2017 NaNoWriMo Calendar

2017NaNoWriMoCalendar

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NaNoWriMo 2015 Word Count Inspiration Calendar

Hi Folks – I just put together a word count/ inspiration calendar for 2015 NaNoWriMo for my writer’s group so I’ll post it here in case anyone would like a copy. The first one is a .pdf but I’ll also include it as a .jpeg in case you want to set it as the background on your computer, the way I just did. It’s a simple one this year but I hope you like it.

2015NaNoWriMoCalendar<—– .pdf file

2015NaNoWriMoCalendar

A Bit of #CampNaNoWriMo Inspiration

Camp NaNoWriMo Pompts

Camping out!

 

First, a little update. It’s been an interesting 11 days of writing for #CampNaNoWriMo. I started out with the idea that I would write one short story a day, no matter how short, on a different prompt. (Witness my last two posts on this blog of prompts gathered from Pinterest.) Instead, I found myself after two or three starts, writing an Urban Fantasy novel that keeps expanding with each prompt.

Everything that I see or think of seems to get applied to this story and the writing is going as fast as I have time for. I am about 6,000 words behind but I have 12,000 to call my own and a lot more ideas for scenes to write. It is positively exhilarating and I don’t know where it’s coming from!

A few things this past 11 days have inspired me. I came across a link to some excerpts from an interview with Chinua Achebe on a writer’s ability to inspire society. You can find it here – http://www.brainpickings.org/index.php/2014/07/11/chinua-achebe-meaning-of-life/

Then there are these great sheets of lists that can be applied to your writing from Anika on her DeviantArt page. I’m thinking to use the sheets on Common Character Habits and Character Flaw Reference Sheets to help round out my characters. (Can’t be having those heroes and heroines too perfect!) She also offers a Character Hobby Reference Sheet, Character Fear Reference Sheet, and Character Motivation Sheet.

As usual, my writer’s group last night was both relaxing and inspiring.  I sure need the laughs and I go home fired up to write even when I’m not feeling my best.

I’m not even sure where I came across the information at this point but I have to confess that I never knew Eudora Welty had written a book on writing called, well, On Writing. My sister had given me her autobiography, One Writer’s Beginnings some years ago and I fell in love with it. (I have a strong tendency toward autobiographies by writers.) I went to look for On Writing in our library system and found only one library owned it. I ordered it and it arrived today but, sadly, it has been so heavily underlined and annotated that I don’t think I can read it without my brain exploding!  *grumblegrumblegrumble*

Feeling like procrastinating? If you’re doing #CampNaNoWriMo, how is it going?

Camp NaNoWriMo Prompts: Part 2

 

Camp NaNoWriMo Pompts

Camp NaNoWriMo Prompts

 

Here they are, prompts for the second half of Camp NaNoWriMo in July, or whenever you want to use them.  I’ll be using one a day for July. Enjoy!

 

  1. “The most painful goodbyes are the ones that are never said and never explained.” – Write about losing someone where there is no goodbye, be it intentional or unintentional.
  2. “Expect anything from anyone. The devil was once an angel.” – Write a character who seems one way but turns out to be another way, or even really is how they seem but does something unexpected.
  3. “We don’t see things as they are, we see them as we are.” Anais Nin – Write a scene from a character’s point of view and work on investing it with their perspective rather than being objective.
  4.  “The hardest thing in life is to know which bridge to cross and which to burn.” – Write about a character making a choice between two options.
  5. “Doing something weird and thinking ‘this is why I don’t have a boyfriend.” – Write it.
  6. “I think a part of me will always be waiting for you.” – Write about when he/she comes back.
  7. “What screws us up most in life is the picture in our head of how it is supposed to be.” – Write about a character who thinks their life is going to be one way then something happens to turn that on its head.
  8. “Although we never said it to each other, I think we both knew.” – What? What did they both know that they weren’t saying? Where the body was buried? That they loved each other? What?
  9. “Life is about using the whole box of crayons.” – Write a character that is totally different than you would usually write and put it into your story. See what happens!
  10. “Some day you will be old enough to start reading fairy tales again.” C.S. Lewis.  – How about believing in them, or even living them? Write a fantastical tale in which the main character is an older person who has lived a life doing exactly what they should.
  11. “And though she be but little, she is fierce.” William Shakespeare – Write a character is diminutive but fierce.  How little and how old is up to you!
  12. “Speak the truth, even if your voice shakes.” – Write about trying to tell the truth when someone, or everyone, doesn’t want to hear it.
  13. “Once I catch you in a lie, it makes me question everything you said.” – Write a story about betrayal.
  14. “She is clothed in strength and dignity and she laughs without fear of the future.” – Write a fearless character, either foolishly or because she/he has nothing left to fear.
  15. “I love how coffee tricks me into thinking I’m in a good mood for about 27 minutes.” – Write about a day that starts out nicely then goes downhill.
  16. “Actually, I can.” – Can what? Write about a character who does something everyone tells him/her they cannot.
  17. “I got a war in my mind.” – Write about a character who has a war going on in their mind, either they are trying to decide something or more literally due to mental instability.

