NaNoWriMo 2016 – It’s done

Today at 17:30 I reached 50,162 words and I have an ending to my story.

This is my first win at Nano in the 3 years I have participated. I have done it with one day spare and I am pretty chuffed about that.

The experience wasn’t as difficult as before and I think it’s because I did a little bit of planning. I am not particularly happy with the story and most of it will probably go to the shredder or that special folder where failed attempts go die (as you never ever shred anything…you never know when it might come in handy). However, I am happy that for the first time since I have taken up writing again I have a story with a beginning, a middle and an end!

So what now?

Well first, I am going to play some Assassin’s Creed: Unity – there is nothing like mashing up buttons to kill villains to get rid of tension…

Then, I am going to start reading a new book. I haven’t read in ages as I didn’t want to distract myself from the story for Nano.

Finally, I am going to take a writing break until Xmas and then see if I fancy editing this one or starting a new…

For this year though, Nano is done. Weeeheeee!

Congrats to all of the other winners and if you haven’t finished yet…keep going…one more day and you are done. I know you can. If I can, anybody can.


NaNoWriMo 2016: Ramping Up

It’s the last week of Nano…already. I can’t believe how fast this month have gone. Probably because I had a deadline.

I clocked 38,544 words last night so I am well on target.

The story is a little all over the place though. I am not sure where my start and middle are anymore as ideas for scenes just pop in my head and I just write them. I try to tie them in somehow to what I have already written but I go back and forth on the timeline a lot. Thankfully, thanks to Scrivener, I can easily keep track of all the scenes and at the end, using the cork board, I’ll be able to rearrange them.

The original plan to have 3 leading ladies is somewhat devolving as one of them takes more of the centre stage. Then again, as this is meant to be part of a series, I can highlight each character on different episodes.

A lot of the early scenes I wrote will probably belong to the Backstory folder in the end but it was useful to write them nonetheless and didn’t do any harm to the wordcount counter either.

Overall, this has been a much better experience for me than the previous years. I don’t feel as stressed about it and I think I have made some sort of plan helped.

Only 11,456 words to write in 8 days, which means my daily word count has gone down to 1,432 words. I am going to try to keep to 1,667 words if I can so I might even be done before the deadline of 30th. I have to think of an ending…which I have been putting of for some time now.

Soon my precious…soon.

NaNoWriMo 2016: Fighting boredom

Last night I reached the halfway point with 25,083 words on the count. I am proud of that achievement (got me a new badge) but…and there is often a but, isn’t there.

But, I am bored with the story. I have hit a slump and earlier in FB post I compared it to ‘wading through the undergrowth using a blunt machete’, which is random as I have never actually done that, but also feels rather poetically accurate.

My action has stalled. I feel like all I am doing is character exposition and I am getting bored. This usually hits me a lot earlier so it’s an achievement in itself to have gone this far this time. So what can I do to get excited again and yet keep with the same story?

Here are a few things I have found reading other people’s blogs, Nanowrimo veterans and founder’s book ‘No plot, No problem’ and just thinking about what to do:

  1. Skip straight to a more exciting part
  2. Do a freewriting session
  3. Break it down in smaller 400 words chunks
  4. Stop worrying about the quality of what you are writing

There are a lot more advices around, you just have to Google Nanowrimo Tips to get a whole plethora of articles and blogposts from participants, past winners or from the guest bloggers on Nano site.

For now, I think I am going to try for n#1. I need a bit of action and I have an idea for some which is supposed to happen much later. Right now, it sounds more interesting than going linear.


NaNoWriMo 2016: On being lazy

I have said it before but I am very, very good at procrastinating. There are few things I hate more than having to do the chores around the house and I swear, if I ever strike it rich, the first thing I’ll do is get someone else to deal with that.

Yet, when I have a writing deadline, nothing looks more attractive than doing the dishes…or maybe spending six hours playing #TombRaider:DefinitiveEdition on my new PS4! Yep, instead of doing the two writing session per day at the weekend, I found myself lost on the freaky island trying to find GPS caches and killing bad guys with a loaded bow. Very entertaining to be truthful but hardly what I should have been doing during NaNoWriMo.

The problem (and it’s always been my biggest problem, even at school) is that I am on target and because of that, I knew that I only had to do fit in two writing session over the two days to keep on target. I did and I am still on target but I could have gotten myself a bigger buffer, especially that I might struggle to find time today.

So I feel a bit guilty but not guilty enough to do something about it. Story of my writing life. I am hardly going to finish that novel at this rate.

The story is moving along. I wrote my three dream sequences (one for each of my Leading Ladies) and I finally got my first bad guy encounter. I am betting that the first five chapters will get cut out at the editing process as it just is too slow a start but as NaNoWriMo is about finding your story, I am getting there. Providing I stop trying to get Lara killed.


NaNoWriMo 2016: First week recap

Nano 2016 first week is almost over and so far so much crappy drivel. Yeah, yeah, I know everyone says their writing is awful but it’s my parade, I can rain on it if I want to.

On the plus side, I am on track with my wordcount: at close of day last night I had managed 11,466 words. Pretty pleased with that.

