Happy NaNoWriMo Eve….

Errr, I mean, Halloween…look! My son dressed up as Harry Potter.

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Anyway, I meant to write another post about my NaNo preparations but this month has really gotten away from me.

Not gonna lie – I’m feeling a little unprepared to start writing a book tomorrow.

I’ve been working(ish) on an outline and I decided to take my own advice and try to figure out my story arc. I discovered that what I had been planning to write wasn’t going to work. The part of this story that I really wanted to write…is a book 2 kind of thing. Which KILLS me, friends. Gah!

So, I’ve now figured out what I want my main character’s story arc to be for this first go around. What’s going to happen is another thing altogether and I really have no idea how I’m going to get from the beginning to the end but I guess we’ll see what I can come up with (at least I have a beginning and an end, right?)…Yay for discovery writing!

Good luck to all you fellow NaNoWriMo’s out there!

Oh…you say you want another picture of my children being cute on Halloween? You got it!

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It’s Friday AGAIN

I can’t believe it’s Friday already….AGAIN.

And I totally didn’t do one of these reviews last week. On purpose. Not enough hours in the day, people.

Honestly, I was still a bit rage-y about the whole computer implosion fiasco. I’m still rage-y about it. Upgrading the stupid thing is the problem that just keeps on taking all my monies. And I’ve been a little annoyed with the laptop – aside from the screen being small (it’s 10 incher) it has other fun (read: aggravating) quirks.

Anyway, the computer is almost up and running thanks to an awesome Husband (who has his own work to do but still made time for my computer issues). Soon, all will be right with the world. We would have made lousy pioneers. We can’t function without our technologies. This morning, we had an hour-long power outage and I felt very claustrophobic and at a loss for things to do (I did make the bed and empty to dishwasher, in case you were wondering). The kids wanted to play on their iPods (a special Friday treat – Friday’s are awesome!) and of course, only the oldest, least fun one had any juice…

That’s enough of my boring, real world problems.

While the power was out, I finished up The House of Hades. The ending was good – say, the last 100 pages….but I was a little disappointed during the rest of it. I found myself rolling my eyes on occasion and being more annoyed than usual at some of Mr. Riordan’s usual writing quirks. And it kind of goes without saying that with this series of books there is simple never enough Percy Jackson. Alas, you cannot have it all when you’re juggling a whopping seven viewpoints in one YA book that’s only 583 pages! That’s ambitious even if you are Rick Riordan.

This week I started writing a short story which turned out to be fun. I never thought those words would cross my lips, but there you go. It’s about a demon who harvests human souls – specifically: hipsters. It’s supposed to be darkly humorous (hipsters are funny in any context, really). Anyway, I haven’t finished it yet, but it’s been a fun little exercise.

Then there’s the whole NaNoWriMo thing looming on the horizon. I’m trying to get an outline nailed down, but I’ve also been doing a lot of mental worldbuilding as well. It’s not something that I usually think about very much before I write a novel (I typically discovery-write my worldbuilding), so I’m finding it difficult. Trying to be more organized has drawback’s, apparently. At LEAST I have some character names chosen/invented. Main protagonist, check! And her sidekick/best friend, check! And…that’s it.

Man, I feel behind.

It’s this lousy computer funk, I tell you!

Like I said, I’d make a lousy pioneer.

Cheers.

Fear

Fear kept me from writing for a very long time.

It was a fear of failure.

I had a bad writing experience as a child and I was so disappointed in myself that I gave up. I didn’t understand the creative process. I didn’t understand that you have more than one shot to get it right (this is especially true with writing). Now I know better. It doesn’t bring back those lost years but I can now disregard that tiny voice that says I’m no good.

Another fear that I’m still dealing with is sharing my work. I don’t know what it is that terrifies me so much…

Criticism? Not really – I kind of already know what’s wrong with my stuff. The adage that you are your own worst critic is definitely true for me. I actually like feedback – it gives me a good chuckle sometimes.

I think owning my writing is what I’m really afraid of – claiming something imperfect. Because I am a serial perfectionist.

When I talk about fear, I’m not talking about butterflies-in-your-stomach-nervousness level fear. I’m talking about voice-shaking-heart-exploding-from-your-chest-hyperventilation level fear.

For my writing group this last week, I had been preparing myself to pass my writing sample around and have it read silently. I was pretty comfortable with that (read: still a little nervous about it). I hadn’t made any suggestions about our method of sharing – I hadn’t wanted anyone to feel uncomfortable (read: I didn’t want to feel uncomfortable) . So, that’s what I was prepared for, psychologically – having other people read my work to themselves. You can imagine my panic when I went to writing group and it was suggested that we read our stuff aloud

Like, MAJOR panic, people.

And I had to. My writing group ladies (very politely) wouldn’t take no for an answer. And truthfully, I didn’t want to say no…

Alright, I wanted to, but I knew it would be good for me so I sucked it up…Also, I didn’t want to be the only person who refused, making myself look like a child throwing a temper tantrum.

