Tuesday, October 30, 2012

My Daily NaNo List

For your daily NaNo pleasure, this is my list for NaNo 2012. The word counts are a cumulative total for what you should have by the end of the day, not a daily word count. Repeat it with me: The DAILY word count goal is 1,667 words. This list is a lot less link heavy, contains less event notices, etc. so it should be easier to get what you really want to know: How many words should I be up to by now?!

November 1: Get started! 1,667 words today.
November 2: 3,334 words today.
November 3: 5,001 words today.
November 4: 6,668 words today.
November 5: 8,335 words today. Back up your novel today.
November 6: 10,002 words today. Go vote before the polls close. Write before you go and after you get back!
November 7: 11,669 words today.
November 8: 13,336 words today.
November 9: 15,003 words today.
November 10: 16,670 words today.
November 11: 18,337 words today.
November 12: 20,004 words today. Back up your novel today.
November 13: 21,671 words today.
November 14: 23,338 words today. Today is Donation Day. If you haven't gotten your halo yet, go get it!
November 15: 25,005 words today.
November 16: 26,672 words today. Thank your ML's for the hard work they have put into NaNo today for Municipal Liaison Appreciation Day.
November 17: 28,339 words today.
November 18: 30,006 words today. This is the Night of Writing Dangerously Write-a-thon in San Francisco.
November 19: 31,673 words today. Back up your novel today.
November 20: 33,340 words today.
November 21: 35,007 words today.
November 22: 36,674 words today. Thanksgiving for Americans. Write in the morning so that you don't pass out and forget later tonight after all that turkey!
November 23: 38341 words today.
November 24: 40,008 words today.
November 25: 41,675 words today. You can start validating today and earning those purple bars!
November 26: 43,342 words today. Back up your novel today.
November 27: 45,009 words today.
November 28: 46,676 words today.
November 29: 48,343 words today.
November 30: 50,000 words today. Validate your novel before midnight tonight. Don't wait until the last minute since word counts may vary between writing programs. Hit 50k early to make sure you don't need another 1k or so to make up for wonky word counting errors between Word, Open Office, etc. and the NaNo validator. Open Office is the worst about this. You have been warned!
December 1: No more words! Well, you can write more if you'd like, but NaNo is officially over for 2012!

Love is love, no matter the back story. <3 DS

NaNoWriMo at a Glance

Below is an excerpt from the latest NaNo mail from The Office of Letters and Light referencing an almost day by day entry of things to do and things to keep in mind throughout the month of November pertaining to NaNoWriMo.

