Well, friends, we made it! it’s officially December, and NaNoWriMo is behind us once and for all. In case you didn’t notice, I kind of disappeared halfway through the month, but this was less because I didn’t feel mentally capable of writing blog posts, and more the fact that every spare moment I had to write, I was working on my book.
Because by golly, my friends, I was determined to win this NaNoWriMo. Sometimes, however, things don’t go accordingly to plan. Like here. Or right here. Or… ya know, in 2020 when I also failed NaNoWriMo but was wise enough to not document the crippling disappointment. I feel like a constant theme in my life lately is God stabbing a stick of dynamite into my plans before whispering, “Wait. I have something even better planned.”
Except I’m still not sure what that ‘something better’ is, and–though I truly believe He’s right with my whole heart–it’s starting to feel a little bit like clickbait. XD
So when I started off on this NaNoWriMo 2021 journey, I wasn’t holding out that much hope. 15 revised chapters in 30 days certainly seemed like an achievable goal. It sounded easy. But not everything that sounds easy is easy, and nothing is truly quite how it seems.
Which is why I wanted to take this first post of December to recap on what, exactly, happened during those final two weeks of NaNoWriMo.
If you’re a writer participating in NaNoWriMo–or even just a writer working on a book–I would highly recommend checking out this linkup. You can find the questions to Part One here, and Part Two right here! This linkup is such a fun way to connect with other writers, as well as a much-needed gentle reprieve from the absolute chaos that is writing a book in one of the craziest months of the year, so if you’re not participating already (or if you’ve never read Christine’s blog before), do yourself a favor and check both of them out immediately.
Or, ya know, after you finish reading this post. Because I’m also cool, apparently. XD
I was going to do a whole introduction post for the first day of NaNoWriMo last week, but alas alack, sometimes things don’t go according to plan.
The past two weeks have been silent here on my end of the blogosphere, but let me tell ya, folks: that time away was used for some much-needed rest. I have exactly 0 regrets. XD I’ve definitely missed being present on the blogs, though, and now that I’m back, I thought it would be fun to jump back in with a Weekly NaNoWriMo Recap! It’s crazy to think that we’re already a solid week into November, but I guess time truly does fly when you’re having fun! *awkward laughter*
Let’s take a look at the first week of NaNo, shall we?
Today’s Preptober post was a wee bit impromptu, but GUYS. My favorite linkup has officially returned for the chaotic NaNoWriMo season, and there’s no way I could do a Preptober series without participating! Know The Novel is a linkup created by not only one of my favorite bloggers, but one of my favorite humans, as well! Christine Smith is the sweetest, most kind-hearted individual you will ever meet, and if you’re not already following her blog, I highly recommend checking it out!
Know The Novel is a yearly linkup set within the final three months of the year. There are different “themes” for each linkup, and this month’s theme is Introductions! So without further ado, for anyone who’s interested in the novel I’ll be working on next month, here’s all you could ever hope to know (and that I’m comfortable sharing) about Project Sunset (SK)!
Fun Fact: I actually did this linkup for Project Sunset way back in 2019 when I first decided to draft this novel! Buuuut, since so much has changed between then and now, I figure it wouldn’t hurt to “re-introduce” this book to the blogosphere! If you’d like to take a peek at the previous entry, however, here’s the link!
It’s that time of year again, folks! NaNoWriMo is on its way, and for our first Preptober 2021 post, we’re bringing back a yearly tradition! That’s right! It’s time for this year’s NaNoWriMo Survival Kit: Rebel Edition!
honestly the only reason I’m claiming my rebel title this year is because it reminds me of the Rebel Alliance. do NOT judge me. XD
This year’s survival kit is a wee bit different than years’ past since I’m revising a novel rather than first drafting it, but there are definitely some familiar staples I’ve included! Also, I’ve been trying to fit most of this stuff into my writing bag, and it’s… kinda chunky at this point? Almost back-breaker level chunky. I definitely will not have a hunch by the time this NaNoWriMo is over from hauling this guy all over the place. Absolutely not.
