Nanowrimo 2013 Winner!!!!

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Nanowrimo 2013 Winner!!!!

Let me share with you a story. It is one of a young lady who always dreamed of writing a novel. This lady had always shown a natural inclination to the written word but she was lazy and listless in her work, hardly completing anything substantial. One day, this young lady grew into a woman, bore children and thus became a mother.

That mother looked back at herself and saw that something was missing. She felt sad at the thought that she had never pursued a writing career and lived the unfulfilled dream, only in her head. She moved through the motions of her adult life, creating stories and scenarios which revolved around writing and her fruitless dream. Until one day, this woman came across a challenge.

The challenge was to write 50,000 words in one month. Unsure of herself, she dove into it with trepidation. She sacrificed her nights, dedicating them to meeting her daily word goals and thought of little outside her character’s world. It was a daily challenge for her, as she had never forced herself to face the dream daily and she struggled with her own ability to finish what she had started. She battled the flu, the beckoning call of Facebook apps, and a Thanksgiving turkey along the way but she met the goal early and stood in delight of it.

Celebrating her victory, this woman realizes that with the challenge met, the novel is still incomplete but she has taken the dream and formed it into 50,000+ words of an unedited manuscript. Although the call of literary agents and publishing companies are a distant reality, they are closer than they were yesterday and she has done something difficult and valuable with the month of November.

She has gone from a dreaming mother to a 2013 Nanowrimo winner. The completeness of the work does not matter. She has written daily for a month and she now realizes that she can write daily for the rest of her life. She realizes that she is capable of more than dreaming and hopes that one day, her children will see this, too.

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Sprinting across the finish line!

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I haven’t updated on my Nanowrimo progress for a few days because there hasn’t been enough progress to comment on. In the hustle and bustle of the holiday, I had written little and began, for the first time this month, to fall behind my goals. I never thought I wouldn’t complete the challenge, but I knew I would be cutting it a lot more close than I wanted to. With that being said, I managed to write 5,549 words today making my total word count….drum roll please…50,168 words!!!!

Yes, I did help my mom cook, and consume a Thanksgiving dinner today. However, I forewent the Black Friday shopping. Instead of standing in a line at a department store, I decided to catch up with my novel. The results were the completing of the challenge and moving toward a lifelong goal of mine—actually completing a novel! 

I still have a lot of re-work to do as I realize the story I have told so far needs some more detail to feel complete. I also realized that I am going to have to break my story into 2 novels to allow time to tell the entire story that I had originally planned. At the point that I left off, I haven’t even begun to tell the other half of the story, yet it feels complete. My MC comes to terms with the conflict she experiences in the beginning of the book and she ends with quiet reflection of the things which have occurred within her life so far. 

While there are loose ends that will need addressing, the immediate problem is solved and I already have the second and half of the third book planned on paper. I move from the writing to the editing phase with jubilation and trepidation. I will miss the pressing of my writing goals to move me forward and I may decide to begin book two while editing. Since this is my first novel, I’m not sure if this is wise but for now, it’s my plan. 

I would like to take a moment to delight in completed goals and dreams which were once on the horizon moving within reach. Whether it’s writing a novel in a month, or snagging a great deal the day after Thanksgiving, let us all stand proud for our own accomplishments and rejoice in met goals!!

Pushing the Envelope…perhaps too far…

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After my blog post last night about what’s been going on in my life, I felt a weight had been lifted and was able to actually meet my word goal for the day. I’m up to 36,000 words now and have much more written on paper that I need to work into the story and transpose into my novel. My story is more complete now and has a beginning and end. I’m working on some of the middle parts and basically building on the existing plot and themes of the novel. As I work on the themes, I find that it’s coming out a lot more overtly religious than I originally intended.

I’ve purposely written in archetypes from various different religions. This was originally intended to be a whisper within the novel and I never meant for the religious overtones to intertwine too much with the actual story. As it turns out, Characters have their own mind and, lately, they seem to want me to make them take part in religious debate. I’m stuck somewhere between allowing the idea to manifest and separating myself from it completely.

I guess some of the themes already push the envelope enough. My character uses magick and talks about how she feels condemned for it…she talks about seeing the divine in nature a lot…yet, she attends traditional church services. Furthermore, I’ve built a character completely around the Druid archetypes and allowed her to discover that her mother was a witch…she’s looking into the occult with trepidation because she’s been warned about the dangers within her entire life…and because using her powers has, in fact, caused problems in her life already…she moves through the wheel of the year, denoting the changes in the energy around her (although this is never overtly revealed, just hinted at with strategic placement of dates throughout).

Now, my Druid archetype is pulling me toward a discussion about religion with her boyfriend in which he explains how more mainstream religions and obscure ones are very similar. It’s a discussion which (on a personal level), I think needs to occur; both in my novel and in society as a whole. The segmentation between different faith paths is unnatural and not conducive to tolerance by anybody’s terms.

However, I do not want my novel to be dismissed by publishers and agents because it pushes the envelope too far. It’s not about the money or my career but because I think there is a good message behind the story. The question is, is the YA Fiction or Contemporary Fiction world ready for a novel with these themes? How far is too far?

