Just 500 Words

I’ve spent most of my weekend cleaning. I’m talking carpet cleaning, down on your hands and knees scrubbing, and tons of vacuuming kind of cleaning. The kind of cleaning that living with three cats requires. Ya’ll know what I mean.

So when I sat down to work on my NaNo project today, I was having a hard time getting my mind in gear. There are a lot of things going on right now that want to take up brain space instead of focusing on my (very important) writing deadline that NaNoWriMo is helping me reach. I was going to work on something else, but my sister offered, “At least get 500 words in first, then go work on that other thing.”

Okay, that’s not so bad! 500 words in NaNo life is hardly anything. I can surely get that many words in just doing a bit of tweaking on my existing piece really. Well… 500 words turned into over 2,000 words today. Not too shabby! I’m going to have to keep that trick in mind for the next time that I have trouble getting the words to flow. (Big thanks to my sister for giving me that boost!)

I’m still behind on NaNo by about 500 words, and that’s probably only going to get worse as the month goes by. We have friends coming in from out of town plus Thanksgiving later this month. So we’ll see if I’m able to keep up with these word count goals, but I’m certainly going to try!

Project: Broken

A land has fallen. An escape was made. It’s a victory of sorts, but at what price?

Shaleigh has made a terrible mistake, one she may not ever be able to fix. Lost and in a strange land with anger and death all around her, she must navigate her way through treacherous lands on her quest for redemption. Along the way she’ll have to negotiate with the mercurial Queen of the Fae, survive the dangers of the Masked King’s realm, and seek out a terrifying fire dragon.

With two powerful beings hot on her trail, Shaleigh has no choice but to keep moving, or else face the dangerous magic of the Madness that has already caused so much pain and heartache. With her sights on helping her friends and her heart longing for home, Shaleigh is determined, but will it be enough?

BROKEN is Book 2 of the Stolen serie

Words Written:
11/4 – 2,238

Current Word Count: 31,206

Progress:
Wow, I had a lot of fun digging into the psychological aspects of characters here. Folks had some very uncomfortable revelations and big decisions got made. I can already see myself coming back into this scene later to flesh this out even more, but considering this scene is around 5k alone, I think it’s at a good place for draft number one right now.

Next Up:
A major revelation just got made. Unfortunately they can’t really do anything about it, but now their heads are spinning. We have an escape followed by a rather terrifying encounter. That’s just how things go around here, okay?

Commentary:
Considering how difficult it was for me to get going this evening, I actually had a ton of fun with this scene! I thought it was going to be difficult figuring out where to go with it, but I really just handed the reigns over to the characters and let them figure things out. I’ve also got some ideas about how everything is going to be tied together here soon too, especially as we near that elusive halfway point.

Happy NaNoWriMo!

To every writer out there working on some kind of project for NaNoWriMo this month – good luck! I’m over here cheering you on!

You can do it!

I too will be in the trenches this month, and since I had a major author event on November 1st, I’m also starting it a day or two later than I would have liked. But that’s okay!

I use NaNo for motivation with my writing, especially when I have looming deadlines to meet. (Looking at you, Broken!) I’ve also been really enjoying doing longhand writing recently, which is great but also leads to my hand cramping up partway through and then I get distracted. I look back to when I was writing reams of paper everyday in college for my classes and just shake my head. Clearly it’s been a while since I’ve done heavy duty handwritten anything!

Since I’ve been doing journals more, it’s been more difficult to transcribe everything and to get my updates posted here on WordPress, but good old NaNo is here to get me back on track! Already have found myself far more productive than I’ve been in the past few weeks. Hopefully it’ll be enough to keep me on my goals.

On November 1st I went to the awesome Horror Writers Association Atlanta Kickoff event and got to hang out with some seriously inspirational authors. We had a whole table of books on the back table and I may have gotten carried away getting copies, hehe. I came away from it just inspired and ready to tackle my long list of writing goals! Speaking of, here’s my writing update for the past few weeks.

Project: Broken

A land has fallen. An escape was made. It’s a victory of sorts, but at what price?

Shaleigh has made a terrible mistake, one she may not ever be able to fix. Lost and in a strange land with anger and death all around her, she must navigate her way through treacherous lands on her quest for redemption. Along the way she’ll have to negotiate with the mercurial Queen of the Fae, survive the dangers of the Masked King’s realm, and seek out a terrifying fire dragon.

With two powerful beings hot on her trail, Shaleigh has no choice but to keep moving, or else face the dangerous magic of the Madness that has already caused so much pain and heartache. With her sights on helping her friends and her heart longing for home, Shaleigh is determined, but will it be enough?

BROKEN is Book 2 of the Stolen series

Words Written:
10/20 – 1,033
10/23 – 693
10/24 – 1,555
10/27 – 847
10/29 – 269
10/30 – 566
11/1 – 1,098
11/2 – 2,779

Current Word Count: 28,968

Progress:
I finally started the second POV I’ve been needing to dig into for a while now. Both are going to be converging, so I needed to make sure I understood where they were in the storyline. The best part about writing this in Scrivener is that I can easily drag and drop scenes or chapters around to make sure the flow is good between the two POVs. If I did this in Word it would take MUCH more work to do this!

Next Up:
I’ll be shifting back to my original POV and finishing out the psychological scene going on there. I’ll also have a good idea about where I need to go from there. Did I mention I’m a pantser when I write? 😉

Commentary:
Oh goodness, I’m creeping up on that 50% mark on that word tracker up there and I’m so freaking excited! I was amazed looking at my last progress bar and seeing I was only at 20% and now I’ve jumped up to 36%. Writing so much on paper helped get me untethered from my wordcount which helped me not to stress out as much and just get words onto paper.

