Priorities and NaNo Life

I would like to share a picture with you:

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This, my friends, is the graph that I see daily.  The graph that rules my life right now. The graph that tells me whether I’m a successful human being or not.  (Well, not actually.)  As you can see, I’m still a little behind on my word count.  But I’m catching up a bit each day, and with Thanksgiving break here, I’m confident in my ability (through God’s grace) to reach 50,000.

So what have I learned?  Well, I think that my favorite thing about this November is that I’ve really made writing a PRIORITY.  Even if my novel stinks (which it often does), even if my characters are flat (I must have forgotten the baking powder), even if I never even attempt to publish this manuscript, I’ve still had a ton of fun with this writing challenge.  I’ve had a ton of fun making writing one of the most important things each day.  Whether it’s driving to Panera Bread for a Caramel Latte and an hour pounding out words, or taking my laptop in the car so I can write while my mom drives me somewhere, I’ve just gotten really good at fitting writing into my crazy life.  Which feels totally awesome.

So even if you’re not doing NaNo, or especially if you are, I’d love to hear ways that you keep writing a priority.  And either way, I encourage you with this: the only thing you need to do to be able to call yourself a writer is to write.

Now, since this blog post is pretty short (don’t give me a hard time, I wrote 2,500 words already today), I thought I’d end with a video of one of my favorite YouTube people.  It’s about NaNoWriMo.  How about that.

I think that it gives a pretty good representation of what us Wrimos face this month.  🙂

Disclaimer: she pronounces NaNoWriMo incorrectly.  It’s supposed to be wri like “write” and not wri like “ree.” But other than that it’s a super fun video.

Alright, guys.  Go out and write this week!

Questions I Ask Myself During NaNoWriMo

Hello everybody!  The first week of NaNoWriMo is over, and I’ve stayed above the word-count goal every day so far.  I’ve been to two write-ins and they were both amazing in every way possible.  I love where my story is going [usually].

But I’ve had some questions during the week:

  • How many twizzlers can a normal teenager consume in one day?  (Quite a few, apparently.)
  • Why is it that it takes me an hour to write 500 words when I’m by myself, but only ten minutes during a word-sprint at a write-in?
  • Who invented the whole write-in idea?  Are they a billionaire yet?  (They should be.)
  • Where did the Viking logo come from?  And what does it have to do with writing?
  • What the heck even is happening with my plot?
  • WHY AREN’T YOU BEHAVING LIKE I PLANNED YOU, CHARACTER??!
  • Um, hello.  Who are you?  (Me to a character that just showed up out of the blue.  He’s cool though so I’m keeping him.)
  • How does one spell chauffeur?  (I had to google it ’cause spell check had no idea what I was trying to type.  I know, I’m pathetic.)
  • How does one spell dandelion?  (I didn’t have to google it; I got it right on my first try!)
  • What even is a plot?  Why does my book need one?  They’re not important, right??  😉
  • Why doesn’t every human being participate in NaNoWriMo?  THEY NEED TO!
  • How many times can I complain about writing to my friends before they decide they’re not my friend anymore?
  • Is “teleportations” a word?  My [engineering major] friend said yes.  My spellchecker said no.  So I added it to my dictionary.  HAH, NOW IT’S A WORD.
  • How hard is it going to be to change the first chapter of my story from past tense to present?  (I switched after one chapter, and I like it a lot better this way.)
  • HOW DOES ONE WRITE IN FIRST PERSON?? I mean it’s easy to do, but am I doing it wrong?  I guess that’s what edits are for.  The people at Critique Circle are probably going to tear my writing style to shreds.
  • Has anyone else ever gotten a blister on their finger from typing?  Mine’s mostly gone away, but, like, a blister.  From writing.  [PROOF THAT WRITING IS HARD WORK.  Or something.]
  • Coffee, will you marry me?

The Epicness that is NaNoWriMo

If you look up the word “Epic,” in Beth’s Dictionary (a little different than Webster’s), there will be this picture next to it:

The LOGO

Because NaNoWriMo is the pinnacle of all things epic.  At least in the writing world.  At least in Beth’s world.

It’s been two days so far.

Notable Moments of Day 1:

  • “Attending” the Live Write-In online and seeing the comments just flood the video and the writing just HAPPENING.
  • Sitting at my bea-u-ti-ful desk and eating twizzlers.
  • THE VOICE.  OH. MY. GOSH. I love this story’s voice.
  • Hitting 2,000 words.
  • I should have plotted the plot a little more…

Notable Moments of Day 2:

  • Writing in those 20 minutes before I had to leave for school and thinking that I might switch to present tense
  • Attending a Write-In at my community college (where I take classes) and WRITING with REAL LIVE people
  • Word sprint at said Write-In.  15 minutes.  650 words.  Wowzer.  (I got second place; the lady in charge pulled of 700+)
  • Chatting about characters and Plot Ninjas and killing characters and favorite sentences and wordcounts and all things NaNoWriMo
  • Hitting, you know, 3000 words
  • Hitting 4000 words!!!!!
  • Getting a button that says “I Novel,” a sticker that says “Contents Extremely Imaginative.”  I love them both dearly.

button nanowrimo-extremely-imaginative-sticker

  • Finally being home and doing some more editing on TSOC.  Because I’m still putting those nifty line edits back into my MS text document.  Yeah I didn’t quite finish before November.  Oooopsy.
  • I now have a blister on the side of my right ring finger.  ‘Cause apparently I type on the side of that finger.  Greaaaat.

