NaNoWriMo, Meet My Bullet Journal, Take 2

Click here to see my NaNo profile and read the new excerpt

Good afternoon, wrimos! I bet you’re wondering what’s been going on since my last post waaaaay back in July when I was last talking about Camp NaNoWriMo. Well, from the sheer lack of posts you can probably surmise that I didn’t do well at all. You are not wrong. I got about 3,500 words written out of my projected goal of 15,000 and then I went kaput. I can’t really recall why that happened, just that it did. What I do remember is that my plan to use my bullet journal to track my word count actually was the most successful thing about Camp this year. Fortunately, I have a much bigger support network for the real deal competition that is National Novel Writing Month, aka NaNoWriMo. Plus, many more friends are participating, so it’ll be much easier to get motivated and stay that way.

As a result, I am in full NaNo prep mode. Here’s a look at what’s been going on:

  • Official site updated. On the first day it was available, I went in and added all the details I could, including a brand-new excerpt from the story that I worked on last month. My BFF likes it, but I’m hoping she’s not just saying that because she’s my BFF. You’ll have to let me know. I also got to check off a bunch of personal achievement badges, including the one for Camp. Nifty!
  • Novel chosen. I’ve decided for the third year in a row to once more work on my story about an immortal knight, The Curse of Camlann. Hopefully I’ll finish the thing, or at least get darn close. It also earns me the NaNo Rebel badge, which is pretty cool.
  • Playlist page added. Since I’ve been listening to the thing for almost a year, I thought it might be fun to post it on the blog like I did the one for The Great Boyfriend Experiment. To see what tunes I’m grooving to while writing, or driving in the car thinking about writing, check out the page under About Nik’s Novels in the menu above, or you can go there directly by clicking here. This too earned me a badge, the Novel Maestro one.
  • Working lunches scheduled. Fellow wrimo and co-worker KellyLindy and I will once again be meeting up during the week to write together, inspire each other and have mini word wars during our lunch hours. We’ve co-opted a conference room with no windows so the only distractions will be those we bring in with us in the form of healthy and not-so-healthy snacks, and caffeine. This one got me the Wrimo Spirit badge. I’m racking ’em up!
  • Pinterest inspiration board updated. Not that long ago, I discovered a little gem of a BBC television show called “Merlin” during one of my summer Netflix binges. I am here to tell you that I have totally and without any remorse whatsoever stolen the Camelot they created and made it the one that Reese was born into back in the 6th century. Heck, the show’s finale two-part episode takes place during the battle in which he gets cursed, so it doesn’t get more perfect than that. To find out more, check out my Curse of Camlann board.
  • Word count pages recycled/created. As I mentioned at the top of this post, the best thing about July’s Camp was the word count chart I’d created. So, I’m going to do that again. In fact, I’m going to also reuse the one from July; it still has 86 books to color in as I’d set it up for a 25,000 word count goal. I’ll just use a different color, perhaps blue to match our NaNonaut, for November’s goals. I think this one definitely counts for the NaNo Prep badge, right?

Whew, that’s a lot to get done so far. According to my bullet journal NaNoWriMo task list, I have only a couple items left to check off. One is definitely optional, and the other is half optional. I need a reliable computer, and thanks to a failed Windows 10 update, I am now tied to my power cord since my battery got all mucked up. Cross your fingers I find a good deal on the laptop I’m looking for; I don’t need a lot, just something that will run a few Office apps and Scrivener. I’ll hopefully check back in before NaNoWriMo officially starts. If not, I will definitely keep you in the loop about how writing’s going once it’s in full swing.

Talk to ya soon, wrimos!


NaNo Prep In Full Swing

Well, it’s halfway through October and I am well trenched into that time-honored activity called NaNo Prep. As my previous post explained, I am totally a planner, so it’s not unusual to find me working on characters, plots and all the other things I can do early before writing begins on November 1. The last couple of Sunday writing sessions have been abbreviated due to things like M taking her oldest to a birthday party and me singing during two services at church. For me, that means not so much productivity on the things that I should be working on.

