Tag Archives: NaNoWriMo

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

The Real Life Guide to NaNoWriMo

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Introduction

You manage to adjust your schedule at work, straighten out your daily routine at home, and even get your family to help out during your writing challenge. You’re all ready for NaNoWriMo when a knock comes at your door. It’s Life standing there and he has a box of new problems for you to add to November!

Whenever we seem ready to take on the writing challenge in November, Life always finds a way to come in and throw a wrench into the works. Here’s some advice to help you journey through the maze of November.

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The Family

One of the things you can do to really get your writing off the ground is to bring your family on board with your project. First and foremost, try and encourage others to join you in the frenzy-filled madness of writing for thirty days straight. If they decline, the next step is to help them understand why you need to do this and look for moral support from them.

Ask them not to disturb you when you are in writing mode but also to give words of encouragement to you especially when you are struggling. I read an article several years ago that a woman locked herself in a room with a computer and a bed and was in there for the majority of the 30 days. Rarely coming out; eating and/or a shower but she wasn’t aware of her family to the point that she noticed her one son had grown a mustache.

Personally, I would not recommend you avoid your family in this way; even if you have a spouse who’s willing to run the household while you’re writing. One of the great idea makers is real-life conversation and everyday events that can be harvested into writing fodder. Make sure you set aside some time to spend with your family so they still recognize you while you’re in your writing cave.

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Meetings and Appointments

We don’t always have control of our time when it comes to doctor visits whether it’s a checkup or a weekly counselor’s session. However, you can try to schedule these appointments as close together as possible and get them out of the way ASAP.

When an appointment is coming up, make sure you write a little extra to pad yourself for that day. Not every appointment will eat up much time but if little Johnny is rushed to the hospital from the school with a broken arm, you may find that a few days of writing will disappear while you tend to this emergency.

Naturally I’m not telling to ignore your family or obligations when it comes to these sudden changes, but stay ahead of your word count goal for any eventuality. And if you are a church-goer do not ignore your responsibilities for the purpose of writing. Your congregation might understand but not God Himself. As I mentioned before, get up 30 minutes earlier and get some writing in before the rest of the house gets up.

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Meals and That Holiday

If you are the cook in the household, you may find it difficult to do the evening meals for the family. Don’t just shove the yellow pages at your family and tell them to, “Figure it out for yourselves.” Pizza, on occasion, is nice but no one wants takeout every night of the week for an entire month.

One of the ideas that someone came up with was cooking several meals in advance and then freezing them so it can be thawed and reheated during November. This is a great way to make sure your family not only gets enough to eat but is eating healthier than what they’d get through a drive-thru window.

Another idea is to get your spouse to do some if not most of the cooking during this time and an even better idea would be to get the kids to help. If you have teenagers in the house this would be a perfect time to get them to learn how to cook for themselves. Recipes are readily available all over the internet as are cooking videos that give you tips and hints on how to prepare certain dishes.

Of course the biggest event of November is that holiday called Thanksgiving. It falls on the 24th this year (2016). One way to prepare for this is to have your story completely written before then. It’s not impossible but for some it may be more challenging. If you’re hosting the big dinner at your house, prepare as much of the food in advance before the day arrives. There are some grocery stores that sell an entire turkey dinner with all of the trimmings so that all you’d have to do is heat everything up in the microwave or oven. Check your area and see if this option is available.

Another idea is either have it earlier or postpone it until later depending on everyone’s availability that will be a part of your dinner. There are no rules written in stone that says you have to celebrate Thanksgiving on the actual day.

If you’ll be visiting someone else’s home for the meal, perhaps you can do some writing on the way over to the location. Whether you are travelling by car, train or airplane; you should be able to snag some extra words prior to the meal. Provided that your hosts understand your writing challenge, you might be able to get in some writing while waiting for the meal to be served. Don’t ignore them especially if you only see them once or twice a year. If you’re spending the weekend there, there’s always time to get some writing in on Friday and Saturday after the meal.

Conclusion

Whatever you do, do not totally neglect your family during the month of November. Spend some time with them, eat meals with them, and celebrate each milestone that you cross. We’ll talk more about this in an upcoming article.

What about you? What are your secrets to dealing with everyday life and writing? Share any hints or tips of what worked and what didn’t. I’m looking forward to hearing your comments.

Happy Adventuring!

Chris

Helpful sites for your NaNoWriMo experience.

As we get closer to this year’s NaNoWriMo I thought I would share some of the websites I frequented for inspiration and quick information to help me stay on track for the 50K word challenge. This isn’t a complete list of useful sites, just the ones I’m most familiar with over the past 12 years or so.

Name Generators

Fake Name Generator—Not only do you get a made up name but also: an address, an occupation, an online screen name, a social security number and others. You can even activate the e-mail address to make your character seem real!

Seventh Sanctum—One of the ultimate collections of names for Fantasy or Sci-fi. Plus you can also create names for tools or gadgets for your characters.

Band Name Maker/Other Generators—This is a collection of other Name Generators.

20,000+ Names — This site has names from different ethnic backgrounds plus their meanings.

OTHER SITES

10,000-Year Calendar What I really like about this is that you can locate any date in history and find out what day if falls on, plus you can see into the future for certain dates as well. For example, we all know that JFK was assassinated on November 22, 1963 but did you know it was the Friday before Thanksgiving?

