Posts Tagged ‘NaNoWriMo’

Yesterday I mentioned that I am going to be participating in NaNoWriMo once again. I also said that I am at the very beginning in terms of planning and thought some of my readers here and on Facebook might be able to help me out.  So what can you do?

The premise I will be starting with is a person going to a coffee shop every day at the same time and staying all day. She goes with a laptop and sits and listens to what is going on. She has nowhere else to go. She kinda pretends that she is doing work on the computer but she’s just sitting and eavesdropping on conversations. Over time, she gets to know the background stories and the gossip of not only the people who work there but also of the other customers. She gets to know their secrets, all by just showing up and being there all day.

What I would like from you is suggestions of names for characters and any tidbits of customer stories/gossip or of work place scenarios at the coffee shop. Anything that I can take off and create something out of.

A couple of years ago, I did something similar and one of the suggestions I loved but didn’t use is one I will, most likely, be using this year. The name was Jessica and her back story was “she will take anyone’s man so you gotta watch her!” Doesn’t that sound like fun? I could build entire chapters around Jessica and her escapades!

It doesn’t take much. Just a few words to suggest a story to be built. Or you can even just send me a physical description of someone or of the coffee shop. Sound like fun? I think it is. Please give me a hand. I may be sharing some of what I write here on the blog in November as I also committed to doing NaBloPoMo once again.

How is your Sunday going? It’s a bit gloomy here in Oregon. I’m kinda out of it today. I had a bad day on Facebook yesterday. Much drama. And it cost me a couple of friends. It’s okay though as they have been borderline for some years. Yesterday, the camel’s back broke and I had to disconnect from them. It makes me sad because I am one of those people that likes to keep everyone happy. I hate to have any kind of argument or disagreement but what I hate more is to be attacked about my opinions. So “poof!” They’re gone. And I am left shaken.

In any case, take a stab at helping me out with my NaNoWriMo project. And this stays up so you can help out any time during the month! Thanks in advance. Ciao!

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Good morning! Come on in and have a seat near the heater vent. It’s a bit chilly and damp today. Yesterday was a gorgeous fall day but it began to rain late last night and hasn’t stopped. Let me grab a cup of coffee today or if you prefer, I have some yummy hot chocolate that I got for Anderson who is coming for another Harry Potter movie night tonight. I won’t tell him I shared it with you. Shhhh!

I woke up early today. I kind of slept all night…like from about 5:30 Friday evening until 6 this morning with a few potty wakings. I couldn’t believe the clock when I looked at it. Then when it said 7, I really couldn’t believe it because of how dark it still was. Pitch black. It’s now 8 and it is just barely beginning to get light out. I think the time changes next weekend so I guess I shouldn’t be surprised at the darkness.

It was a good week. I was without a car for a couple of days because my youngest daughter borrowed my car for work. Hers died. Or at least the transmission did and with the age of her car, the $4300 estimate is just not a good idea. She’s trying to find a solution but she has no savings because she just moved up here and didn’t have a job for awhile so she went through all of her savings. She’s also paying off school loans. Her dad may be able to help her out with either getting her a dependable used car or perhaps a down payment on something. Or she might end up using a Zip Car for awhile. I think not having the car made a lot of things easier for me. It gave me an excuse to not run around doing things for my other daughter.

NaNoWriMo. Yes, it’s that time of year again. I had decided not to do it this year because I have so little time. However, because I’ve done it for so long, I keep thinking that I need to try it. This will be year ten for me. Yup. It has practically become a tradition for me. So I will be attempting it again this year. I will also be attempting to post here every day in November. We’ll see how that goes. I can usually do it but this year is a much busier year for me. As far as NaNoWriMo goes, my post here tomorrow (Sunday) will, most likely, include a plea for help. I am going into this year’s NaNoWriMo with nothing more than a vague idea of what I will write. So tomorrow I will tell you what my premise will be and how YOU can help! Please come back and read tomorrow’s post!

One thing I really need to do on Monday is call the Elections Office. Oregon votes by mail. Ballots have been mailed out. Mine has not arrived. My daughter got hers almost two weeks ago. So I have to contact them and find out where my ballot is. I don’t want to miss voting this time around. It’s too important. Way too important.

I’ve not read much this week because I’ve been trying to read more blogs and leave more comments. That takes up my reading time. I’ve also been watching The West Wing, again. I just finished the entire series three weeks ago but I’ve started it again, last weekend. It’s just the right thing to watch during election season. I won’t get through the whole series before the election but that’s okay. I want to make it through to the debate episode. The Bartlett re-election debate. That’s a favorite episode. I’m currently near the end of season 2, 18th & Potomac.