Instead, I’m doing things like updating my NaNoWriMo dashboard with all the new details — click here to visit my author dashboard and see what I’m up to — and creating a book cover for that very same page. I find it fascinating how long it can take to crop an image, add some text, rotate it this way and that in order to get it to look the way you want just so you have an image for the site instead of a sad blank square.

In case you are curious, this is the cover I settled on and uploaded to my NaNo dashboard. You may also have also seen it pop up as my new photo on Facebook as well:

Working Title for NNWM 2014 novel: The Curse of Camlann
Working Title for NNWM 2014 novel: The Curse of Camlann

Now, I think it’s time to get back to plotting. I’ve got a lot of story to figure out, not to mention the mechanics of my character’s immortality. Hmm. Mechanics of Immortality. If my current book title doesn’t work, that definitely sounds like a winner.

NaNo Prep: Panster or Planner?

Hello! I know I’ve been quiet lately on the writing front, and NaNo is to blame. Instead of working on flash fiction, I’ve been solidly prepping my NaNo novel. Yes, I am fully aware that November is still over a month and a half away, but this is me were talking about. Interestingly, in my email this morning, I find NaNoMail on this very subject. Figuring the Fates are giving me a poke, I thought I’d check it out.

As I read the “how to prep” article, I laughed because M and I discuss pieces of this every year at NaNo time. One of them was almost prophetic, as we talked about this very thing at our last writer session:


I am most definitely in the planner camp, and M leans in the pantser direction. I like to know who my characters are, what my plot is, who’s doing what and why, and where the story will take place. This year, my story contains a character who gets cursed, and I knew that I had to know a) exactly how the curse came about, and b) how my hero and heroine were going to break said curse. I didn’t want to find myself stuck without the answer and staring at a blank Scrivener page trying to figure it out. I even enlisted M to help me out when I was stuck in Stuck Mode, as this Messenger conversation we had shows. She posted it on Facebook to give her friends and mine a glimpse into the writer process:


Yes, I most definitely groaned when I read her “helpful” suggestion, and called her on it later, but yeah, it was pretty funny. Fortunately, I’ve since worked out how to break Reese’s curse. Now I’m working on Rowena’s ancestral family tree to see how many times in the last 1500 years the curse could have been broken but was thwarted by one thing or another.

Yeah, planner I be. :)

Note: for more information on this year’s NaNo novel, check out the sidebar under “NNWM 2014 Project” (click the three horizontal lines to access).

Writer’s Blocks Scene 4

AM_ROM_DTH_ESC1Hello once again, blogosphere! It is finally time to post the last of the scenes written with my Writer’s Blocks (for more on this, see the related “Writer’s Blocks” posts under “Past Musings”). Unlike the previous rolls, which were relaxing and had no time limit per se, this one came about because M and I had been at it for hours and were about to pack up for the day. That’s when she challenged me to do another roll. I stared at her, as there was barely a half-hour left on the clock before we’d be kicked back out into the Texas heat once the library shut its doors. Then I said, “Why not?” and we threw the dice. Here’s how they settled, with the further explanation provided by the little insert that came with the set (click the image above to see it full size):

  1. Hero — Male adult
  2. Genre — Romance
  3. Plot — Escape — hero must get away from an enemy, a place or an internal conflict
  4. Plot Twist — Death — major character unexpectedly dies

It’s going to come as no surprise that two of my apparently favorite elements returned, but this time throwing me a loop with a male lead in a romance. For a “lightning round,” it would be quite interesting. I’m just glad I didn’t get something much more difficult like horror genre and quest plot or some other equally hard combination. As before, included below are the actual notebook pages; click on a page to bring up the full size version.


For the time constraints, I’m surprised there’s even fewer marked out sections. Then again, perhaps it’s because of the time limit I just wrote and didn’t rethink it too much.  So I present to you the final transposed scene. It’s going to be a bit cheesy, and anything in [brackets] is edited for content due to the subject matter. You can probably guess what I edited out to make this PG-13.

