Category Archives: Uncategorized

Writers, Take a Moment

Introduction

When you begin your writing session, do you simply sit down at the computer and write? Do you know exactly what you’re going to say and how to say it? Not everyone can do that and I personally wouldn’t recommend it. Before you begin, take a moment to focus on the task at hand.

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Going to the Movies

Growing up in a small town in the 70s, there was only one place to go to see movies. That was the Ritz Theater downtown. When my sister and I were old enough we were allowed to be dropped off at the theater, go in and watch the movie, and then be picked up at the end.

Before the main feature they would run a cartoon which I thought was always neat! It was like free entertainment. Of course when my mother was a child, she saw trailers of upcoming movies, serials, shorts, and cartoons.

The point of most of this; especially the cartoon and the trailers, is to allow people to get to their seats and get comfortable before the main attraction. Adjust your body, maneuver drinks, snacks, and children before you got to the main feature you paid for.

Writing should be viewed the same way. Before sitting down to the computer or that blank page, you should take time to get yourself situated. Allow yourself that period of adjustment from the Real World to the Fantasy World of your story. Even if you’re writing non-fiction, it’s still your world in which you are entering.

 

Suggestions for transition

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  1. If you listen to music while writing, select a couple of songs to play just prior to writing. It allows you mind to leave one world and enter the next.

 

  1. Use the time to fix yourself a snack. Brew some coffee or tea, gather some cookies or veggies, and find your stash of chocolates.

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  1. Review your notes. Look over your notes from your previous writing session to find out where you left off and prepare your mind for writing. Don’t re-read what you last wrote; at least not much if you do. Too much re-reading will cause you to begin the editing stage.

 

  1. Maybe take a walk around the block, down to the mailbox, or down to the corner convenient store. Although this is suggested for writer’s block, it can also be a good transition period before writing as well.

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  1. If you live with people; family or roommates, take the time to announce you are going to write and don’t want to be disturb for the next hour or so. It is always good to allow an hour in case a problem arises that needs your attention.

 

Conclusion

These are just a few ideas that you can utilize to take a moment to prepare yourself for writing. If you have any other suggestions place share them in the comments below. I’m always interested in other ways to pause before I begin a writing session.

And, as always,

Happy Adventuring!

Chris

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ANNOUNCEMENT:  This Wednesday I’ll be taking part in the release of a new book as part of a blog blitz. I’ve never done one of these before but thought this would be an interesting experience. Come back Wednesday and check it out and then share it with others on various Social Media Outlets.

 

Buy my Book, Read my Book

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Introduction

You just published your first novel and you do the promotions properly. You don’t spam people with “Buy my Book” but cleverly promote it while talking to your potential readers. Sales start pouring in and you eagerly begin your next book. However, there’s one problem; there aren’t any reviews.

 

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Buy My Book!

Before I published my first book in 2014, I studied other authors’ methods of promotion as well as read articles on how to develop my Writer’s Platform. One of the main things I learned, above all else, was not to use the phrase, Buy my Book. It sends the wrong message to your potential readers. In a way it almost sounds like a threat: Buy my Book or else!

However, I see this kind of promotion going on throughout Twitter and Facebook and it seems to work, mostly. But I choose not to do it as I know better. I joined the site called Readers Gazette and they promote my books for free. Every time they promo my books, I’ll take and share it and add a little teaser from the story or create a clever way to promote it.

One of the ways that I promote book 1 of my trilogy is by using this phrase on Twitter:

2 girls, 4 towers, 1 magic key, endless adventures.

 

You would think that this would be enough to entice someone to buy the book but apparently not. Amazon lets you know when a book has been purchased but they don’t tell you which one. And unless, you have enough people to buy one of your books, you’ll never know how many of each is being purchased.

