Thursday, November 26, 2015

NaNoWriMo2015 Diary -- Day 25

Day 25


Second, NaNoWriMo2015 is quickly wrapping up.Less than a week to go. I hope everyone is on track to reach 50k. I'm still aiming for 60k. We'll see what happens in the coming days. My goal is to finish this book and have it be 60,000 words. But we'll see what the story dictates, as the story is ultimately the final arbiter of word count. I don't believe in artificially-imposed word counts based on industry standards. If your YA Romance is 130,000 words and the plot and story and characterization are solid, then there's no need to edit your manuscript down to 80,000 words merely because of the perception that young adults aren't capable of reading anything longer than 80,000 words. That is stupid. Order of the Phoenix is quite long. That's only one example.

But at this stage, don't worry or even think too much about word counts. Focus on letting your characters roam about and say all kinds of weird stuff. Let the story tell itself. The word count will fall into place later.

Finally, I feel it is important to discuss back-ups. Are you guys backing up your data? You've spent nearly a month writing a new novel, which is an impressive feat. So make sure you have it backed up and saved in at least two places. At least once a week, at a MINIMUM, save it to your external hard drive if that's what you do. Save it to your USB drive/SD card every day or two after writing if that's what you do, if perhaps you have a little flash drive or SD card especially for your writing. Email it to yourself. That's what I did a minute ago. I sent myself an email with seven different files attached, all pertaining to this NaNoWriMo2015 project. I'm not certain which of those seven documents I've added to since my previous back-up; certainly the outline document, the first draft document, perhaps also the character outline document... So it's easier to simply highlight all seven in the folder and attach them to an email and send them to myself. Each time I do this, I write Back-up #2, #3, #4, etc in the subject of the email. That way, if you ever need to access the data, you simply go back to the most recent email, the one with the highest #, and open it in order to grab what you want. Easy.

Having your data backed up offers peace of mind. Do it regularly. If you're not already, BEGIN NOW. Right this minute. Go do it and come back to this blog post. If you're already conducting regular back-ups, well done; continue to do so. My friend and fellow writer Harvey Noble always says that he recommends backing up the writing at the close of each day's writing session. It is a way to protect the art you've just created. It is also a symbolic act of honoring your craft.

So, we'll move on from here. (Harvey often says that, too.)

NaNoWriMo2015 Day 26 today. We should be at or above 43,333 words as of today. Four more days!!! Can you believe it! But don't focus on that; focus on continuing to write. You can do it!

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

#NaNoWriMo2015 Diary -- Day 24

Day 24

Holy schnikeys, day 24!!!

Wow. It was just day... 5 not that long ago.

Writing today was good... 2119 words, which brought me to 42,523. Not as far along as I'd hoped, but still ahead of schedule.

There were several days of research, a lot of listening to music and reading about music, mostly from the 80s, and trying to get the prose just so.

Today I finally pushed past that chunk of research-dependent story and wrote the next scene, which at first I was thrilled and frightened by, and which I then questioned if it should even be in the story at all, but which I went ahead and wrote. Lo and behold I am amazed at what took shape. Not yet sure how it's all going to fit together, but that's not something to fret over now.

Now is the time to go for it, to let the story rip, to push through the dreaded middle everyone is always whining about.

I don't want to get into all that. Focus on having fun and continuing to follow your characters around all day, transcribing what they do, where they go, what they say, etc etc, and everything will be fine.

You can do it.

Monday, November 23, 2015

Free Kindle Book Promo! Everville: The Fall of Brackenbone -- Now through 11/28/15

I wanted to let you all know that my friend and fellow writer Roy Huff is having a Free Kindle Book promo for his fourth book, Everville: The Fall of Brackenbone ASIN B00WWO1CC2.

He is also having a 99 cents Kindle Countdown Deal in the UK & US for Everville: Books 1-3 Boxed set 11/22/15 - 11/28/15 to coincide with the Free Promo of Book four.

Grab your copy today, right now, while you're here thinking about it. It'll give you something good to read after eating all that turkey.

If you haven't seen the promo on Twitter @evervillefans already, check it out.

Also, the last day of the promo is Roy's 39th birthday (and Thanksgiving).


Saturday, November 21, 2015

#NaNoWriMo2015 Diary -- Day 20

Day 20

Yesterday was another fun day. Mostly research. A LOT of research, as I was trying to get one passage fleshed out.

As such, my word count was around 1300. Not so hot. But the fun I had doing research and the satisfaction of spending a good 6 hours getting the prose assembled offset the lower word count.

I also cut the tip of my middle finger while making dinner and couldn't type with a bandaid on my finger. That was interesting trying to type without my middle finger.

At any rate, just 10 days remaining in the month.

Time to get it in gear and finish strong.

10 Questions with Legendary Writer Kathe Koja (@KatheKoja)

This Author Spotlight

Kathe Koja

author of

Bastards' Paradise

Kathe Koja’s novels span several genres - historical, YA, horror - and have won numerous awards, including the Bram Stoker Award and the Parents’ Choice Award, and have been optioned for film and performance. Her 16th novel, THE BASTARDS’ PARADISE, the final in the UNDER THE POPPY trilogy, is out this fall from Roadswell Editions. She adapts and directs performative fiction with her ensemble "nerve".

I distinctly recall purchasing a paperback copy of SKIN from Waldenbooks when I was in high school. Kathe Koja is big-time.

Author photo: Copyright Rick Lieder

1.How did you get into writing and why do you write?

I’ve been a writer since I was a very small child: since I knew what a story was.

2.What do you like best (or least) about writing?

It’s very serious, very nourishing play: the initial blossom of the idea, the research, “feathering the nest” as Anthony Lane once called it: and the patient, wild, daily work at the desk  . . . I love it. 

