NaNoWriMo 2016 2nd Update: I Need White Out

 So far I’ve been writing pretty consistently, but after this weekend, I have hit a wall…

I wish I could blame it on writer’s block or a difficult plot hole I have to work around. But instead, I realized late on Sunday night that everything I had written in the three days prior had to be rewritten… UUUUGH can you just hear all those words spinning through the pipes? Those poor, crappy paragraphs. They never stood a chance. 😑

The problem was that I had realized the scene I was writing was DRAGGING…. How is the audience supposed to be excited if I’m not even interested? The scene presented crucial world-building information, sure, but somehow it was soooooooo uninteresting. Why not just shoot myself in the foot if I manage to make my own dark, weird world uninteresting?

So I’m hovering around the word count goal, now, because I’ve basically been rewriting the scenes in a new, completely different setting. It’s way better, it feels so much more organic to the story, but DAMN can I just say how disheartening this is? It’s like… I could practically see myself just holding those papers over a fire and laughing as it burned into ash. Laughing at my poor little writerly self whose wrist muscles are seriously taking a toll from writing by hand and then typing.

But, I still stand by my methods. This write-then-type approach is really keeping me in the story so that I can identify when things like this doesn’t work. And, just to make myself feel better, I kept the word count of the bad scenes in the NaNoWriMo calculator… they still count, right?

Ugh… yes, I am flustered. And yes, I am getting annoyed. But I have made it to the halfway point without skipping a day of writing.

I keep telling myself I have to make this a habit, because writing, albeit discouraging at times (hell, at most times) is really rewarding. I’m going to TRY and push through and at least finish the scene I’m working on right now even though I really just want to lay in a blanket burrito with some chocolate. Maybe it’s the weather, maybe it’s the shitty scenes, and maybe it’s just the idea that someday, somehow, I can be a REAL writer, and I’m still so far away. But the only way to get there is to keep going.

Right?

Right.

 

Until next time,

🔥

Live,

Morgan Paige

NaNoWriMo 2016: My Brain is…

… a steam train idling in a tunnel.

Happy November, everybody and welcome to my first NaNoWriMo update!

I can’t believe it’s already the second week of the month… I think NaNoWriMo has just dropped me into a writing hole that I can’t see out of. It’s actually really great, I love these moods because it’s not often when they happen. I’m sure as writers you all understand lol

I’ve tried a new approach, however, and now instead of either just typing or just writing by hand, I’m doing both! It obviously takes a lot more time, but I keep my head in the game, and when I get around to typing what I’ve written for the day, I’ve had more time to mull over what the scene really is supposed to convey and how best to do it. So it’s like I’ve gotten to write my first draft and also edit it along the way in preparation for the next day.

I’ve managed to keep up with the word count, too, but I’ll admit that I’m just barely hanging on there. I get just about 1,700 words per day and sometimes can stretch it when I do my typing later in the day and make some serious structural edits.

My story is going pretty well, though, and I think it helps because it’s an idea I’ve had mulling around in my head for a couple of months and really, intimately know my characters. It’s pretty fun to see how much I’ve grown as a writer since last NaNoWriMo. My 2015 story was super flat and pretty much author wish fulfillment… which I DESPISE when I catch a hint of that in anyone else’s books.

So, it’s actually really fun to be writing a character that is pretty much nothing like myself. I have a good handle on her as a person and know what motivates her. Pretty much all we have in common is our familial bond, but other than that all I can do is shrug and let her pave her own way through this story.

How are you guys doing with your NaNoWriMo goals? Do you have any new characters or situations that surprised you in your story?

Good luck and keep writing! Even if we don’t make it to the goal, this is more writing than we’d be doing otherwise, eh?

 

Until next time,

Live,

Morgan Paige

NaNoWriMo Winner!

NaNo-2015-Winner-Banner

OH MY GOD

I committed… and somehow, someway, managed to actually knock out 50,000 words of a book last month.

It’s November 30th and, as you can see, I had a fairly consistent approach to the challenge, but the last two weeks were hard for me to get ahead of the curve. Life got in the way, I had a lot more projects to do at work, and I ran into a lot more writer’s block than I had anticipated.

 

winning nanowrimo snapshot

I didn’t start NaNoWriMo with a complete outline. I just had a basic story plot and a couple of subplots, so there are two major points in my story that I just kind of… winged it. For example, where I ended today I had written myself essentially out of a paper bag. I just kinda guessed and plodded my way through following my characters the whole time. I don’t like the chapter and know that I’m going to have to go through and rewrite it, but I at least have an idea of what needs to be accomplished.

I think this whole challenge has been eye opening and life changing. I am making this a life style change- writing daily really has been the best thing I’ve done for myself in a very long time. It’s creative, therapeutic, and personal. I can do it for me and, though I might not always be happy with the results, I’m happy I’ve taken the time to do something for myself. I don’t know about the rest of you, but being able to put time into a passion or hobby is kind of hard to find. NaNo-2015-Winner-Badge-Large-Square

If anyone is interested, I can run through and edit the first chapter/opening scene that I wrote and throw in a kind of synopsis for my NaNoWriMo story called The Lost Sailor.

It is certainly choppy and rough, but we’ve all put so much effort into writing this month that we deserve to share it 🙂 I can’t wait to see what you’ve all written and surf through the posts of excerpts and chapters.

