Camp NaNoWriMo Wrap-Up (April 2016)

I’ll just cut to the chase: I didn’t win Camp NaNo. My goal was to add 15k to The Resurrectionists by the end of the month, and I got to a little over 11k.

I’m not upset about it, though. After several months of being stuck in a rut, it felt great to actually make some progress. I may not have reached my goal, but I still wrote something, and that’s what matters.

camp-nano

Week Four Progress Report:

Last Week’s WC/CC: 60,156 words / 24 chapters

Current WC/CC: 61,909 words / 25 chapters

Progress Since Last Week: 1,753 words / 1 chapter

Total Progress This Month: 11,444 words / 6 chapters

How It Went:

I wrote almost every day this month, and I’m happy about that. On average I probably wrote like 400 words a day, and that’s not bad!

Unfortunately I just totally burned out in the last few days, but I think that was probably for the best. I got to a point in the story where I felt like I need to plan more. For most of the month I was basically winging it, but towards the end of the month that didn’t seem to be working so well anymore.

I think the problem is that there are a ton of important characters in The Resurrectionists, and I’ve reached a point where I need all their storylines to converge without it seeming too forced. Additionally, I think some of the characters’ motivations need to be clearer in order for the story to work––so that’s something else I need to think about before continuing.

An Excerpt From This Week:

Suspicion seeped into Jackson’s mind once again—and this time, he was fairly certain he wasn’t imagining things: This pair was acting notably strange. The forced smiles. The glittering eyes.

Clearing his throat, Jackson stopped in his tracks and faced Malcolm and Cecilia. “Thank you for walking with me,” he said, struggling through the fog in his brain and concentrating very hard on not slurring his words. “I’m feeling much better, though, and I think I can make it the rest of the way on my own.”

“Oh?” Cecilia stepped forward, her brow furrowed in a concerned expression that wasn’t quite convincing. “Are you certain?”

“Yes, quite certain.” Again, Jackson noticed how rude he sounded as soon as he had spoken the words. But at this point, he didn’t care. A dark, cold feeling rushed over him as he took in the two faces before him. The more he looked at them, the more they looked like masks rather than actual human features.

Without even bothering to say good night, he turned on his heel and started to run. His vision swam and his feet stumbled on the cobblestones, but he breathlessly forced himself forward.

All at once, there was a chilling rush of air around him––something that bit through his clothes and skin much more sharply than a gust of wind.

He didn’t have time to cry out before he felt something squeeze tightly around his throat.

That’s all for now, folks! Week 4 is over, and so is Camp NaNo for this month.

As for what I’ll be working on in May, it’s up in the air right now. I’ve been thinking it might be a good month to just catch up on research/planning, since that’s something I need to do for … all of my WIPs, really. Whatever I end up doing, I’ll certainly keep you all updated. 🙂

How about you guys?

  • Did you participate in Camp NaNo? If so, how did it go?
  • What are your writing plans for May?
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WIPMarathon: December 2015

I can’t believe there’s only a day left in 2015! This year has gone by way too quickly … and yet it also feels like it’s been super long. It’s hard to believe that at this time last year, I was about to start my last semester of college. And now it’s been more than 7 months since I graduated (yikes, can that be right???). Wow.

Without further ado, here is my WIPMarathon  post for December.

This month I got back to working on I Chose The Monster. (And … surprise surprise, I still haven’t finished this first draft. But I’m really, really close!)

Last WC/CC: 128,804 words / 46 chapters

Current WC/CC: 144,668 words / 51 chapters

WIP Issues This Month:

I haven’t written much in the past week or so because of all the holiday craziness, and I didn’t write much at the beginning of December, either … but those two or so weeks in between, I really wrote up a storm. There was one week where I pledged to write 2k each day and I actually did it. I totaled about 15k words for the month––which for a non-NaNo month is pretty great, by my standards.

However, I wouldn’t say this first draft is flawless––in fact, I would say the opposite. It’s an utter mess. This month in particular, I was trying to get through the final section of the story, and there were parts when I felt really stuck and just skipped over big chunks of time. I think right now, the main problem is that so much of the central conflict is crammed into the last like, five chapters. I’m already starting to think about the next drafts, and how I’m going to introduce the biggest conflict/stakes earlier in the story. It’s coming to me bit by bit … but right now I just need to focus on getting to the end of this draft.

