NaNoWriMo Survival Kit 2017

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Hello beautiful people! Today is all about NaNoWriMo! If you don’t know what NaNoWriMo is, here’s a brief description: National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) is a month long challenge that takes place every November and challenges you to write 50,000 words in the month. It’s a fun challenge and I’ve participated for several years, and this year is no different.

So I was watching some NaNo Prep videos on YouTube and came across some NaNo Survival Kits – essentially items that you can’t write your novel without during the event. I figured I’d share my own items that I know I couldn’t be without when it comes to NaNo, so here’s my list:

  • My laptop. I mean. Duh. How else am I going to write this novel? I’m certainly not going to handwrite it because ain’t nobody got time for that.
  • My USB thumb drive. I’ve had this same USB for years and years now, and it’s the second most important thing to me when it comes to writing. I save my story after every chapter that I write. I don’t want to lose any of my hard work in case anything happens to my laptop, so I save everything to this USB as a backup.
  • Music. I can’t really listen to music with actual lyrics when I’m writing unless I’m super focused because then my attention will be drawn to the music rather than what I’m working on, and that’s kind of not the goal. I listen to a lot of Lindsey Stirling and movie scores; pretty much anything classical in some way.
  • My NaNoWriMo scarf, hat, and mug. Okay, so these aren’t like super essential for the actual act of writing, BUT I still found these items to be super comfy when I was writing last year, and a little comfort whenever I looked at them because I’d think to myself, “I’m doing this for me and for something I’m passionate about.”

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  • A bottle of water. I don’t know about you, but I need to stay hydrated. I can sit for hours writing, sometimes writing over 1k words every half hour if I’m super into it, so I need to stay hydrated while my brain goes into overdrive.
  • Candy and/or snacks. Not the healthiest option here, but sometimes those little bits of sugar can really make or break when it comes to having enough energy to get out just that last paragraph to call it a day.
  • Writing space. Okay, I don’t know about you, but I can’t really write when I’m in a super distracting environment. I need a place where my brain can associate that when I’m in that space that it’s writing time. This year, I’m not sure where that will be. Maybe my desk, maybe my bed. Who knows? I just know I need that space.
  • My writing program of choice! Obviously I need this because how else am I going to write this novel? I’m most likely going to use Microsoft Word to write it, as I have for a long time now, and I’m fine with that. I write chapters in separate documents and keep planning in one and I have it organized in a way I understand. One day I might use Scrivener, but not right now.

And that’s it! I’m pretty easy to please, haha, but that’s really all I need for NaNoWriMo to survive it. I hope that each of my items help me survive, anyway.

Let’s Chat! ^w^

What’s in your NaNo survival kit? Anything that you’d suggest that I add to mine? Are you excited for NaNo!?

Inktober & NaNoWriMo Prep

Hello beautiful people! So it’s the first day of Halloween October and there are two major events going on that I’m going to be participating in, and they are:

Inktober and NaNoWriMo Prep.

In case you don’t know what either of these things are, here’s a little info about them & what I plan on doing:

Inktober

Inktober is a drawing challenge that has four rules:

  1. Make a drawing in ink.
  2. Post it online.
  3. Hashtag it with #inktober and #inktober2017.
  4. Repeat every day of October.

That’s it! I first saw the challenge last year around the time I started my art Instagram and I wanted to participate this year. There’s an official list of prompts for the 31 days, and I’m going to be using that list to draw every day in October and – hopefully – improve my skills more.

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I’ll be using Micron Fine Liner pens for the majority of my work, but I may do some in color? I’m not sure as I’ve always loved drawing in black and white, but we’ll see how I’m feeling for that prompt that day. So if you want to see how the challenge is coming along then please check out my art Instagram linked above!

NaNoWriMo

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National Novel Writing Month is coming up NEXT MONTH (ugh, it hurts to say that) and OMG I NEED TO PREP SO BAD. Like. I’ve never really prepped for this before? I kind of did last year where I had an outline and things were going pretty good UNTIL THEY WEREN’T. URGH. But it’s fine. Everything’s fine.

So what’s NaNoWriMo you ask? It’s a 30 days writing challenge that takes place from November 1-30 where you are challenging yourself to write 50,000 words in 30 days. It’s a super fun (and kind of exhausting) challenge, and if you love to write or you have a story idea that you’ve been dying to tell, then this is probably the challenge for you!

