Tag Archives: NaNoWriMo

It only grows

It used to be that every other year, we did Thanksgiving with my parents, and the opposite with my in-laws. With my MIL’s passing last year, it hasn’t really had time to shift, but more it became if my sister and her brood would be present or not as they were still on the alternating year plan. Interestingly, this year my parents are taking the holiday to my sister since they cannot get away with school things. As my girls are older, we don’t have that hiccup…only multiple work schedules to navigate.

Which means…it’s just my household doing the holiday together…which is nice on many levels. Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday, and I love being with family and laughing…but there’s a perk to keeping the gathering small too. I have no idea how many years are left before there will be plus one’s at the table and it won’t just be us anymore. I can totally enjoy turkey day in my jammies this time instead of having to dress for the travel & company factor this round. We can have our favorites at the table and all the leftovers we can handle. There is a win-win to this scenario.

The challenge is everyone keeps adding to the menu and I think I’m going to need a bigger table soon if we hope to sit at one to eat. I am also wondering if I should make the bird. Our family is not opposed to turkey…I’m happy to make it…but good gracious the sides are getting to be so abundant, that I’m not sure anyone is going to eat turkey anyway. And, just when I think I have the list complete, and most of the ingredients, except the fresh ones, bought and set aside, someone adds another dish to the list. I’m going to be waddling for a week or more…and that’s before seasonal baking.

At this rate also, I’m not sure what NANO WRIMO holds for me. I had thought to use my holiday week to crack out the backlog, but at this rate, I’ll be in the kitchen…likely wearing ingredients and laughing like a maniac. 🙂 see…there was a writer’s reason to mention the holiday odd going on…food & family vs. words? Family wins.

My writing itinerary is getting complicated for 2018. Then again, I’m not sure I’d recognize it any other way. 🙂 manic is me.

What’s your favorite holiday dish? What’s the one you could live without? Enquiring minds want to know…and, s’long as I’m already cooking enough for a battalion, what else can I add to the fun?

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Plan With Me

Most of the writers within Eclectic bard are pantsers. Honestly, I don’t know how they do it.  I have three unfinished manuscripts that I “pantsed” and will require some major editing and revision to make  them publishable.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m not bashing pantsers.  There is a certain fascination that it holds for me because I  utterly failed at pantsing.

Several years ago during NaNoWriMo, I pantsed  Kiss of the Dragon (copyright Ellie Mack 2013). I amassed a large volume of words, exceeding the goal by more than double.  The word count for NaNo is 50000. Kiss of the Dragon came in at 128,000. Overachiever much? Why, yes I am. 

My pantsing produced a  manuscript that had so many rabbit trails in it,  it was difficult to follow, numerous scenes that didn’t add to the overall story, and in the end led to three more subplots that needed to be  tied at the end.  It was a nightmare and it still sits in my files because I am painfully aware of the amount of work that it still needs in revision.

My methods are not like the others in the house.  My methods are my own and therefore no one but me takes the blame for  incongruent stories.  I’d like to think that I’ve improved over the years. Anyway, . . . planning.

From concept to finished product requires a plan. Whether that includes an outline is up to the individual. It’s been my experience that failing to plan is  in fact planning to fail. We can make all sorts of excuses,  blame life’s demands, other people’s demands on us, our own   habits or whatever it may be that we revert to as our default answer  of why X isn’t finished.

Over the next few weeks, on my posts I will share the key elements of a successful plan that will cut  the time nearly in half from initial concept  to finished book in hand.

I don’t know about you, but I could use some time-saving tips.

