Tag Archive | nanowrimo status

MIA? Not anymore (Plus New Challenge & Giveaway of Sorts)

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Really sorry for my absence. I hadn’t realized it had been almost two months since my last post. I do have book reviews to share, just haven’t had the time to edit them and post them up. I have been quite busy with life and my drawing. I also attend conventions and sell my art there.

The conventions have dimmed out and I have a bit more time to devote to this wonderful blog, which I missed very much. But no worries, I do have a great new challenge going on that you will all like.

NANOWRIMO has started and though this year I won’t be taking part in the writing aspect of it I will be continuing my writing tips from last year’s challenge. I will also be taking part in the 30 Days 30 Covers Challenge that runs along side NANOWRIMO. I am doing my own version of it since I can’t seem to figure out how the signing up for the offical challenge takes place. The best part of doing my own is that I can finally reveal my big surprise I have had in the works, at the end of the month one lucky reader/writer/commentor will get a FREE Book Cover.

Yup, you read right. I will be giving away one premade cover from my ever growing collection over at PremadeCovers4U. Please keep in mind that it will be one of my covers and not one created by one of the other artists. My covers are sold one time only, so don’t try to grab dibs on a cover that is currently up until the last day of the cover challenge because the cover might not be available then. This way you also don’t miss out on one of the wonderful new covers I design.

There is a catch. You have to of taken part in this year’s NANOWRIMO challenge and finished. The winner will need to send me the link to their NANOWRIMO page showing me the book they will be wanting the cover for. It is only fair. 🙂 This is meant as an extra incentive to finish that novel, without worrying about the cover. I will be posting a new blog entry with more info on it as the time approaches.

If you like this, go ahead and check out my Cover Challenge being posted over at my cover blog. Day 1-3 are already up and will be posted on the PremadeCovers4U shop later today.

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If you are hesitant to check out my other blog here is Day Three’s Cover:

BookCover135LR

See you all tomorrow. I have a great online convention to share with you all, it has a great amount of writers, illustrators, and bloggers taking part, so make sure to check back Nov. 4th and check it out.

To Beta or Not to Beta that is the Question

writers-block

I’ve said it before, others have said it, pretty much everyone’s said it: Writing is hard, not because the words struggle to come to the surface, not because writer’s block lingers around every bend, and not because ideas at times refuse to form, but because writing demands more than just writing.

You need to revise, proofread, and edit your story to the best that you can. Beta readers can help with that.

Beta readers are a fresh set of eyes. Those common errors and misused words will be more obvious to them because they haven’t read your story countless times before, the words haven’t blended into the background like they’ve done with you. Remember those gaps in the story I mentioned, maybe you missed a few, maybe you didn’t patch it up as good as you thought, maybe you did? Beta readers are a great way to check on that too.

You get to see where you failed to ‘show, don’t tell’, where you thought you included an important part but didn’t, and where you need to add or take out details. As a writer, we know how the story should go but did we achieve molding it in that direction? Here is where you can get feedback from your readers to find out.

But if they are so helpful why do some people dislike and even refuse using them?

Beta readers have received a bad rep because some tend to tackle each area of your book with a fine comb. Some will suggest alternate endings and have you debating whether to rewrite entire sections or toss the entire thing out the window. They will point out parts of your story they didn’t like, but they will also provide you with an early pile of feedback, some good some bad. There are editors that do the same thing.

You need to remember that you don’t have to update your manuscript with all the changes your beta readers throw at you. Not every edit or revision they suggest should be used. This is your story after all.

Then should we use betas or not?

We as authors must remember beta readers are readers too, there will be those who love your story, those who hate it, those who understood the story far more than you do (yes, there are those kinds out there too), and those who didn’t get it from page one. The only thing that distinguishes them from the rest of your readers is that beta readers read the story in its early stages before publication. They don’t get the luxury that the rest do in reading a polished work.

If you can learn not to take every feedback to heart and can keep a keen eye out for the corrections that are worth paying attention to and which ones you can do without than use them. Beta readers provide feedback you can’t get on your own prior to publishing your book. It’s the same concept as reading your work outloud, you get that extra perspective.

Even with using beta readers, you still need to revise and edit several times, but this time around you’ll have a blueprint of what you are looking for, of what needs work.

So how do you get the best out of your beta readers?

  • Make sure your betas are authors that write in your genre or readers of that genre.
  • Try to steer away from using family members and friends, they will be biased to your work.
  • Use those that have been beta readers before that way you will be assured they will get back to you and not leaving you waiting for their feedback.
  • Try two sets of beta readers. Send your work to one group, edit your work again, and then send the revised manuscript to the second group.
  • Make sure to include a list of what you are looking for in their feedback. Ask them to write comments, to write down what they got from each chapter. Was the ending satisfying enough? Was there something they didn’t understand?
  • Ask them if you can include their review in your book. You can never have enough reviews, reviews are another way to promote your work, to grasp readers.
  • Ask those you liked if you an add them to your list for future beta readers. Why start from scratch every time?

