Tag Archives: NaNoWriMo 2014

NaNo Done – Delayed Post I

DecemberFor those of you who might have been wondering what happened to the end of November and NaNoWriMo – I did manage to complete the 50k word target… As usual, I was running right up until the deadline date and over, if I’m honest – finally stopping on 30th November with a grand total of 52, 242 words.

I wrote this post and thought I’d put it out on 1st December, but just came across it in my drafts now – so obviously I’d got writing fatigue or something 🙂 So, here it is – two weeks after crossing the finish line!

After completing this, I went cold turkey for the last couple of weeks, returning to the normal world where everything isn’t measured in sentences and words counts; where people are real and not characters I can control with a few strokes of a keyboard… Unfortunately, when I went to input my final figures into the NaNo site itself, my attempt for this year has closed and I couldn’t add my final five days of stats – so they have me finishing at 46,109. Oh well, at least I know the words are written!

Looking at the length of the first two books in the series – which hover around 115k words – it looks like I’m well over halfway through Outlanders and with having a lot of the planning for it mapped out, continuing to write it will hopefully be less of a struggle than I’ve found so far.

I know everyone says there’s never enough time for things – perhaps I should try the disciplined ‘chip away at it’ style of writing a little every day…? The only problem is that I tend to have big writing spurts then nothing – any advice on how to keep going, or even get started on a sustainable plan?


Music to Write By…


Background I don’t know about the other writers out there, but I do find music helps me when I’m writing.

If I’m trundling along in the car, thinking about whatever I’m working on, certain songs will jump out at me (metaphorically speaking, obviously, otherwise it would be dangerous). Usually, I find myself day-dreaming, mini-montage style about a particular scene or piece of dialogue. Perhaps, because I was a teen of the nineties 80s power music has a tendency to get me thinking of action scenes or inspiring ‘progress’ moments for the characters…I tell you – film makers of the eighties have a lot to answer for in the strange world that is my brain.

When it comes to actually typing the stuff out, I struggle to have songs on, even in the background – they’re better for prompting ideas and scenes really. For actually writing, fingers to keyboard stuff, I have a couple of favourite soundtracks – both from films – whose scores cover a range of themes from battles to romance. If you’re looking for some inspiration yourself, why not check them out on You Tube clips here.

Gladiator    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4xQqFDInc5s

The Last of the Mohicans http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=42MAk4_DBFc

My other ‘go to’ is composer Craig Armstrong – he’s done a lot of film soundtracks and early on worked on several British movies (Love Actually, Plunket and MacLean). His piano compositions are beautiful and if you’re looking for background music to match your scene, or just in general, this could be right for you.

Anyway – after sharing some of my inspirations, it’s back to work – because NaNo waits for no one and I’ve only got a bit more to go now 🙂

*flicks to iTunes and presses PLAY*

Nanowrimo Day 10: Captain’s Slog

A fellow NaNo author’s experience and getting out of a writing slump, if you fall into one this year.

He’s definitely not alone in the NaNo slump – I got myself ahead of word count in the first couple of weeks and had – dare I say it – three days off last week!

This author seems to write in a similar way to me – I like to write all the big, exciting, important bits (which flow nice and naturally) and then go back through to join them together. My main struggle this year has been when I got bogged down in the bridging stuff to get my main character from one part to another, when I just wanted to write the exciting action stuff. I also find, that if I’m getting stuck, I start to mini-edit which then affects the flow as well…

In the end, after my break early last week I’ve skipped writing in order, in favour of doing the big stuff again. I had quite a few one-shots drafted in my note books as well, which I’ve typed up and used as prompts to get me going into a scene – always helpful to have old notes, for when your writing mojo abandons you 🙂

Anyway – check out the post to see how NaNo is for someone else

Mel x

NaNo Stats!

If you’re at all interested, now that I’ve updated my word count on the NaNo site, I’ve got some lovely stats to show me how November has gone…
Your Average Per Day – 1,921
Words Written Today – 287
Target Average Words Per Day – 1,667
Total Words Written – 46,109
Words Remaining – 3,891
Current Day – 23
Days Remaining – 8
At This Rate You Will Finish On – November 27, 2014
Words Per Day To Finish On Time – 556

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!)

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.


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!)




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.

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.


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!


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