I have participated in NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) for several years but opted out last November because I was in the middle of writing a book I didn’t want to put down for 30 days. The rule of NaNoWriMo is you can’t write a single word until the first day and must try to get to 50,000 words by the last day. Camp NaNoWriMo is the same idea as NaNoWriMo except it’s in July and not in overscheduled November. I just finished a book, so I’m up for a new one. For the month of July I’ll be commenting on my experiences with Camp NaNoWriMo as well as providing a few of my special writing days for others who are also taking part. If you are a writer, established or newbie….or an established newbie, you’re welcome to row your writing canoe along with mine. Here are some days a fellow writer and I made up to mark on the calendar.
July 4- Sparkler Day–After writing your word count today, go back to the first line in your book and work on making it sparkle. It needs to engage the reader and make them want to read the rest of the book.
July 10- Blisters and Splinters Day- Put a fight somewhere in your story
July 14- Burning Marshmallow Day – Make a sweet character burn someone either physically or metaphorically
July 22 – Chiggers and Skeeters Day – Put something in that annoys your main character
July 25- Starry Night Day – Put in something that is beautiful but out of reach
July 27 – Dark and Stormy Night Day – Put in something that is really frightening to your main character
July 31 – Back Home on the Bus Day – Have your main character do something that gives them a time to rest and be at peace
Big surprise. I decided to do NaNoWriMo again this year. When I was asked about it in October, I flatly told anyone who would listen to me–NO. I rushed through 50,000 words for the last two Novembers and this year I was going to concentrate on finishing up my fifth book in the Pecan Bayou series. Halloween night I’m sitting at my laptop in a funny hat between running to the door when my husband says, “Are you getting ready to NaNoWriMo?” (Yes, that word is actually a verb in my household.)
I think he looks forward to me being so busy in November. This may directly relate to the currently active college football season, but I can’t be sure. So, he talked me into it. I have a novel that has been bouncing around the back of my head for the last year. I was planning to work on it after the book I’m currently plodding through, but I just couldn’t resist the chance to try.
Ever since home economics class years ago, I have enjoyed sewing. I’ve sewn apparel, things for my home, quilts and all kinds of things for my disabled son like chair covers. I make plenty of mistakes and throw away failed projects all the time. In some ways sewing is a lot like writing. You have to practice at it and even though you think it’s going to be wonderful it can turn out to be junk. So what do you do? Rip it out and try it again or in writers’ terms, rip it up and try it again.
One of my favorite programs on television is Project Runway. For a writer this show is like going to an all-you-can-eat smorgasbord of interesting characters. Then, I was so happy to hear about a new sewing program from the UK titled The Great British Sewing Bee. Instead of a group of fashion school graduates, it was people from all walks of life who just liked to sew. Instead of having to design an outfit they were given a commercially made pattern. I grew to love these people as much or more as the crazy designers from the New York based show. Between the sets of characters in the two different programs I could see a book was itching to write.
So here I am doing double writing duty and having a great time with it. My NaNoWriMo book will not be a murder mystery. Surprise again! Maybe I shouldn’t say that until I actually finish it. I may have to kill somebody off. I can see it now The Taffeta Murders…
If you want to follow my word count or if I collapse in the middle of the month, I will be posting this little box in the right hand column.
We have a winner for a free paperback copy of Doggone Dead in my Goodreads Giveaway! Julie from Minnesota, you will need to dig your way through the snow to your mailbox in the next week because your signed book is on the way! Okay, maybe I shouldn’t make the assumption that it is always snowing in Minnesota, the same way everyone in Texas doesn’t wear a cowboy hat. Also, thank you to the 259 people who entered.
I am busy working away on my fourth cozy mystery. Here are some hints, or should I say “clues” about the book:
It continues with the life of Betsy, our helpful hints writer and the ever-growing cast of characters in Pecan Bayou, Texas. I really wanted to explore what would happen if she were to give bad advice in one of her columns. I originally wrote this book during NaNoWriMo and since writing it, have taken out a major plot element and reversed a character. Doing this greatly slows down my writing process, but hopefully it improves it as well. I can’t disclose too much, but I have been researching plenty about bees and looking at book cover designs with bees on them. My oldest son is terrified of bees because the two of us were caught in a swarm many years ago when he was a small child. So, he has made it pretty clear he doesn’t want to talk to me about this book even if he is a high-felootin literature major.
April 2 is Autism Awareness Day! Take a minute to reflect on people you know with autism and their families. We’re an autism/Down Syndrome family and always appreciate the people who go out of their way to show acceptance, patience and kindness.
I’m over being interviewed at Gayle Carline’s blog today. She really gave me some excellent interview questions and it took me days to think about and answer them. When asked if I preferred cowboy boots or flip flops, I had to say flip flops. You would think living in Texas I would go for the cowboy boots, but living in South Texas being cool is better than being cowboy for me. What’s your answer? Flip flops or cowboy boots?
You can read the entire interview here.