 

Until next time!

Live,

Morgan Paige

NaNoWriMo: Halfway to… the End?

Hello, everyone!

 
On Friday, I desperately wanted to write a blog detailing my experience with NaNoWriMo and to tell you all how happy I am to have hit the halfway mark! WOOT 25,000 word mark here we are!

 
I actually did write the blog post, but between the time it took me to write it and the time it took to find an appropriate graphic, I hit the brick wall that we have all come to know and hate: writer’s block. I have been doing so well up until last Friday, and this weekend I managed to undo all of the extra writing I’ve been putting in every day. My estimated finish date changed from early next week to December 1st, according to the lovely NaNoWriMo website, and I just felt so embarrassed that I let my work get away from me so quickly.
 

I was feeling under the weather (stomach issues rock…), which is entirely the reason why I didn’t write. And it made me think about just how fragile motivation can be when it comes to creative outlets. It’s like a faucet that can only run when the conditions are just right (or just wrong, in some people’s cases), and it absolute steamrolled me this past weekend.

 

However, I’m not going to let this huge setback affect my ultimate goal, because I know that this is not just a monthly challenge for me, but a life style change. I’ve felt so creatively fulfilled being able to get this story and these characters out of my head, I just need to balance the other aspects of my life that may come back and bite me in the butt if I’m not careful (I’ve also found it a bit hard to socialize this month… any of you feel this way, too?).
 

I see so many bloggers doing daily update posts and I commend you all! At the end of the month, I’ll give you all a real snapshot of the story and my expectations, and maybe we can all see what sort of magic we’ve  managed to come up with. I think I might even share some of the character sheets and outlines I’ve done if people are interested! My outlines are laughable right now, but sometimes it’s nice to see how other people prepare their stories 🙂

 

Until next time!

Live,
Morgan Paige

Participating in NaNoWriMo: Advice and Techniques.

Does anyone else feel like torturing themselves? Why not NaNoWriMo? 😀

NaNoWriMo is right around the corner… and this is the second year I’ve committed to it (the first year I’ve actually signed up on the website, though!).NaNoWriMo, National Novel Writing Month, is an event in which writers are tasked with the FUN goal of writing a whole novel (or 50,000 words) during the month of November. It’s a daunting task for anyone who isn’t Stephen King (who writes 2,000-3,000 words a day as it is), but has been successfully set up by its creators as a community with a VERY strong support system. I’ve received a fair amount of emails designed to bolster my confidence and build a strong foundation of literary and communal expectations, which is honestly one of reasons why I think this event has gotten to popular.

A good amount of authors who have finished NaNoWriMo have actually gone ahead and published their feverishly written stories. Goodreads has a list of these stories, some of the more famous being Erin Morgenstern’s The Night Circus and Sara Gruen’s Water for Elephants. I don’t think NaNoWriMo should be tackled from an author who expects to be published, though. I feel like the sheer goal of writing 50,000 words in one month should be the focus, after the commitment to the story itself. That is what’s important here: the story you’re trying to get out. And so, in all my preparation and my small amount of experience, I’ve found and received some advice that I’d thought I’d share with you all in case you are also considering taking part this year.

  1. Plan it out! You don’t want to write the first chapter and then sit there wondering why you have writer’s block… A general outline of the story/ what the characters can expect/ themes to be discussed would be a good foundation to build (and this is honestly where I failed last time I tried to write a story in November- so much writers block!).
  2. Draw a map. No matter what genre you’re writing, a map would be a fantastic visual starting point for your story. It gives you a general sense of where you’re taking your characters and how involved you will need to get in describing your scenery. Whether your detective character suddenly has to visit a farm outside of his usual city abode or your main character gets kicked out of his house and has to wander the street for a night, the map will help your own brain prepare for whatever kind of senses your characters will be experiencing.
  3. Write an unused scene. This is actually one of my favorite pieces of advice. If you’re writing a new story with a new character (and you should be), you don’t really know how your character is going to react in certain situations or how they are going to deal with the obstacles you throw them. Take your main character and put him/her in a situation that will help add substance to his/her back story. This way, not only do you know what to expect in your story-writing, you will also have a solid foundation on how your character will act.
  4. Keep writing. Up until November 1st, make sure you keep your mind sharp. Whether you’re writing short poems or responding to writing prompts, just keep those creative juices flowing. You won’t burn out, I promise you. If anything, you’ll be warmed up and ready to jump into those crazy days in the month ahead!
  5. Don’t fret over word count. Sure, the word count is the thing that makes NaNoWriMo what it is. But if you fall 500 words short one day or miss a day completely, don’t give up. Every day is different and you’ll find that some days you will overdo your goal and some days will be a total bust. If word count is what’s so important to you, work on something else. You’ll still get the number, and you might even find inspiration where you never expected it.
  6. Keep reading! If there’s anything that keeps my creativity in the right frame of mind, it’s other stories. I don’t have to even read something that’s in my genre, just as long as it’s captivating (I’ve been on a horror kick, lately, and my story definitely isn’t scary).

I hope these thoughts are helpful, I will be posting more throughout the next couple of weeks to keep in touch and chat with you all about NaNoWriMo progress. Is it anyone else’s first time? Or are most of you seasoned veterans and find this pieces of advice to be laughable? I’d love to hear more ideas and perspectives!