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.


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.


Let’s talk about writing tools

Thanks to my most excellent win from Camp Nano 2016 (let’s see how much longer I can milk that cow!), I got me a 50% on Scrivener. That’s the writing software for a mere £22 including tax. Now that’s a price I was ok to pay as I know I can be excitable about a new ‘toy’ and then quickly get bored with it.

There is also a 50% discount on another writing tool called Storyist which I had never heard of before I saw the discount but after doing a little bit of research, I decided that Storyist wasn’t for me. Although I use a Mac, I liked that Scrivener had more features and I have no intention of using an iPad to write.

So far, I have been writing in Google docs which is great to synchronise your file across devices although I often write on the same device (my netbook) which is easy to transport and when I want to sneak in a writing session at work, I can do it in the same folder. This might have to change as Scrivener is now on my Mac which I tend to leave at work (it’s BYO in my company and I prefer not to lug my laptop in and out every day).

My last Nanos have been written on GDrive and I know that there could be issue of security but I don’t imagine that the US Government is that interested in my little stories for now. Once I am published (note the assertiveness of that), it might be a different matter.

I am going to try to write my next story on Scrivener. I am being optimistic when I stay ‘story’ as I have yet to finish one but let’s not get ourselves bogged down by semantics.

When I have ideas however, I like to write them long hand in one of my gazillions fancy notebooks. I confess to a small addiction to notebooks. Some I get for free as marketing ploys (yay for free stuff) and some I buy because they are pretty. Then I find myself at a loss on what to do with them…too pretty for work (where I only keep to do lists). So I use them for my journaling and my ‘writing ideas’ notes. Writing all the ideas that I have with some excerpt as sometimes scenes come to me all ready complete, helps me keep my mind focused on the current story…otherwise, the new ideas would like earworms and would not leave me alone…

So to recap my own writing tools:

  • Google Drive
  • Scrivener
  • Long hand

I know some people publish their stories straight into their blogs for instant feedback but I am not that brave.

What about you? What do you use and are you happy with it?


Camp NaNoWriMo 2016 – Gearing up for July

After a first successful attempt in 2014 and a failed one in 2015, I am going to give this another shot.

I haven’t really written anything for a year. Little dribs and drabs and false starts andI have been quite slack at the old blogging.

For the last few weeks I have been thinking about it a lot. I have had about 3 different starts for a story I am thinking about and I have tried to read Story Engineering again to give me a boost. I have joined a Writing Facebook Group, I joined an active London cabin so we are all in the same time zone and I have every intentions on going to some write-ins.

July is usually a really bad month for me as it’s usually when I go away for 2 weeks to play cool Aunty to my nephew and a 7 years old doesn’t really allow you to get a lot of me time when he hasn’t seen you for a whole year…so last year I failed. This year, however, I am going away only on the last week of Camp NaNo so the plan is to have as much written as possible before I go to make up for the time I will most definitely lack at the end of the month.

I have decided to go for 25K words (half a NaNoWriMo count) to flex my writing muscles, be realistic but still do more than the first year I managed to complete the challenge. I have also taken the last day of July of to make my daily word count and rounded it up so it’s a very achievable 834 w/day. I am psyched!

I got the book ‘No plot, No problem’ from NaNo founder and veteran, Chris Baty and hoping that it will help me with my biggest challenge: plotting!

I always seem to have cool ideas for concepts or premises and even some spunky characters but passed Chapter 3 (set up) I don’t know what to do with them.

This time, I have done some mild prep and have few key points/scenes I want to see…whether or not they will happen I don’t know but it’s a little more than I had in the past.

My 2016 Camp NaNo entry is:

Title (working): Red Flower
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Synopsis: After spending most of her life trying to deny her elemental abilities, Sasha will have to consider unleashing her terrible powers in order to save the people she cares about.

Let’s see how close to it I will stay…2 days to go!


Nanowrimo 2014: Day 5 to 9

or the consequences of not planning properly…

First of all, I am quite happy that I have gone over the 15K mark over the weekend…that is an achievement in itself for me and the positive spin I am trying to hang on to.

knife stabbing book with black blood

This is how I feel right now about what I have written… (Image from Corbis)

But, I hate what I have written. I don’t like where my story is going – actually it’s all over the place at the moment because I keep jumping back and forth in the timeline when I get stuck.

