What’s Up Wednesday? It’s almost NanoTime…

October 29, 2014

What’s Up Wednesday is a weekly blogfest to share the answers to a few simple questions… Join us!

What I’m WUWMaple65%2reading:
I dug up the very thick paperback copy of Jim Butcher’s “Furies of Calderon” that I got as a souvenir of the Odyssey Flash Fiction Slam in Nashua in the summer of 2013. I’m getting on for halfway through the story already, and it’s really cool, touching on some of the same themes as the Dresden Files but also very different, with the high fantasy tropes, the elemental furies and other magical beasties.

When I need to read on the bus and can’t stuff “Furies” into my bag, I’ve been reading the original “Gossip Girl” on my tablet. I enjoyed the series, just finished it earlier this year, and so it was interesting to go back and see all the differences with the way it first started.

What I’m writing:
Mostly just concentrating on getting ready for Nanowrimo, though I’ve also been squeezing a few critiques in. I’m really excited for Saturday to come!

What works for me:
The Storywonk “Sufficiently Advanced Magic” class has been really great. I’ve been figuring out lots of really cool stuff, especially about the setting for “Never Found” that I never expected to be thinking about, like werewolves making magical potions. ;)

What else I’ve been up to:
Kick-off was amazing! I’m pretty sure that Hamilton is gearing up for a record Nanowrimo, based on how many writers and novel-adjacents we had crammed into the back room of the Winchester Arms Sunday afternoon.

What about you? Click here to join the hop or check in with some other great writers.


Nano Spotlight-A Wrimo’s Journey: Dollars for Words

October 28, 2014

Well, I said that I’d be back to your regularly unscheduled spotlight soon, so tonight is the time! I’m shining the spotlight on Jennifer, who goes as writerfangirl on the nanowrimo site, and who wanted me to link to her fundraising page. Here’s Jennifer about her Nanowrimo history:

I’ve known about NaNoWriMo since 2001–I believe I heard about it in one of my English classes.  I didn’t know when it was, and had never looked at the page. Sometime after this, I purchased Chris Baty’s book.

In 2003, I had tempted doing NaNoWriMo–but opted not because I was working on my Bachelor’s thesis in Creative Writing. I didn’t even think I could use my short story collection that was my Bachelor’s thesis toward the 50k! I feel like I had another login that I have forgotten about? In any case, in 2005, I signed up and I made a personal pledge to myself: I would complete the 50k or I wouldn’t be a writer.  Since 2007 or 2008, I have been organizing write-ins for people in the Pomona Valley–my little area that is nestled between four different counties, and even cuts into two or three of them, but is its own unique thing. We are not Los Angeles, San Bernardino, Orange County, or Riverside.  And in fact, Pomona Valley was once considered to be made into a county with Pomona as the county seat, but so was dismissed because of disputes among the different counties.  Pomona Valley has been its own region for NaNoWriMo since 2011.

I love writers, I love writing, and I love reading. I have a BA in Creative Writing, worked at Borders (RIP), was a writing tutor at my community college alma mater, was a fiction editor for the literary journal Rhapsoidia, and am now a creativity coach. My goal is to bring the different pockets of writers that are throughout the Pomona Valley together and to facilitate collaboration.  There are so many wonderfully diverse voices here! Last year we were working with Upland Public Library primarily and this year we are continuing the relationship with the Upland Public Library and are now working with the dA Center for the Arts in POMONA as well!! :D  I am so happy that we are having regular write-ins in our region’s name sake.  Every year we get more people homing to us and every year we get more write-ins.  My other goal, during NaNoWriMo, is to have a write-in in every Pomona Valley city every day of the week.

I’ve done NaNoWriMo every year since 2005 and have won it seven times (The only two years I didn’t were 2007 and 2009–and 2009 is the year I went to the Night of Writing Dangerously.) Last year I wrote 100,000 words during NaNoWriMo because I wanted to up the ante of the challenge.  This year, I am challenging myself to 250,000 words in 30 days. It’s a two-part scenario, though.  I am also fundraising because I want those words to matter to the lives of other people now. For every dollar I fundraise, I am writing a word–and I am planning that to be 250,000.  :D  Want to help?