 

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Read my Book

A couple years ago I did a giveaway of book 1 as part of an author gathering. I gave away five copies of my book and the response was very positive. However, that feeling of happiness soon dissipated when that positive response was followed by: I have a lot of books on my TBR (To Be Read) list, but I’ll get to it. Two years later and still no reviews, no comments on my Author Page, nothing.

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The Ever-growing TBR list

I’ve had people claim they’ve read my book and when I ask them to post a review they act like they don’t have time. I’m thinking you’ve had time to read the book, why not take a couple of minutes to write a couple of sentences in a review. Before I continue, I am guilty of not doing the same but I will get those reviews written—eventually.

I’ve convinced family and co-workers to buy my book but some say they are too busy to read it, while others say they’ve started reading it and like it so far, yet, no reviews. No comments at all.

 

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Review my Book

When no one reads your stories it becomes very discouraging to an author. They can’t gauge what works and what doesn’t. They can’t decide if they should write the sequel or write something else entirely. I’m struggling with that very dilemma right now.

In addition to my trilogy, I’ve written four short plus a collection of blog posts by a character featured in the trilogy. They only reviews I’ve gotten are by: My cover artist, an editor, and a friend. Nothing from my fellow authors whose books I have read. I always thought it was an unwritten law that if you help out an author by reading one of their stories, they’d read one of yours. Guess not. I have hundreds of ideas for future stories but struggle with which way to go as I don’t know what’s worth writing.

I understand people don’t want to spend their hard earned money on an unknown author’s book if they know there’s the possibility of them not liking it but that’s the chance you have to take sometimes. I’ve read several books by people I didn’t know and absolutely love their work; sometimes better than the big name authors out there.

One of the reasons I provide short stories, and at only 99¢, is so readers out there can get an idea of what my writing is like and not have to spend a lot of money in doing so. Oftentimes, I find writing short stories easier as I can spin a good tale in a small of amount of space as compared to a full length novel.

 

Conclusion

I will continue to write stories; even if no one reads them because this is who I am and I have stories to share. I can’t think of ever stopping because it would hurt too much not to write. Fellow authors know this feeling.

So when you buy a book please read it and then give it a review. If not on an official page, like Amazon, send it to the author instead.

Do you review books after reading them? Or do you space it and move on to your next book? Share your comments below.

 

Happy Adventuring!

Chris

Characters: What’s in a Name?

“What’s in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.” ~William Shakespeare, Romeo and Juliet Act II, Scene II

 

Introduction

Sometimes one of the more difficult challenges for a writer is naming their characters. They want something that will define who they are, as a person, but also to make them stand apart from everyday people in real life. This week we’ll look at advice on naming your characters and where to look for ideas.

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Life Imitates Art

Regardless of how careful you are in selecting your character’s name, there is also a slight chance that someone in the real world has that very same name. One of the best examples I can think of is the American version of the 1954 movie, Godzilla, King of the Monsters. They brought in Raymond Burr to play news reporter, Steve Martin. Twenty plus years later, a young actor/comedian came onto the scene named, Steve Martin.

Naturally this is a coincidence and, just for the record, Steve Martin was born in 1945. I’m sure this never caused problems in general for Mr. Martin until, maybe, Godzilla 1985 arrived which was to be a direct sequel to the ’54 movie. Raymond Burr, once again, reprises his role as Steve Martin. By this time the comedian has gotten a foothold in Hollywood and perhaps some found it confusing to hear that the bearded Mr. Burr was playing, “Steve Martin”.

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Cast of Joss Whedon’s “Firefly” TV series. Courtesy of Wiki Commons.

Fantasy/Sci-Fi Names

Of course if you’re writing the Fantasy genre or even Science Fiction, there’s a slim to no chance that your characters will be the names of real people. People might name their children after your characters, which isn’t new, but it could be very flattering. On the other hand, no one would want to go to school with a classmate named Voldemort.

To use the TV series, Firefly as an example, there is always a possibility that there might be someone named Malcolm Reynolds or Kaylee Frye, but a slimmer chance with the names Hoban Washburne and Inara Serra. As we head further into our own future, some of these names will be as common as Joe Smith and Bob Jones.

