The NaNoWriMo 2019 Post

Hello and welcome the official, stand-alone NaNoWriMo post for 2019!  I talked about NaNoWriMo in my Currently Obsessed With post, but while writing that post, I decided I needed to do a recap post.  I really wanted to talk about my writing adventures this year, but I also wanted to give myself a break between reaching 50,000 words and writing this post.  I wanted it to sink in a little bit.

It’s funny.  I’ve been doing NaNo for a really long time- this is my 14th year doing it, and not only have I done it every year since 2006, I’ve reached the word count every year, sometimes with multiple novels.  This last month, I’ve been thinking a lot about NaNo, and what I’ve learned since that very first year.

But first, this year.

I wrote this sci-fi/apocalyptic story.  I had this idea for an apocalyptic take on the 4 horsemen of the apocalypse, but I didn’t really know what to do with it.

But then I had this dream where the end of the world happened and everyone was really happy about it.  There are a lot more details to this dream, but for some reason, I decided the ideas would go great together.

So the elevator pitch is an alien invasion meets the 4 horsemen of the apocalypse.

Except there are more aliens then 4 horsemen.  They didn’t really show up, and what they represent didn’t really happen.  It ended up being more about these two sisters who are on opposing sides- one working with the aliens, and the other working in the resistance.

This was one of those novels that I went with only a vague idea of what I wanted to do.  It wasn’t vaguely planned or outlined like previous years.  All things considered, it went a lot better than I thought it would, considering the lack of planning, and the complete and total pantsing of this novel.

It’s an idea I wouldn’t mind coming back to, now that I’ve written 50,000 words of it.  I feel like I have a better idea of what I want to do with it.  I don’t know if the 4 horsemen would factor into it at all, but I love the idea of two sisters on opposing sides of the alien invasion.

Maybe this 4 horsemen idea could be shelved for a different idea that comes along.  There’s no telling what I’ll come up.  It could be an interesting combination but you never know where things will take you.  That’s the nice thing about being a pantser.  Things end up going in a different direction then you expected.

I did have fun with it though, and I really did like that I wasn’t completely sure where it was going to go.

One thing I want to go back to for next year is having another project to work on.

I’m not talking multiple, 50k novels, because I barely have enough energy for one, much less two or three.  But there were quite a few times this year where I just needed a break from this particular project, and I felt like I needed to write something else.  I caught up on blog posts, and I did some of the prompts from The Severed Moon.

They didn’t spark any ideas but it was good to do some writing prompts.  The cover is really pretty, and there’s something witchy about it,  There’s a mix of questions and quotes from the her books.  I did a lot of questions, and maybe that’s why it didn’t spark any ideas.  I just wasn’t in the right frame of mind for the quotes, but maybe I’ll give those a try.

It really makes me want to do more guided journaling.  I’m not the best at keeping up with it, since I’m excited at first and I lose interest after a while, but maybe I need to get in the habit of doing it.  Even a crochet project might help.  I haven’t been in a big crocheting mood lately, but maybe I will be next year.

Still, I think having some sort of background project will be good.  It’s nice to have something else to work on, and it’s a good way to reset myself.  At least I have almost a whole year to figure it out!

I think I may get a little more creative with how I plan my novels.

Either I completely wing it, or I have a vague outline in Scrivener.  I might have some notes in one of my 50 million notebooks too.

But I have a bunch of art supplies and sketchbooks at home, so it could be fun to terribly draw out my ideas, or…well, I’m not quite sure really.  I don’t have a set idea for how I would do it.  I just know I have a ton of brush pens and sketchbooks, and right now, it seems really fun to write out my notes and thoughts and ideas in a completely different way.

Depending on what ideas I come up, or with some ideas that I end up revisiting, we’ll see how this goes.  I’m definitely not going to guarantee I’ll do this next year, because I might not even be interested in doing this a year from now.  If I do, then I’ll go for it,  If not, maybe I’ll give it a try another year.

Here’s an interesting thought.

I love NaNo,  I’ve done it for years, and my life would not be the same without it.  I can’t see myself not doing, and I love the writing 50,000 word novel in one month thing.  But right now, I’m curious to see what a November would look like if I did 50,000 words of blog posts, writing prompts and other ideas?  I’ve been tempted to try to the blog post thing for a few years, but since I do mostly reviews, I don’t know how well that would work.  Usually, the longer I wait to write them, the harder it is for me to write a review, especially if I don’t have strong opinions either way.

But this blog did start out with me writing about my NaNo adventures, so I could talk about that.  And I could write non-review posts too.  That’s something to keep in mind.

