NaNoWriMo Update #1 – Week of November 1-7

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Here we are on Day 7 of National Novel Writing Month! It’s hard to believe the first week went by so quickly. So far, I’ve been doing pretty okay! I surpassed my total from last year on day three, and it’s been mostly full-steam ahead since then!

I have found some scenes are harder to write than others. I should probably also add that I have three main characters, and I’ll be switching POV between them. I had a hard scene to write for my first MC on Wednesday, but luckily I was able to power through it. Friday was tough. I hit the first POV change, and I realized that while I’ve always had a plot mapped out for this character, I had never gotten inside their head like I had for the other two MCs. Que ~PaNiC~. It was not a pretty sight. To top it off, they needed to argue with another character, who I also hadn’t developed as much as I thought. I wrote something, but it didn’t sit well with me, nor did it flow at all with the rest of what I had written, and I stewed over it all evening. Saturday and Sunday I was actually traveling, but I had planned to write where I was. This didn’t happen, not only because I was having too much fun, but also because every time I thought about my MC I cringed, because what I had written was so out of sync with everything. I stewed some more. I stewed the whole drive down to Connecticut and the whole drive back to Boston. I attempted to write Sunday night, but it resulted in staring at the screen with my brow furrowed, frustrated and blocked by what I saw. I needed to pull back. When I write, I have a habit of putting all the information out there, but for the sake of the reader, I really should only let a bit of information slip at a time. I’m building a character, not explaining to the reader why I think they’re complex or complicated. I have to remember to show, don’t tell, which for me is extremely difficult.

So today I started behind about 2690 words, and I still had my initial 1667 to write for the day on top of that. I’m also back on a schedule where I’m only writing while the baby is napping, so that limits my time greatly. On the bright side, knowing that I have to stop when he wakes up gives me a deadline, and I work great under pressure or ahead of a deadline. I just can’t enforce them on myself. So having a baby who is going to wake up anywhere from 30-120 minutes from when I start writing is actually a great motivator.

So far today I’ve written 2012 words, which means I only have 2463 left to write to get my average back to where it was. Ninety percent of what I wrote was a redo of what I did on Friday afternoon, that awful scene that desperately needed to be redone. Now that it’s fixed, I can continue on from there, so I should hit the second POV change either later today or early on tomorrow. The original scene was 1170 words, so while I’ll still be counting that towards my 50000 word total for the moment, I’ve decided to move it to the bottom of the document where it won’t bother me. I don’t see the point of deleting over 1000 words if it’s going to ultimately mean that I don’t hit 50000. I don’t anticipate this being a problem, and if I end up being able to cut it out before the month is over without ruining my word count, I will. We’ll just have to see how things go.

The word count goal for today is 11666, and I am currently sitting at 9203 with the unusable 1170. I’m hoping to write another 2000-3000 words today to at least hit 11666, and ideally to hit 12310, which would make a grand total of 5000 words for the day to make up for not writing at all over the weekend and still push me ahead to where I should be.

How is your writing going? Are you participating in NaNoWriMo? Let’s chat about it on Twitter! You can also add me as a writing buddy on the NaNoWriMo website. Happy writing!

 

Until Next Time,

~Amanda

 

Below you can find some notes I made about my writing totals so far this month.

DAY # – GOAL/ACTUAL (AHEAD/BEHIND) – NOTES

Day  1 – 1667/2005 (+338)
Day 2 – 3333/3403 (+70) – Had a really hard scene to write today 😦
Day 3 – 5000/5416 (+416)
Day 4 – 6666/7310 (+644) – Hit the first POV change! Success!
Day 5 – 8333/7310 (-1023) – Writer’s Block! Boooo… and traveling!
Day 6 – 10000/7310 (-2690) – Still travelling..
Day 7 – 11666/9203* (-2463*) – Back to writing during nap time. Catching up!

*Running total from today

NaNoWriMo Preparations/Introduction 2016

It’s nearly that time of year again! Today is Halloween, which is all well and great and spectacular in its own right. And while Halloween is one of my favorite holidays ever, the day after is even better. It’s my grandmother’s birthday, yes! She’s turning 80, and she’s pretty fantastic.

November first also marks the start of National Novel Writing Month! Every November, people challenge themselves to write 50,000 words towards a single writing project. For me, this means buckling down and pounding out a good chunk of my first full draft of the novel I’ve been working on since 7th grade. Yes, I’ve been stewing this idea for a full 12 years. It’s time, I’ve decided, to focus and write as much of it as I possibly can this month.

Every November, people challenge themselves to write 50,000 words towards a single writing project. For me, this means buckling down and pounding out a good chunk of my first full draft of the novel I’ve been working on since 7th grade. Yes, I’ve been stewing this idea for a full 12 years. It’s time, I’ve decided, to focus and write as much of it as I possibly can this month.

The daily writing goal is 1,667 words. Normally, this sounds incredibly intimidating to me. But Thursday night I had a dream that turned out to be more than 3,000 words of a completely new story that I scribbled down during the two hours my cousin was taking his nap, and after that, well, 1,667 doesn’t sound that bad.

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The story I’ll be writing this year is fantasy/adventure. It will probably end up being a Young Adult novel, but there’s a chance it could go either Middle Grade/Juvenile Fiction or Adult Fiction depending. Mostly likely it’s going to stick to YA.

A brief description of my story would be that a girl in contemporary America wanders into a portal that takes her to another world, where magic and mayhem ensue. Oh, and the whole planet is in the Middle Ages. Super vague, I know, but you get the general idea without me giving anything away.

So far, the majority of my ‘NaNo Prep’ as people have been calling it, has just been organizing all the millions of notes I have for this story. Part of this was made easier by the fact that I moved, so I had re-locate and consolidate into notebooks every scrap of paper I needed before I left New Jersey. This meant that when I arrived in Boston, I already had everything together at least, if not cleanly laid out.