Of course you don’t have to write 50,000 words if you’re unable to or if your story doesn’t need to be that long, but the goal is to reach that word count if you can in 30 days.

I don’t have a synopsis ready yet as I’m still working out some kinks in the story I want to write this year, but here are three keywords that my story revolves around: fantasy, depression, love.

This is a story that I NEED to tell. It’s a subject matter that’s close to my heart and it’s one in which I feel will not only be challenging for me to write, but also beneficial. I hope that during the month of October I will be able to successfully prep myself by doing the following things:

  • Write an outline of the whole story. I found that I actually like outlining as I’m able to use it as a guideline for my writing so that I don’t stray too far from where I had imagined the story going.
  • Come up with a synopsis. Honestly, this should be the first thing I do because even though I have a concept of the character and the power she’ll have (I was also going to originally make her a male, but I think I’m going to write her as a female… we’ll see), I don’t exactly have a plot figured out. Like, I know the general message I want to get across in the story, but I don’t have a way to get there. I sort of do but I don’t? It’s very hard to explain.
  • Work on small writing prompts to get to know my characters, the world, and what they have to deal with. This is a new thing I’m going to try this year. I usually already know my character as I have a file in my head of who they are in everything (imagine Bruce Almighty when he’s in that building meeting God for the first time and opens the file cabinet), but I think that this will also be very beneficial as I can write back story, side story, develop the world, figure out weapons systems and powers and stuff like that. I have vague concepts but not enough for me to really go on.
  • Participate in little NaNo Prep challenges here and there. I think it’ll be fun to join in with other writers and brainstorm and chat about our novels. Plus it’s a little encouraging to know that others will be doing similar things as I am.

Alright, so there you have it! These are the two challenges that I’ll be facing in October. I’ll try to do weekly wrap ups of Inktober to show the art I created for that week, as well as discuss what I’ve been doing for NaNoWriMo as well.

Let’s Chat! ^w^

If you’re participating in either of these challenges please let me know! I’d love to be able to go on this journey with you and see just what October has in store for us. Are you interested in either of the challenges? Let me know how you’re prepping for NaNo.

Beautiful People – Parental Edition

Hey peeps! Welcome to another round of Beautiful People! It’s hosted by Cait @ Paper Fury and Sky @ Further Up & Further In. If you want to know more about Beautiful People, you can check out the FAQs page here.

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This month’s round of questions is all about the parent-child relationship between your character and their parent, or if they don’t have a parent, then their caregiver, guardian, or parent-like figure.

Today I’m going to be talking about the parents of one of my new characters I just created: Penelope. She’s a nerdy girl who is really into anime and manga, and she also cosplays. She’s very fun and has a great sense of humor, plus she’s pretty smart. She’s a bit overweight, though, and deals with mild anxiety. I kind of really like her and so I wanted to explore the relationship between her and her parents, particularly her mom since Mother’s Day was earlier this month.

The Questions

1. Overall, how good is their relationship with their parents?

Penelope is very close to her mom and dad, but more so her mom. She finds that she can confide in her mom with about 95% of any problems she might have. Though her parents got divorced when she was younger, around six, she was of course devastated, but her parents continued to be friends after the divorce for the sake of their daughter. Penelope is also close to her step-dad, but not as close to her step-mom, but they’re still friendly to each other.

2. Do they know both of their biological parents? If not, how do they cope with the loss/absence and how has it affected their life?

Yes, she knows both. She spends the weeks with her mom and every weekend with her dad.

3. How did their parents meet?

Her parents met in high school in chemistry (no pun intended). They were young and in love and had Penelope soon after they graduated, when they were about 19 and 20, respectively (mom is older by a few months).

4. How would you feel if they were told “you’re turning out like your parent(s)”?

Penelope would find that as a compliment because she thinks her parents are two of the greatest ever. Of course they have their differences and squabbles like any teen/parent relationship, but for the most part they always laugh and love each other. (But Penelope hopes that compliment will be more along the lines of she’s like her mom than her dad, but shh, don’t tell him.)

5. What were your character’s parents doing when they were your character’s age?

They were graduating high school, the same as Penelope is, and her father was going into the welding trade, working alongside a family friend to get all of his hours in before he started his own business a couple years later, and her mom was going off to the local community college to earn a two year degree in finance.

