"Friendship is born at that moment when one person says to another, 'What! You too? I thought I was the only one.'" ~ C. S. Lewis

Sunday, November 27, 2011

I Shall Prevail! Or NaNo Day 26

Word Count: 44,122 CAUGHT UP!

Mood: FEELING FANTASTIC! Did 1k in half an hour on a challenge from a fellow WriMo and then a 2K hour a little later, which got me majorly caught up. I'm also hitting the climax of the story, so it's all actiony and things are happening and this weird guy named Ulrrick just showed up and I snicker every time I type his name. This is where I'm pretty solid with what is happening and what is going to happen, though the details, of course, are coming as I write. But it's a good place to hit at this point in the month, because I'm really feeling like it won't be a problem to actually win this year! I've been holding steady at various levels of being behind all month, but never let myself get to the point where I was ready to despair. I think 4 days behind was the worst that it got and 2 days of burst writing got me back into the game.

The absolute best thing is that I'm kind of in love with this WIP even though the middle is SO rough and I've been writing out of order and I think I have people alive when they should be dead and dead when they should be alive, but I don't care, because the scenes are getting written and after November is over I can go back and outline and rewrite and figure out what the hay bale is missing and I am SO EXCITED ABOUT THAT. More than I've ever ever been before.

How is your NaNo journey? Are you despairing? Excited? Already done?! (you overachiever you)

Thursday, November 24, 2011

A Tower of Books!

First off, Happy Thanksgiving! I hope you're having a marvelous day of family, friends, food, and writing (for those of us behind on our NaNo word count *cough cough*).

One thing that I am epically thankful for is the mountains of books that I own. I love books. I love reading, I love authors, I love writer friends. *hugs*

So earlier this week, the lovely folks over at Reading Teen posted a video of a "Tower of Epic Bookishness" and challenged their followers to build their own tower.

Well, Naomi and I just can't pass up a challenge like that so..... we had the afternoon free and we decided to kick it up a notch and not only build a tower, but build an Eiffel Tower made completely from books.

Here you go - The Tour de Livre!

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Excuse me, but have you seen my brain? or NaNo day 18

I'm sure you're tired of me spamming your Google Readers with pointless posts about my progress or lack thereof. Just think ... November is almost over!

I know a lot of people who complain that NaNoWriMo takes place during the month of November. Thanksgiving, the beginning of the holiday season, school, work problems... But I think the thing is that NO month would ever be good for some people. There are definitely times that I wonder if I have lost my mind in trying to fit this into my already crammed full schedule. But then I sit down and get lost in my story and realize that the strange boy who appeared in the second chapter is one of my favorite characters I've ever written. And that Devvon has way more layers than I first realized. And that Evva, well, she isn't the kick butt heroine I was anticipating, but I really like her anyway. And that the woman who annoyed me by her appearance in chapter 5 was the key to helping me figure out my entire plot. And that Granntt is pretty much THE biggest jerk I've ever written... what a sleazeball. How fantastic!

And I realize that all these late nights, early mornings, frantic writing sessions, panicking over homework and grading while I'm plotting in the back of my mind... it's all so totally worth it.

I have every intention to reach that 50,000 word mark before November is over. But if I don't? Well, there's a solid beginning to a story that probably wouldn't have gotten written if it weren't for NaNo. I have characters I want to chortle over. I have a crazy plot I might never have figured out. So it's totally worth it. Is my draft even a proper draft? Sometimes I wonder... but it's something. And it's something I wouldn't have without this insanely fun challenge.

Do you have to do it? Absolutely not. But don't knock it till you've tried it. What could it hurt? I honestly can't think of any reason not to at least give it a whirl.

Okay, I'll get off my soapbox now.

I'm totally at 26,075 words and I know I'm about 4,000 words behind, but I wrote some yesterday! Yeah! That makes my mood exhausted, but happy.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Yeah! Augh! Yeah! Augh! or NaNo Day 17

Word Count: 25,275 - Broke the half way mark! Yeah! Still behind, but maintaining at least :)

Mood: Up and Down for sure. Yesterday, in the middle of class I figured out a major plot point for my novel. I was so excited beyond all reason and I had to SIT IN CLASS for 2 hours and then drive over an hour home and then eat something before my stomach ate itself and then. ALL motivation gone. Managed to crank out a couple thousand words by forcing myself to sit down and just write. Like where it's heading, but today I look at where I left off and don't know where to go next. So I'm back to the blah part. I really just want to crank out the roughness of this rough draft so I can then go back and figure out what pieces are missing. I love this story and I really want to see it developed, but this is the first time ever that I've been more excited about the prospects of revising than I am about the idea of drafting.

