, the water sputtering out in rabid little pops. Lifting the lid she tossed in a sprig of rosemary, then another. The water simmered down, satisfied for the moment. At least until Cassie threw in the frankincense and myrrh. Together the words ordered, so as to help the reach of her little cooking stint. A dash of salt for safety, a bunch of roses for attraction, and then the clove to keep the whole thing tightlipped from the world. Or at least her mother.

Rubbing her hands together Cassie stirred the contents and a gray smoke cloaked the room mingling with the sage burning on the counter.

Bubble bubble toil and trouble…

Now only a few bits left to add, then the incantation.

Bubble bubble
toil and trouble

dusky air,
lock of hair

leaves of rose,
two blue bows

a ghost’s kiss,
a snake’s hiss
the pretty things
you shouldn’t miss.

On this eve
meet my need.


Help to find
a steady mind

to guide me through
this witch’s brew

To see the past
understand at last
the hidden truth
my question asked

and granted answer
to become advancer

and much more clear
in the way of seer
. “

The candles went out like a sigh. All was quiet. Even the night outside was still… all except for her heart which stuttered for a beat, then two. What did she do? Had it worked?

Cassie didn’t feel any wiser. Or, any less confused. Maybe her suspicion had been wrong and Grandmother hadn’t been a witch at all…

A purple spark jumped from her fingers lighting the room in a flash, then another. Cassie held up her hands and stared. Again, her hands sparked, brighter this time, because she was aware. It danced like a little beam of static across her palms, and then back.

“Cassie…” called her mother from upstairs. “how you doing Sweetie?”

“Magical Mom.” she smirked. “Just magical.”

A pause, then “Are you being sarcastic?”

Cassie shook her head and called out, “No!” Then quietly to herself, “Not this time.” She clenched her fists but the purple flickers remained.

Bubble bubble toil and trouble…

“Thirteen”

Detached
and lonely,
in the coldest
part of the wood
not far beyond
the twisting river
and gnarled elm tree
is where the old shack stood.
Broken windows
but a locked door.
Black walls
in the dark,
but honestly red
at the core.
Inside
there are things
it does not
want you to see
but we all
see them once…
just not early.

The first is used last
when it’s all done.
It has a few names,
including One.

Two has teeth
just like a saw.
With a restrictive diet,
it only eats raw.

Don’t let the size
bring a sigh of relief,
three steals the skin
just like a thief.

Nestled at your throat,
four, is the kiss
of a lover
you will not miss.

This one has a temper
its wit in steel burning.
Feel the tongue of the fifth,
as the hilt is turning.

The devil himself
even has a favorite scythe.
Just guess which
he borrows to take life.

Seven, jealous, does not
play well with others.
It has tried before
to destroy its sisters and brothers.

Perfect eight,
symmetrical and kind.
The holiest death
that one can find.

Brutal and slow nine
is the oldest among
it will take its time
piercing each lung.

Brightness will avoid
ten’s dark heart.
Ignorant and crass
its not very smart.

Eleven, the slyest
and most intelligent in sin
because there are two
and the blades are twins.

Entitled and fortune born
its rust color will suck
the souls from its victims
every time, given twelve’s luck.

The final is classic,
just long and lean,
and that everyone
makes number thirteen.

Far away
and close all the same.
The sinister shack
waits,
the master
of life’s game.
One of the scythes
each of us will meet.
On the day the reaper comes
who are you going to greet?

The NaNoWriMo 20 Questions Tag!

NaNoWriMo is coming. (Oh, and winter too *wink,wink*)

It gives me legitimate chills (in anticipation… and in excitement!) to just even think about it. This will be my third year participating and thus far I have never succeeded in writing 50,000 words. Here’s to hoping this year will be different. For instance, I might be changing that word count to a more achievable number for me lol. In the long year since last year’s NaNo I have started to gain more understanding of myself as a writer and my process!

Thank you to the lovely Sophie @ Sophie’s Corner for creating this tag and tagging me to participate in it! I’m definitely going to have fun with this so, without further ado shall we begin? ;D

Rules:

  1. Thank the awesome blogger who tagged you!
  2. Link back to the creator of this tag, Sophie @ Sophie’s Corner. (I want to hear about your NaNo novels!!)
  3. Feel free to use the NaNoWriMo 20 Questions Tag graphics!
  4. Answer the questions.
  5. Tag some friends who are also doing NaNo this year.
  6. And have fun!!!

