Tag Archives: NaNo

NaNo – No mo’ – I’m done!

Happy dance!


That’s it – I’m officially done with NaNo 2013 – and I managed to make the 50k word count (51, 881 to be exact). I was going to save my Sheldon/Amy ‘happy dance’ for the end of Outlanders, but after the painful writers block in the first two weeks of NaNo, and then swapping to do most of the work in the last two weeks, I am feeling pretty chuffed today – so this is what I’ve been doing. Oh yes – I got a little medal too!

NaNo 2013, winner

The ‘Faris’ story is just over 25k words, and is complete end-to-end; the ‘Cirque’ story is also just over 25k, but is a mish-mash of scenes and dialogue, roughly in chronological order. It will probably by around 75k words when completed.

NaNo this year was much tougher for me than 2012, partly because work/life has been very busy in November, so I’ve had less ‘brain’ time than I’d liked, but I think the main issue has been trying to blast out a story I hadn’t had much time to plan.

In 2012 I wrote a lot of Outlanders and so the characters, plot, scenes, etc. were really well mapped out. It’s not always easy writing 3k words a day – but I found last time that I will get well over that done in one day when I’m on a writing roll, then I’m not forcing myself to write on other days. This time it was much harder because, although I was really excited about the ‘Cirque’ idea and characters, plot, etc. I just didn’t have enough behind it to really get the scenes written.

I should have realised it wasn’t a good idea going into NaNo – in ‘real world’ I tend to think through all the options and mull things over before making a decision, it doesn’t always take a huge amount of time, but that’s because things are more flexible. In writing world, because whatever you do will be final and has to fit with everything else in the story, the ‘thinking through’ stage for me has to be much longer than a couple of weeks. I’m also not great at planning things out for books – I’ll put odd bits down, like thoughts on a character or ‘rules’ for the world-building  and maybe make a sequence list of the scenes, but I’m not normally one for creating a lot of information in advance of writing. Plot plans, character guides, mind maps – I suck at putting them on paper – a lot of it just sits inside my head, churning around until they come together like a little movie. It might not be the best, or most logical approach, but it works for me best because I like it when things are left a little loose and then the characters surprise you with twists that you didn’t see at the beginning.

So there you have it – NaNo 2013 has helped me kick myself into writing a prequel and starting a new, stand-alone novel – not sure what will happen next, but I got there. Not sure if I’ll go NaNo in 2014 though, unless I’ve already got something I’m in the middle of – the support can certainly help you get motivated then.

NaNo So-So

I’m still plugging away with my ‘new’ idea – I’m definitely getting more written, just in writing  scenes that are quite clear in my head at this point. It’s a bit scatter-gun as I’m jumping forwards and backwards in the chapters of the story, so probably will be a bit inconsistent when I come back and re-read for editing.

Best solutions so far to the dreaded block? A playlist that gets me picturing the scenes like a mini-film in my head (you’ve got to have a montage!) and just jumping from one action / dialogue piece to another 🙂 Let’s see how we go from here.

If you’re interested, here’s the prologue updated a bit…

It wasn’t late – only about six o’clock – but the dark rain clouds hanging over the city had brought an unnatural, early night with them. He liked the darkness, so this was perfect. He was hungry and it had been a long journey. He wouldn’t wait to feed – he never did.

Crouching on the turret of the cathedral clock tower, he watched the figures below in the busy street. The little people scurried here and there, many of them hidden beneath a multi-coloured sea of umbrellas, trying to avoid the unexpected rain. It was the outskirts of the city and there were too many people here in the crowds, but from his position he could see that beyond the train station and bridge their numbers began to dwindle.

There would be a good place to start.


*   *   *

Corinne Hawkes sloshed her way quickly down the busy street, through the crowds of people ambling along the pavement. The weather was horrendous, with heavy rain pounding down, so you couldn’t escape getting soaked.

Why would you want to be out in this if you didn’t have to be?

People were crazy, she concluded, as she squeezed herself between a dawdling couple and the steam-filled window of a coffee shop. The air was full of brightness and colour – it wasn’t even December yet, but the Christmas shopping season with all the lights and the street markets was in full swing. Seeing everyone else carefree made her even grumpier that she was on her way to work. The holiday season was no fun, if you weren’t part of it.

She was past the crowds now and able to move faster. The alleyway to the right was unpleasant – filled with stinking bins and fire exits that looked like they’d never been used in the last ten years – but anything that offered a faster way to get out of this weather was a good thing in Corinne’s mind.

At the start of the street, where the people were still close-by, Corinne felt fine. But, as she hurried deeper into the dank, darkness of the alley she felt strange. An odd sensation at the back of her neck, under her hair, prickled on her skin. Corinne shivered and began to move faster, as cold fingers trickled down her spine telling her she was being followed or watched from the shadows. It suddenly dawned on her, how vulnerable she was in the deserted passageway: no one would notice if anything happened down here.

Why are you thinking about stuff like that right now?!

She shook her head, scolding herself for getting wound up. “It’s nothing,” she muttered, sounding convincing. Even so, as she stuffed her hands deep into her coat pocket and found her house keys, she gripped them tightly in her fist, pointing them out through her knuckles. You know, just in case.

She escaped the alleyway, only to be greeted by a fresh blast of wind, which pushed more rain straight into her face. It was a really bad day to have come out without an umbrella.

You’ve been living here for two years now, you should know that Manchester can always guarantee you rain.

Pulling the hood of her jacket tighter against her face, Corinne ignored the zebra crossing further up the street – one hundred metres felt a long way today – and sprinted across the main road instead, dodging the two nearest, slow moving cars.

Up ahead the tram station beckoned: bright green sign and white florescent lights. Wood Green Road station. It was like a beacon, shining through the darkness and calling her in with the promise of shelter.

“Finally,” she muttered and scurried into the station, pausing for a few, drippy minutes at the ticket machine. Her wet fingers stuck to everything as she searched through her purse to find change, but eventually her gluey hands found what she needed and she pushed a few coins into the slot and grabbed her ticket from the tray at the bottom.

Where to now? It’s NaNo time :)

QuoteAfter finally getting to the end of editing RMT and letting it out into the world, I’ve been debating what to do for NaNoWriMo in 2013. Last year I worked on Outlanders during November, but as I already know I have quite a lot of work to do there, I fancy something short and sweet to give me a creative boost before I zoom off into the next big project of completing Ambrosia 3.
There are a couple of stand-alone novels I’ve been thinking about for a while – one is a contemporary romance with a twist, another is a modern gothic horror YA – they’ve both been trundling around my head over the past few months and I definitely want to get them written, but then I got ambushed a couple of weeks ago by this new idea 🙂 and I think this is what I’ll be doing for NaNo in 2013.

It started out just with a few images, an idea of a few of the characters and some witty banter – then BAM! I’m right into the thick of it: the plot has fleshed out quickly, I have the opening sequence and the last line of the book, with many of the scenes playing out in between. I know what will happen, then what comes next, who our hero is and why they are the way they are. So, as much as I would love to spend some concentrated time on Ambrosia I need a little break – and sometimes these things happen for a reason. So here’s to NaNo 2013 and Cirque du Nuit, my new adventure in writing 🙂