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Thank You #NaNoWriMo

Thank You #NaNoWriMo

Thanks to NaNoWriMo, I finished the first draft of my WIP, Scent of Attraction. Before I discovered NaNoWriMo, my novel was at a standstill, just waiting on my computer—and in my head—to be completed. I figured, what is a better way to add 50,000 words to my novel, than to be motivated with a 2,000 daily word goal? I felt the same way when I decided to borrow book 2 and 3 for George R. R. Martin’s “A Song of Ice and Fire” series, a.k.a. the books that the TV show Game of Thrones is based on.

I’m used to taking my time reading books. The only time I go through books like chocolates (I like this analogy better than tissues) are those times that I read my favorite romance series of all time. Many may say, “How can you not be addicted to Martin’s books?” I was at first, but being under a deadline of 21 days to read a 700+ book and then a 1200+ book under the same conditions made me feel an aversion to pages and pages of lengthy description. Some people like detailed descriptions to get a real sense of this other world, but my analytical mind likes things short and to the point.

But I digress (I tend to do that in my blogs, don’t I?). I just want to praise the awesomeness of NaNoWriMo. I noticed that there were many people in my network that participate and was also surprised at the number of people locally that part of it. During the half way party, one of the restaurant patrons that started dining before the place was closed to the public didn’t know that there was a local group that got together for various events. She happened to be participating. One of the writers that I critique on Scribophile was also participating. So, you never know who around you is part of it.

NaNoWriMo is a great motivator with a network of people that are very supportive. This goal oriented aspect of NaNoWriMo helped stop me from going back to previous chapters to edit, and re-edit, and revise, and basically, delay my writing. I just kept writing. There are notes everywhere in my manuscript to add more info, or change a scene, or add another possible scene, but with a rough outline, I just pushed forward and wrote out each of the scenes with my points as prompts. I want to give kudos to those participants that are pansters and let their novel flow from their imaginative brains and into their fingertips. They built their novel with pure creativity alone. NaNoWriMo did bring out some of my own creativity, I deviated or added to my outline. Maybe I may use a simpler outline for next year.

I can’t wait to start from the 1st of November next year instead of 5 days in.

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Am I an Introverted Writer or Extroverted Writer?

Am I an Introverted Writer or Extroverted Writer?

As a writer, I thought that I’m set. I don’t have to interact with people in person. I can just write my manuscript. I interact with people online and have that safety net of my anonymity. I tend to be quiet when I’m with groups of people and just listen in on the conversation. Online,either in forums, chat rooms, Facebook, Twitter, or all other social media outlets, I feel free to connect and chat with total strangers, provided that I’m using my pen name. So, I found it unnerving that as an aspiring author, I needed to network. Networking online is easy, as previously stated, but I needed to meet people in person.

For NaNoWriMo, I joined the Toronto community and they were holding a half way party to celebrating reaching the half way point milestone. I missed the kick off party because I joined NaNoWriMo a couple of days late. I just discovered it and since I was only four days into November, I decided to join, in an attempt to test the waters to see if I would like the challenge for next year. I found that I love NaNoWriMo and fully intend to sign up for 2015.

When I went to the half way party, I didn’t realize that everyone knew each other because they’ve been a part of NaNoWriMo for several years or they have been to the various events that happened before I even knew there were events for the Toronto community. Suffice to say, I was terrified. I put on a polite and friendly face when I turned around after checking in with the event coordinators and had to figure out how was I going to meet strangers.

In my everyday life, my hubby is the social butterfly. He knows how to converse with total strangers about a variety of topics from current events to art and history and other things cultural. I, on the other hand, have a hard time conversing on topics of current events and anything cultural. I can converse about most things scientific, but those topics are rarely talked about. I also have a hard time hearing people, especially if they mumble or talk quietly. I tend to rely on reading their lips, it’s a quirk I have that’s always been with me.

So going into the half way party, I was nervous. I sat down with one person and thankfully he was nice and friendly, helpful for a first time wrimo (what NaNoWriMo participants call themselves). Then more people showed up and the conversations were about things I had no clue about. I would try to add an opinion here and there, but I did my usual thing and listened.

