Nanowrimo – the last weekend

Nanowrimo-2017

So, the last weekend of the month is upon us. It’s unbelievable that we’re already at this point! It really flew by, even faster than other years if you ask me. Originally I had planned a weekend away for this weekend so there would be no writing for me. But that unfortunately had to be postponed most likely to February or March of next year.

So I’m home instead of away, I also asked an extra day of on Monday because I wouldn’t be home. Of course since my original plan didn’t go through I made other plans, but it also means that I have time to write at least something during this weekend. Which would have been next to impossible if it all came down to my weekend away. But still I have a lot of writing to do and not nearly enough time to do it. And of course there are other things I need to do. We have a huge time pressured assignment at work which needs to be done so this following week is probably going to be full of work as well and probably overtime. We’ll see what happens, I can’t predict the future. But I know that it will be a busy month ahead. In fact I’m actually surprised that I got Monday off. When I asked it, I hoped I would get it but I didn’t actually believe that I would.

Anyway, lets get back to the writing that is still ahead of me. I’m so pumped right now, I’ve gotten so much further than I expected. I want to do my best, I always do. Honestly that really is all I can do. We’ll see how I get through this weekend and eventually on Thursday we’ll see what the final word count of the month is going to be. I still have a couple of blog posts in the making for this month. They will be up in the next couple of days. And I’m working on a couple of different short stories. That is going really well at the moment. Something which I’m really proud off. It has been such a long time since I have been able to express myself in a creative writing manner. It feels so good to do so.

Dialog?

For me this month has been all about dialog? I already talked about my love for dialog in the post about the 300th episode of Grey’s Anatomy. To me it’s what makes a story good. I want to read or hear earnest talks between people. It doesn’t have to be cheesy but it has to be genuine at least. And that is what I have been focusing on. Most of the short stories I have been working on have a large portion of dialog in them. One of them I even wrote 95 % of the dialog on one day and then I rewrote the piece the next day by adding in all of the details. The story is called ‘The argument’ and the first version is 500 words long, the rewrite is about 1300 words long. I only made small changes to the dialog in the second version – added or left some words out. But the added details fleshed the story out, made it stronger. I really liked the exercise and it helped me out a lot. I think that putting the focus on the dialog first made it a stronger story in the end. The story I wanted to tell was clear from the dialog alone – and I could have left it like that. Besides that if you don’t have to think of the dialog adding the details goes much easier as well. The second time around you can make the setting stronger by adding in details, displays of affection or any other emotion by adding touches, specific movements or actions to your characters. It’s all about action / reaction that makes it all stronger. So for now at this moment this is what works for me and I’ll continue to use it for now.

Will it work for you? Maybe it will, however it might also not work at all for you. I don’t know, I can’t tell anyone how to write. There are so many different ways to go through the process. Everyone has their own way of writing that story and we all need to find it for ourselves. However trying out different things might help you just like it helped me and that is the reason why I’m posting this here. Writing is not something that is easy for me. Not by a long shot, especially not these last couple of years. I’ve had my struggles and I know that I’m not the only one that has them. That is basically why I set up this blog. It is a way for me to continue writing. To push myself to do what I love and to not give up on it. And eventually to become a better writer.

Next to finding what works for me I have also tried to change the scenery. Whenever I’m home, alone. I noticed that I get easily distracted and sometimes it just doesn’t feel right. Whenever that happens I try to go somewhere else, often I go to the Library. It is one of my favorite places to write. I like the hustle and bustle of it all. They call it the ‘living room of the city’ and that really is what it feels like. Even though it is a big and industrial building they have managed the give it a really small and comfortable vibe. And that is why I spend a lot of my time off there. Just this Friday (all the Friday’s in November) I was there and now on Saturday the clock has barely past two in the afternoon and I’m here again. This time alone, yesterday with the Epic Blue Unicorns I managed to write less than 200 words. That didn’t really help my word count at all. I was just really tired and we had some conversations which required my attention. And by the time I got home it was already nine thirty and after spending some time on my phone with my mom I was too tired to make any type of coherent sentences or accumulate a word count. So I’m hoping that at least today I can do some catching up.

By the end of Saturday upped my word count to 30 203 words. On Sunday I didn’t have a whole lot of time to do some writing because my parents came over and we had a day out planned. My parents stayed the night and during Monday we had some plans to go shopping – early Christmas shopping. Not really that early … but you know what I mean. And now it’s Monday evening, the 27th and I have three days left and my total word count is 31 809.

