Daily Writing Check-in: June 8, 2019

Words/Time:  1 hour, 41 minutes working on pre-writing for Book 3 of “Pursuit of Power” trilogy.

I continued the character interview that I started a few days ago. This interview has brought to light an entire geographical area in my story world that was always a bit of a blurry spot in my mind. I’m really happy for what has come out of it. We’re now discussing what might be the climax of the book, or it might lead to the climax of this book…to be honest, I’m starting to wonder if I can fit everything that’s going to happen in this book, or if there should actually be 4 books in this story arc. I will probably wait to make that decision when I write this story though, and see how long it comes out.

Daily Writing Check-in: June 7, 2019

Words/Time:  41 minutes working on pre-writing for Book 3 of “Pursuit of Power” trilogy.

I really wanted to work longer today, but it was not to happen. I continued with the character interview with a character I can’t put a name to here for spoiler reasons. We got to talk about his personal life, which was pretty fun. Then we went on to talk about the actual situation that is happening in the book. I think this interview will only go on another day or two, and hopefully at that point, I’ll be able to finish the outline for this book, and move on to another task.

Daily Writing Check-in: June 6, 2019

Words/Time:  54 minutes working on pre-writing for Book 3 of “Pursuit of Power” trilogy.

I continued the character interview with the man who shall remain nameless, and spent the entire time on that. I don’t have much else to say today (which is pretty surprising for me). But I will at least say that I’ve really been enjoying this conversation and only just finally got to his personal story, after spending most of today talking about the place he’s been living as a whole, and another character in relation to that.

Daily Writing Check-in: June 5, 2019

Words/Time:  1 hour, 16 minutes working on pre-writing for Book 3 of “Pursuit of Power” trilogy.

I thought for a while last night about my issue where the main sub-plot doesn’t actually connect to the book’s main plot at all. And I hit on a way to make them connect, which I think makes the story even more intriguing! So I wrote that into the outline, and then hit on another huge question that goes back to the very beginning of planning out my story world. I took some time away from my writing to think about this question, and then came back and wrote out the question and brainstormed answers.

I think I’ve come to a decision on this matter, though there’s still one small question that niggles at my brain. I’m moving on for now though. I added a little more to my outline, and then came to what will probably be the lead-up to the climax…but I don’t really know what’s going to happen. I can set it aside and figure that when it’s time to write, since the rest of the story up to that spot might point the way to the next step, but I don’t want to leave it alone yet.

So I decided it’s again time to do a type of pre-writing that has literally never failed me yet–a character interview. And it didn’t take me long to know exactly who the interview should be with…but I can’t even say who it is without being a huge spoiler. He’ll most likely be an integral part of this book’s climax though, and is a character that is relatively  unknown to me. So it’s time to get to know him!

Daily Writing Check-in: June 4, 2019

Words/Time:  1 hour, 33 minutes working on pre-writing for Book 3 of “Pursuit of Power” trilogy.

I started to outline the story, thinking I’d make it a broad outline. That turned into more like my normal type of outline though, but I’m pretty happy with how it’s going. However, I have now become aware that I have a sub-plot that isn’t related enough to the main plot. I figured it fit in there simply because the book that precedes it, “Protector,” had both of these plots too. But in that book, the sub-plot tied very well into the main plot. Now that sub-plot is the main plot of the next book, and the main plot of “Protector” goes a whole other direction, and isn’t a very connected sub-plot. So I am going to have to decide if I can make that work or need to scrap this sub-plot.

Daily Writing Check-in: June 3, 2019

Words/Time:  1 hour, 11 minutes working on pre-writing for Book 3 of “Pursuit of Power” trilogy.

I finished the character interview with 6 of the most prominent characters that will be in that book. I answered a few questions about some vague ideas I had, and I think I will write a broad outline of this story before I set it aside for now.

I was in Chicago yesterday and some of today. We walked a lot yesterday, and got back to our hotel late. I tried to work on my writing, and managed to for about 7 minutes, but was too tired to do more, and didn’t feel the need to post about that small of an amount. I added it to today’s time instead.

Daily Writing Check-in: June 1, 2019

Words/Time:  58 minutes working on pre-writing for Book 3 of “Pursuit of Power” trilogy.

I continued the character interview that I started yesterday with 6 of the most prominent characters that will be in that book. We mostly discussed where each of them left off in “Protector,” which has so far also included the next action each of them will take, which will lead into the book that I’m planning.

Daily Writing Check-in: May 31, 2019

Words/Time:  39 minutes working on goal #1 in my new short-list of writing goals.

