Saturday, November 1, 2008

Nano Time

What are you doing reading this?

It’s November 1.

It’s Nano time.

Why aren’t you writing?

What are you doing on the internet????!!!!!

Guess what?

I’m not writing.

But there’s a reason for that.

Depending on what time you’re reading this, I am either asleep, or out photographing footballers, netballers, volleyballers, lawn bowlers, dart players, or I’m eating, or I’m taking orders for above photos and wondering when I can get home so I can sleep again.

And wondering when I can get started on my Nano novel.

Because Kirsty’s ready. She’s stamping her foot with impatience, glaring at her watch, wondering when I’m going to turn up at the keyboard.

Dylan’s ready to call lights, camera, action.

And Genevieve is ready for her close up, darlink!

But the author’s nowhere in sight.

This silly writer went and made a major commitment which spills over into the first days of November.

Which means, my fellow RWA Nanowrimo’ers, you get a head start on me. You can charge out the starting gate and be several lengths down the track before I even make it to the racecourse. (November also means Melbourne Cup so the racing analogies are going to come out.) So how far down the track will you be when I get here? (Hopefully regular word sprints are taking place in my absence).

I will catch up.

I’ve started late before.

I can do it.

I know I can.

I know I can.

I know I can.

Friday, October 31, 2008

3,2,1.....Blast Off!

Well, this is it. At midnight tonight our 50,000 words in 30 days begins. It has certainly rolled around quickly. Is anyone preparing to start at midnight? I'm waiting until tomorrow... if I started at midnight it would wipe me out for the next day or so lol.

I have planned a few little things to help me get through:
  1. I have got a little notebook and a tiny pencil that will fit into my handbag/nappybag/pocket and plan to carry it everywhere so if inspiration strikes, or by some miracle I have a moments peace, I won't waste it and can continue in my quest for a complete ms in November.
  2. I am also going to try to get a routine whereby I start writing at a set time each night (8.30pm) and try to guarantee 2 hours/day that way, regardless of whatever else I may have squeezed in.
  3. I have also decided to reward myself for every 12,500 words (which makes 25% of the target). Not quite sure what that reward will be yet, any suggestions as to what a sleep deprived, frantic, non-coffee drinking nano-er might be desperately wanting?
So what tricks do you all have planned to help you reach the mark? Please share as the more ideas out there the better.

Finally, to all of you NaNoWriming: Be Well, Good Work and Stay in Touch


Thursday, October 30, 2008

Bits of Advice for a New Nanowriter

Lynn Veihl is a fantastic writer who has some of the best tidbits available out there on the net. She blogged about NaNo the other day and I had to include it here. I have taken some of her post, the full article is available HERE.


Twenty Bits of Advice from a Pro for the New NaNo'er
(plus links)

1. Unless you're writing about meteorologists, tornado hunters or the inexplicable onset of an ice age, resist the urge to start your novel with a report on the current climate conditions. If we want a forecast, we'll watch The Weather Channel.

(Great Beginnings by Robert J. Sawyer)

2. If the only way you can describe your story is to say, "It's just like The DaVinci Code/Starship Troopers/The Hunt for Red October/Go, Dog, Go/The Flame and the Flower/The Stand/Murder on the Orient Express/Twilight -- only better" you might want to try out another idea.

(Top 4 Ways to Know Your Idea is Novel-Worthy by By Ginny Wiehardt)

4. If you plan a writing session that will last for more than an hour, set a kitchen timer for 60 minutes. When it dings, get up, walk away from the computer, and take a five to ten minute break. When you get back, reset it for sixty minutes.

(Five Tips for Finding Writing Time by Michael Stelzner)

5. You don't need to check your wordcount two hundred times per writing session. It's not going to change that much (unless you type really, really fast.) Check it when you start writing, and again when you finish. Feel free to show off your progress on your blog or web site, though. I love seeing those wordcount widgets.

(NaNoWriMo's official Word Count Widgets page)

6. If possible, skip eating where you write, or writing where you eat. Have snacks and meals on your breaks away from your writing space. The only thing you should be doing in your writing space is writing.

(American Dietetic Association's Healthy Eating in Your Home Office)

8. If at any time you feel seriously burned out, take a day off and do something physical. Go for a walk. Work out at the gym. Clean the house. Garden. Anything that takes your mind off the story and allows you some breathing room. It's better to lose one day of writing than flame out entirely halfway through.