Dollar Times-Inflation Calculator—Now you can find out how much $1000 in 1945 is equal to today.

Logo Design—Help create a logo for your company, your band, or your adventuring party!

Online Alignment Test—A good way to figure out what kind of behavior your character has and how they would react to certain situations.

Anagram ServerWant to hide your villain’s name in plain sight? Try an anagram!

Pixabay—Free Images—A collection of images that can be used to inspire your writing or become part of your book cover.

This should help you on your road to 50K words this year.

Good luck and Happy Adventuring!!

Chris

Hello NaNoWriMo, I’m back!

50K Words, 30 Days, Lots of Coffee!!

50K Words, 30 Days, Lots of Coffee!!

Last year, I took November off from writing the 50K challenge that is The National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo). The reason was my book, through my publisher, was supposed to be released by December 3rd and I thought I’d be using the month of November to promote it. Well, as you may know by now, it was never to be. The cover never got completed, the edits weren’t finished, and the final manuscript was supposed to be sent to distributors six weeks out (the middle of October) from the release date. None of that happened.

In addition, my publisher said that NaNo was for amateurs and writer wannabes. Oh? When December came along I saw a lot of my Twitter friends, well-established authors, comment about participating in NaNo and having a foundation for their next novel. I truly felt like I missed out on something special. But not this year! I plan to return to NaNoLand and take the challenge by the throat!

Give Me A Deadline!

If this is your first time in learning about NaNoWriMo, then let me direct you to my post from last year that gives a full rundown of the challenge and advice on how to complete it. Go ahead and read that article first and then come back here and finish this one. It’s all right, I’ll be here when you return. 🙂

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Welcome back! As I mentioned in the previous article, I like NaNo because I gives me a word challenge and a deadline. The main thing I seriously lack in my writing is the discipline to put butt in seat and write a story. ANY story. I currently have the discipline as I am writing this article because I know I want to get it done and I have a deadline of Monday, so I can upload it in conjunction with the Monday Blogs hashtag.

From December through to October, I don’t really have a deadline to abide by. I mean, I do set myself deadlines and then I enjoy listening to the whooshing sound they make as they speed right by me. This is where personal discipline needs to come into play because, for the most part, you’re on your own. Now, if you have a contract with a publishing company, you might be given a deadline for when your next book is due or, at least, a month in which they want to see your manuscript.

For the rest of us, it’s on us to make our own deadlines. Simply put, if you want your book available for purchase in December, then you better well everything completed, or close to completion, by the end of November. It’s up to you.

Found on Deviant Art by Reapthebeauty

Found on Deviant Art by Reapthebeauty

A New Fantasy Story

For my NaNo this year, I’m going to take an idea that I tried and failed in 2011 and couple it with characters from my 2010 challenge. Yes, that sounds weird but, I you don’t know me by now, I am weird and take pride in it!

My 2011 challenge was called The Summer of Monsters and I had this group of kids solving mysteries that were linked together involving some type of monster. It was set in modern day Arizona, a fictional town called Ciudad (Spanish for “City”). It was a series of short stories linked together with this group who called themselves, the Ciudad Amateur Detectives and Explorers or C.A.D.E. for short. I only accomplished 8 days of the challenged and promptly quit for two reasons. 1)My heart just wasn’t in the challenge. Probably, because I did it every year for the last 6 years and 2)For some reason, I just can’t write about a contemporary setting, even if it’s a fictional town. It just seems so…dull.

My 2010 challenge was called 30 Days at Quenchers and was supposed to be book 1 of an open-ended series featuring my character, Jarryd McCallen. To this day, I still haven’t completely written the novel. I have a good foundation but I lack the desire and discipline to go and finish it. I hope to soon. The bulk of the characters in that story are former ones I used in role-playing Dungeons and Dragons, so it was like writing about old friends. Yet, that still wasn’t enough.

This year, I’m taking the C.A.D.E. idea and putting it in a Fantasy setting. This was an idea I was going to launch after Jarryd’s 3rd or 4th book, but I’ve decided to try and write it right now. Seeing that my trilogy, The Askinar Towers featured children, I thought let’s try this idea and see if I can get another ‘X’ in the Win column. The idea will be six short stories all linked together under the main title of The Chest of Dark Wonders.

The main character will be Candace, a ten year old girl who is part dragon. She lives with her father; halfling thief, Roland Haberdasher and Roland’s grandmother, Granny Haberdasher. She will be joined on her adventures by an orc, two gnomes and troll. The setting is a small village named Caldera Falls which is just a few miles away from Ciudad, the capital city.

Each of the six stories will feature an item from the chest and have an adverse affect on an individual that comes in contact with it. It will be up to Candace and her friends to solve each problem and find the link to them. I’m shooting for 10K words per story, so that should net me 60K overall which will be a new high for me! The highest I went previously, was 200 over 50K.

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What about you? Are you up for the challenge of writing 50K words in 30 Days? If not, share with me what you to do discipline yourself to keep butt in chair. Also, do you adhere to the deadlines you give yourself? Feel free to comment or ask questions!!

Happy Adventuring!

Chris

You can track me down on the NaNoWriMo website under the screen name: Tower_Keeper.