6. Is there something they adamantly disagree on?

Not really. The biggest thing is that Penelope wants to get a tattoo but her dad isn’t too keen on her getting one, while her mom says to just wait until she turns 18, then she can put as many on her body as she wants. (Penelope only wants two.)

7. What did the parent(s) find hardest about raising your character?

Her mom thought it was hardest as a recent college graduate, fresh out of school, without a home to call her own. They had an apartment and made it work, of course, but she wishes she had had the home she has now to have raised Penelope in.

As for her dad, she found that all of the girly things that Penelope was into a young girl was hard to get into and play with her, like dress up and dolls and stuff. But he made it work because that’s his baby and he is not about to break her heart. (He’s the fun parent.)

8. What’s their most vivid memory with their parental figure(s)?

Penelope remembers her first day of kindergarten very clearly, as they lived only two blocks away from where she was registered. Her dad had called in to let his work know that he’d be late as it was his baby girl’s first day of school, and her mom didn’t have to go into work for another hour or two. They walked to the school, hand in hand, her flowy pink and white sundress twirling in the light breeze of August as they made their way to the school. Penelope remembers the sunlight streaming through the trees, casting the shadows on the sidewalk, the couple of people walking their dogs, her parents smiling and talking to her about how excited she must be – and how excited they were for her – to be starting school. And then when she waved goodbye to them and they held onto each other and waved, holding back their tears. She remembers the feeling of happiness, and she holds that memory dear.

9. What was your character like as a baby/toddler?

She was a happy baby! Always smiling and laughing, though of course she had her moments. She was difficult to potty train, but once it happened, it was the best thing ever. There weren’t too many problems, though she did have a couple of ear infections and a slight bladder problem.

10. Why and how did the parents choose your character’s name?

Her mom’s grandmother’s name was Penelope, and as a remembrance to her (as she passed away a year before Penelope was born from cancer), they named her Penelope. Her nickname is Nel and she prefers to be called that by her family and friends (though she does love her full name, too).


And there you have it for their month’s set of questions! I actually had a lot of fun thinking about this because I never really think about my characters’ parents in so much detail. Though I’m glad to have done this because it gave me more of glimpse into her life with her family.

Let’s Chat! ^w^

How is the relationship between your character and their parent(s)? Have you given much thought to it before? What’s the best memory your character has with their parent(s)/guardian(s)/etc?

Beautiful Books – 2017 Writing Goals

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Hey peeps and welcome to Beautiful Books, hosted by the lovely Cait @ Paper Fury and Sky @ Further Up & Further In. What is Beautiful Books? It’s very similar to the monthly link up of Beautiful People, but this month it focuses on NaNoWriMo writing projects rather than specific characters in the novels. You obviously don’t have to be participating in NaNo in order to join; it can be any writing project. Click here or the picture to be taken back to the most recent Beautiful Books linkup page!

Today’s post is focused on our writing goals for 2017. Now I already talked briefly about some of the goals I hope to achieve this year, but this one goes a little more in depth in a few places where I feel I didn’t touch upon. So here we go!

1. What were your writing achievements last year?

I think just writing the story that had been on my mind for so long was the biggest achievement I accomplished. I had wanted to write about these two characters, Nara and Mikail, for so long and finally doing it was such a release. I loved it!

I also successfully outlined for the first time in years and I actually liked it? I’ve griped about outlining before and how pointless I found it but OH MY GOD I LOVED IT. I need to outline with every single story I do in the future. Seriously, it helped to keep my story focused on the goal I was trying to achieve with it, and even if I didn’t use every plot point that I had written, I was still hitting the major ones and it felt so incredible to be able to see that happen and how the story changed and morphed as I went as a result.

2. What’s on your writerly “to-do list” for 2017?

  • Finish writing not only the draft from NaNo 2016, but also the draft from Camp NaNo 2015. I haven’t finished either story yet, but I’m getting so close to the end for both! (I have a problem writing endings, so that’s probably why I’ve avoided it for so long.)
  • Then edit said drafts. I might just focus on one story for this year even though I love both of them (and the draft from Camp NaNo is a hot mess… I have NO IDEA how I got to where I am in the story from the beginning of what I was writing…). So I think that I’ll just focus on the NaNo 2016 draft for now and edit that one.
  • But here’s my main “to-do list” when it comes to writing this year:
    • Finish drafts.
    • Edit them.
    • Find beta readers.
    • Edit some more.
    • Query some agents and hope to find a great agent.
    • Proceed with publication process. Hopefully.

