Tag Archives: NaNoWriMo

Hello NaNonites by LV Gaudet

Hello NaNonites.

 

I met a few of you at the kick off.

I’m Lori.  I write dark fiction and Halloween is my favorite flavor of holiday decoration.  I don’t get online every day, busy life and all.

You can find me on NaNoWriMo under my published name: LV Gaudet

https://nanowrimo.org

 

Are you ready for thirty days of obsessive writing?  One of the tools I like to use is mocking up a book cover for inspiration.  A visual of the literary feel of the story.

 

For those who don’t know what it is, NaNoWriMo stands for National Novel Writing Month.  For the month of November you pledge to write 50,000 words in 30 days.  Yeah, we’re nuts.  We are writers.  There is a wine that goes nicely with that.

 

I had to look back on my Nano books to figure out this is my 8th year.  Oops, I was a year off tonight.  I won three of those years.

Here are my NaNo creations in chronological order:

Garden Grove Cover - Amazon ebook - front cover

 

Garden Grove – Self published.

 

NaNoWriMo 2011 Cover

 

Untitled – I will come back to it.

 

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000035_00023]

 

The McAllister Farm (winner!) – Published by Indigo Sea Press, a small indie press in the US.

Blood cover

 

Blood (winner!) –  Based on the short story.  I will finish it, but it’s getting weird.

 

thumb

Butterflies in the Garden (winner!) – Needs a do over and I vote this worst ever mock cover.  This will eventually be published under my alter ego to frighten the middle years/teens.

 

Old Mill Road cover idea

 

Old Mill Road – Still a work in progress. On the back burner.  I’m still looking for the old Mill Road monster.

Nathan copy-NaNoNathan – Yeah, and then there is Nathan.  Nathan was born in Hunting Michael Underwood.  But, he wouldn’t stay there.  I only made 9000+ words and gave up.  But, the voices in Nathan’s head are still there.  They will get out.  Run.

Killing David McAllister

And this year’s Nano is Killing David McAllister.  Fourth book in the McAllister Series and it will be the final.  Hunting Michael Underwood was supposed to be the last, but the story was not done.  Well, except for the spin off.  White Van.  That was not a NaNo book.  I will get back to it.

 

If you find me on Twitter (@lvgaudet), you will probably see random posts about the #BigDumbBunny.  The name is self-explanatory.  She’s big.  She’s dumb.  And she looks like a big dumb bunny with those ears and the bunny hop.

 

Feel free to check out one of my blogs.

The Intangible World of the Literary Mind (lvgwriting.wordpress.com) is my first blog.  It’s a blog about writing and being a writer for writers.  I haven’t been as active as I would like to be.  Life and stuff.  Writing.  You get it.  I’ve posted stories, tips on writing, editing, creating platform, and promoting yourself and your writing.  I post my own tips as well as hitting the reblog button to share the advice of others.  I share (reblog) the odd book review and write my own book reviews when I have time to finish and review a book.  I have a lot of reviews I am behind on writing.  I post some random stuff too.

LV Gaudet, author (lvgaudet.wordpress.com) is a fan blog.  It’s all about the reader.  I share weird and creepy news stuff.  Sometimes podcasts by some other people who like dark stories.  And I post my own stories here.  I am working on being more sharing.

Vivian Munnoch, author (vivianmunnoch.wordpress.com) is a nom de plume.  An alias.  My sometimes alter ego.  I use this name for the child friendly stories.  This is where I would post anything to do with the younger realm of darkness.

 

 

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Boo Boos and Bogeymen

100_4290It’s that time of year again. Halloween.  All Hallows Eve.  A day that lives under many other names too.  It is a day where kids of all ages from young to old dress up as something they are not.  Where age becomes relative to how young or old you feel, and the little goblins run amok from door to door begging for sweet candy bliss.

It is a celebration of both life and death, and of all the worlds that strike the imagination.  It is a celebration of celebrating the imagination.

Halloween has always been my favorite holiday and it feels like defeat to say that I am just not feeling it.  Apparently I’m not the only one.

Driving home, I could not help but notice that I did not see a single house with Halloween decorations.

100_4325Maybe, like me, it started with the rash of break-ins two years ago.  With the gradual decay of our Halloween decorations from the ravages of time and lack of extra money to replace them over the past years, that climaxed with the theft of the only good one left, and my favorite, my Halloween spirit has been in decline.

Or maybe the town is just tired.  It has been a hard few months.  The bridge that is one of the two main entrances into town has been closed indefinitely with no plans to replace it.  Days before school was set to start the elementary school and only daycare serving the surrounding area caught fire, displacing all the kids for most of the school year while it is repaired.