(How to Avoid Writer Burnout by Misti Sandefur)

9. If you can't think of what to write, or you feel a block of any kind forming, tag that section of the manuscript with a bracketed notation of what you needed to write there (i.e., [Jane tells John about her STD test results here]) and move on to the next scene.

(How To Avoid Writers' Block ~ Give Yourself Permission To Write Badly by Rhonda Leigh Jones)

10. If a good name for your character eludes you, give him/her/it a temporary working name with an unusual spelling, like Xerox or Zorro or Jabba. Then, when you do think of a good name, you can do a "Replace-All" without changing all the other words that contain the same letters as your temporary name.

('s Random Name Generator)

12. If you're thirsty, drink chilled water instead of sugary and/or caffeinated beverages. Avoid energy drinks that make you hyper. When I get tired of water, I switch to Crystal Light. Their peach tea is my favorite.

(Crystal Light Citrus Brunch Punch recipe is also delicious)

13. When you finish a scene or a chapter, take a minute to stop, stand up and stretch.

(Stress Reduction Exercises)

14. If your protagonist has the same occupation, physical description, love interests, problems and ambitions as you, you might want to rethink the character.

(Scriptwriting ~ Crafting Your Protagonist by T. Robinson)

15. If your antagonist bears an alarming resemblance to your ex, and is fated to die a slow, lingering and quite horrible death, you might want to rethink your character, and maybe consider making an appointment with a therapist.

(Peter Anspach's classic The Top 100 Things I'd Do If I Ever Became An Evil Overlord)

16. Instead of thinking "This will never get published" try "This time I will finish it."

(Positive thinking: Practice this stress management skill from the

17. If possible, take all of the published books out of your immediate writing space, including that wonderful novel by your favorite author that you keep under your desk to pick up and skim whenever you feel blocked. I know, it's hard to give up the wubby book, but when you write, you should be the only author in the room.

(Finding Your Voice by Christopher Meeks)

19. Avoid backreading before you begin writing. If you need a reminder of where you left off, write a short note of where you are on your notepad after you finish writing each day, or print out the last paragraph of what you wrote and leave that beside the computer.

(PBW's Eff the Editing LB&LI workshop)

20. At some point you will probably think it sucks. Every time I sit down to write, I think it sucks. The difference between you and me is, I don't listen to that whiny, impossible-to-satisfy bitch. I kick her out of my head immediately and go to work. I let her come back later, when I'm editing.

(PBW's Writing Triage)

On towards Saturdays Challenge!! One day to go Ladies and Gents...

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Wednesday's Whine.

Sorry ladies, it's not the type you have with cheese. Although, maybe if I had myself some of that.....
Where to start? It's my day to blog and I've got nothing. Nope, I'm left without words. I can see you're all shocked beyond belief that I would be speechless, but that's the way it is. I've got no words for here, no words for my characters and no words for conversation. Well, actually I have a couple but they're usually in the form a biting someones head off! There are lots of headless bodies around my house right now.

Back to no words for my characters. I'm hoping it's the post-holiday letdown or the pre-Nano jitters because right about now everything I've ever written sux and I'd throw it out the 11th floor window except that's illegal and would get me sent to jail and then there'd be no hope of finding words to get me out of there. I've never had a problem like this one before. I'm always, ALWAYS, been able to go off and write on another of my wip's if I get stuck. Not this time. This time I'm not only chucking ALL my writing out the window I'm chucking out the dream of getting published. I often find myself disappearing into some books for review or personal enjoyment at times like this and then I find my words coming back and off we go again.

No this time. This time I'm reading books that have been recently or not quite released and I'm discovering that our standards in published material is dropping. And I'm not just talking about the plots, characters or the authors skill at weaving a tale. No, I'm also talking about typos and plot hole. BIG plot holes! How does a hero have a truck on one page and a 4 door sedan on the next? How does that get past an editor? And we won't mention him getting the truck back in the later chapter, or that the book was under 100 pages! I know it's got to do with money and profit and mass production but come on, where are the standards?

I don't read much in the way of paperbacks anymore because not only have they become over priced but there not worth the money I was handing over. Why would I spend my hard earned money on books that are basically the same just with different titles and author names? The genres I like to read are becoming very much 'formula' written, and I understand that we're all in this to make money but 'following' the trend to this extent just stops people from buying.

