NaNoWriMo Day 21

Day 21 writing badge

The Words: 3538 words. I did a few sprints with @NaNoWordSprints on Twitter this evening, and some writing on my own between sprints. It’s nice to feel like I’m making progress with higher word counts again, but I think tomorrow will end up being another shorter day.

The Story:  I went back to storyline 2 today and gave the main character there a chance to release some frustration over some pretty crappy things that have happened to him recently. And I realized that I don’t really know what my climax is for this book, because there’s a potential for one in storyline 2, but I had never planned to actually show this scene happening for multiple reasons. So I think storyline 1 might have to contain the climax, but thanks to some fresh ideas I’ve had come up during writing, that might actually be possible!

Total word count: 69,535

Don’t forget to check out today’s NaNoToons if you haven’t already:
November 21, 2019

NaNoWriMo Day 20

Day 20 writing badge

The Words: 1727 words. I had an afternoon and early evening without kids today, but still ended up spending most of my free time during it working on formatting for “Pithea”. Then I had to head to my church for worship team practice (I’m on once a month), and realized how late it would be when I got home. So I took my Neo with me and wrote in the car for the second time this month.

It was dark all the way there and back, so it was really rough at first, because I couldn’t check the screen to see what I’d last written, and even though I try really hard not to backspace to fix mistakes, it’s a habit. So I wouldn’t know if I’d actually erased enough or too much. I ended up turning on the light on the mirror of my visor.

All of the words came during the half hour drive there and back, which was really not too bad at all, and I liked being able to make use of that time.

The Story:  I wrote more for storyline 1 today, and think I will need to do that more tomorrow, because there is more of that left in the outline than for storyline 2. I hit on a new idea today, which will likely be part of the next book, or maybe come up near the end of this one. It was a somewhat larger “Aha!” moment building on the smaller one that occurred on day 15 and involves politics, which I never really thought I’d care to get into much in my books, but in a way that actually interests me. Hopefully I can make it interesting to readers too.

I claimed my win today (thanks to an email explaining how), which is always exciting! Also, my winner’s shirt will be arriving in a few days!

NaNo-2019-Winner-Web-Badge

Total word count: 65,997

Don’t forget to check out today’s NaNoToons if you haven’t already:
November 20, 2019

NaNoWriMo Day 19

Day 19 writing badge

The Words: 4118 words. The weekly write-in at my local library was today. It’s a small writing group that meets throughout the year, and none of them really do NaNo. Some like to come to the write-ins, though, and work on whatever writing they’re doing. No one showed up last week, so I went home after waiting about 15 minutes. Today, I had higher hopes that some would come, because it’s the Tuesday we normally meet monthly. But when no one was there at the starting time, I decided to start a 20-minute sprint myself, and at least get some writing in while also giving others a chance to arrive late. No one did, but at least I went home with a 1139 jump on my words tonight. The rest I got in a #1k30min sprint and a regular 20-minute sprint with @NaNoWordSprints on Twitter. It felt really good to get a higher word count again.

The Story: For the sprint at the library, I wrote for storyline 2b, which I haven’t spent as much time on this month, but is also the shortest of all the storylines (it is a sub-storyline, after all). The main character in that storyline got a little snarky and called his counterpart out, which was not in my plans.

The rest of the time was spent writing for storyline 2. That included more stress and anger, from the same character, actually. And then I started pantsing a scene that will transition from where I was to the next plot point in my outline.

I don’t quite know if I’m still on track to reach the end of the draft by the end of the month. Going strictly by the numbers, I’m about 70% of the way through my outline, and we’re only 63% of the way through the month. I keep adding new scenes that come up organically, or that seem necessary to get from one plot point to another, though. I’m still hoping to finish with all the little formatting thins I’m working for “Pithea” soon, which will give me the ability to go back to spending more time on my NaNoNovel. Publishing a book is a lot of work.

Total word count: 64,270

Don’t forget to check out today’s NaNoToons if you haven’t already:
November 19, 2019
This is a good time to watch episode 4 of the NaNoMusical, where things really heat up!

NaNoWriMo Day 18

Day 18 writing badge

The Words: 2127 words in 3 sprints with @NaNoWordSprints on Twitter. Not much more than that to say today.

The Story: Today was back to storyline 2, and plans for an escape are finally getting underway. I’m starting to question some of my ideas for this story, or for how certain characters act, but I’ll keep going this way for now, because that’s what NaNoWriMo is about. If it doesn’t work out in the end, I’ll revisit the outline and make changes for the 2nd draft.