November 1: Write your first 1,667 and feel great about embarking on this wild, wordy adventure. Tell your inner editor to take a hike for the next 30 days, or else. Watch him/her/it skedaddle, and heave a sigh of relief.November 2: Check your NaNoMail early and often for pep talks from staff and published authors, messages from your fellow Wrimos, and updates from your regional Municipal Liaison (AKA magical ninja heroes of noveling goodness). To stay extra-informed about everything happening in NaNoLand, you can also like our Facebook page, follow us on Twitter, and keep up with our daily blog posts.November 3: Take some time this weekend to stockpile writerly rewards. When you reach a word-count goal, you'll have a treat at the ready to reinforce your admirable dedication to this project.November 5: You hit your weekend target of 6,668 words (or not—that's okay, too, so long as you keep writing!). Now save your novel-in-progress to a USB drive, or email a copy to yourself or a trusted friend, as part of the first "Back Up Your Novel" Day. These occur every Monday throughout the month, and will ensure that your novel is soundly saved in multiple locations to prevent loss, theft, or destruction.November 6: If you're in the US, vote! And keep writing. In whichever order you choose.November 9: Your goal by the end of the second weekend should be to write at least 18,000 words. Plan to use Saturday and Sunday to catch up (or get ahead) in preparation for Week 2.November 12: You are entering Week 2, a time when encouragement is key. Be sure to read up on the pep talks from staff and guest authors in your NaNoMail, and peruse all past writerly encouragement in our Pep Talk Archive!November 14: It's Donation Day, a public-radio-style fundraiser running from 6 AM to midnight Pacific time. If NaNoWriMo is rocking your creative writing world, please consider making a tax-free contribution to fuel our engines of inspiration for kids, teens, and adults around the globe. And today alone, you'll be eligible to receive great hourly bonus prizes for making a donation.November 16: On this ML Appreciation Day, be sure to thank your ML(s) for all they do. Send them a NaNoMail message, high-five them in person, or bring them a bouquet of plush porpoises. Trust me, it'll be a hit.November 18: By land, sea, and sky, NaNo-novelists travel from around the world to congregate in San Francisco for the Night of Writing Dangerously Write-a-thon. It's an extravaganza of noir and noveling: fast-and-furious typing, costumes, raffle prizes, a candy bar, oratories, fabulous food, and more inspired writers than you can shake a gold-tipped cane at! Sound like the most fun you'll ever have? Find out how you can attendNovember 19: Have you been backing up your novel? No?!?! Well thank goodness it's "Back up Your Novel Yet Again" Day. Do it. Future You will thank Present You profusely.November 21: Do a happy dance that you're three-quarters of the way through the month and still trucking on your novel. Are you not still trucking on your novel? There's time yet! Visit YWP's Dare Machine to get your novel restarted.November 22: NaNo HQ is closed in observation of Thanksgiving. We will raise a goblet of gratitude for Wrimos everywhere; wonderful, wordy novels; and delicious, carb-filled holiday foodstuffs.November 25: Winning begins! Between now and 11:59:59 PM on November 30, you can cut and paste your 50,000-word novel into the website's Word Count Validator to be declared an officially official NaNoWriMo Winner!November 25, later that day: Winner Shirts are back on sale, as the perfect complement to your officially official win. Visit our online store to get yours today, or whenever you cross the finish line!November 26: Plan out your word-count goals for the final five days of noveling to ensure that you do indeed reach 50,000 words by the end of the month. Deploy emergency measures as necessary.November 28: Take a quick break from writing like the wind to mark down the date of your region's TGIO party.November 30: Write, write, write! You're in it to win it!December 1: Validated, won, and done; you're sleeping like a baby. As you should be. Sleep on, Winner!
 It seems like a lot to keep track of for sure. I'm working on my own version of this list with daily word count and such. Back in a few minutes.

Love is love, no matter the back story. <3 DS

Monday, October 29, 2012

My Favorite Characters

I love creating characters. The background work for major characters takes a lot more work but it is so worth it to get inside the life of someone else, no matter how fantastic or terrible their life seems. Weaving the history of each character is fun. Yes, I said it is fun. Time consuming too of course but a total blast.

Between the 3 novels I have written, I have created close to 100 characters. Some are very minor and haven’t had a chance to speak. Others are the huge integral beasts of characters that demand top billing. Constantly. A few characters have only been mentioned in name.

In my trilogy, there are so many characters and they all vie for my attention the second they step into a scene. They are all very strong personalities and it is difficult to tell them to shut up and move on. As I am working my way through the 3rd and final novel in the trilogy this November, it is going to be difficult to get everyone the closure their stories need by the end of the novel.

Journey of Shadows introduced 5 major characters and a small handful of other minor characters while laying out the story for some incredible creatures. The 2nd book, Untitled, immediately picks up where Journey of Shadows left off and introduces many more minor characters and other creatures. The 3rd book will be the culmination of events, leading to a final showdown of good vs. evil in a battle fought on the ground, in the air, and in the water. I don’t know how it will end. I hope Dani and her friends win with minimal losses. We’ll see how the story goes once the writing happens. I'll find out during this year's NaNoWriMo!

The novel I wrote at the end of the summer introduced another female heroine in a young adult urban fantasy. It is set in our world with fantasy elements in the mix for a high school junior just trying to get to class on time. She is snarky and resilient and smart. This girl is definitely not the 1st half of Journey of Shadow’s version Dani that is a simpering silly girl that spends most of her time crying about her misfortunes. This kid is tough as nails and ready to take on the world, or at least Cincinnati.

So I’m trying to figure out what character is my favorite to write. I think in Journey of Shadows, my favorite character to write was Jorune, the giant sea turtle. His speech was so relaxing and helped me to find an inner calm when I wrote his back story. In the 2nd book, my favorite characters to write are two you haven’t met: a dragon woman and a Shadow child. Neither of them got nearly as much “screen time” but their stories were so captivating. I cried for the kid as much as I cheered for the woman. In the young adult UF, also untitled for now, my favorite character to write was the male best friend to the main character. Now his story is interesting.