The set up is taking too long, my characters are not consistent and I kinda lost my way…

I decided not too plan too much in advance – just had some generals notes and character bio (only for my main protagonist) – because I was worried that I would be bored if I knew exactly what was going to happen…

I fear this was a mistake. As I don’t have a clear roadmap, my writing is meandering around, taking forever to get to a point, only to realise that the point I got too is in the complete different direction than to where I needed to be to get to my story.

sad puppy

I am a sad puppy…

Some people might say ‘That’s ok. Your story is finding it’s way and maybe it’s what your character needs to do…’ but I am so far off my original synopsis that I don’t know how to find my way back…I am considering scraping my 15K words and start over again…but if I do, I might not be able to get to 50K by the end of the month… What a conundrum. I really, really want to be able to hit the target come 30th November but what would be the point if everything goes into the Recycling bin at the end?

I may have bitten more than I can chew but at the same time, it is still early enough that I could start over…Right?

I may give myself a couple days to think about it. Especially as I have to do some “new house” related stuff…because of course, I have finally exchanged on my first flat and I have now to plan for a) a bathroom refit and b) a move and all also before the end of the month…

Who says I don’t like to challenge myself.

I hope you guys are doing much better than I am.
Until next time…


Related articles:

Nanowrimo 2014: 3 days to go

And I am still adding small things to The Plan.

I read an interesting post today from Kirsten Lamb which I think might actually help me. She gave it a really long title (so click here to get to it) but it is about being able to do more than just write 50,000 words. It’s about having a more complete First Draft. I particularly like her advice to check out IMDb tag lines for movies in your chosen genre either to give you inspiration or to help you refine your basic concept.

I am definitely going to use this, if I can find the right movie to plunder.

My first idea is to use the Firefly tag because my story is going to be set in a futuristic world like that but it has more to do with old school westerns than the Firefly story…food for thoughts.

I have to let it whirl in my head for a while, well for 2 and half day really.

When I decided to do Nano, I was quite sure that November would be a quiet month for me. Nobody does anything in November right? Wrong! Day 1 of November and I have 2 Halloween party that I said yes to in a moment of weakness.

Then, I have to pack my flat, arrange for exchange of contract and completion date for the flat I am buying, paint the bathroom of said flat, go furniture shopping, book removal van, move, make good of the old flat, make sure my internet transfers from house to the other without a glitch…and that’s without counting on having to do my full time job! Bitten more than I can chew? You bet! Will I give up before I even started? Not a chance.

And to make sure I don’t, tonight I am going to the London Nano 2014 Kick off party…Nothing like committing to a group of like minded strangers to keep one in line 🙂





Related Articles

Countdown to Nano | What if it all means nothing

Write a Terrific Novel | Kirsten Lamb


Tik-tok on the clock…Countdown to Nanowrimo 2014

A little over a week before Nanowrimo 2014 starts and my preps are not that organised.

web-design-planningI have been reading a lot of posts on fellow Nanoers and how they prep for it, particularly those who have done it before and I feel I am still short of being ready.

I mean I have my idea and my character all in my head but I find it hard to put it down in an actual written format ready to be used on Day One.

The Planner in me is freaking out.

The Adventurer in me is shrugging it off…

Both attitudes are currently in conflict and I am at a stand still. Will I get to plan or will I pants it?

According to Larry Brooks, who wrote a whole series of tips to prep for Nano, I should already have a developed concept, character sheets and beat points…

seat of your pantsMany other previous Nanoers seem to have the same advice.

I just don’t know how to do that in a workable manner. Ideas, snippets and scenes are floating in my overloaded brain and I just hope I’ll be able to channel them come the 1st November.

As I am also naturally fickle, I find it hard to commit to one story line development, the way making a plan would push me. So I guess I have decided to pants it to some extent. At this stage, I think I just want to fumble my way through this first time.

Wish me luck and hopefully, I won’t change my mind too often…