 

How original should I be?

Speaking of Joe Smith and Bob Jones, some writers might ask, “How do I create original character names without being obvious?” The answer to this question varies based on the decisions of the author. If you’re writing a fictional story that takes place in our world and our time, you’re going to run into plain names such as Joe and Bob. To make them unique you can always add a middle name, a numeral; to show his name is passed down from generation to generation, or give him a nickname.

Character names are can be based on a region that he is born. For example, you won’t find many people in America named ‘Colin’ or ‘Basil’ but in Great Britain, the names are as common as George or Fred.

The same works in Fantasy settings; a character’s name might have more vowels in it, like natives of Hawaii, if they live in the Northern Territory; or they might have a similar prefix or suffix to their name to denote that they are slaves from The Wasteland.

My overall advice is to keep the names easy to pronounce and easy to remember. I read where one Fantasy author provided a pronunciation guide to go along with the book so you can properly pronounce the characters names. If you have to do this, I would recommend renaming the characters. The last thing I want to do is refer to another book just to know how to pronounce their names. I’ll give up the book long before chapter 2 in that instance.

In my own writings I have two characters whose names seem long and difficult but they’re pronounced the way they are written. One is a dwarf named, Pendergrass Snickersnee; and the other is a gnome-like character named, Finnbiddle Pilwicket.

Both look difficult at the first appearance but they are pronounced as they are written. So you see you can have Fantasy or Sci-Fi names that appear complicated but are easy to pronounce. If that’s not enough, you can always shorten a name to give him a nickname. I refer to Finnbiddle simply as Finn.

 

How do I choose names?

There are a variety of ways to choose names for your characters. Here’s an article from fellow author, Chris Andrews, and how he chooses names.

Name generators found on the internet are a great way to create names for Fantasy and/or Sci-Fi characters. I’ll post the links at the bottom of this article.

If you’re looking to name a character based on a certain meaning or a certain word, you can use 20,000 Names website. They have ethnic names from different parts of the world; both male and female, and the meanings of each name.

For example my character Ravenkeep in book 3 of The Askinar Towers trilogy has a pirate ship named, The Malandra. I found the word at this website and here is the meaning…

MALANDRA: Modern English compound name composed of Mal- (“dark, black”) from Malinda, and Sandra “defender of mankind.”

As you can see the word is a form of the color, Black which is also the color of the ship.

If you work a day job in addition to being a writer, sometimes they will put out a company magazine every month. Usually they’ll list names of employees how have been with the company for a number of years based on the state they work in. This is a great way to take someone’s first name and combine it with someone’s last name to create a new name for a character. In book 3, The Reverend Edward Hardwick was named after two employees of the company. I keep a stack of magazines on hand when I need to name a character and don’t always have access to the internet.

Conclusion

Try and be as original with your character’s names but not too original that it seems obvious or difficult that you have to put out a pronunciation guide. Try not to make it a huge chore either. As you’re working on your first draft, if you can’t come up with a name simply insert something (anything) as a marker then you can come back and replace it at a later time once you’ve had the chance to think about it.

How do you come up with names for your characters? Do you use generators? Names of friends? Or do they come to you in dreams? Share your experience in the comments below.

Happy Adventuring!

Chris

Here are some of my favorite name generator sites:

Seventh Sanctum: Characters Seventh Sanctum has a wide variety of name generators.

The Real Mormon Name Generator (Rum and Monkey) No disrespect but this puts out some great names that would be perfect for Fantasy stories.

Fake Name Generator This is for mainstream fiction. This not only gives you a random name but a street address, city, state, zip, birthdate, Mother’s maiden name, etc.

The Askinar Towers: Flash Fiction No. 5

Once again I am sharing some flash fiction that I wrote featuring a new character and taking place in book 2, “Sibling Rivalry”. If this were an actual part of the story it would take place towards the end of chapter 9. Enjoy and, as always, comments are welcomed!