1. Plan Book 3 of “Pursuit of Power” trilogy – Though I have always thought of this conclusion book as being something I’d hold off on working on until much later, the ideas for what should be in this book have just been flowing in the last several weeks. So I’m going to start with some broad planning, and either come up with an outline, or at least a solid list of plot points for now

2. Final revision of “Pithea” – All of my writing goals this year have been for one final goal: to know what, if any changes, future book drafts may force in “Pithea,” so I can get those things changed now, before attempting to publish this book again. I want to make sure it’s exactly what it needs to be, as book 1 in this series of books. I do have a list of things that I want to change–nothing huge–and goal #1 in this list could prompt more. So after that book has a semi-solid plan, I will do what will hopefully be a final revision to “Pithea”, at least regarding changes prompted by me, rather than by someone else like an editor, and look into publishing options.

I started on #1 today, which first entailed writing out broad strokes of ideas I have for this book. Then I decided that it was time for the mother of all character interviews. I’m bringing in all of the characters that will have the largest roles in this book to discuss where they left off in the previous book (“Protector”) and then where they’ll go from there.

goal tracker 19-5-31

After a very light March and barely managing to win Camp NaNoWriMo in April with a goal of 30 minutes average per day, surpassing my goal of an average of 1 hour writing work per day in May was really nice. Here’s to an equally productive June!

On the Eve of NaNoWriMo

NaNoWriMo starts in 4 hours where I am. It has been a hard-fought month of prep for me. For one thing, I was just getting myself back to a place where I could work on my writing regularly again at the beginning of the month. I got back into the swing of posting every day to hold myself accountable to doing some form of writing work each day.

There were 3 main things I wanted to do before November came:
1. Clean my main writing space.
2. Post a synopsis for my novel, along with 2-3 other posts about NaNo, writing in general, and my other novels.
3. Make a solid outline for my NaNoNovel.

Then I got sick. And let’s see how my plans worked out?

1. I did get this done, just today. Initially, my husband and I planned to clean more around my writing space too, but today, he said, “What do you want done, bare minimum?” So now my work desk is cleaned off, so I can put aside work things and focus on writing more easily, and I have even organized various papers, notebooks, and scrapbooking things into a filing cabinet that I’ve had for a while, but was too lazy to do much with.

2. This post is a compromise for me…I had more detail I wanted to share about things I learned during my prep time this month, but some of it has actually sort of been watered down in my mind by snags that came after the exciting moments. I know that probably doesn’t make sense, but that’s okay. Once I get past the first few scary days of November, and hopefully past this flu (I’m just guessing it’s the flu, but it tracks), I will still post some of the other things I wanted to share, but there’s one that will probably never be written (titled “Planners are Cheaters,” by the way).

3. And then there’s my NaNoNovel…The novel I’ve planned to write next month will delve into the mind of someone more broken and dark than any characters I’ve written about so far.  It’s not the first time I’ve planned to write something out of my comfort zone. Two years ago, I wrote 2 murder-mystery themed stories, which was a first for me. Last year, I wrote about the time my dad spent in the hospital for 3 weeks in September of that year. Writing like that was very different for me.

However, the shape and form of this novel has changed pretty drastically about 100 times since I started planning it 3 weeks ago. I have been concerned for most of those 3 weeks that I won’t be ready in time. I don’t need a long, detailed outline, sheets on every character, note cards, or any other such degree of planning. But I wasn’t even sure I would have a broad outline, and I can’t stress this enough–I am not a pantser. (I’ve tried.)

Fortunately, just yesterday, I finished a 2-page, handwritten outline. When I say “finished”…well, I got as far as I could without knowing where the writing will take me. I often (not always, but often) will write 2/3 of an outline, and then start writing, because I’m not even sure what is going to happen next, but I have good reason to believe that the actual writing will bring out the rest. This outline covers about half, maybe more, of the story. The other half(ish) of the story has a fairly solid timeline to help me know that broad plot points.

I’ve decided that I can’t post a synopsis for my story though, at least not more than the early one I already did. The story is still too much of a mystery to me, so much that I can’t even say what the true “main story” is going to be until I write it. This one’s going to be a fun one to edit, I think…

Okay, now looking ahead to tonight, and the rest of the month, I have two key things I want to say:
1. I will be starting right at midnight. I do that every year, and whether I write 500 words or 3000 words, anything I get done before going to bed is a huge mental jump start on the month!

2. I will blog every day about my experience doing NaNoWriMo. This will be the third year I’ve done this, since starting my blog (2014 and 2015). There may be those who are curious about how others get through the month (I know I am). I have also found that I really enjoy being able to look back in later years and read about my progress through the month. And since I already post here every day that I got any writing work done, as a way of staying accountable, it’s not much of a stretch.

