Nanowrimo: Day 12

I’m so behind, it’s maddening. I’m still three days behind, but I was six when the day started, so at least I’m making up some ground. I would like to catch up tomorrow, but that’s unlikely. I just hope I don’t get further behind.

November has been brutal, writing wise. First, I had a presentation to prepare. Then I had present it, in Oklahoma City, more than five hours away from home. I wrote Sunday, worked Monday and drove to OKC, no writing done. Tuesday was the class and presentation, then the drive back to Amarillo. No writing done. Wednesday was a long day, and I ended up working a full 12 hours, spent the night in Amarillo again, then a full day on Thursday. Too exhausted to write, and the first night home since I left on Monday.

I meant to write on Friday, and I took my laptop with me to Amarillo, and set up to write at Roasters while I waited for a friend to drive in. We were going to meet for lunch, and I thought it a perfect time to get out of the house, drink some coffee and write. Nope. My computer’s battery was dead, and I left the charger at home. Crap!

I ended up going to Walmart, buying a composition notebook and a pack of pens, and sat down to write out a vague roadmap for my novel. While I’ve stated on countless occasions that I’m a pantser, I’m feeling as though having no plan isn’t working for me. I need at least a general outline of what I want to write. I may not follow it exactly, but at least it’s a guide.

So now, finally, Saturday comes, and I can write. I should have written more, but I’ve played too much online. Damn Facebook. I’m still please with what I have so far, the outline giving me some direction on where I need to go with the story. I decided as I was outlining that the story needs to be organized into three parts. So, maybe planning is helpful.

I have a long way to go before the month is over, and longer until I get to the end of the novel. I wish I didn’t have so much happening to distract me from my writing. This coming week is Inventory Week at work, and it’ll be long days and nights until Thursday. The following week is Black Friday, again a lot of long days to prepare. The last week of November has me going back to OKC for another project. I need to be beyond the 50K mark before then. I don’t know if I’ll have time to write on the 29th or 30th!


Hours to go

Nanowrimo starts in a little less than five hours. Unfortunately for me, I’ll be in bed asleep. I have to be up at four so I can be at work by six. Luckily, I’ll be out early in the afternoon, and I’ll have plenty of time to write. A group of writers will be meeting tomorrow at Roasters for a write in, if you can call a three people a group. Hopefully we all show up. It’s be better if more do.

I was having trouble coming up with something to write this year. I wrote a few short stories this past week, trying to spark something, but neither inspired anything. It was more an exercise in working through some negative emotions that had been bringing me down for a while. What it did was bring me back to one of my favorite short stories, Harvest Moon, which I wrote back in 2013.

The story follows a woman who is visited by the spirit of her teenaged love, who died when they were both attacked after sneaking out late one night. On the anniversary of his death, her spirit leaves her body and she walks to the secluded field, the scene of his death, to endures his pleading for her to leave her life behind and join him, he being unable to move on, his destiny tied to hers.

I’m not one to write supernatural stories, but this one struck a chord with me, and I’ve shared the link on my Facebook and Twitter several times since I wrote it. For me, it’s a story about being stuck in the past, unable to move on, enduring the torture of reliving the same heartbreak time and again. She haunted by the memory, haunted by his ghost, unable to live in the present, unable to change the past.

I have no idea how the story will actually play out. Well, that’s probably not true. I have a few ideas. I will have to flesh out the characters more, especially her husband and children. I’ll probably also come up with new names since I hate the original names I came up with, Evie and Bryce.

What kills me is that I have to wait a few more hours, really almost a whole other day before I can start to write. I want to write now. I have a clear vision of how I would like to start. I don’t want to lose it! I wish I didn’t have to go in so early. Even an hour would be better than nothing.

But at least I have something to write about, a story to tell. As I write, I’ll figure out what questions I need to answer, what problems need to be solved. What is it that keeps my protagonist attached to her life? Who is the antagonist? What role does her family play in keeping her in this life?

I have a whole month to discover it. I’ll continue to write until I’m done. I have thirty days to write fifty-thousand words, a little less than two-thousand words per day. I’ve done it before, no sweat. Okay, I’ll be sweating a little. November is a horrible month for me. Let’s see where it takes me.

A month of dedicated writing

nanowrimo_2016_webbadge_participantNational Novel Writing Month is less than a week away. In six days, people from around the world will start their goal to write fifty-thousand words in thirty days. That’s around 1,666 per day. That’s a lot of words. That’s a competition wherein you compete against yourself to see if you can do it.

I’ve managed to win every year since I started back in 2011. That’s five years of writing. That’s 260,137 words that I have tallied since I first discovered it on November 1st of that first year. I logged on to my computer at around 6:30 in the morning, saw NaNoWriMo on the trending box on Yahoo, and decided to investigate. I’m glad I did.

A little history: I had always wanted to write a book. How many of us have said that, either to our friends, or even to ourselves. I had countless times. I even started several aborted attempts, giving up even before I had written that first page, often even before that first paragraph. Writing is hard!

But that on that cold, November morning, as I sat there glued to the monitor at my desk at my work in the hospital, I knew that I had to do it. I needed something to take me out of myself, to pull me out of the pain and loathing I had fallen into. My marriage had unraveled back in January, ending in my filing for divorce and being finalized in August. A second relationship had just fallen apart at the beginning of October, and the weight of it all came crashing down on me. I was heartbroken and miserable. I needed a way out!