I can’t believe that this is the last post of September. This month has absolutely flown by, and now that I’m sitting at the end of it, I couldn’t tell you where on earth all the time went. The Silmaril Awards have been happening–and if you haven’t managed to check out the Awards Ceremonies yet, I highly encourage you to do so!–and I think I got so swept up in the thrill and excitement of the Silms that I might have forgotten to reveal some very exciting news that happened back in August. (tbh, I might have already told you all about this, but I can’t find a single trace of it anywhere on the blog, so please forgive my cornflake of a brain cell XD) So while I wanted to jump on in here and tell you all my exciting plans for October, I quickly realized that I wasn’t going to be able to do that until I patched up some untold information in regards to my current WIP, Project Goblin.
A LONG OVERDUE WRITING UPDATE
So! Last we talked, I believe I was telling y’all about my grandiose plans to try and enter Project Sunset (or SK) into Pitch Wars this year. That, as we all probably could have predicted, did not happen. Of course there was some slight disappointment in regards to this, but all in all, I’m actually not all that sad about it. I knew September was going to be a giant chunk of a month regardless of whether I participated in Pitch Wars or not, and after about the first week of September, I realized that Pitch Wars just wasn’t gonna happen. One month wasn’t near enough time for me to redraft an entire novel–at least not to a point where I was proud of it and willing to let potential mentors look at it–so I decided to drop the idea of Pitch Wars before it could consume me and swathe September in a blanket of anxiety and dread. (and between you and me, it was one of the best decisions I made all month)
But all of this talk and dreaming of Project Sunset begs a very obvious question: what happened to Project Goblin? Astute readers of my blog, followers of my Instagram, and listeners of my everyday life will know that Project Goblin has been my WIP for the past 6 months or so. It’s been one wild adventure after another with that book ever since its birth in 2018, but after some careful consideration, I have decided to no longer work on that book for the time being.
Because I finished its first draft back in August.
Yep! You read that correctly! Project Goblin is no longer just a thought, but a messy, chaotic, plot-holey mess on my hard drive! The characters are a little warped, the setting is a little deprived, and the overall story arc resembles more of a limp noodle than an arc, but my goodness it’s finished! At least, the really sloppy first draft is finished, and that is obviously the hardest part.
I feel like I might have mentioned the fact that I finished this book somewhere in a blog post a month or so ago, but for the life of me I can’t remember saying it. So I’m saying it now! Project Goblin’s first draft is over and done with, and after a much-needed month-long novel hiatus (in which I read good books and essentially just stared at a wall in contemplation for four hours a day), it is my greatest pleasure to announce that I’m back to drafting and ready to dive in to another project!
Which is perfect timing, if I do say so myself, because–*another announcement incoming!*–I’M PARTICIPATING IN NANOWRIMO THIS YEAR!
Except I’m not participating in the traditional sense of the word. In fact, one might even say that I’m rebelling entirely. But I’m definitely going to be working on a book during the month of November, which obviously means that I’m a perfectly reliable Wrimo, and no one can tell me otherwise… *brandishes pitchfork menacingly*
Ahem. Anyway. Now that I’ve clarified where I’m at with Project Goblin and have announced my rather sketchy participation in NaNoWriMo, you might be wondering… what AM I working on during the month of November? And this, my friend, is a very solid question–and also one that I’m more than happy to announce!
The book that I’ll be working on for NaNoWriMo this year is none other than Project Sunset!(a.k.a SK. a.k.a. oh my word I need to stick to a name for this book already) Despite the fact that I wasn’t able to enter it into Pitch Wars, I still very much want to have a solid second draft of this book done by the end of 2021. It would make this slightly terrifying year feel slightly more productive than it currently does, and also… I’m just so beyond ready for people to be able to read this book already. I know there’s still so much left to do before it’s reader-ready, but a second draft would be one more step closer to that final goal, and that alone makes me excited and inspired to dive in and do the hard work necessary to accomplish that.
However, since NaNoWriMo is still a month away, and technically I’m not QUITE ready to start revising this novel yet, I’ve decided that one more exciting thing should happen between now and November. Something a little bit bloggerly, but also a little bit writerly. And what is this Thing, you might find yourself wondering? What exciting diversions do I have in store for all my NaNoWriMo peeps during the month of October? Well……..
PREPTOBER 2021: The Beginning
For anyone in the NaNoWriMo-sphere, you already know what Preptober is. For those of you who maybe aren’t quite as familiar with this hobgoblin of a writing event, allow me to explain!