Still unsure if you should use a beta reader or not? Check out Devil in the Details Editing Service Am I the right editor for you? Read the pointers an editor gives you on the difference between beta readers and an edit and why you should use one.

Want to use beta readers but don’t know how to get them?

The concept is pretty much the same as with getting reviews. Some people do reviews on early stages of your manuscript, check their preferences and listings to see if they list themselves as beta readers too. Try out writing communities centered around the genre you are writing, there are always people willing to read works in exchange to getting it early and free.

Devil in the Details Editing Service lists two beta readers in her resources for writers section.

Have your own way of obtaining beta readers? Share it with us.

And the Winners are…

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November is officially done and over with. December is here. Do I hear Saint Nick? Is that the sound of wrapping paper I hear?

How did you do? Did you pass that 50,000 word count like a pro or did you cross that finish line by the nose? Even if you didn’t hit that required word goal having written anything is an accomplishment all on its own. Words don’t write themselves. Stories don’t tell themselves. Ok maybe that last one does, but it needs you, the writer, to share it with the rest of us.

So, if you hit that dreaded 50,000th word go get those well deserved banners, print out that award, and grin like the awesome badass that you are. You wrote 50,000 words!

If you fell short, don’t sweat it. Your story is still there, listen to it and write the rest. Use the hype, the tips, and the tools you gathered during NaNoWriMo and power on through.

In whatever category you fall into, November was hectic to say the least. What still awaits you might have you wanting to hibernate for the rest of the year, heck maybe even well into next year. Where are my warm blankets?

What exactly awaits you?

  • Revising
  • Editing
  • Book Cover hunting (or designing if you also enjoy that part of the creative process)
  • Formatting
  • Submitting
  • Uploading (if you go the self publishing route)
  • Marketing & Promoting
  • Author Platform (hopefully you started this before November)

The list goes on. Working on a novel doesn’t end when you’ve written it.

Catch a snooze, a well overdue long nap and hop right back to it. You worked hard, now share that hard work with us. I want to read your story, so let me. 🙂

And here is my total word count: 50734

Do I hate every word I wrote? Maybe? But I will tell you this, I dislike them less than the words I still need to write. 🙂

Thanks for taking this challenge with me, for making this journey momentous. This was my first year finishing NaNoWriMo and I look forward to sharing the next one with you. But don’t disappear just yet, there is much more to come. I will be tackling the to-do list above and plan to hold a very nice surprise here soon as another way to say thanks.

So don’t go away or you’ll miss out. And why not share your final word count with us?

Almost there, just 5 more days!

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NaNoWriMo is less than five days away. By now you might be tired of hearing and reading about writing a novel in 30 days. By now you might be certain that whoever came up with this idea was most likely drunk beyond the ability to think, fell on their head for the thousandth time and thus unable to think clearly, or just didn’t like you. Maybe it was all of them?

But whatever the reason November became the National Novel Writing Month, whatever the reason you decided to take part, keep going. Keep writing and when November 30th comes around you can burn the manuscript, stick it in a drawer to be forgotten for months, or you can actually revise, edit, and publish it.

Still unsure if you want to keep going? Here is a neat article on what really distracts people from writing. Find yours and keep it from holding you back, that 50,000th word is waiting for you.

Cats, Wives and Videotape: Survey Reveals What Really Distracts NaNoWriMo Participants

Want more tips on how to fight back distractions? Check out one of my previous NaNoWriMo blog posts on doing just that. How about saving one of the Supernatural meme’s I found online and making it your wallpaper? Or go look for one you like and get back to…yes you got it: writing.

Words so far (not counting today): 26,805

Behind: 14,860

Daily Word Count Needed to meet goal: 4,639

 

Day 18: Pushing through

Picture taken by me. :)

Picture taken by me. 🙂

With the end of the race rearing in fast, I thought I share something I put into practice with my son as well as in my own writing these past two days.

My son’s teacher is constantly calling me to let me know my son refuses to write. He will literally sit there, hands in jacket pockets, fiddle with his paper for over an hour, or get his book out and start reading (Sound familiar?). My son hates writing with a passion, but I have to give him credit for preferring to read over writing.

What does this have to do with NaNoWriMo? Well, I had to think of a way to have him write more.

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So, I placed a sheet of paper in front of him, had him number each line all the way to 15. His goal was to write on anything he wanted until he reached that 15th line. The next day I had him do it again, only this time I had him add in another line. For the four days (not including the weekends) he did this exercise, each day adding in an extra line.

He went from writing 15 lines to 19, not a great feat but a feat in itself. The teacher told me today that he wrote the most he has written all school year. 🙂 Let’s keep our fingers crossed that he continues to do so well. This exercise will continue until he can write on both sides of a sheet of paper effortlessly.

During the last days of NaNoWriMo, why not push yourself to write more. Set a goal and increase it each day. Urge yourself to write past the 1667 word count. Why not write an extra line, adding yet another the next day.

