Wednesday, April 30, 2008

My NaNoWriMo

Hi Everyone,

Thank you Sandie for inviting me to talk about my NaNoWriMo Novel, Passion In Paradise, which now has been accepted for publication by The Wild Rose Press, New York. 50ks in 30 days is the same as a writing a NaNoWriMo manuscript, and there is four weeks before we start. Yikes.

Before I start, I should say you have to have passion for your writing. You should want to achieve your target more than anything else in the world. Then there’s determination. You have to be determined, stubborn, never failing and refuse to let anything or anyone stop you.
Preparation: This is what works for me, as we are all different. No one can tell you how to undertake your writing schedule. I got up every morning at six-thirty to be at my computer by nine and typed away until I reached those two thousand words. Late nights may suit some. Whatever way, prepare it as you prepare dinner. How many nights a week do you cook? We all buy groceries, bring them home, plan what you are having for tea and do it almost every day.
What is different from cooking and writing? Think about it. I hear you laugh. But they both have to have preparation. I think this is the key word. For me getting up at six-thirty every morning, allowing two and a half hours for washing, showering, dressing comfortably and having breakfast before chaining myself to the computer. If other things needed attention I’d do it within those hours or when I had finished my word count. You have to make it your daily routine.

I had preparation, but this wasn’t preparation to sit down and write. Now, I needed Preparation number two. I knew what the theme was going to be for my story. Lovers united, stranded on a deserted island. It doesn’t matter what title you give your story, it will change along the way, and if the editor doesn’t like it she’s going to suggest changes anyhow. My titles for Passion In Paradise were, Seven Days, Paradise Found, The Italian Lure, The Lure of the Italian, and Island of Dreams. Lol. I came up with Passion in Paradise when I finished the book. The very first comment my editor said to me was, I love the title. I think from memory it has around 55,000 words it could be closer to 60.000. lol

DON’T answer the phone. This is vital, and it really helps if you have a answering machine. That way, important calls can be returned later. DON’T answer the door. Tell your friends, family you are undertaking this challenge and make sure they understand not to disturb you. If you think this won’t help, tell them you won’t be home. I had someone tell me about unexpected friends that turned up on their doorstep and stayed for two days. She broke the golden rule. DON’T answer the door. Lol Unless you see two uniformed police waiting impatiently.

I needed to have a basic plan of attack. I knew who my hero was and what he wants. I knew who my heroine was and what she wants. I had character sheets drawn up for them, not necessarily filling in every little white space, only what I thought of up front. I had the major plot. I could see a motion picture in my head of what was happening at the beginning. I saw the conflict up front. This is my ingredient for beginning any novel.

Then I sat down and typed. Um, um. Um, now that’s three words. Lol. Seriously. Just type. His smile ??? oh hell… can’t think… so whenever I came across a place I was stumped for a word, or even a sentence, I didn’t waste time thinking about it. I put in three question marks and did a find ???, at a later date. This is then thinking time. It’s amazing what I came up with. Sometimes these questions marks made me think more about my novel. I found the question mark vital.

I hope some of my comments have been helpful. Remember what works for me might not work for you. However, make sure you have some type of preparation and desire to succeed and you will.


Sandie Hudson said...

Suz, thank you so much for sharing your NaNo experience with us. It is great to see how we approach things differently. LOL. I never know what I’m cooking for dinner from one day to the next. I just go buy a few things and think that’ll do, I think about the rest later. LOL.

You do bring up some good point about, no phone, no visitors etc. The only thing I plan with my writing is the time I’m going to write. My son calls over to see every Wednesday, so my writing time is worked around his two to three hour visit. He is the only one I change my time for though, my daughter; son-in-law and grandson live closer so they work around me.

And yes, sometimes it is hard to find the right words or sentence for a certain place. I use ??? as well. I’ll also write a sentence at times and think does that work? I don’t have time to think about it too much so I’ll put that sentence in () to go back and review later.