Tell me about your NaNoWriMo project this year! Give me a blurb!

(I’m still in the process of mapping out the plot but here is a general idea about the story!)
Alice doesn’t understand how summer came to end so fast and school is right around the corner again. On her one and only vacation to the Boardwalk at the end of August, oblivious and distracted in her mind, she gets lost and ends up trapped in a vicious game where the only way out is to win. The Boardwalk is not all as it had first seemed when Alice finds herself ducking through seedy alleys, facing ghost stories, and taking on the thirteen challenges she needs to win. It is not going to be easy, especially, when their only purpose is to stop her and keep her soul trapped in the game with them forever…

What’s the genre?

YA, most assuredly, with a touches of fantasy. Also, like a lot of magical realism thrown in there.

Describe your MC in three words.

Imaginative, self deprecating and competitive AF.

Without spoilers, describe your villain in three words.

Reckless, lost and selfless.

What is your goal? (the traditional 50K? 20K? 5K? or……. 100K?)

In the two years past I participated I’ve never made it to 50K, despite my efforts, SO this year I’m going for hopefully a more realistic goal of 25K.

Is this your first draft? Second? Third?

I’ve written this story three times before and didn’t like how it turned out. This time after reworking it (again) this October (fourth time is the charm!) I like the direction it’s going in and hopefully I will bang that first draft out! I’m not giving up on the idea, I just needed the time to rework it into the best it can be and I’m getting there. Those other attempts weren’t a waste either because I found out what didn’t work, with some gems of really decent writing along the way that might make it into this draft.

Are you starting a new project (or draft), or continuing an existing one?

I guess you could say sort of continuing an existing one.

What is your favourite time to write in the day?

Ideally, the morning. Although, my records show I do a lot of night writing lol. This year I’m going to try to wake up earlier to write before work.

Where are you going to write?

More than likely at home. I might be tempted though to try getting out and working at either the library or my local coffee shop just to mix it up!

Computer or paper?

All my notes will be on paper, but I’m going to type the story on the computer.

NaNoWriMo is a huge commitment!! How are you going to make time to write?

I AM GOING TO WAKE UP EARLY.
(As if making that all in caps will give me the strength to get up earlier lol. I promise to try really hard universe so be kind to me.)

Are you going to participate in local or online NaNoWriMo events? (e.g. kick-off parties in your city, write-ins, virtual writing sprints…)

At this point, I don’t think I’m going to but never say never!

Do you write from beginning to end or skip around?

My head ideally likes to work from beginning to end, especially when I’m writing a first draft, that way it clearly follows how to get from Point A to Point B. That being said, as of late, I’ve been skipping around so who knows how this November is going to go? 😀

Planner or pantser? (or plantser?)

Plantser, 100%. A healthy dose of outlining so I have an idea of the beginning, middle and end. Then, an unhealthy dose of let’s just get writing and see what the heck happens.

What will be your go-to NaNoWriMo snack?

Chocolate in any way, shape or form. I’m looking at you mini Halloween candy variety bag.

Choice of caffeine? (or no caffeine?)

CAFFEINE, YES. COFFEE AND TEA AND ANYTHING IN BETWEEN.

Any rewards for milestone achievements? For finishing NaNoWriMo?

Infinite pride in myself till the year’s over for working hard and doing my best. Then, sleep.

Share a tip for other NaNo-ers!

You have to love the story you’re writing. Otherwise what’s the point? If you don’t love it, then probably no one else will either.
That’s why this story has taken me so long to get right. I wasn’t loving what I was writing but now I’m working it out so I do and want to get up early every day to write!

How are you feeling about NaNoWriMo? (Excited?! Nervous!? Terrified?!)

Terrified, 100%. (But doing it anyway!) Plus another 150% SUPER excited!! One step closer to getting my story out there in the world! 😀

Share an aesthetic for your NaNoWriMo novel!

(The photos above were found on Unsplash by Álvaro Serrano , Edgar Hernández , Daniel Monteiro , Thomas Dumortier , and Mishal Ibrahim . )

I tag anyone and everyone else who is doing NaNoWriMo and wants to participate in the tag!

Let’s get going writers! NaNoWriMo is nearly here! So have Needle at the ready (or like a pen or pencil or laptop… or sword because you never know) and let’s ACE this November. If you are participating I’d love to hear about the stories you’ll be writing in the comments below!!

Till next time,