I have not yet heard for sure whether or not we will have new NaNoToons this year, but if so, I will share those every day. (If not, maybe I’ll go back and share them from an earlier year!) I will also post episodes from the NaNoMusical throughout the month, because I still love it to pieces and can’t not try to get others to love it too!

I wish my fellow Wrimos well, and hope to hear from some of you during the month!

Are you ready for NaNo to begin? Do you plan to do the midnight sprint tonight?

My NaNo Survival Kit

I figured with NaNoWriMo drawing ever closer, I’d share my own list of items that I’m collecting for my November survival kit. Some are ready to go, some I still need to get ready.

1. Laptop – The laptop itself is ready; in fact, I have a new one this year. It’s a work laptop, which comes home with me, and it’s very nice. The keyboard is a little frustrating though. I can’t say exactly why, but when I type my normal speed, I end up skipping letters way more often than I do on my desktop.

My writing space around my laptop is what I still need to work on. It’s piled high with papers and notebooks, related to both work and writing. I have a wooden filing cabinet near my desk that I plan to use to start organizing work papers, and go from there. That’s on my to-do list for the rest of October

2. Outline – I keep starting on this, and keep running into questions. I may need to stop worrying so much about a physical outline, and at least think through all of the broad points (it helps that I do have a timeline with key events listed out) to make sure there aren’t any more huge questions that need answered now, while I have more time. And this is just one plot thread I’ve been trying to outline. There will be another one, that I just realized yesterday might actually be a bigger thread than I thought, that I haven’t even started thinking about yet. So yeah, lots of work left to do on this, and I have how many days left?

3. Timeline
timeline Vin
I may not have an outline yet, but, as I mentioned, I do have a timeline. Because my 2017 NaNoNovel encompasses several other books, with some intertwining characters and plot points, I had to get this timeline set up a long time ago. Events have moved around a lot since then, even a lot just in the last couple of weeks, but I think it’s set now. And if I don’t end up with much of an outline, this will at least be something.

4. Notebook, pencil, & eraser

007

And believe me, I has all the notebooks!

I still love the tactile feeling of writing by hand. I don’t do it much during NaNo, because it’s just…so…slow. But I always have at least one notebook with me when I leave the house during November, in case I have a chance to write, or even just a stray idea to jot down.

4-b. Thinkink Pen
fidget pen
The pen is metal and bendable, and comes with attachments that are either magnetic, or at least metal. It’s a fidget pen. I’ve noticed a tendency to take apart mechanical pencils when I’m in a meeting, or when I’m writing and have to stop to think. I’ve broken more than my share of pencils that way. This thing has been great!

5. Leftover Halloween candy & other snacks – It’s become a tradition for my husband and me to go out on the day after a major candy holiday (mostly Halloween, Christmas, Valentine’s Day, and Easter) and get a few bags full at half-off. It’s really the only times we buy candy, and then we split it between the 4 of us in our family, and make it last as long as we can. I tend to stress eat when I’m writing. It’s not a good habit, but one I can’t seem to shake during NaNo.

6. Full stock of coffee – For me, this is about more than the caffeine. I enjoy coffee, cappuccino, or hot chocolate when I’m settling in for my writing time simply for the taste. And the warmth, since it tends to be cold here during November.

7. Thumb drive – Somewhere I have a thumb drive with my writing backed up on it. It’s probably 2 years out of date, since there’s no way I was organized enough to back anything up during last year’s NaNoWriMo. I’ll have to dig it out, catch it up, and then use it to store my writing on. I tend to go back and forth between my laptop and desktop, because the laptop is upstairs in my bedroom where it’s quiet, but sometimes it’s nice to be at my desktop–more comfortable, amongst the people (downsides there, of course), and usually warmer.

8. AlphaSmart Neo

I did an entire blog post on this already, so I won’t go into much detail here. This will be my first NaNo with it, and I am really looking forward to it. I’ve already gotten quite a bit of use out of it during prep time. In fact, after using it for 3 days to “interview” one of my main characters as a way to break through some blocks, I had transferred the writing to my computer, and tried to finish it there. But it just wasn’t the same, and I couldn’t quite focus. This thing may transform the way I do NaNoWriMo. Or it may just be a fun toy. (Though if nothing else, it will definitely come in incredibly useful for writing away from the house.) Either way, I’m hooked!

What’s in your NaNoWriMo survival kit? Are you prepared for November 1st?