What NaNoWriMo has taught me so far

It’s no secret that I spent much of this year awaiting NaNoWriMo. I saw it as a chance to improve my writing, my self-discipline and write this novel idea I’ve been marinating for years.

So far, I’m on schedule. I’ve been aiming for 2000 words per day, which I have met, on average. I’ve had two off days, which I balanced out the following day.

Best word count day: Today, 3000 words. (A new personal best!)

Worst word count: Yesterdat, 1000 words.

I’ve learned a couple of things.

  1. Description is a good way to up your word count, and it also has the added bonus of making your world feel more “real.”
  2. Described stuff? Good! Still stuck? One word: back story. Characters can have pasts, fears, hopes, phobias, much like real people. Like with real people, elements in their environment will bring up feelings, memories and fears. You’ll be surprised with what you can come up with!
  3. Don’t give up.
  4. Tea is amazing.
  5. I’m beginning to suspect that the word count is all mental, and it’s a function of self-doubt.

That’s what I’ve come up with so far.I’ll have more brilliant revelations next week, as exhaustion and burnout begin to overwhelm my mind.

Total word count as of day 9: 18,191 words. I can’t believe I’ve written this much and I’m not even close to killing off any characters yet.


The next big thing – Zombie Bedtime Stories news

I’ve been thinking of my naming scheme. Back when the series was in its infancy the “Locked” theme made sense, but as I expanded the series and the ideas behind it, the limits to which I can effectively use the titles are strained. After Deadlocked, I have one more “Locked” title upcoming, but the rest are all changing. I think it gives me a bigger degree of freedom. The first three stories (The Locked Series) set the stage, and the rest of the stories build on them.

Want to know what the next three stories are?

#4: Bedlam (Formerly Lock and Load)

#5: Cabin Fever (formerly Locked Up)

#6: Inter Inferis (formerly Locked On)

Especially in the case of story #6, the Locked title wasn’t really appropriate to the story. Plus, the new ones sound way cooler.

In writing news: Deadlocked is coming along. I’m getting close to the end. For some reason, Locked Out practically wrote itself, and Deadlocked is much more challenging. I want it completed before NaNoWriMo starts, because I need to take that month off from ZBS, so I can work on something different.

Science fiction.

Another day, another draft.

I put in about 7 hours today planning how to implement my mom’s suggestions and edits into my manuscript for Locked Out. Tomorrow I get to spend several more hours inputting it all, but I think the story is that much deeper and more enjoyable because of it.It’s also going to gain at least 1000 words, perhaps closer to 2000.

My struggle against writer’s block met with a small victory. I managed 300 words before burning out, completing the first chapter of Deadlocked. I hope I can feel more inspired tomorrow. Being behind on my arbitrary and made-up deadlines really gets on my nerves.

One thing I’ve noticed is that for every hour of writing, I spend about 3-4 hours editing. In addition to this, contrary to almost anything I’ve read is that I gain words when editing rather than paring a manuscript down. Maybe I’m just really bad at remembering what readers want to know? Locked In went from 4.1k to 6.2k, which is a huge gain.

I’m simultaneously fired and awesome, so that’s all for tonight.

I Am A Sprinting Writer With No Stamina

I can crank out sweet word counts for the first hour, but then I need to fall back and recharge. I wrote 1100 words in just over an hour, but then it was like my mind melted. My total count per burst is getting higher, but I just have no stamina whatsoever! It’s the new writer’s block.

Yesterday, I made a YouTube video to talk about Zombie Bedtime Stories. Check it out.

Tomorrow I’m going to RibFest in Ottawa, and I get to see my cousin that I never get to see! I’m so stoked. Stay tuned for another cover art sneak peek – Locked In is getting a face (font) lift.

Review deadline met, bring on July 1

I got my reviews in on time. I’m embarrassed by how stuck I got, it’s like my mind blanked out the whole play.

Tomorrow it’s back to creative writing. I missed you so much! Day job is becoming more day job-like, as in I have to do work. But the extra security sure is nice.I got a complete critique of Locked In back, so I have a project for the rest of the week. Then I’m putting out version 6 for my test readers.

I had two more ideas for zombie universe expansion. It’s kind of strange, the more I stressed about the review, the more good creative ideas I had. Well-worn idea notebook to the rescue. I swear I’ve used up the majority of an 80 page notebook.

I’m thinking of playing around with Microsoft OneNote for mind mapping and character sketches. The hierarchies, sup-pages and ability to move ideas around on the page strike me as potentially very useful. I’ve been using OneNote for my work quite a bit. One downfall is that it won’t work on my Android tablet, Linux laptop and computer (where I do most of my writing) or my Blackberry. None of the mind-mapping/organizational software I’ve tried (that’s free) even comes close to what I need.

Reviewing brainmush is worse than writer’s block

At least with writer’s block there’s no pressure. I have to have this review perfect by Wednesday morning. I was hoping I could get it done today so no more stress, but it never seems to work that way.

Seems I need a new strategy for deadline reviewer’s blocked. It only seems to happen when I enjoy what I’m reviewing. The negative reviews always write themselves. I’ll remember that for when a reviewer tears me a new one at some point in the future.

But, it seems like my reviewing days are over. I had a falling out with one of the places I review for. It’s no big loss, but that leaves my internship which ends at the end of summer. If I want another writing gig, I’ll pick one up.

However, I do take requests and do interviews. You just need to ask. 🙂


Inspiration = Walking?

Inspiration is a fickle thing. I can honestly say that I’ve never come across one starting point for an article of a story through simple brainstorming.

It strikes like lightning, then it’s time to go to the drawing board.

I had my idea for Locked In just walking (okay, pacing) around in my house. Locked Out was a similar situation, while writing Locked In. My novel ideas came to me on walks to the Metro station.

It seems walking is the only constant connection. Maybe my legs are connected to my brain. Or, more amusingly, maybe my muse has an issue with my pacing habit and wants me to stop.

Oddly, pacing seems to have no effect on writer’s block. But it sure feels good.