Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Ending NaNoWriMo

So, today is the last day of November, how'd your NaNoWriMo projects turn out?

Me? Well, I started writing My Sister's Memories way late in the game. And I mean..wayyyy late in the game. I started this project on November 11 (I only know this because I just checked), rather than November 1st. As stated in previous blog posts, I've been rather busy...Yuck.

Over Thanksgiving I wrote a decent amount, which was really nice. While the Penet family was watching football, I was usually physically present in the room, but hanging out with my characters. Baxter for awhile was chilling on my lap, napping, and I was typing away. (Actually, as I write this, he's laying next to me..thankfully rather than ON me.) I easily wrote 10,000 words over Thanksgiving before having to take close to a week long break that involved leaving VA, going to MD, getting stuck in a horrific traffic jam in CT, stopping in MA, and finally arriving in ME.

Oh, also this month I managed to put my car in the ditch not once but TWICE, and run over something huge in the highway that managed to rip out my O2 censor (my check engine light is STILL on). Nonetheless, I press on.

Tonight is the first night I've been able to pick back up, and I've almost written 4,000 words. It's been difficult because my new roommate keeps trying to talk to me, and there's a basketball game on the TV, plus, I have just natural ADD...

With the end of the night coming in about 15 minutes, I'm hoping to wrap up my NaNoWriMo Project at 20,000 words, and then have it actually done sometime in December. So far, I'm really, really liking the story.

I'll keep ya'll posted on my progress.

Happy end of NaNoWriMo! :)

Tuesday, November 29, 2011


It was Thanksgiving and I had plenty to be thankful about this year. It is very rare that I am left completely speechless by the people I'm surrounded by, but this year, the people I've met have helped save me. I owe my life and sanity to a lot of them and there is no way to repay them except to keep pushing on, keep being better, keep healing.

With that said, I am now in Maine. Woodstock, Maine to be exact. It's in the middle of nowhere. Actually, that's kind of a lie. It's perfect

No one pronounces their 'R's. It's charming, I've missed it
It's away from civilization
There is plenty of room for Baxter
I can see the mountains all around me
There is snow
Baxter is with me
The house is constantly cold (I LOVE cold weather)
There is a lake and stream near me as well
It'll give me time to heal from surgery, from the tolls of the real world
I get to snowboard for a living

So, December is coming. And training for my job is coming up. I'm anxious about it, about how well my knee has healed, about the rest of me...

But before I let that swallow me. I'm going to think about right now, and right now...we're all moved in, and we're settling. I gotta remember to take one step at a time.

We'll get back to writerly blogs soon enough :)

Hope your turkey day rocked! Oh--How did your NaNo projects finish up? I'm just under 20,000 words, and I'm damn proud of it given the fact that I've moved twice, traveled to Maine twice, had surgery, recovered, etc...It's been a difficult month, but I can't wait to finish my novel!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

What Now?

I get to a point when I'm writing that I see the end (sort of) and something in the middle (sort of) but I've just written myself into a hole. Literally, I'll be writing and thinking "Yea, I got this, look at how fast I'm writing," and before I know it, I'll sit there at the screen and think, "Shit, what now?"

Sometimes I'm able to just play on facebook or twitter for a bit and get myself and my characters out of it, but sometimes the hole swallows me and it takes a little bit more to get out.

It's usually at that point I just keep asking "What now? What happens next?" It's also usually here that the crappy, quick, incoherent writing comes out so I can get back to the good stuff. But I'm okay with that. I'm okay with writing poorly. When I was at PNWA one of the panelists said something along the lines of, "Most everything you write is going to be crap. And that's okay." That's kind of the mindset I have. It's understood, you have to write crap to be able to write well. Me? My first draft is ALWAYS crap. Second draft is like mixed soft serve ice cream. Some of it's good, some of it's bad. final draft is what I start sending to agents.

But before all of that, before the draft is even finished, how do you go from being stuck in a hole, to crawling out? For me, I take time away. It's why for the more shallow holes I can go just play on some other media source. Sometimes that'll trigger something, or just allow my brain to slow down and stop getting frustrated. If that doesn't work, I step away from it. I go out with friends, take Baxter for a walk.

As you'll see, sometimes he just really wants to go...

If when I come back, I'm still stuck...I know I have to start writing again. (It happens sometimes, that I take too much time away from the work, don't think about it enough...etc. Oops!) The biggest thing that helps me is going back, sometimes only a couple of pages, sometimes all the way to the beginning and re-reading, getting re-acquainted with the roots of the story. I always find something I can add or take out. Once I catch up to the last line I'd written, I remember where I was, plus, I just added in that whole section (holy crap! 2,000 words! Yes!). Seriously, that happens sometimes.

This is why I'm not a plotter. Because as I write the story, it evolves, and I'm able to go back and make it stand for itself. Sure, sure, I have an idea when I start the story, I have situations I know I'll want to write in.'s connecting the dots and just going with the flow where the real writing (for me) comes in.

Happy NaNoWriMo!

Friday, November 18, 2011

Why We Love Characters

I fell in love with Bella Swan (shh don't tell anyone) because she had flaws. She has low self esteem. She trips over crap all the time. She's plain. Those are things I took away from the Twilight Series. 


