Brief Prep for NaNoWriMo

Every year I attempt to do National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo for short, and NaNo for shorter). And every year, besides last year and I’ll get to that soon, I’ve failed almost immediately. I set up my novel, plan my every move, and somehow the words never make it to the page (or word document, but you know what I mean). Sure, I’ll give it my all for the first week, reaching and occasionally surpassing the suggested word count, but it never lasts beyond two weeks.

Last year I was forced to do a mini NaNo for a class. We had to write 15,000 words in a month and I attempted to begin and end my novel in that time. I succeeded and the sense of accomplishment when I was done and turned it in was so overwhelmingly wonderful, I’m going to try again. And this time succeed at doing the full novel. That’s right, 50,000 words in a month complete with exposition, climax, resolution, plot, setting, and even characters… you’d be surprised at how absolutely necessary each of those are, and yet some in my class would neglect them.

I have a list of ideas that I add and subtract from in a variety of places. I keep a little notebook on my at all times to jot in but I also have a master list of ideas on my Google Drive (I will make another post sometime about the benefits of using Google Drive if you’d like. Long story short, it’s helped me A LOT). I suggest this method to those who are very forgetful (like me), and are prone to losing their idea notebooks (also like me). As it’s a good idea to keep a backup of your novel, keep a backup of your ideas.

I always find in the month of September that the hardest part of prep work is settling on an idea. I, and I’m not kidding, have a document of bullet pointed ideas that’s around five pages long. That’s a lot of ideas. I do have ones I feel more passionately about in bold, but still narrowing those ideas is so hard. I have quite a few outlines for ideas and sometimes that helps me decide, but mostly hinders the process.

This year, I am going to be attempting to write the full novel and journal my progress in an attempt to force myself to finish. Look forward to my future posts in which I will undoubtedly be struggling with writing.

Stay creative my friends,

Dana

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How I Knew I Wanted to be an Author

Or; how did I end up the way I am

High school was not a horrible experience for me. Coming from a private Catholic grade/middle school, I was thrilled to be in a place where no one knew my name. I made friends fairly quickly and found myself included in a group of girls I met in my German class. (I promise I’ll get to writing soon)

They all passed around notebooks at the start of class and would read and jot notes in them during class. After being inducted into their friendship, I learned they were stories. In a fashion similar to fanfiction.net, they would write a chapter or so, pass the notebooks and get feedback. I wanted in.

Right at that time, Twilight was getting buzz about the movie adaption. So I devoured the book and used the plot as basic inspiration. It’s the first “novel” I ever finished (and up until very recently, the only novel I ever finished). My friends showered me with praises I am certainly not worthy of, and it was thanks to them that I haven’t stopped reading and writing since then.

I started looking at colleges with journalism degrees. All I wanted to do with my time was write. As I delved into the field, I ended up hating it. Journalism is no longer based around facts, and I simply wasn’t interested in what I needed to do in order to get that degree. Eventually, I discovered the Creative Writing degree and fell in love. I threw all caution to the wind and earned that degree taking two years of straight English classes. I loved every second of it.

Now, after earning my degree and finding myself needing a job, I turned back to libraries. My first job was at a library, and I loved it. I applied a million places, all while ignoring my writing because I told myself I needed a ‘big girl job’. But there’s no reason that writing can’t be a big girl job. The most important trait needed to be an author is perseverance.

So I will persist. I will go the distance. And I want this to be my diary of success.

Stay creative my friends, and remain inspired forever,

Dana

Recommendation List

If you need a book to read, look no further. Here’s a quick list of my favorite books of all time, in no particular order of course. This list will change as I remember more and possibly cut some that are bumped out.

  • ‘All the Bright Places’ – Jennifer Niven (YA)
  • ‘Charlie Bone’ Series – Jenny Nimmo (J Fiction, fantasy)
  • ‘The Thief Lord’ – Cornelia Funke (J/YA, realistic fantasy)
  • ‘The Graveyard Book’ – Neil Gaiman (J/YA, fantasy)
  • ‘I Am the Messenger’ – Markus Zusak (Adult)
  • ‘Everything, Everything’ – Nicola Yoon (YA)
  • ‘The Goddess Test’ – Aimee Carter (YA, fantasy)
  • ‘The Hollow Kingdom’ – Claire Dunkle (J/YA, fantasy)
  • ‘Lockwood and Co’ series – Jonathan Stroud (J/YA, mystery, supernatural)
  • And more to come…

And enjoy this stock sunset photo. I know I do.

Stay creative my friends,

Dana

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