Week in Review – 2013/10/21 – 2013/10/27

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WRITING:

So, I did a beat sheet for my upcoming WIP in this year’s Entangled Smackdown over at SavvyAuthors. As I wrote in the forums, it seemed like I wrote out palpitations more than beats considering how much detail I put in. I’m not sure how the editors will view it considering my fellow writers wrote maybe a handful of lines for each beat. I think might turned into more of a synopsis, which is also okay because I need to practice doing those, as well.

On the upside of the brainstorms? Found a twist that even I didn’t see coming. My original baddie is no longer the baddie and I’m excited to get writing those scenes already. November’s just around the corner and yet my fingers are itching to get going.

READING:

Aside from the aforementioned reference and workshop lectures, I’ll definitely be reading my work for the next several weeks. However, as tempting as it might be, I’ll keep from editing as I write. That’s a big no-no.

NETWORKING:

The physical NaNo Write-Ins in the coming weeks will hopefully keep me motivated and should be good fun. The online teams for Entangled Smackdown will also have continuous support. I’m sure to look for online sprint partners via Twitter‘s #1k1hr. Should be fun.

LEARNING:

I’m eyeballs deep in languages and genealogy when not working on my WIPs. I’m thinking of contacting my grandmother–91 years young–whom I met up with in Toronto. We’d caught up on recent events in our respective lives, but I’d like to go back in time with her in hopes of learning more about my heritage. Yes, I’m still brimming with nostalgia. My love for genealogy is not going away any time soon.

How goes the last bit of October for you?

August Writing/Reading Goals

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 Image courtesy of Stuart Miles / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Here we are in the third quarter of 2013. I can’t believe how fast this year’s flown by, though my carpal tunnel issues and back pain are constant reminders.

WRITING:

1) A couple writing challenges: WRITE YOUR NOVEL THIS SUMMER began on June 21st and runs until September 21st. Updates will be posted in my FRIDAY FORAGE series. AugNoWriMo is alive and kicking. Due to recent plot and game changing events with my WIP, I thought to skip this WriMo but am happy to learn that the flexible word counts are conducive to my new plans. At least I can continue my train of successful WriMos this year. 🙂

I’ll be working on the first 50 pages of my revised, revamped WIP, Aaralyn’s Song. Of course, I’ll keep writing beyond the first 50, but that’s my bare minimum goal for August. Writing 12,500 words is doable given my recent word count figures.

2) Polish & submit two short story pieces by August 31st. They’re complete and have both been workshopped. I’ll do final pass as it’s been awhile since I last read them.

3) Review old contest submissions of novelette and novella lengths. While I’m working on my Fractured Tales Series, I might as well shop these completed manuscripts so I can officially take part in the industry’s infamous Waiting Game. 🙂

READING:

Given my relentless schedule these past couple of months, I’m pleased to say I’ve read thirteen books since June 23rd. Not too shabby. This month, my reading will also include Beta Reading a fellow writer’s MS, critiquing fellow SCBWI member’s WIPs, as well some Advanced Reader’s Copies (ARCs) from NetGalley. I’m pleased to have received an ARC of K.M. Weiland’s forthcoming Structuring Your Novel. Read more about it here. The timing’s perfect to go with my writerly revamp.  

NETWORKING [formerly known as SOCIAL MEDIA-ING ;) (formerly known as BLOGGING)]:

I love the writing community and it continues to grow. Sometimes, it also feels like a small world because a bunch of us run in the same circles. Either way, I love the support and accountability with people who know exactly what I go through on a daily basis.

For August, the lovely Candilynn Fite will host #wipmadness for us every Monday on her blog. The #ROW80 check-ins will continue each Sunday and Wednesday.

Another bit of fortunate timing came in a new Twitter follower today. I followed back @nownovel which brought me to their site. It’s an online writing hub for fiction manuscripts from conceptualization to drafting. I’m going to give the free version a whirl but from the look of the three paid options, it’s likely I’ll make the eventual upgrade. It’s worth having a lookiloo.

LEARNING (formerly known as OTHERS):

Rather than change it just for yesterday’s post, I think it makes perfect sense to tell it like it is. All the other things I’d be doing aside from the three categories above naturally fall under the LEARNING category.

It goes without saying that I’m a huge supporter of perpetual education and I’m happy to be a SavvyAuthors member. Check out their snazzy new site. These workshops and the bonds I’ve formed with my fellow writers keep me inspired. I’ve also taken workshops through many RWA chapters, and while the genres might not be the same, the fundamentals are universal when crafting good fiction.

Here’s a rundown of what I want to learn and utilize this month (and beyond):

– Dr. John Yeoman’s Writers’ Village

– Ali Luke’s Writers’ Huddle

– Holly Lisle’s many courses, of which I have all but have not gone through yet. *tsk tsk*

– Udemy courses I’ve purchased (some on sale, some free, all pretty nifty)

Those were courses, workshops, and lessons. I’ve also severely neglected the following amazing resources of which I’m a member:

– Children’s Book Insider – The CBI Clubhouse has lessons, vids, and other services all put together in a great community.

– Writer’s Digest VIP Program – This includes great discounts (that I did take advantage of) but also access to WritersMarket.com

– Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators – Got an email today. Free webinars and other great critiquing opportunities!

– Canadian Society of Children’s Authors, Illustrators & Performers

– Canadian Authors Association

Again, this list is by no means exhaustive, but it goes to show just how many things we have at our fingertips that may get overlooked in the blur that is life.

