I’m back… and just in time for NaNo

Yes, it’s true. You’re actually reading a new blog post by little old me. I’m really back! The last time you heard from me back in June, I was preparing for July’s Camp NaNoWriMo and my first-ever homemade writers retreat with my bestie. Well, Camp itself was a bit of a bust, but what did go splendidly well was our retreat.

For me, it was a chance to see what life would be like as a full-time writer instead of an only-in-November one. I had a schedule, and I stuck with it: have some breakfast, write for four hours, have some lunch, then back to writing for another five hours.

It was, quite honestly, amazing.

I really, really liked the feel of those three days. Quite often I wrote past my stop alarm because I was that close to the end of the scene and wanted to get it done. I clocked in a word count of over 18,000 words in three days, but that last Sunday afternoon I struggled to add words to the count. It took me a good hour of only kinda sorta necessary research to figure out I was procrastinating. I also realized I’d reached the three-quarters done mark of my book.

Which meant I was almost done writing the first draft of a novel.

Which meant I was at the same place I’d been with Boyfriend Experiment the last time I stalled out and didn’t finish.

Which means I haven’t written a word since July 23rd.

Fast-forward to this month’s Preptober discussions with my bestie about what we’re going to work on for NaNoWriMo. I know I should pick up COC and finish it. I know this. Maybe it’s the excuse-maker in me, but I’m pretty sure part of why I procrastinated was I have no idea how to end the book. There are too many ways it could go, and I’m not sure which is the right one.

Is your NaNoWriMo prep complete?

I don’t care what you say, endings are fracking scary.

Thus I took the path of least resistance and decided on traditional romance for November. I’m going back to the basics–no prophecies, no magic and no trying to remember where I put a certain plot point or added an important detail so that I don’t screw up the semi-complex story line. It’s set in my fictional Texas city of Kilcavan, and will include a boy and a girl, horses and a hurricane, and a little jealousy thrown in for kicks.

I’m sure this will be another good NaNoWriMo. I’ve set up numerous writing sessions with work and non-work friends. I’ve got a new bullet journal layout with a nifty grid of milestones to earn toward rewards at the end of each of its six levels that will track my progress along with my usual word count bookcase.

This year I also have Lois Lane of Daily Planet fame watching over me and inspiring me when I’m at home (click here to see my Instagram fangirl geekout over her arrival). When I’m elsewhere, I’ll have my ever-present companion Snoopy along with his new buddy Mars, a small toy statue that looks exactly like Cal’s mustang.

I’m off to binge as many episodes of Smallville as I can between now and November 1 when writing begins, because once NaNoWriMo starts, no more TV until the day’s word count is met. :)


Camp NaNoWriMo Returns in July and I’m Bringing Conflict With Me

Hello again, old friends! It’s been a month or so since I made it back from my first successful trip to Camp NaNoWriMo and came home with a winner’s button. Since then, I’ve been alternating between some casual editing on my unfinished Boyfriend Experiment manuscript (aka going through and just removing the “fluff”) and reading up on the craft of writing. I picked up quite a few reference titles during the Austin Book Store Crawl on Independent Bookstore Day, April 29th, and on a shopping spree over Memorial Day weekend. I cracked the cover on my Writers Digest book Writing Monsters, and I’ll definitely get back to it when I return to my other fantasy novel (there’s a really nasty shapeshifter dragon bad guy in that one). The other WD book I picked up, Elements of Fiction Writing – Conflict and Suspense, basically confirmed my suspicion that my current work-in-progress is going to need a bit more of a rewrite than I originally expected.

According to the book, “the stakes in an emotionally satisfying novel have to be death” and “somebody has to be in danger of dying”. That somebody is your main character and s/he’s in jeopardy either physically, professionally, or psychologically. Now, when your MC happens to be an immortal, that makes thing a bit more tricky. Fortunately, Reese believes the cure to his curse is mortal death, so that’s in line with the psychological aspect. Maybe I’m not as far off the tracks as I thought.

Yet when it comes to conflict, I think I can do better by this manuscript. It needs some work on its pacing at the beginning, in order to get things zooming along to the all important middle. We’re on the countdown to the breaking of the curse, and I’m sure Reese can hear the ticking of the clock in the background. Still, unless I bring back the ex we haven’t seen since Reese scared the crap out of him by coming back from the dead, I’m not sure who my late-novel antagonist will be to add those elements of conflict. Well, external conflict anyway. I’m sure my leads will have many things to argue about between now and the start of the eclipse regarding how each believes the curse will end should all go as planned.

