NaNoWriMo … Already?!

November is just a couple of days away, and that means it will be time to start up with National Novel Writing Month. This will be the third year I’ve participated. The first year, I was working on my zombie apocalypse novel. The second year, I was still working on my zombie apocalypse novel. Guess what I plan to work on this year … if you took an educated guess and said “your zombie apocalypse novel”, you’d be correct.

In my defense, I spent most of last year’s NaNoWriMo rewriting the story since I decided I wanted to take it in a slightly different direction. I’ve since changed it back to the original story line. Mostly.

Sometimes I wonder if I really want to finish this novel.

Part of my dilemma is that I’m tired of zombies. There. I said it. I never thought I’d get tired of zombies, but after a few years of watching The Walking Dead, reading zombie books, editing zombie books, and writing zombie short stories, I think zombies have lost their charm for me.

But I’m more than 50,000 words into my current story. I’m not that far from having a full-length novel. And I like my three main characters; I created them and now I need to give them a chance to live. Right?

Some days, I want to write juvenile fiction. Other times I think it would be good to write romance novels. Or historical fiction. Or historical nonfiction. Or all of the above?

This NaNoWriMo, I’m going to finish The Valley of the Shadow. I have to. Even if it sucks and nobody reads the finished product, I will finish so I can move on.

Here’s to another month of dedicated writing!


National Novel Writing Month & Me, Part 2

NaNo-2015-Participant-BannerI mentioned in a previous post that I’m participating in National Novel Writing Month. I also mentioned that I am using the time to re-work a novel in progress—one I started over a year ago and put aside as editing jobs and homeschooling and life pulled me away.

I’ve been doing as planned, which is pretty much re-writing it. I’ve removed large chunks of unnecessary text. I added a character. Changed the character. Brought back a character I had decided to cut.

Things are going pretty well.

But I’m having trouble with the whole 50K word count thing. I’m spending a lot of my time deconstructing my story, then reconstructing it into what I’m trying to have it become. It’s hard to keep track of actual “words written” when doing this.

The NaNoWriMo’s 50K word count goal is a great motivator for many, and I include myself in this statement. I didn’t hit the 50K word goal last year and I didn’t mind. I wrote 33,000 words and I was proud of it. It would be an amazing feat for me to make it this year. And if I don’t, I’ll be okay with that too.

It’s not a matter of giving up. It’s a matter of being who I am. I can’t toss words onto a blank screen just for the sake of word count. I’ve heard the advice that writers should just write. Write and don’t worry about fixing it until you finish.

Maybe I’m doing it wrong by writing some, evaluating it, fixing what I don’t like, and then moving on. But for now, it’s a method I’m comfortable with.

I mentioned in my last NaNoWriMo update that I have a title for my book—finally! Since you’ve read this long, I’m going to assume you might be a little interested to know what it is. And even if you skipped most of the above and landed on this paragraph, you may take a peek.

Here you go:

unrest (1)

Cover by The artist offered his/her services for free to NaNoWriMo authors. I’m not sure it will be the final cover since I already have another artist in mind, but I like it.

Here’s a synopsis, which is subject to change:

The world watched the aftermath of strategically placed terrorist attacks with a small amount of relief; it could have been worse. At least, that’s how it seemed. A week later, the world would know differently. With the release of the bombs’ biological agent, the death toll rose. And so did the dead.

In an attempt to keep one step ahead of the unrest, Kate and her niece, Finn, flee to the only sanctuary Kate has ever known: a small town in the mountains north of San Diego.

Their relative safety is put in jeopardy when drought-fueled wildfires spread across southern California, driving the hordes into the valley below. It’s only a matter of time before the dead act on instinct and seek their own shelter on the mountain. And when they do, where will Kate and Finn go? Is any place safe in a world of unrest?

Now it’s back to writing and re-writing. Thanks for reading!




National Novel Writing Month & Me, Part 1


It’s that time of year again; November is National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo). The goal of this challenge is to write 50,000 words during the month of November. I participated last year and, while I didn’t meet the 50K goal, I did produce about 33,000 words, which put my already-in-progress novel up to over 55,000 words. I don’t feel bad that I didn’t meet the NaNoWriMo goal. I wrote more than I’ve ever written before and that felt great.

I’m still working on the same book. I haven’t made much progress since last year, but I’ve learned so much from editing that I don’t see the time as being lost. Editing forces me to evaluate stories and ways to make them even better than they are. It also introduces me to a wide range of writing styles, techniques, and skills. I’ve also been reading books about writing—partly for my benefit and partly for the benefit of my clients.

With a new perspective and fresh ideas, I’ve restarted my novel. I decided I need to trim down the story, narrow its focus, and make my words more concise. I don’t think it was bad before, but I know it can be better.

My main characters are the same—they won’t let me forget them. But how they meet is different, events that transpire leading up to the action of the story have changed, and some unnecessary scenes have been cut. I’ve probably eliminated about 20K words. In some ways, it’s discouraging, but I also know the story will be better for it.

So, in two days, I’ll be pounding out the story again. I hope to reach the 50K word goal this year. It would be nice to finish this book and publish it so I can move on to the next one.

Good news (to me) is I finally came up with a title for my book! I struggle with titles. With short stories, I usually come up with one after I write it. But with NaNoWriMo coming up, I thought it would be good to have a name for my work in progress.

What is it? I’m not going to say … yet. That’ll be another blog post.

Interested in giving National Novel Writing Month a try? Check it out here: NaNoWriMo