Still hanging in there…

Still a way to go How’s this for an uplifting, end-of-week-3 image?

It is about that time in the challenge that it’s worth looking back a little – not editing obviously – but to look at what’s happened between word 1 and word…. 36,482 …today!

With a little over a week to go now, I’m getting there with the words – just 13.5k left, so less than 2,000 a day now, to get me to the end

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A little something extra…

I know I only posted yesterday, but I saw this and thought it was good and might help anyone else out there who is halfway through their own writing challenge :)

40 Ways to Stay Creative

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The Halfway Point

don't look back This is good advice at this point in time. I’m still fighting the urge to mess around with the structure of the novel and questioning if some of the things really need to be in there – most of the time I’m winning, but I definitely feel the temptation once I’ve got a lot of a book written to keep going back over things.

So, halfway through the month, with fifteen days of writing under my belt, I feel OK. But, there’s two weeks left to go and these are usually the tougher ones for me…just typing in itself can get quite grating over the course of the month with NaNo – especially if you use a computer for much of your ‘day job’ outside the hours that NaNo takes over. I’m hoping that my interest in the story will keep me going, and the fact that doing this is getting me closer to completion in a couple of weeks, than I’ve gotten all year.

(By the way – word count this morning was 32,899 and I’m going to get some more done tonight – hopefully!)

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Day 11 – No editing!

first draftAnyone else struggle with the urge to go back and start editing / checking something you’ve recently written? When I open the document to begin writing again, I find that I have a tendancy to go back a few pages or so, re-reading to get myself into the flow…but then I find that I begin tweaking and changing and twiddling things whilst I’m there!

If you read any of the advice on the NaNo website, they advocate writing, writing and more writing -Editing is the enemy! :) And I know that’s true, because my writing certainly flows differently if I’m not at all in the editing mode.

So, that is why today’s inspirational kick in the booty is this: “First drafts don’t have to be perfect. They just have to be written.” Now, all I have to do is actually listen the advice I’m giving myself.

 

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Week One – Done!

Too many ideas It was about this time last year in NaNoWriMo world, that I had a bit of a crisis, stopped writing anything and basically sat on the fence umming and ahhing about what I was actually going to write.

This year – because I’m working on a familiar story, that’s been in the works for a L-O-N-G time - I’ve thankfully dodged this bullet, for week one at least! Progress wise, I’ve been doing pretty well – nearly 15k words for the first week, which is a great start, but I also have to remind myself that I am deadline queen, which means that I tend to ease off, thinking I have lots of time to do nice interesting things….then have a mad panic when I realise I’ve tried to squeeze in a little too much.

So today, I’m carrying on – hopefully a few good, undisturbed hours in the library will help move me along and set me up for next week, when I know I won’t have as much time to dedicate to writing. But, in the meantime….

but first, tea (ssshhhh, don’t tell anyone!)

 

 

 

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Day 4 – Just keep swimming

S King - One day at a time

I really like this quote from Stephen King. Similar to the one from Saturday, it just reinforces that doing a little of something over and over again, will give you something big in the end.

Today, I feel OK – I’ve had some pretty intense writing days over the weekend, which is when I get most of my free time and so today I’m just chipping away. If I was a Disney character today, I would be Dory from Finding Nemo – telling myself, “Just keep swimming, just keep swimming…” The little bits I do today are all contributing to the big step forward my book will take this month.

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He said, she said

Whilst I’m in the middle of typing up a storm to hit a decent word count today, I thought I’d share a couple of good posts I’ve come across from Justin McLachlan, that may be of interest to those of you who are also NaNo-ing this November, as they have some pretty good tips for writing and pitfalls to avoid.

MIstakes

In the ‘Common Writing Mistakes’ blog post (link below) Justin takes you through some of the easy traps that you can fall into. http://www.justinmclachlan.com/804/common-writing-mistakes/

I know I definitely fell head first into the ‘he said, she said’ one, when I wrote my first book. It’s true, you do feel sometimes like it can’t just be ‘said’; ‘said’ is boring and easy and….simple. But sighing, grunting, chortling, exclaiming and screeching your way through the dialogue of your novel can be exhausting for the reader – I know because a couple of reviewers mentioned it! These days, I find it much easier to write ‘natural’ dialogue, I suppose with some practice your style and writing patterns that you employ can moderate and change. My dialogue today often misses out ‘said’ as much as it includes it, with conversations happening around physical action (the showing not telling thing is another area I know I need to keep working at!) Now and again I will throw in an adverb or exclaimation…but nowhere near as frequently as they used to happen :)

Justin has a second post, that takes you into more detail on the ‘said’ debate. If you’re interested in reading more on that you can see the post here: http://www.justinmclachlan.com/1214/stay-away-dialogue-tags-list/?relatedposts_hit=1&relatedposts_origin=804&relatedposts_position=1

The other pitfall from the list that I know I fell into, but try to steer away from these days (or catch during editing!), is overkill on adjectives and adverbs… Unless you were born a great writer (and Hemingway had something to say on that…) I think this is one of the easiest ones to fall into, when you begin writing. You may be well-educated, know lots of words and synonyms, a prolific reader…that doesn’t mean that you know how to write and describe the world of your book in a way that is engaging to someone else. I’d written a number of short stories, scenes and two full novels, before I completed and released Hope’s Daughter. I learned things from each one: how not to put all of the information that’s in your head into chapter 1; how to create a story arc; pacing…. When I released Hope’s Daughter I was able to learn more, because I started getting feedback from people about the book – there have been a number of reviews that have helped me improve and adapt my style, by pointing out things that were issues or flaws for them as a reader.

When you’re writing independently, you might be lucky enough to have some friends or writing buddies that will beta read your work…but there’s no to say, “cut this scene”, “don’t write like this”, “argh! I hate your main character!” as a conventional editor might do. In a way, you kind of have to gamble, because to get the best feedback, you have to put your work out there. Not every review will be helpful, but I know that just taking things on board, considering if you could improve what you’d done was a great benefit of publishing my book and getting feedback from readers. If people read it and like it, or love it, then great! You’re definitely doing something right…and use the other stuff people don’t get to help you refine and improve!

Ok – post over, I have to get some more writing done! But, hopefully with some new tips and some motivation, you too can shoot off today and get on with something creative :) Good luck!

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 “It’s none of their business that you have to learn to write. Let them think you were born that way” ― Hemingway

 

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