Total word count: 60,152

Don’t forget to check out today’s NaNoToons if you haven’t already:
November 18, 2019

NaNoWriMo Day 17

Day 17 writing badge

The Words: 2027 words in 2 sprints with @NaNoWordSprints on Twitter. My updates are getting pretty repetitive, because my NaNo writing lately has been very similar day by day. I am hoping to be done with the final revision of “Pithea” in the next couple of days (though will have to push hard to do that), after which I’ll send for one last (hopefully) proof copy, and start pushing to get through more of this draft in a day while I wait.

The Story: Like the last few times I wrote for storyline 1, today was a lot of discussion between the government leaders of two neighboring nations. I realized today that most of what they’re discussing is mostly just me figuring out how to proceed, since I’m veering off of my outline a bit. Or maybe just fleshing out what’s there. There’s also some very simple, somewhat immature flirting, which is always fun.

Total word count: 58,025

Don’t forget to check out today’s NaNoToons if you haven’t already:
November 17, 2019

NaNoWriMo Day 16

Day 16 writing badge

The Words: 1954 words. I sat down to write near the end of a sprint on @NaNoWordSprints on Twitter, so I wrote a little to get warmed up while I waited for a sprint to start. Then they started a #1k30 (write for 30 minutes, try to write 1000 words), and I really hit a stride with the story, ending the half hour with 1637 words. It only took me a few minutes more writing to get to the number I ended with.

The Story: I was back to storyline 2 today, and got to write about a reunion between two old friends that goes back to my NaNoNovel from 2014. While things are drastically different for both of these friends, it was really fun to get to see them together again.

I am not progressing through my outline very quickly any more (it didn’t help that yesterday, I ended up pantsing an entire scene out of nowhere), so these shorter word count days are making me worried that I won’t finish the draft by the end of the month. But cutting it short has been helping me get through the final revision of my soon-to-be-published book, so…priorities.

Total word count: 55,998

Don’t forget to check out today’s NaNoToons if you haven’t already:
November 16, 2019

Book Review: The Dead Girls Club

The Dead Girls Club
by Damien Angelica Walters

My rating: 2 / 5
Genre: Suspense, horror

Heather Cole is a 40ish-year-old child psychologist with a loving husband and a quiet life. Then her life is turned upside-down by the arrival of half of a “Best Friends Forever” necklace in the mail. While the other half of that necklace is safe at her house, she knows this half was last seen on the body of her best friend who died 30 years ago…at Heather’s own hand. What follows is a tale of fear and obsession as Heather tries to find out who sent her the necklace, while having terrifying memories and dreams about her teenage days, when she and her friends tried to summon a witch.

I know that the lower I rate a book, the longer the review tends to be, so I’ll try to be more succinct in this one. Most of what I really want to say is spoilery anyway, so here goes. I really did not like the main character…couldn’t connect with her at all. I also didn’t find the mystery or the twists all that interesting or surprising, and pretty strongly disliked the ending. And the synopsis is very misleading.

The story is told in 2 timelines–the NOW is first-person POV with Heather as an adult narrator. The THEN is third-person POV, but still focuses on teenage Heather. I could not stand adult Heather. She acts like a victim of this mysterious person who is sending her little things that Heather knows were directly related to the night Becca died, but uses this as an excuse to stalk people from her past and treat pretty much everyone she interacts with terribly. By the second half of the book, I would literally groan every time the book went back to the NOW storyline, because it was just so boring. Her obsession with finding out what was going on turned her into a monster. And don’t even get me started on how terrible she became at her job, which just bugged me so much.

I also got to a point by halfway in the book where reading it made me feel kinda skeevy. Heather had a habit of picking at her cuticles when she was nervous and stressed, which of course she was during the entire book. As an author, it is important to give characters quirks, ticks, habits like this to make them seem real, but the amount that her peeling, biting, and scratching at herself enough to draw blood is shown got under my skin (pun intended).

I am surprised I haven’t seen this in any reviews yet, but during the THEN timeline, the teenage girls go into a bit too much detail about their menstrual cycle for my taste, which makes me feel especially bad for any men who read it. There’s just no need for some of what they said to be included in this book…at all.