 

 

Camp NaNoWriMo Prompts

Camp NaNoWriMo Pompts

Camp NaNoWriMo Prompts

Here comes Camp NaNoWriMo! Are you participating? Are you going to try to win? Or, like me, are you just planning to write and see where you go? This July my plan, so far, is to write to a new prompt each day, shooting for a full story that is anywhere between 50 and 2,000 words. At the same time, I will be editing Biomalware, my work in progress, and plotting a novel that I want to write in August. Crazy, you say? Why, yes, thank  you for noticing. Care to join me? Aw, heck, here’s half my prompts for July, help yourself. I think they work whether you are writing short stories or just want to work one or more of them into your story. I’ll post the other half next week.

  1. “Finally, a lie too big.” from Doctor Who – Write a story with a lie or series of lies and one that is simply too big to be believed.
  2. A shaved bear is a scary creature, looks nothing like a bear and much like a werewolf in a modern fantasy/horror film. Have you seen that picture going around? Put one in your story somehow.
  3. “In vain I have struggled, it will not do. My feelings will not be repressed. You must let me tell you how ardently I admire and love you.” Pride & Prejudice by Jane Austen. Obsessive or passionate? You decide, then write it into your story.
  4. “Why don’t guys ever look at me like that?” “Because, you’re never looking when they do.” Also, “The best feeling is when you look at him and he is already staring.” Two memes, don’t know where the quotes really come from. Perhaps lots of the first then the latter?
  5. “Every villain is a hero in their own mind.” Write a story about a villain who truly believes he is doing the right thing.
  6. “May you never forget what is worth remembering, nor ever remember what is best forgotten.” Irish blessing. Work forgetting and/or remembering into your story.
  7. “Imagine meeting someone who understood even the dustiest corners of your mixed-up soul.” Is that good or scary? Put it in your story.
  8. “Life becomes easier when you learn to accept an apology that you never got.” Sometimes people apologize without saying the words. Refusing to remember what they did so wrong, re-writing the past as in “I would never do that, or say that!” is agreeing with you that what they did was wrong and is an apology in a way. What other ways might people apologize without saying the words? Write it into your story.
  9. “I wonder how many people I’ve looked at all my life and never seen.” Write about a person who you never noticed or thought were one way then you find out they are totally different than you imagined. (Yes, I have someone particular in mind.)
  10. “You and I are more than friends. We’re like a really small gang.” Thelma and Louise? Earl Had to Die? Write about two friends who decide to take the law into their own hands. Do they go too far?
  11. “It’s not the load that breaks you down, it’s the way you carry it.” Lena Horne. Two characters, same “load” – carrying it very differently. Go.
  12. “I am the designer of my own catastrophe.” What mistakes can your character make? Make ’em BIG and messy.
  13. “Always wear your invisible crown.” Someone attempts to humiliate your character but they hold their head high.
  14. “Forgiving someone is easy, but being able to trust them again is a totally different story.” Can your character do it? Is the person worthy of being trusted again?
  15. “I got hurt. Really hurt. And sometimes when that happens, something inside me shuts off.” I actually have had this experience, have you? Whether you have or haven’t, explore it in a story.

NaNoWriMo and Word Choice in Characterization

HPIM1437

NaNoWriMo and Word Choice in Characterization

As I sit here, we are anticipating some winter weather tonight and I am looking forward to it.  There is nothing like sitting inside on a snowy day with a fire in the wood stove and a warm mug in hand to write.

I must confess that I am well behind in my NaNoWriMo word count. The goal is 50,000 by the end of the month and I am just around 25,000. Yes, I am well behind but there is still a chance I can catch up, though it is a small one.

Basically, I would need 25,000 words in eight days. That works out to over 3,000 words per day. Granted, this is the weekend, so I will intersperse writing with everything I do. However, the 3 year old may have some different ideas of how we should spend the day and Daddy will be off hunting a good bit of the time.

Another confession, I have been going off on some mighty big tangents, working on short stories, and just plunking the thoughts down inside my NaNoWriMo document at the end.  It’s not my novel but it is adding to my word count. With my limited writing time, I just can’t afford to ignore the short stories when they show up.