Did you reach the 50K?

Did you reach the 50K already, congrats to you. That is a huge amount of words and you should be proud. However there is also something I want to say if you haven’t reached the 50k and if you might not even make it there. One thing I want to say and I have said this before but I’m going to say it once again and I hope that every participant in Nanowrimo takes this to heart. Nanowrimo is a commitment to write 50 000 in a months time to get that novel started. And while we pledge to get those 50 000 words written there is no shame at all if you don’t reach that goal. In fact you should be damn proud because no matter what happens you sat down and started writing. Whether you wrote 5000, 10 000, 50 000 or even a 100 000 words. No matter how many words you’ve written or whether you reached the goal of 50k be proud. Be damn proud of yourself! And whatever you do keep writing and feel blessed that you have this creativity. It’s quite something, remember that and don’t allow anyone to tell you something different! Writing is heard enough and until you sit down and do it you have no idea.

Just remember that, 50 000 is a number – something to reach for – but writing a story is what it really is about. And a story can be short or it can be long, it all depends on the type of stories your writing.

Celebrating every milestone!

Celebrate every milestone small or big. It is one step closer to your goal. I’m currently celebrating that I reached the 30 000 words during this past weekend. It’s nowhere near the 50k but that is no reason not to celebrate.

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November 23th – One week left

Nanowrimo-2017

There is only one more week left in November, one more week of Nanowrimo. And well I think it’s not really going that well. At least according to the numbers it isn’t going too well. Like I said before I didn’t really believe that I would get anywhere near the word count. However I must admit that I’ve gotten a whole lot further than I had expected before the month started. There is no way to make an accurate estimate when you have no idea what you’ll be writing. The only thing I was sure of was that I would be writing blog posts but even those I hadn’t thought of before the month started. I could have done that prepared myself in some way, but I honestly didn’t know what to do. It was as if I had literally no inspiration at all.

I knew I would be doing a ‘Oktober in Hindsight’ post and I hoped that there would be a book review before the end of the month – which I’m still working on, there is a little bit more I to read to finish the book and the review. And I was going to write some updates on Nano of course, because I wanted to log the progress I’m making and I just have to tell you all about our wonderful meetings with our writers group at the Library or the Ikea or whatever other place we can come up with. But other than that I had no real ideas. I was just hoping that I would get some inspiration for other posts as the month continued on.

And I obviously did because I managed to write quite a lot of words, 27 500 words so far. Which is certainly a number that I didn’t expect to reach. And I’m happy with what I did so far and I’m not done. I am never giving up, but the end is still very far away.

Stats_nov23th

Nanowrimo update

Nanowrimo-2017

It’s the second weekend of Nanowrimo and I am trying to catch up on my backlog. I’ve been behind this whole time and I have no idea if I will catch up in time for the end of the month. I guess we’ll see what happens on November 30th, there are still 20 days left in this month and I’m going to make the best of it. I’ve had some good days and some bad days writing wise, yet so far I have not exceeded the daily word count in fact my daily word count as of this moment is at 850 words. And if I don’t start doing better soon, there is no way I will ever catch up on my back log. Especially knowing that I probably miss out on writing time in the last weekend completely.

Yesterday we had our second library meeting and it was fun, especially good to see that three people who were new last week joined us again for this meeting. And two others had told me beforehand that they couldn’t come but they’ll be back next week. It’s good to see people come back for more meetings, it means we must be doing something right. I guess we are doing good as a group. We, the ‘Epic Blue Unicorns’ have been going strong for five years now every year we have a couple of people who stay with the group.

This morning I decided that I was going to the movie theater first, I wanted to see Thor Ragnarok. I actually had wanted to go last week on Sunday, but I became ill on Saturday night and I was forced to stay at home. This morning I decided that I was not going to take any chances. I wanted to go see that movie today. I loved it! There is much humor in the movie – I really like those Marvel movies. When the movie ended I had some shopping to do and when I came home I started writing.