Learning about people through Tragedy

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I’m going a bit off topic tonight. I’m in the middle of one of those metamorphosis phases in a person’s life. Some events just rush into our lives and turn us upside down. Nano was the beginning of this for me. Beginning my first novel this way; just conceptualizing it and diving in…studying the writing process and coming close to the end with the realization that I have something really great on my hands have given me the strength to say to myself, “I can write professionally!” I know that my novel will be a thin shadow of itself by the time I actually complete Nano and will need moths of rework before I begin reaching out to literary agents and publishers. It’s the momentous first steps which are the most life altering, though.

My heart is heavy and I have had a hard time writing for a couple of days now. Recent personal events have compounded the experience of writing my first novel in profound ways. I’ve struggled with my poverty and the raising of my young children while writing the entire time. As fate will have it, no life altering experience comes easy and two days ago, I found out that my cousin’s little girl passed away after a 6 month battle with cancer. 

My cousin and I were not close. We grew up 1,000 miles apart and only interacted during summer vacations and some holidays. Still, there is love there and my heart is heavy with compassion for them. I find my thoughts wandering toward my cousin, her parents and the larger branches of their community that has been impacted by this tragedy. 

For days, I haven’t been able to wrap my brain around the reasons why such a beautiful, strong little girl would be taken from this world before she ever got the chance to make an impact on it. Then, it dawned on me that the reason I don’t see the logic in it is because I’m looking at it all wrong. As I look through pictures of her on the Facebook page that was set up for her while she was going through treatment, I realize that she has made a more profound and important impact on the world than most people with 10x the life on earth. 

Throughout everything, she was strong and steady. She looked this horrible disease in the face with a smile and took all of it with more faith than most of us show in much better circumstances. This legacy will live on forever and who knows the power it will hold. Although she is gone, she has left something behind so inspiring and beautiful that I can only imagine the great ways it will manifest itself. 

It has already manifested itself in her mother, who has taken everything with the same faith and grace that her daughter showed. Even now, through her grief, she is able to acknowledge that there is a higher purpose for this happening. I’m sure there is no way for me to EVER understand the weight that she has on her right now and I commend her for her faith and strength. She will forever be a living example of her daughter’s legend and testimony to the world. 

With that said, I must digress a bit. For every beautiful thing in this world, there is an equally dark and twisted realization. When something like this happens, it becomes easy to see the true nature of people. For my cousin and her daughter, their light shines through. For others directly and distantly around them, however, shadows are cast on the darkest parts of their souls. 

I’m going to speak in more generalities from here on out, because it’s the proper thing to do. 

I will never understand how some people (and our society in general) have come to a point where compassion is so lacking. Perhaps because I am an empath, I feel things in deep and intense waves. I do not have to have a strong connection with somebody (or even like them, for that matter) to feel deeply when something goes really wrong for them (or right, conversely). Yet, it is so easy to use a person’s faults against them to shield ourselves from actually giving a crap when things happen to these people. 

It’s really a societal problem. When a bomb is dropped in a foreign country, why do we rejoice? Are the soldiers fighting against our own fathers and sons just the same? We feel no compassion toward these people because they’re not our own. When will the world wake up and realize that we are all connected? Pain in one is a collective pain and should be treated with dignity and honor. 

I’m not trying to propagate some liberal, hippy agenda here. (To me), it’s common sense, really but our values have carried us so far from it that it seems radical. It may be radical to feel the need to loose a few dollars to be there and try to comfort the family during this time…so be it! You want to judge me and look down on me for this? So be it! You want to use this moment as opportunistic to insert your power over those around you…so be it! 

Looking at it on a larger scale and considering the collective uncounciousness, you are part of the problem. People like my cousin and her daughter are the solution…if you’re too unwise or close minded to see this, I truly feel for you! 

Bending: Breaking: Smashing the Rules!!!

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I’ve never been so great at following rules, just ask anyone who knows me. Perhaps this is why I am 25 and just now embarking upon my first novel! Seriously, from the time I was a child, I would find myself in worlds of trouble by ignoring my mother’s requests to “be quiet” or “set down”. I just didn’t have it within me to heed her warnings. Inevitably, I would fall and hurt myself but I never learned to follow the rules.

As I grew into a woman, I begin to push against the rules that society tried to push upon me. Sadly, I haven’t grown out of this yet either. Just ask my husband what happens when he refers to me as “woman” or tries to convince me that there is no need for him to help around the house or with the kids…it’s not pretty. My marriage would probably be more successful if I had learned, at some point, to follow the rules.

Now, I’m doing Nanowrimo and I STILL can’t seem to follow the rules. Reading the posts of accomplished bloggers who have all participated in Nano in the past helps to keep me moving along. I’m finding a balance as I take in the “tips and tricks” of the challenge. I am at least attempting to follow some of the rules. I may get hung up on the structure of my novel and think too heavily about the overarching themes and symbolism therein but I’m writing daily. I’m moving forward and as I approach the halfway mark in word count, I’m hopeful that I will have a complete novel finished in time (although I will probably eclipse 50,000 words and keep writing). I’m counting on this novel to act as a catalyst for my career so I hope my stubbornness doesn’t become my undoing. :0

Are there any other Nano rebels out there? How have you rebelled against the “rules of the game” and has this helped or hindered you?