2009-10-31-53This is not about whining and moaning about our problems.  The kids are resilient and because they are we all will be.

With resilience something grows.  Right?

Maybe.

While my Halloween spirit seems to be missing, I felt a bit giddy anyway.

The day after Halloween in November 1st.  The start of National Novel Writing Month.  A global event where crazy writer geeks pledge to write 50,000 words in a month.  A new novel from scratch, writing mostly from the seat of your pants.

Why am I giddy?

20150809_211733I might have started something magical.

Every year I encourage my girls to embrace their imaginative capabilities.  This year my eleven year old shows an interest.  My eleven year old told her teacher a story about a magical month of mayhem and wild imaginative writing.

She was intrigued.

She asked questions.  She was interested.

Time will see.

We might see some renewed energy in a tired town, a classroom, maybe two, embracing a month of wild abandon and imaginative freedom in that strange phenomenon we call NaNoWriMo.

New writers born and new stories.  It can only be a good thing in a tired place.

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Interview with Sheila Englehart, author of “Warning Signs”

What is your book about?

An aspiring writer is forced to learn how to deal with the phenomenon of spirit communication, as well as defense from dark energies, after attending a séance.

Why will readers relate to your characters?

Readers can relate to people just like themselves who are thrust into situations they have never encountered, always asking, “How would I handle that situation?” The two main characters are skeptics who don’t believe in the process until faced with it. People tend not to believe what they can’t see.

How much of the story did you have in mind before beginning to write?

Nada, zilch, zero. Not even a crumb for the Grinch to steal.

I was a screenwriter who discovered Hollywood was making more films from short stories and novels than original screenplays. After my first novel was universally rejected, I never thought I’d do another. Film was my comfort zone. But I saw an ad in the paper two days before NaNoWriMo that invited curious people to come and discuss the process. Everyone had a theme, a character, a storyline to explore. I had nothing but curiosity about the process and desire to see if I had it in me to write another novel. A woman sitting next to me suggested that I pick a genre I’d never tried before, since I had no ideas to begin with. I left that meeting agreeing to sign up for NaNoWriMo. Then I sat in front of a blank screen and typed 50K words of a truly awful fantasy story. But a couple characters, who didn’t belong in the strange story, wouldn’t go away, even after I cut them a couple times. When I returned to see if there was anything in those pages, I found those two characters to be the best things in it, lifted them out, and let them loose to tell their own story.

How do you decide when you are finished writing the story?

I’m not sure I ever believe a story is finished, but the slice of it that I’m telling is finished when the characters decide to stop talking. It’s almost as if what happens to them next is none of my business.

What is the goal for your book? What you want people to take from it?

I really want readers to be open to possibilities even if they don’t understand them immediately, and believe in forces they can’t see or touch physically. I’ve always believed in signs and synchronicities. They surround us, if we take the time to notice. I try to honor everyone’s beliefs and think those who chose not to believe shouldn’t disparage those who do.

Do you think this book has changed your life? If so, how?

Absolutely. This story opened up a world of possibilities. It attracted a publisher and is now bigger than just an idea, theme, or character. It’s a business — one I’m learning to grow. When you sell a script, you kiss it goodbye placing it into the hands of producers, directors, and an entire ensemble of people who take it and make it theirs. A novel is a different animal. As a novelist, I feel like a one-woman show. I can enlist many people to help with various aspects along the way, but ultimately, I create it, carry it, deliver it, nurture it, and do everything I can to give it the best shot possible. At the end of the day, it’s on me. And I still have to write the next one.

How has your background influenced your writing?

All the strange and unusual parts of my background bleed into my writing. I could never have dreamt the odd way I got engaged, so I had to lend that to my main character. I share most of my flaws, quirks, insecurities, and general weirdness with my characters. I lend them jobs I’ve had, places I’ve been, food I’ve eaten, situations I’ve experienced. I’ve been fortunate enough to have lived a pretty eclectic life, so I have a lot to draw from. I mean, how many kids did you know that aspired to go through the Bermuda Triangle without caring if they ever returned?

Are you trying to reach a particular kind of reader?

I’m not intentionally trying to reach a particular group, but in the paranormal world I know who gravitates to my brand of writing. I write what I want to read. I’m not much for vampires or creatures with super powers. But I do enjoy exploring the unexplained from as practical a perspective as possible.

What are you working on now?