What I learned this month in writing: 

  • I am capable of meeting word goals if I just take the time to sit down and focus on writing for an hour or two.
  • If I have a larger word goal for the day, it can help to divide it into smaller chunks.
  • It’s helpful to start brainstorming for future drafts even when I’m still on the first draft––but I also try not to let that distract me from finishing the draft I’ve started.

What distracted me this month while writing:

  • Two words: Christmas shopping
  • And you know, Christmas itself

Goal for Next Month:

Finish this gosh darn draft of I Chose The Monster. No really, I’m serious. I have like two chapters left and I just need to do it.

If I do finish it before the end of January (which I will!!!) I’m going to start the editing process. The first order of business will be to start cutting out what I don’t need (which is a lot) but I also need to start reworking the plot, fleshing out characters and backstories more, etc. It’s going to be a good time.

Last 200 Words:

I can’t seem to get my legs to move yet. My hand is on my gun, and I pull it from its holster, yet I can’t throw myself into the battle. Although I’ve anticipated this moment for days, although I knew it was inevitable, it all seems so unreal. Truthfully, all I want to do is run and hide. In fact, some people are doing just that. While some throw themselves into the fight, others are scattering in all directions. But soon it’s clear that there’s nowhere to hide. The Morts have us surrounded.

I close my eyes and try to think through the wild pounding in my head. I quickly remember why I’m doing this. Who I’m doing it for. My parents. My friends. All the people I’ve lost. All the life I’ll never get to live.

And I remind myself why I made this choice. How I could have chosen death, or I could have chosen to fight back.

How I could have chosen to go peacefully, or to give up all humanity so I could do all the things I’ve done—everything that has led me here.

To be a ghost or to be a monster.

And I’ve chosen the monster.

Title drop! …. Sort of.

I hope you’ve all had a good writing month/year! Did you manage to get any writing done despite the holiday season?

Tomorrow I’ll be posting an end-of-the-year wrap-up and some of my writing goals for 2016!

NaNoWriMo: Week Four + WIPMarathon November 2015 Check-In

Here we are, folks––the final day of NaNoWriMo 2015.

And guess what? I WON! I WON, I WON, I WON!!! (Can you tell I’m excited?)

Screen shot 2015-11-30 at 2.44.56 PM

Look at that beautiful graph! I’m so proud. As you can see, I did fall behind on some days, but for the most part I stayed pretty on-track. Compared to the past couple years, where I had to write like 5k+ on the last day, that’s pretty good!

Anyway, this post is my final NaNo ’15 update, as well as my November WIPMarathon check-in. Here we go!

Last WC/CC: 33,684 words / 14 chapters

Current WC/CC: 50,499 words / 20 chapters

Progress Since Last Week: 16,815 words / 6 chapters

Total Words Written in November: 50,499

WIP Issues This Month:  

  • Since this month was NaNoWriMo, it meant I was tackling an entire new novel from scratch. I hadn’t started something new in over a year, so it felt a little intimidating.
  • I didn’t do much planning for this NaNo, which was unusual for me. As someone who usually prefers to have a full outline, it was kinda scary to wing it some of the time. But I found a good process of switching between writing and outlining as I went, which worked out pretty well.
  • Since I only decided on an idea like two weeks before November, that didn’t leave much time to do background research––and since my novel is (kind of) historical fiction, that meant there were some gaps in my knowledge about the time period. But I just had to suck it up and not be a perfectionist. I can always go back and do the research later.
  • Considering I didn’t do much writing in the months before NaNo, it was quite a leap to go from writing practically nothing every day to writing 1,667 words a day. It felt overwhelming at first, but I got more used to it as the month went on!

What I learned this month in writing: 

  • I don’t absolutely need a full outline before I start something. In fact, I found it useful to not be tied to a detailed outline for this story, because it gave me more room to explore and experiment.
  • Yes, I can write 1,667 words a day, even on really busy days. I really have no excuses not to write every day.

What distracted me this month while writing: 

Not very much, actually! I was pretty focused all month, which was awesome. There were some days I didn’t get much writing done, but it was usually because I was spending time with friends or family. There were also times I got distracted by the internet, but that’s nothing new.