And you know what? I love them for not letting me wriggle out of it. And I love myself for being brave despite how I was feeling on the inside. I can’t tell you how much anxiety I had as I was reading. It was very difficult. I know it’s just reading – I read aloud all the time to my children and it’s fun…When it’s your own stuff it’s different. I know that doesn’t seem rational, but that’s how it is – I can’t explain it, even to myself.

The wonderful women in my writing group were so supportive – it was just a great experience and I really enjoyed the whole night – despite how hard it was. I know it will still be hard next time, but I’m hoping it will be a little less hard.

It’s a fear I’d like to overcome someday. That probably won’t happen before the next writer’s group meeting, but you never know…

Stacy sews her own destruction…

Tonight is my first official writing group meeting. A writing group that I started.

And I’m terrified.

Terrified to the point of feeling absolutely paralyzed by the simple task of choosing a writing sample to share.

I’ve known for a month that I needed to have something to take tonight, but have I prepared anything? No. Well, I mean, I have a whole novel to choose from and some 10k words on my latest project as well.

Aside from my recent computer troubles (I was able to retrieve my second file this morning – thank you safe mode), I feel like I’m forcing my work on people who are not my audience. And it’s a first draft, so, you know, it’s rough and has a lot of problems and I feel too distracted to do editing. You’d think that with 100k words to choose from I could come up with a 2,500 or less selection…But it seems like an impossible feat.

Sharing unpolished work takes a lot of courage. And trust.

I’m not feeling courageous and trusting today.

My husband tells me that the content of my writing doesn’t matter as long as the writing is done well. That I’m trying to help people be better writers so all that really matters is technique. And that I need to be confident because I’m a leader now whether I want to be or not.

And I would add that maybe I should put away my ego because this writing group has never been about me.

I hate his pep talks…they’re frustratingly helpful…

I’ll come up with something by the end of the day, I’m sure.

‘Last minute awesome’ is my middle name.

NaNoWriMo Prep 2013 – The Premise And Other Stuff

Oh, the frustration of first world problems.

Last night, as M. was playing the new version of Terraria on my desktop, it proved too awesome for the old girl to handle and she decided she no longer had a reason to live (my computer, not my daughter). Thankfully I have a laptop and an iPhone to use until I can rebuild the thing, so I’m only slightly inconvenienced.

What I don’t have are backups for the novels I was working on. They’re on the drive, which is relatively new and functioning perfectly, but accessing them is tricky…since I get about a minute or less of computer function before the whole thing freezes and I have to restart. Alas, I do not have the power to pull my novels from the disk with my mind. That would be awesome – and convenient. Sometimes reality sucks, my friends.

This morning I successfully retrieved one file before the screen froze, so I still have hope of getting the other, eventually. But I’m a still a little bummed. It’s never a good time to lose a computer. I really hate re-installing stuff. It was her time, though – at almost five years old, she was a senior citizen on her death bed. It was inevitable…

First world problems, like I said.

In addition to that mess, I’ve begun thinking about/planning for NaNoWriMo which is next month.

I’m very excited about it. This year I won’t be traveling for Thanksgiving so perhaps it will be easier on me. But also, I just love writing and I really like being ‘forced’ to meet a word count goal.

My experience with NaNo really started back in 2011. I didn’t end up writing a single word that year, but in 2012, I decided that failure was not an option, knocked it out and won (‘winning’ is meeting the 50k word count goal). The end product was a mess – it was too short for a fantasy novel and the two viewpoints I attempted kind of got away from me – but I was so proud of myself for having finished it. I’d started several novels before and never got more than 20k words into them before quitting. I’d like to go back and fix my ’12 NaNo novel when I get a chance because it’s got some potential.

What did I do then? I’d proven that I could finish a novel-ish but that I couldn’t handle two viewpoints at once. So, for Camp NaNoWriMo in April (where you can choose your word count goals) I wrote another novel and used three viewpoints. I met my 50k goal that month and continued writing because the book wasn’t done – over the next couple months I added another 20k or so. And then another Camp came around in July and I wanted to finish the novel, so I made a list of every scene I needed to write to finish it and estimated how many words it would take. At the end of July’s Camp and 20K later, I finished my first ‘real’ novel.

I feel like I’ve had a busy year…

I can’t really believe It’s October already. I’m ready to have another productive writing experience during this year ‘s NaNoWriMo.

One thing I know I need to get done this month is an outline. I didn’t have one for my 2012 NaNo and the result was a lot of unfocused writing time. I would often sit at my computer and ask myself ‘what’s going to happen next?’ It was a time waste and I really struggled. In April I came into Camp with a fairly detailed outline and the writing came much more naturally – I was nearly always ahead of my daily writing goals (as opposed to last November, when I was nearly always behind).

Then there’s the question of what I’m going to write.

I was thinking that I’d just continue on with my current project but now another idea has caught my attention and it won’t leave me alone. My premise is that my characters live in a world where you can make music do magic and so music in all forms has been outlawed. I considered writing it in a contemporary setting but decided against it, so pure fantasy it is!

And that’s kind of where I stand at the moment.

As I consider what will happen to my main character I have to keep reminding myself that she’s a child (12) and that she wouldn’t make the same sort of decisions that an older (wiser) person would make.

I’ll keep you posted on where my brainstorming takes me over the next few weeks.

Cheers.