I used to detest going through copyedits until I worked with a brilliant copyeditor, Paul Witcover. Then I learned to love that part of the process, too. So now it’s all good.

3.What is your writing process? IE do you outline? Do you stick to a daily word or page count, write 7 days a week, etc?

I don’t outline, ever – the way I work requires discovery as I go along, and the freedom to throw stuff away, make hairpin turns, follow the story. Which doesn’t suggest that outlining isn’t a valid or useful process, it just doesn’t work for me. (I did try it once: disaster.)

I’m religious about working every day, every morning, once I’ve begun a project – the energy and momentum, the feel of the story, all of that is buttressed and enhanced by sitting down in the same place at the same time, picking up the thread where the last day left it, and going on.

4.Who are some other writers you read and admire, regardless of whether they are commercially “successful?”

A few of my great loves are Emily Brontë, Emily Dickinson, Christopher Marlowe . . . I learned a ton from Shirley Jackson. Angela Carter is wonderfully sly. Anthony Burgess’ wordplay is a continuing revelation.

And a new writer whose work I adore is Maryse Mejier: her collection Heartbreaker comes out next year.

5.Should the question mark in the above question be inside or outside the quotes?


6.What’s your stance on the Oxford Comma?

Long may it function!

7.What is your book The Bastards’ Paradise about and how did it come to fruition?

The Bastards’ Paradise is the final book in the trilogy that includes Under the Poppy and The Mercury Waltz, the lifelong story of Istvan and Rupert, comrades and lovers and performers, whose puppet plays lead them through glittering high society and down some very dark roads, but always together.

I never dreamed I would write a trilogy, but the story of these men kept expanding and flowering as I wrote, along with the stories of their friends and enemies . . . It’s been an amazing pleasure and a total labor of love to bring these fin de siècle gentlemen of the road to life.

8.What’s your current writing project?

I just finished a new YA novel, The Ballrooms of Mars. I’m in the research phase for a novel about Christopher Marlowe. And I’ve adapted Stoker’s Dracula for my ensemble, nerve, for January performance.

9.What are you currently reading?

At this moment, The Cambridge Companion to Christopher Marlowe, edited by Patrick Cheney, and a friend’s screenplay for a thriller film.

10.Who or what inspires your writing?

It sounds simple, but – life. And people. The endlessly fascinating, terrible, passionate rock tumbler combination of the two.

Please also include where people can read your published stories, buy your book, etc.

The Bastards’ Paradise and The Mercury Waltz are available here:

Signed copies of my books are available here:

And my books are available in print and ebook editions online from the usual retail sources like Amazon, B&N, Apple iBooks etc.    

Thank you, Kathe, for sharing your experience and insight into the writing life. Please feel free to visit with us in the future in order to share new books.

There you have it, gang. Insight and wisdom from a serious writer. Be sure to visit Kathe's website and purchase a signed copy of one of her books, or look her up wherever books are sold.

Friday, November 20, 2015

#NaNoWriMo2015 Diary -- Day 19

Day 19

Yesterday was a fun and interesting day. Life stuff. When I finally got my butt in the chair and began to work, I found myself spending most of my time doing research in order to better inform the scene I was working on. It was a lot of fun. But the word count came up to 996 words. <insert fart sound here>

It happens sometimes.

Some days, your fingers fly and you write 3500 words without even trying.

Other days, you're building your foundation, planning, and preparing for one of those 3500-word days.

It's all part of the ebb-and-flow. Roll with it. Don't beat yourself up. Doing so merely stifles creativity. Stay positive. Have fun. Enjoy the process. A big part of why we write is because we enjoy the process of discovery. Sometimes we discover 3500 new words. Sometimes we discover a bunch of cool stuff that we weave into the story.

It's all gooooood.

Continue writing.


Time to throw yourself into the project if you've not already done so. Only ten days. Plenty of time to accomplish A LOT. But also not so many days that you should feel overwhelmed. Focus on the finished project, focus on submitting your manuscript and getting a nice NaNoWriMo "WIN" for 2015.

Today is Day 20. Consult the cool calendar below. 33,333 total words today.

You can do it.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

#NaNoWriMo Diary -- Day 18

Day 18

Yesterday was a good day of writing.

3576 words.

I need to attain at least 2272 every day for the next 11 days if I'm going to reach 60,000 words, which was my goal when I began this experiment 16 days ago on November 3rd.

In terms of craft, yesterday was interesting because I found myself writing by the seat of my pants as opposed to planning.

Functioning as a Pantser and not a Planner.

The reason is because I needed to bridge the story between where I was and where I wanted to go. I have some major events already outlined but it felt like it was too soon to have them happen. So I needed something in between.

Lo and behold a whole bunch of cool stuff transpired. I found myself genuinely enjoying the events of the story as they unfolded, as well as being amazed at how the themes and backstory continued to weave themselves into the new plot. That's the magic of writing: when stuff like that happens.

And remember that whenever you're in this situation, where you're not sure what you're writing or if what you're writing is integral to the story, take a moment to think about HOW to MAKE it integral, rather than simply abandon it, delete sentences or paragraphs or a page, and then start feeling as though what you're doing sucks.

It doesn't suck.

You simply need to dig a little deeper, to continue searching for what it is your story is trying to say.

Stay positive.

Make it fun.

Make your writing enjoyable.

It should be enjoyable.

It can be scary and confusing and intimidating, but you should also love it. Even if you love having written more than you love actually writing. That's okay, too.

Now, today is Day 19.

That means you need to have at least 31,667 words in order to remain on track to attain 50k by November 30.

You can do it.