Surprises: The random woman that appeared a while back turned out to be the key to my whole entire plot. Funny how that happens!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Blurgh. Or NaNo Day 14

Word Count: 20,909 - about 2 days behind. Bad, but not insurmountable.

Mood: Happy because I finally downloaded Scrivener and now I have all my notes and everything in one place and it's got me geeking out all over the place. Cranky because my plot is lagging again.

Surprises: Not so much surprises as awkwardnesses. I can't get the main male character down. He's supposed to be really annoying, but the main female character is coming off as rude instead. Also this random woman popped up and she and Evva are having this weird conversation right now and I have no idea where it's going. I may just start skipping forward to stuff I know has to happen. At least to get words on the page.

How about you? Hit any snags? Having problems? This project has been so up and down for me.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Why do I keep using the same letters, or NaNo Day 12

Word Count: 18,744 - about 1300 words behind. Not too shabby.

Mood: Confused.

Surprises: So yesterday I realised I had a Lirra and a Larra. Today I realised I have a Garrett and a Granntt. Good heavens. And yes, the double letter thing is a cultural thing. Don't know why yet, but every single character has at least one double letter if not two. I think it's my way of defamiliarizing common names and creating some sort of language difference and continuity. I tend to do this with dystopian or fantasy that I write. *ponders*

Had a great scene yesterday. Weird scene today. Tomorrow I'm pretty sure someone dies and I'm not looking forward to it.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

It's Been a Loooong Week, or NaNo Day 11

Word Count: 17,050... made up some wordage tonight. Only about 1300 words behind now!

Mood: wiped out.

Surprises: Named a new character Larra and then realised that Evva's best friend's name is Lirra. Now I have to figure out which one to change, but I don't want to change EITHER :(

Also ended up with this horrific scene unfolding that I never intended. Holy cow. Intense and really terrible and rather emotionally draining. Taking this novel to darker places than I thought it would go. But it's so ... right. In a writing sense that is. It's what needed to happen at this point and this one event does a better job of showing the corruption I've been trying to figure out how to express than pretty much anything I had planned.

How about you. Any twists you hadn't seen coming? Does writing wipe you out sometimes? I'm telling you that exhausted me!

Friday, November 11, 2011

Cover Fun, Procrastination, and NaNo Day 10

Word Count: 14,369 - about 2300 words behind. Totally doable.

Mood: Happy

Surprises: today I have a surprise for YOU! Okay, only sort of. I mean... never mind let me just go with this.
So I've been wanting to create a cover for my NaNo novel. Really badly. The society in the novel is sort of obsessed with trees. I think I may have mentioned this before. They count time in seasons and rings instead of months and years, etc, etc. And the novel opens with a funeral where Evva performs a ceremony with a leaf. So I've been weaving in a lot of tree/plant imagery and speak. It's petering out as I just try to write, but it's something that will be important in the novel as I work on revisions later, so I wanted to cover to reflect that. I thought it would be fun to go out and take some pictures myself and play with them so it would be totally my work. Today it was gorgeous, so I took a break from grading in the afternoon, found a leaf I liked and started a photo shoot. I ended up laying flat on my back in the grass, holding the branch with the tips of my fingers as I blindly took the picture since the sun was so bright. I love the way they came out. Then tonight I allowed myself to play with Photoshop while Vampire Diaries was on. This is the first cover I came up with:
 I like the look of it. I love the starkness of the red leaf against the sky and the clouds cooperated perfectly. But it seemed a little - I don't know. Plain or something. so I played with it a bit more, adding some really faded layers and developed this:
I like the lettering of the name on this better and I love the faint leaves in the clouds. But I changed the title a little bit and I'm not sure I like it. I'm also not sure if the single leaf isn't a better image with the title being Solo.
But the main thing is I had a ton of fun with it.