What about you? How has your week been going? Do you have any plans for the coming week? Have you done early voting? Does your state offer it?

That’s about all for today. Don’t forget to come back tomorrow for the NaNoWriMo and November blogging update.

Have a wonderful day and a fantastic week!

#WeekendCoffeeShare is a weekly blog linkup hosted by Diana at Part Time Monster Blog. Stop by and take a look at other coffee share posts. I’m sure you won’t be disappointed. Maybe you want to add your own post. I’d love to read it!

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Goodbye to NaNoWriMo for another year!  Yay. This was a really tough November.

At the beginning of the month, my attention was captured by a few Facebook posts in the various NaNoWriMo groups. Some were really funny and some were sad. Most were humorous. Some just “uniquely ordinary.” I thought I might make a few posts highlighting each variety. Then stuff started to happen and I was sick and I pretty much bowed out of the FB NaNoWriMo groups til the end of the month.  So those posts never happened. So…fresh fodder!

The first was sad and made me think a lot:

“I’m withdrawing from this year’s NaNoWriMo to work on my marriage.” It made me think about the individual (whom I don’t know) and their life and I figured they had their priorities straight and silently wished them luck.

This next one falls in the category of “excuses, excuses,” not to mention just plain stupidity:

“I was just about to start my NaNoWriMo project when I spilled my coffee all over my laptop. My keyboard is now fried.”

Then came the winner. I read it late at night when I was still up trying to get some writing done because my daughter had needed me for most of the day and night and I had not done any writing. I guess you could say it hit the spot. It had me laughing and depositing Sprite Zero all over my screen (thank goodness not on the keyboard!). It’s written by a great grandmother participating in NaNoWriMo for the first time, Annie Aronson (she said I could use her name and her words):

“Am I the only NaNo writer with rude, insensitive family members who don’t give a rip about the importance of this month? I have two, in particular, that don’t care a fig if I’m successful at this or not, and I’m ready to end the ongoing emotional abuse. Just because they’re younger than I am–hell, who isn’t?–and related to me, they think they can steal my word writing time. I’m going to set them both straight today, just as soon as they wake up from their naps. I don’t care if they bat their big blue eyes or pucker their little pouty lips! Grandma isn’t going to give in this time! I’m going to go and have a stiff drink and prepare myself to put a 3 year old and a 4 year old in their places. I’m gonna kick butt and take no prisoners.”

And with that I bid November 2015 a not so fond farewell! And to NaNoWriMo, same time next year!



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If we were having coffee, I’m sure none of us would be able to keep from discussing yesterday’s terrorist attacks in Paris. It is heartbreaking to think of innocent people being caught up in political terrorism. I can only imagine the shock, anger, sorrow, and frustration in France right now. Things like this should never happen and instead, we hear of it more and more. I don’t know what the answer is but there has to be a way for people to live in peace, without fear of being attacked by terrorists. I pray that one day soon, we will find a way.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that my heart just isn’t in it today. It has been a sad week, although I’ve tried to concentrate on my grandsons and on writing and visiting blogs. I’ve tried. The boys bring me great joy and I truly enjoy visiting blogs and getting to know other bloggers. That part of the week has been good. Busy but good.

If we were having coffee I would tell you that I don’t have a lot of time today. I’m way behind in my NaNoWriMo word count and I have been asked to host one of the official write-ins today. The person that was supposed to host has to work so I will be doing it. I’ve spent the evening on Friday, putting together little prizes and sticker grab bags, plot bunnies, and a bag of candy for the participants and winners of our word sprints. I have a list of prizes…most words, least words, longest sentence, most characters, most dialog, etc. It’s a long write-in (4.5 hours) and I’m hoping to get a lot of writing done, even though I’ll be in charge of the word sprints and other fun. It has given me something to focus on as it just came up Friday morning. Hopefully it will be productive AND fun!

I also noticed a couple of days ago that I am really close to hitting my 1000th blog post. I’m kind of wanting to get to it by the end of December so you might see me posting more than once a day on some days so I can get to that milestone and move on to the next one right when the new year starts. So if you see me increase my posting schedule, that’s why!

Well, it’s now 2:15 am and I have the alarm set for 7 am so I should try to sleep. I still have some prep work for the write-in and I also have Anderson here overnight. He’ll want me to sit with him in the morning so I can’t doze while he is up.

