Monthly Archives: October 2014

MAKING THE MOST OF YOUR FIRST DRAFT – NaNo Prep

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  1. Plan ahead.

I am undecided when it comes to pantsing and outlining; but for something as big as NaNoWriMo, I take no risks and plan ahead. When pantsing, I often have a cool story idea that runs dry after approximately 20,000 words, while outlining (usually) guarantees a win.

  1. Take enough time to plan ahead.

Last year, I outlined my NaNoWriMo novel ahead of time. Things didn’t go entirely as planned (hey, my main character hadn’t told me about the sweet ex-boyfriend she hadn’t let go of) but I passed the 50,000 word count and felt accomplished. The manuscript is, however, as valuable as a garbled collection of notes for a story idea. Clearly, I didn’t know enough about where I wanted the story to go and who I was dealing with.

  1. Keep to the point.

I know we’re trying to write 50,000 words and only have 30 days to do it. At times I get desperate just to get my daily word count in. I scribble nonsense, things that have nothing to do with the story and affect my draft in detrimental ways. Be strict with yourself and don’t allow yourself to give in to the temptation to stuff in conversation, descriptions, subplots that don’t further the story.

  1. Dare to lose.

Winning NaNoWriMo is an incredible feeling. It’s nice to say, “Yeah, I won. I was even nearly 10k over the goal.” Check your reaction when someone asks if they may look at your work. I don’t think NaNoWriMo should be used for simply getting words out there. You are more than that. The tricky thing is, your novel is not completed at the end of November. An average novel is 90-100k words. NaNoWriMo gives you the opportunity to get back into consistency, to get a foundation for your new work-in-progress. I love the community feeling of writing and being in it together.

But I challenge you to seriously consider quality over quantity. First drafts are always pretty crappy, but there’s normal crap and then there’s… well, you know. By crapping 50k into a Word document, you may just be making more work for yourself than necessary. Honestly, if I wanted to complete last year’s story idea, I would start from scratch because my NaNoWriMo draft is nearly useless.

Don’t win for winning’s sake. Win for yourself. Write for yourself even if it means losing. NaNoWriMo is a tool for your benefit. Decide how you can benefit from NaNoWriMo. How can it help you write a better novel?

  1. Finish it.

Don’t quit December 1. Finish what you start. Give yourself something to work with. Finish your first draft, set it aside, and then pick it up with fresh eyes and mind.

Don’t give up on your story. I’m sure it’s pretty awesome!

You Know I Love You So

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Source: Pinterest

Source: Pinterest

Not too long ago, I spent an extended weekend in London. Here’s the most memorable moment.

I don’t remember exactly where we were going or which day it was. Ann was faster than me down the stairs to the Tube. I couldn’t get over how much I liked her fancy boots; and in my outfit, I felt like a slob next to her.

I heard the music. It was one guy, standing in the tunnel, strumming his guitar. In truth, I hate passing street musicians because anyone I’m ever with never wants to stop and listen. I wanted to stop and listen.

“He sounds just like Chris Martin,” said Ann as we passed, unfortunately.

You know I love you so.*

The world could disappear because even with everything gone, I would never — and even now, will never — forget that…

  • distance cannot impair love,
  • love is many things but not weak,
  • I could never simply choose not to love you,
  • things hardly come the way I expect,
  • the stars shine for you,
  • I know what I want us to be,
  • good things are worth fighting for,
  • our hearts are bound in a way I have yet to understand,
  • you love me.

 

*From “Yellow” by Coldplay. Highly recommendable.

What Makes You Beautiful

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Source: Pinterest

Source: Pinterest

I can’t point my finger at just what it is that makes you this incredible being I can’t get out of my mind. It’s everything and nothing.

It’s your name, the day and place you were born, the smile you got from your mother, the clothes you like to wear, your rather pathetic jokes and repetitive phrases, your job, the things you know, the way you sound when you speak, your emotional strength, your emotions just the way they are, your face, your hands, the way you understand me (or not), every bit of what makes you you.

You make the unspectacular spectacular. You make the plain breathtaking. You make the everyday extraordinary.

To me, you mean everything.

To me, you are incredibly beautiful.

 

Preparing for NaNoWriMo 2014

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Are you all excited for November? For those of you who don’t do NaNoWriMo, too bad for you; because I sure am excited! For the motivated Wrimos out there, how are things coming along? If you’d like, please answer the following questions in the comments or write your own blog post. I simply love this kind of talk. 🙂

1. How long has your story idea been haunting your mind?

I got the original story idea in March… or February.

2. What writing software do you use?

I use Scrivener and highly recommend it to anyone. It is totally worth it.

3. How much do you plan ahead of time?

I have forty-seven basic scenes. I know how it’s going to end — which is good, but I am always up for surprises along the way.

4. What’s the hardest part of the planning process?

I worry whether I have enough planned. I worry the story may turn out completely opposite of my plans, like last year. I hate waiting until November 1!

 

Let’s be writing buddies! My username is hesthermay; or just drop your username in the comments, and I will add you!

 

IF YOU’RE NOT THE ONE – Flash Fiction

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Feet on floor, elbows on knees, chin on fist. There was only one person I thought of when I sat that way.

“Turn it up,” I murmured, glad for something besides Maroon 5 and Carly Rae Jepsen on the rather repetitive radio. Mike granted my request as we took a right onto the freeway. My elbow leaned against the window pane in the backseat and I stared at the passing scenery. The music was loud enough for me not to mind Mike’s off key, falsetto sing-along and Sara’s occasional, off topic remark.

We will make it through
And I hope you are the one I share my life with

I wanted to scream at Mike. Do you have any idea what this song is about? 

Anybody who made googoo eyes at his wife during Daniel Bedingfield’s heartbreak ballad obviously hadn’t the slightest clue. I drew a breath and rolled my eyes as he reached to entwine fingers with my sister.

The radio lulled on.

I breathe you into my heart and pray for the strength to stand today.

My fist jerked away from my chin. I shut my eyes.

And prayed.