What do you think? Have a preference between the two? Do you ever make fake covers (or real covers ) for your WIPs? Is this a reasonable form of procrastination? :)

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Pooped, or NaNo Day 8

Word Count: 12,797 - about 2200 behind :(

Mood: tired and a bit cranky

Surprises: blrgh. I've just hit that point where everything sounds ridiculous and lame and nothing is happening. Mid-month slump. I will persevere!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

When did this turn into Personal Enlightenment? or NaNo Day 7

Word Count: 11,688 - about a day behind

Mood: Kinda bummed about being behind, but glad it's only a day. Also pretty excited about some things I figured out and kinda emotionally wired.

Surprises: So, my main character decided to go visit her parents and in a too long expository thought block, which will definitely be reduced or completely removed in revisions, she laid out the basic tenets of the society. Now, I knew a number of things already. I knew that it was a rather controlled society. I also knew it was another world. As in not ours. I also knew that this was not going to be a dystopian novel at all. Because it was going to be all about the secret powers and the evil scientists (not that all scientists are evil, but some of the ones in the novel are... not to hurt the feelings of any scientists that randomly stumble across this blog ... okay, writing these posts really late at night is apparently not the best idea.)

Anyhoodles... yeah, so in this expository paragraph I realized that 1) this is TOTALLY a dystopian novel and I started wondering if it's too derivative of Tahereh Mafi, Elana Johnson, and Allie Condie, but deep inside I know it's not - I just happen to have read all of their books fairly recently and it has some sorta similar elements. 2) it totally takes place on earth in the future, which actually makes things a lot simpler and more complicated at the same time. 3) It is about the secret powers and the evil scientists, but it's also about a girl who has to figure out who she is in a world where people are completely defined by their Pair. You basically aren't anything on your own. Nothing. You're a second-class citizen. So even if you're an amazing doctor or a fabulous chef, your talent is repressed. And it's all about how Evva has to find out who she is alone. Not as a girl, not as half of a Pair, but as herself and who she wants to be and what she wants to do, no matter what other people tell her. 4) It feels a little uncomfortable, because it's pretty different than anything I've ever written. But it feels really right. I'm single. I've been single my whole life and it's really hard to navigate a world where people are defined by their relationship status. No matter what people say, it's true. Is it something that's changing? Yes and no. Life in our world is designed for couples. It's natural. I don't have a problem with that. I really, truly don't. But it's hard to be on the outside of that sometimes. So I like the idea of writing a book that isn't a romance.It isn't about who the girl will end up with in the end. In fact, I already know that Evva doesn't end up with anybody, though there will certainly be some cute boys along the way. Because you have to know who you are and what you want and what you have to offer the world before you can truly be able to enjoy that in someone else. And that's a message that I feel often gets overlooked a bit in YA fiction (though I totally love a lot of those squee worthy boys). And I'm totally not dissing ANYONE who writes romance or has a romance in their novel. This is just something I have to write, whether it goes anywhere or not. 5) I totally didn't mean to get on my soapbox there, but I feel a lot better and I'm really excited about where this novel is going, no matter what happens.

Phew. so, any soul wrenching revelations come to you while you write? Do share!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Are you sure this was only one day? or NaNo Day 7

Word Count:10,629 - about 1,040 words behind. Easy to make up. I will stay positive!

Mood: TIRED. Today consisted of three days: 1) 1201 class, which was library orientation, and my own reading and research before I left school. 2) Gym. Again. Just for like 45 minutes and then home for a shower and cleaning. 3) Dinner, which was amazing, and evening television shows. I can't miss Terra Nova and Hart of Dixie was fun tonight and I absolutely can't miss Castle. Which was great. As always. Yes, I could have been writing instead of watching, but I didn't. And so I'm behind. You wanna make something of it?! Oh. I guess you should add touchy to mood too :)

Surprises: Doing stomach crunches makes it hurt to laugh. Or cough. or pretty much move your stomach in any way whatsoever. What?! It's not a surprise to you? well, I wish I'd gotten the memo :-P

Also, this gave me a pretty good giggle, so I thought I'd share:

funny pictures - Mom  iz  dis  teh  Stargate ?

Monday, November 7, 2011

NaNo Day 6 (Sorry, no clever title today)

Word Count: 10,127 - on track! Still! Shockingly!

