NaNoWriMo and November #WriteMotivation Wrap-up

I just realised my first #Writemotivation and NaNo post for November was saved as a draft . . . and never published. This is the ultimate example of how scattered my brain has been. My great ability to start things and not finish them has reared its head this year. Well, that’s quite enough of that. If nothing else, I hereby dedicate 2013 to be the year of finishing projects/tasks/goals I start, and being able to happily point at finished products before moving on to the next thing.

To everyone who wrote *any* words during November for NaNo, WELL DONE! A lot of friends and Twitterers have said they focused more on the quality of the words they wrote this year, as opposed to just throwing whatever up there in order to “win”, and I’m wholeheartedly in this camp. I think NaNo is an awesome motivator for people to get pen to paper and fingers to keyboard. It’s rewarding to be writing alongside others, even if they’re fellow storytellers we’ll never meet, and this is never more obvious to me than during NaNo, so thank you to everyone who shared encouraging words on Twitter 🙂

Writing Ahead of the Blank Wall

My goals for November #Writemotivation and NaNo were the same: add 50k to my WIP, A BREATH OF SILVER, and I succeeded. This time I tried something different though – I have the synopsis for the story down, all the pivotal story points and the ending, but it was the little details and connecting scenes that I began to struggle with halfway through the month. Some days I wrote nothing. Two weekends my husband and I were away so I got nothing down, but I secretly revelled in these excuses to take a break. Then I decided to do what someone suggested: write what I know right now. I wrote some pivotal scenes I’ve had simmering for awhile, and in doing so, on the spot I came up with details, characters, and side plots that I’ll have to explain later.

For instance, my MC–Bryn–travels from North London to Scotland in 1691. The last scene in chronological order I wrote was her arrival north of the border. Then when I blanked on what happens between her arrival in Scotland to her life at her ancestral clan’s Highland castle, I jumped several months ahead to her trying to fit in, what job she’s doing there, and what friends and rivals she’s made. That meant I immediately had to make up the peripheral characters and situations that would propel her to the next plot point: meeting a romantic interest and major character. It also means that the bits that will come in between her arrival in Scotland and her life at the castle are now sketched out, and backtracking to write these scenes will be much easier.

The point is, I think sometimes you need to move forward to fill the gap. It can be a massive chasm of unknown obstacles, characters, creatures, threats. There could be anything in there, particularly as this is first and foremost a fantasy. But when I jumped to the other side of that ravine, since I know what happens there, I can look back easier than I could look forward. I know some are totally against writing out of order, but I’m finding it really does get my creative juices flowing when I’ve reached a wall. So, you never know until you try. If you’re stuck, I recommend it! But probably only if you’ve got a solid overall synopsis constructed first.

It felt great to reach my goals this month for the first time in awhile, and special thanks to Leigh Caroline, Megan Peterson, and Andrew Patterson for encouragement, and Susan Dennard and Sarah J. Maas for their fabulous #NaNoWriMoBattle word sprints that seriously pushed me! Hope everyone enjoyed pressing forward in their goals this month, and are enjoying the holiday season!

Oh yeah, and yesterday was a year since my husband proposed to me 🙂 Nice to see my ring has survived everything I’ve put it through, including climbing Helvellyn in the Lake District covered in snow, climbing the highest peak in England & Wales (Snowdon), as well as other hills, scurrying down rocks to reach a hidden cove in Cornwall, jumping off a boat into the freezing-cold Mediterranean, and many other adventures. Here’s to many more 🙂 <3

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July recap

I’m hoping tomorrow is a crazy productive day, because I didn’t quite reach all my #writemotivation goals for July. But I did have a birthday this past weekend, and 3 days away from everything was very welcome. I was busy climbing this:

The ridge back down from Snowdon in North Wales. We climbed up via the Watkin trail. Gorgeous!

So, on to the goals.

1. Finish new round of edits to MS #1.  Done.
2. MS #1 x5. Done.
3. Finish edits to WIP to Chapter 9. Not done. But instead, I spent a week this month mulling over needed changes, reading through CPs’ feedback, and did several pages of worldbuilding and plotting, with changes including MC’s age and disposition, eliminating other characters, and several completely new elements that have enabled me to – FINALLY on this story – see a complete path through all three acts. I no longer just have a vague idea of an ending. I have the whole thing mapped out. Now I can start constructing scenes with confidence! WOO! So I might not have edited everything, or written 10k (see #4) but I think I’ve written about 7k in preparation for the actual writing 😉 I call this a success.
4. Write 10k in WIP. Nope, but as above, I think it was better to sacrifice this goal for having a plot summary from start to finish! 
5. Balance job hunting with writing, CP/Beta work, and blogging. Be realistic! I took part in Authoress Anon’s CP dating service this month and exchanged emails with some fantastic writers, not all of whom I have had time to reply to yet 🙁 This frustrates me because I don’t like being slow with replying or sending feedback. So I’ve got to learn how to balance this better. I was more realistic this month than May though so that’s progress.

And as I mentioned on Twitter, Susan Dennard (author of SOMETHING STRANGE AND DEADLY) has written a clear, simple method to attacking synopsis writing, and this was a lifesaver. It helped me write a 1-page synopsis for my first MS, but I also used it to finally finish a plot summary for my WIP. Thank you, Susan!

I learned some valuable lessons this month, about the UK Border Agency, patience, focusing on the now rather than tomorrow, and trusting God to do what I (or anyone else) cannot. I got my first interview in months for an opportunity I would love in a place I want to be. I had a birthday and my husband and I climbed the highest peak in England & Wales (still prefer Ben Nevis, highest peak in the UK, in Scotland, but Snowdon was still awesome) as well as another hill (Cadair Idris) in Snowdonia. I managed some light scrambling on a cliff edge in a cloud which always freaks me out but I did it sans panic attack 😉 I finished a set of revisions to my first MS and received two partial requests for pages from agents I respect.

Despite some of the downs, the ups were great and I’m thankful for a productive and fun July, and the friends who’ve been helping me to remember its better to be grateful for life’s blessings rather than focus on the negatives. Thank you 🙂 Hope your July has been productive and fun as well!

view from Snowdon


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