Scene 4

John dragged Anna into the darkened hotel room, giving her one last kiss before tossing her on the bed. She smiled up at him and beckoned, and he didn’t waste any time. Stripping fast, he watched as she did the same, and pounced as soon as she revealed all that smooth white skin. She felt as good as she looked and while he would have preferred taking things slow, they were on borrowed time. It sucked to be on the run, but when a cop set you up, they set you up good. She pulled him back to the present with a hand on his [hip], and he kissed her hard. Taking the hint, he stroked a hand down her long body and they both groaned when he [joined] her. Moving fast, it didn’t take long for them to crest together. He managed to roll sideways before collapsing, and smiled when he felt her snuggle against him. He drifted in and out of sleep the next couple of hours until he finally gave up. Easing out from Anna’s embrace, John headed for the shower. Turning it on hard and hot, he stepped inside and drenched his head, hoping the water would wash away some of the cobwebs and he could think of their next move.

The banging on the bathroom door shocked the crap out of him and he heard Anna yelling that she thought she heard sirens. Not thinking Edwards would be that dumb but not wanting to risk it, he shut off the water, dried off and threw open the door. Anna was nearly dressed and he was damned glad all he had was jeans, shirt and boots. Dressing nearly as fast as they’d undressed earlier, he held out a hand and squeezed hers once. She squeezed back, then picked up the .45 that had been kicked under the bed and handed it to him. She kept the Smith & Wesson for herself.

God, he loved a woman who knew her way around guns.

They bolted out of the room and sure enough there were sirens too damned close. They made it down the stairs but had to abandon the car as the cruiser screamed into the parking lot. John dragged Anna into the hall that led to the back of the hotel, and dove for cover as bullets erupted around them.

Apparently, Edwards had drafted the local sheriff to flush them out.

Reaching out for Anna, he panicked when he didn’t find her beside him. Spinning around, he saw her lying just five feet away. She’d caught one of the stray bullets in her stomach, and was bleeding badly. He started toward her, but she shook her head. John refused when she told him to go, then smiled when he saw she still held her gun. Telling her goodbye was one of the hardest things he’d done, but they both knew she wasn’t going to make it and he wasn’t going to waste the chance she’d given him.

He flinched as another volley of bullets rang out, and the rage at seeing Anna shot in the head nearly did him in. Realizing he had only seconds before he was surrounded, John cursed Edwards and bolted.

That’s it for now on the Writer’s Block scenes. I’ll be meeting up with M again sometime this month, and we’ll see if we get our homework done or choose to work on other projects. You never know, I might pick up the dice at home and give them a toss to see how they land…

Writer’s Blocks Scene 2

AM_SF_DTH_REVHello again! It’s time for the second of the scenes written with my Writer’s Blocks (for more on this, see the related “Writer’s Blocks” posts under “Past Musings”). Here’s how they came up on that second roll, with the further explanation provided by the little insert that came with the set (click the image to see it full size):

  1. Hero — Male adult
  2. Genre — Scifi
  3. Plot — Revenge — hero means to take vengeance on some other characters
  4. Plot Twist — Death — major character unexpectedly dies

No, you’re not seeing things. I rolled “death” a second time. According to M, it makes perfect sense as in my last year’s NaNo novel, I killed off just about every character but the hero and heroine. Once again, here are the actual notebook pages containing my scribblings. As with the dice image above, if you click on a page it will bring up the full size version. On the first page, you’ll also see my homework assignment above the separator line, so this one’s beneath that.


For the second exercise, I didn’t have as many scratch outs, and it’s anyone’s guess as to the reasons why. While the locale of the story might seem familiar, it’s not a stretch when you consider I’m a fan of many scifi tales that take place on spaceships — the Millennium Falcon, Serenity, the Enterprise, and the Nostromo just to name a few. Without further ado, the transposed pages with minor edits, because one should most definitely not change tenses in mid-story, let alone in mid- first sentence…

Scene 2

Charging down the passageway, Jack flinched as the laser blast missed him by inches. Flinging himself through the nearest open doorway, he slapped at the wall and managed to close the door just before the troops thundered past. He didn’t breathe again until he was sure they hadn’t doubled back. Tapping the comm device in his hear, he quietly said, “Hey Jones, you still alive?””Barely,” came back the crackling reply. “Those bastards are better shots than we thought.”

