NaNoWriMo: Day 12

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First before I go any further, I just wanted to say thank you to everyone who participated in the cover reveal yesterday. I had a great time connecting with all of you, and it has me even more excited for the release. (Who knew that was possible?!)

As for NaNoWriMo… it’s day 12. This month is flying by, and I’ve been somewhat counter productive. I’m going to admit it hasn’t been my strongest month, and definitely not my strongest NaNoWriMo. The past 2 that I participated in I had been writing the final two books in the Magicians series. Then I at least had more comfort with the setting, characters, etc. That’s not to excuse how poorly I feel like I’m doing this year, but it’s a big difference.

I was almost at 10k the other day when I decided to (for the third time) “start over.” Now I’m at 5k. Here’s how it happened. The first story idea I threw out entirely. Then the second story idea lead me into what is now the third story idea (and hopefully the last!). As much as I’ve been trying to follow my own advice, and the advice of others, you can’t write for 30 days a story you don’t have passion for. So this third idea I’m not working into I started yesterday. I wrote 5k since yesterday afternoon to this morning, so it seems to be working out so far. I have a lot more as far as the world and magic system written down to help me know where to go next.

12 days in doesn’t seem like too much. It seems like maybe if you’re behind you can still catch up, and for those of you, like me, who are I still believe that. I believe you can catch up; sometimes you just need to make it past the beginning. I’m going to hold onto that hope solely because I’d love to have at least a 50k novel at the end of this month. But regardless at this point even if I don’t win NaNoWriMo with 50k, I’m determined to win by walking away with a story idea I’ll stick with long after November.

This book I’m working on right now is meant to set me up for my next several releases. So it carries a lot of weight in terms of where I want to move forward with my books and for my readers.

So we’ll see… maybe I can do it, and maybe not. At this point I’m looking more at what’s in front of me than at the stats on NaNoWriMo that tell me I’m not going to finish until January if I continue on at this pace.

So tell me, are you behind, ahead or on track? Leave a comment below with what’s been working for you this month.

Lindsey Richardson

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NaNoWrimo: Day 1

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Somehow November is already here. I’ve been silent the past few days because we just moved into our new home in Texas, so we were on the road for a couple of days.

And boy do I have a crazy month ahead of me, but I’m still going to participate in NaNoWriMo this year to the best of my ability. I think it’ll help my writing, and I have the perfect story for it too. So without further ado, since November is NaNoWriMo, don’t be surprised that a lot this month will focus on that.

First and foremost, I want to announce my official NaNoWriMo novel. It changed at the last minute, so let me introduce what I’m actually writing now that the big day is here.

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The book is called Frost’s Bite, and I’ll have more details on it a little later on. Right now I’m solely focusing on writing it. But to give you a little insight, it’s my first paranormal novel set in modern times. Anyone who’s read my work before knows this is a huge leap of faith I’m taking, but I started to fall in love with the characters in this book and couldn’t resist.

So far since this morning I’ve written 1,165 words. Mind you I’m doing all of this while still settling into our new home and applying to jobs. My goal is 1667 words at least each day, every day, so that way I can at least hit 50k. 50k isn’t my normal word count for novels, so I don’t expect at 50k the book will be complete, but it’ll be a good start. (Or who knows, maybe I’ll just add on more after the challenge.)

This novel is not the one that will be releasing after Clara and Claire. I have yet to announce that novel, but I’ll be announcing it soon after the release.

As for anyone else who is participating in NaNoWriMo this year, I’m wishing you all the best of luck. This is one of the hardest challenges, but it’s well worth it in the end!

Advice for the first day:

  • drink lots of coffee (or tea) –but most of all just stay hydrated!
  • have a journal or something nearby to write out ideas for future chapters, characters, etc
  • remember to take breaks –you’ll need it!
  • don’t get too caught up in the word count
  • stay inspired –whether it be with music, pictures, etc.