In any case, I will keep you guys up-to-date with letters home from Camp in July like I did in April. I’m also excited for my very first homemade writers retreat, which Meagan and I created for ourselves (we even came up with our very own swag!). It will happen smack in the middle of Camp this month, so stay tuned for additional updates from the Texas Hill Country.

You may also want to check out the Curse of Camlann excerpt page between now and July 1. I’ve updated the page with a scene from last session so you can see where our knight and lady have landed.

Here’s to another winner session, a great retreat, and all the words we’re all going to write!

Hitting the Home Stretch at Camp NaNo

Snoopy_happycampingHappy Tuesday, my awesome fellow Campers! It’s the second-to-last weekday work session with my BFF, and boy howdy was it a good one. We met in the mess hall as has been our plan these last three weeks, and after a bit of dinner we brought out our laptops and got to work. M was only one page away from her Camp goal of 30 pages written (she’s doing flash fiction, if you remember) and by the end of the night, she’d finished that last lone page and won!

If she wasn’t my honorary sister, I’d totally call her a brat for beating me yet again. Okay, I’ll probably call her a brat for real later on, but I can’t really begrudge her the victory. I myself had a pretty fab writing night! It was one of those days when the words just flowed like mystical waters from my brain to my fingers and onto the Scrivener page. Tonight’s session netted me my largest word count yet (over 2,000 you guys!) and I’m now only 1,657 away from winning myself.

Easy, peasy, y’all.

If you don’t hear from me before next Tuesday’s final work session here at camp, it’s because we’re preempting our usual Saturday work session to spend the weekend back home. You see, I invited myself along to M’s youngest’s birthday party at the bowling lanes, and I plan to have some fun attempting to throw strikes (which will probably ed up being unconverted splits) before getting back to the keyboard for that final sprint to the winner’s circle.

You never know, though… I might get inspired and fit in an extra mini-session at lunch on Friday just to see if I can’t crank out that last little chunk I need. After all, what I’ve go left is less than I usually do in a day during November, so it’s totally doable don’tcha think? I know I sure do!

Camp Stats

Days written: 11
Daily word count/goal: 2,058/500
Word count to date/target: 13,343/15,000

Hello from Camp NaNoWriMo Day 1

Well, it’s day one of camp and I’m already ahead of the game. I met my BFF for the first of our work sessions today, and after a little catching up to see where I’d left off, I managed to crank out a respectable word count. So I’m calling it a day and heading out to the bonfire to make some ‘Smores with my friends before turning in for the night.

I don’t know if I mentioned what goal I’d set for myself during April. I plan to write 15,000 words (that’s 500/day in case you were wondering), which should be pretty easy to accomplish especially if I’m true to form. (I’m a rather prolific writer once I get going, as this novel’s enormous word count can attest.) Granted, you might think 15k is a rather wimpy word count to work toward, but that’s the whole point. I’m attending Camp this time around not to crank out all kinds of crap, but rather to get me back in the habit of writing again. I also get to color in a book on my bullet journal page’s bookshelf for each 1,000 words I write, and I really want that thing filled up with colorful book spines.

Thankfully I have two really good friends who will be there for me and cheer me on. Heck, I think my BFF is even scouring her house for her pom-poms later tonight so she can keep me motivated. =] I can’t promise I won’t be embarrassed should she whip them out of her backpack and start waving them around, but I can promise to keep going on this novel until it’s FINALLY finished. I even started brainstorming endings last week just in case I got that far.

I have no idea which ending I’ll choose, but at least they’re there written down in black and white should I need them.

Stay tuned for more tales from our cabin at Camp NaNoWriMo. I’ll see you soon!


April Camping I Will Go, NaNo-style

Charlie Hunnam as Arthur in the upcoming movie “King Arthur: Legend of the Sword”

Well hello there, old friends! I would love to tell you I’ve been so busy writing that I just haven’t had the time to blog, but alas ’tis not the case. After November, I took a short break as is my norm, and then things went KABOOM. My long-time boss retired, the annual year end processing project seemed to develop quirk after quirk thus driving all of us to the edge of insanity, and to top it off my best friend left the company, leaving a huge hole in my world. Not to mention a hellish allergy season, worrying about my cat (she’s got kidney disease) and a wicked bout of winter blues. So things have been off for a while and I just couldn’t find the motivation to write.