I’m not the biggest planner, and my planning ranges from “very vague idea” to “detailed notes that guide me along the way but aren’t so detailed that there’s no room for the unexpected.”  But this is something to consider as well, either as a side project or a main project.  I don’t want to get too far ahead of myself but I could easily reassess in, like, July or August to see how I’m feeling and what I might want to work on.

Honestly, I’m feeling a little rambly and all over the place.

Is rambly even a word?  If it’s not, that’s fine, because it seems like the right thing to say.  I think I’m going to stick with it.

I do feel like I’ve said everything I wanted to say about NaNo 2019, and I’m glad there’s some distance between when I reached 50k and when I’m writing this.

I hope everyone has a great day!

It’s Really Over, Isn’t It?

This was certainly the hardest NaNo I’ve ever done. 

I had thoughts of quitting, but I just couldn’t bring myself to do it.  For one thing, how can I inspire people to keep writing if I quit?  But I have yet to lose a NaNo, and I certainly was not going to let this year be the year that I quit.  My heart wasn’t completely in it, but by the end, I managed to get some energy and heart. 

I liked my original 2 ideas but after attempting to write them, I made the decision to abandon them.  They just weren’t working, and so I decided to start over with a new idea.  The new idea worked out only slightly better, but I decided to shelve the roller derby idea for another time.  And so I found myself in need of another idea.  What did I switch to?  Harry Potter, of course! 

The Harry Potter idea worked out the best, but considering that I’m a huge Harry Potter fan, it’s not a big surprise.  It all worked out, and I’m glad I kept with it.  Plus, the time I took off seemed to help, and I got a a breather. 

It’s not really a surprise that I had trouble though.  With a ridiculous 3 novels/150k a year ago, and 2 straight months of Camp NaNo, I was feeling slightly burned out.  Plus, writing isn’t always easy, I’m not always going to want to write, and my heart isn’t always going to be in it.  It happens, and last month, I really felt the burn!  Hopefully next year will be better and I’ll be back to my super-duper NaNo is awesome self!

So where do I go from here? 

I definitely realized that I like writing everyday.  Actually, reminded is a better word.  Because I realized that a year ago, so reminded is definitely more accurate.  And I probably won’t be writing everyday, but at least 2 or 3 days a week.  I certainly have more than enough projects to be working on something everyday. 

So, for the rest of the month, I’ll be going back to posting 5 days a week.  Have a great day!

When Plot Bunnies Attack, Part 3

Today’s edition is about some of the plot bunnies I have just floating around.

  • some variation of a girl who is trying to get away from a terrible home situation; she gets out of it by either leaving in the middle of the night or is saved by someone that she’ll eventually fall in love with
  • one plot bunny I found was about a girl who moves to Starville for school and falls in love with an EMT

I also have a few plot bunnies that came from the most fabulous group of people that I spend my Saturday mornings with, so I didn’t actually come up with these ideas myself.

  • fictional autobiography of someone- using a real person, but making up their life story
  • someone who gets dragged into something (I have accidental spy written down); they’re incompetent but get the job done
  • an amateur detective solving something small (like who stole their wallet) but instead solve something big (like a homicide) 
  • a teen comedy

I definitely will not be working on any of the above ideas for the next year, as I have 6 different novels and 3 potential novels.  Plus, the first couple ideas, I’ve completely lost interest in because it’s something that I’ve gotten out of my system by now.  The ones from the brainstorming thing with my saturday morning grow don’t interest me at the moment, but I’ll just leave them in case they ever grab my attention.

When Plot Bunnies Attack, Part Two

So today’s post is about the original, non-NaNo stories and the poetry I found.

The first story I found is about a girl who had an alcoholic/abusive father.  She and her mom left, and started a new life, and the girl ends up getting accepted into a prestigious performing arts school, and follows her through her junior and senior year of high school.  It was posted over at fictionpress, so I had to consolidate everything into one file, but it wasn’t too bad, since it’s only around 4100 words.  I skimmed it, and it could definitely use some work, but it’s not something I’m interested in working on anytime soon.   

The other story I found was this girl who leaves home because she can’t handle having to take care of her grandparents.  It’s around 9500 words.  I definitely won’t be working on it anytime soon, since I’m bored with the whole theme of a girl with a terrible home life leaving home.

And poetry!  I used to write quite a bit of it, and I started reading a few of them.  It was rather depressing, as evidenced by the fact that a lot of it was about death and hate and sadness.  I apparently had a lot of trouble dealing with what was going on during the couple years I wrote all of it.  I don’t know if I’ll ever go back to writing poetry, so I’ll wait it out and see if it ever strikes my fancy.

There will be a 3rd installment of when plot bunnies attack in which I will talk about the different plot bunnies I’ve accumulated and actually found.

When Plot Bunnies Attack, Part One

I haven’t written much, other than a couple hundred words or so for Wildflower.