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Edna’s Day Out

Edna Carlisle gathered up her things as she prepared to go down to the Askinar Towers Postal Service on Floor 10 in the Tower of Air. Her husband, Lester, was watering the plants in the apartment and then he was headed up to the Floor 68 Public Park to play checkers with his friend.

“Lester, are you sure you don’t want to come with me?” she asked him.

“Stand in line for an hour just to deliver two letters? No thank you,” he replied.

“The service is getting better. I was only in line for forty-five minutes last time.”

“A whole fifteen minutes less? I’ll call the radio station and have them broadcast it.”

“You don’t need to be snippy with me. I’d rather have someone to talk to while I’m waiting.”

“And I was your first choice? I’m flattered!” said Lester.

“Actually none of the ladies were available; I’ve already asked. You’re my last resort.”

“Isn’t that what you said on our wedding day?” he mumbled as he entered the kitchen.

“I didn’t hear what you said,” said Edna.

“Have a great day, my love!” he called out.

She left the apartment, walked down the hallway, and pressed the down button at the elevator. She only had to wait a couple of minutes before the doors open. She heard a door slam further down the hall as she got on board and a voice called out,

“Hold the elevator, please!”

Edna held the doors opened as a man in a white doctor’s coat appeared and entered the car.

“Thank you,” he said as he pushed the button for ‘16’. “What floor please?”

“Floor 10, the Askinar Tower Postal Service,” she replied looking at the young man. He pushed a button, the doors closed and the elevator descended.

“Are you by chance a doctor?” Edna asked.

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“Yes. Dr. Medulla at your service,” he said with a graceful bow. “I was making a house call on one Petunia Mayfair. She’s been suffering great headaches.”

“Poor little thing,” said Edna. “She’s tried everything to get rid of the pain. What did you prescribe?”

“Nothing. I simply removed the Altairian Brain Eater from the back of her head. She couldn’t see it because it was half burrowed into her skull. Its skin matched the color of her hair.”

“Brain eater? Oh, doctor your putting me on!”

Dr. Medulla appeared as if he going to correct her but decided it would be simpler not to tell her the truth.

“You’re right,” he said, “just a little doctor humor. I simply gave her a neck adjustment and the pain went away.”

The elevator arrived at Floor 16 and the doctor hurried off. The doors closed and resumed its travel to Floor 8.

“A brain eater? Land sakes, what these quack doctors will say to get more money out of you.” Edna was unaware that she was going to the wrong floor.

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At Floor 8 the doors opened to the Celestial Post Office on Space Station Minerva. Edna slowly stepped off the elevator assuming she was on the right floor. ‘They must have redecorated recently,’ she thought.

She stood in line behind a couple of people waiting to talk to a large creature covered in blue fur. For some reason she could smell pine cones but didn’t know why. To the left she noticed a young couple at the complaints window talking to a man in a three-piece suit. Everything seemed normal to her except for the blue creature.

“Next,” called the creature.

She looked over to her right and saw a bar called the Cosmic Parlor.

“Next,” called the creature.

Edna shook her head in disapproval. ‘Drawing the younger crowd to the post office with the allure of drink. I’ll have a word with the manager about this!’

“NEXT!” the creature bellowed.

Edna looked and saw no one in front of her. She walked briskly up to the blue creature behind the counter. She was about to protest when she realized the pine cone smell was coming off him, her, it. Edna placed the two letters on the counter. The creature snatched them into his paws and looked them over.

“These need to be processed through the Askinar Towers Postal Service,” he said. “Next!” The smell of pine cones became stronger.

“Just a minute, young man or whatever you are. I am in the Askinar Towers Postal Service and I want to you take care of these for me.”

“This is the Celestial Post Office on Floor 8 and although we process letters for the Askinar Towers, we can’t process these. You’ll have to take them up to Floor 10. Next!”