Will today be the day that I will catch up? Even if it’s just a little bit. Right now it’s close to seven in the evening. It’s Saturday night, so I still have some time left before I have to go to bed. I’m sitting on the couch probably not the most productive way to write but it’s what feels good at the moment. I don’t feel like sitting at my desk. I have the television on, which probably for most people doesn’t help either but to me it feels good. I live alone and I struggle with that fact. When I get home there is no one waiting for me, no one to talk to and if the television isn’t on there is no sound and no movement. So I’m used to the television being on like all the time when I’m at home. Lets face it I’ve been falling asleep with ASMR for the last couple of years. I need sounds around me. I can’t stand the silence, even when I’m going to sleep. I get that there are a lot of people who like to write in silence but to me it feels comfortable when I hear sounds around me. And it doesn’t really make much of a difference to me whether it’s music, a television show or a documentary or if it’s the sounds of people around me when I’m at the library or in a cafeteria. Right now I have Guardians of the Galaxy playing on the television. While I’m writing this post. And right about now I’m doing pretty well. I am almost at the daily word count and I have almost reached ten thousand words. Granted I should have been a hell of a lot closer to twenty thousand words but that is only a number.

For tomorrow we have another write-in planned, this time at the Ikea. We always do that during the month of November. On one Sunday we go to the local Ikea and we sit there for hours to work on our stories. It’s easy, there are drinks and food for a pretty low price and they have enough tables and chairs with electricity outlets for us to make good use of. Expect another update tomorrow.

Nanowrimo the first week

Nanowrimo-2017

So… we’re at day seven and the first week of Nanowrimo is officially over. So yep, one fourth is done. Gone forever, time we’ll never get back and the results are … not quite were I hoped they would have been at this point.

I knew that I wasn’t writing enough to stay on schedule but I had good hope to catch up this weekend and I did make it through a good day word count wise on Saturday, I made it to the daily word count. However I had some appointments on Saturday which used up some of the time, and actually all of the evening. But during the night I got a fever and I barely slept. When I got out of bed – way to early – on Sunday morning everything hurt and I was feeling miserable. All I did was just lay on the couch and watch Netflix – I couldn’t be bothered by writing or reading for that matter. I can truly say that I’m almost completely caught up with ‘Once Upon A Time’ at this point but other than that I didn’t get anything done. I was too tired, even sitting up was too tiring and I was back in bed by the time the clock hit eight in the evening. I had a good nights sleep and when I woke up on Monday morning I was feeling well enough to go to work. So since I didn’t get any writing done I was even further behind.

But let’s forget all about that and move forward into week two. Also known as hell week! Hope that doesn’t prove to be a huge issue this year. I’m only six thousand words behind on schedule. That should be do-able! I’ve done it before and I still have some time to catch up.

Are you participating in Nanowrimo? How are you doing, are you on schedule, behind or did you do better?

 

Nanowrimo update

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Here it is, the first official Nanowrimo update since the month started and the challenge started.

It’s day eleven (I wrote this yesterday during our weekly Nanomeet, I just didn’t upload it yet) of the month and my total word count at the beginning of this post is right around 4000 words. Officially I should have been at 18333. I know that I’m way behind in my word count but it’s like I said in my last Nanowrimo post at the beginning of this month I didn’t have an idea of what I was going to write about. And at this point I still don’t have an idea in all honesty I’m literally just winging it at this point. Doing whatever I can to get some words written down.

The word count I’ve accumulated so far is mostly from these blog posts and a couple of book reviews which I’ve been writing these last couple of days. And that’s fine I’ll just call myself a rebel – truth be told I have been calling myself a rebel every year – this year and see what I can do this month during Nanowrimo. If it’ll be 50 000 words, I’m going to be ecstatic if not that’s fine. I don’t need to pit more pressure on myself at this point in time.

This might be the first year – since 2009 (my official Nanowrimo debut) –  that I won’t reach the word count of 50 000 words at the end of the month and that is fine. If it is possible and within reach I will of course try to make it but I’m not going to worry about, it’s not worth it. Not this year. I’m honestly okay with it, if that happens I know the reason behind it and doing anything creative is at this point a goal I’ve reached.

To me at this point it’s more important that I’m actually writing and for now that’s certainly happening which makes me feel a lot better than I have been feeling in a long time. Which is even more important to me. Especially since I’ve been feeling really down and blocked lately. Nothing in my life seems to ever be easy or going according to plan. This should have been a great year of new experiences and happiness and instead I’ve been feeling like I’m a failure. And I keep beating myself up about things and that is not what I want to feel like. I want to be happy and successful. However that is not what this update is about. This is about Nanowrimo and the progress I’ve made in writing. The book reviews are from books which I had read in these past couple of months, however like everything they had been backlogged since I wasn’t writing. Although I have to admit that it’s quite hard to write a review from a book which I read months ago. But I’ll get there, I’ve almost cleared all of the backlog there are just a couple of books left in my list.