What are you writing about?
Read the rest of this entry »


Error: Out of headspace (or creative memory?)

October 27, 2014

We’ll return to your regularly unscheduled Nanowrimo spotlight tomorrow, but today I wanted to share a small epiphany about my writing process. As many of my friends and followers may know, I set myself creative goals for each month, and I often like to switch between different books, stories, or other projects I’m working on at the same time. My October Goals list was pretty ambitious, and I’ve been scrambling a little to get ready for Nanowrimo (both in the personal writing sense and as a Hamilton ML,) and also cross as many things off that list as I can.

But Saturday evening, as I was going over the list, and sitting in a Codex chat room, something odd happened. I picked one thing on the list which was a leftover from my September list, finishing the revision outline for “Won’t somebody Think of the Children”, decided that darnit I was going to make some progress on that before I went to bed. So I started to look for the folder where I’d put the outline in progress…

And something inside my brain complained! It wasn’t anything that I could put into words right away, but as I sat there at the laptop, trying to figure out what was wrong, I got a good guess of what the problem was. Over the past few weeks, I’ve been working on developing plot bunnies for two different novel ideas I’m going to be tackling in November, as well as revising some of my short stories and going through a course on learning how to write good flash fiction. I think that at this point, trying to juggle three different novels, the two I’m going to be writing in about a week and the one that I was planning revisions for in September, is just too much for my brain to be holding and working with in the same timeframe.

I don’t want to force either “Never Found” or “Hypermappers” out of the creative side of my brain and then try to get back up to speed with them in a hurry, so the revision outline for “Children” is officially on hold until December at least. ;)

I’ve never really thought that much about how much story I can work with at a time, or run into the limit in quite this way before, but it makes some sense. In the Iron Druid books, the main character, Atticus, talks about building ‘headspaces’ that he can then use to perform Druidic bindings like taking many people across to another plane of existence at the same time. He builds up the headspaces by learning languages or memorizing great swathes of literature by productive people. His apprentice still has only one or two headspaces at this point in the series, so she’s more limited in what she can do.

So that’s about it. For now, I’m respecting my headspace limit and trying to minimize the creative stuff that I’m doing this week beyond prepping for Nano. Four days, four hours and counting!


Weekend Writing Warriors – Crossed Wires 5

October 26, 2014

Welcome friends, followers, and Weekend Writing Warriors!

Still sharing snippets of the new stories I wrote this summer. This was also inspired by one of my A-Z challenge ideas: Neural Rewiring. Nathan is the leader of a stunt aerobatics flying team, and the team was practicing, but Nathan misjudged a landing.

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Snippet 1 Snippet 2 Snippet 3 Snippet 3

“How many of you feel that way?” Nathan asked. “Let’s make it a proper vote.”

“Okay, all in favour of looking for a replacement for Nathan as soon as possible,” Seth said, and stuck his hand in the air. Pilar put her hand up right away, and so did Liz after a moment, as if she had to check to make sure that she wouldn’t be the one who cast the majority vote.

“All against?” Karen said. All seven of them either dropped or raised a hand. “Motion fails, by three to four. And since we’re doing team votes-all in favor of opening the position of flight leader?”

Visit the other Weekend Writing Warriors at http://www.wewriwa.com/


Nanowrimo Spotlight: DaniPhoenix, not your average firebird

October 25, 2014

Good morning! It’s spotlight time again, and the spotlight falls on DaniPhoenix, who blogs at http://thephoenixsquill.wordpress.com/. Here’s Dani with her Nanowrimo history rundown:

This is my second Nano (2012), I didn’t finish. I am determined to finish the novel that I have been steadily working on this year. I am at 65,000 words currently and need another 60,000 to finish. I love the camaraderie of my fellow writers, the support that I have received has been inspiring. Sometimes I feel like I am on an island by myself with any writing issues that I may be having at the moment and being able to find others that are having similar roadblocks is comforting and reassuring. I like knowing that I am not the only crazy! In addition, the resources available to Wrimos is invaluable; I have learned so much between the downloads offered to the forums.

