Almost Nanowrimo

Tomorrow begins the great novel writing marathon that is Nanowrimo!

I will be blogging my word count every day for the month of November. I my goal is to write something every day, even if it is just one hundred words. To write a full novel it would take approximately 2000 words a day average.

If I meet my targets, I will have Season 2 completed, as well as a short story/novella for those who sign up for my as-of-yet-nonexistent newsletter.

In order to keep my blogging on task and not meandering around, I am going to have a schedule for every day, starting tomorrow, November 1st.

Sunday – Preview of a New Chapter
Monday – Thoughts & Musings
Tuesday – Turning Points in History
Wednesday – World-building
Thursday – Thoughts & Musings
Friday – Characters in My Worlds
Saturday – Book Review

Now I should get back to writing!

New Challenge, For Myself

With Nanowrimo right around the corner, I am thinking of starting a new challenge for myself.

I would really like to have Season 2 of Betrayer Awakened completed before the end of the year, which would be at least 80,000 words. I would need to complete 10,000 words a week to make that goal. I already have the season fully outlined, so that part is done.

I am also still finishing up the last bit of Season 1, and editing the last 3 episodes. Episode 4 will be up next Thursday. Given I have quite a bit to do, I need something to keep my on schedule. While Nanowrimo is great, I think using this blog will help me, too. Every day I will make at least a short entry and listing the daily word complete total.

In order for this to work, I really need to stay on a regular schedule of writing, which has eluded me so far. Writing has been a hobby, but now I want to be more serious with it.

This will be fun with my wonky arm and shoulder, so hopefully that will not flare too badly.

And if I can get cranking at a good speed, I might be able to get a short story explaining a bit of how the world Raxad knew came crashing down. That would be for newsletter subscribers, for free! I will keep the blog updated with that news as well.

Good luck with your own Nanowrimo projects! Now is the time to be outlining, unless you are a pantser…

Never Have I Ever

~Never have I ever… run a marathon (or any race really).

~Never have I ever… been to New York City (closest was Ithaca).

~Never have I ever… won on a slot machine (not even $5!).

~Never have I ever… entered in the The Bulwer Lytton Fiction Contest.

This has been a choice, though not always an active one.

Back in high school, my sister and I had several friends on the track team that told us how much fun they had traveling together to track meets the previous year that we had missed out on. Having fun, hanging out with friends, and allowed to skip class for the events? Heck yeah, we signed up!

The coach did not know what to do with us, as we were not athletic by any measure, and most of the slots were already filled. There were a few openings on the team, events that no one else wanted to do, so she had us try out for those slots. One of these was the grueling 2-mile. I tried it once in practice and said “Nope!”, and dropped out of track. The call of friendship, teamwork, and getting away from me was stronger for my sister, so she stuck it out and did quite well. Today she is still a fit long-distance runner, while I often wheeze walking up the stairs.

At the time, I made excuses, but as I have aged I know it was my choice, good or bad, to not run. After taking a genetic test, I discovered I don’t have elite athlete muscle fibers. Not shocked? I wasn’t either. It did say I could be an endurance athlete, though, which makes sense. Several people in my family (besides that one sister) are runners, including my cousin, Jonnah, who does ultra running. (Check out her blog at the ultra farmer, she is very inspirational in regards to running, organic farming, and life in general.)

Someday, I will run a marathon, though I should baby-step into it with a 5k, then a half marathon, and then finally a full one. I think my first would be the Beat the Blerch, the marathon initiated by the online comic The Oatmeal – Matthew Inman. It is less serious than some races, and, if nothing else, they have cake!

The reason I mention the running, the slot machine losses, and travel, is to discuss bad writing. Seems like an odd transition in topics, doesn’t it? The Bulwer Lytton Fiction Contest, if you have never heard of it, is a competition to create one awful, no good, very bad sentence, while still maintaining appropriate grammar, $10 words, and exceptionally descriptive styling (aka overly purple prose). I have never submitted to the contest because, for a long time, that was how I wrote.

My issue was similar to what I see in many beginning authors, in that I felt I had to use flowery language in order to be “a real writer.” The books and stories I read were not like, except for the required reading in English Literature classes. And those are BORING! (This is especially problematic in authors who have congratulated themselves on their intelligence in the past, myself included.) We try to sound fancy and mimic the great works of the past, or at least what we have been told are great works, and work to impress the gatekeepers of the Victorian era. Ridiculous, isn’t it?

This problem is very common with new authors, especially if they do not have a copy editor. (Get a copy editor, for the love of God, get a copy editor!) I struggle to read these books and stories, and it is as much work to stay focused with the story as it was for those boring books in high school. The reason is flow. So simple, yet so hard for a newbie. An innovative and unique story, with amazing characters and in depth backstories, can be a slog to read when the descriptive style interrupts the narrative. A new author really, really wants to share the picture in their head with the audience, but it comes out like they are telling you what they dreamed last night. No one wants to hear that, even if they asked!

Without this over description, a story might seem too simple for the beginner writer. “No one will think I am a real author!” Baby Writer says. Yet, without all the flowery prose, the worst the story could do is bore the reader. I have read simplistic stories that flowed well, and while the plot was mostly beige, I finished it. Those other stories where the author is trying to impress Victorian high society? Yeah, it is as much of a nope for me as that 2-mile race when I was 16. Just not worth it. Heck, even in stories that flow, my eyes glaze over when the character is being described, unless it is brief.

These are all choices we make, as authors, readers, and gamblers. I don’t win on slot machines because I have played maybe five times in my entire life, risking a total of $20. I won’t become a better writer if I don’t put my work out there and listen to feedback, good and bad.

Accept you can be wrong, that it is okay, and you can grow. The reader is 100% correct on interpreting their own experience, so as authors, don’t tell them they just didn’t understand it, or they didn’t read far enough into the story. Listen and grow, and maybe go for a jog. I hear it’s good for your health!