I’ll have worldbuilding to do soon once I finish up this upcoming scene. Then comes the great big moment this is all building up to. I’ll be honest, I’m excited and nervous at the same time! I want it to be as cool as it has appeared to be in my head for the last few years, but I guess that’s what every author struggles with. Wish me luck!

Too Close to Home

Each October, horror authors converge on a site to share stories about one of the best holidays of the year: Halloween. We talk about spooky stories, some of them true, some of them not. We share information about our books, and maybe even do a giveaway.

Today I talk about growing up in a haunted town and in a haunted house. This post was more difficult to share than I expected it to be. I’ve been flighty about even admitting this to myself for a very long time, so getting it put up online is a big step.

Drop by and enjoy! Maybe even leave a comment. Halloween Haunts: Too Close to Home

After all, these only come once a year…

The Dark Lands

I’m sitting here listening to Hurricane Michael dump tons of rain here south of Atlanta. I’ve been keeping tabs on it all day trying to see where it was going and how strong it was going to be. We’re just now getting the worst of the rain and wind, and we have an interior room we’ve prepped in case a tornado warning comes through. It really is the perfect kind of weather to work on a book though, especially when you’re tackling a particularly dark scene.

I haven’t been posting updates here as much as I’ve wanted. Mostly because I’ve barely been able to squeeze in time to write let alone make regular posts. This weekend I’ll be over at Park 42’s 2nd Annual Fall Festival, a local event with all sorts of Halloween fun – from costume contests to apple cider. Next weekend I’ll be helping my sister out at an art show at the Fall Festival on Ponce in downtown Atlanta. And the weekend after that, Atlanta Horror authors will be doing a Fireside Smores and Horror Stories event, which is exactly what it sounds like.

As usual, October is a heck of a busy month, but I’m happy to reach a milestone on Broken! Finally hit that 20k mark!

 

Project: Broken

A land has fallen. An escape was made. It’s a victory of sorts, but at what price?

Shaleigh has made a terrible mistake, one she may not ever be able to fix. Lost and in a strange land with anger and death all around her, she must navigate her way through treacherous lands on her quest for redemption. Along the way she’ll have to negotiate with the mercurial Queen of the Fae, survive the dangers of the Masked King’s realm, and seek out a terrifying fire dragon.

With two powerful beings hot on her trail, Shaleigh has no choice but to keep moving, or else face the dangerous magic of the Madness that has already caused so much pain and heartache. With her sights on helping her friends and her heart longing for home, Shaleigh is determined, but will it be enough?

BROKEN is Book 2 of the Stolen series

Words Written:
9/15 – 1,028 (Transcribed from hand-written journal)
9/19 – 1,058
9/22 – 1,785
9/25 – 699
9/26 – 1,119
10/2 – 388
10/10 – 1,412

Current Word Count: 20,128 (25%!!)

Progress:
As Tolkien famously said, “Out of the Frying Pan and into the Fire”

They’re in the Dark Lands now with all that it implies. From Black Dogs to Banshees, Shaleigh may not be ready for the mind games she’ll have to play to survive. And she has no choice, she must play by the Masked King’s rules.

Next Up:
How will she get them out of this mess? How will she convince the Masked King that they should be permitted to live?

Commentary:
I’m so happy to have reached the 25% mark on this piece! It was a struggle getting words out today, mostly because Hurricane Michael has been preoccupying much of my mind today. I wanted to sit down and get writing in on Broken though because I felt like it had been too long since I got to work on this. I really love this section of this book and how it’s affecting the characters.

This book is going to have two POVs throughout the piece, so there’s a whole second plotline I’ll need to go back through and write. I think once I’m done with this section, I’ll start targeting that so I can make sure everything shakes out properly for the ending. I’m very much a pantser, but when things get really complex, I have no problem creating outlines to use. I had to do that for Stolen’s ending, and I’m already seeing that Broken’s ending will likely need that as well.

Bullet Journaling as an Author: A Sticker A Day

Since my first blog post about using trackers in my bullet journal was so popular, I thought it couldn’t hurt to do more in this vein. Clearly there are a number of authors out there looking for ways to keep on track when working on their novels. Heck, I was that way too not very long ago.

While trackers are wonderful for long-term planning and smashing out goals, what motivates you on the short term? I know during the work week, I don’t go flipping to my progress chart very often. I’m too busy fixing the nuts and bolts of work and life every day. So I wanted to find a way to give myself a little bit of a boost for squeezing in maybe just ten minutes of writing over my lunch, or maybe dedicating a whole hour one evening to tackling that scene, or giving myself the space to work on edits. Do you know what I found was super inspiring? Stickers.

Yes, I know, it’s very grade school. I remember helping my mom set up sticker boards for her classroom for a number of years, and seeing it slowly fill up as kids did awesome things. A sticker at the end of the day was a way to easily see how great you did, and made it easy to look back over the week to see how you did.

Guess what? It works for us adults too!

You can buy little flower sticker sheets at Amazon or Etsy. They’re adorable, and just the little burst of inspiration I needed to keep going some days. If I had a rough week, just seeing a bundle of stickers spread out over the pages made me proud. That was work on something I enjoyed. That was proof of what I accomplished, even if my word count had barely nudged, I did something worth celebrating.

Lately I’ll admit I haven’t written on my WIP as much as I would like, and seeing my pages lack those stickers makes me sad. Even their absence is motivating. But I’m getting that inspiration rolling again.

Of course, this little trick could work for anything that you want to work on a little bit each day. When my life gets really crazy busy though, I find that my writing time suffers. It’s hard to pull the words out and it’s hard to delve into my fantasy world, the characters, or the plot when life is pulling my attention in a dozen different directions.

Having an easy way to glimpse my progress helps immensely. Remember, all it takes is a sticker a day.