I hope you all have a good day and a productive week.

And if you find it in your heart to do so, please say a little prayer for our friends in Paris. Send them some virtual hugs and shoulders to lean on.


#WeekendCoffeeShare is a weekly blog hop hosted by Diana at Part Time Monster. Go take a look then grab a cup of coffee and join us!

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Well, it rained. And then it rained some more. And then it poured. And it gusted. And it was Halloween.

A couple of things saved the day. First, the shopping center was having trick-or-treating in the afternoon. We were not going to take them but we figured they might not get to go later if the rain forecast proved to be true and it didn’t look crazy so we took them trick-or-treating there in the afternoon. We got to about the last four or five stores when it began to pour buckets on us. There was some shelter and they went to the last of the stores and we ran into Target to wait for my daughter to go to the other end of the shopping center and bring the car.

We had dinner at Anderson’s favorite restaurant, Olive Garden, which was in the same shopping center. When we got out of the restaurant, it was pretty clear that the rain was not going to let up and the boys would not get to go trick-or-treating when it got dark. So we asked Anderson what would make the rest of the day special. He said he wanted to go home and have a party. We went to the grocery store and he picked out chocolate chip cookies. We stopped by my house and I ran through and grabbed all of my skeletons, spider webs, bats, witches, and skulls off of the walls and from the porch and headed to my daughter’s house. I ran around her house putting the decorations up all over while she cleaned up and vacuumed because Anderson wanted to dance. They had a great time dancing to Monster Mash, Purple People Eater, Witch Doctor and some other songs. Spencer played with plastic rats that I had as part of the decorations when he was not dancing. Fun. Fun. Fun! So the night was salvaged and they didn’t feel cheated!

Then I came home to wait for midnight to start my NaNoWriMo project. I’m still sick and staying up til midnight was tough last night but I managed to get in a little over 800 words in 20 minutes then I went to bed because I had agreed to meet another woman at a coffee house for a write-in at 10 this morning. I did that and got to 2600 words.  Now I am trying to set up my blog with the NaNoWriMo widget, which looks like it is working. However, the widget for NanoPoblano (posting on this blog every day in November) hosted by Rarasaur doesn’t seem to work. I’ve really had a tough time setting up widgets this calendar year. I am ready to give up for awhile. Maybe I can delete it all and start from scratch later.

In any case, that’s my day so far and it is only a bit after 1 in the afternoon. I need a nap. I need to read some blogs. I need to do a little research for my NaNoWriMo project. I need to set up tomorrow’s post so I can get it out of the way early because I am meeting people to write at a coffee shop early tomorrow morning and won’t have time to do it before I leave for that.

That’s it for this post, I think. If you get a chance to do so, click here to find the others that are participating in NanoPoblano 2015. I’m sure you’ll find some interesting blogs there!

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NaNo Update

As I write this, half of day 9 has gone by.  I am at a total of 15,327 words on my project, which is 327 words more than I should be for the day so I am happy with that.  I’m stopping for a couple of hours so I can do something else and maybe go get some dinner with the grandsons.  However, I will be writing some more tonight and with luck, I will also hit the mark where I should be by the end of day 10 before midnight tonight.  I like having a day or two of padding on my word count!

I’m mostly through a very rough piece of writing, subject wise.  So hopefully words will flow easier for the next couple of writing sessions. If you want to keep track of my progress, there is a counter near the bottom of the right side bar.  It updates my word count as I update on the NaNoWriMo site.  That will let you know how I am doing.  To stay on target, one needs to write 1667 words per day.  I like to keep ahead of that because I know that once Thanksgiving arrives, I might not get to write at all for a day or two.

I’m also doing National Blog Posting Month, where I’ve commited to posting on this blog every day in November.  I’m doing well with that, too.  In fact, I think there have been two or three days when I have made two blog posts in one day!  I may post late in the evening but at least I’m doing it.  It’s a challenge but that’s good.  I need to challenge myself.

I hope you are enjoying this months ramblings.  Some are just fillers so I have something to post for the day.

Happy Sunday or whatever day you happen to be reading this!

Onward to the writing!

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Well, I’m doing it again for the eighth year.  I think just about everyone that drops by here knows what NaNoWriMo is by now so I won’t repeat.  I’m also doing NaBloPoMo this month…that’s a lesser known Nano…it’s National Blog Posting Month in which bloggers commit to posting every day of the month.  I’ve done them concurrently in previous years but haven’t for awhile so we’ll see how it goes.