The big market at the moment is the paranormal genre and I gotta say I love me some paranormal but..... Everyone is writing them. And in the last few months I've only read one that has stood out as a great book and I'll be looking for the next one in the series. Yes, that's another thing everyone is doing. Series books. But even with those I'm finding myself getting let down. By the third book, sometimes the second the author has often got very little plot and is clutching the coat-tails of the first book to keep it flying. I don't want to say that they're all like that but it's starting to look that way and I'm over spending money only to be disappointed.

Where have all the keepers gone????

I want to find myself sucked into a story so much that the house could burn down around me and unless the book catches fire I don't even notice. I want something that not only engages my mind but my body as well. I want to feel goose bumps on my arms as the heroine walks down a dark street, I want my heart to race when she's forced to run for her life, or feel the heat of the sun on my skin as she strolls along the beach, the flutter of her pulse when the hero steps from the surf all bronzed and glistening as the water slides down his body.

I want great books!!!!!

So here's the challenge, tell me the best five, unforgettable books you've ever read. I don't care if they're recent releases or from years ago. Well, you might get in trouble if I decide to hunt one down and can't find it because it's so old but I still want to know. I want to know what you think of the latest books you've read, have they been a bit of a let down?

Now that you've given me some words to soak up get going and write some of your own. Get those original, soul gripping stories down. Get them submitted and give me something decent to read again. And just maybe, with all your help I'll find the words to write my own again.

It's Wednesday. Time is running out. Saturday is rolling around far too quickly and with nothing to say it's looking pretty bleak. So I'm taking the next few days off. I'm giving myself permission to forget all about writing 50,000 words in one month and I'm off to soak up the world around me. If I'm lucky it'll give Mr. Muse something to work with. If not I'll be the one crying in the corner on Saturday night with wine bottle in hand and cheese on the plate.


Tuesday, October 28, 2008

The Trouble with Tuesday

Research, I've been researching for weeks now for my November novel 'Chains of Love' and guess what? I'm still have no idea where I'm going to start this darn novel. My original plan was to have my hero and heroine come out on the second fleet. So I started my research into the second fleet and conditions on the ships. Of course I thought this would be great because the colony was already partly developed. Well, that was changed to them being transported out with the first feet.

Now I'm madly researching everything and anything I can on the first fleet. Wouldn't you think that they would have given me this little bit of information sooner. Okay so I've had a couple of weeks, but still I decided to write this darn thing months ago. I tell you heroes can be such pains in the butt at times. Yes I'm putting all the blame on him because he started it, oh and he also wants to start it off in LONDON. Says it's not much use giving half the story. I mean what the?

I am now armed with a mile of books from the library, DVDs that I've bought and hired and ready to kick this thing in the butt. (Yeah I'm in a butt kicking mood.) I'm sure I'm going to have square eyes before this thing starts. At least I'll know heaps about the founding of our county. LOL.

So how is your planning for NaNo going? Are your heroes and heroines throwing you any curly ones? Or do you have nice characters that say yes sir, no sir, three bags full sir. If you do let me know where to find them. Do not let anyone tell you, you control the story. It is all a pack of bull, the characters their the one that have all the say.

Just to mix things up and because i had nothing better to do (yeah right) I watched 'Made of Honour' today with Dr McDreamy himself Patrick Dempsey. Ahhhhhh my shoot of the McDreamy. Now it is back to research and other important DVD watching.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Monday Morning with Mon (sounds like a talkshow!)

This is my last entry for the 50ks blog for a little while. Soon I’ll be on holidays for about 10 days. Wahooooooooo! As if you didn’t know that!

By the way, did I tell you I’m going on holidays?! Lol. Just checking…

So while you’re all slogging away at your keyboards, building those stories and mistreating your characters (i.e. making them fall in and out of love and giving them all sorts of conflict to deal with), I’ll be sucking up the rays on the beach.

Picture poor little ol’ me: the breeze gently flowing through my shiny locks, the beautiful blue water in my line of sight, a delicious cocktail in my hand, my sun kissed skin glimmering/shimmering/glistening (as it does) in the sunlight…

Yeah right. Ding, ding, ding - reality check! It’ll be more like my children climbing all over my husband and I, lugging around heavy suitcases or a backpack full of suntan cream, hats, food, towels, baby wipes, nappies, etc., and visiting them park after theme park where it’s compulsory to pose and smile stupidly at a camera alongside people dressed in uncomfortable character costumes.

Sounds like a great holiday, don’t you think?!