Suz you have given us all some great food for thought. Thanks again.
And CONGRATULATIOS, on the sale of your NaNo novel. So you see girls there is hope for us all.


Sussan Marz said...

Hi Suz

I wish I was as well organised and disciplined as you are! My time is all over the place, so my writing is also all over the place. Still, we work with what we've got, right?

And what's this about cooking, LOL? Don't you just order in pizza :)?

Thanks for sharing your tips. I do ignore the phone, but DH always answers it and then I have to put up with listening to him talking on the phone. Very distracting! I've had to use ear plugs and sometimes listen to music on my ipod to drown out the background noise.

As for getting stuck at a point in the WIP - I use the comments feature of word, and have also created custom styles and formatting with different fonts and colours to help me navigate my manuscript. I'm pretty messy when I write.

Super news about getting published. And with a NaNo Novel too! Very inspiring :-)

Suzanne Brandyn said...

lol As for pizza,
Okay, don't you think about what your going to have first, take time ordering it, and then eat it in another fifteen minutes.
There's still time to prepare (think and phone through your order, or pick it up) then preparation 2, eating it. lol lol...

Christina Phillips said...

Hi Suz!

Great post. When I'm stuck I have a very hard time skipping over that part and carrying on - I can sit here for ages agonising! So I think the 50k in 30 days is going to be challenge for me to just keep going and not nit pick over every single sentence. I can see trouble ahead with my muse...!

Angie said...

Hey Suz,

Great post - thanks for the tips! Preparation, huh? Not natural for a disorganised person like myself. I'm with Sussan here - what's cooking? I just order takeaway food. That's my secret to getting through NaNo. LOL.

But seriously - I loved your analogy between cooking and writing. Yes, we do plan what we eat (and even plan what to order for those of us that are junk food addicts). And you're right - thanks for reminding me about prioritising writing daily.

Congrats on the sale of your NaNo novel. That's inspiration for all of us taking part in this challenge :)

Rachael Blair said...

Hello my Suz...

Loved your post and the analogy of cooking and writing. I see your point... and as I have three boys at home (one's hubby) and we live in a country town, takeaway isn't always an option and they want feeding. So I found cooking really simple meals worked best.

Like you I started with two characters and a few notes on each and a basic idea of where my plot wanted to go... then I sat down and wrote.

Your unique voice shines through in your post and it's so great to see a NaNo novel being published.

Does everyone know that Modern Heat author Jenna Bayley-Burke has also had a number of NaNo novels published.

It is possible!!!

Sussan Marz said...

"Does everyone know that Modern Heat author Jenna Bayley-Burke has also had a number of NaNo novels published."

Awesome, Rach! I didn't know that. I think Laney has a few as well.

Amanda Reynolds-Smith said...

Hi Everyone... Suz - that is great... I, like you need to be organised otherwise I just am the Queen of procrastination because all other issues/brain meltdowns etc invade the disorganised space!

It is weird... I am finding I am panicking about this for a weird reason - trying to decide which stoy to do... what if I pick one that isn't the one I can whip up the easiest??! So silly - at least I will have something down!

I too have little ones, I work 2.5 days (with 1 day worth of home work for those days) and a shift working hubby so my planning will have to be super super super organised or I will not do this...

I have already started my writing roster that will be plastered in all corners of the house so that no matter what, my husband knows what is coming and that it can't be changed for anything!!

Suz... funny - my hubby is an Inspector of Police so I won't be opening the door to any blue uniforms either!

I am so looking forward to this... and am so pleased I am in such fabulous, talented and supportive company... WOO HOO - the adrenaline is surging just contemplating the finishing product!!!


Suzanne Brandyn said...

I'm glad some of the steps I prepare and undertake will help you. It's all a matter of making the preparation, be organised, and if you really want to succeed in this 50k in 30days you will.

Suz:) Good Luck to All of You, and remember you are not alone. :)