Tag Archive | writing challenge

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:

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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.

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Web Serial Writing Month…Who’s ready?

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Everyone knows November is National Novel Writing Month (NANOWRIMO), but do you all know August is known as Web Serial Writing Month (WESEWRIMO)? Well over at EpiGuide they sure do and they’ve been taking part for the last eight years. I don’t know what it is about writing in tight deadlines, but if you don’t give yourself one you might never sit down and get writing. So why not go for the gold.

When I received an email informing me about Web Serial Writing Month I just had to join. My new zombie series, The Dead Can Run, has been gathering quite a bit of dust lately and it needs to be finished and polished. What better way to motivate me to write than pure intense pressure and fear of word count milestones that seem to have no end? But it’s still too early to say that I won’t be trying to find ways to keep myself from writing. 🙂

On the other hand I see many hours of coffee and sugar rush in the future. How about you? If you’re up to the challenge why not end this summer with a great new story or serial in this case. This is also a great way to prep for that dreaded NANOWRIMO.

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The best thing about this event is that YOU get to set your writing goals. 750 words a day, here I come.

Free Writing: The Dead Can Run (Chp 4 Prt1)

Please keep in mind this is a first draft and no revisions or editing should be done as part of the exercise, though I failed miserably and edited for hours on end on this one. Though in no way does that mean you are getting a clean and amazing chapter, most likely the opposite. 🙂

I will be properly revising and editing this story in the next few days. Here is hoping to have the first compilation of the first six chapters before the end of this month. Also, I am sorry for taking so long in continuing this story. This is intended to be a free writing project and I was brainstorming ahead. Needed to take time off to undo those chapters in my mind.

Warning: 1st draft, possible rambling

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The Dead Can Run

Chapter Four Part One

My teeth cut into my lower lip and my mouth filled with the taste of copper. I struggled to my feet to only be shoved back down. A hand pinned me to the floor by my hair followed by a knee to my back. The man was heavier than he looked.

“Let…let me…go,” I pleaded, blood seeped from my busted lip and coated the floor to then cling to the strands of my hair that had fallen loose from his grip. I tried to muffle a cry at the touch of the man’s hand trailing down my bare back. His rough fingertips lapping up the droplets of water that still clung to my flesh.

“What do you say we have a little fun before I turn you over to our Mr. Self-Made Leader huh?” the brute sneered, pressing me harder against the ground and digging his knee further into my back.

“You’re disgusting,” I shouted past his mocking laughter. I recognized his voice. He had been one of the men I had overheard while tied in the closet. His companion must be the other man he had been talking to.

“Just kill me already,” I cried, struggling against his hold as best as I could. My actions earned me another tug of my hair. Tears welt up in my eyes at the pain. I could feel my warm breath against my face and the blood draining from my fingers as I clung to the man’s wrist with both hands in an attempt to loosen his grip on my hair.

“Feisty, I like them feisty,” he laughed, yanking me to my feet, his grip on my hair threatening to scalp me where I stood.

“You know he won’t approve of this,” Cassy cut in, removing her gloves and tossing them aside. She stepped back into the bathroom to emerge with the handcuffs. Her calm and blank demeanor told me there was no salvation there and my fear grew. Just what kind of people were they?

“Come on Cassy, relax. I wasn’t really going to rape her,” the man who held me teased, pressing a blade against my skin. “At least not right now,” he whispered into my ear.

Were the zombies the real monsters here? I thought to myself as the knife nicked my skin.

“On second thought, why wait? I think you deserve a good reminder of how lucky it was that we found you. The zombies would have finished you off if it wasn’t for us. The least you can do is repay the gesture. What do you say?” my tormentor replied, his voice full of malice and of something else I wanted nothing of.

The blade disappeared and I was shoved towards the bed again. I cringed as my hands came in contact with the blood stained sheets. The smell of death engulfed my nostrils and my gag reflexes reminded me that they still worked. I dropped to my knees and threw up again, this time white foam mixed with the blood that had dripped to the floor from the carnage on the bed.

Before I could wipe the vomit clinging to my lips my head was jerked back and the man pressed himself against me, kneeling behind me.

“Should I take your silence as consent?” He ran his fingers across the side of my face. Every touch made my stomach twist with greater disgust, threatening to make me gag for a third time.

“Get off me,” I snapped, elbowing him in the face. I had just walked in on a bunch of lunatics, deadly lunatics, but I wasn’t ready to die yet. I still hadn’t found my son and I wasn’t about to let them have their way with me either.