But I’ve been very productive in other ways- I finally went through the notebooks sitting in my writing drawer in my desk, and consolidated all of my ideas, weird dreams, interesting things I’ve seen and heard, and interesting people I’ve come across into one file, currently saved in my brand new writing folder on my laptop.  I also have a written copy in my magical writing binder. 

I also went through the stuff I wrote in high school and my 1st couple years of college.  I found 3 Harry Potter fanfics, 2 original novels, and a bunch of poetry. 

I found a Fred/Hermione story, which got to around 33,000 words (around 45 chapters or so).  And because I posted it over at fanfiction.net, each chapter was in a separate document, so consolidating them into one file was mildly annoying.  I only read certain parts, but it’s really not that bad, considering it was my first attempt at writing anything, much less something that long.  I’ve read most of it, and decided it’s something I want to pick up again, especially since I invested a couple years into it. 

I also found a Draco/Hermione story, which was around 3200 words before I pretty much abandoned it.  And like the previous story, it was posted on fanfiction.net, so every chapter was in a separate document, but it wasn’t too annoying consolidating it.  I’ve only skimmed it, but I’ve definitely decided I want to keep working on it as well. 

The last fanfiction I found was Snape and Tonks, and while never posted over at ff.net, I think at some point I was planning on posting it, because yet again, the chapters were in individual documents.  Since it was only 2 or 3 chapters, consolidating wasn’t bad at all.  And according to a note at the beginning of the 1st chapter, it was supposed to be a side story to the Fred/Hermione one mentioned above.  I’ve skimmed it, and I will work on it, I just don’t know how much. 

Random story: I knew I had started working on the Snape/Tonks one, but couldn’t find it anywhere, until I got the brilliant idea of going through the stack of cd’s I have sitting in a shoebox.  I couldn’t find it on any of the cd’s, so I thought I’d go through the box of…FLOPPY DISKS I had in the shoebox.  Until I realized I had no way of seeing what was on them.  And then I found a floppy disk drive in my desk- just plug it into your computer, and all of a sudden, you can use a floppy disk!  I found it on the 2nd one I went through, before throwing it into the shoebox.

2006 Sequel

This one started off well, and then halfway through I had no idea what to do with it. 

I was glad I got to continue Chloe’s story, and look closely at the past that changed her.  From not knowing anything about her dad, and the overprotectiveness of her grandparents, I really put her through a lot. 

About halfway through, I had no idea where to take it.  There were a few directions I could go in, and unfortunately none of the them spoke to me.  I could have furthered the finding her dad thing, I could have furthered her personal struggles to get over her past, I could have focused more on her writing struggles and work problems (which was what I had partly wanted to do at the beginning of the month).  Since none of them appealed to me mid-November, and as she complained/talked about her past, I decided I’d have her complain/think/reflect about different things that happened in her past.  It worked out okay, but it got tiresome after a while. 

It did give me insight into her past, which will prove useful in any editing I do for this one.  I know I can rework her complaints/reflections into something more constructive and interesting, and even if  I end up cutting out that half of the book, it’s still really good background info on Chloe.

Considering I lost my steam halfway in, I’m really impressed that I managed to write 50k without using any dares or wordpadding techniques.

It’s highly likely I won’t be working on this one anytime soon, but I’ll still post character spotlights, and any updates should I start working on this one again.

Victory Song: Wildflower by The JaneDear Girls.  Yes, it’s country music, but I love country music.  Besides, it seemed appropriate because the story really is about Chloe changing and growing as a person, and figuring out how to cope and accept with what’s happened in her life. 

Title: Nothing really jumped outside out to me, but Wildflower seems pretty appropriate, so I’ll stick with that one for now.

Harry Potter and The Giant Prehistoric Chicken

The thing that amazes me the most about this one is the fact that I got off to such a rough start, and still managed to finish this one first!  November 1, I had 414 words, and didn’t write anything for a couple days.  I managed to get up to a few thousand words on the 4th, and got completely caught up about a week in.  But even then I struggled with it, and it was because I was trying to mimic the 5th book too much.  The characters were too in character, and I was trying way too hard.   Once I realized that it didn’t have to be exactly like Order of the Phoenix, it got a lot easier to write.  After all, if I wanted something like the 5th book, I’d be reading it, instead of writing my own version.  And with the struggles that I had the first week or so, I’m amazed that I managed to write 50,707 words without wordpadding!

The focus gradually shifted from Harry over to Hermione (who is undoubtedly one of my favorite characters), which may have been one of the reasons why it became easier to write.  I definitely see a lot of similarities between myself and Hermione, so writing from her point of view is a lot easier than Harry’s.  Also surprising me was that characters who didn’t have huge roles in the series had much bigger roles than I expected.

