Wednesday, October 29, 2014
I observe No Stabbing Wednesdays, but no one said anything about shooting.
Incidentally, another character just dropped dead in my manuscript. He was shot. I guess you'll have to read the book to figure out who the shooter is.
Tuesday, October 28, 2014
You sit down in front of your computer on November 4th with 6,000 words written and the plan to write Chapter 3. You have your notes and your outlines. This is the perfect time of your writing day, and everything is how you need it to be to be the best writer you can be (which is a lot of be's). You take a deep breath, open the manuscript, and stare.
What the heck should you write?
Nothing comes to mind. Your creativity has flat-lined. You start to panic about making your word count for the day? What are you going to do?
I'll tell you what you're going to do. You're going to close that document and go get yourself a heavy dose of inspiration. Like a shot of adrenaline, these pre-packed doses of inspiration will fire up your creativity and get you writing in no time.
Exercise 1: Make A Mood Board
- Hit Tumblr, Deviant Art, and Instagram to find images that remind you of your character. Since you'll be using other people's art be respectful and keep it for personal use, not promotion. I have a Deviant Art folder just for setting inspiration.
- If you won't have access to the internet while writing consider saving your mood board images on a page that let's you rearrange them, like PowerPoint or OneNote.
Exercise 2: Make A Playlist
- You can make one for the book, or one for each POV character, or even mood playlists that help you set the tone for each scene.
- Either buy the music legally, or set up a Spotify or Pandora playlist.
- If you get stuck during NaNo crank up the music and stare at your mood board for five minutes.
Exercise 3: Make An Inspiration List
- Think of what books, movies, or TV shows inspired you. Keep them handy for NaNo.
- If you're stuck beyond reason, retreat from your writing area and get inspired. Part of an author's job is to read. Read widely. Read frequently. Read everything. The more you read, the better your writing gets, and it's better to sacrifice an hour of writing time to a good book than to whining on Twitter about how you suck at writing. Trust me on this one.
Exercise 4: RED ALERT!
- If all else fails, and nothing is working, know when to pull the plug.
- I'm not saying quit NaNo, but know when to call it a day. There are going to be times you simply can't write. Emotionally or physically you are drained and your brain is gray goo between your ears. Beating yourself up about isn't going to help. In fact, repeatedly telling yourself that you can't write will hurt you.
- Plan a non-writing activity that fires up your creativity. I like to go for a Zombie Run. Maybe you like to cook, or paint, or play football, or wash dishes by hand. Go do that thing.
- Forgive yourself, and plan on forgiving yourself for missed days. Remember, the 50,000 words is only a way of keeping score, it isn't the actual goal of NaNoWriMo. The goal of NaNo is to make good writing habits. Understanding that there are non-writing days is a good habit. Hating yourself for missing a writing day is a bad habit.
- Don't form bad habits.
NaNoWriMo Boot Camp Day 1: Establish a Baseline
NaNoWriMo Boot Camp Day 2: Finding a Plot
NaNoWriMo Boot Camp Day 3: The Antagonist
NaNoWriMo Boot Camp Day 4: The Protagonist
NaNoWriMo Boot Camp Day 5: Keep the Book Moving
NaNoWriMo Boot Camp Day 6: Set The Stage
Monday, October 27, 2014
My husband and I uprooted our Southern family from the glorious land of Eternal Summer to move to Kansas last December. There was snow. There was a Polar Vortex. There was ice. There were many, many tears.
We quickly made plans to retreat to more hospitable territory.
And then came the job offer in Alaska. Yeah... Alaska doesn't have a Polar Vortex because it's the Arctic. Alaska may not actually have a summer. We're not sure yet.
But the count down has begun. My husband graduates from graduate school the second week of December. Plane tickets are being bought. Shipping arrangements for everything from my book collection to the giant Dog to the cars are being made. Hotels are already booked.
This is an end of an era.
I'm moving to a place I've never visited before for the first time in ... um ... look, I traveled a lot as a kid so this isn't really a fair calculation. The number of places I haven't been in the lower 48 States is Maine and the Dakotas. Maybe. I might have been to one of the Daktoas. I forget. But I've never been to Alaska!
I'm going to see the Northern Lights, y'all! And I might get beat up for saying "Y'all" on the west coast. Anything could happen.
The good news is that I haven't hit the "burn everything to the ground!" stage of packing. Give me another five weeks and I'll probably be threatening to leave everything behind and buy it new on arrival (Pro Tip: don't do this). With everything done all that's left for me to do between now and boarding the plane is write.
November - National Novel Writing Month - is devoted to writing JANE'S SHADOW, book two of the Jane Doe series. Let me tell you, it opens with a bang.