I bolted to my feet and dashed for freedom. The other man blockading the door leading out of my room grasped my arms and twisted them behind me, turning me around to face my first attacker. My eyes swelled in tears and my throat tightened, I tried to scream but nothing came out. I didn’t want to think about what they had planned for me. Now that I was found not to be infected, would I die or worse would they really rape me?

“Where do you think you’re going?” the biggest of the brutes sneered, taking one broad step towards me. He grasped my neck with both his hands and squeezed. “You really want to die? Then who are we to keep…”

The man behind me yelped in surprise and I was shoved forward into the very man who tried to strangle me. We both tumbled towards the bloodied bed. I rolled off the bed and slammed into the hard floor, slamming my head against the edge of the night stand. I withered on the floor and clung to my head. Silence filled the room and I chanced a glance at the man still sprawled on the bed.

“What were my orders?” a familiar voice bellowed followed by the sound of a gunshot. Warm blood splattered on my face and I screamed.

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?

The NaNoWriMo Aftermath by Michael Young

Three more days! Oh my!

In our last blog we learned what author Paula Flumerfelt did after she finished NaNoWriMo and pushed ourselves to keep going. With today’s blog we take another glimpse past Novemver 30th, that dreaded day we realize just how far we have come. Check out author Michael Young’s reasons as to why NaNoWriMo really shouldn’t be a one month thing.

 

Michael130x180The NaNoWriMo Aftermath

It has been five years since I started doing National Novel Writing Month, and it’s an opportunity I’ll never pass up. The exhilaration of doing so much writing in such a short time never gets old. I put aside other things and focus completely on my writing. It’s like a writing roller coast, barreling along at such speed that once it is done, it seems to have gone by quickly.

The question is, what then?

After NaNo is over, you hit December, with all of its holidays, parties, shopping, travel and other events. All things not terribly suited for writing. You get out of the habit, and then when the doldrums of January hit, old routines have returned. Wouldn’t it be nice to keep some of that November momentum going?

It isn’t going to happen if you don’t plan for it. Think about the things you do during NaNo that make it a success:

  1. You set a goal, and set it high. You make a goal that will likely make you stretch. You can’t just coast by with this one. It gives you a prize to look forward to, and helps motivate you to keep going a few more sentences, even when you are tired.

 

  1. You minimize distractions. In order to hit your writing goals, you probably spent less time on Facebook, fewer minutes with your phone, and might have even changed your sleeping habits. This extra effort likely went a long way to letting you cross the finish line.

 

  1. You take the time to plan out your path. Before setting out on your NaNo journey, many people take the time to make plans for how they will go forward. The truth is, planning is a great way to prevent writer’s block, and to help you write as quickly as you can. If you know what is going to happen next, at least generally, you can forge ahead with confidence.

 

My point today is that you do not need to leave these habits behind once the calendar reads December 1st. Sure, heave a large sigh of relief, pat yourself on the back, and share your accomplishment with your friends and family. Then, sit down and get to work. Figure out how your are going to do things going forward. What about your NaNo experience worked for you? What did not?

Which of the habits that you formed can you continue over the long run? Perhaps you need to set your goal not at 50,000, but at 20,000 words a month. Even keeping up that pace, that’s 220,000 words for the other eleven months of the year for a grand total of 270,000 words a year. That’s enough for several novels! (Unless you are an aspiring Robert Jordan or Brandon Sanderson.)

Good luck getting the finish line, my friends. But don’t make it the end, but rather the starting line for what the rest of your writing year is going to be.

 

Bio

Michael Young is the author of the fantasy, supernatural series Age of Archangels and co-author of the action, sci-fi collaboration Cardinal Directions. Other works include The Canticle Prelude and its sequel The Frozen Globe.

Both are available for sale through Amazon (eBook and paperback) and BigWorldNetwork (audio).

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Thanks for stopping by. I hope you enjoyed Michael’s pep talk and got pumped to stay–well pumped. 🙂 Don’t forget: Finish strong and keep going strong. See you all at the end of the race. 🙂

Pep Talk by Paula Flumerfelt

Happy Thanksgiving everyone! Gobble down that turkey, potato salad, and stuffing, the end of the race is right around the corner. What will await you? Here is one author’s story of what happened after she hit that 50,000 word mark.