Stumbling Blocks.  There are always those and this year is no different, or perhaps it’s different in the type of stumbling blocks.  This year I found myself with laptop problems and took it to my daughter’s boyfriend to take a look at it as he knows computers.  It really wasn’t bad.  It was just horribly slow and there is a lot of memory left on it, over two thirds of the 500 GB hard drive, so that isn’t the problem.  I found that a lot of icons didn’t show up, either, especially on WordPress.  I should have waited because now, a week later, the month has begun and he hasn’t looked at it yet.   So I thought I would be writing on my tablet, using a bluetooth keyboard but that is horribly uncomfortable for me at the moment so I went in search of something else.  I found an old netbook that I haven’t used in three years.  There’s nothing wrong with it.  I just stopped using it, when it was almost new, because I got my laptop and I like that so much better.  So I turned it on and I’m using that.  However, before I can do just about anything on it, I have to update it because there are about 233 updates needed and it keeps bugging me to update it so I gave in and started the update process.  It has been three hours now and I finally finished the updates.  Whew!  Then I had to remember passwords for the different sites I use and in most cases I ended up having to reset passwords because there was no way I could remember the password.  So I did that and now I know that as soon as I get my laptop back I’ll have to go through and update the passwords on that.  And now I also have to do it on my phone and tablet.  What at mess.  Then there is the fact that I really don’t like this netbook.  It has a strange keyboard.  It’s a standard one, and almost full size so that’s not the issue.  The problem is that the keys are completely flat and right next to each other, touching each other.  That means that when I type, I end up hitting the key next to the one I am trying to hit, or above or below.  So I end up having to make a lot of corrections which is time consuming and frustrating.

Well, I guess this too shall pass.  I know I’ll conquer/deal with the technology problems eventually so I will keep trying and keep writing.  You may see a lot of NaNoWriMo related posts this month.  It’s one way to fulfill the NaBloPoMo commitment and also tag my posts with NaNoWriMo so that other participants can maybe find some help and/or tips.  I’m toying with the idea of creating a NaNoWriMo page for this blog and putting all my prompts and tips and some samples there.  I might but we’ll see.  Not committing to that one yet.

Happy November.  May you succeed in fulfilling any of your commitments, NaNo, NaBlo, or otherwise.

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Life After NaNoWriMo

It used to be that I would tell my kids about NaNoWriMo ahead of time so that no one would expect a whole lot of  “extra” stuff from me during the month of November.  Now, I still tell them but I think they’ve come to feel that Mom can do it regardless of what you throw at her.  Not true.

This year, it was really tough to keep up with my daily word count to remain on par.  In fact, I was not on/at par most of the time.  It made me really scramble and worry and stress about whether I would make it or not.  At times I really felt like I should just chuck the whole thing and and say that NaNoWriMo is for the young kids who have all the energy to do it, even if they don’t have the time.  But I didn’t.

I’m glad I stuck it out.  I made it.  And it made me feel like I am more in control of things than I actually am.  I needed that.  Of course, the novel is crap.  I actually like the idea, the plot, and the characters but it is a far way from being a complete novel.  I like it though, and it is different from the other things I’ve written so I will tackle it after January first and see what I can do with it.  Right now, I consider it an outline for the novel I want to write.  Although it is 50 thousand words long, about half of it will be chucked and I’ll bring in a lot more in the way of character development and setting.

This year, I wrote a multi-generational novel and I had not taken into account before starting what the timeline for each character was/is.  So I need to do that before I begin the rewrite.  I need to make a “family timeline” for the characters in the novel and a “world timeline” so that I can fit in events that might have been taking place at certain times.  Also, this one is set in San Francisco so I need to construct a “city timeline” that includes events important to the city so that the characters will respond and interact with the city timeline.

So life after NaNoWriMo?  Well, I think, at least this year, there is no life after NaNoWriMo because I’m still thinking about the project I started and figuring out a way to make it more “finished” before NaNoWriMo 2013 comes along!

