Posts Tagged ‘Nanowrimo’

Two Broke Girls with Guns

Posted: March 30, 2015 by writingsprint in Fun Stuff
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Actually they’re not broke, but they’re starting out with the clothes on their backs. And guns. 2,107 words tonight, about 900 of which came from a scene I wrote a few months ago when I was jumping ahead. Risha and her best friend are on their own now.

Having 900 of today’s words was a huge shot in the arm, but even without it, I can’t get over how much better the writing feels now than it has before. I think it’s because I’m getting to know the characters better and I’m taking my time with the story. Originally I had expectations of what had to happen when and when the story should look like. To be blunt, f*** that. Let the characters tell you what they feel like. Listening to them, exploring the story, is opening it up more than I ever dreamed.

Do you eat dinner with your friends with expectations of what they’ll say and when they’ll say it? Hell no. You sit back, have a few drinks, and let the night go where it does. Never mind that an evil empire is chasing after you. That’s a whole ‘nother problem.

Two days until Camp Nanowrimo officially begins!


Who Said Anything About a Deal?

Posted: March 29, 2015 by writingsprint in Fun Stuff
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1,325 words today, putting me 122 words ahead of schedule. Today Risha and Raffa had to think on their feet, in a scene that I wrote while waiting to get a haircut. The scene went pretty well. The haircut, not so much. Pfffft.

Fear Helps

Posted: March 28, 2015 by writingsprint in Fun Stuff
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fear will find you

“Why do we write?”

* * *

“You do not fear writing. You think this makes you strong. It makes you weak.”


“How can you write more than possible, imagine more than possible without the most powerful impulse of the spirit: the fear of writer’s block.”

“I do fear writer’s block. I fear that my stories will never be written, while I stare at the page every day, and my voice will never be heard.”

“Then write your story.”


“Pour the words onto the page. Then fear will find you again.”

1,366 words today: an argument, a revelation, and a touching family moment. Also some scenery and a little bit of jumping ahead as a seed for a scene in the future. Fear helps.

It’s funny, I feel a little guilty having success while writing several days ahead of the official start date. I do this to make it easy on myself. I started last November’s Nano several days ahead, too. If this was a competition I’d certainly wait until Wednesday to get started, but it’s not. This is all about the writing and encouraging people to write. Writing is hard enough without deliberately making it harder. I’m going to pour it on.

And thank you, Batman.

Camp Nanowrimo Inspiration

Posted: March 28, 2015 by writingsprint in Fun Stuff
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flawed diamond

Photo of a flawed diamond from the Wikipedia page “Perfect is the enemy of the good.”

My good friend Steve Phillips sent me some inspirational quotes for Camp Nanowrimo — which starts on Wednesday, in case you’re interested!

“A good plan violently executed now is better than a perfect plan executed next week.” George S. Patton

“The perfect is the enemy of the good.” Voltaire

“Better a diamond with a flaw than a pebble without.” Confucius

“Striving to be better, oft we mar what’s well.” Shakespeare, King Lear

The Pareto Principle: it takes 20% of the work to complete 80% of the work. (And believe me, that last 20% of the work really does take 80% of the effort.)

“Give them the third-best to go on with; the second-best comes too late, [and] the best never comes.” Sir Robert Watson-Watt, the developer of early warning radar for the British in World War II.

I’m all about making the story as good as I can, but now is not that time!


Posted: March 27, 2015 by writingsprint in Fun Stuff
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1,557 words tonight. I’m caught up and 63 words ahead of goal. Yay! The caper wrapped up and now we’re dealing with aftermath.

Lesson #1 for doing Nanowrimo: write your face off. Describe settings in detail. And characters. Wander. Try out ideas. Backtrack. Hop. Skip. Jump. Did I say wander? Otherwise, unless you have a rock-solid plan to write, or you have a talent for free writing, you’ll run out of gas halfway through or sooner.

Lesson #2: Even if the scene isn’t what you thought, the essence of it, your desire to write it, is burned in behind the words. You’ll kindle those embers when you edit it later. I’m finding that what I thought were holes in my story weren’t holes at all–they were undeveloped ideas that I’d refused to explore because I couldn’t see them working. Want to go for a swim? Dive in. Yes, I’m going to have to rewrite this entire thing later. So what. DIVE. IN.

Lesson #3: Discovering a character isn’t about getting inside their heads. It’s about letting them inside yours. (I’ve tacked this one up on my wall.)

A Little Heist Now and Then

Posted: March 26, 2015 by writingsprint in Writing
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Part 3 of my new Nanowrimo challenge

1,753 words tonight. I’m 178 words behind where I need to be, but at least I’m almost caught up. Tonight’s writing put a wrap on last night’s writing, followed by a spirited discussion between two nameless characters while I figured out some of the politics of the story. I hate politics. I don’t like pea soup, either, but it’s good for a change now and then. The plan is to learn to like politicking, or at least intrigue, and weave it into the story while the character-centered parts are going on. I wrapped up with a robbery scene from early in the story. At first I tried to make it draped in science fiction, but that proved too hard with needing to hit a word count and still get to bed at a decent hour. I switched over to real life. People are people, and I can add the tech later.

PS: a friend of mine is working on an action story, and today he sent me an email: “Do you know any good songs for inspiration for a shootout?” Did you know that if you do a Google search on “FPS playlist,” you can find collections of songs to listen to while playing a first-person shooter? I didn’t, either.