Gayle will be visiting my blog on the weekend after Thanksgiving. She is a humor columnist and a mystery writer and has a new book coming out. She is also going to give us a little excerpt of her latest mystery and then spring a pop quiz on you. The winner will get a free copy of her book, so hang on…more details to follow.
Still plodding away at NaNoWriMo. Check out my word count in the side bar.
Photo Used With Permission. Morgue File
It’s NaNoWriMo Eve! Am I ready for a month of writing abandon (as in my family and work obligations?)
I voted early
I bought my husband’s November birthday gifts
I dressed my dog in a humiliating bee costume
Martin the Mystery Dog
“Do these stripes make me look fat?”
…and for my work in progress?
Characters have been sketched out-inner and outer conflicts, pictures, mannerisms
Killer/Victim Profiles completed
Settings sketched out
Plots and subplots mostly ready and broken into scenes to write
…and yet I’m not sure if I’m ready.
I’m over at Cindy Vine’s Blog today talking about my Crazy Days With NaNoWriMo. Are you thinking about writing a novel in a month this year? It is truly crazy, but a wonderful way to get in writing shape (I see those flabby adverbs). Here is an excerpt or you can read the entire article at Cindy Vine’s Blog.
Don’t Give Up: So there I was, on the last night of NaNoWriMo with 47,000 words and an important choir rehearsal to go to at my church. Did I mention the end of November also coincides with the beginning of all the Christmas crazy scheduling? It does. I was ready to give up. I could cling to the fact that I had done so much in one month, and I just felt like I was out of story to tell. Other writers write books that are hundreds of thousands words long and someday I hope to be one, but for right now I am what I am. I was trying to write but ~BLOCK~. Then it hit me, probably as I drove to choir. Let’s hit somebody in the head with a frying pan!….
Read entire article
I did it. At 9:45 pm on the last possible night to complete National Novel Writing Month I finished at 50,003 words. Talk about cutting it close. I had every intention of reaching 50,000 words last week, but life happens. A relative ended up in the hospital and my priorities shifted. I’m happy to say my loved one is doing better and will hopefully be home soon.
I was at the end of my plot with no where to go. I had put the characters through all the ups and downs of the character arcs but still wasn’t where I needed to be with the word count. Then today, as I sat at the hospital I realized where I had gone wrong. Once I knew what to write, the actual act of writing it went quickly! I’m very pleased to have met the challenge and even more pleased that December comes without my required 1667 words per day. Jingle bells, jingle bells, jingle all the way!!
I have been trying to keep up with my daily word count on NaNoWriMo and still have a ways to go. I hope to be finished in the next week or so and really like the book I have created. Here are some things I’ve learned so far in my first year of NaNoWriMo
1. I can write more than 500 words a day, even though I thought that was my average before starting all of this.
2. I can’t write so well when surrounded by teenagers, barking dogs, and family issues. I also write lousy when under the influence of cold medicine.
3. If I fall behind, and I have a couple of times, I can catch back up again with a little extra work.
4. For me at least, organization is the key. I took the week before NaNoWriMo and completely outlined my plot, subplots, character sketches, and some of the settings. Even doing all of this, in the flow of ideas in writing a book I often find myself having to create new characters and settings to fit what direction the story is taking. I am still following my basic plan but have included at least five extra scenes and couple of settings in the third act of my story.
5. I love characters! This book is brimming full of colorful people who are the six suspects. Some days I control them and some days they control me!
So here I am at Day Nine of National Novel Writing Month. I’ve been reading many of the experienced Nano writer’s blogs talking about how the second week is rough for many writers to keep going. Characters and plots are not working right and getting the time to write every day can be difficult. I ran into that this weekend when I went out of town with my family and found I could really only write about half of what I was doing at home. Sorry, Grandma, got to write now.
I am writing along though, and my working title for my novel is The “Quiet Please” Murder. It is now officially my second novel in the Pecan Bayou Series. My “Blueberry” book will have to bump to number three. The good part of that is, once I finish Quiet Please, I’m quite a bit along in the third book. I had to do this because according to the rules of NaNoWriMo you can’t have written a single word on your novel so I had to start on an entirely new book.
The “Quiet Please” Murder takes place in…what else…a library. I’m finding there are many novels that take place in this setting,
The "Quiet Please" Murder
probably because so many writers find themselves writing and researching in libraries. But don’t fear, this is the Pecan Bayou Library which means there will be plenty of colorful characters. Also, I was asked to bring Betsy’s love interest back in the second book. I was going to bring a new man in, but “Stormy Weather” will return.
Betsy is asked to speak at an author’s night at the library. There are six presenters. One will die. That’s the synopsis in a nutshell(Official Pecan Bayou Joke).
What's that you say? Come back in a month?
As I prepare for my very first National Novel Writing Month, here is a quick poem.
The Night Before NaNoWriMo
Twas the night before NaNoWriMo
And all through my home
the plotlines were bubbling
I thought about my tone
The trick or treaters they rang
For the candy they sang
But I couldn’t leave my laptop
Not for feathers or fang
On the porch was some candy in a bowl with a note
Come back in December and read the novel I wrote!