If y’all are doing NaNo, what’s your wordcount?  Mine is currently 4,542.  And that number feels amazing.

And if you’re not doing NaNo, who cares!  Write like your chair is on fire this week anyways.  Okay, maybe that wasn’t the best simile I’ve ever written…  But NaNo is all about quantity over quality, so who cares.

My NaNo Survival Kit / Tour of my Desk

Well, folks.  One week of sanity remaining.

Since NaNoWriMo is only seven days away, I thought it was high time that I gave y’all a desk tour.  Most people would call this their “Survival Kit,” but mine happens to all be at a desk, so….

THE DESK TOUR! (With photos)

The desk itself:

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Unicorns on the top!  Because… fantasy story.  With unicorns.

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The “Inspiration Box.”  If I wake up one day and have no idea what to write, then I will open this beautiful box, reach in, and grab two items.  The idea is that I MUST use one or the other in my story.  So say I pull out a candle and an ipod.  Then I could either light something on fire (in the story), or play some music (in the story).  Or have the character smell something, or hear some music, or something.  Basically, it’s the box for Unsticking the Plot.

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The Emotion Thesaurus.  (Don’t tell anyone that I couldn’t spell Thesaurus.)  I blogged all about this nifty book here, but I’ll just sum it up real quick: it tells you how to show emotion by giving physical actions for each emotion.  Wanna show Eagerness? Have your characters be leaning forward, licking lips, smiling, bouncing on toes, rushing one’s words, etc.  It gives you amazing lists of reactions to each emotion.  It is wonderful.

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This next book has nothing to do with writing.  It’s just there in case I need to give my brain a few minutes off.  I’ve heard it said that sometimes it’s helpful to have a book to read just to remember how words are supposed to go together.  This is one of my all-time favorites (It’s Sundancer by Shelly Peterson) and I’ve read it so many times that I can just jump in and read a few pages without being sucked in too much.

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Lights.  Lighty orb balls of happiness.  So that I can have some lovely light-filled inspiration or something.  (Five dollars at Target, people!  Definitely worth it.)

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Slippers of fuzziness and a blanket.  Because my basement is cold.

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Random flashcards stuck everywhere!

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My personal favorites: when all else fails, blow something up, and Philippians 4:13 for goodness sake!


Then we have the Reward Graph to encourage the word count to keep going up.

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NOT PICTURED: Kleenex, hand lotion, lip balm, note cards, markers, a character binder, a notebook, my laptop, a large music playlist, a NaNo calendar, and a box of assorted candy.


Finally, we have the great NaNoWriMo mug, for lots and lots of caffeine.

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I hope this tour has inspired you in some way, or maybe given you a new idea about your work space.  Is there anything I’ve left out?

Some Late Night Ramblings on Character Development.

It’s October 1st.IMAG1488

The leaves on the trees are turning red brown.

There’s a chill in the air.

Fuzzy slippers and hot cocoa are calling my name.

Oh, and NaNoWriMo is a month away.

But that’s just a side note.

What I really want to talk about today is character development.

My characters for my NaNoNovel are all coming together in bits and pieces.

Here’s five things I’m focusing on for each one right now:

  1. Their name.  Okay, yes, it’s sad: I don’t have a name for any of my characters yet.  Okay, I have ONE name.  But the rest are just “the MC” or “The MC’s Friend #1.”  I have a feeling I will spend some time prowling around the Appellation Station forum.
  2. Their backstory.  Obviously, it’s important to know where my characters are coming from.  How their parents act.  Who their friends are.  What their life experience is.  Who they are before page 1.
  3. What they’d wear.  This may seem a bit strange, but I’m really having fun with this.  When we meet someone for the first time in real life, we judge them by what they wear.  And even after that, the way they dress says a lot about someone.  Obviously, I care a lot more about who my friends are on the INSIDE, but how they present themselves on the outside sometimes reflects a part of their personality.  I’ve gone online and printed out some pictures of clothing different people would wear.  So that when I go to write them, I can visualize.
  4. How they talk.  I’ve had issues in the past with wanting to introduce a character but just not being sure how they should sound.  Not every character needs to have a specific “dialect” or “accent” (wher ye’ write all da werds like dis ta convey how dey’s tawking).  However, I do find it helpful to be able to hear a character’s voice in my head.  Is his voice deep?  Does she giggle a lot?  Does he curse?  Does she babble?  Does he say “Aw, man!” all the time?  Knowing how my characters are going to sound ahead of time lets me write dialogue without even thinking.
  5. Their place in the story.  I’ve developed three main supporting characters already (not to mention the antag and another side character).  What is each character there for?  How do they meet the protag?  How do they get along with each other?  Does this character add tension?  Will they surprise the reader?

What are you guys up to this next month?