Anyway, I picked up an interesting book on Southern writers and artists yesterday at the library for inspiration. Of course the thing that caught my attention was a well known picture of Eudora Welty on the cover. I leafed through it then listened to the first part of the CD interviews on the way home.  I’ve always enjoyed southern writing, the characters are so vivid, and I love listening to writers and other creative types talk about their craft and world view.  If you’re interested, the book is The Storied South .

Characterization keeps coming up for me this week. Characterization through word choice was a major topic in writer’s group last night. Afterward, as I was sitting down to work on my novel, I wrote the line “I don’t know, but I kinda doubt it.” for my Professor character. As soon as I was close to done typing it, my brain had already edited to read, “I don’t know, but I rather doubt it.” (Yes, contrary to all admonitions to keep writing, I do edit little things like that as I go.) Just a simple word choice can make such a difference in a character and I think I was aware of what I was doing because of the discussion in group.

Then today, I had a library patron ask me what the most commonly used silent letter in English was. He amended that to be British English. Hmmm. That sent me researching only to find out that there is Received Pronunciation, also known as The Queen’s English, and Estuary Pronunciation, which is all the dialects that change every 20 kilometers and is how most people speak. That really gave me some insight on how hard it is to right proper dialect. Having an ear for that must be very difficult. (It also makes me think of the Car Talk guys on PBS radio who could guess where people were calling from a large percentage of the time after just a sentence or two. )

So, the answer?  I didn’t come up with a definitive one. My best guess was that it was e.  I said they’d have to consult a linguist.

What do you think?  Do you have any tricks for bringing your characters to life?  I could use some tips to keep me thinking.

Running Behind, But Still in the Running (NaNoWriMo)

Marathon

Well, NaNoWriMo is one week underway and I’m running behind.  I’ve written about 9,300 words at this point, though I’m not done for the day.  Unfortunately, my daughter and I both got a nasty little cold last weekend and the first week it was  rather difficult to write anything much, between being tired with taking care of her at night and getting sick myself.

Thankfully, NaNoWriMo is more of a marathon, a race of endurance, than a sprint, so there’s always time to catch up.  In fact, I don’t recall them offering it before, but I see in my stats on NaNoWriMo.org the breakdown of how many words I would have to write daily in order to finish on time.  It turns out it’s only about 100 words more per day than the original 1,667.  Doesn’t seem so terrible when you think of it like that.

This past week I’ve had a couple discussions with people about what 50,000 words means.  It’s not really a whole book, is it, they would say.  Perhaps not, but it certainly can be.  I listened to Neil Gaiman read The Ocean at the End of the Lane some weeks ago on audio CD and it was brilliant! The other day I received the hard copy so I could write a review and stared at it in shock.  This is a very small book, but it certainly didn’t seem that way when I listened to it. It’s only 178 pages, probably somewhere between 50,000 and 60,000 words.

That seemed particularly significant in the midst of NaNoWriMo where those 50,000 words are the goal. I looked at the book and thought, here is an example of something of that length.  It makes me wonder how many words were in the first draft, whether it was longer and edited down or shorter and added to in the rewriting and editing phase. Yes, I’m still getting over my shock.  It does not read like such a small book.  It is very much a big book.
May we all write big books this month.

Let the NaNoWriMo Festivities Begin!

2013NaNoWriMoCalendar

Okay, so I’ve been shocked at how much attention my NaNoWriMo calendar has gotten but I’m glad people are enjoying it. I’ve set it as the background on my own laptop, as one poster said he was going to do with it.

Last night I submitted my entry for the Writer’s Digest Short Short Story Competition.  I wanted to let go of it before I started NaNoWriMo.  To be honest, I was utterly sick of it and ready to be done.  I’ve been editing it and nitpicking for the last two months, but it taught me a lot.  I think one of the failings in my writing has been my lack of follow through in editing to that degree.  I’ve written some good things and I’ve had some good ideas, but to really create something someone is going to want to publish, you have to be willing to go the distance with the editing.  I did that and let the story go. We’ll see how it does in the competition but I’m not going to hold my breath, I’m on to the next thing.

This month is all about creating without editing.  I’m about 2,300 words in and so far it isn’t really flowing, it doesn’t feel inspired.  I have an outline so I’m working with that but trying to remain flexible.  I’m working on a re-imagining of my Biomalware story.  I have two story summaries that are guiding the idea.

“As genetically modified crops take over and biodiversity dwindles, a menacing reality looms.  For half the world’s population these crops aren’t food at all.  They are… Biomalware.”

The other guiding idea is more human centered.

“When Sam’s two-year old daughter, Maddie, becomes sick he must find answers before it’s too late, but can he succeed when the opposition is a huge corporation with the full weight of the U.S. government at it’s disposal?”

Of course, these are just ideas and the story is changing along the way and as I learn more about the topic.  It’s science fiction but also a medical thriller and, of course, there’s a bit of a romance in there too.

