Writing Notes by Today, I Wrote…

Passionate prose is my PARAMOUR.

December 2

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NaNoWriMo 2009 is Over

by Ann-Kat

On November 30, 2009 sometime around 3pm EST, I was declared a NaNoWriMo winner. However, it’s a Pyrrhic victory in some ways.

I did not finish this novel. It was well mapped out, but as I wrote, new scenes kept popping into my head.  Looking over the mind map on my NaNo board, only about half of those little bubbles (which are scenes) have been completed. But for now, I’m going to set aside this work and let it marinate a while because something else happened during NaNoWriMo.

My mind kept floating back to another WIP. It’s been a work in progress for a long time and the characters have grown on me. In fact, they’ve become my imaginary friends (and some enemies). And during NaNo, they all started screaming so loud and talking about all the things they’ve been through and begged me to write about it.

Finally, I broke down. I took a day, sat down, and wrote the MC’s introduction. The one that he’s been pleading with me to write since I first conceived of him. That very introduction was then entered in the Young Adult Novel Discovery Contest. Here’s to crossing my fingers and hoping for the best.

In the meantime, I’ll continue moving forward with it until the vicious roar of their voices settles back into a soft lull.

November 14

Comments: 2

NaNoWriMo Day 14: State of the NaNo Board

by Ann-Kat

Word Count: 18,697
Remaining Words: 31,303

Time flies. It’s cliché, but true. We’re already two weeks into NaNoWriMo and I should be roughly halfway through my novel. I’m not. But I’m not fretting (yet). I am, however, (much more than) halfway done with my NaNo board.

NaNo Board - Almost Done

I’ve finally found the face of my female MC, Tessa Harding, and that face belongs to Christina Milian. She has the perfect balance of sweet cuteness, and sultry sexiness.  Christina Milian

I also managed to find the faces of two supporting characters, Sydney Averdale and Christian Cooper, portrayed by Meagan Good and Ian Somerhalder.

Meagan Good Ian Somerhalder

At one point, when I was adding the additional character photos to the board, I became choked up. It’s the moment I realized that I love my characters, even the flawed (and some might say, downright evil) ones. Granted, I love those characters in a different way; I’m trying to figure out how they became such broken people.

NaNoWriMo Novel Mind Map

I’ve finally added my mind map, which should help with the journey—no more needing to dig through my notebook to find sequence of events and such.

Just looking at the board gets me fired up, but I still see whitespace and that must be rectified.

And I’m not entirely sure this is NaNoWriMo related, but I’ve been inspired to write more short stories lately. Frankly, I think it’s a stalling tactic my mind conjured up to aid its procrastination efforts, but some of the ideas I’ve had are exciting. But I’m just jotting down the bare minimum of notes so I can write them later and focus on NaNoWriMo now.

November 5

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NaNoWriMo Day 5: How I’ve Been Writing

by Ann-Kat

Word Count: 9,994 (so close to 10,000 I can taste it)
Remaining Words: 40,006

This year I actually have a map of my novel from beginning to end. This map contains a word or two which encapsulates each scene. Sometimes I’ll look at one of the words and the entire scene unfolds before my eyes. What’s intriguing to me, though, is how the story is being written.

I’ve never been a true linear writer—bits and pieces come to me, I write it down, and then I rearrange it until it all fits properly—but with this novel, I thought for certain I’d be able to write it straight from scene one to scene final, no problem. Wrong.

Since the first day of NaNoWriMo, I’ve been writing just before bed and I always write the scene that comes to me with the most emotional blow. The passion tends to come through in the writing because the words just pour out of me. But of course that’s not a problem.

My concern is the story I’ll be left with when it comes time to rearrange. Will it still be the same story I envisioned?

November 4

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NaNoWriMo Day 4: My Novel is Causing Nightmares

by Ann-Kat

Word Count: 8,572
Words Remaining: 41,428

It’s barely day four of NaNoWriMo and I’ve already woken from a disturbing dream.

(NB: Although I considered my dream to be tense and mildly annoying, years of watching, reading, and listening to horror, real and imagined, has desensitized me in a number of ways. Therefore by normal standards my dream was actually a terrifying nightmare.)

