Accomplishments of 2013

For better or worse, the year is over and whether or not we accomplished our goals, or neglected them 9 out of 12 months, this is the moment when we fess up to what we really did in 2013. At various points this year I tried Milwordy (writing 1 Million words in a year- 3 times, reading 40 books in the year, editing some books.)

Here’s what I actually did.

-wrote-

Wrote 223,000 words

Started a really cool YA Fantasy/SciFi series that blows my own mind.

-edited-

Finished the 2nd rewrite of my first book ever (which probably has three more to go but holy fuck it’s starting to look like a real book now.) >_<

Edited, reorganized/started rewriting my third book ever. (conveniently ignores the second book I ever wrote because wow is it terrible. Haha.)

-read-

Read 38 books.

Finally figured out how to effectively use my Goodreads account. >_<

-personal accomplishments-

Got married to my fiance of 7 years.

Found a job I love that leave me lots of time to write and read to my heart’s content.

In going back through my old Milwordy blog, and personal diaries to calculate my word count for the year I came across this thing I wrote on my very first Milwordy blog post back in February.

I want to look back on the year and say “Damn, I accomplished so much more than I thought I ever could.”

Welp, Dear 11ish months ago self, you did. Congrats. Here’s to 2014 and surprising yourself.

Happy Scribbling.

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Nanowrimo losses and plans for 2014

Well, for the first time I’ve lost Nanowrimo…

Not so long ago, I would have counted that as a huge failure, but right now I’m feeling rather content. This November birthed a fantastic new novel idea, some fantastic characters and a spectacular setting that I’ve fallen in love with. What I did write, about 28 thousand, is well written and concise.

One of the many “tips” that inevitably rears it’s ugly head for Nanowrimo is to write as much as possible whether that means using prompts that serve no plot purpose, or create extravagant 4+ part names, or simply to explore every tangent. While Nanowrimo is about writing a lot in a short period of time, I do not believe that quality/content should be blatantly ignored in favor of more words. If your story is about aliens in outer space, then using a prompt which requires your characters to go to the store to buy milk and run into antagonists makes no fucking sense. Yet every year, people suggest equally ridiculous things in order to up word counts.

If you are writing just for the sake of writing something novel length, then more power to you. But I write with the goal of telling a moving story, full of characters you feel for, and content that makes you rethink your preset notions. Someday soon, I hope to be published. And not just once, but many times over. I plan to make a career out of writing so rambling for 50k is a somewhat pointless exercise for me.

To each their own of course, but I sincerely hope that those of you who participated in Nanowrimo feel accomplished, whatever your word count, and that you managed to polish some beautiful ideas over the course of the month.

 

So now that November is over, it’s time to get back into normal life mode. If you’re anything like me, January/the new year seems to be when I try out all new methods of being super productive/netflix addictions. Last year I tried milwordy from February-April, and subsequently spent the next several months recovering. I’m not entirely sure what my plans will be for this coming year, but I’ve got some ideas. Primarily I’m going to be reviewing what I read both here and on my new youtube channel, so stay tuned for links and lots of angsty YA reviews. And of course, I’ll be writing. If anyone has any suggestions for productivity or monthly/yearly challenges like wriye etc. feel free to leave them in the comments below.

Happy Scribbling.

Nanowrimo and brutal murder.

 

 

 

As you probably already know, it’s November, which means, if you’re a writer and you probably are if you’re reading this, then you should be around 35,000 words into your NaNoWriMo novel. And if you’re not… well.

 

photo

Then you’re in good company!

As you can see, I’m a bit behind at the moment, but never fear. I’m a somewhat consistently bad NaNoWriMo participant. What I mean by this is that I usually slack off/alphabetize my bookshelves/catch up on 6 years worth of sitcoms on Netflix/etc. instead of working on my novel until about the last week. Traditionally, I write about 20-30k in the first three weeks. And then I write 15 to 20k in the last two days.  -_-

I’m hoping to break with tradition this week, but only time/the frequency with which my youtube subscriptions pile up will tell.

So for those of you also participating in National Novel Writing Month, I extend to you my deepest apologies for your families, and my sincerest hopes that you survive the month and have a less than craptastic novel to show for it afterward. We aren’t all so lucky.

Personally, my novel is coming along rather nicely, but some other writerly friends of mine are struggling at the moment. The question of time vs. perfection, a typical NaNoWriMo debate, came up this morning and I awkwardly stumbled upon a metaphor for writing that I thought I’d share.

Writing a first draft is like interviewing witnesses of a brutal murder.

I promise this makes sense so stick with me!

Okay, imagine you’re a journalist and you’re talking with 10 witnesses just beyond the line of neon crime scene tape, a mangled body reeking in the distance. Of all the people you interview, perhaps two or three of them really saw something. But of course they didn’t all witness the same things, each noting the chain of events from their own perspective, location, and damaged mind frame. Between these two or three people you can get a very good sense of what actually happened between the victim and the assailant.

Now if you could stop your interviews here, you would be well off, but when you first look at your 10 potential witnesses, you have no way of knowing who’s who. So you continue the interviews. The next two people give you completely conflicting stories.  The he said, she said of it all doesn’t make any sense. But there are a few more witnesses left to interview and one way or another you’ve got to finish this piece or your boss/the editor is going to have your head. So you have a chat with the last few people gawking over the yellow line, making faces at the police. They turn out to be attention/camera whores. No real information to be had from them, but they’re good for a momentary laugh.

At the end of the day, you sit down with your collection of facts/theories that you managed to wrangle from the police, and a stack of interviews or transcripts of what the “witnesses” had to say about what happened. In order to make this into an article that will move people, while informing them, and entertaining them, you have to weave all these bits and pieces together. Some of what you found out is irrelevant, so you cut it. Some is unreliable, so you cut it, and some of it just isn’t interesting or has been said before.

But the point is, in order to make a good article, or even a good book. You have to have all the facts, the theories and the crazies on paper before you can really begin. See where I’m going with this?

A book isn’t written in it’s first draft. It’s created, brought out in pages upon pages of clerical mishaps, setting mistakes, unreliable characters and broken chunks of story. It’s what you do once you’ve got everything on the pages in front of you that matters.

I wish you all good luck in this coming week of NaNoWriMo. May your inner editors be gagged, and may your fingers be swift. Remember, we can edit in December.

Happy Scribbling.