Tomorrow – Sunday – we’ve set up our next Nanomeet. We’re going to the Ikea to have an extended meeting from I think noon till however late it gets or till the store closes, whichever comes first. They have a nice restaurant area where we can sit and they have some pretty decent not too expensive food. We did a Nanomeet at the Ikea last year and I think that we made it our longest meet ever. They almost literally kicked us out right before closing time.

Camp Nanowrimo, the final day

CampNano-april2016

Yes, here it is! The final day of Camp Nanowrimo the April edition has passed by faster than I expected. And that is reason enough to make another blog post about my writing efforts this past month. There are some questions which have been playing on my mind these past couple of days.

Was Camp everything I hoped for it to be? Did I meet my goal? Am I happy with the results? What could I have done to improve my game? And what’s next? All legitimate questions at the end of a month which was supposed to be full of writing, plotting, character builds and so much more. So let me take some time to answer them one by one.

First of all I want to do a shout-out to my Nano-friends, we were in a Cabin together and even though I might not have reached my goal our group did reach the combined amount of words we’d pledged to write this month.

Was Camp everything I hoped for it to be?

Well, I certainly wrote more than I did in previous months, so in that regard yes it was. But before the month started I had hoped that this would be a sort of push in the right direction. I wanted to work on my story, at least that was the idea. Because I think that I truly have something interesting in my hands. Instead however I’ve been writing many different things, mostly blog posts and upcoming book reviews for my blog. I have been working on course assignments for a FutureLearn course and more. And I only spend one actual write-ins working on my actual story. I could have done better, that is as clear as day.

Did I meet my goal?

The short answer is no. Even if I’d passed the line of 10 000 words I would not have met my goal. My goal was to get back to writing on my story and that is not what happened.

What could I have done to improve my game?

Easy answer, sit my ass down behind the computer and work on the damn story or even just grab a notebook and start writing … instead I was more occupied with getting my Agent level up on The Division. Okay, I worked overtime, did a course for my job and started a course for myself. And I did work on blog posts, so I have certainly been writing. As previously mentioned my goal was to get back to working on my story and since I only did that one night I really can’t say that I reached my goal.

And what’s next?

If I decided to commit to Camp Nanowrimo in July I will really have to step up my game and I should probably work on my storyline and the plot for the rest of the story before I can actually do that. Because right now I’m kind of a loose cannon. I have no real idea of what to do next because I never got any  further than this point with my plot-line. That is what I’m going to focus on for the next few weeks. I need to get some new ideas for my plot and then I can actually commit to writing and reaching goals in writing.

Depending on what my writer’s group will do and how my plot-line progresses I will decide whether or not I am going to join Camp Nanowrimo later this year.

Camp Nanowrimo is fun and it certainly gets me to write more but so far I’ve never managed to reach my goal and win. I don’t mind so much because it’s less important to me than the November version of Nanowrimo. But it certainly is on my list of things I want to do.

LGBTQ Romance

This is something which I came across last week and I decided that I wanted to give my opinion on the matter. During the Camp Nanowrimo meeting this past Friday I started to work on this blog. Anyway I didn’t get to finish it and I decided that I would work on it some more during the weekend. However by the time Saturday or Sunday rolled around the matter had been resolved as posted on the website by the person who this happened to and therefore I wasn’t sure if I should post it or not. But I decided for me this is something I want to write about it. This is a topic that matters to me. And not just me, but a lot of like-minded people around me.

One thing though, because this matter has been resolved I’ve decided to remove the link to the initial blog.

LGBTQ-Romance

Every now and then you come across something either by coincidence or maybe by sheer accident which you just can’t scroll past. You have to read it and in this case even give my opinion. It’s not something I do often but this is something I want to say something about because I think that I have something to say.