First, a bit of background about the novel I’m writing: Imagine Swimfan crossed with Fear.

In my dream I was the female protagonist of my book. I was being violently attacked but no one could see it. They were staring directly at me and my attacker, but to them it was if he were lacing me with kisses and affection. Everyone kept telling me I was being silly and foolish and that I was making a mistake by trying to leave him.

More disturbing was the setting of the dream—intense dank and darkness. Even my attacker looked heinous. But still, no one except me could recognize any danger. And I couldn’t get away.

What’s still more unsettling is that I woke with my novel in mind and an eagerness to write. So with bits of this revolting dream swishing around in my head, I’m off to add to my story’s bottom line.

November 4

Comments: 2

NaNo Board Almost Complete, or NaNoWrimo Day 2

by Ann-Kat

Cross-posted at Today, I Read…

Going into the second day of NaNoWriMo, I have just shy of 2,000 words complete (and by the end of the day, that total should jump to just shy of 4000—I hope).

The NaNo board still isn’t complete; it’s only halfway done, but I figured I might as well post up a progress report.

Unfinished NaNoWriMo Board

In case you’re wondering, yes those are pictures of Paul Walker. I was watching Into the Blue the other day and all of a sudden, I jumped up and screamed, “OMG! It’s Rick! It’s Rick!”

Of course, now my craziness is showing, but to explain, Rick Dawson is one of the main characters in my NaNoWriMo novel and he goes through many, many changes in the story; I needed someone who could visually pull it off. Paul Walker goes from a sweet pretty boy (upper left corner) to a gritty bad boy (bottom right corner) just like my MC.

paul-walker-20070223-216200paul-walkerwalker66

Unfortunately, I still haven’t found the perfect visual example of my leading lady and I’m afraid I may have to break down and draw her, but I’m keeping hope alive. (If you know of any young biracial models or actresses, please let me know.)

In the center of the NaNo board, I have the calendar that I printed from deviantART and colored in with water colors.

NaNo Board Calendar

To its left is my Magna Carta I, all the things I like in a novel, and to its right is the Magna Carta II, all the things I dislike in a novel.

Magna Carta IMagna Carta II

I still need to include the mind map cloud thing because it would be much easier to look up at the board for reference rather than dig through my notebook. Goodness willing I’ll get that finished and glued on there this afternoon.

November 4

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And So Begins NaNoWriMo…

by Ann-Kat

Cross-posted at Today, I Read…

I didn’t get the NaNo board finished yet, but it’s coming along. The calendar, Magna Carta I & II, and some visuals have been completed. The goal is to finish it up this weekend so I can hang it above my desk by Monday.

In the meantime, I’ve already set up Liquid Story Binder XE for my newest novel by resetting my global work logs from last year’s and preparing my Planner.

LSBXE Layout for 2009 NaNo Novel

I’m doing things a bit differently by incorporating Builders. The reason is that this time around, I’ve actually prepared a mind map for this particular novel—something I didn’t have last year (I flew by the seat of my pants).

Right now I hope to write as much as possible because I want a nice comfy cushion when those lean writing days arrive…and I know they’re coming.

I’d also like to keep a daily writing journal and post over at Today, I Wrote… (which is desperately in need of some love) as I go along. I hope I won’t become too preoccupied.

If you’re also participating in NaNo, buddy me. You can never have too much support.

November 4

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Preparing for NaNoWriMo 2009

by Ann-Kat

Cross-posted at Today, I Read…

NaNoWriMo.org

In less than a week, the mass month-long caffeination of hundreds (possibly thousands) or writers worldwide will begin. Yep, I’m talking about National Novel Writing Month, aka NaNoWriMo, where the participants are asked to complete a 50,000 word novel in 30 days’ time.

Impossible, you say? Not so. Last year I won, even if the 50,000 words I managed to churn out amounted to nothing more than a coaster made of recycled trees. (Yes, I really am using last year’s novel as a coaster right at this very moment.)

But learning from past experience, this year, I’m going in with (more of) a plan.

