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 is Pinspired

At first, I resisted the urge to sign up for Pinterest. I’m already on Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr and any other number of social networking sites.

But – I kind of already “pin” stuff anyway.

I makes inspiration boards for my stories, either in Photoshop or on a real life corkboard (I know!). It’s a great way for a visual person like me to get inspired, to become more fully immersed in story I’m creating.

It’s no secret that music plays a big part in my writing routine (just like having the ‘right’ pen or setting up in my writing nook), but photos, textures, drawings, clothing, faces, landscapes – all of these add layers and make it easier to truly imagine the place I am creating once I close my eyes.

So, among the fashion finds, decadent recipes, and crafty tutorials, I’ve also started a board for my latest WIP, tentatively titled “Dead Of Night”. Feel free to check it out and follow my board as I continue to add to it throughout the month as I work on it as part of my #write1sub1 goal.

If you’re not on Pinterest and want an invite, let me know and I’ll shoot you one!

So, do you use inspiration boards at all in your life? How? Have a cool one to share? Post it in the comments section!

I actually wrote some articles on how you can use inspiration boards in your writing: one for settings and one for characters. Check them out!


  • Been doing well in terms of subs for 2012 (5 so far), but those have all been resubs of pieces that have been rejected or that I started in 2011
  •  REALLY excited to work on this new story!
  •  still plugging away on my Na-novel from 2011 too

WIP Wednesday Is Rejected, Not Dejected

My first WIP Wednesday of the year and I have a rejection to report.

I sent this same story out five times in 2011 but it didn’t find a home, so I put on the back burner until the new year when I could find a market that I felt it would suit.

During another bout of insomnia the other night, I trolled Duotrope to find it a new home.

I polished up the formatting, dashed off a quick cover letter, and sent it off. Unfortunately, later that afternoon I received a nice rejection with some feedback on the piece (there is such a thing as a nice rejection letter!).

No matter how many stories I send out, I still get that twinge of anxiety before hitting the send button. The same with rejections — each one still smarts a little but that doesn’t mean I’m going to stop sending them out.

If anything, you need to look at each rejection as a failed relationship, and take away something that can improve your writing or at least give you some insight into what went wrong.

So, I’m still on the fence as to whether I’ll rework it again before sending it out (it had been edited a few times during those five rejections), or whether I’ll try another market first.

Now, on to the WIPs.

I’m the first to admit that I haven’t done as much writing in the new year as it would’ve like to. Considering my epic list of stories that I want to tackle in 2012, I had hoped that I would’ve made more progress already but I’m allowing my old insecurities get in the way of this one story I’m working on.

So decided to go back to it on my old habits, which is switching off all distractions while trying to write the first draft. This means using Leechblock, and maybe even going back to handwriting the first draft because stories seem to come more organically to me when I do it that way and the last thing I want to do is sit at the computer all day, produce nothing, get dejected and give up without getting any words down.

So there you have it. Down but not out. A minor blip on the radar. Moving onward and upward from here.

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.

Scheduled Insanity

So, it looks like I’ve been MIA for a while, huh? Dude. Cut me some slack. I had a book to write.

My NaNoWriMo project currently stands at just over 56,000 words, but the story isn’t done yet. I knew a few days into November that 50,000 words weren’t going to be enough to tell this story, and while I usually collapse into a pile of exhaustion once Dec. 1 rolls around, I’ve decided to keep working on the book instead of putting it on hold until January.

I’ve done that twice before and I have 2 unfinished NaNo WIPs to show for it. Plus, I’m in the groove now of writing every day so why stop a good thing?

It seems to have rubbed off on my other projects too because I have my whole of 2012 mapped out (loosely, mind you).

Normally, I just keep one large master file of story ideas and when I see a call for submissions or get the urge to work on something new, I troll my file for one that sparks my interest. Next year, I am going to try something different.

One night when I needed a NaNo break, I went through my file and earmarked all the stories I was most interested in working on. I’ve also been keeping a list of all the places I want to sub stories to in 2012. Plus there is the question of the above-mentioned NaNo WIPs, a series of shorts I want to self-publish and some odds & ends I have brewing on the backburner.

So, I made a list of all of these ideas, deadlines, and markets, and now I know what I will be working on next year. At my current tally, there are 14 short stories, 3 novels, 2 novellas, 8 stories for a collection, and a non-fiction book. Doable, right?

Blame it on this post which is all common sense and some of it I already do, and couple that with my intention to double my output of stories in 2012, and let’s just say I’ve got one full writing schedule which I am absolutely thrilled about!

So, how am I going to do it all you ask? Is it even possible? Uh…I don’t know. But what fun would it be if the plan wasn’t slightly insane?!

A few of the markets have solid deadlines, but some have open-ended reading periods, so I’ve got a bit of a schedule to keep. Other than that, I’m going to take part in the monthly Write1Sub1 to keep myself on track. That should keep my short stories covered. But the novels? The collection? The novellas? Um…I’m sure I’ll find time to do it all, right? RIGHT?!

Looks like it’s going to be a word-filled 2012! If anyone wants to send me a care package, I like flavored coffee, Reese’s Pieces, Moonstone rings, argyle socks and snazzy journals. :)

So, I know it’s a bit early, but what are your writing goals for the new year? Care to go insane with me and write until all your pens run dry?

P.S. Did I mention I am going to overhaul my website too? That’s an entirely different can of worms…