Preptober is, essentially, a month long event in which hopeful Wrimos spend the 31 days of October prepping their novels–and themselves–for the 30 days of intense, grueling writing which is to be done during National Novel Writing Month (November). Typically, I don’t do Preptober. I usually pin down what book I want to write somewhere between October 20th and Halloween (#procrastinationftw), do some very minimal prep-work, and then wipe my hands of the mess and call it good. XD But THIS year, since I’m revising a novel and–hopefully–coming out on the other side with a partly revised second draft, I decided to do things a little bit differently! This year, I’m gonna be going all out with my Preptober planning, and you guys get to come along for the ride!
I recently did some polls over on my Instagram page asking for y’all’s opinions on some of the topics I wanted to cover this month, and you guys absolutely delivered! Currently I have 5 posts in the works which cover everything from my re-outlining process, to what’s inside my NaNoWriMo Rebel Survival Kit (a yearly staple at this point XD), to the mentality behind writing. It’s going to be an intense month of writing and prep and all of the delicious creativity, and I am 100% here for it.
All in all, October is going to be packed with writing and work and Halloween and two of my favorite humans’ birthdays, and I’m so excited for all of it. Autumn is the time of year where I truly thrive, and with NaNoWriMo just on the horizon, I sense beautiful magical wonderful things on the way! So thank you all for sticking around and putting up with my slightly chaotic posting schedule as of late. It hasn’t been as consistent as I’d like, but I’ve been managing to get something posted every week, and in this crazy season of life I’m in, I consider that a pretty big win! So here’s to October and all of the craziness it throws our way! Let the Spooky Season officially commence!!!
*maniacal cackling in the distance*
talk to me, peasants!
are you doing NaNoWriMo this year? if yes, what project are you working on? are you sharing it on the cyberwebs, or are you keeping it private untilit’s finished? if no, what sorts of beautiful wonderful magical things are you doing during October? let’s talk about ALL OF THE AUTUMN things down in the comments below, my friends! And as always, until next time…
Aaaaaaand we’re back! Turns out November was not the month of intense creativity that I had so auspiciously predicted back in October. November has miraculously come and gone in a blip, and I’m sitting here at the end of it wondering how on earth we ended up here so quickly.
Back in October, I told y’all that I was going to be participating in National Novel Writing Month. I even went so far as to announce which project I would be working on, shared many of the story world’s nifty details, and even promised that a whole bunch of NaNo crazy was going to be coming your way within the coming weeks.
Unfortunately, none of this happened. Which is a shame, obviously, but–as I mentioned above–November was nothing like I had planned. There was a lot of personal growth done, as well as hitting a severe creative slump during the first half of the month which crippled me creatively for a solid two weeks. But I’ve finally started to break through it, and even though my manuscript isn’t near as plump as I would like for the final day of NaNoWriMo, I am definitely all the wiser and–dare I say it–healthier than when I started.
So today, to jump back into blogging and reorient both myself and you guys into the project I’m working on, I’m going to be participating in Part Two of Christine Smith’sKnow The Novel linkup! You can read Part One right here, or just dive right in to find out how my writing went–or, more accurately, didn’t go–this month!
KNOW THE NOVEL – PART TWO: PROJECT GOBLIN’S STEADY DECLINE
i. How’s the writing going overall?
Uuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuhhhhhhhhhmmmmm…. To be honest, not very well. XD As I mentioned above, this month was pretty bad creativity-wise for me. I totally thought I’d be able to crank out a solid 15-20k before the end of November, but it turns out that I’ve barely managed to write *checks notes* 10,000 words.
…which is actually a lot less depressing than I thought it would be.
Knowing what I’ve been going through this month, I’m actually really proud of the progress I have made on this story, and also with all the love and enthusiasm that I’ve continued to hold for this project. I still have a LONG way to go before hitting the end, but I’ve been wanting to write this story for so long that I know without a shadow of a doubt that I’m going to keep plugging away at it until I eventually find my way. It just might take a little longer than initially planned, and that’s okay. Every story is different, as they like to say, and if this book takes me a whole year where Project Sunset only took me a few months, I’m going to be okay with that.
ii. What’s been the most fun aspect about writing this novel so far?
The discovery! I’ve made many little discoveries just within this month alone–such as the fact that my one character, who, for as long as I could recall, was mute, actually can talk. And not only can she talk, but she’s also extremely snarky with what few words she chooses to say.