My brain likes structured chaos—you know, the stuff that looks like a hodgepodge but is really organization in disguise—and highly visual stuff—big and colorful so I can’t miss it.

The light bulb flickered on for me when I saw the extra 24×36 in. poster frame I had stashed in the corner of my room. I thought, “Hmmm, that’s big enough to fit a whole bunch of bright colorful stuff on. (sound of mental gears grinding.)” Story collages, mind maps, the magna cartas, inspirational quotes…a calendar…all smooshed together.

BAM! The NaNo board idea was realized.

With the easy part of the way, it’s a matter of figuring out how to implement it. (Wish me luck.) Here’s the blueprint so far:

  • Epicenter = mind map. A few months ago I came up with a story idea and drew up a mind map on an 9×12” sheet of paper.
  • Calendar below. I was going to create my own, but finding a link to all the NaNoWriMo calendars on deviantART saved me the trouble. (I printed out a fun one with coffee stains and quotes.)
  • Magna cartas on either side. No Plot? No Problem? (links to my review) discusses creating two magna cartas (aka lists), one detailing everything you like in a novel and the other detailing everything you hate.
  • Inspiration on the fringes. Pictures, other images, and words that relate to my story and help keep me in my inspired happy place while writing. (In other words, shinies in collage form. Looks like all those magazines I’ve saved since 2006 will finally come in handy.)

During the next few days, I hope to finish, in addition to the chaotically structured  NaNo board, my novel folder which will include character dossiers, location samples (i.e. maps, descriptions, random town facts), and fleeting bits of dialog.

When it’s all set up, I’ll be sure to take pictures and update.

Meanwhile, I need writing buddies. Hit me up please. :D

July 30

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Book in a Month and Other Stuff

by Ann-Kat

Already I’m sort of behind on Amanda B’s Journal. I didn’t write my 300 words on Tuesday and I just finished today’s 300 words—394 to be precise.

Oddly enough, I’m enjoying this low pressure way of writing. In fact, since I have such a limited amount of space to progress the story forward, I’m enjoying the new directions that it’s taking.

I think the most surprising thing, though, is how Amanda answers me. Yes, it’s true. Before I wrote each of my 300 word journal entries, I asked Amanda what happened next? Then I listened and wrote what she told me. So far I’m connecting with her and I really do like her, despite her faults. She’s quirky.

In other news, I had finished a short story (2000 words more or less) and it had a sort of open-ended question as an ending. Almost a cliffhanger, but not quite.

As I was discussing something along the same lines of the story’s subject matter, I had a spark of an idea—why not continue the story? Normally, short stories are just that, but this particular story could easily be expanded because of the question posed—the novel will answer it.

The short story needs one more round of edits before I start submitting it, but I’m getting excited about the prospect. When I recently re-read the story after letting it sit for weeks, it sparked a feeling that lingered with me. I didn’t want that feeling to end.

So, I’ve decided to push forward with the novel idea and get the rough hammered out during the month of August. Yes, NaNoWriMo-style. I already have a general outline, it’s just a matter of getting it all out on paper…in a month.

December 4

Comments: 1

How to Use Liquid Story Binder XE for Your NaNoWriMo Novel

by Ann-Kat

This has been cross posted from Today, I Read… since it was written before Today, I Wrote… actually launched.

Avid readers tend to be writers, or aspiring authors, whichever you prefer, so in the spirit of the and itself, I’ve decided to publish a brief outline of how you can use (LSBXE) to breeze through your November novel.

LSBXE is a full featured program created specifically for writers–all writers, but especially fiction writers. It’s perfect for NaNoWriMo because it allows you to create goals (time and word count related), take notes, add pictures, playlists, and dossiers to keep you focused and inspired, all within the program.

To make an already great program even better, it also has a Work Log. This log keeps track of your writing progress on a per book basis. It tells you how long you’ve had the program active and how many words you’ve written for that day. It also tells you your total word count, calculates your daily average, and offers up the longest time you’ve spent writing and the most words written in a day.

work-log

As if you needed more incentive, after you’ve finished writing your novel, the program will allow you to easily compile all the chapters into a manuscript ready for intense editing, printing, or distribution. Continue reading »

   
 

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