I’m going to keep working throughout the day on my novel, and then I’ll update either later tonight or early tomorrow morning. And if you’re participating in NaNoWriMo don’t forget to add me so I can cheer you on as you write!

I’ll have announcements for Clara and Claire and also announcements about the Magicians series coming within the next few weeks, so keep checking in!

Happy writing, and good luck!

Lindsey Richardson

Writing Your Next Story part 2

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First off I want to give a huge shoutout to everyone new to the blog. It’s such a pleasure to finally be on WordPress, and I am loving the experience. The excitement and the structure of it all makes me thrilled to blog even more than I did before (on Blogger), and this gives me a nice break (but also practice) from writing.

As promised, here’s the second part to my segment about writing your next story. If you missed part one, please check it out and let me know if between the two of these I left out anything major. I am so eager to hear you thoughts on the topic too. I cannot stress enough that everyone has a different way of writing a story, so don’t hesitate to add in your own tips in the comments below. And now without further ado…

Whether you have a story in your head or not, there’s no way around outlining. Even with your story idea, characters, and a working title it’s going to be difficult to altogether skip outlining. Everyone’s preferred method is different, and granted there might be writers who say “hey, I never outline!” But I’m certain at some point or another you open up a journal or Word document and write something down for later. Unless you have an amazing memory –which in that case, you deserve more credit than can be given.

So while you can outline however you want and as often (or not often) as you want, there is one rule to keep in mind. Never let your outlines define your story. Never let them overwhelm the story you’re trying to tell. Personally I’ve outlined in different ways (depending on the book I’m writing), and sometimes I keep an entire journal just for outlines. Each chapter’s importance is written out all the way until the very end. And that’s fine. But don’t have your outlines force your hand into writing the story like an essay. Sometimes your characters are going to want to tell the story. Their feelings or actions might jump ahead of what was planned or take a turn (for better or for worse). Sometimes what you think will happen doesn’t happen in that chapter (or at all in some cases). And the important thing is to remember all of this is okay. No matter what your method is, your story needs to have feelings running through it. Remember you can always change your outline or add more to it as you go.

We’ve talked about developing ideas, outlining, and first chapters. While I touched briefly upon building your characters, I wanted to talk more about this. Characters are the key to everything. Ever read a story without a character? Without them the story can’t happen, and without them your readers have no way or relating to anything in the story or toward the characters. The way you choose to develop them and create them is an unique process. Each character, though fictional, needs to be given life. You are the reason for their existence, and you’ll be in charge of their survival from the moment you write (or type) their name until their death (or the end of their story). I won’t go too deep into characters, since it’s a large topic for another post, but don’t forget you need them before you write the first chapter. You need them even as you’re writing down the plot and determining the genre. You might not have names right away or know their appearance or have ideas about their backstory. But develop them with your plot; the two go hand in hand. One does not exist without the other. Give life to them, and they in return will give life to your story.

Lastly, you’ll want to have some level of organization. A writer’s workspace isn’t always the cleanest place, but where you store the important information (ex: your outlines, character backstories, notes, questions, etc.) is going to affect how quickly (or slowly) you work. If this novel isn’t your first one odds are you’re working against a deadline. If you lose important paperwork or lose track of a chapter you’re writing that is going to slow you down significantly. I think it’s safe to say we’ve all had that scare of “oh no did I back up my entire novel?” I won’t go as far as saying make a copy of everything, but you’ll definitely want to know where everything is and have multiple ways to access it. Keep journals, papers, and clipboards all in one place. Dedicate journals for specific purposes, title your notes, and back up your novel (send it to your email and put another copy on a USB). You never know when something unexpected could happen, and you don’t want to lose any of your work. For those of us who have we can tell you, it’s not fun.

 

And that’s all I’ve got! There’s likely some points I’ve skipped over (or should have gone into more detail about), and I apologize in advance. Leave a comment with any additions; I want to hear about your own methods too.

Lindsey Richardson