Next, I reformated much of my character list so that I could organize people by place of origin as well as age, and made it easier to figure out who is contemporaries with who. Because when you create a new world, you inevitably end up creating an entire history for that world, and you end up with tens of millions of people. I’m not there yet. I’m only at ~150. But after 12 years, each of those people has a personality and a backstory that I really wish I had the time to tell. It’s an actual difficulty that I have, deciding who’s stories are important enough that they need to be shared with the world.

The hope is that by organizing all of my background information beforehand, I won’t get lost in making it up in the middle of the actual writing, as I did last year when I ended up stalled at close to 5,000 words because I disappeared into writing the history again.

Being that I live in Boston now, where there are actual people, as opposed to on my mountain in the middle of nowhere in New Jersey (which I love, but it’s not NaNoWriMo conducive), I can actually attend write-ins, where NaNoWriMo participants gather together and write in one place. We can bounce ideas off of each other, share snacks, and enjoy some company that understands what we’re up to (aka, commiserate).

Last year I participated in some of the virtual write-ins, but it’s extremely hard to watch the chat screen and listen to the host and actually get any real writing done.

Today was the Boston region’s NaNoWriMo kick-off party, hosted at the Cambridge Public Library. Around 60 of us were able to make it, and I really loved getting to meet everyone. We got goody bags and participated in a raffle, where I won one of this year’s NaNoWriMo posters! I’m pretty excited. We also had lots of snacks, chatted with fellow writers, and raised some money to go towards NaNoWriMo and the Young Writer’s Program, which you should definitely check out, especially if you’re a teacher!!

It was a great experience, and I can’t wait for the write-ins to start. While I can’t participate in the weekday write-ins for the most part because I’ll be working, I’m planning to attend the weekend sessions as much as possible.

Are you participating in NaNoWriMo? Let me know in the comments, and feel free to add me as a writing buddy (LadyWoods13)! Just comment below before you send the request so I know you came from here! 🙂

Until next time,

Amanda

Video Gaming Community Gives Back: Extra Life 2014

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October 25th is the big day. It’s the day that thousands of gamers from around the world will log in to their video streaming apps and turn on their consoles to fight evil. Sure, they’ll fight the bad guys in their games, but they’ll also be fighting a bad guy bigger than any single game could possibly bring to the table. The 25-hour long video game playing marathon known as Extra Life raises money for hospitals that are a part of the Children’s Miracle Network (CMN) in North America, helping kids and their families deal with deadly diseases and pay for their medical bills. Gamers can sign up as individuals or as teams, and they choose which CMN hospital their proceeds will go to.

One team that has garnered a lot of attention this year is the Destiny community. Made up of players of the new game by Bungie – the creators of the wildly popular Halo franchise – and headed by the staff of two of Destiny’s top community websites: Guardian Radio and Destiny Dispatch, the Destiny community team is hoping to make a big impact when they send their donations to the Seattle Children’s Hospital. The hospital also happens to be one that Bungie supports, so this is the fans’ way of giving back not just to the children, but also to the company that created the game which brought them all together. “If you make a drop in a bucket somewhere, if everyone does that, it’s going to make a difference everywhere. So you should really work towards bettering one hospital, and if everyone does that it’s good for everyone” said Destiny Dispatch Lead Writer David Weeks during an interview on October 5th.

It all started last August. Destiny Dispatch had fostered a sense of community among Destiny players since the game was announced in late 2012/early 2013. They quickly became friends with the founders of Guardian Radio, a site that produces weekly podcasts featuring news about the game. Guardian Radio approached Destiny Dispatch about getting involved in Extra Life, and the rest became history. The two groups did a live stream last year via the Twitch TV app, switching off with a gamer named Datto who runs a successful YouTube channel that specifically focuses on Destiny and has over 100,000 subscribers.

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This year they aim to ramp up their efforts, and have already surpassed their initial fundraising goal of $7,000 in addition to a plan that includes 12 different individuals or groups who will livestream from the team’s Twitch channel during the 25-hour marathon on October 25th. The main difference this year, according to Weeks, is that there are a lot more groups getting involved. “[Last] year was a little rough because the community was a lot smaller, and there weren’t as many organizations. There were a lot of individuals that now have organizations, but in 2013 it was a different story.”

Most teams involved in the Extra Life campaign will be playing a variety of games during the marathon, but the Destiny community team aims to play as much of their favorite game as possible. Byf, one of Guardian Radio’s podcasters and a Destiny-focused YouTuber in his own right, flew from his home in the UK to Seattle, Washington this summer to visit the children’s hospital and to meet with Bungie’s Community Manager, Deej. When he mentioned the Destiny community’s intention of making a team for Extra Life again this year, Deej was happy to donate some prizes for the team to give away during their livestream, and to feature them in a Community Focus article on the Bungie website and Destiny app. According to a recent Guardian Radio podcast, these prizes include everything from Bungie water bottles and swag bags to limited editions of the Destiny game. The prizes will be given away randomly along with numerous others from the individual live-streamers throughout the event, which will run from 8a.m. EST Saturday the through 8a.m. EST on Sunday.

“What we’re really good at is bringing everyone together” said Weeks. “I guess [it goes] back to one of the founding principles of the game itself: it’s all about you and your friends pulling together to tackle this big evil. We found Extra Life and we thought it would be a good idea to [band together for] a charity.” The Destiny community is just one of many teams that will go toe-to-toe with evil on Saturday. Anyone looking for more information on the Extra Life campaign and how to donate to the Children’s Miracle Network hospital of their choice can head online to the charity event’s website at www.extra-life.org.

Photo Cred: Destiny Dispatch