So I signed up immediately. I told my friend about it, and she signed up for it, too. Unlike her, I began to write in earnest, writing with abandon, not bothering to care if it made sense. NaNoWriMo gave me the permission I needed to give myself to write, just write. I watched as a story came to life. I sat there in shock that I actually had the potential to write anything longer than a few measly paragraphs.

I came is at 52,395 that first year. I was proud of myself. I had done it. Though it would take months, years to get over that heartbreak, NaNoWriMo had given me my first outlet. I spent the next year writing one story after another, clearing my mind, purging my soul. It was the catharsis I desperately needed. The page was the vessel into which I poured my misery, emptying even the most desperate and intimate suffering from my being.

I had planned on publishing my books, but I haven’t. I keep saying I want to, but here I am, five years later, and nary a book in sight. I keep saying that what I have written deserves to be read, but I’ve kept them locked up, out of sight, fearing to let myself fall victim to the worst critics among us, scared to inflict further damage on my already fragile self-esteem.

But what did it matter? I’d written something. I had proven to myself that I can do it. I had proven that I had the capability to put into words the often confused images in my thoughts. It hadn’t been easy. Sometimes I had to force myself to write, but I had done it, and I was glad.

Will I do so again this year? I think I will. I haven’t fleshed out any ideas yet, but that doesn’t concern me. I’ve always been a pantser rather than a planner. I’ll start to write the moment I’m allowed to write. I settle on an idea and go from there.

Ultimately, I would love to publish something, but that’s no longer my end goal. When I write something worth sharing, I will. Until then, I’ll continue to write and post the occasional short story, continue to hammer out what I’ve written, working and reshaping until something moves me to either seek out a publisher, or publish it myself.

Book Review: Illusion


IllusionImagine waking up in an unfamiliar room, not knowing where you were or even not knowing your own name. This is the predicament our heroine finds herself in to start the book, Illusion, by Christa Yelich-Koth. Daith Tocc, a young woman and daughter to Jacin Jaxx, has been kidnapped, her mind erased, by Commander Trey Xiven, once second in command to her father.

Trey, trying to maintain the army her father established in order to impose peace in the galaxy, is on a mission to bring order to the chaos that erupted after Jacin’s death. Hoping his offspring may possess their father’s mental gifts,  Trey searched until he located Daith, wiping her memory, and testing her in the hopes that he could use her for his own ends.

The commander brings in his estranged brother, Dru, to test and guide her, to hone her skills. Though he’s uncomfortable with lying to Daith about her true identity, he’s drawn to her, the first woman that has interested him since his wife’s death. He’s torn between familial bonds, and his growing attachment to his patient, struggling to maintain some semblance of clinical detachment.

But with Daith’s power growing beyond what they had imagined, keeping her identity a secret from her becomes more difficult. Trey resorts to desperate measures to ensure she stays under his control, and no one’s life is safe while he attempts to bring peace back to the galaxy. He believes everyone is expendable, a small price to pay in order to free worlds from war, but will he be able to sway Daith? Will she stay and give up her hope of discovering who she really is?

When I started reading this book, it wasn’t with any sense of expectation. It was only because I agreed to read and review it for the author. It quickly became apparent that the book was well thought out, well-written, and was actually gripping. I became immersed in her story, needing to know what came next, needing to see what exactly Trey’s plan would be, and if Daith would regain her memory.

Illusion is a book whose antagonist believes himself to be the hero, while he plots and schemes, having no trouble killing those who stand in his way, including his own crew should they disappoint him in any way. He’s a tyrant rather than a leader. Daith, however, is a mystery to herself, discovering the truth of her powers as she is guided by the lies of a man who doesn’t care about her, except by how she could be of use to his plans.

As as sit here writing this, is occurs to me that Illusion is one of the better books I’ve reviewed. I read until I could no longer stay awake, and finished it as soon as I could. My only complaint is that I have to wait until the next book to come out to know what happens next. I came to loathe Trey while I rooted for Daith – and to a lesser extent, Dru – to be able to free herself from his grasp.

Christa succeeded in creating an interesting story, one that I wholeheartedly encourage everyone to read. It’s definitely one of my new favorites!


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Finally inspired

WritingI’ve spent most of the past two days in bed. I haven’t been feeling all to great, and I haven’t had much energy. I even called out of work this morning. My stomach was a bit topsy-turvy and I didn’t think work was the best place for me. I’m hoping I feel better in the morning, but for now, I’m trying to relax and hoping I start feeling better.

Other than doing as little as possible the past couple of days, I spent a considerable amount of time working on my book. I’ve written close to five thousand words, and I’m still going strong, finally finding the stakes of the story, the machinations implausible, but in light of recent events, not altogether impossible.

I just finished writing the scene where my two main characters meet, at a dinner party, where the host surprises his guests with a wild claim, one that seems improbable but one they admit can happen given the right circumstances. My main characters first meeting seems to go well, until it devolves towards the end.

Maybe it would be easier were I to plot the story out, but nah. I have my antagonists in place, the plot is moving forward, and soon things will begin to happen, pushing my characters together until….

The end hasn’t been written yet, except that I have the next book in the series already written. I know where it’s going, I know the destination of the relationship, and I know the fate of my characters, the destiny they both are chasing.

I’m finally excited to be working on this project. I’ve been reluctant to write it because I didn’t have an idea of what would happen, or why, but now I do. I’m figuring out the plot structure as I write, inspiration kicking in at the right time. All it took was for me to stop forcing the story along, and to stop writing long enough to find the hook.

I’ve passed 21,000 words today and I’m pleased with the progress. I still have a long way to go before I’m anywhere near done, but for now, I say I’m well on my way.