Ever since I’ve been writing at least ninety percent of what I write is LGBTQ related. A mere ten percent if even that – is either heterosexual or has nothing at all to do with romance. For that reason I consider myself a LGBTQ writer, just like I consider myself bisexual. The reason why I couldn’t scroll past this particular post has to do with both of those facts. I came across a post on a Facebook page which referred to a blog post – when I followed the link it brought me to a personal blog of two writers. No. I won’t be posting the link. Since the matter has been resolved I don’t feel that it is necessary to link to that blog or the writing contest website this is about.

The original post was dated on the thirteenth – and by now there has been made an apology by the organization behind the writing contest – but still it’s something I want to write about because it’s ridiculous especially in this day and age. In 2016 we should be able to live our lives the way we want to without being judged but apparently that is still a long way off.
The person who wrote this blog post participated in a competition with a story – a gay inspirational story which she entered into the Inspirational Romance category. Sounds logical right? Well apparently it wasn’t all that logical. If the criteria only state that it should be a romantic novel which features a religious or spiritual belief system. And assuming that those criteria are met I think that a novel featuring a gay couple, or a transgender person involved in a romantic relationship shouldn’t be a problem. At least there is nothing in the rules which excludes stories. Which is probably why the author was so surprised when she received the request by the website to move her story to a different category. Which she refused because they wanted to send the story to a none romantic story category. Reason was that none of the judges wanted to read the story because it contained a gay relationship.

Apparently you still can’t be a spiritual or religious person while also being gay. I myself am not a very religious person though I’m a Catholic – I was baptized, did my first communion and even my confirmation. While my religion might not be very important to me, I do consider myself to be a very spiritual person. Anyway that’s besides the point.
This person was asked to move their story to a different category, which she refused with good reason since the book meets the criteria. If your story doesn’t meet the criteria and you’re asked to move it to a different category I would say that it’s their good right to ask and author to move the story. But the reason here seemed to be that the judges were unwilling to read a gay romantic story. Well, the problem doesn’t lay with the story! It’s with the judges!!! What kind of a judge are you if you’re unwilling to read stories because it’s not the type of ‘romance’ you consider to be normal?

In my eyes – love is love. It’s as simple as those three little words. Love is love. Nothing more, nothing less. It’s shouldn’t matter what kind of romance story it is as long as it is well-written romance. Whether it’s F/M, M/M or F/F romance shouldn’t matter it should be about the romance. But that is just my humble opinion.

They always say don’t judge a book by it’s cover – clearly that is what they did here. They didn’t read the story they just noticed the word ‘gay’ and decided that they didn’t want to read the story, that it wasn’t worth their time.

I would like to add don’t judge a story by it’s category. When you read an LGBTQ story it doesn’t mean that gay romance is thrown at you on every bend. It could just be the fact that there is an mention of a gay relationship or even simply the fact that someone is gay and that could literally be all there is too it. Romance can be all about the courting, sex might not be part of that storyline.

Besides that, had they added a rule where they stated that only heterosexual stories were allowed for submission. An author of LGBTQ stories might not have liked that, I know I wouldn’t have but they wouldn’t have entered their story either. I have entered my fanfiction stories into challenges and sometimes they included the no gay or lesbian stories rule and while lots of people didn’t agree with it they did respect it. I always try to see it as someone saying they like scary stories but no gore. You can have scary stories but you don’t need the gore to make it scary. If you state beforehand that you don’t want something it won’t come back to haunt you.

The fact that they never stated anything in the rules and the way they handled the situation screams close minded and bigoted. Even while the end result might be the same, it feels completely different.

I applaud that the person who this happened to because she spoke up, she told her story and it’s good that she publicly shared it on her blog. The fact that she did so in the way she did is even more reason to applaud her.

Whenever I wrote a story involving lesbian romance I would warn people before they started reading it. I’m talking about fanfiction here, where warnings before a story or a chapter are very common. And I still got flamed every now and then and it has always annoyed me to no end that bigoted close-minded people ignore warnings and are judgemental when they haven’t read a single word. And this really reminded me of that situation but in my opinion in this case it’s even worse since these judges should have remained professional.

As I stated at the top of the page the issue has apparently been resolved and a sincere apology has been made by the organization of the contest. Which I think is the right thing to do of course. But it’s sad to see that even in this modern time in the year 2016 these things still happen.

Camp Nanowrimo mini-update

I guess it took me long enough to get this post finished already but I decided to add a small Camp Nanowrimo update as well. Like I said before I had no idea what I was going to write when I arrived at the meeting, but after reading this story the choice was easily made.