Then I saw the email that NaNoWriMo sends out at the beginning of March announcing Camp once again. My first thought was (and yes, it was John Hurt’s voice I heard in my head from that scene in Spaceballs), “Oh no, not again!” Yet the more I thought about it, the more it appealed to me. I’ve been thinking a lot about my book–I always do in the off-season–and even more so after seeing the trailer for the new King Arthur movie that’s coming soon. It’s as if the universe is saying, “Hey, Nik – pay attention! There’s a reason they call it a legend. People are still interested. So finish your freaking novel!”

I took the hint.

My current Camp NaNoWriMo bullet journal page (click to enlarge); banner courtesy of NaNoWriMo and bookshelf courtesy of Boho Berry aka Kara Benz.

I pinged my bestie M on Facebook and asked her if we were going to Camp, and she (a little too readily for my waffling heart) agreed. I really like her flash fiction plan, and of course I’m returning to Reese’s world. So between now and April 1, I’ve got lots to do:

  • finish up my bullet journal Camp page(s)–as you see from the snapshot, I’ve already added the official Camp plot bunny banner (so awesome) and Kara’s bookshelf that I’ll use to track my word count (1,000 words/book). I still have a couple of things to add like title banners, additional tasks and the like.
  • review where I left off in the story;
  • find November’s outline so I know where I’m going;
  • make any necessary edits in Scrivener; and
  • celebrate my birthday!

I do hope to keep you guys up to date with letters home from camp this April, which I neglected to do last summer, so stay tuned. I’ve also tweaked the Curse of Camlann synopsis page, and here’s hoping last year’s COC playlist remains inspiring as it has in the past. I thought you might be curious about the story, so I’ve created a new COC excerpt page and shared a scene written at the end of NaNo.

Happy reading and writing, everyone!

NaNoWriMo 2016 Day 12

whiteguy_goalGood evening! I think this post is going to be short and sweet tonight because I’ve been running at full speed since oh, Thursday morning and I hit some significant goals today. Considering I didn’t write Wednesday or Thursday, although yesterday I did manage to flesh out the remainder of my novel’s outline and add it to my nifty new writing journal, reaching those goals to stay ahead are even better. What are they? Well, I’m so glad you asked!

  1. Reached 25,000 words on day 12 (that’s today, in case you’ve forgotten), which is 3 days early.
  2. Attaining goal #1 also means it’s the earliest I’ve ever had that many words in the bank in all my years of participating in NaNoWriMo.
  3. Because of goal #1, I get to color in the remaining books on Page 1 of my word count tracker in my bullet journal, something I didn’t even come close to doing this summer at Camp.
  4. Goal #1 allowed me to surpass my prior highest single day word count, clocking in a total of 3,829 in a little under four hours.

All in all, I’d say I had a pretty good day. Since it started out with a morning playing in clay at ceramics class with my mom, ’twas a great day all around.

I’m off to bed, my wrimos. Catch up with you all tomorrow!

NaNoWriMo 2016 Day 3 Update

Hello from the trenches, my fellow wrimos! It’s November 4, my third day of writing this go-around, and I am so pleased with what I’ve accomplished so far. Not only have I had multiple writing sessions each day, but I’ve clocked in word counts over 3k on two of them to put me a day and a half ahead of the suggested goal.

Pardon me a moment while I do a happy dance in my chair (or diner booth as the case may be).

On top of that, I’ve had the chance to write with two great gals during our casual and unofficial write-ins this week. With Kel, I’ve turned my lunch hour into a productive spurt of writing, and with Meagan, our diner dinner turned into another successful session. Okay, yes, both of them have counts higher than mine, but you know what? I’m okay with that. It doesn’t matter what their counts are, or what project their working on. What does count is that I’m well on my way to winning another NaNo with the added bonus of getting that much closer to actually writing those two magical words on that last page: The End.

This year, as I mentioned in previous posts, I’m utilizing my bullet journal to track my word count and other things NaNo. I have to tell you all, I’m getting immense satisfaction in coloring in all those little books on the shelves each night after I’ve finished the day’s writing. It’s so much fun making turning those colorful books blue, and because of my success this week, I’m only four books away from having two completely blue shelves. Here, let me show you. I took a snap of the first bookshelf page in my bullet journal, and it turned out pretty well, if I don’t say so myself (click on the image to see it full size):


Neat, huh? I’m definitely liking the creative aspect of drawing the books and shelves (which I didn’t think I could do very well, and wasn’t I pleasantly surprised at how they turned out), and seeing my success progress as I color has a bit of meditation in it as well.

So I bid you adieu this Friday evening with a happy smile, and hope that your writing has been as successful, pleasurable and prolific as mine. :)