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The key to success during NaNoWriMo is to turn off all distractions.  This means TV, telephone, internet, gabby friends, etc.  By turn off, I mean to limit them as much as possible if not totally during the time you have allotted for writing.  I know a lot of people need some kind of noise in the background when they write.  That’s fine.  How about you turn on some music while you write?  I would suggest that you turn on something instrumental, otherwise you might be tempted to sing along.  I know I am.   Then that defeats the whole purpose.  One thing I have done in the past is to create a playlist that I can burn on to a CD or play on iTunes or on the Amazon Cloud Player.  My play list consists of some instrumentals from movie soundtracks like the Harry Potter movies, Indiana Jones, Rocky (yes that’s old but so am I), Chocolat, Jurassic Park, etc.  I’ve also included some instrumentals by Frank Zappa, such as Watermelon In Easter Hay, Black Napkins, and Peaches En Regalia.   It works for me.  Find what works for you.

I’ve also found a neat little program that lets you set a writing goal per writing session then as you write, it keeps track of your goal and if you stop typing, the screen will begin to flash to remind you to start typing again.  There is a series of reminders you can set.  You can even set it for kamikaze mode which will wipe out all of your writing for that session if you don’t heed the warnings and start writing again.  Nothing like the threat of losing your writing to keep you writing!   The program is free to use online or you can pay a $10 fee to get the program downloaded to your computer so you can use it even if you are not online.  It’s called Dr. Wicked’s Write Or Die.  I use it every year.

There is also another free program which I just discovered this week but haven’t tried.  It looks promising, though.  It’s called FocusWriter.  This one lives on your computer so you don’t have to be online to use it.

So, as you prepare for NaNoWriMo, remember not to schedule optional stuff during the month.  Which means, don’t plan on throwing a party that is going to take you hours and days to plan during November.  Don’t plan on long two or three hour doctor appointments if you can help it.  Don’t volunteer to do anything that takes you away from writing this month.  Be selfish with your time in November.  You can give your time away all you want come December 1.

Don’t forget to be nice to yourself during November.  Set goals and reward yourself when you reach them.  Maybe set a goal to reach five thousand words by day 3 and treat yourself to a meal out.  Or how about turning off your internet while you write and treating yourself to an hour online when you reach the goal you set?  Or treat yourself to a day off from writing  IF you reach ten thousand words by day 5.  When you reach 25,000 words (the half way point)  maybe you can go out to a movie?  Plan out your writing schedule.  Think of rewards.  Do it.  And don’t be upset if you fall behind.  You can get caught up.  I’ll try to come back and give some “catch up” tips in a few days.

Good luck and happy writing!

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There are also lots of little tricks to “pad” your word count:

~Use a character that has a speech impediment (like a stutter or a lisp) and has to keep clarifying what they are saying or others have to repeat to clarify;

~Use dreams or nightmares to fill in the story or maybe to portray a character’s real feelings about something.

~Don’t use contractions.  Write the words out.  “Don’t”  counts as one word, whereas “do not” counts as two words.  You’d be surprised how many times we use contractions so you could add a couple of hundred words with this alone.

~Instead of using numbers, write the word out.  The number doesn’t count in your word count but if you write it out, it counts.

~Use a character with a long name.  Instead of using Mary, try using Mary Ellen for an additional word with each use.  You could also have a character that insists on using their full name such as Professor Henry Charles Smythe, Senior.  That takes up five words instead of two that you might use if you referred to him as Professor Smythe.

~Instead of numbering chapters, name them with words.  You can also add a description of what happens in the chapter along with the title.  For example:  “Chapter Seven In which Thomas meets Sally while pondering his future.”

~Use lyrics to a song occasionally.  Have a character think, speak or sing the lyrics.  You can do the same with poems.

~Have a character who is a movie or tv buff who goes off on tangents relating the action in the novel to some movie or tv show or comparing a character in the novel with a tv or movie character.  He/she can even quote movies and tv shows often.

~You can use local lore or trivia of some of your locations when you introduce a new location (or when otherwise appropriate).  For example:  Instead of “She walked across campus,” try “As she walked across campus, she thought about all the hundreds of thousands that had walked those steps before her.  Some had become world famous.  Some were in the history books.  She looked around and wondered if John F. Kennedy had seen Hoover Tower from that same location and what he had thought about it.  She smiled to herself as she thought of the amazing opportunities that had opened up to her.”

~Write out the time.  Instead of 3 pm, use “three o’clock in the afternoon”.  When you use the number, it doesn’t count as a word so by writing it out, you’ve used five words instead of zero.

~Use a character that is hard of hearing and has to keep asking others to repeat what they said.

~Give your characters pets.  The pets’ actions will add words.  The character will need to feed them and interact with them so that adds to the word count.  Pets may necessitate visits to the pet store or the vet or the dog park, etc.  All of these will add to your word count as your story moves along.

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