O-M-G It’s Almost NaNoWriMo! What do I do now?

I’ve been here before. In fact, I’ve been here many, many, times. Sea-Witch was one of the first NaNoWriMo novels I ever wrote. Scratch that, Under Jupiter was the first NaNo novel I wrote! I’ve written a lot of words during NaNo, yet every year it creeps up on me so that I feel that I am once again looking at doing NaNo for the first time ever.

I have one week left, how the heck am I supposed to prepare for this crazy marathon that is NaNoWriMo.

Well, the short answer is: buy a notebook.

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A good notebook, a great notebook, the kind of notebook you don’t want to leave your side ever. Take this notebook with you everywhere you go, in your car, on the bus, to the washroom, to work, to school, to your kid’s gymnastics class, to the zoo to watch the bears, to your Nana’s to watch a knitting marathon, to the bar, to your favorite cafe.

Find a notebook and never let it leave your side.

And, while you’re carrying it around, you might as well find a pen. Or a pencil. Or any kind of writing utensil that looks awesome tucked into your pocket or purse or behind your ear. The kind of pen that you never want to leave your person. The kind of pen that makes you feel awesome. And carry that pen around everywhere with you.

Now, with a notebook and pen in hand, you have no excuse. You’re ready. It’s time to start thinking about your story.

Think about your story while your cooking, exercising, walking, or watching TV. Or one of my favorites thinks of your story when you’re trying to fall asleep at night. Fall asleep dreaming of your story. And every now and then, write down the plot points that fall into your lap.

Collect the locations that your main character has to visit. Write down your MC’s favorite food and whether or not they enjoyed that song you just heard on the radio. Write down the name of your MC’s first-grade teacher, mother, siblings, and friends. Write down all the little tidbits about your story and the world it encompasses. Don’t aim for sentences, just little bullets.

  • like fries hates burgers
  • wants a pet rabbit
  • thinks that smell down the hallway is awful
  • wishes for magic
  • finds magic and ruins their life

Bullets are wonderful.

Bullets are magic.

If you’re getting ready for NaNo, start bulleting. And good luck!

JEH

It’s Halfway NaNoWriMo Day

If you’re a 2017 NaNoWriMo participant, then you know today is halfway day!

I hope your novel writing journey is going fantastically! Me, I’m exactly on target, though I’m hoping to write more tonight and finish at least one day ahead.

My trusty NaNo mug has been reminding me to write. I’ve also been attempting to work on my final edit of The Torc: Artifacts of Avalum Book One, which can be previewed here: https://kindlescout.amazon.com/p/WNGLSOVB1GOP

The best news, however, is that I have finished my first draft of The Circlet: Artifacts of Avalum Book Two! I can’t wait to have these books out in the world, and to be done another successful NaNoWriMo!

JEH

On Quitting NaNoWriMo

img_4689Wow. This post is a bit more difficult to write than I thought it would be. Usually, I am not a quitter, but this past week a lot of things have occurred which really made me question my decision to do NaNoWriMo when I’m already have my personal goal of writing 365K words in a year goal, which I’m really happy with. I’ve come to the conclusion that writing the 1,667 words a day that NaNo requires is just too much for me. So I’m cutting it out, I’m cutting back, and I’m returning to my 1,000 words per day goal, which I find a slight struggle to do on some days, but most of the time I find it alright.

I’m coming to the realization that expecting myself to write 600 words a day would really be my ideal. Maybe because I’m working an almost full time job and have two tiny kids to look after. And a cat. A needy cat. Who likes to sit on my laptop. So, 600 words a day is easily do-able. But my goal for the next 9 months is 1,000 words a day. So I’m going to stick to that.

So, I’m not buying myself my pretty NaNo reward, which is fine. I already have a million blank journals anyway. I really don’t need another one. I mean, I WANT one, but I don’t NEED it. Maybe I’ll get lucky and someone will get it for me for Christmas. Anyway, that’s the gist of it. Now. Time to write those 1,000 words.
JEH

365K Words in a Year Update #9

I’m taking a pause in my NaNo-ing as I’ve just realized I’ve reached 100,000 Words in my 365,000 words in a year goal!  Whoo-hooo! *Insert Party Here*

I’m so supremely pumped about this! I think I might have to reward myself with a little something for reaching this huge milestone! Here’s a look at my table for the past couple days. As you can see, yesterday I had a great day, but I didn’t even realize how close I was to 100K until I updated the 800 words I’ve written so far today!