Goal for next month: 

Dare I say it? I’m gonna say it.

*Deep breath* I really, really want to finish my first draft of I Chose The Monster this month. “But Brigid,” you exclaim, “you’ve been saying that every month for like two years!” I know, I know. But I feel like NaNo has given me the drive I need to finish this draft. I only have a few chapters of it left and I just need to get it done.

As for The Resurrectionists (my NaNo novel) I am going to set it aside for a little while, but I will get back to it eventually! But it might be a couple months before I return to it. I have ICTM to finish/edit, and then I also still need to finish The Waters and the Wild. Gahhh, so much to do in 2016!

Last 200 Words: 

For now, enjoy some recent words from The Resurrectionists! I’ve had a lot of fun working on it this month.

“I suppose I should frame the question differently. It isn’t painful to breathe, is it? You don’t feel like there’s some kind of … crushing pressure on your chest?”

“N––No,” Elmira stammered, putting a hand over her chest. “But … my heart. It feels strange.”

“Strange how? Does it hurt?”

“No, not exactly. But it’s like––like it isn’t beating right. It feels like it’s … clicking.”

Alice became aware of the strange clicking sensations in her own false heart.

“That’s entirely normal,” Cyrus said dismissively. “It sounds to me like you’re recovering splendidly.”

“Recovering?” Elmira repeated. “From what, exactly?”

“From death,” Cyrus said.

“Cyrus!” Alice exclaimed, aghast at how casually he’d said it. “You can’t just––”

“What? She may as well know the truth now.” He looked back at Elmira. “I’m sorry if that sounded a bit callous, my dear. But unfortunately, it’s true.”

“Death?” Elmira repeated, her voice small with horror. “But I … You can’t be saying that I … No. No, no. I can’t be dead. I’m not dead.”

“Not anymore,” said Cyrus.

“Stop it.” Alice moved in front of Elmira as if she meant to protect her from physical harm. “All you’re doing is scaring her.”

How did your month go, my fellow NaNos? Did you win? Even if you didn’t, did you still write a lot and learn valuable lessons?

Thanks to those of you who have followed my NaNo craziness this month!

WIPMarathon: October 2015 Check-In + NaNoWriMo!

Happy Halloween, everyone! I hope you’ve all had a spectacularly spooky day. I got to hang out with some of my friends from high school––we played Zoombinis and carved a pumpkin and it was a lot of fun. At the moment I am alone at home (on “handing out candy” duty) and I just finished watching the “Freaks and Geeks” Halloween episode, which I traditionally watch every year.

The best ❤

Anyway, on to the first order of business, which is my October check-in for WIPMarathon.

UMMMM … I really did not write much this month. My two (lame) excuses are 1) I was in the middle of writing a very difficult part of the book and it’s been too emotionally draining, 2) I got caught up in planning for NaNoWriMo and that kind of consumed a lot of my time. I am a bit frustrated since I was really hoping to finish this draft of I Chose The Monster before NaNo, but I guess it can wait until after November. *sigh*

Last WC/CC: 126,838 words / 45 chapters

Current WC/CC: 128,804 words / 46 chapters

WIP Issues This Month:

  • Mostly procrastination/laziness
  • I was distracted by planning for NaNo.
  • I’m trying to get through a really sad and dramatic chapter that’s been giving me a lot of trouble––and honestly that’s part of what prevented me from writing all month (besides just being lazy).

What I learned this month in writing:

It’s hard to say since I didn’t get much writing done at all. 😛 But ummmm … I guess I’ve learned that it can be very difficult to emotionally detach myself from the story/characters, but sometimes I just need to rip off the band-aid.

What distracted me this month while writing:

As I’ve mentioned a couple times: planning for NaNoWriMo! I got so caught up in researching, outlining, etc. that I just kind of set ICTM aside. I started to feel much more attracted to a new, shiny story than to an old one I’ve been working on for ages. 😛 But I’m sure I’ll be sick of the “shiny new story” by the end of November and then I can go back to ICTM! Yay!

Goal for next month:

To win NaNo! This is my tenth year participating––I can’t believe it. And I’m hoping to keep up my winning streak because I’ve won the past seven NaNos. Let’s make this number eight!!!