I won’t be doing any character spotlights on these characters or anything relating to the Harry Potter world, but definitely check out the Harry Potter Lexicon, which has been my saving grace over the last month.  On the rare occasion I needed to look something up, I apparated right on over to the Lexicon, where I could find everything I needed, as opposed to becoming wrapped up in reading Harry Potter whenever I needed to look something up. 

So instead of doing an in-depth character profile, I’ll be talking about each character and why I like or dislike them.  There’s definitely going to be a mythological aspect as well, since they’re going to the underworld, so I’ll probably highlight the places, creatures and gods/goddesses they encounter, plus any spells or potions I personally make up. 

I don’t really have a clear plan on how much I’ll be working on it, but anywhere from 500 to 1000 words, depending on my mood.  I haven’t actually written anything for it the last day or two, but I just need to sit down and write it!

The title should be well obvious by now (or so I hope anyway). 

Victory Song: I was listening to No Way from A Very Starkid Album when I reached 50k.  I knew that it definitely had to be something relating to Harry Potter, and No Way seemed to fit the best, because I was absolutely surprised that this was the novel that I “finished” first, and not only that, but a day early!  And as a side note, Potter Puppet Pals, A Very Potter Musical, and A Very Potter Sequel are absolutely genius.

The Secret Service Novel

This one went really well year, which was a big surprise.  Maybe it was the fact that I did a little more planning for this one than I did the others.  Maybe it was because I had conflict and tension in oodles.  I’m not quite sure what was going on with this one, but I’m definitely going to keep working on this one!  I wrote around 800 words or so yesterday, which I’m proud of because it’s something I’ve never done before.  Also impressive is that I wrote 51,045 words without wordpadding at all!

At the beginning of the month, I didn’t really have a clear plan of what Kiora’s life was like, or how Secret Service protection would affect her life.  As the story unfolded though, it’s been hard for her to adjust to being the Secretary of Education’s daughter, and it’s been hard for her to fit in with her classmates, who are much more used to being the child (and in some cases, grandchildren) of important politicians, etc.  She, for the most part, seems like she’s kind of gotten used to secret service protection, but she’s not really the type to say so. 

Also taking me by surprise was Kiora and Dustin.  I orignally decided it would be a one-sided thing, with Kiora having this huge crush on him because she thinks he’s cute.  Out of nowhere, he kisses her, it causes issues because he’s feeling guilty, and she thinks it means something.  I was leaning towards the idea of them dating for a day or two, but found I couldn’t write it.  However, I came up with the brilliant idea of replacing Dustin and Kiora with Sienna (a classmate of Kiora’s) and a secret service agent.  I’m still not sure how everything will play out, but Kiora and Dustin are definitely realizing and coming to terms with the gravity of what they’ve done. 

Victory Song: Use Somebody by Kings of Leon. 

I know I briefly mentioned it before, but I thought I’d have a victory song for each novel.  I’m not quite sure why I picked this particular song as the victory song, but somehow it seemed appropriate. 

I won’t be working on it frantically like I was last month, but I plan on writing 1000 words or so everytime I work on it.  The rules of just writing, and ignoring my inner editor still apply, of course, at least until it’s finished.  Whenever that is.  I’ll be posting how it’s going, plus I’ll be talking about each character in-depth.  I’ll also post the weird stuff I’ve written.

Title: Turning Point.

I know I’ve mentioned the title before, but I’ll be referring to the title from here on out.

A General Wrap-Up

All in all, this was my best NaNo yet.  I’ll talk about each novel individually in the next few days, but today I thought I’d do a general wrap-up.

  1. I’m never doing three novels in one month again.  I will, however, stick with doing two novels.  3 is too much to keep track of, no matter how much free time I have on my hands. 
  2. However, working on 3 novels got me back to writing everyday, which is something that I’ve sorely missed.  While I might not write everyday, I definitely need to be writing at least a few times a week.
  3. This was the year that I remembered why I started doing NaNo in the 1st place- because I love writing, and I have ideas that I need to get out onto paper. 
  4. Writing is fun, even when I want to strangle my characters. 
  5. I’ve, for the most part, ignored my inner editor, which has made for some interesting writing!

I’ll be posting everyday for at least the next few days, but after that, it’s highly likely that I’ll post anywhere from 4-5 days a week.  Sometimes it’ll be more, sometimes less, depending on what I’m talking about.  Not everything will be NaNo-specific now that NaNo is over, but I will be talking about 2 of the novels I’ve worked on this year, plus one of the novels that I worked on last year.  I know I have a couple of non-NaNo projects that I started a long time ago and never finished, so I might be talking about those every once in a while.  And of course, I’ll be talking about anything writing-related, and probably talk about books I’m reading every once in a while.