I’m anxious to start writing the 3rd novel of the trilogy as I want to know what happens! I can’t wait to share these stories with you when they are ready. Journey of Shadows was a work in progress for over 2 years before I started to feel confident that it was ready for the public. I’m hoping the 2nd book doesn't take that long but until it is ready, I will continue to polish it over and over again. And I will do the same for the 3rd, starting with the 1st draft that I will be starting in... 2 days, 3 hours, 13 minutes? Crap. It's almost writing time!

Here’s to a very productive NaNoWriMo 2012!

Love is love, no matter the back story. <3 DS

Hurricane Sandy

Those in the areas expected to be hit by Hurricane Sandy, please be safe. Evacuation orders are not suggestions. They are demands by the governing bodies that were elected to keep you safe. Upwards of 50 million people are thought to be in the path of what they are calling a superstorm. If you reside in an area of impact, please know that you could be in danger. Don't make the job of rescue crews harder by stubbornly staying in your home when you can evacuate. There are people who legitimately may not be able to evacuate. Those without phones, televisions, and the Internet may not even know they are in danger. The elderly, the disabled, the homeless- the transportation needs to get them out of harm's way is limited. If you stay when you could have evacuated, then you are taking time away from those that legitimately could not leave and making their chances of rescue and survival that much less.

If you live in the following states, please stay abreast of the situation:

  • Connecticut
  • Delaware
  • Kentucky
  • Maine
  • Maryland
  • Massachusetts
  • New Hampshire
  • New Jersey
  • New York
  • North Carolina
  • Ohio
  • Pennsylvania
  • Rhode Island
  • South Carolina
  • Tennessee
  • Virginia
  • Vermont
  • Washington, D. C.
  • West Virginia

Many areas are expected to get gale force winds, hail, rain, snow, and flooding. Public buildings are shutting down in preparation of the storm. In many areas, this includes public transit. Power outages are definitely expected across the region. If you are in an area that is expected to be hit but do not need to evacuate, you need to stock up on supplies. Food, batteries for flashlights, candles, water resistant matches, bottled water, blankets, weather/emergency radios, and first aide kits should be on the top of your list. Don't wait until the storm is upon you to get what you need- it could be too late.

Think of the elderly and needy during this time. If you have spare blankets, food, or water, consider making donations at homeless shelters around the region to help with the influx of evacuees. Invite your elderly neighbors to take shelter in your home to wait out the storm. Donate blood at the Red Cross or other donation centers. Bring your outdoor animals inside if possible- the freezing weather will affect them too.

The United States has a broken political system and people can be terrible to each other on any given day. But in times of crisis, this is when the American public really shines. We take care of each other. I lived in Alabama during Hurricane Katrina. I was there in 2010 and 2011 when the tornadoes tore through Alabama and the South. I have seen the unity our people have in natural disasters and it is breathtaking. Please, help take care of each other and stay safe out there folks!

Love is love, no matter the back story. <3 DS

Saturday, October 27, 2012

NaNo Kickoff Party

I went to my regional NaNoWriMo kickoff party today. It was at a wonderful coffee shop in Cincinnati called Corner BLOC Cafe. I left much earlier than I needed to and am so glad I did. I would have been very late otherwise- construction made my directions completely useless about 2 miles from the shop. If you know Cincinnati, those 2 miles of detours can put someone in a lot of interesting places.

Thankfully, I took a chance and pulled over to ask for directions from a guy watching a few elementary school age kids playing on the sidewalk. About a mile later, I pulled over and asked a man that looked like he was at least 100 years old. They were both incredibly helpful. So dude with the 3 kids and surprisingly spry dude two streets later: thank you for giving me directions!

The kickoff party was great. The ML's have changed a bit this year, losing one of our ML's due to illness and gaining 2 ML's in the process, but they put on a great party. The group is huge and diverse and hysterical. The best part? We had at least 4 folks at the party that are completely 100% NaNo virgins. Ah, I remember my first NaNo and can say with total honesty that it was one of the best experiences of my life. There are several more NaNo virgins on our region's message boards so hopefully I'll meet more of them over November. Before we left, one of the new ML's had each of us write a plot ninja (its a plot device for something totally unexpected to jump out of nowhere and move your story forward in a new/better/faster paced direction), seal the envelope, and then draw one at random. I hope I don't have to use mine at any point but I really want to know what mine says.