A Pep Talk by Paula Flumerfelt

All success starts somewhere. It stems from a seed of confidence that gets planted and nurtured through some act. As a writer, I think that it often comes with finishing your first manuscript. You sit down and write until your fingers are going to fall off, and when you are done, you have something you created with your own two hands. NaNoWriMo is a great way to start that process.

National Novel Writing Month is a challenge to write 50,000 words in one month. That’s over two thousand words a day. It requires making a plan…and being willing to let it all go. You have to write with abandon, finding that inspiration and making it soar. It’s the best way to get yourself started, because even if you don’t finish the whole fifty thousand words, you still have something. And as we all know, starting is the hardest.

But the bigger story is after you finish NaNoWriMo, or maybe even your whole manuscript, what do you do now? We all dream of being a publish author, of making it big and never working a day job again. The problem is that usually it doesn’t work out that way. Usually you edit your manuscript yourself and then you submit it here and there and everywhere. Then you wait. But what if no one responds?

Well, then you are where I was. I have completed NaNoWriMo four years in a row, written two books, and am ready to start the third. But I didn’t get picked up by Penguin or Random House or anywhere else. I ended up self-publishing my first book on the Kindle, and then joining a writing website, BigWorldNetwork.com.

MathieuI finished Mathieu, my first book, just out of high school. And naturally when I finished the book (which I believed was the next Harry Potter), and couldn’t get it published, I was devastated. I wanted to give up writing at that point, to say ‘forget this’. It was a woman named Amanda who helped me move past it. I started reading one of her stories, Incubus, on BigWorldNetwork, which began to inspire me. It was emotional, well written, and for some reason I felt connected to it as a writer. So I started looking around the website her story was posted on weekly, and found an area to submit my writing.

I was still guarded about Mathieu, because after all, if no one wanted to publish it, how good could it have been? So I submitted another writing sample, and lo-and-behold, if Amanda wasn’t the person who replied to my email. I was immediately star-struck that an author I had begun to really love was reading my material, and talking to me about it. Telling me that the website wanted to take on my series.

lunargrim_cleanWriting Lunar Grim was very cathartic for me, as it was the first thing I had written since my flop, and it helped me be willing to eventually pass Mathieu into the trusting hands of the BigWorldNetwork team, who worked with me to edit the original manuscript and get it up on the website. Amanda, who had first inspired me to start writing again, was my editor and frequent hand-holder through the hard parts, which just meant the world to me. Moving forward with writing as my new hobby, which is has been for years now, really put some things in perspective. It showed me I was capable of writing something solid, that I didn’t have to be scared of something not coming out the way I wanted. There was plenty of writing and re-writing for my stories, but it only made me better. It helped me figure out my rookie mistakes and how to fix them. To avoid them.

There is a cosplayer (aka Costume Player, or someone who creates costumes by hand and wears them), Riki LeCotey, that said something to me about Cosplay, another of my hobbies, that I think rings true for writing as well. She said, “No matter how long or frequently you [cosplay], there will always be issues. Things you didn’t notice at first will later become issues, once you learn to deal with and navigate the beginner problems. You will always look back and think, ‘I could have fixed that, or made this better’. You will always find ways to improve”.

I guess the things I’m trying to say are these: finding your motivation is important, as is letting your imagination go wild. Just because maybe the first thing you write might never sell or make you a big shot, doesn’t mean it wasn’t a critical part of your life; it means you finished something difficult start to finish. You committed and followed through. And the other thing is that sometimes, you just need a hand-holder. Every writer has a guru, and every guru has their own. Always be open to learning and growing, take your writing seriously but don’t let it get you down if you’re having a hard time.

Sometimes you have to let go and realize there will always be problems to fix.

Success is what you make of it.

And while all year long is all easy to forget, on Thanksgiving, I am thankful to NaNoWriMo for getting me started, Amanda and the BigWorldNetwork team for inspiring and supporting me, Riki for giving me her words of wisdom, and everyone who stuck with me along the way.

Bio

Paula Flumerfelt is a four year NaNoWriMo participant and the author of fantasy, action series Mathieu and the sci-fi series Lunar Grim. Both series can be read for free on BigWorldNetwork. Her title Mathieu is also available for Kindle through Amazon.


Hope you enjoyed today’s pep talk brought to you by the wonderfully talented Paula Flumerfelt. Have your own after NaNoWriMo story? Share it with us, we would love to hear it. And don’t forget we have one more author guest blog scheduled for tomorrow.

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