Posted: March 25, 2015 by writingsprint in Writing
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Part 2 of my new Nanowrimo challenge

400 words last night, 1600 words tonight, leaving me about 600 words behind. I started working on a scene with Risha as a child, from when she meets one of her best friends. I don’t even know if this scene will make it into the final story. It’s a decade too early. Still, I had to write it. I wanted to get to know the characters better.

Risha’s learning to be a con artist faster than I expected. Her parents’ integrity is showing in her generous heart, which is getting her into trouble. I’m not sure how long she can stay that generous in the life she’s living.

It is a weird feeling when you want the characters to go right and they insist on going left.

Here We Go Again…

Posted: March 24, 2015 by writingsprint in Writing
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Last April I reblogged a post called “Seven Reasons to Set Outrageous Goals.” We set outrageous goals to make the impossible possible.

Last April I gave myself a challenge to have the first draft of Dubrillion Burning finished by the end of April. Well, I have somewhere over 50,000 words of The Lost Princess down, and a lot of concepts and research added since then, along with bits and pieces that I’ve thrown at the wall to see if they stick. There’s a lot that’s still undefined, but you know what, I’m in the home stretch now. I’m going to dive in and do another 50,000 words by the April and see what happens.

The Monthly 50,000

Posted: November 30, 2014 by writingsprint in Nanowrimo
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Nanowrimo 2014

Raffa climbed over and lay in front of her, her bare breasts against his back, her legs wrapped around his. He rested his head back on her shoulder. Risha liked how the weight of his body felt, the musky scent of him. She kissed his hair and the side of his face. He looked back and they kissed each other, a taste of the heat they had shared earlier.

Nanowrimo wrapped up tonight with a love scene between Risha and Raffa and their pillow talk afterwards. The love scene taught me a few things as a writer. I’ve written love scenes before, mostly short erotica, but nothing I’ve put into a novel. After spending 48,000 words getting to know how resourceful and tough they are, this gave me a chance to see them relate to each other as lovers and just as human beings rather than heroes.

I learned a few things. I’ve gotten much better at this than my first Nano when I wrote a schlocky fun zombie story called Zombies at the Gates. I even had a better plan then. The quality of the prose was better this time and the overall story development was better, even when I didn’t know what was happening next. It’s because I knew the characters better. In the worst moments, when I had no clue what I would write that night, I was still able to think of the holes in my characters’ guts that I needed to fill. The characters from Zombies felt more like paper dolls in comparison. Risha and Raffa have been in my head for the better part of two years. Long before my first piece for the Nano, I’d written short scenes with them just for fun that helped me get to know who they are.

Confusion is nothing to be afraid of when you’re writing a novel. In fact, it can be one of the most powerful dramatic engines in a story. If you’re like me, you hate living in the in-betweens, when you can’t decide between “less filling” or “tastes great” in your light beer. Fictionally, though, all feelings are fair game, especially the awkward ones that we hate to deal with. Characters have doubts. Not knowing what to do can tear someone apart. Ever heard of a little movie called Casablanca? Ingrid Bergman made film history playing a character who couldn’t make up her mind between two men she loved.

Write in small chunks if you have to. If you don’t know the next scene, write a few paragraphs. If you don’t have a few paragraphs, write one sentence. If you don’t have a sentence, write a bad sentence. You can always make it better later, or if it doesn’t work at all, seeing why it doesn’t fit will give you insight into the direction you should take instead.

Music is powerful inspiration. Four times I wrote scenes where all that I had was the characters, a general idea like “this is where they fall in love” and a song that fit the moment. A good song can help you feel what your characters are feeling when your imagination doesn’t know where to begin. You may not know what the next step is in the plot. That’s okay. Just show the characters talking and interacting with each other in that moment. Plots are what happened, but characters are why we care about what happened. The characters’ actions drive the story. As you become more connected to the characters, you’ll have a better idea what happens next in the plot.

I have a lot of work to do on this story. I need to know these characters and their world much, much better. The final story will be far broader and deeper than it is now. At a minimum, I’ve only written half of the story. It feels more like a third, or even a fourth if some of the layers are deeper than I realized.

But that’s for later.

Tomorrow there will be a glass of champagne and chocolate cake. For now, I’m going to take in the applause!

Brad Pitt applause

Tina Fey high five

golf clap

Breakfast Club high five

applause Dwayne Johnson

applause Obama

HIMYM high five

Billy Dee Williams applause

Shepard shuffle

PS: weird research of the day:
Cigar flavors wheel
Violet promise tattoo

Image credit: 2014 Nanowrimo winner from, used with permission. All the animated gifs in this post are used without permission.

Crashing in toward the Ending

Posted: November 28, 2014 by writingsprint in Nanowrimo
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Just over 2,000 words today, 47,570 words total. If it’s at all possible I want to wrap up Nanowrimo tomorrow. With so many questions and plot points that I need to work out, I scratched my head wondering what to write for the next two days.

I want to know how it ends. I also want a scene where Risha and Raffa just get to be human beings with each other, rather than running a gig, blowing something up, saving someone’s life, whatever. You know. Chillin’. Getting to know each other. Finding out what they don’t like about each other. Having sex. Stuff like that. I’ve done a few scenes like this in bits and pieces already, but nothing more than that. I may do that, or I may do similar scenes with minor characters that need more development. I’ll mix it up.

Without knowing more about the ending, I said “f**k it,” queued up “The End Run” from the Mass Effect 2 soundtrack, and leaped into the middle of a climactic battle at the end of the story. Our heroes have done what they came to do and are hauling ass out of the enemy fortress. Along the way, something goes wrong. All appears lost. And then…

The story will look different when it’s all done, but this is the spirit that it’ll have.