It hasn’t been easy and I was hoping to build some buffer at the weekend but my inner sloth kicked in and I chose to play Assassin’s Creed: Unity instead…I know, this is meant to be a reward but I have zero patience. I did do my 2 needed sessions though so I am not behind.

So what about the story, I hear you ask. Well, it’s a diesel of a story. It’s starting slow, slowly warming up to the action, which is of course a problem as usually I am one who prefers to get thrown in the thick of it. I am discovering my characters.

I have three main characters – which is a great way to triple your wordcount by the way, as I sometimes cheat and write the same scene through different POV (but don’t tell anyone).
Beth who is in her mid forties and has just been dumped by her sleezebag husband for a younger model.

Reena who is in her late thirties, she is a hospital doctor and married a man through an arranged marriage and he turns out to be a wife-beater.

And finally, Angelique ‘Angel’ who is in her early to mid thirties and is a tough cookie with a bad start in life. Schizophrenic mother, gambling and alcoholic dad. She has had it rough from the start and things gets worse when she loses her job after she punched a guy who was getting a little to fresh with her.

I feel like I have great, strong female characters in the making. They are all flawed and have room for growth.

They don’t know each other but fate and a little help from a dead witch will thrown them together so they can fulfil their witchy destinies.

I still have to figure out the how and create more conflicts for them. Right now, they are getting to know each other and I am getting to know them.

I have a couple of supporting characters too: Kara, the kick ass warrior-witch who is in her early twenties and will act as a teacher. Lavinia, the ghostly witch responsible for bringing them together and who will be the beyond the grave mentor and Jessie, the teenage neighbour who will be the surprise fourth witch in their quad party.

I have to develop my villains too: Reena’s husband will be one of the them, warlocks from a secret society and some demons too. Not all of them will be male as I don’t want this to be a male bashing fest but I do want strong ‘smash the patriarchy’ undertones.

I do worry that I am trying to cram in too many characters and not enough action…at least that’s where I am at now. Not all the characters will be introduced in this episode.

Anyway, this is where I am at. This week, I have to get some action going. My ladies will discover that there is a hidden world of magic and things that go bump in the night and that they are part of it. Some will embrace it and other will resist it.

To be continued…



NaNoWriMo 2016: ‘The day before it starts’ panic

Nano 2016 kick starts tomorrow and I am in a panic.

I feel that all the prep I have done is rubbish and not enough to get me passed Chapter 3! – if you have read some of my previous writing posts, you will know that chapter 3 is my nemesis.

What’s there to panic about I hear you ask ?

  • I thought I had created beats for the story but having made the mistake to read some other ‘book for writers’, I am now thinking a) they are shit and b) they are not real beats.
  • My characters don’t really have internal conflicts or interesting external conflicts except for ‘this is where demons attack’
  • I don’t have a fleshed out uber villain
  • I think I have given myself too many characters to worry about, although I am planning to make this a series so I don’t really need to evolve them too much.
  • I don’t have high stakes or rising stakes…

All I can think about right now is to go around in circle, shouting ‘gahhhhh’ whilst pulling my hair! And I haven’t even started yet.

I can’t decide if I should be a planner or pantser and I can’t seem to do the work how it should be done in between. I keep changing my mind and indecision is killing me (not literally of course).

Part of me wants to go ‘sod it, why am I doing this to myself, just give it up’ and another part wants to bitch slap that defeatist approach…

I really, really want to write a novel. Even if it’s a short one and as usual, I am my own worst enemy.



Preparing for NaNoWriMo 2016

November is already upon us and with it the first frisson of chilly weather and talks of the next Nano.

Once again, I have decided to try my hand at it, still high from my success with Camp Nano and now I have better writing tool with #scrivener. At least I hope that it will help.

I have been working a plan and doing research for a story which wasn’t the plan after Camp Nano but that came to me.

Once again, I have started in a new direction before I even finished the other one. The difference this time is that I actually know what my ending should be like as I want this story to be serialised.

I thought, after Camp Nano 2106, that I wanted to write a YA story but I realised that I don’t really want to write about teenagers.

A couple of month I read a story in The Guardian about 3 retired single ladies who decided to buy a house together to fend off loneliness and just share happy times together and that inspired me… I could see myself living that way when I am older. I was a big fan of the TV series ‘Charmed’ as well and suddenly those 2 things came together.

Although I originally thought I was going to write about 3 retired ladies in an exotic island who discover they are witches, I realised there were too many unknowns in there for me to feel comfortable. Too much stuff to make up to start with. I want to concentrate on the characters and the action and if I have to create a whole new world and try to figure out how it would be to be an older lady then I think it would be too much.

So although I am keeping the same central theme 3 ladies, witchcraft “Charmed’ like…my ladies will not know each other at the start, they will be in their 30s and 40s (I can relate to either) and they will be living in South East London (again I can relate)…after that, let’s see what I can put them through…

I have started to do character bios and I also started a beat sheet, Snyder’s style to help pave the way so I roughly know where I am going this time.

I have one week to find as many beats as I can all the way to 25.

25 Chapters of 2000 words each and I should get one full novel. The plan is obviously to write 1,667 words per day at least so almost 1 chapter per day…

I couldn’t do it before…Really hoping that having some research done before will carry me forward.

Wish me luck.