Camp NaNoWriMo 2018 Update

My friends.

I have finished the draft of my second novel!

This means 1) I’m exhausted and I am going to take a week off to relax and catch up on some reading and 2) I have two novels to begin full edits on.

The other exciting news is that my artist, finished my new profile picture.  You can check out her other work here: http://www.briannaleahyart.com

While I did have to drop my expected word count to 30,000, I did finish Camp this year with 30,132 words written!

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Camp NaNoWriMo Round Up 2018

pexels-photo-735837.jpegI am participating in Camp NaNoWriMo and will not be making regular updates this month.  This post serves as a general update on Camp NaNoWriMo and some other hot topics I’ve seen online.

Camp NaNoWriMo

I am continuing my rewrite of the novella I finished last year.  It’s going from a 30K word zero draft, to a more fleshed out 90K novel.  It is currently at 50K and I want to complete the draft during Camp NaNoWriMo this month.

So far I’ve written about 6,200 words, I know I’m a bit behind. But, I am going to be spending a good deal of time writing this weekend.

Twitter & Pitch Wars

If you follow me on Twitter you may have noticed that I retweeted about pitching and querying.  I don’t have a strong stance on the Pitch Wars entry fee that created a stir online last week (and which was later replaced with their free model).  However, there were some good opportunities coming out of that which I wanted to share.

The Plan (Currently)

The discussion made me start thinking about my current strategy.

I will be looking for agents only once I have several published short stories, a draft I feel good about sharing beyond the sphere of my writing friends, and proposals for at least five more books.  I have some experience in the business world and I want to make sure I have a portfolio to offer before I look for an agent.

The guiding principles of my strategy are the following:

  • More Stories and Story Ideas = A long term source of revenue for the agent and the author.
  • Published Short Stories = They take less time to create and help me build a platform.
  • Building Platform = Maintaining a blog and actively using Twitter not only informs my audience, but shows an agent I’m willing to learn and actively work on self-marketing.

Ready Player One

I just had to watch this movie once I heard about it.  It was fun and I had a good time catching references and Easter eggs.

Discord Servers

I recently discovered the wealth of writing groups located on Discord servers.  Though admittedly they all vary a good deal, it is nice to find another outlet for connecting with other writers in a chat format.

This Reddit thread is a good place to start looking at the server options that are out there.

Nuts and Bolts: Self Care

Nuts and bolts is a series on the details of being a writer and honing my craft.  Today’s brief post may not seem directly about writing, but is still absolutely vital to the creative process.

This has been a strange week.  I have exciting things going on and at the same time there’s some really hard stuff going on as well.  I thought it would be a good time to go over some of my own coping skills.

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Story Ideas – Conceptualizing stories is probably my favorite part of the writing process (before the more detailed planning stages).  Coming up with scenes for a future story helps me process some of what has been going on in my own life.

Music – Usually when I’m wiped out, I head over to YouTube and start listening to new stuff. I’m always on the lookout for songs to add to my writing play list.

Fitness – I’ve been using fitness apps to make sure I’m taking care of myself (and to make me stop reaching for junk food when I’m feeling down).

Chopping the To-Do List – I am mindful of the time I have and typically start reprioritizing when I start feeling overwhelmed.  I begin by focusing on what absolutely has to happen instead of all the things I want to happen.

Prayer & Meditation – Last but not least, prayer.  I am a spiritual person and my prayers may not get quick answers, but there is a peace in realizing that I’m not in control of everything.

Microfiction: Late Night Study

If you’re new to this site then you might be pleased to discover that every now and then I take a break from my normal writing endeavors and I challenge myself to come up with a microfiction to share with you all.

Today’s was a result of writing a list of about eight words and then challenging myself to link those key words into a common story.

Late Night Study

The steady twap twap of the critter’s tiny pincers against the glass were fraying the young alchemist’s nerves.

The figures and notes from the journal in front of her were just as frustrating as she rubbed her tired eyes. The encryptions within were beginning to dance around her mind like two drunk lovers at the pub during the harvest celebrations.

Sighing, she closed the worn leather journal, accidentally rubbing her finger through the dust left behind on the table. How had so much dust accumulated in so little time?

Turning, she pulled the glass jar from the aging marble counter. “Sorry little guy, you’re not going anywhere until I transmute you.”

The praying mantis was still, sizing her up. Its eyes held her own in a silent glare as if daring her to realize the hubris of that claim.

“He was close.” She made a fist, “But I will succeed where he failed.” The mantis continued its silent watch as the splosh of raindrops announced the arrival of the storm.

Nuts and Bolts: Beta Readers

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Similar to the series of posts called “Tools of the Trade”, “Nuts and Bolts” will be referring to the more analytical and business components of writing.

I have some good news! I am feeling comfortable enough with some of my stories to send them off to beta readers. But, in order to do that I had to determine who these readers should be.

To date my criteria has been simple: Do you you like stories in this genre? Are you willing to read my story? Are you someone I trust? Are you willing and able to get meaningful feedback to me in a timely manner?

Google Forms and Stories

With this in mind, I sent a message to friends who had been interested when I mentioned my stories in the past, but before I did so, I created a Google Form. This Form contained the questions I was most interested in regarding the story I was sending. I then promised coffee and cookies for the effort and sent off the email.

The next trick I used? I put options at the end of that questionaire for what level of readership the beta reader would want to be considered for in the future: Alpha, Beta, Close to publication, Audience (read after published), and Never-Send-Me-A-Story-Again. Thankfully no one has chosen the “never again” option.

It’s still an experiment in progress, but so far I have gotten some beneficial timely feedback. And I’m collecting data on what level of interest these readers have for upcoming stories.

Using the Data for Newsletter Practice

I’m also planning on using this as a way to experiment with newsletters. I’ve now been to enough workshops to understand that an author has to build their platform as early as possible. And, I’ve also heard enough to know that I better learn how to utilize a newsletter now.

So, besides the copious amount of editing left to do, I am hoping that crafting a newsletteresque email just for my beta reader team will not only keep them excited but also give me invaluable practice for when it’s time to send updates to a more general audience.

To be continued…

Tools of the Trade: Staedtler Norica and Pentel Orenz

If you have visited this blog before you’ll have discovered that I am a writer working on my first short stories and novels.  To be more specific I’m trudging through edits and rewrites on those first stories.

And while I do post some microfictions, updates, and reviews from time to time, I also create posts with helpful information for other writers.  The Tools of the Trade series consist of things and programs I have found helpful as I hone my craft.

Today’s post is all about my two favorite types of pencils to date: Staedtler Norica and Pentel Orenz 0.5.  I’ve been finding lately that the further I am into rewrites, the more likely I am to grab a pencil.  Editing has taught me humility and the wisdom that writing a little slower with the ability to erase is inherently beneficial.

Here’s a demonstration and review by Gray Matters on the Norica:

And here’s one by Scrively for the Pentel Orenz:

Golden Nights

“What are you doing out so late?” The old man gave me a penetrating look, wizened eyebrows knitted together in thought.

“Same as you.” I flicked my hair back and pulled my scarf closer.

Why did anyone go out at night? That time when the darkness steals vision away, giving in its place the teasing small lights.  The lights and shadows twinkling like ghosts toying with mortals in the darkness.

He didn’t answer. Instead, just like the gentleman he had been for all his life, he took my arm in his own and we walked together in silence. The tranquility was a warm invitation for thought.

We watched the streetlights flicker against the golden colors of the leaves long into the night.