What are you writing about this year?
This year I am finishing a historical romance within a contemporary romance. With a bit of mystery and adventure.

What is your favorite book – you have to pick just one!
Oh dear, favorite book, I think at this point in my writing career I would choose JK Rowling’s Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. I love the wonder, the descriptions of the scenery, buildings, and characterizations. I discovered a whole new world with Harry, it still sticks with me, even today. I guess its like that childhood Christmas feeling- the anticipation, excitement, and the build up to the hopefully happy ending.

What advice would you give to all your fellow Wrimos?
My advice to my fellow Wrimos is to put yourself out there, “meet” other writers, participate in the forums section, use the resources that are freely given by other Wrimos and the sponsors. Utilize the massive amount of combined knowledge that is quite literally at your fingertips. Immerse yourself in your novel, but also in this uniquely supportive environment.

Sneaky Ninja question! Do you tend to remember any of your dreams?
Such an interesting question given that the idea for my current novel started as a dream. I had the same dream several times over the course of a year or two until I finally cried Uncle! and wrote it down. Then I sat on it for another year until the rest came to me late last year.

danielaOne of the sidebar questions on the Nano site asks what type of music you as a writer will be listening to while writing. I put that it depends on my mood, so here is an example of a typical day of music for me:
ACDC-Back in Black anyone?
Queen- so many good songs…Bicycle. Bicycle!
Etta James- At Last = soulful goodness.
Daughtry- I love the grit of Chris’ voice.
Depeche Mode- Saw every one of their concerts in the 80’s and early 90’s. Trailblazer for social commentary in music.
Survivor- Eye of the Tiger! Gets me pumped to write some good stuff.
Heart- Barracuda- Woman power to the nth degree.
U2- The most altruistic rockband of all time. And the music isn’t bad either.
INXS- His voice is irreplaceable. So sad that he took his own life.
and the list goes on…

You can see my taste varies. Music inspires me, incites me, and turns me on. It brings me joy and makes me sad. All of which I can funnel into the story that I am currently writing. I considered putting some lyrics from the most influential songs into my book. You’ll have to see if they make the cut.

Editor’s Note: Dani’s list of music was actually much longer, but I had to cut it down for this interview. Maybe she’ll put the whole list up on her blog for you guys! Once again, that’s http://thephoenixsquill.wordpress.com/


Nanowrimo Spotlight: M.L. Millard

October 24, 2014

Good evening, friends and followers! After that slightly weird glitch with my What’s up Wednesday post coming out a day late yesterday, it’s high time to get back to the Nanowrimo spotlight posts with Marie, who can be found on the Nanowrimo site as bitterwarrior and blogs at http://mlmillard.wordpress.com/ . Here’s what Marie has to say about her history with Nanowrimo:

This is my third nano. My most memorable moment from the first year was when I read what I’d written (I made it to 25,000 words) and realized that it was just as good as the book I’d been working on for over a year. Nano is addictive.

What are you writing this year?
This year I’m writing a Cinderella comedy in which “Cinderella” (called Littlefoot in my story) doesn’t want to go to the ball, but her kind stepsisters want her to. I wrote a short story version a few months ago and fell in love with the characters.

What is your favorite book?
I don’t think we can ever replace our first favorite. Mine was Watership Down.

What advice would you give to fellow Wrimos?
1. Outline 2. Don’t worry if you veer from your outline 3. Don’t quit if you get behind. I’ve only made it to 25,000 each time, but that’s still pretty good! I’m glad I didn’t quit when I started falling behind.