I’M GOING BIG OR GOING HOME THIS YEAR, GUYS. IT’S GOING TO HAPPEN.

3. Tell us about your top-priority writing projects this year!

“The Thief and the Magician” is my top priority this year. I really loved what I was writing for this story, but I just have a few kinks to work out and obviously some major editing, but otherwise, this story is going to be my primary focus. I feel like it’ll be the story that I want to surface to the world.

I also want to finish writing “Crossing Boundaries,” the story I was working on in 2015. I LOVE my two main characters, but as I’ve stated: it’s a hot mess. I don’t know if I’m going to let it see the light of day any time soon, but maybe one day in the future.

Also, I feel like I have ideas brewing in my mind that I should probably write down. Maybe I’ll work on something new? Or maybe a sequel? Who knows? Not me, clearly.

4. How do you hope to improve as a writer? Where do you see yourself at the end of 2017?

I want to improve in all ways as a writer, honestly. I want to listen to people about what makes a problematic book and how to defeat that beast. I want to do more outlining and just work on editing. At the end of 2017, I want to be able to feel like I’ve accomplished something rather than just letting these projects sit and feeling sorry for myself that I’m not actually doing any writing.

By the end of this year, I want to be able to follow my passions and dreams and write and create and be happy.

5. Describe your general editing process.

After my first NaNoWriMo that I actually wrote 50k words (which was 2014), what I had done was printed out my story (and used up all of my ink) and began to read through it with a critical eye, using a red pen (yes, the dreaded red pen) to mark changes, grammar fixes, etc. For me, personally, I feel like I need to write with pen on paper in order for changes to really stick out in my mind. I could do it all on the computer and save trees and ink and whatnot, but I’m old school and love the feel of writing out what I want to see changed in my story by hand.

At this beginning stage, I already know a LOT of things that want changed because I think of them as I write the first draft, but I rarely go back to fix those things. But once I know I’ve successfully completed writing my first draft, that’s when I can move on and actually put those changes in. Like even now I know there are several things I want to add and change and remove from my draft of “The Thief and the Magician,” but I’m not ready to make those changes just yet.

After that, I’ll go back in, apply those changes to my documents on my computer, and at that stage I’m thinking of letting my husband be my first reader. I want a second set of eyes from someone I trust (who’s also a fast reader) to give me feedback. I know if I tell him to be honest and not sugar coat it that he’ll let me know if things sounds weird, if the flow is wonky, whatever the case may be.

After that, I’ll do another round of edits. I’ve never gotten past the first stage that I talked about, though, and even then I never finished my first round of edits, so this is going to be interesting for sure. But I’m going to take my time with it, doing small chunks at a time until I’ve completed it, then I’ll go from there.

6. On a scale of 1-10, how do you think this draft turned out?

Well, considering I’m not finished… With what I have actually written, I think that this draft is turning out around a 5 or a 6. I’m happy with parts of it for sure, like personalities, certain scenes I know I want to keep, certain emotions that I want to keep, but there’s a lot that needs to be fixed. So yeah. 5/10.

7. What aspect of the draft needs the most work?

If Nara’s supposed to be extremely afraid of Magicians, or just wary around them, WHY DID I NOT MAKE HER MORE AFRAID AND WARY AROUND MIKAIL? UGH. This is currently my biggest gripe of the whole draft and I need to add chapters or change some scenes around to fit this in. Just. UGHHHHHHH. I’m mad at myself, honestly, haha! And I knew I was doing it as I was writing, but I didn’t want to stop and fix it. It’s fine, EVERYTHING’S FINE.

And then there are obviously kinks and stuff I need to elaborate more on, and there’s definitely one chapter that I KNOW was just a filler chapter and needs to be replaced, like, ten years ago, and… yeah. Okay. The draft in general just needs some work.

8. What do you like most about your draft?

I love my characters. I grow very attached to a lot of characters I write, particularly the main characters because, well, duh, and this story, “The Thief and the Magician,” is one I feel so passionate about that I’m so glad that I decided to give it another shot because I struggled HARD during Camp NaNo 2016 when I first started working on it. The chapters weren’t coming out right AT ALL. In fact, I rewrote several chapters during this time because they just didn’t work and they weren’t how my characters were supposed to be, and I was writing it in the wrong tense, so that was frustrating. But yeah. The characters are really what make my draft feel alive to me.