Last 200 Words:

Ohhhh boy. As I’ve mentioned, I’m in the middle of quite a dramatic part right now so uh, the emotions are running a bit high in this excerpt. Also WARNING: some strong language. 😛

“Fuck you,” I say. It comes out louder and fiercer than I thought it would, and Juliet winces as if I physically hurt her. I get shakily to my feet. “Fuck … you.” This time it comes out weak, broken—strangled by the sobs that are fighting their way up into my chest.

Juliet shakes her head. “Nina––”

She takes a step forward, but I step away from her. I clutch at my wrist, where it’s still throbbing. “You’re such a bitch, you know that?”

As soon as I’ve said it, I want to take it back. I see the look on Juliet’s face and I know I’ve hurt her. But at the same time, some sick part of me is glad. I need her to feel hurt, to show any kind of emotion at all.

“It’s always about you,” I force myself to continue––even though the tears are streaming freely down my face now, even though my voice trembles, even as the first sob racks its way through me. “You don’t give a damn about anyone but yourself. Even now. I––I can’t believe you.”

My voice finally breaks on the words. I’m losing control. Coming apart. Everything is growing hazy and unreal and I just want it to stop.

…. So much fun, I know!!!

Ah-hem well uh. Anyway. Time for the second thing on my agenda:

NaNoWriMo!!!!!!!!!!!

I’ll keep this brief because this post is already getting really long. But anyway, the working title of my NaNo is The Resurrectionists. 

resurrectionists

~spooky~

It’s based on real-life grave robbery in 18th century London, but it has a bit of a supernatural twist to it. 😉 I guess I’ll just leave it at that partly because I don’t really know what I’m doing!!!! but there is a bit more info about it here if you’re curious. (Also, feel free to add me as a NaNo buddy if you are also participating!)

I will try to do a weekly update for NaNo so I can tell you guys more about the story as I start making progress. Also I’m hoping to do a special NaNo edition of Music Monday this week. So, stay tuned!

Hope you’re all having a fun and safe Halloween. Don’t eat too much candy. 😉 …. Just kidding, eat lots and lots of candy.

How about you guys? Are you also doing NaNo? If so, what are you writing about?

WIPMarathon: August 2015 Check-In

Hey, guys! Sorry I haven’t been posting very much lately. I’ve been a little scatter-brained these past few months. This is the first year I’m not going back to college, so it feels really weird. I’m trying desperately to find a job, but the search has been a bit hopeless so far. But I applied to another job today, so everyone keep your fingers crossed for me!

And now for the WIP update:

Last WC/CC: 113,944 words / 40 chapters

Current WC/CC: 120,191 words / 43 chapters

And my goal for this month was to hit 120k words in this draft, so I’m very proud. *pats self on back*

WIP Issues This Month:

You know what? Things actually went pretty smoothly this month. I never thought I’d say this, but I actually feel like lately, I’ve been really well-organized and consistent in getting things done. Somehow things just “clicked” this month and I was really on a roll when it came to writing every day.

I’m not saying this draft is perfect––it’s definitely not. I’m obviously going to have to cut a lot of scenes when I’m done. And I’m worrying about things like plot structure and believability and consistency and character development, blah blah blah. But I’m just trying to focus on what I’m doing right now and worry about editing later.

What I learned this month in writing:

Quite a lot! Part of what really helped me was reading Write-a-Thon by Rochelle Melander, a book Faye from The Sprint Shack (one of my favorite writing blogs!) recommended. Melander’s book does have a bit of a “self-help” vibe (she’s a life and writing coach), but it did give me a boost of motivation and inspiration.

I took some of her advice, which included keeping a “writing journal” to keep track of my writing progress. So I’ve been trying a bit of a new method: when I sit down to write, I open my Writing Journal (which is a Word document on my computer) and write about my progress, feelings, and daily goals for just a few minutes. I talk about what I’m working on, how it’s going––what’s working, what I might need to fix/change later––and what I’m going to work on today.

This has really helped me to narrow my focus, and to not get overwhelmed with all the tasks ahead of me. When I just write, “okay, today I’m going to write the scene where [x] happens,” I feel like I’m more fixated on that small goal, rather than freaking out about finishing the whole thing. I’ve found that this makes me much more excited to sit down and write every day.