“What do you mean this is Floor 8? I asked the doctor to push Floor 10, that is what he did, and this is supposed to be the Askinar Towers Postal Service,” said Edna.

“Floor 8 is where you are. I don’t know any doctor who would push the wrong floor for you. You have to go up to Floor 10.”

“All of this is giving me a headache,” said Edna as she became lightheaded.

“You must have an Altairian Brain Eater attached. Come here!” He reached for her but Edna screamed, grabbed her letters, and then ran to the elevator.

Once inside she pushed the button for Floor 10, the doors closed, and the car ascended. She pulled out a small paper fan and frantically waved it in front of her.

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At Floor 10 the doors opened and she carefully entered the Askinar Towers Postal Service. A woman attired in pants suit walked up to her. “Good afternoon, do you need those letters processed?”

“What? Oh, yes!” Edna unclutched her hand and gave them to the woman. “Sorry about their condition, I just had a horrible experience.”

“You went to Floor 8 by mistake?” asked the woman.

“Yes, but how did you know?” asked Edna.

“You smell like pine cones. My husband, Larry, wears that cologne.”

“Your…husband?”

The doors behind her opened and the blue creature lumbered off towards Edna and the woman.

“Hi Honey, ready for lunch?’ He bent down and gave her a kiss as Edna crumpled to the floor in a faint.

 

            I hope you enjoyed today’s bit of flash fiction. Don’t forget to check out my trilogy, The Askinar Towers where stories like this take place.

 Until next time,

Happy Adventuring!

Chris

The Window of Opportunity

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Introduction

When Opportunity knocks I’m usually in the bathroom or at work and I’m almost always missing the visit. However last week, when it came along, I opened the window and shouted, “Don’t move I’ll be right there.”

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A Startling Announcement

On Wednesday I shocked my friends on Facebook that I was quitting writing for the time being as my books were going nowhere. However, this announcement was misunderstood as I didn’t announce it properly. I was getting comments about take a breather, sit back, and you can get going again. Only two or three people actually got the initial idea as I explained it further in the comments section.

What I meant was, since I no one was reading my books and reviewing them, I had nothing to gage my future writing on and therefore I thought, “What’s the point of continuing if no one will read them?” I have had a few sales of my stories but yet people tell me that they just don’t have time to read them. Really? My books aren’t that long or complicated. I have three short stories available that could be read in about twenty minutes or so.

 

What about Giveaways?

Yes, I have given my books away as a promotion for myself through other Facebook pages. The response I get from them is, “I have a lot of books on my reading list right now, but I’ll get to yours.” How many is ‘a lot’? I’m not trying to turn this post into a rant; I just want you to know the frustration I am feeling. Yes, I know all writers go through this. What irritates me the most is that I’ll support another author’s work; read and review it, but not receive the same in return. I get that you are too busy writing but how is it that you’re able to praise other writers’ works but not mine?

A New Opportunity

As I stated before I’m not giving up writing totally and to be honest I just couldn’t anyways. It’s a part of who I am. Even if I’m not writing things down on paper or on the laptop, I’m writing in my head. Since March 2016 I started writing poetry in conjunction with this site on Facebook called Peanut Butter and Poetry Jam. I was pointed out to me by a fellow writer and I decided to visit. I hadn’t written poetry since high school, about 30 years or so, and even then it was mostly sonnet-based verses.

The page is rather simple: an image is posted on Saturday and you have roughly until the following Wednesday to post a poem that was inspired by the image. From there it is voted on and the winner is announced on Thursday. My first attempt, The Green Blade Witch, actually got me the win. Not bad for being 30 years out of touch.

From then on the creativity that creates poetry was awaken within me and I participated almost every week. Then early last week I was told that the page had disappeared. I was heartbroken as I found something that, not only was I interested in doing, but something that could keep the writer in me writing. I contacted the administrator of that page and asked if one of us could take over. She and her associate were too busy to continue the page and so she handed it over to me! Thank you Opportunity!