I am SOOOO excited. No washing to do for over a week. Ick! Forgot about the washing I’ll have to do on my return… Err, lots of fun and relaxation. Spending my time denying I have any cares in the world, or commitments like NaNoWriMo. Huh? What’s NaNoWriMo? Sounds like some sort of exotic, flesh eating disease.

You know, I’m just thinking my poor little fingers will have forgotten how to type words on a keyboard by the end of my holiday. Boo hoo! (I can just see the virtual daggers shooting through cyberspace, tearing me to shreds!).

All kidding aside, I’ve made a lot of progress with prep for my NaNo story, and have a good idea of where it is going. I think I will get close to the 50,000 word mark (Ha, ha, ha. I’m certifiable). I’m hoping a revitalised brain and body means I can work like Speedy Gonzales, and play catchup quicksmart when I get back.

Although I’ve been banned by my hunky hubby from writing whilst away, I’m not banned from READING. I have a stack of books in my TBR pile, and plan on taking a few with me. We have a really jam packed itinerary, so I doubt much reading will get done, but it will be good if I can squeeze some reading in.

If I can get internet access, I’ll try and send you all a ‘cooee’ to see if you’re all motivated and on track. I’ll be so excited to see how you’re all going when I get back. I have high expectations – you’ll all be on fire and brimming with confidence (as opposed to setting your manuscripts on fire and brimming with tears!).

GOOD LUCK EVERYONE!!! I’ll be thinking of you! Please continue to email me or Facebook me (that doesn’t sound too good!) whilst I’m gone as I may get a chance to log on and respond to you. I'm sorry if this is a very 'me, me, me' post today, but my brain isn't functioning too well at the moment!

Now, off I go to start packing! :-)

Sunday, October 26, 2008

The care and feeding of writers

Have you got your meals frozen in the fridge? Got bottles of your beverage of choice stashed away?

During NaNo, many people work very hard at becoming hermits, holing themselves away, cranking out those words until all hours.
We forego exercise, sleep and a lot of common sense.
But that's neither sustainable nor the way to great fiction. So with NaNo less than a week away, here are some tips on taking care of you while writing hard.
  • Eat your meals. It may be tempting to skip meals to write that one extra scene, those extra 200 words. But don't. Your body needs fuel, and if it's not getting any, it'll start eating itself, literally! Especially keep your blood sugar up. Your brain runs on sugar. But...
  • Don't pig out on the junk. I love chocolate as much as the next writer, but if you've got your bowl of sugar-coated choc morsels next to your keyboard, you may as well be inhaling lard. Those little sugar bombs are perfectly designed to be eaten mindlessly and with only minimal enjoyment. If you're a keyboard muncher, opt for something that will fuel you, like a trail mix (pure brain food!), chopped up vegie sticks (if you get cravings for crunchy), rice crackers or even some raisins for that sweetness
  • Drink enough. And I mean drink something that hydrates your body. Caffeine drinks dehydrate the body, so if you're thirsty, having a cuppa won't help you. If you can't stomach teh thought of having water by itself (because that's where fish... you know), have some cordial (you could have a different flavour every day of NaNo, just for fun!), herbal tea (if you say you don't like herbal tea, you haven't been trying hard enough) or sparkling water to make you feel that extra bit Euro.
  • Take a break. I mean it. Step away from the keyboard every hour at least for some 10 minutes of walking, stretching and focusing your eyes elsewhere. Look out the window. Walk around the block. Clear your head, relax your eyes and give your muse (or whoever creates your scenes inside your head) a chance to jump around, too.
  • Reward, don't punish. Oh noes, you didn't make your word goal today! You're such a bad writer! Baloney. You're a great writer, because you've put words on paper (virtually or literally, doesn't matter). Reward yourself. Do something nice and relaxing to teach yourself that working hard will bring rewards. maybe don't reward yourself with chocolate, but why not have a sliding scale of rewards? Every day you write, you get to do something fun. Every day you make word count, you accumulate points towards a treat at the end of the month. The more points you get, the bigger your treat will be. If you win NaNo, have a mini vacation. If you can't afford to go anywhere for even the weekend, have a picnic in the park as your vacation. You deserve it.
How will you be taking care of yourself during NaNo? And what are your watch-out vices you need to keep in check?
For me, I'm stocking up on snack vegies and sunscreen (I'll be doing most of my writing outside, away from online distractions). I'm having a holiday during NaNo (and intend to write at night in my hotel room).
I'm going to be watching out for sacrificing sleep in order to make word count. And you?