Friday, November 27, 2009

I Did It!

I wrote an entire fantasy novel in a month! I know I wouldn't have done it if it weren't for fellow author Amy Timberlake who suggested the idea on the SCBWI Illinois listserve in the first place. Thanks, Amy, for planting the initial seed. And thanks, too, to my fellow children's book writers whose ongoing word counts on the live Nano site spurred me on all month.

Next up, my latest article for "Family Time Magazine" article. This one kind of took me by surprise this week when I learned the deadline had been moved up a week and is now due Tuesday. Talk about an incentive to finish Nano writing. Interviews are done. Now onto the happy task of compressing all the interesting things I've learned into 850 words and a story worth reading.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Prairie Writer's Day Recap

I've been meaning to blog about the 5th Annual Prairie Writer's Day conference held recently in the Chicago area, but then I happened upon this amazing recap from fellow fantasy writer Hilary Wagner who said it so well here.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Writerly To-Do List

1. On assignment for Family Time Magazine--Began surfing net today. Due date--early December.

2. Day 13 of NaNoWriMo. Yesterday, I broke through the 20,000 word barrier on my way to writing an entire novel in one month. The shape of my story is emerging, and I'm encouraged by the direction it's taking.

3. Prairie Writer's Day tomorrow. The event sold out weeks ago. I almost didn't get in. I'd been on the waiting list, but learned recently that I'd made the cut. Looking forward to connecting with old friends, commiserating with fellow Nanites about the challenge of NaNoWriMo, and immersing myself in the craft for the day. This event is the closest I've come to reliving the Vermont College MFA in Writing for Children & Young Adults experience close to home. Vermont College faculty member and author extraordinaire Cynthia Leitich Smith is the headliner.

Friday, November 06, 2009

Sleeping With My Characters and Other Upsides of the NaNo Effect

Though I’m only six days into the month-long frenzy called NaNoWriMo, a curious thing is happening along the way. I’m calling it the NaNo effect:

1. I’m feeling way guilty working on any writing that’s not NaNo related. Why? Because it's keeping me from making my 50,000 words by November 30th. The upside? More face time with my characters means I’m making my daily quota.

2. Today I expect to hit the 10,000 words mark after less than a week into the contest.

3. My back hurts from sitting so long in one place. The upside: I’ve returned to regular writer yoga stretches to work out the kinks. This practice in turn has led to a greater sense of clarity and confidence regarding my story, my characters, and life in general.

4. I’m sleeping with my characters. Honestly, I can’t remember the last time I went to bed and woke up with them right there beside me. At times, I feel a bit too much like Mork from Mork and Mindy. Not that this is all together a bad thing. It’s just that at times it feels like I’m straddling two worlds, which can lead to some interesting conversations if I’ve just come off a fight scene.

5. I can’t find the bottom of the sink. We’ve been known to do archaeological digs in our kitchen before, but it’s been a while. We’re now at the point where I need to buy paper plates sometime today. That or carve out a good half hour from my NaNo time.

6. NaNo is forcing me to budget my time more wisely, and giving me permission to say no when something comes up.

7. My characters come immediately when I call, no dillying or dallying. It’s amazing how close they are. With very little effort we resume conversations where we left off, or take up a sword and continue the fight. Very very cool.

8. My internal editor has gone silent. I attribute this to the NaNo process itself. When you need to write 1667 words a day there’s no time to question if it’s the perfect word. You just write down what comes to you and keep moving. Period. The end.

9. And then there are the nuggets. Amidst all the crap I’m generating, the cream is rising to the top!

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Attention Fellow NaNoWriMos!

Glue this mantra above your computer or wherever you write:

Butt in chair is halfway there!

NaNoWriMo word count (as of this morning): 4,318 and counting!

Monday, November 02, 2009

NaNoWriMo Here I Come!

Started NaNoWriMo yesterday. Despite what feels like at least a hundred balls in the air, I managed 1,808 new words toward my latest fantasy novel M&R. So far so good.