And I have been writing every day, which also has helped immensely. I’ve been using this app on my phone called WriteChain which you can use to log your daily word progress, and it’s helped me to remember to reach my goal every day.

I had a goal this month to reach 120k in this draft, which meant writing about 325 words per day––not bad at all! I’ve found that when I set myself a rather small goal like that, not only do I feel confident that I can hit it every day, but also I’m likely to write more than I need to because I feel like I’m on a roll. It’s a bit weird and unexpected, but it works. With such a small goal, I’ve been writing a lot more than I have in a long time.

What distracted me this month while writing:

Mainly looking for and applying to jobs. But also the usual things … *shakes a fist at the Internet* I’ve also been learning German and how to play the guitar recently so that also can be distracting!

Goal for next month:

Alright so I know I said last month that once I hit 120k I would maybe be at the end of this hellish, never-ending first draft of I Chose the Monster. About halfway through August, I came to realize I’d definitely not be at the end of this draft by the end of the month. But, I mapped out a plan in which I will hopefully, finally finish this draft by the end of September. It will involve a slightly bigger daily word goal than I used this past month, but I am determined to finally get it done. I’m so so so close; I think I have like 5-7 chapters left at most, some of which will be pretty short. So, here’s hoping I can finally do it!

Last 200 Words:

This isn’t literally the last 200 words––because first of all it’s 232 words, and also the last 200 words I wrote were a bit too spoiler-ish. But ah well, close enough, right?

“Oh, my God. What happened? Where’s everyone else?”

“It’s okay. They’re fine,” Gavin says. “They’re just in the other room.”

Juliet lets out a heavy sigh. “And the Morts?”

Again, Gavin and I look at each other.

“We took care of it,” I answer at last.

“What? All of them?” She scrambles off the bed and starts to get up before we can stop her.

I jump to my feet. “You probably shouldn’t––”

“I’m fine.” She stands, sways for half a second and then stumbles over to the window and clutches at the sill. Then she throws the curtain aside.

The daylight blinds me and I turn my head away. When I look up again, I see Juliet take a step back. One of her hands still grips the windowsill, and the other is over her mouth. I don’t even want to know what the balcony looks like in broad daylight. It was bad enough when darkness was falling—the bodies everywhere, piled on top of each other, oozing with bullet wounds.

Juliet sits down heavily on the mattress again.

I skirt around the bed to where she’s sitting. Now I can see the hollow expression on her face.

“Are you okay?” I ask her. She doesn’t answer or even look at me. “Juliet?”

“I can’t remember,” she says quietly. “I can’t remember any of it. But I was there. Wasn’t I?”

*Phew* That was a long update. How was everyone else’s writing month in August? What do you hope to accomplish next month?

Monthly Writing Update: June 2014 / Camp NaNoWriMo

Hello everyone! I’m sorry I’ve been so so so so so so so so horrible at updating lately and I’ve only been doing the monthly writing updates. I’ve just been trying to catch up on so many things––working on I Chose the Monster, trying to keep up with my reading/reviewing schedule … I really haven’t been on top of things. But hopefully this month I can remember to write more posts. I’m sorry I’ve been so awful. 

Anyway, June was not quite as dismal for me as the past few months have been. It probably helps that I haven’t been feeling as depressed lately … Hooray!

So yeah, I wrote a little over 6.2k during June. Is that amazing? Well … no, it’s not great. But hey, I’m proud of myself for writing more than nothing. 

I’m also attempting to do Camp NaNo again to try and compel myself to finally finish the first draft of I Chose the Monster. Yeah yeah, I know I’ve been saying I was going to finish it every month for like … six months. But this time I mean it. Really. Here’s my page if anyone wants to check it out. 

Monthly Writing Update: April 2014

Crap, I can’t believe it’s been a month already. A whole month and … once again, I’ve done pretty miserably in terms of getting writing done. Then again, I didn’t expect to get much done this month, seeing as it’s the end of my semester and I had a ton of work to do. All my final projects are due by next Friday, and after that I will finally have time to write again … time to work on my novel and time to write more blog posts!