In the same vein, Guiding Signs explores the idea that people have a spirit guide assigned to them at birth, but they might not be any more knowledgeable than their assignees. Perhaps guides are just people who failed to complete their purpose before they died, so they have to atone by choosing to guide a person they might have opposed in life. One character from Warning Signs will make an appearance.

What age did you discover writing?

Short answer: 13. All I ever really wanted to be when I grew up was Snoopy. He did it all, including write. I escaped into books and wished that someday I would be smart enough to write a book, fly a bi-plane, explore the wilderness, and everything else Snoopy did. I’ve checked a lot of things off my Snoopy list.

What is the most difficult part of the writing process?

A lot of things are difficult about writing, because if it were easy everyone would have a book out. I find it hard to get back into a piece of work if I’ve been away from it for more than a few days. It’s like starting over from the beginning. It’s also hard for me to talk about it without giving too much away. If I’m talking about it, I’m not writing it. And if anyone has a negative reaction to an idea, it has me second-guessing my work before it actually gets done.

Have you had difficulty killing off a character because they are so intriguing?

I’ve had difficulty killing off characters because they just refuse to die. If I delete them or move them to another file, they come back determined to not go away. They have minds and wills of their own and I find they have a lot to say. People who don’t write will be scratching their heads over that one.

Do characters take on a life of their own?

All the time. I often watch the computer screen amazed at what comes out of their mouths or actions they take. I am constantly in awe because it doesn’t feel as if it comes from me. It’s interesting to look back at a scene and wonder where it came from because “I don’t think like that.”

What do you never leave home without?

Two pens. I can always find something to write on if I forgot my notebook, but something to write with is tragic to forget. And if one runs out of ink and I don’t have a backup? Ruins the whole day.

What words would you like to leave the world when you are gone?

Well, I haven’t invented any new words. I suppose I’d leave advice: Be fearless and waste no time trying to anyone but you. No matter what they think.

Warning Signs is available at: Second Wind Publishing.com

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NaNoWrite – Tips to Help You Focus by Deborah J Ledford

Okay, so you’ve made the decision to join thousands of other writers for the National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) 2011 project. I thought some tips to help you focus might be helpful.

1) STAY FOCUSED:  Nothing is more frustrating than losing focus and veering from your original story idea. In an effort to eliminate any confusion, write a Logline that merely answers: WHAT IS MY STORY ABOUT? 24-30 words maximum. Think of it as a TV Guide blurb. Print the description out in bold font and keep it close at hand. This description should be fused in your memory so that you may respond to the often dreaded request: “Tell me what your story’s about.” By committing these lines to memory, you fuse their reality and make your works an achievable goal. At the start of each writing day, read the Logline so that you may focus your thoughts on what you originally intended to achieve.

For example, here is the logline for my latest novel SNARE: One rock star sensation. Two men from her past want her dead. Three others will risk everything to keep her safe. Who will be caught in a trap?

This is the logline that kept me focused while writing the first book in my Steven Hawk/Inola Walela series STACCATO: Three world-class pianists. Two possible killers. One dead woman. Who is her murderer? Who will be next?

2) KEEP MOVING:  If you’re stuck on a chapter—move on to the next one. Make notations as to where you are stuck to remind yourself where stumbling blocks raised their wicked head, dismiss them for now and start another chapter. Keep moving!

3) VISUALIZE REAL PEOPLE:  It often helps to visualize performers speaking your lines of dialogue. It will also help you “see” these actors employ mannerisms and quirks which make your characters come to life. www.imdb.com will help you research performers you have in mind. Take a look at their films or TV programs and put them in your scenes.

4) CHARACTER SKETCHES:  Even minor characters should be thought out fully. Create a character breakdown indicating what each character in your piece is about. Quirks, hobbies, downfalls, character flaws, likes/dislikes are all instrumental in creating “real people”.  Create a breakdown of each of your characters. One paragraph is sufficient for minor characters, but major players should be detailed to the extreme. You will find that by writing two pages of text about these people you will know them better and be able to convey their reality to the reader.

5) BRING EACHCHAPTER FULL CIRCLE:  Each chapter should be a short story within itself. Consider if all elements you have included are necessary to advance the plot. Do you really need a flashback within the chapter?  If flashbacks are too long you risk tricking the reader into believing the flashback is playing in real time.  Do you really need to throw in that extra character?  Focus the scene (chapter) where you want to lead the reader.

6) CREATE A HOOK:  One of the most important elements to integrate is a hook at the end of each chapter—no matter the genre. Your main goal is to get the reader to NOT quit reading. If you reveal a cunning chapter end, chances are, they’ll be compelled to turn the page.