The ML's gave us all new notebooks, stickers, odds and end stationary goodies, and lots of chocolate. So wonderful. I am loving this year's NaNo design- it is a Venn diagram! I haven't done the kind of prep I should have done this year but I'll make it through. My goal this year is to write Immo3 as a start to finish novel. We'll see how that works out. I have my journal set up so I'm ready to do weekly updates like last year.

This is going to be a fun NaNo. I'm ready to start writing already. 12:01am November 1st needs to get here, like now! :)

Love is love, no matter the back story. <3

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

November is Coming! November is Coming!

National Novel Writing Month is about a week away! If you haven’t registered yet, go to the website and sign up! Get to know the folks in your region; attend a Kick Off Party. Basically, get involved. That is half of the fun of NaNo.

If you want to read up on some information on NaNo, check out my posts from October 2011 (here) to read up on rules, rule breaking, prep work, a few writing exercises, etc. Start at the bottom and scroll up! I am pre-blogging some stuff to go up during November that will include some writing stuff (and requisite Election day stuff).

I hope you will jump into NaNo this year with me. I never thought I’d be able to write a full length novel but NaNoWriMo is the reason I finished my first. And my 2nd. My 3rd was finished outside of NaNo but I’ll be working on my 4th novel this year, which will be the 3rd book in my trilogy, The Immortalis Trilogy. Check the banner at the top for information my 1st NaNo novel. Journey of Shadows was written in 2009 and rewritten and polished until ready for publication in March 2012.

You can do this. I know you can. I’ll be working right along with you!

Love is love, no matter the back story. <3 DS

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Books by the Banks was Awesome!

I am back from Books by the Banks. Steven and I had an adventure of a time! Sadly, his wife and son did not go with us and I spent most of the time trying not to have a panic attack.

We walked around the author room twice, seeing people that Steven has met over the years in various instances. He lived in the same apartment complex as one of the ladies. He worked with one of the men. He knew various people from Facebook. It was very nice to meet them all.

The folks with the DIY home blog were serious hits and apparently the biggest name at the festival. They had a line that wrapped around the room! Their panel session was packed and people lined the back of the room. We didn't go to that session.

We went to the publishing session with Chuck Sambuchino. It was not as well attended as the DIY craft session, but it was very informative regardless. Steven and I sat at the back of the room and listened while various people moved around the room (a pair of ladies frequently left the room and returned a few minutes later- very distracting!). Steven asked a few questions and I tried to absorb as much of Chuck's information as possible. I tried to warn Chuck about an impostor here on Blogger that I thought was someone using his name/info and it turned out it was him! I was slightly embarrassed and quickly scampered away with the excuse that Steven left my purse sitting unattended. When we got back, I finally thought of a question to ask: When asked for the first X number pages by an agent or publisher, does that include the prologue or not?

We contemplated staying for the children's lit session but eventually decided against it and headed back. Steven was hurting a bit, my stomach was growling very loudly, I needed a cigarette break, and I had forgotten my phone at his house. I am not one that has to be glued to their phone 24/7 but I do not like not knowing where it is and I get very panic-y when I don't have a constant way of knowing the time. Weird, I know, but still- I have to know what time it is or I get a headache, I sweat a lot, my pulse races, and I generally feel like something bad is going to happen.

So we headed out and stopped by the Ohio Bookstore, a 5 story book store in downtown Cincinnati. They have a book bindery in the basement. It was really cool. We couldn't stay long though because the meter where we parked only gave us 3 minutes for 10 cents and I only had 50 cents on me. Ugh. The whole store was neat though. Wall to wall books! Heaven.

The entire event was a great way to spend an afternoon. Tons of kids in attendance and the kid room was busier than the authors' floor. A few mascots wandering around reminded me of my college days as Curious George. Chuck Sambuchino was an excellent speaker and gave off a Ryan Reynolds's Mr. D (School of Life) vibe. Yay conferences! Maybe next year or the year after, I will be one of the authors on the floor rather than walking around starry eyed and suddenly introverted.

Love is love, no matter the back story. <3 DS

Friday, October 19, 2012

Books by the Banks Part 2

I am geared up and seriously ready for tomorrow's Book by the Banks: Cincinnati USA Book Festival. As a reminder, it is 10am-4pm at the Duke Energy Center in Cincinnati and admission is FREE!

I will be wearing an "I'm a friggin' fantasy writer"-type brooch for giggles and grins. Check it out:

Rainbow Dragon Brooch

See you tomorrow!

Love is love, no matter the back story. <3

Go Vote!