Mood: Excited that I am keeping up, but feeling a little blah about the novel. Had a really awkward encounter between the female MC and the male MC and it was ... awkward. I mean, it was supposed to be, but it wasn't awkward like, oh yeah you can tell they're all awkward together. It was like um, yeah. Don't really get where this is going kind of writing awkward. Anyways. I'm sure it will come together. Eventually. I hope. Did end up with Evva coming face to face with her mother and found out they have a distinctly CHILLY relationship. Which I didn't know. Which raises some interesting questions for later in the novel for me. So that's good.

Any writing awkwardness for you? Have you been able to push through it? Isn't it tempting to agonize over it until you get it "right"?

Sunday, November 6, 2011

My Motivation Went to Vegas with Tessa's Muse, or NaNo Day 5

Word Count: 8,716

Mood: Impressed that I managed to make my goal for the day.

Surprises: Somehow the random upstairs neighbor that bounded into the novel on Day 1 is cute and adorably friendly. Not a love interest, but a fun character to have around. Didn't see that one coming AT ALL. Also, Evva's best friend is kind of funky and a bit of a rebel. I'm fairly certain she's going to die, even though she wasn't supposed to. This is depressing me. A lot.

So today I was supposed to be super duper productive and get all this homework done and spend time getting ahead on my word count for later this month. Yeah. It's all my fault really, because I allowed myself to get sucked into Facebook and Twitter. Did manage to get some stuff done, just not as much as I had hoped.

Anyhoo... I ended up in this Twitter conversation with Mia Hayson and Tessa Conte and it was pretty hilarious. Among other things Tessa asked if anyone had seen her muse and I told her it had probably run off with my motivation. We also determined that they apparently stole Mia's chocolate and went off to Vegas to GAMBLE IT ALL AWAY. hahahaha! Okay, so maybe you had to be there, but these are the kinds of conversations that are only made possible through Twitter and NaNo word count despair.

So how has your productivity been? Had any random conversations lately? Can I use them in my novel? :D

Saturday, November 5, 2011

I Has a StorySaurus, or NaNo Day 4

Word Count: 6,809 - still on track!

Mood: Better. Things are starting to get interesting and I have a pretty good idea of what is going to happen next, so the words are flowing faster and the plot is moving a bit more than it was.

Surprises: Nothing really, but I did take some time yesterday to set up my inspiration/plotting board. Are you curious? Of course you are!

So here it is:
So, I totally stole the StorySaurus idea from Jamie over at Totally the Bomb. And believe me, hers is much more awesomesaucier than mine is. Much. But mine gets my main plot points in place, and because it's a white board I can totally erase and move and add and change and stuff.
Other things to note: the mascot sitting up in the very top right corner is Gothic NaNo Cheerleader Barbie, which Lindsey, my amazing CP, sent me last year when I won NaNo. GNC Barbie is the depressing source of so much inspiration :) For instance. She is glaring at me right now for writing this instead of raising my word count.
The list of numbers down the side is where I should be at the end of each day if I want to keep on track. I know I have to write 1,667 words a day, but having the total needed to date written out helps me see at a glance how close or far I am from my goal.
The little bits around the edges are some pictures that have inspired me/gotten me in the mood/otherwise made me happy or thinky or writery.
And then I have the open areas to jot in bits of information, questions, etc. Things I don't want to forget.
And that giant word in the middle is the title and is there to help me remember the overall driving point behind the story.

So there you have it! How about you? What do you do to get inspired?

Friday, November 4, 2011

How Did That Happen? Or NaNo Day 3

Word Count: 6062 On Track!

Mood: Weird. I was trying to keep a day ahead, but had an abysmal word count from two nights ago. Wanted to at least make it up last night and ended up picking up an extra 1,000 words, which totally shocked me.

Surprises: It is incredibly hard to write a novel that is set in a fantasy world, but is also a rather Earth-like society. It's a tree based society (e.g. they have Branches instead of Streets, count time in Seasons and Rings instead of months and years) and I'm having such a hard time making that work without info dumps (bad in a stream of consciousness type style) or just leaving it up to my audience to figure out. And I can't change ALL the terms because then it's like deciphering another language, which is bad. And it's hard to find the balance between what should be the same, what should be slightly different, and what should be totally different.