7) AVOID EXTRANEOUS TAGS:  If it’s evident who is speaking, cut the HE/SHE SAID tag at end of your sentences. Chances are the reader is going to skip this qualifier anyway.  If you stay true to what your character is saying, their dialogue (in many cases) will reveal their identity. Instead, throw in a bit of action—what he/she is doing or reacting to in order to keep the scene active.

8 ) KEEP A DAILY RECORD OF WHAT YOU HAVE WORKED ON:  Use a Daily Planner to notate word count you have composed at the end of your day’s writing. This is also great to notate details pertinent to your work. Keep this “journal” for your professional output only. Be sure to do a word count when you finish writing and notate this on your planner—think of it as your cookie at the end of the day.

9) TELL PEOPLE YOU’RE “WORKING”, NOT “WRITING”:  Laypeople don’t understand writers or what we actually do. They do however understand “work” and can process this delineation much better. If a family member or friend calls and asks what you’re doing, merely state: “I’m working.” That usually does the trick.

Congratulations on making the commitment to complete an entire manuscript this month.

Deborah J Ledford’s latest suspense thriller novel SNARE, The Hillerman Sky Award Finalist, is book two of her Deputy Hawk/Inola Walela thriller series. STACCATO, book one of the serial, is also available. Both novels are published by Second Wind Publishing.

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In Life by J J Dare

Life is what you make it. Mine stays busy. I have a perpetual to-do list growling at me, except for those times I hide it under a couch cushion. I’m involved in my daughters’ lives on a daily basis (by their choice, most of the time). I still write when the muse makes her infrequent visits, I constantly battle housework apathy and I’m nursing three of my four cats through upper respiratory infections.

Fall has finally arrived in the South. It’s the most anticipated two weeks out of the year for many of us. My expectations are running high this week. The cool weather is a refreshing change from our normal humid heat and if the temperature drops low enough, the mosquitoes die off for a while.

October is the month for a horror-movie-a-day. My Yankee daughter and I pledged to watch an appropriately scary movie each day in honor of Halloween. I’ve unearthed some classic favorites along with some campy fun ones. In December, we plan to do the same thing with a holiday-movie-a-day.

There are days I wish I could clone myself or sprout a few extra arms. The creator was onto the right thing when octopuses were designed.

The to-do list contains a lot of carryovers from previous lists. There are twenty-seven listed things . . . so far. Just a few of these are:

  1. Clean out the back closet (portions of four different households reside there. Yes, it’s a big closet, but it’s bulging and spilling over into the rest of the house),
  2. File (the bane of my bookkeeping existence. My excuse is classic: these papers aren’t going anywhere),
  3. Light bulb in living room (it seems minor, but it’s a major task since I have high vaulted ceilings and the only way to reach the light is to stack two chairs on top of each other and balance on them like a high-wire act. Some have suggested I get a ladder, but it’s an adrenaline rush to perch precariously and not fall),
  4. Fix leaky refrigerator (growing up with tales of poverty in my mother’s early life and living on the edge myself taught me how to pinch a penny until it screams).

I expect November to be crushingly hectic. I usually celebrate Thanksgiving two or three times during the month. This tradition started long ago with my late partner because of his love for roasted turkey and my fattening cooking.

In addition, I’m signing up for NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month). I did it last year and have another completed book under my belt that I need to do something about. When my busy niece told me she was thinking about joining the NaNo bandwagon, I told her to call me Aunt Crazy because I’m jumping off the cliff, too.

I don’t have to put everything on paper. My life reads like a book. There are some chapters that are painfully sad, some that are hilarious, some are mortifyingly embarrassing and some that I would give anything and everything to redo. The edits of my life are long and when I have time to think about the hurricane of my past, I sit in the calm eye of my personal storm and cry.

Tears are a good, yet, temporary release for the grief of life edits I cannot fix. Busy helps, too, but life isn’t all about action – sometimes, life can be about doing nothing and enjoying it. It’s a lesson my late partner tried to teach me and one I’m trying to learn.

How does your real life translate to your writing or reading habits? Do the different stages of your existence influence your writing? Have you ever read a book and sensed that the author had slipped inside your head and written about you?

~

J J Dare is the author of two published books, several short stories and about thirty works-in-progress.

Current enthusiasm is sharpening intangible knives and co-authoring at Rubicon Ranch.

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Writing Outside the Box

There is the normal world and then, there is the world of writers. When I saw Tim Burton’s “Alice in Wonderland,” my first thought when Alice slipped down the hole was, “This is how I feel sometimes.” As the movie progressed, I found myself nodding my head and identifying with certain characters or scenes.