Because -I- have low self esteem. Because I trip over crap, all the time. Literally, plus, now that I'm off crutches (YAY!!) I step wrong, and scream out in pain. To the point a boy this last weekend linked his arm through mine and escorted me inside (which was wonderful). I love Bella because I'm plain. I too wouldn't think I would deserve Edward Cullen. 

So think about it. Why do you watch the shows you watch? Why do you fall in love with characters in books?

At PNWA, I did my pitch. I would see editor's and agent's eyes light up when I talked about a 17 year old girl who was abused by her parents, who was stand-offish...who moves out of her parents house with no direction. But--she is sure to take her teddy bear with her. 

It's the quirks we fall in love with. The ordinary, the comical problems that they have, that we can relate to. The flaws that they hide from the rest of the world, but they expose to us.

How's your character development coming? Why would people love your character? Why do -you- love your characters?


Sunday, November 13, 2011

Taking Things For Granted

I drove to Maine last weekend, and during one of the training segments, the wonderful people at Sunday River had us draw random things to coach the group on. Things like:

How to brush your teeth
How to shower
How to put on a pair of pants/snowboarding boot/ski boot
How to tie a shoe
Doing Jumping Jacks

It gave me the moment to think about how once we learn something we just go on auto pilot and don't consider how much effort goes into routine things.

So now, I had surgery on Wednesday. I've been on crutches ever since. Today is my first day without them, and I have a severe limp. I have to concentrate on the exact placement of my footing because if I step wrong I usually scream out a curse word and stop motion for a solid five minutes. This week I've learned that I take things like; walking, being able to carry a plate, bowl, cup, take my dog down stairs, etc for granted. I've never given much thought to what I physically am able to do, or how much effort I put into daily life until now.

Tie this all into writing now. Writing a poem or short story is like learning to tie your shoes, brush your teeth. There's something that needs to be said, and you say it. Then tackling a novel is like learning to walk. You have to go from point A (the beginning) to point B (the end). Every time I've written a novel I take these steps for granted and expect the story to carry itself. I think it's why now I'm grateful to have gone to PNWA, AWP, and LitDay where they spoke about the ability to show and not tell. It's like coming off crutches, something that carries the story until the story can carry itself.

So, good luck and keep writing, keep walking :)

Wednesday, November 9, 2011


So...let's be honest here....I still haven't started my NaNoWriMo project. I have ideas rolling around in my head, I have a semblance of a plot in there, but I haven't opened a word document in a long, long time. Why?

In the last month, my entire world has fallen apart. Then, I've had two surgeries (one was actually today). I'm recovering from both (no worries, they were quick, expecting a full recovery from both). I've traveled from North Carolina to Maine...about 1,000 miles. I had a job interview, put my car in a ditch...etc. I'm trying to find a place to live up there. I'm stressed out...which means...

A lot of vegitating on the couch and rediscovering the show 24 on my friend's Netflix. Also--I'm homeless in North Carolina...which is terrifying. None of this is conducive to wanting to take on a project of another novel. Will I write another? YES. Do I have time for it now? Maybe.

The goal is to start tomorrow. But I'm going to give myself some leeway. Why? Because this is real life and it's not as neat as I'd prefer it to be.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

14 Hours Later

I drove from North Carolina to Maine yesterday. The 12ish hour trip turned into a 14ish hour trip due to a two hour long traffic jam in the middle of Connecticut...

At midnight.

Needless to say, when I arrived in Biddeford, I was exhausted...and passed right out. Since I woke up, it's been constant motion, which is also exhausting.

However, some good came from this long drive. The first thing was the cementing of my NaNoWriMo project, which in my head is being called My Sister's Memory. I haven't started it yet, but I had 14 hours to come up with the plan and I've told a couple of people about it and they said go, so I think I will. I have the drive home (tomorrow) to give it further thought. Maybe then I'll start writing...and speed writing at that.

A few hundred years ago my sister bought me a voice recorder that somehow disappeared within the last year (which sucks because I had a lot of ideas on it...). Because I no longer have it on hand, and it's not safe to write and drive, I will call my voicemail box and leave myself messages something like:

"Lynne, this is Lynne. Here's what you're thinking of for a story."

It sounds weird, but it helps when I wouldn't have another way of remembering.

The second good thing about the duration of the trip was how much music I got to just sing my little heart out to. Some of my favorites were: Adele, A Day To Remember, Taylor Swift, and Our Lady Peace. 

The third good thing about the trip was that I just had a lot of alone time with myself. It's nice sometimes to be trapped in a car, with you and only you, and give a lot of thought to what you're doing with your life/what you want to be doing. I feel like it's a re-centering of myself.

Needless to say, I enjoy long car rides :)

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Welcome, NaNoWriMo

A few weeks back, there was a YaLitChat about this, and I had no idea what they were talking I bailed out. Everyone was talking about it, but no one was explaining it.

It wasn't until I read Becky Wallace's blog post that I started understanding what the hell NaNoWriMo was. Basically it's National Novel Writing Month. Which means, as of yesterday tons of writers across the country (globe?) are participating. Which means, you have through the month of Novemeber to write a stellar story. I haven't been able to start quite yet due to things like:

A trip to Maine tomorrow

But I've been mulling over some thoughts and hopefully will be able to bust out another novel. (Even though some of the others still need work....shh..don't tell anyone).

Anyways, good luck writing this month!
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