‘Til next time

~~~~

Ellie

Method of My Madness

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There are aspects of writing that are absolutely without a doubt amazing, and then there are those that are bash your head against the brick wall till it bleeds frustrating.

No, I don’t mince words.

November is NaNoWriMo.  I don’t know if any of my constituents have  mentioned NaNo this year or not, I’ve been  pretty head down focused on my todo list for a while now. NaNo is  one of those double edged aspects of writing. It’s thrilling, exciting, while also being frustrating. NaNo is a good way to get the first draft down on virtual paper. I’ve taken a break from editing Valkyrie’s Curse,  my next book to work on  the next book after that for NaNo.

There are some who pants the whole thing.  I did my first year.  I had a concept,  an overall idea the first year that I did NaNo.  I was a newbie. All I knew was that I needed to write 50000 words by November 30th. Challenge accepted.  I did.  I wrote like the wind.  I actually wrote a large volume of work,  based on that initial concept. My rough draft crested at somewhere around 85000 words. Sadly,  I’ve thrown a large volume of that into the trash. It was good practice,  but unusable as it didn’t progress the story. Eventually,  I’ll get Kiss of the Dragon back out and work it over.

The second year I attempted NaNo, again I tried to pants it.  I got to around 24000 words and hit a wall.  I didn’t reach my goal. Regardless of the additional hours of work  at the day job, I just didn’t have my mojo to get the words down.  Then last year, an author shared her method with me on my own blog. EUREKA!  I hit gold!

About the time that I got lost in the catacombs of the green dragon’s lair, I decided that  outlining was the way I needed to go.  I had some basic ideas that I tried out on Kiss of the Dragon,  Faere Warrior, and Love Notes (all WIP’s that sit in my file drawer) but  they were too detailed.  I hear pantsers say that  outlining  takes the creativity out of writing. I guess that was it,  I had too detailed of outline. I had already  planned out the story, broken it into chapters, broken out the inciting incident, the climax, the reactionary incident, the  reversed response and it took the excitement out of the writing process.

The writing process is about creating.

Aedan is phenomenal with world building. I picked his brain. My friend Vicki is amazing at character development,  so I  picked her brain as well.  I sit and scratch my head wondering what, if anything, I do well.  I get stuck on that often, doubting myself, doubting the story, doubting my ability. Then  I  let  someone read a bit  here or there and the response is  often  a demand for more.  That’s a great feeling as a writer,  to have someone be excited for your prose.

So what do I do well?  What do I offer that someone else doesn’t? I knew the answer. I didn’t want to admit it but I knew and being in one of those doubting moods polled my writing friends.  Descriptions.  I am a descriptive writer. Painting word pictures by my descriptions so that the reader  visualizes and is drawn into the story.

I lost that when I over outlined. The writing became dry, formulaic, and *yawns*  boring. If I didn’t want to write it,  who would want to read it? So now we go back to Lazette’s method from last year’s NaNo.  30 days to write a story.  Essentially,  I break out the “outline” into 30 prompts for 30 days that are the skeletal structure of the entire story. I shared this in more detail on my own blog.

This is how I wrote Red Wine & Roses.  This is how I wrote Valkyrie’s Curse (which is  in revisions). This is also the method I used to break out another series that I have been working on for a while that Faere Warrior is a part of. I’ve tweaked Lazette’s method  to make it my own.

Valkyrie’s Curse was my NaNo novel from 2014. I won NaNo at 74000 words, but the story wasn’t complete. While revising,  I can add in the details and descriptives that were rushed during NaNo. It was in that process of revisions that inspiration struck me full force  and  it became clear to me that Valkyrie’s Curse was only part of the story. I even had an open ending for a sequel.

This year’s NaNo project  is a continuation of  the first, and my working title is Valkyries Curse: Trial of Aegir.  I’m stoked!  My skeletal outline with prompts allows me enough of a framework to keep me from chasing rabbits while having free reign to  be creative.

It may not work for anyone else, but it works for me. Isn’t that the  whole  idea in the first place?  To find what works for you, so that you can operate in your talents and skills to the best of your ability?  My best is yet to come!

My first piano recital was an embarrassment.  I stumbled over the keys, terrified of an audience of twelve people. My last piano recital was in front of over a hundred, and  I nailed it!  That’s what we do.  We practice our craft so we can nail it!

I intend to nail it  repeatedly. I need to go work on my wordage for today’s prompt: Paradise dreams and the giant serpent.

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Until next time,

Ellie