I don't know about you but I'm sick up to my eyeballs of all the political this and that everywhere I look. I literally cannot do anything without seeing or hearing something about the upcoming election. I will be glad once November's Presidential election is over. My Presidential vote is clear to me. Don't worry; I'm not going to tell you to vote for anyone specific. But I do want you to vote.

Go to RegistertoVote.org and find your state to see if you can still register to vote. It is too late to register to vote in Ohio but other states allow you to register up until 10 days prior to the election (like Alabama). You may have already registered when you renewed your driver's license, registered for the draft after turning 18, etc. Go to CanIVote.org to see if you are registered. After selecting your state and inputting the required information (last name, street name, zip code, and county), scroll to the bottom of the page under the input boxes to see what records they located. If your name isn't on there, then you may have issues when you get to the polls.

I am a firm believer in the fact that anyone that does not vote should not complain about policy and politicians afterwards. Voting is an essential part of your civic responsibility. Do your part! Go vote on November 6, 2012.

Love is love, no matter the back story. <3 DS

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Books by the Banks Festival

On Saturday, I will be attending Books by the Banks: Cincinnati USA Books Festival. Check out the official site here.

Books by the Banks is a yearly fall festival celebrating writers and readers. It is at the Duke Energy Center this year and admission is FREE! Yup, it is free to get in. There will be local and national author tables, panel sessions, and children's events from 10am-4pm. I am looking forward to attending the 11am panel session "You've Written a Book, Now What?: Tips and Tricks for Getting Published" by Chuck Sambuchino, author of Red Dog, Blue Dog: When Pooches Get Political. Also, I'm *hopefully* going to check out the 1pm panel session "Children's Lit Chat: Writing and Illustrating Children's Books" with Derek Anderson (Walking Dragons), Mac Barnett (Danger Goes Berserk), and Rafael Rosado (Giants Beware!).

The whole event looks to be a fantastic time for everyone. If you are local, you should stop by. I mean, free admission is awesome. All you have to pay for is parking and that is $1-12 depending on where you park. That isn't a terrible price by any means! I'll be there with my editor and his family, browsing books, speaking to other writers and readers, listening to discussions, and generally enjoying the atmosphere for a few hours.

Love is love, no matter the back story. <3 DS

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Writing Writing Writing

It has been a while since I have posted. Lots going on, including the kiddies' having issues at school (I know, they have only been back a little while- this was the 2nd freaking week!), writing, a week long stint at the county fair, crafty stuff, more writing, and medical issues. You have my sincere apologies for staying gone so flipping long. I really think I'm turning into a zombie. Anyways...

Back in mid-August, I posted about my writing goals. For those that don't remember, here are those goals:

  • Research specific topics
    1. realistic and descriptive battle scenes
    2. 15th century Moldova
    3. colonial America
    4. Cincinnati in the 1800's
    5. antiques from 1300's and up
  • Write something daily
    1. back story for a few other stories in the works to pick up on next year
    2. journaling through NaNo prep
    I figured an update was in store. Let's see. Research... I completed 2-5 a lot faster than I expected, along with research on Gothic and Revival architecture, architecture in Cincinnati, and a tiny bit of botany research. By the end of August, I finished all that and #1 of the Write Daily list. So in September, I decided to start writing on one of my side projects, the focus of all that research. Using Liquid Story Binder to keep track of my writing sessions, I managed to get down about 62,000 words over 12 writing days. My total writing time amounted to under 55 hours. Imagine my surprise when I realized that I finished the story?! I'm a pantser as you know so when I reached the end (and realized it was the end) I was in shock.

    This new story doesn't resemble anything like The Immortalis Trilogy.

    My newest story (and 3rd novel if you are keeping track) is a YA urban fantasy set in present day Cincinnati. It is a stand alone novel but with so much possibility for a series. 62,000 words is a bit on the slim side for my tastes (Journey of Shadows ran around 83,000 in its last incarnation and the 2nd in the series, still untitled, is sitting at around 130,000) but it feels complete to me. We'll see what happens after my Beta readers have a look.

    With that 1st draft done an
    d the story out of my head, I am finally able to relax. Or can I? Crap, its mid-October already and I haven't done any NaNoWriMo prep. At all. Son of a- I'm off to start research for #1 above (battle scenes) and try to forget about the children's fairy tale that keeps bouncing around in my head until after November. Maybe I'll just make a few notes first...

    Love is love, no matter the back story. <3