Postcard from Camp NaNoWriMo

No, I haven’t been spending all my time roasting marshmallows.

About a week late in starting Camp NaNoWriMo due to a heinous case of strep throat, I’m into the swing of things now.

Since I am picking up where I left off in November with this book, up to now, I’ve mostly been filling in holes and working on half-written scenes. Writing was sporadic at first, in fits and spurts, but I’m finally into new territory.

[Writerly chit-chat alert] The book stands at just over 60,000 words so far. I prep for each writing day the night before, by going over the chapter/scenes I will be writing using the “scene cards” worksheet from one of my writing books. Basically just a break down of the scene, who is in it, their goals, obstacles, what the MC has gained or lost etc.

It helps, especially since I am working on getting my daily word count (on all writing projects) up, using this method as a guide. 10K Days? A girl can dream!

I’m also keeping a separate sheet for each chapter, making notes as I go of things to remember, references to other chapters I need to check are included, etc. Either way, my goal (obviously) is to finish the book by the end of the month. But it isn’t just my pride on the line here, folks. I have tentatively selected a trip to a local cafe for dessert waffles as my prize for finishing (though my first choice was an iPad).

All in all, I’m happy with where I am (especially after that long drought of not writing anything new), but I’m still focused on upping my word count up as I go.

WIP Wednesday is Jumping Trains

And just like that, I have found my inspiration again.

If you’ve been reading my blog (or are one of the unlucky few who I chat with about my writing on a regular basis), you’ll know that I’ve been struggling the past few months.

This novella – I know I have a good story there. Or at least the seed of a good story. Something just isn’t right with it. Still. So, I decided to take a little look at my idea file, since there are a bunch of great anthos coming up that I’d love to sub to. And then there’s the pesky NaNovel from 2011 (and 2010, but let’s not go there).

Since the novella is actually set in the same world as my novel (though not necessarily the same time frame), I thought I should just go back to the novel in the hopes that it will help me get “unstuck”.

And – wow. I mean, we have to love our writing, right? As authors. We have to be excited about an idea to be able to devote our time, energy and creativity to it.

And I know this is a very, very rough first draft that is maybe halfway done, if that.

But re-reading the finished chapters, going back through the months of prep, and outlining, and brainstormed notes made me remember how excited I was to write this book.  I know. Completely obvious, yet oblivious at the same time.

I would be an idiot if I didn’t go where my inspiration takes me, so I’m suddenly back at work on my novel, letting the novella stew, and man, it’s SO GOOD to be writing again.

These past few months, I’ve been reworking the same rejected short stories over and over again (I give them at the very least, a quick read, and in some instances a tweaking if needed before I send them back out again), so writing something brand new – and something I am EXCITED about again – well, it’s a high unlike anything else.

So, although having the 1st draft of the novella done by the end of the month was my original goal, and abandoning it for now kind of feels like a failure (even though these deadlines are self-imposed), I think the idea just needs to brew a little while longer.

For now though, I’m jumping on the story that inspires me at the moment and enjoying the ride.

(It also doesn’t hurt that when I did my character sketches, I did a mock-up of my MC, and I borrowed Jamie Bamber’s face for my idea board :) )

WIP Wednesday: My Dirty Little Secret

My words are broken.

I didn’t write much in January. Post-holiday lull.

February? Things picked up a bit.

March? The beginning of the month was slow-to-non-existent but things got cooking around the end of the month.

Now it’s the middle of April. Uh…I got nothing.

I’ve spent my time outlining a novella, tearing apart said outline to work out the kinks and putting it all back together again, but I have to say – there’s no denying I’m stuck in a rut.

My lofty goals back at the end of 2011? Haven’t even scratched the surface. And when writing is like breathing to you – and you AREN’T – let’s just say I’m not a happy camper.

Maybe I just need to stir things up, try something new, branch out, hand in my Full-Fledged Plotter Card and become a pantser. At this point, I’d stand on my head if it would help (and believe me, that would be a feat in and of itself, considering my upper body strength is lacking).

So…That’s where things stand. The only real progress I’ve made so far in the past few months is racking up a bunch of rejections and cleaning. And let me tell you — ‘round these parts? There is not a dust bunny to be found.

WIP Wednesday is Feeling Nostalgic

A delivery in my mailbox today brought a piece of my childhood back to me.

I’ve mentioned before that my grandmother, Bernadette Rajotte, was also an author.

She wrote many short stories, a number of them appearing in various Canadian school textbooks and children’s magazines, and I recently found a used copy of one of the books online.

Just seeing the cover was like stepping back in time. I remember the illustrations of her story (The Moonlight Dance of the Whooping Cranes) so vividly that it was such a treat to open the book and see her story after all these years.

While I obviously write in a very different style and on very different subject matter than my Grandma, I know that I adopted my love of writing from her, so getting this book and adding it to my collection has me over the moon.

It also has me inspired to get going on the 2nd month of Write1Sub1. It is no surprise that I am way…waaaaay behind on my self-imposed schedule of ALL THE STORIES but as long as I am actually actively writing, I can’t complain or feel guilty about it. All I can do is vow to do better.

WIP Wednesday has a Love/Hate Relationship

The Love: I know there is a saying or colloquialism about persistence, or grindstones or something of that nature but to put it into layman’s terms: keep at it!

My story, Only Our Dust Shall Remain, was accepted into the Malicious Malpractices Anthology from Library of Horror Press! This is my 2nd Library piece and truth be told, this little tale was pared down, polished, went out to 3 other markets, and was prettied up again before receiving the final stamp of approval from LOH.

It is also one of my more gruesome tales, and I figured if it was rejected, I was going to have to take a magnifying glass, pair of tweezers, vacuum cleaner and perhaps a blowtorch to the piece to rip it apart and make it publishable because there must have been a reason why no one wanted it. Poor little orphaned story…Luckily, it didn’t come to that and I’m pretty stoked about it, to tell you the truth!

I also know that sometimes, if a certain story gets rejected multiple times, there may be a reason why. But there is also hope that maybe you just haven’t found the right market yet.

Anyway, keep your eyes on the blog here for publishing details and in return, I’ll get to work on the story page and my little Inklings post so you can see how such a sick & twisted little story could come from someone as unassuming as I.

(Apparently the acceptance has made me a little delusional…)

The Hate: Okay, so it isn’t exactly hate, but I also received a rejection in my inbox yesterday.
Bummed? Yeah. But I dusted myself off and sent the story back out. Hopefully it, too, will find a home somewhere in the not-too-distant future. Gotta keep on keepin' on, ya know?

In the meantime, I have 3 WIPs on the go at once, with a few more calling to me from the backburner. So far, the ideas are behaving but if I don't finish them soon, they will start to get angry. And no one wants to see a WIP when it gets angry…

Fellow WIP Wednesday posse:

If you’re a writer participating in WIP Wednesday, post a link to your blog in the comments! More info on the WIP Wednesday initiative can be found at Kate Karyus Quinn's blog.