Also, things are definitely taking a LOOOOOOONG time to tell, which is good for my word count, but frustrating for pacing, because I know tons of this is going to have to be cut and I'm not entirely sure how much to have happen now and how much to bring in later. My character is changing too fast, but I don't want her to be too mopey for too long, because that is boring.

Oh the fun of NaNo writing!

Any weird world building things you've come across? How's your pacing?

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Surprise Support, or What happened on NaNo Day 2

Word Count: 4,345, but the day isn't over and I don't have class today. Just research and grading, so I'm hoping to squeak out the rest of my daily goal - which is only about 700 words. Easy peasy.

Current Mood: Strangely blah. I've been so excited and psyched. Maybe I'm just tired because of my long school day yesterday. Had to force myself to write last night, even though I'd been looking forward to it ALL DAY LONG.

Surprises: I stuck an "Ask me about my novel" sticker on my office door and one of my fellow TAs saw it and exclaimed over it, wanted to know everything about what I was doing, insisted on reading my opening paragraphs and demanded to read more. Said when it got published she'd be all, yeah, I read the first draft. She also promised to ask me about it regularly over the month. Her enthusiasm was so fantastic. Thinking about it is making me want to write again, so here I go!

Any happy supporters that have inspired you already?

P.S. I'm presetting these posts at night to post the next day. It's weird to talk about tonight as yesterday when it's really today... weird.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Insanity has begun aka NaNoWriMo or WHAT ON EARTH WAS I THINKING

Day: 2

Word Count so far: 3545! Woot!

Mood: Optimistic. Off to a good start. So glad I don't have morning classes on Tuesday so I was able to stay up until midnight Monday night and get my first day's word count done before I even went to bed. Couldn't do that last night, having to get up at 4:30ish, but allowed myself an hour before crashing. Which of course turned into an hour and 20 minutes, but I got myself on track for today, so even if I don't get back today (since this is my insanely long school day) I will not be behind tomorrow! Also, the story is flowing so well right now. The characters are popping out of everywhere, the story is unfolding and I'm starting to get some interesting glimpses of my MC's personality. Can't wait to see where it goes!

Surprises: Oh boy. Don't even get me started! I am writing a fantasy YA novel. I was going to write it in third person limited with flashbacks that would weave into the present to help unfold the mystery. Exciting right? Yeah. So when I sat down and started writing it came out in first person. It was working really well, so I just went with it. But THEN about 1,000 words in, I suddenly realised that I had randomly switched to PRESENT TENSE. Oh. My. Werd. I'd written a couple of paragraphs, but could see where I had switched. So I went back to fix it. It didn't work. I literally COULD NOT change it back and the story, the voice, the rawness of Evva's situation was perfect in present tense.

But how do you do flashbacks in present tense?! Well, it turns into a sort of stream of consciousness thing where the flashbacks are ending up woven into her thoughts about the present. It has such potential for disaster, but so far, I think it's really working.

So I'm doing the one thing I have always told myself I would never ever do: writing in first person present tense. AND writing stream of consciousness. Another giant no-no for me. What?

How about you? Are you doing NaNo? Any crazy surprises for you yet? Anything like that happen to you in the past? Am I crazy? Wait. Don't answer that :)

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Books of Gratitude

If someone asked you what book you were most grateful for, what would it be? Could you even choose?!

Well, Beth Revis asked this question and I had the hardest time coming up with an answer.

I definitely have to be grateful for Little Women - it was the first book that made me cry and realize that books could move people so deeply!

There have been multitudes of books since then that have affected me one way or another, but right now there are two that I am particularly thankful for:

Divergent by Veronica Roth


Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi (coming out in TWO WEEKS PEOPLE GO PREORDER IT!)

Both books inspired bursts of creativity in me and reminded me why I love this whole writing thing so much. I wouldn't be so psyched about NaNo if it weren't for books like these that are so creative and fun and good that they inspire me to strive to be all I can be.

How about you? Have a book that you are grateful for? Check out Beth Revis' giveaway where you can win 19... yes NINETEEN! signed books that she is grateful for! PLUS an ARC of A Million Suns which I am DYING to get my hands on!