Are you organized or messy?
MESSY

anaheim amazonAfter nanowrimo, if you still love writing, I highly suggest getting into a critique group. I belong to my local branch of the California Writers Club, and I have learned so much from their seminars and my little weekly critique group. They gave me the confidence to publish last year’s nanowrimo book even though it’s only 114 pages. Who cares? It’s a great story! I imagined what would happen if the storytelling contest from The Canterbury Tales happened with high school seniors on a bus to Disneyland. If you want to know more about my book or talk writing with me, please visit my blog, mlmillard.wordpress.com.
Happy Writing!

Thanks, Jess. Good luck beating 25k this year!


What’s Up Wednesday? Revenge of the Angry Birds

October 23, 2014

What’s Up Wednesday is a weekly blogfest to share the answers to a few simple questions… Join us! Of course, I try to post on Wednesdays, but apparently I was so busy with other things that I forgot to finish the draft yesterday, or sign up to the linky list. *Headsmack*

What I’m WUWMaple65%2reading:
I finished Xanth ‘Board Stiff’, and the four stories I hadn’t already read out of Larry Niven’s “Neutron Star” collection. (The four I’d already found were the ones featuring Beowulf Shaeffer.) After floundering for something new to read, I tracked down my paperback copy of Jim Butcher’s “Furies of Calderon”, and I’m loving it so far!

What I’m writing:
I finished my quick revision of “Return to Civilization” and sent it off to critters for some feedback. Still plot bunny ranching for Nanowrimo–the “Sufficiently Advanced Magic” class has gotten into structure now, and somewhat to my surprise both books I’m working on fit pretty well into a three-act outline as far as I can see.

What works for me:
Working on the bus means even when the bridge is up, that’s just more time to work on your outlining homework! ;)

What else I’ve been up to:
Well, struggling to keep Angry Birds games from taking over too much of my free time. First, I got sucked into “Angry Birds Transformers” on my iPhone, which is this crazy side-shooter. Your bird-Autobot (or pig-Decepticon) gets dropped into the level by a shuttle that turns into a train car, and you have to shoot down pigs and automated guns  before they wear your armor away, shoot at high-tech buildings to get Energon cubes (which immediately turns the buildings rustic,) and use your limited time in vehicle mode to avoid toppling statues. There are rockets that turn you into a helpless bouncing washing machine if they hit you for some reason. ;)

And Angry Birds Epic just launched a new crossover invasion tournament with another game, so I’ve been sending my bird paladins, druids, and wizards up against dragons and cartoon blobs. Let’s see, what about non-gaming activities? Got started watching Leverage, on the suggestion of some TNEO friends who thought it could help me with ‘Never Found’, loving it so far. And getting ready for Nano! The Hamilton Kickoff party is this weekend, and so Elizabeth Twist and I spent a few hours on Sunday collating hipster PDAs and stuffing gift bags.

What about you? Click here to join the hop or check in with some other great writers.


Nanowrimo Spotlight: Christina Ochs

October 21, 2014

Good evening! It’s spotlight time again, and tonight the spotlight falls on Christina, who is christnick over on the Nanowrimo site, and blogs at The Rolling Writer. Here’s Christina introducing her history with Nano:

This will be my third official Nano and my fourth Nano experience, since I participated in camp in July.

I’d heard about Nano for years, and always had a few friends participate, but I never felt like I had anything ready to work on. In 2012, I got an idea for a romance novel, which was very strange, because that’s probably the one genre I never read. I managed 50k, and had a pretty good time doing it, but realized it was not the right book for me.

I was better prepared in 2013 and did some planning for a series I’ve been thinking about writing for at least a decade. I reached 53k words, but realized it would need a lot more work. I spent the next few months completely revising the plot and fleshing out the characters and started writing again in the spring. In July, I made a big push and wrote 90K words. Still not done!

At this point, I have about 50K words in new scenes to write, so I hope I can finish this third draft in November. If I finish early, I’ll just get started on the next book in the series.

I’m a big fan of #NaNoWordSprints on Twitter, and my fondest memories are of sprinting just about every day with my fellow writers. There’s an incredible sense of community and everyone is so encouraging. It’s especially great toward the end of the month as participants start hitting their goals. There’s a little celebration every few minutes.