Now about the horror aspect…I honestly can’t even tell you why I requested a book classified as horror (I told myself that it must not have been listed as horror until later, but I really can’t say if that’s true), because I am really not into horror in general. But I steeled myself for a scary read…that hardly came. The supernatural elements that the book promised were flimsy and constantly explained away by the MC. I think I came to realize at some point that the narrator was very unreliable, which just made me doubt everything that happened in the THEN parts. I also didn’t find the stories about the Red Lady scary. A bit gruesome and over-the-top, yes, but not so much scary. Near the end, the combination of reading the last 25% at night and a decently creepy scene did finally give me some chills, but that was pretty much it. I’m seriously a wimp when it comes to scary things, so that might tell you something about the level of horror in this book. I also wouldn’t really classify it as a thriller, so suspense is the best I could come up with.

In the end, a lot of this probably boils down to personal preference. So this wasn’t a good book for me, but it has plenty of 4- and 5-star reviews. The THEN parts contain some 90s nostalgia that a lot of people will probably enjoy, and the horror and thriller elements will likely hit the mark with plenty of people. So if it seems interesting to you, please be sure to check out others’ reviews for this book.

Thank you to Netgalley and Crooked Lane Books for providing me a copy of this book to review.  

Find out more about The Dead Girls Club
Publication date: December 10, 2019

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If you’ve read this book, or read it in the future, feel free to let me know what you think!

NaNoWriMo Day 15

Day 15 writing badge

The Words: 2090 words. Half of the words were done along @NaNoWordSprints on Twitter, and the other half on my own trying out the Fighter’s Block website.

The Story: Today’s writing was for storyline 1, which was solely diplomatic talks. Right now, it seems like this storyline is 75% peace talks (and maybe it is), which I will have to scrutinize during revision someday. For now, though, I’m getting the sequence of events down. And I had a bit of an “Aha!” moment today, when one of the characters started to look suspicious to the others (and I didn’t originally plan for him to be a villain). I love the discovery in writing! It was a small eureka moment, as eureka moments go, but it was enough for me to award myself the badge.

eureka

Total word count: 54,044

Don’t forget to check out today’s NaNoToons if you haven’t already:
November 15, 2019

Book Review: Anne of Green Gables

Anne of Green Gables
Book #1
by L.M. Montgomery

My rating: 5 / 5
Genre: Children’s classic, coming of age

In the first installment of the books about Anne with an e, she is brought into the home of Matthew and Marilla Cuthbert, a brother and sister who are both getting up in years. They had sent for an orphan boy to help them with the work on their property, but were sent Anne instead. She charms her way into their hearts (especially the shy, kind Matthew), and they raise her from the age of 11.

This is one of many well-known and much-loved classics that I have never read before. I have family members who really like it, so I decided that with my recent reading revolution, it was time to give it a try. I’m so glad I did, as I really enjoyed this book!

Anne has such a fiery spirit, and while I would probably be a bit frustrated to be around her much in person, I liked reading her monologues. The reactions by both of her guardians often produced a smile from me too. Though as a parent who is currently dealing with a strong-willed child who tends to melt down when she doesn’t get her way, some of scenes where Anne threw a fit made me cringe. To see Anne change as she aged 5 years in this book was wonderful and realistic, and while she lost some of her loquaciousness, she remained the same kind, generous girl at heart.

I absolutely loved Matthew, and really liked seeing Marilla’s character change throughout the book. When tragedy struck, even though I could guess what was coming, I was devastated with Anne. I am really looking forward to reading the further books in this series.

Fun fact: One of my sisters and her husband have named each of their 4 kids after characters from this book series (whether first or middle names), and it was fun to find 3 of them in this first book. Though I have since learned that one of them from this book wasn’t the actual inspiration for their son’s name, but he was named after a character with the same name in a later book in the series.

Find out more about Anne of Green Gables

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If you’ve read this book, or read it in the future, feel free to let me know what you think!

NaNoWriMo Day 14

Day 14 writing badge

The Words: 1886 words. I did a great job with my first day of not pushing to write more than par or a bit above. I don’t like it, to be honest, and I really do worry about the likelihood of getting the draft done by the end of the month. But if I can get this line edit of “Pithea,” done and another proof copy on its way with some time left in the month, I’ll push for more words per day if it looks like the draft won’t get done otherwise.

The Story: The writing of storyline 2 today involved some revelation, including someone finding out that an old friend long thought dead wasn’t really dead!

Total word count: 51,954

Don’t forget to check out today’s NaNoToons if you haven’t already:
November 14, 2019