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New Year, New Writing Possibilities

            With the new year beginning, this gave me the motivation to make new ideas come to life via the poetry page. So for now, this will be my muse for the next few months or so. I’ll still be working on my other projects; either by typing them on the laptop or just writing them in my head. But with this poetry page I want to turn things around for myself and head in an entirely new direction and see where this adventure will take me. I have have plans to publish a collection of poems that are Fanstasy-based and from there we’ll see where ‘the road not taken’ leads me.

Conclusion

Where is the New Year taking you? Are you on track in your writing life or has something occurred to encourage you to take another road? Feel free to comment and if you get the chance visit us on the poetry page over at Facebook!

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Happy Adventuring!

Chris

NaNoWriMo and the Finish Line

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Introduction

It’s December and you know what that means, another NaNoWriMo has come to an end. Thirty days of writing, panic, stressing, increased caffeine intake, planning, plotting, begging, and time-wasting. Now that it’s December you can sit back, breathe a sigh of relief, and know that it’s all over.

In this article we’re going to look at the aftermath of NaNo. Was it a thrilling success? Or a steaming pile of “What in the world did I just write?” Even if you didn’t reach the 50K words, you’re still considered a winner in some fashion.

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Picture courtesy of the NaNoWriMo.org website.

The Last 30 Days

When you first began this 30 day challenge, the entire road is open and cleared for you to write. You might already have known some of the forthcoming obstacles of the month which Life had prepared to throw at you; including Thanksgiving, but aside from that, it’s a clear path ahead.

Now at this end of the month, you can look back and see what happened if you didn’t achieve your goal of 50K words. As we had discussed in “Life and NaNo” there is always something waiting in the wings to trip you up and slow you down:  An illness in the family, an extra project at work, or something simple like, “Hey, the new episodes of my favorite show are now available, I’ll write later.”

For 2016 one of the biggest distractions was the presidential election and goings on before and after it. Never in the history of elections had one been as bizarre and controversial as this one. Even if you can’t stand politics and the candidates chosen, it’s hard to not to peek at what’s going on and why they said this and that. In addition, each individual state had political issues to vote on, new candidates to vote for, or old ones to retain.

One of the things that could have been done, in regards to your writing, is to use the activity of the elections as fuel for your story; whether it’s a character running for office or making a statement similar to what was said. If you’re going to eat up time that way, at least take some notes for your story.

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The Winner’s Circle

For those of you who made it to 50K, regardless of how long it took you, congratulations on a job well done! I know that there are some who managed to finish in just a couple of weeks; primarily through dedication to the task at hand or Word Wars with fellow writers. If you’ve never been in a word war, might I suggest one the next time you write? All you do is set a time limit; say, ten or twenty minutes and the two of you (or more) write as many words as you can before the time runs out. It’s a great way to generate more words plus it adds a competitive edge to keep you focused.

For those who won, how much of your first draft is salvageable? There’s a reason it’s called a rough draft in that most of what you write is fairly rough. A friend of mine stated that although he didn’t win, the only thing worth saving was the title. Now that’s pretty rough! Either way, you have a basic foundation in which you can spend a little more time developing certain characters which may have shined better than others, scenes which may have unexpectedly cropped up, or a subplot which turned out better than you could have imagined.

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Reaching the Finish Line

For those who didn’t achieve the 50K goal and get your manuscript validated, it’s quite all right. Sure you didn’t “win” but you at least made the attempt and you have more words that when you started. It’s still a foundation from which you can further develop scenes, characters, and subplots.

Before you decide to chuck everything into the bin might I made a suggestion? Stick it in a folder, forget about it during December and then drag it back out at the start of the New Year. You may view it differently after ignoring it for an entire month. Remember: To grow something, you have to shovel a lot of manure. Your manuscript may look like nothing but a pile of drivel but after a month of ignoring it, you might be able to find a gem of an idea, or a character that made its way into the foreground and caused you to stop and take notice of them.