Or the incredible epiphany I had about my villain, which I wholly and 100% owe to the beautiful Phoebe, who introduced me to this song right here.
10,000 words isn’t a whole lot to find discoveries within, but the ones that I have found have made what little progress I’ve made so entirely worth it.
iii. What do you think of your characters at this point? Who’s your favorite to write about?
Okay, so this one is easy: I adore them. Each and every one is so weird and quirky and odd, and it’s so refreshing to write a cast that freaks me out as much as they fascinate me.
As far as who my favorite is to write about … I would probably have to say Todd. He’s by far the toughest nut of a protagonist that I’ve ever had to crack, but there’s something about his confusing personality that intrigues me. And I know that once I finally crack him open, I’m going to absolutely fall in love with this weird, awkward individual.
iv. Has your novel surprised you in any way?
I don’t think I’ve written enough of it yet to truly be surprised, but I definitely have had some AHA! moments that really helped deepen my love of this universe. As I mentioned above, I had this absolutely delicious idea for my villain, who–up until this point–had been nothing more than a vague blip on my radar. But now I have his character pinned down a little better, and I am SO. STINKIN’. EXCITED. to get to him within the narrative!!! It’s going to be amazing…
Another thing that surprised me was the fact that my goblins have voices. And use English. I was thinking I was going to have to create an entire goblin language for these weird little creatures, but alas. They popped into the story speaking words and talking about ripping out spines and I just adore them to pieces already.
v. Have you come across any problem areas?
I have, actually! My main problematic area has been struggling to get into Todd’s head, especially within the first few chapters of the story. These are the pivotal scenes where we learn his character and motives and what and who he’ll risk everything for, and I feel like I’ve done a rather poor job of setting that up before the adventure begins.
However, as I write this, I now realize that things like this take time and finesse–two things which don’t typically come with a first draft. So maybe my problem is more my inability to let myself to move forward and enjoy the discovery of it all. Maybe I’m clinging too much to the idea that this draft has to be perfect that I’m not giving myself the chance to discover who Todd really is.
….and I think I just blogged myself out of my writer’s block, guys.
vi. What’s been your biggest victory with writing this novel at this point?
Aside from the fact that I just figured out where my writer’s block came from, I think my biggest victory has been in creating an outline that works for me, rather than against me. I suppose this could be attributed more to the planning stage of this novel, rather than the writing of it, but outlines have always been so negative for me. So the fact I’ve been able to create one which I actually enjoyed writing and–more importantly–following feels huge. I love my outline. I love how vague yet stable it is. I love knowing that if I’m ever stuck, I can follow my Plot Checkpoint map and get myself back on track within a matter of minutes.
But as far as actual writing goes, I just really love getting to know my characters better. They’re all so strange and different, and I’m loving every second I get to spend with them.
vii. If you were transported into your novel and became any one of the characters, which one do you think you’d be? Would you take any different actions than they have?
Okay, Christine, WHO GAVE YOU THE RIGHT TO ASK SUCH FASCINATING QUESTIONS. I am in awe over here, okay.
But I digress. I’d really like to answer this question as truthfully as possible, and I’m not entirely sure what the answer is.
Part of me says I’d be Iniko–the strange old wizard who likes hitting people over the head with his cane and saying things like “aye” and “ye bloody idiot”. But then another part of me says I’d be Jasper–a scarecrow with a horrible sense of humor and a penchant for setting things on fire.
And then, clawing in the back of my head like the annoying little turnip that he is, Reality tells me that I would most definitely be Todd. Because he is awkward and strange and does virtually nothing with his life until two knobbly goblins come crashing through a crack in his wall.
And I mean, if that isn’t me, I don’t know what is. XD
As far as actions go, I honestly can’t say I’d do anything differently than any of these characters. If I was Iniko, I would 100% do everything he’s been doing (including dying, which … I mean, we’ll get into that later). If Jasper, I would probably accidentally set my hair on fire, but I’d definitely still pester Martin to the end of days and continue to make a fool out of myself willingly.