Take this practice upon yourself and go from writing 15 lines to 19, from 19 lines to an entire page until you can write two pages effortlessly. I promise you, you will see yourself grow as a writer.

And now for the word count.

11/16/14: 14835 (157 more than 1667)

11/17/14: 16916 (414 more than 1667)

See how my extra word count more than doubled from one day to the next? It’s a start. That’s 571 words less that I need to worry about. Though it still leave me with a goal of 952 words in addition to the daily goal of 1667 if I plan to finish this challenge. I can do this!

You can do this!

NaNoWriMo Halfway Mark: 25,000 Words

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Day 16 of NaNoWriMo, one day after the halfway point (oops). Which leaves us with fourteen more days before this heart pumping, hair pulling, coffee and sugar adrenaline comes to an end. Is that good or bad?

For some of you, this 30 day writing spree is a walk in the park. By now you’ve hit that 25,000 word mark with minimal sweat. For the rest, it is pure chaos. You probably have fallen behind or worse, like me, gotten overwhelmed with other life duties, work, etc that you’ve lost track of NaNoWriMo.

Editing, revising, cover designing, and painting are a few of the things I am currently wrapped up in. You might have your own list, maybe even longer than mine. Now, these aren’t excuses but examples of one of the most important things we forget. When starting a huge task as writing a novel in 30 days you want to minimize your other projects, put aside those that can wait and make time for the rest.

Here are a few ideas you could put into effect to do just that.

  • Create a schedule if you haven’t yet. Make it as detailed as needed just don’t use it as an excuse to stay away from actually writing.
  • Breakdown your day into phases. Group the things you need to do in your day into most important, important, and least.
  • Keep the distractions at a minimal. Disconnect your laptop from the internet if you get tempted to surf it often. Put your phone on vibrate and tell your family and friends not to call you unless it is important for the next few hours.
  • Keep snacks and beverages at hand so that you don’t have to get up to get it. Distractions come at all times and manners, keep them at bay.
  • Take short breaks to stretch and rewind. Sitting down for longer periods can zap all your energy and concentration.
  • Create a prompt list for when you aren’t writing and ideas come to you about a new book. Write them down and forget them. It helps to keep your mind clear of things not related to your current goal: finishing that novel.

Have a few suggestions, tips, tricks you use to keep your mind sharp and focused on writing? Share them with us. Already read this week’s pep talk by Tamora Pierce, writer of the Song of the Lioness and Immortals quartets and require a little more motivational reading? I leave you with two articles I found enlightening to lessen those hard knocks that seem to cling to most of us during this time in NaNoWriMo.

Why So Many Projects Go Unfinished, and How to Finish Them

The Setback: How to Successfully Start Writing Again

And now the dreaded word count.

Current Word Count: 13,011

Words behind: 11,994

The Gears are in Full Swing (10,000 words and counting)

Picture courtesy of ImageAfter.com

Picture courtesy of ImageAfter.com

Yesterday was the 10,000 word mark. Did you pass with words to spare? Did you barely skid through? Or are you pushing that one more sprint to catch up? Whichever one you are, it is a great feat in itself to still be in the race. Congratulations!

For those of us pushing through here is another pep talk by the author of Divergent, Veronica Roth. Get inspired, get hyped, get writing.

And for those ahead of the race there isn’t time to slow down, keep at it. This Saturday is the Double Up nightmare. Yes, that is right. This Saturday is a mini challenge in itself where you push yourself to write twice as much. Instead of the daily 1667 shoot for 3334 words. Are you ready?

Plus, to top it off there is another mini event taking place today, Virtual Write In. Video will go live at 1pm PST. Don’t worry if you can’t take part right off the bat. You can always access the video later on and give it a go.

This post seems to have a little bit of everything. Talk about multitasking and turning up the heat, but that’s ok because November is a month to challenge yourself beyond your limits, to discover the greatness ready to come out, and to share that story you’ve been waiting all year to tell.

So, hit up those places that give you that extra push you need, bust out those tools that make keeping track of your writing easier, watch videos that inspire, and don’t forget to read. Just because NaNoWriMo is an event on writing, all writers should read almost as much as they write. The best tool you have are the books you love to read.

Here is what I am reading right now:

nightmareasylum SciFiFantasy

And here is my word count for the past few days:

November 4th: 1395

November 5th: 1286

Yesterday: 1736

Today: 462

Total: 10782

For those following my promo launch for A Prince From Another World, it has been altered to allow me time to write and keep my health from diminishing further. I wasn’t feel very well the past few days, thus the reason for the lack of posts and lower word counts. Plus my sanity could use some break as well. Instead of a five day promo launch I have decided to make a six day launch where every Sunday and Monday I post a promo blog. The promo launch will be extended to the 17th. So expect two promo posts on the 9th and 10th followed by the last two on the 16th and 17th.

Thanks for stopping by and feel free to share your word count progress and any neat blogs or books you read during this long month of November.