These are all writerly, but I must include an oldie that needs to make a comeback, mi amigo Duolingo. Aside from learning a new language, I want to continue something I learned MANY moons ago, how to play the guitar. I’ll start late because my only access to a guitar is on weekends but I’ll be perusing the online course with Jamorama.

I think doing other creative activities will be a nice change of pace, especially if bogged down by all the words. At least this way, I can continue to flex my creative muscles and the inspiration continues.

If you made it all the way down here, congrats! You get a cyber cookie. This might seem like a lot for August. Keep in mind, I wanted to gush here and there about different things I’ve discovered. In the LEARNING category alone, I’ve got enough resources to last a year. I’ll pick and choose accordingly. Rest assured, my top priorities are the Reading and Writing Goals that are still quite reasonable given my previous months. I suppose it’s time I give myself a little leeway, don’t you think?

Here’s to August! May the words flow more than the potential tears from the tasks ahead. 🙂

5 REASONS WHY YOU SHOULD JOIN CAMP NANOWRIMO

This is my second year in the NaNo World of Awesomeness. The challenge is to write 50,000 words in 30 days. With everyone’s already busy lives, it’s a testament of creative perseverance when NaNoWriMo’s been going strong for over eleven years now. Short for National Novel Writing Month, the annual collective writing phenomenon held in November has gone global–for now. I think we should get those peeps up at the Space Station to do some writing. You know, if they’re not busy doing other astronaut-type things this April, but I digress.

Last year, Script Frenzy (RIP) a much loved sibling to the elder NaNo gave me the opportunity to write an Alternate History Thriller Screenplay. Considering I’d never tried the format before, it was interesting. We went to Hawaii, at the time, and I remember using Celtx on my iPhone during in-flight turbulence, just so I could get the pages done.

I missed last June’s Camp NaNoWriMo. I’d like to think of Camp as NaNo’s awesome cousin. Imagine my delight when I joined Camp for the first time last August. We got an extra day for good behavior–and also, because that’s just how August rolls–and I hammered out an MG Urban Fantasy, the first in a series.

The actual NaNo was a beast, but in a good way. Brewing holiday cheer and writing insanity are like rebels on the dance floor. Out of that, I have a YA Thriller, also the first in a series.

Like I said yesterday, revisions, sure. They’ll happen. But if you get an opportunity to have thousands of people cheering you on to write as they simultaneously unleash their creativity into the world? Do it. And when it happens three times in one year? DO IT THRICE.

Here are five reasons–of many reasons–why YOU NEED TO GO TO CAMP THIS APRIL:

1) GET IN THE ZONE. Some say Camp NaNoWriMo is NaNo Lite. Not true. Think of it as easing yourself into November. Incremental genius, at your own pace. The fact that this year they’ve gone rogue with the NaNoRebels, you get to write anything: poetry, stage plays, screenplays *sigh*, comics, graphic novels, short stories, non-fiction, you name it. With adjustable word counts, Camp is tailored to maximize your creative output. The only person stopping you from doing this is you. The only thing you have to lose is time, and we’re all using that stuff up anyway. Join. Write.

2) LIKE-MINDEDNESS. Cabin Mates. Writing Buddies. Global Support. Hey, if there’s anyone who’s going to understand the craziness you’re about to endure it’s all the other people about to endure the same craziness. Together, you can celebrate, commiserate, and conflagrate (metaphorically speaking). Appreciate the artist within you. Within all of us. Same boat. Better together. Need convincing? Go on Twitter and join the #CampNaNoWriMo conversation. You’re not alone. The world is buzzing about Camp. Join. Write.

3) NETWORKING. Those people who share your thirst for creativity and penchant for masochistic writing schedules? They know people. You know people. People get to talking. Connections are made. You never know that a person you’re brainstorming with could have the next bestseller. Better yet, they could be interested in your next bestseller. NaNoWriMo isn’t a casual event. There’s nothing casual about churning out the words until your hands are numb, your vision blurs, and your head’s about to burst from exhaustion. Moral support, feedback, crit partners, beta readers, mentors. Anyone who understands NaNoWriMo understands the passion behind it. Anyone you network with will help you become a better writer. That’s a fact from personal experience and a promise. Join. Write.

4) COMMITMENT TO YOUR CRAFT. You can tell people you’re a writer, but it means more if you show them. Accountability is a big deal, not just to save face, but to keep you motivated. Reach those word count goals, Exceed them. The act of committing to a massive project such as writing a book in a month, it shows you mean business. It’s not going to be easy. It’s not meant to be, but you can refer back to numbers 1 to 3 and you’ll be okay. That’s what the community is for. Am I saying that every single entrant reaches their goal? No. And believe it or not, that’s okay. The fact that you tried is what matters. You need 2,000 words today, but only reached 700? Don’t feel bad. Life happens. Just remember you have 700 more words than you did yesterday, 700 words closer to your finished draft. NaNoWriMo ignites that desire to reach the goal. As long as you keep moving forward, you’re already a winner. Join. Write.

5) SENSE OF ACCOMPLISHMENT. This really is a no brainer. I remembered typing my last word as Camp NaNo came to an end. My fingers tingled. I had such an adrenalin rush. I just finished a story. Now, I’m not saying that you should drop it on an editor’s desk then and there. The purpose of NaNo is to help get the words out of you and onto the page. After that, the real journey begins. Editing, revision, more critiques and beta reads. Agent or no agent. Traditional publishing or indie publishing. Marketing. Promotion. The road is long, but you’re already traveling once you’ve gotten that first draft written, but what do you need to do first? Join. Write.

I’ll be a happy camper in April. What about you?

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http://campnanowrimo.org

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@NaNoWriMo