And if I were Todd … well, I think I’d still make the choices he’s going to make. What those choices are, I’m not entirely sure yet, but I have p l a n s, and out of most of those plans, I think I’d make the same calls as he will. After all, it’s not like I’m giving him much of a choice…. *insert mysterious snickering*
viii. Give us the first sentence or paragraph then 2 (or 3!) more favorite snippets!
And here’s where things are gonna get scary. XD Oh goodness. I hate sharing first draft material, but I guess I must. You know, since it’s part of the tag. please don’t judge me, peasants
She wouldn’t smile. That was the thing about girls—no matter how hard you tried, they refused to smile, especially if they were in a a sour mood. And the girl staring back at Bartholomew Todd was in the sourest mood of them all.
A gush of wind whooshed through the room, whipping Todd’s hair back against his forehead. The crack in the wall was now a solid three feet wide—large enough for Todd to make out the creatures standing on the other side of it. There were two of them. Short and crooked, with long legs and stubby bodies that sat plumply above their thin, knobbly knees. Thick, square heads perched atop their chubby torsos, made even larger by the size of their enormous, gleaming eyes, thick as dinner plates. Cinched ears poked out on either side of those enormous heads, thin and stumpy in comparison with the rest of them. Todd’s heart snagged in his chest, and his hand instinctively reached for the first thing he could think of to defend himself: the desk light. The plug yanked out of its socket, and the metal burned cold into Todd’s skin, but he hardly noticed it as the creatures within the crack poked their large, knobby heads into his apartment. Their giant eyes caught the moonlight and reflected black, catching on Todd almost immediately. “It’s another one,” the first one hissed, his nose cinching in disgust. “Rotten smellies. Should have known from the stench.” “We should takes it with us. Give it to his Highny-ness. He wouldn’t chop our toesies off if we broughts him a present…” “Or perhaps we could eats it. Snap its little head off and drink from its inner juices. It’s been far too long since we’ve eaten real flesh…” “His Highny-ness wouldn’t like that very much, no-how.” “His Highny-ness wouldn’t have to know. We could break his spiny ridges and make his Highny-ness a nice new comb.”
“Is he dead?” “Uh-huh.” “How do you know?” “He looks dead, don’t he?’ “That don’t mean he’s dead.” “Yeah huh.” “Nuh uh.” “Does, too!” “Prove it.” “How?” “Poke him with a stick.”
“Yer the one who dodged in front of that curse, my dear,” Iniko said from the fireplace, where he was throwing an extra bundle of wood onto the sad smoke pile. “I didn’t ask you to do it.” His voice broke through Todd’s examination of the room, startling him enough to make him jump. The shadow eyed him warily, and Todd fidgeted, wringing his hands together to keep them from trembling. The potted tulip was not amused. “I saved your life, you idiot,” she sniffed. “You didn’t have to ask. But a simple thank you would have been appreciated.” “I did thank ye.” “You put me in a pot!” “And thereby saved yer life in return. Yer welcome.” Bouncing up onto his tip toes, Iniko grabbed a watering can off the mantel and waved it towards the flower, driblets of water plopping to the creaky wooden floor. “Speakin’ of, ye need a drink, love?” The tulip scowled, her eyes becoming slits in her petals. “I loathe you.” “You look dry.”
…I’m not entirely sure what to think of these snippets, to be honest. XD
ix. Share an interesting tidbit about the writing process so far! (For example: Have you made any hilarious typos? Derailed from your outline? Killed off a character? Changed projects entirely? Anything you want to share!)
Oh goodness, I wish I’d changed projects entirely. That might have helped me through some of my writer’s block. But if there’s one thing I know about myself, it’s that switching projects this early on only feeds my bad habit of never finishing anything, so the only choice I have is to persevere.
However, I think the most interesting thing that I’ve witnessed so far with the creation of this novel has been how difficult it is to sink into this story world I’ve spent so much time dreaming about. It’s like I’m so invested in what I want this world to be that I can’t allow myself to write the world as it is. I know in my heart that things never come out on the page as they are in my head, but that doesn’t stop me from wishing that I could just splat everything I’ve ever conjured up about this book into a document and sift through it, stitching the pieces together until its in some semblance of coherency.
So I guess that’s my next step moving forward: stop pressuring myself to write everything perfectly from the get-go. Stop romanticizing the perfect worldbuilding and plot twists. Stop holding myself up to a standard which will come in later drafts and just write.