Going own the Nano Rabbit Hole

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Yesterday’s writing began slowly. In the past few days, the feeling that I was being propelled forward has shifted. Now, I feel as if I’m simply trudging along. Having only written 900 words the day before, I sat at my computer and stared at my screen (probably looking for my muse).

My character started by pondering the aspirations and motivations of a light bulb! :0 I never, ever thought I would be writing about the inner dialogue of a light bulb…Now I have and I’m surprised because it actually worked! As my character postulates that she must be going crazy, so do I!!!!

That scene came surprising easy to me and worked very well within the story. As I created the header for chapter 25, my mind becomes stagnant again. I stare at the white screen for a while before deciding to do something that is almost forbidden in NaNoWriMo land…I went back to the beginning and re-read my entire story!!!

I ended up completely re-odering my story. I moved six chapters of my story to the middle and wrote an additional 4,000 words to tie it all together nicely (at least I hope). I understand, now, the dangers of going back and editing when you are on such a tight deadline. I can’t really feel like I wasted a night’s worth of work because I wrote 4x the total word count for the previous day, in addition to the changes I made.

I know that we’re not technically supposed to “edit” but it was necessary to build suspense and mystery and to moving forward with the story line. I will have plenty more editing to do in December as I get ready for the release of the book (hopefully before Christmas). I may be a rebel but I don’t regret it! It’s just another insane leap down the Nanowrimo rabbit hole!

 

***Word count update: 23,892.

You can check out my novel, which is now published (preliminary copy) at LeanPub: https://leanpub.com/darknesswithin

 

I Was Once So Full of Hope…Now I’m Reaching For A Shot Glass!!!!

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I started out Nano a day late. In the beginning days, hope welled inside me and I filled my pages quickly. The words fell on top of each other and I delighted as I reached 5,000; 10,000; 12,000 words.

“It IS possible to pen 50,000 words in a month!” I exclaimed.

Then, life happened. Now, I blog and update my status. I read articles about writing, rather than actually writing. I have made a Pandora Radio station for my MC and have even resorted to cleaning out of boredom!

What’s happening to me? The writer that I was yesterday is replaced by a listless, wandering soul today. Perhaps Earnest Hemingway was on to something with his pairing of alcoholism and writing…who thinks I should take a shot before I write my next chapter????

*Disclaimer: I am in solely in charge of 4 impressionable children. I am a horrible person for even suggesting alcoholism as the answer to my writers blues. Furthermore, if you encourage me on this idea, you are horrible too. Shame on me and shame on you! Write on!!!!!

I Think I’m Writing a Literary Fiction!!! :0

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The general rundown of my novel is this:

Divine being in a human shell meets girl. He is supposed to lead her toward death but falls in love with her instead. He attempts to save her and when he fails, he is sent into a murderous rage. He denounces his purpose of maintaining balance in the world and kills humans who are not destined to die yet. This plunges the world into the Dark Ages.

He is sentenced to live eternity in the Shadow Realm but as darkness crashes around him, he finds strength in the memory of his love’s light. He becomes the protector of innocent wanderers in the land of condemnation and so he is offered redemption.

He must protect the physical incarnation of light on earth. He must guide her toward her fate. The world is on the edge of dark destruction and only her sacrifice can save the world. Darkness crashes around  her and the diviner’s job is complicated.

The story features human relationships, friendships, college applications and social networking. It also features shadow hunting, whispers of the divine in the wind and magical powers. There is dichotomy as darkness and light crash the shores of my characters and the world around them…

There are moments when the abstract theme of darkness vs. light play heavily in my novel and I think I’m writing a Literary Fiction.

There are moments when my characters get caught up in spiritual/social commentary and I think I’m writing a Literary Fiction.

I am 13 chapters in and I’ve spent the majority of my novel on character development and so I think I’m writing a Literary Fiction.

HOWEVER…

My novel contains elements from the fantasy, spiritual and young adult genres as well.

My characters describe in metaphor but converse in a language which is easy and flowing.

I have included a few scenes of action already and there is much more to come.

I hope what I’m writing is somewhere in the middle between general and literary fiction but if it leans more heavily toward LitFit, I’m fine with it. This is the type of book I have always wanted to write. I am penning beautiful, flowing passages that I fall in love with as I write them and my characters are dimensional and complicated. This is the first piece of my writing that will be released into the world and I can honestly say that, in whole, I’m proud of it.

Of course, as I write this, I realize that I might be sealing my doom, financially. When it comes down to it, I would rather write a beautiful story which touches the lives of the ones who read it rather than something with market value, anyway. Perhaps I will find a good blend and create something that is both beautiful and appealing…here’s to hoping I’m a good enough writer to pull it off!

Let me know what you think about “Darkness Within”. The first few chapters are posted on wattpad: http://www.wattpad.com/story/9531077-darkness-within

The full 13+ chapters that I have completed so far will be up soon on LeanPub: https://leanpub.com/darknesswithin