What are you writing about this year?
I’m completing the third draft of my NaNoWriMo 2013 novel. It’s a fantasy retelling of the 30 Years War (1618-48) and is the first book in a series of four or five. There’s a chance I’ll get to the end of the draft before the end of the month, in which case I’m ready to start on a first draft of the second book.

What is your favorite book – you have to pick just one!
That is so unfair! I have so many favorite books. Read the rest of this entry »


Nanowrimo Spotlight: P.D. Kirby

October 20, 2014

Well, we’ve still got almost two weeks until Nanowrimo, but I’ve been getting lots of people interested in doing spotlights, yay! Tonight, it’s Paul’s turn. You can find Paul at pdkirby.com or on the Nano site as airborneporcine. Here’s Paul explaining the technicalities of his Nano history:
I pdkirbyconsider this year my first NaNoWriMo, although technically it’s my second. I attempted to complete NaNo back when I was seventeen, but I never got more than 1,000 words off the ground due to school and the like. No excuse based on the people I’ve been meeting, but it makes me feel better to say I didn’t even get the chance to start back then!

I decided to take part again because I have always had stories trying to get out, but other things in my life have taken the spotlight instead. This year, I got back into live role-playing in a few online games, and realized how much I missed being able to invent my own worlds, and really pour my emotions out on paper. I work as a software developer as my day job, so writing is also a very nice counterpoint to my normal, logical days.

What are you writing about this year?
I’m writing a psychological science-fiction novel this year, dealing with the topic of identity. It asks the question: “Why are we often defined more by our outward appearances or by our actions?” In one sentence, this will be a novel about a thrill-seeking young woman who finds herself transplanted into someone else’s body and, with help from a troubled psychiatrist, leaves her world as she knows it to search for her true identity. My working title is “Upprisa Awakening”.

What is your favourite book?
Daniel Keyes’ “Flowers for Algernon” (the novel, not the short story) has been my favourite book since I first read it in high school. I think the way Keyes used grammar and style to show the transformation of the main character was brilliant, and the conflict between intelligence and emotion really hit home for me, especially in the final scenes. Highly recommended if you like stories that make you think!

What advice would you give to all your fellow Wrimos?
Commit to the 50k. Tell everyone you know you’re doing it. Blog about the experience as I am. Put in enough time before November so that when you hit that slump and want to give up, you can tell yourself “You can’t just give up all that work you’ve done/disappoint all those people!” Guilt is a powerful motivator!

What catchphrase do you say often in conversation?
Being Canadian, I have to admit that I use phrases ending in “eh?” very, very frequently. It just sounds so much better than “huh?”.

Thanks for reading everyone! I’m hoping those of you who are fans of books that make you think will keep a close eye on my NaNo novel, “Upprisa Awakening” (working title). Oh, and if you have any sci-fi book suggestions or want a beta reader, I’d be happy to help! Contact me on twitter (@pd_kirby) or on my website (http://pdkirby.com) and we’ll work something out, plus you can follow my progress and see some of my other writing!


Weekend Writing Warriors – Crossed Wires 4

October 19, 2014

Welcome friends, followers, and Weekend Writing Warriors!

Still sharing snippets of the new stories I wrote this summer. This was also inspired by one of my A-Z challenge ideas: Neural Rewiring. Nathan is the leader of a stunt aerobatics flying team, and the team is practicing.

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Snippet 1 Snippet 2 Snippet 3

It took him half a minute to get the shudders under control before he climbed out of his bird.

They were all waiting for him when he got down to the tarmac. “We can’t go on like this, Nathan.” Karen said.

“You want to change the routine?” he offered weakly. His routines were the pride and joy of his life, but even that would be easier than…”

“Hell no,” Seth muttered darkly. “The routine’s amazing, buddy. We just need to find another pilot who can fly them.”

Visit the other Weekend Writing Warriors at http://www.wewriwa.com/


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