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This 100K words has mostly been the finishing off two projects which were already started when I began my 365K goal. I’ve written one completely new short thing, and I’m 18,000 words into my brand new novel, which I’m just calling Life, for now though it will definitely change in the future.

Wow. I really can’t believe I’ve come this far already! I’m so happy with myself. Even though I’ve had a few days where I haven’t written new words, i’ve generally been either rewriting something, working on formatting, or horribly sick. So I feel pretty good about that too, though I’m still hoping I can get more consistent with my daily word counts. For now I’m going to happily take the 100K and just my buy myself another e-book to read in the future. What better way to reward oneself for writing that by getting something new to read?

JEH

NaNo Prep Step #3 and Happy Halloween

There’s one last step for my brief series on preparing for NaNoWriMo, which starts tomorrow—Whoohoo *throw the confetti, sound the horns, the party is about to begin!*

#3 – Clean Up, Stock Up, and Feet Up

First things first, clean your house/apartment/tent/camper van, wherever it is you will be living, working, and writing for the next month. NaNo is a busy time, and you may not really have time to clean over the next 30 days (though, if you’re like me, you’ll use cleaning a finely-honed method of procrastination). But, if you clean now, there is less to clean later, and hence, less excuse to put off writing those 1, 667 words a day.

Once everything is clean, do a run to the grocery store. Shopping is another one of those things that can get in the way during November, so it get it done now while you still can. Pick items that will last a whole month but also provide some nutrition (like frozen burritos-my fav). Then, as it is Halloween, get some candy for daily rewards and instant energy rushes which may or may not carry you through your daily goal. Feel free to obtain said candy by robbing kids/cousins/friends/sisters/brothers/partners candy stash. No one really needs all that candy anyway.IMG_4700.JPG

And then, once your space is sparkling and your cupboards stocked, sit back and put your feet up for a few hours. Watch a movie or a show or just enjoy not being busy. This may be your last chance to sit still for the next 30 days.

Good luck tomorrow and Happy Halloween!

JEH

Preparing for NaNoWriMo Step #2

So I was supposed to post about how to prepare for NaNoWriMo a couple days ago, which leads me to step #2: DO NOT GET SICK! Okay, you can’t help this. I couldn’t help this. But I’ve spent the past couple days curled up in bed feeling close to death (why does being sick always feel like that?), and getting pretty much nothing done in regards to the approach of November 1st EXCEPT, that I’ve actually been able to do a lot of thinking. So really, maybe step #2 should be THINK. Play around with your story in your mind. Whatever you write prior to November 1st doesn’t count towards the end goal of 50,000 words, but it does help sort out where you what your stories to go, and where you want your characters to go.

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Personally, I believe that whatever story you tell, character is the most important part. No one will care about flying dragons, dark cafes, or restaurants with blue tables unless you have a character your readers can relate to and want to hang out with with. More importantly, that YOU want to hang out with. I mean, you’re going to be spending the next 30 days with this person/animal/thing. Whatever your character, make sure it’s a good one. Get to know him/her/it. Ask your character questions. What do they eat? Where do they sleep? HOW do they sleep?

More importantly:

  1. What songs do they sing in the shower (or do they want to shoot all people who sing in the shower)?
  2. How do they feel about Christmas?
  3. What is their best memory of Halloween ever?
  4. How does your character react when they smell vomit?
  5. If your character suddenly inherited a private island or a small kingdom, what kind of ruler would they be?
  6. Who does your character call when sick?
  7. How does your character feel about Trump?
  8. How does character feel history?
  9. If you were sit down and have lunch with your character, what would be the first thing they want to talk to you about?
  10. What kind of blankets does your character sleep with? Hard mattress or soft?

Take the time to get to know the one you’ll be spending time with for the next month. You won’t regret it. The more questions you ask your character prior to writing your story means the more enriching details you will have to carry the plot.

JEH