I feel like I go through this with every single first draft I write, but now that I know this is what’s causing a block, perhaps I’ll be able to actually write through it.
x. Take us on a tour of what a normal writing day for this novel looks like. Where do you write? What time of day? Alone or with others? Is a lot of coffee (or some other drink) consumed? Do you light candles? Play music? Get distracted by social media (*cough, cough*)? Tell all!
Oh goodness. A normal writing day this month looks like me glancing at my computer, yawning, and then picking up my kindle to watch Netflix before inevitably taking a nap. XD
This month has been a strange one, guys, I’m not gonna lie.
But a typical writing day for me normally looks like me grabbing my laptop and bullet journal sometime in the afternoon or early evening, sitting down at either the desk by my bird cage or our dining room table, and popping in my earbuds before writing for a solid hour or two. If I’m REALLY trying to push a specific wordcount, I’ll stay up until 10 or 11 writing. If I have to work the next day, I’ll write earlier in the afternoon so that I don’t have to worry about not getting enough sleep.
Back when I worked at a thrift store and typically worked the night shift, staying up until well past midnight was the norm for me and my writing. I would camp out in my room with a blanket and my laptop and write late into the night, listening to the night sounds outside and reveling in the fact that I was doing something magical while the rest of the world slept. Now that I work at a coffee shop and open, however, I’m in bed by 9 o’clock. Which, you know, makes writing into the night a tad bit difficult. XD
It does come with its perks, though! For one thing, I’m typically home by 2:30, which means that the rest of the day is open for my creative endeavors. and now that I’m finally beginning to settle at my new job–YEET!–I’m excited to start using those afternoons for my writing.
So, swiveling back around to the point of this ramble, I don’t really know what my current writing day looks like. But by golly, I’d love to find out. Perhaps I’ll have to experiment and write a blog post on it someday…. *side-eyes teetering future blog post pile*
talk to me, peasants!
And that, my friends, was part two of the Know The Novel linkup! I know my answers were a bit vague and mysterious, but like … I really haven’t written that much this month. XD Ah, well. There’s always December, right?
Anyway, let’s talk, shall we? What kinds of projects have you been working on this month? Have you been productive, or did your brain–like mine–decide you needed some unforeseen rest?Is anyone else sort of freaking out that Christmas is only 26 days away? And what sorts of books have y’all been reading? (i’m on a massive book binge, so any recs are wholly and completely appreciated XD)
For everyone participating in NaNoWriMo, I’d LOVE to hear all about your stories! And if you’ve written any blog posts about your current projects, PLEASE send me links! I’d love to read them!
As always, let’s talk about ALL OF THE THINGS! down in the comments below! And until next time…
My sincerest apologies for not having a blog post out this past week. I’ve been rearranging some things in my life, and apparently blogging fell a little bit by the wayside. Y’all know how it is. XD
Anyway! As I’m sure most–if not all–of you are aware, NaNoWriMo is once again on its way! In fact, we only have *checks watch* TWO DAYS (three days? my watch is a bit off, it seems) before it arrives! Which also means that October has somehow disappeared into the void behind us, but I digress. Time has no solidity in 2020.
That title is unapologetically clickbait and NO. I shall not change it. Mwahahahahaha. *coughs and adjusts the neck of my cape awkwardly* Ahem.
So as you can probably tell from the subtle bite in the air, October is quickly approaching. Or approaching as quickly as anything is expected to approach this year, which means that time is completely irrelevant and doesn’t exist. We could wake up to a fierce December snowstorm tomorrow and no onewould bat an eye. But I digress. October is coming, and with it comes preptober, and for any well-worn NaNo veteran, you know exactly what this means:
…NaNoWriMo is nigh upon us, my friends. And this year–not for the last time–I’m questioning whether or not to participate. And since I know for a fact that I’m not the only writer pondering this *waves happily at my writing group* I thought it would be fun to go over some of the pros and cons of NaNoWriMo that will more or less affect my decision on whether or not to participate.
Whether or not you choose to participate this year is completely up to you, of course, and I’m not here to sway you to either side–though you would think that is the purpose of this post. Some of the things that I consider cons might be meaningless to you, and that is perfectly okay. We’re all friends here. We can settle our differences over pitchfork battles and tea.
But before we start sharpening our blades, let’s discuss the actual pros and cons.