As an author, feeling like part of a Tim Burton movie is neither good nor bad; it’s just very interesting and makes for some interesting writing. And, it prompts you to tap into your quirky side. Of course, for me that isn’t much of  a stretch. When I joined the NaNo WriMo Crazy Train, my first inspiration was to write about the adult life and adventures of a test-tube baby.

What prompted me to pick this particular subject? I have no idea. Maybe it was because I was still tripping from a heavy dose of Tim Burton (I’ve been watching a stream of his movies these past two weeks). To make things even more complex, the main character is the product of not just two parents, but of eight spliced and diced fertilized eggs. And, one of those parents is, gasp, Canadian.

Step outside your comfort zone, I’ve been told when writing. The problem with that advice is I have yet to find the “outside” of my comfort zone. I haven’t found a subject I’m uncomfortable with, yet. Case in point: Rubicon Ranch, an online collaboration from several Second Wind Publishing authors http://rubiconranch.wordpress.com

The premise is the murder of a child, a little girl, in the desert. As the mother of daughters, I thought I’d feel a little trepidation about the subject. I haven’t yet. And, yes, all my daughters are still kicking and all are very much a part of my daily life, though some live far away.

Add to that, I’ve been making promotional videos for Rubicon Ranch. Take a look here: http://www.youtube.com/user/RubiconRanch

Writers are strange ducks, with some stranger than others. Although I can write a straight line when needed, I much prefer the crooked path because life isn’t straight and crooked is ultimately more interesting. Look at Tim Burton . . .

J J Dare, author of Joe Daniel’s “False Positive” and “False World,” and numerous short stories

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A Possibility of Something Wonderful

I have never seen the point of NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month). I always figured that those who wanted to write wrote and those who didn’t write didn’t really want to. I used to be in the first category, and gradually slipped into the second. After the past couple of years of editing, promoting my books, and blogging, I lost the habit of novel writing. Apparently, I don’t really want to write the books I want to write, otherwise I would have been writing them.

Thinking that perhaps there is a book I want to write that I don’t know I want to write, I signed up for NaNo. The theory is that if you churn out the words without worrying about what you are writing, perhaps “you’ll start surprising yourself with a great bit of dialogue here and an ingenious plot twist there. Characters will start doing things you never expected, taking the story places you’d never imagined. There will be much execrable prose, yes. But amidst the crap, there will be beauty. A lot of it.” At least that’s what the NaNo people say.

I’ve always been a slow writer — never been able to write 1,000 words in a day let alone the 1,670 words I’ll need to write to achieve my goal. The last time I tried writing for word count rather than content, I talked to my hero but didn’t add a single word to my poor work-in-pause. (see Pat Bertram Introduces Chip, the Hero of Her Work-in-Pause, a Whimsically Ironic Apocalyptic Novel (Part I) and Pat Bertram Introduces Chip, the Hero of her Work-in-Pause, a Whimsically Ironic Apocalyptic Novel (Part II))

I won’t be adding to an existing book this time. (The above mentioned WIP is still paused.) I’ll be trying to write from scratch, following any idea no matter how silly, since there won’t be time to think of alternatives. The way I figure, I haven’t a thing to lose since I haven’t been writing anyway. At the very least, by doing NaNo, I will get into the habit of writing again. I’ll probably have fodder for several blog posts. But possibly, just possibly, I’ll come up with something wonderful.

***

Pat Bertram is the author of More Deaths Than OneA Spark of Heavenly Fire,  and Daughter Am I.

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My advice for anyone who says… “I want to write a book.”

 

Do it. Don’t talk about it. Don’t over-think the process. Sit down with a pen and paper or at your computer and see what happens.

Everyone must start somewhere and every book you’ve ever read started with one word. Which is probably not the first word you read when you buy it. That first spark in the back recesses of the author’s mind might not have ever made it as far as the first draft, but it still started there.

Then let that word grow into a sentence. Again, it doesn’t have to be perfect. Many times, I don’t even bother using commas, which is bad to admit, but normally the thought wants to flow out so badly that it takes too much time. That is what editing is for, after all.

Stick with it. Don’t just do thirty minutes once. Sit down every day and write or you might get stuck again for a week.

Join the Second Wind Authors this month on our NaNo page if you need a little push along the way.

 

 

 

Suzette Vaughn is the author of “Mortals, Gods, and a Muse” and “Badeaux Knights”

 

 

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