For right now, enjoy the holiday season and know that you survived another 30 Day challenge; with or without your sanity intact. Catch up on some much needed sleep, apologize to all family and friends you may have offended, and get outside and see what’s going on in the world that you ignored for the those last 30 days.

 

How Did I Do?

For me was a failure in regards to making it to 50K. I came in just under 39K and pretty much stopped altogether on the 27th. What surprised me this year is that I ran out of story before I ran out of words. That’s never happened to me in all of the previous challenges that I finished. I had skipped an entire chapter and one crucial scene because I wanted to get to the rest of the story, but I never made it back to them before the end. I even added a couple thousand words in side story ideas which eventually will generate a separate book idea.

My biggest drawback was a lack of communication with my fellow writers during the month. I don’t have an internet connection at my apartment and going to work at 4am made me miss all of the local write-in events. Still I had one friend who I kept in contact with during the month and we encouraged one another throughout the event.

The other drawback was my desire to watch DVDs of shows which I’ve seen hundreds of times plus getting them in the mail for shows that I haven’t seen. I attempted to use them as a reward system for getting so many words done, but it’s hard to watch just one episode of a show and not want to keep watching the rest on the disc.

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Conclusion

Overall, another 30-day challenge has come and gone. Take the time to reflect on the days that you wrote, what stopped you, and see if you can’t improve for the next time you take the challenge. Whether you reached the goal or not, congratulate yourself for trying and writing some words which can become your next novel.

So how did you do in the challenge? Did you win? Give up? Share with me your accomplishments and hardships during the November challenge in the comments below. Make suggestions on how one can improve the next time you sit down to write.

 

Happy Adventuring!

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Chris

The Milestones of NaNoWriMo

 

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Sound the trumpets, the moment is here!

Introduction

As we closer to the time to begin our journey to 50K words, I thought I’d share some ideas of things you can do to help you to not only achieve the 50K words, but also to cross each word goal during the month. A variety of incentives to help you strive for those words each week.

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Start Your Engines

It’s Day 1 and the path to the end is clear. Well, it’s clear as far as the first day. As we stated before, sometimes real life can get in the way. Your first milestone is, of course, 1667 words. That’s how many words you need to write every day in order to accomplish the 30 Day trek. Now some of you Math Geeks will state that it is in fact 50,010 words long which it is but there’s nothing wrong with going over the amount.

Now you can celebrate your first days’ worth of work by having some chocolate or just getting up from the computer and share the news with your family. But the better thing to do is keep writing and strive for 5K so you have some padding when Life comes knocking on your door.

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5K Every 3 Days

This is the mantra I’d created to help us stay focused. This should be considered the first TRUE milestone as increments of 5K would be better suited as an accomplishment for your writing. Now would be a good time to get up from your seat and away from the computer for a bit. Go outside and walk down to your mailbox or, at the most, take a walk down to your local convenience store and grab a soda or coffee.

You can also take a moment to update you Facebook status to let your friends and family know that you’ve accomplished 5,000 words. In the long run this is a small amount but it is enough to create short story. Congrats and keep going!

☺ I just wrote 10,000 words! ♥

Congratulations you are 1/5 of the way there. This is quite an accomplishment for anyone who’s not a regular writer of stories. If you follow the mantra it should only be Day 6, or maybe Day 2 depending on how fast you are churning out the words. They say that Week 2 is the hardest on any NaNo participant as the excitement melts away and you realize that this is going to take longer than you thought.

People usually give up on their stories somewhere between Day 8 and Day 12 as the sense of reality hits them and they think, “What have I gotten myself into?” or “I don’t have time for this!” If this becomes a reality for you, just take a couple days off from writing altogether. Another thing you can do is strive to write just a paragraph a day until things readjust themselves.