And – to kick off NaNoWriMo on the right foot, I received my rejection e-mail from the Sustainable Arts Foundation today.  *sigh* I suppose it doesn’t mean much one way or another – they received over 1,500 applications and only give out half a dozen, with giving concentrated in the San Francisco area.  It was a long shot but I’m glad I did it.  I might try again next time.

Right now I’m licking my wounds and trying to concentrate on NaNoWriMo.  I believe I have a good idea and a good outline if the writing can live up to it.  That comes in time, though.  Right now it’s all about getting the words on the page.

It was definitely heartening to have EIGHT people at the kick-off write-in at my library.  That’s the best turn out I’ve ever had for a write-in.  It was inspiring to look at so many people sitting there just creating.

Happy writing everybody!

Building a Better, Smarter, Faster NaNoWriMo

Biohazard_orange

I’ve done NaNoWriMo a number of times over the years, under a few different names.  For the past few I’ve done it under MeloraJohnson. (Feel free to add me as a friend!) My novel is Biomalware.

“In the near future a new line of disease and pest resistant genetically modified crops is being aggressively marketed, claiming to bring an end to world hunger.  As biodiversity dwindles, menacing secrets lurk beneath the perfectly red tomatoes and ultra-sweet corn. But for many, these crops aren’t food at all.  They are… Biomalware.

As I mentally prepared for this November, I started thinking about the past few attempts.  What have I learned from the numerous runs at NaNoWriMo?  A few things.

Four years ago I started writing a novel about a girl who finds herself unexpectedly pregnant, and NaNo got interrupted when I found myself unexpectedly pregnant around the seventh or so of the month.  (Yeah, one of these days I’m going to write a novel about a woman who wins a giant lottery jackpot.)

That time I learned that life can get in the way, if you let it.  There was really no reason for me to stop writing other than the fact that I was tired.  I could have kept writing, maybe not with a view to winning, but to get the most out of it that I could.  As Garrison Keillor says, “Nothing bad happens to a writer, it’s all material.” I let life get in the way. Now, I really wish I’d at least kept a journal of that time.

Last year I tried picking a different prompt every single day to see how far I could get on any particular day and if I could generate some solid short stories or story ideas.  I found myself focusing on one particular idea for about a quarter of the time.  What have I done with that idea since? Forgot about it, until this very paragraph. (It was actually a decent idea about time travel that I may have to dig out.  Strangely enough, our writer’s group prompt for this coming week is time travel.  Maybe I can turn it into a short story. Now, where did I put it?) I may do this again in the future, but with a plan, the prompts chosen and a filing system so I don’t just lose track of what I did.

Just over a year ago I wrote my first draft of Biomalware for Camp Nanowrimo in August of 2012.  I tried to edit it but I just felt like it wasn’t up to my usual strong vision of a story. It seemed more like a giant outline. I’ve resolved to plan ahead this time so I can really bring every scrap of talent and skill I have to bear on this project. I want this to be a book people will buy, enjoy and think about. (Not to mention talk about.)

Right now I’m trying to tie up a few loose ends before NaNoWriMo starts.  I have three short stories that I want to finish. The first is for the Writer’s Digest Short Short Story Contest and is on it’s very final edit before I send it off. The second is a rough draft for a Christmas competition that will benefit from being set aside for a while.  The third is a short story that I wrote as part of my writer’s group weekly challenge, which I’m editing to post here on Halloween.  This will all happen this weekend because, come Monday, I plan to delve into preparing for NaNoWriMo. 

I have job applications to fill out for all of my characters and the story arch to fill out for the overall plot. I want to spend the next couple weeks watching movies that tell their stories the way I want to tell this story and reading everything I can get my hands on, pro and con, for genetically modified organisms.  I’ve been doing this right along but now I’m going for an intensive preparation.  (Wish I’d started at the beginning of the month.)

It’s true, there’s no telling how real life may get in the way but, to my mind, the idea is to prepare and plan so that you can dive in and immerse yourself in the pure creative process for November.  Really have fun and enjoy it.  I think that’s what keeps me coming back to NaNoWriMo time after time.  It’s not really because I think I’m going to suddenly write the Great American Novel.  It’s because there’s nothing like being given a license to immerse yourself in the creative process. I love to write, not just to have written. 

If anyone gives you a hard time you can tell them that, well, it’s only for a month.

2013 NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) Calendar

Here it is folks – a calendar of quotes and inspiration with your daily word count goals for NaNoWriMo.  We’ve still got a month and a half so start day dreaming about what you want to write now!

I’m going to attach the calendar full size but you will probably have to click on it to really see the image clearly.

2013NaNoWriMoCalendar

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