The funny thing is, you would think that I would be shy about any kind of crowd. But one of my favourite hobbies, karaoke, brings out the extrovert in me. The bigger the crowd the better. For some reason, my brain has translated it to anonymity. Since there are so many people in the bar, I don’t stand out as much and I’m just another nameless face that has gone up to sing. Singing on stage seems to contradict not standing out, but as one of the people in the crowd when I’m not singing, I don’t really notice the singer on stage. I’m not trying to be mean about it, I do know that they are singing up there—I don’t ignore their performance. Usually, my group of friends are the only ones applauding, but I don’t criticize if they make a mistake, if they sing off-key, or if they look like fools. I just enjoy sitting with my friends, munching on pub food, and listening to music—even the country songs (I wouldn’t choose to listen to it on iTunes but I don’t boo people for choosing the songs). I’ll even try songs that I’ve never sung before. And if I sound horrible, I chalk it up to “at least I tried but I will remember to not sing that again”.

So, I really don’t know what I would be classified as. Am I an introvert? Extrovert? Extroverted Introvert? Shy? Maybe it’s my Gemini personality that just allows me to be a little bit of everything.

 

stock images from istockphoto.com

#NaNoWriMo Equals 50,000 Words in One Month?

#NaNoWriMo Equals 50,000 Words in One Month?

Trying to find a way to complete my novel, I looked at all sorts of tips on the internet and in e-books. I came across a few tips that are helping me, and hopefully, I will get 50,000 words in one month. The one thing I discovered that will give me the motivation to get these 50,000 words in one month is NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month).

Technically, I should probably be writing to get my target word count for the day, but I decided to take a break and catch up tomorrow. The approach that NaNoWrMo uses is a great approach to use all the time. It may be frustrating to just write and not edit in between, but unless it’s a major plot change that would need a rewrite of the chapter, writing ~1700 words a day can get you to your goal of a complete manuscript. I feel accountable to get my word count in for the day. It’s daunting to know that if I skip a day—maybe I will get my word count in today—I would have to double my word count the next day just to catch up.

Another great tip I found is to write constantly, everyday, about anything, hence, the blog (technically two blogs: this one and my mommy blog). It’s especially helpful when I get a bit of writer’s block and can’t figure out what to write next. I do have an outline, which is also a good thing to have. It’s gives me some direction and I have an idea where my story is leading. I tried to be a pantser, where I write and have the story flow out on its own, but I find that only works for me when I write blogs, like now. Sometimes I would create an outline for the blog, a.k.a. plot, but sometimes I just want to get the thoughts out of my head in the order they spew out.

Though, if I do decide to outline my blog, or in the case of my manuscript, my work in progress, I find that using Scrivener is a writer’s best friend. The software is affordable already, but if you take part in NaNoWriMo, you can get a 20% discount. The great thing about the software is organization your novel into scenes and chapters with cue cards that can display each scene outline. You can also add character sketches, setting sketches, plot information, and research items. It all stores with your manuscript for reference. It can compile your manuscript to save as different formats, including an e-book. Scrivener has helped a lot with organizing my thoughts.

When I’m not on my computer, another helpful tool is Evernote. I don’t use it for writing, but you can use it in the same fashion as Scrivener, but I find that Scrivener has more features. Evernote is available as an app on your smartphone, and this feature is valuable. There are times when I’m far away from my computer and a pen and paper approach doesn’t cut it because my handwriting is horrible and I type fast, even on the tiny touch keyboard on my smartphone—chalk it up to all texts I send to my girlfriends. I write my new ideas for a scene in my WIP on Evernote and I can access it on my computer via the cloud.

Aside from writing, a great help for any manuscript is an editing class. You can find out all the things you do wrong when you write and nip it in the bud before you write it down. Of course, old habits are hard to break, but at least you’ll know what glaring errors to look for when you go through your manuscript at the end. Some of these editing classes can be found on Groupon or from a writing association, like Romance Writers Association. Joining an association is a great way to other authors for advice. You can find a writing buddy that can give you the motivation and guilt like a workout buddy. It’s also a great way to find a critiquing partner.

And speaking of critiquing, signing up for a writing group, like Scribophile, is a great way to critique and get critiqued. Through critiquing, you can see common errors in plot, verb tense, POV, punctuation, and grammar. You can see what you want to see and don’t want to see in your own writing. And don’t stick to your genre. Explore others and sometimes you can find common elements that make a novel a bestseller. I read bestsellers and self-published works. It’s another great way to see what you want to see and don’t want to see in your own writing.

So, signing up for NaNoWriMo is a great way to get motivated to write your manuscript within the month, or at least 50,000 words of your WIP. Having a writing buddy can also guilt-motivate you to write. Hopefully, using all the tools I mentioned will help me reach my goal.

 

 

 

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