I really don’t have much to update this month. I know I said last month that I was going to do Camp NaNo, but … it just didn’t happen. I wrote maybe 500 words and then couldn’t go any further. I’m not sure what happened, but I guess I just wasn’t feeling particularly inspired. I didn’t work on I Chose the Monster at all during April … At this point I’m just hoping I can finish the first draft by the end of the summer––especially because starting in the fall, I have to start a new novel as a year-long independent project, eeeeek.

Other than those 500 words of failed-Camp-NaNo-story, I haven’t really written anything at all this month. I did write a short story that was maybe 2,000 words or so, and I might continue to work on that. (It was for a class, but I might keep experimenting with it anyway.)

Sorry I haven’t been posting much lately; I’ve just been really stressed out and tired and bad at managing time. But now that it’s almost summer, hopefully I’ll be more on top of things.

Monthly Writing Update: March 2014

Well, let’s just rip the band-aid off, shall we?

I … did horribly during March. Horribly. I wrote on the first two days. And then … I stopped. I wrote a total of 1,414 words and I was hoping to write 20,000. I was hoping to finally get to the end of my first draft of I Chose the Monster––and it just didn’t happen. I didn’t even write anything during spring break. The month just disappeared on me and somehow I barely managed to write anything.

Needless to say, I am disappointed. Sure, I did have a lot of homework to do and other things to worry about, but I still probably could have squeezed in some words every day instead of checking Facebook and whatnot. So, I don’t have much of an excuse.

As for my goals for April, I’m not setting my expectations too high––partly because March was such a failure, but also because April is the busiest month of the year for me since it’s getting towards the end of the semester and I have final projects to work on.

However, I did decide to do Camp NaNo super last-minute. (Here is a link to my info page.) I think I really need a break from I Chose the Monster because it’s just been too stressful for me to write lately. I do want to get some writing done this month, but I don’t think I have the time (or emotional stability) to invest in anything too dark/heavy. So I’m giving myself a break and just winging it with a random side project––something lighter and just kind of about college life and whatnot. It doesn’t really have a plot yet, but hopefully I’ll post more about it once I flesh out the idea a bit more.

I don’t know if I’ll aim for the big 50k, but I at least want to write a little every day and just try to get myself back into the habit of writing.

So yeah, sorry this has been kind of a dreary post. Hopefully I’ll have a happier update next month!

How about you guys? What are your writing goals for April? Are you also doing Camp NaNo?

Monthly Writing Update: February 2014

I’ve decided to do a writing update at the end of every month, just to give you guys a general idea of what I’m up to and how my writing is going. Since today is the last day of February (ALREADY?!), here I am to post my first update.

Unfortunately … there’s not much to report. This has been a rather terrible writing month for me. I’ve been keeping track of how many words I write each day, and during February I only wrote 3,584 words. Considering I wrote a little over 18,000 words during January … umm, that’s pretty bad. 

I know February is a short month, but I don’t have much of an excuse. Out of 28 days I only wrote on 8 of those days (and on those days I wrote, it was only somewhere between 100-500 words or so). I don’t think I’ve even made it through a whole chapter. 

So, what’s the problem? I think part of it is that I don’t have much of an established writing schedule. I kept trying to write right before I went to bed, but then I’d find that I was way too tired and I could only get out a few words at a time. I’ve been thinking I should start writing first thing in the morning instead, since I tend to wake up fairly early anyway. (I’d just have to get better at not staying up too late.) 

I think another problem is that I’m nearing the end of my first draft of I Chose the Monster. I’m at a point where things are kind of starting to unravel and everything goes to hell. And … I guess I’m kind of dreading it. Even though I’ve known how I was going to end it since I started it (more than a year ago), it’s still going to be painful. I’ve grown fond of all these characters and I feel bad for all the horrible shit they’ll have to go through towards the end, but … it must be done. *Cries* So I guess my point is that I don’t know if I feel ready to part with this story and its characters yet. Of course, it won’t really be over, since I’ll have to edit it over and over again forever. But still. 

Goals for Next Month:

I think for March I’m going to aim for a goal of 20,000 words. That means about 645 words per day, which isn’t too bad. Hopefully that will bring me to the end of my first draft. It’s already around 93k words right now, so I’m hoping this will wrap it up. (Yes I know, my rough drafts are always super long. But a lot of these words will be cut out later!)

So, dear readers:

How did your writing go this month? What are your goals for March?

Any tips for writing motivation?