“Where are you?”

“Deck 37, level 4, I think.”

“Damn. I’m four decks above that and our ship’s five more below you. Got any weapons?”

“Just the peashooter I swiped off the recruit who tried to blow my head off. Ain’t enough to get me down to the hangar but ain’t gonna stop me neither. You?”

“I’ve still got my rifle but I ran out of ammo a score of bad guys ago. Where the hell is the armory on these monstrosities?”

“Deck 34, if our intel was any good. Think we can make it?”

Jack grinned. “They don’t call us the Rough Runners for nothing.” He levered himself up and leaned against the wall, knowing if they made it out of this their reputations would be golden for life. But that was one big “if.” He hit the release to open the door, and poked his head out. When it wasn’t blown off, he took that as a good sign. “Alright, Jones. Heading down to you and we’ll make the final run together. I’ll check in again when I’m on the same deck.”

“Roger that, Jack. You better hurry, I can’t stay hidden forever.”

Jack heard the click of his co-pilot signing off and slipped into the hallway, hugging the wall. When he reached the huge hub that connected the passageways he knew he’d have to risk it. He needed to get to the one hatch that would let him descend unnoticed. Unslinging his rifle even though he knew it was empty, he sent up a prayer, took a deep breath and headed for the second passageway to the left at a dead run.

When he made it unnoticed and unscathed, he slung the rifle on his back again and kicked through the hatch to the crawlspace. Ducking inside, he began climbing down the ladder and damn near slipped in his haste. Slowing only a bit he kept going until he got to the hatch marked “D-37.”

Carefully and with as little noise as possible, Jack cracked open the hatch and dropped to the deck. He froze at the sound of a pistol charging to full strength. Slowly rising from his crouch, he turned to see Jones sprawled out cold on the deck and the weapon trained on his prone body. What he didn’t expect to see was the woman on the other end of the weapon.

“Lara. Nice to see you. Is that a new outfit?”

“That’s Colonel Miles to  you now, Jack, so yes it is. Some of us take our military service seriously.”

“Seriously? Oh, please,” he scoffed, even as he began to worry that Jones hadn’t so much as twitched. “You got drafted same as us. I just figured out sooner which side was the right side.”

“And now you make your living as a smuggler?”

“Beats being stuck in a giant tin can for decades.” He crossed his arms and faced his ex-wife. He hated to admit it, but the blonde looked really good in that uniform. “You got him, you got me, and you got our ship. What’re you gonna do now, turn us in?”

“Of course.”

“Just like that? Hell, Lara, don’t I even get to make one grand plea?” She lowered her weapon and settled into the all too familiar parade rest stance. She gave him a slight nod. “Is it going to make a difference?”

“Not really, no.” Faster than he could react, her hand came forward and she blasted a hole through Jones’ head. As the body jerked and rolled, he now saw the matching hole in his chest that had been concealed as he lay on his side. Automatically his right hand lifted to go for his rifle, but he froze once more as she tsk-tsked him and trained her pistol on him. Slowly he lowered his hand and tensed as she crossed the distance between them. He stiffened at the pleased gleam in her eye.

“You really do only care about the recognition and advancement bringing both of us in will give you, don’t you? He was your brother, for gods’ sake.”

“And I loved him until the day he died. Thing is, the bounty says dead or alive and dead is just so much easier.” She stepped back and aimed for his chest. “Any last words?”

“Oh yeah,” Jack said, dropping his arms and spreading them wide as if to welcome the shot. “I’ll avenge Jones, count on it, Colonel Miles.”

Then he threw himself forward just as she pulled the trigger.

There you have it. Stay tuned – there’s two more scenes to go, and the one I have for homework. Why, oh why did we agree to homework? Sigh… :)