To celebrate 10K, treat yourself to a couple of episodes of a TV series you missed to enter this challenge. I say a couple because, seriously, who can watch only one? Check in with your family making sure they are still alive and have food to sustain them. You might want to consider a shower if you haven’t done so yet this week.

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♫ 25K, I’m Halfway! ♫

You’re probably sitting there saying, “Wait, what happened to 15K and 20K?” That’s entirely up to you as you can do more of the same for the 10K and know that you’ve arrived at each milestone. I’m moving up to 25K as that is the halfway mark for this writing challenge.

25,000 words is quite an accomplishment! In my first NaNo, 25K was my intended goal for the 30 Days since I was new to the challenge. There is no shame in having this as your final goal especially if you find 50K to be daunting. Sure you “won’t win”, but you can see it as a personal victory and a self-satisfying achievement.

Day 15 is the halfway mark of the month and it’s just at the edge of the pending holiday season. Keep in mind that Thanksgiving falls on the 24th (2016) this year and that’s only 9 days away. Make plans to write accordingly so you don’t fall behind.

To reward yourself for the halfway mark, why not try a new restaurant that you heard about or actually take the time to cook a meal for the family rather than rely on those pre-made frozen dinners you created at the end of last month. Catch up with the family, make updates on your social media pages so people know you’re still alive, and overall, revel in the fact that you made it this far!

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Picture courtesy of NaNoWriMo.org website

35K-45K

For those of us who make it this far, we can actually see the finish line and it looks promising! At 35K you’re only 15,000 words away from completion; while at 45K, it’s only 5,000 words to the end. This is the time to rejuvenate your body for the final leg of the challenge.

Depending on how you’ve arranged things earlier in the month, you may be at this point before Thanksgiving or just after the day. If before, take the day off and celebrate with family knowing that in just a few more days you’ll have completed the challenge and can enjoy the remainder of the year. Help yourself to an extra piece of pie then get out and walk the neighborhood for a while. Take in the colors and smells of the season and primarily clear your head.

As the day comes to a close, jump back on the computer and write a couple more pages before bedtime. You can set up your story for the final push and utilize the whole next day to get there. Of course, if you have family staying with you, get up early and write as much as you can while the rest of the house is sleeping, and then plan to write more throughout the course of the day. Steal away to a local coffee shop and an hour or two, if you can, and keep writing. Just be wary of Mad Holiday Shoppers. That’s right, it’s Black Friday!

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The Finish Line—50,000 Words!!

Here we are at the finish line! You did it, you actually wrote a book and you can sit back and enjoy the feeling of stress melting away knowing that you completed the challenge. To reward yourself, take your family out to a fancy restaurant or a show you’ve been dying to see. Make an evening out of it and spend time with your family.

Apologize to everyone you may have offended during the month as you strive to reach the completion of this challenge. You may know it at the time but there are those who don’t understand why you’d subject yourself to such insanity. Don’t bother explaining it to them as they most likely will still not understand. However, you might invite them to the next challenge next year or if you do Camp NaNoWriMo, you can bring them along.

**Important Note** The Novel Validation (word counter) usually opens up on the 28th of November. Make sure if you use all 30 days that you give yourself enough time to get your novel officially validated so you can receive your certificate of achievement and earn that purple bar on your profile. It will close at Midnight and won’t be available to validate later on.

Conclusion

Now that you’ve completed the writing challenge, you can spend most of next month sleeping. Remember, this is only a rough draft and not a completed manuscript. If you took my advice about padding your story, you will want to remove those items. As we’ve stated in a previous article the reason so many people are against NaNoWriMo is that they assume that come December 1st people will be publishing their book…as is.

If you’ve shut off your “Inner Editor” during the month, I’m sure you’ve have tons on mistakes. This can be fixed during December, but personally I’d wait until January.

What do you do to reward yourself with each milestone completed? Share your comments below!

Happy Adventuring!

Chris