9. What are your plans for this novel once you finish editing? More edits? Finding beta readers? Querying? Self-publishing? Hiding it in a dark hole forever?

I kind of already glossed over it in a couple questions already, but here’s more:

  • Finish the draft, do a round of edits, let husband read it, do another round of edits.
  • Hopefully find two beta readers to give feedback, then do another round of edits.
  • THEN I’ll start querying. I want to go the traditional publishing route because that’s just what I personally want to do.
  • Then I’ll just go from there.

10. What’s your top piece of advice for those just finished writing a first draft?

Let it sit for a little while.

I literally haven’t looked at my draft or thought about it or touched it since the end of NaNoWriMo 2016, and I haven’t even finished it yet. Writing over 50k words in 30 days really taxes the brain, and even if you didn’t do NaNo but you still have a completed first draft (or mostly completed): let it sit.

Don’t think about it, don’t open the file, don’t let yourself worry about it for now. Obviously, don’t take too much time away from it or you might never go back to it until you’re filled with guilt, but give it a month or two. Or give it a week or two. Either way, just let it sit so your brain can recuperate from the hard work it just put in with you writing this first draft. You worked extremely hard on this draft, so now take a break, do something for yourself that isn’t writing, and then go back to your draft. You’ll have refreshed eyes and quite possibly a new outlook on what you want your draft to look like once you start edits. Taking that step back could be very beneficial to you.

Let’s Chat! ≧◡≦

How are you doing on your writing project? What are your plans for this year? Is your novel ever going to see the light of day, or is it going to be buried under mounds of debris, never to be seen again? What do you like most about your draft? Tell me all the things!

Writing Goals for 2017

So as I won NaNoWriMo 2016, and still have yet to finish that novel I was working on, I wanted to talk about my writing goals for 2017. As a writer I think I can relate to a lot of people when I say I start a lot of projects but never finish them. On top of that I continue to get more ideas for stories I’d like to write, it’s just a matter of time when it comes down to writing them.

I have a few goals that I 100% want to attain in the upcoming year, though, because I want to see myself progress and accomplish something so awesome that I never thought I’d be able to before: potentially be published.

Now that’s not my only goal (it’s a primary goal, but not my only one), so let me talk about the goals that I have for the upcoming year:

1. Finish writing a story and EDIT IT. Seriously. I have yet to go through a first round of edits in anything I’ve written lately, so I want to be able to finish writing a story then go back through and edit the heck out of it.

2. Start a new story idea (and finish it), but also don’t give up on it. I have a bunch of ideas running through my head (that I should write down because I keep forgetting what they are, hahaha) and I don’t want to give up on them. Life can become so… easy. I can be so complacent with how things are, and I don’t want that. I want to challenge myself, to finish writing, to not give up on a story just because of how it’s going. I know it’s going to suck in the first draft. I just have to keep pushing through to the end.

3. Do more outlining! I know I’ve said before that I hate outlining, but since discovering this past NaNoWriMo how helpful it actually was for my story I discovered that it’s soooo beneficial for it! It’s more of a guideline rather than something strict that I need to follow, but I want to do more of it.

4. Start to seek out agents. Yup, I’m going to actually do this this year. I’m going to challenge myself to do so. If I don’t, I’m just going to keep pushing it off, over and over, and I don’t want to do that to myself. I would love to be a traditional published author, and I’m not going to get there without seeking out an agent first.

5. Have fun with it. Writing isn’t easy, folks. Some people think it’s a breeze, but honestly, it’s hard work. Coming up with multiple characters with different personalities, lifestyles, families, ethnicities, orientations, emotions, etc, is very complex in and of itself, let alone creating a world or a plot. But you know, despite dragging my feet a lot of the time, I really do have fun writing. I love seeing where my characters take me and where I can bring the story. It’s so amazing to see the progress over time.

6. Participate in Camp NaNoWriMo and NaNoWriMo again! I have so much fun participating in both events with other people around the world and I think it’s just a great way to really cheer on others going down the same path as you.

So there we have it, some simple goals that I think will really benefit me in the long run and will definitely be achievable in the upcoming year.

Let’s Chat! ≧◡≦

What are some of your writing goals for 2017? Have you already finished a novel and you’re in the searching for an agent process? Any tips? Tell me all the things!