Camp NaNo – Week 1


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As the end of the first week of July Camp NaNoWriMo nears, I am perplexed. I’m not sure if I should be…

Cautiously optimistic,

Over-the-moon ecstatic, planning a party and inviting everyone I’ve ever met, or

Terrified,

… because I have not encountered one problem… yet.

Words flow each time I open the WIP.

Characters are cooperating and not staging coups of silence.

My word count surpassed 12K this morning.

Looks around, confused.

What is going on?

It’s not that I want problems but every writer expects them. I know a couple who even add meltdown to their publishing timeline.

No matter how excited, geeked, amped, psyched, or pumped a writer gets about their latest project, the negative stalkers are unavoidable.

The icy fingers of You Can’t Do This tickle the back of your neck.

The dark cloud of No One Wants to Read Anything You Write looms above you… just out of reach, but always close.

Taunts from You’re Not a Writer, Is This a Joke?, and Don’t Quit Your Day Job are lobbed your way each time you complete a paragraph.

Even if you manage to avoid the relentless stalkers previously named, once your MS has been edited and revised, then edited and revised, then edited and revised one more time and sent off to the editor, the Bucket of Sarcasm plans its attack and drenches you to the bone with ice-cold You Suck.

And you haven’t published a word.

I have a lunch date with the mister and a mani-pedi date with the baby girl, and when I return, I shall write some more.

Looking over my shoulder.

 

Calla


Calla Lily

52-Week Writing Challenge: Week 26
Evidently I don’t have enough to do — or I’m a glutton for punishment, because I’m adding July Camp NaNoWriMo to my never-ending (or ever-growing) to-do list. Calla, a romantic comedy, is my 30-day project.

Synopsis

Calla Barrett is a modern-day Cinderella.

Okay – not really.

She’s an accomplished RN and head of nursing at Montford Jones Rehabilitation Center. Calla is attractive, intelligent, respected, and well-liked.

She’s also thirty-four, single with no prospects… and she lives with her eccentric mother, Rose, who may or may not have a mild case of dementia.

Motivated by a close friend’s wedding and the bold heroines of her favorite novels, Calla sets a new course for herself and plans to escape the tiny farm town of Reedsville, Missouri.

No one wants Calla to leave—especially sisters Daisy, Iris, and Violet. If Calla moves away, they will have to take care of their mother. Wealthy sportsman, Birdy Ellison is determined to marry Calla… and teach her to skin a deer.

Calla Barrett’s first steps to a new life give her hope, but a newcomer’s temporary stay in Reedsville tests Calla’s determination… and her heart.

When family and friends butt in, chaos ensues, and Calla will have to pull out all the stops to get her happily-ever-after… and not skin any deer.

 

Tiny Possible-Snippet

Determined to kill the annoying fly, Rose raced around the room swatting in its general direction, overturning her iced tea and breaking a vase in the process. The fly flew through the doorway into the kitchen with Rose in hot pursuit.

“Look at her, Cal. How could you leave her? She needs you here.” Older sister, Daisy Barrett-Newman, was close to tears.

Sitting in the corner nursing a tumbler of gin, Violet Barrett raises her glass. “She’s right, Calla.”

“And what about Vi, Cal? You know she hasn’t been herself since,” Daisy leaned towards Calla, whispering, “you know…”

Giggling, Violet sets her glass down, pops off her prosthetic leg and waves it in the air.

“The accident, Daisy, the accident. Say it with me, “Since Violet lost a leg in a car accident!””

Rolling her eyes, Daisy glared at Calla as if to say, “See?”

“It’s my turn, Daisy. I missed out on moving away for college. I had to turn down a marriage proposal-”

“Oh, he wasn’t the man for you-”

“But that was my decision to make, not my family’s. I’ve lived my entire life in this house. I want out of it and Reedsville. I want to see the world… or some of it. I want to experience new things and meet new people. I want a life. I want to stand at the edge of the Grand Canyon. I want to take photos at the top of the Eiffel Tower. I want to walk into a New York pizzeria and order a slice!”

Violet pointed her fake leg at her older sister. “She’s right, Daisy.”

Daisy waved them both off. “Now you’re just sounding like one of those broads in those crazy bodice rippers you always have your head buried in.”

“Way to date yourself, sis. They haven’t been called bodice rippers in a generation.”

“Then what are they called, Miss Well-Read?”

“For your information, they’re called historical romances, and they’re just one of the literary genres I enjoy reading.”

Calla smirked, a maniacal gleam in her eyes.

“I also enjoy psychological thrillers. The kind where the ever-put-upon, loving sister snaps, has a mental break, murders her entire family, then rides off into the night… laughing.”

Daisy takes a step backward, horrified.

Rose Gentry Barrett re-enters the room carrying a white bone china dessert plate… with the dead fly lying in the center.

“Told you I’d get him.” Sitting the plate next to the spilled iced tea, Rose grabs the remote and turns on the large, flat-screen television.

The sisters watch her in silence while Rose turns to her favorite station… The Weather Channel.

“Gonna rain in Topeka!”

Lowering her voice, Daisy continues her pleading. “Cal, be reasonable.”

Defiant, Calla crosses her arms across her ample chest.

“Snaps, Daisy. Murder.”

Emptying the gin bottle into her glass, Violet continues her giggling. “I don’t want to read that book. I want to see the movie!”

It’s NaNoWriMo Time… Again


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Are you planning, plotting, and strategizing for NaNoWriMo? No, not for November… for July, NaNoWriMo’s second yearly camp.

Yes, I know we’re only two months out from the last camp in April. I participated in that one too. I’ve just completed my book Bible setup for July,  and I have a project on the boards for November.

Do you see a pattern here?

My mister insists I’m addicted to NaNoWriMo. While we don’t generally agree on anything—because that’s how marriage works—he might be on to something. Although I don’t believe it’s NaNo itself which draws me in. There are plenty of writing challenges, write-ins, and contests monthly to take part in. But, I have yet to find one which offers the structure, discipline, and challenge of NaNoWriMo.

Beginning with the premise of writing a fifty-thousand-word novel in thirty days, NaNoWriMo has become much more than a simple writing challenge. It fosters creativity, ingenuity, and confidence while crossing ethnic and gender lines and international borders. NaNoWriMo opens up the literary world for children allowing them to write unhindered by judgment. It shuns the perfection of writing in favor of the creation of unique stories.

NaNo does all this and more by trying to put… and keep the needed processes and people in place to support writers. Participants can also learn from each other as well. It was a NaNoWriMo buddy whose outlining process I copied and still use, and another who first told me about Scrivener and explained some of its features.

Everyone succeeds in an event which puts so much time and effort into their success, right?

Wrong.

With the exception of those who experience the unexpected (but ever-present) interruptions of LIFE, most participants who are not successful in completing the challenge had no structure; they didn’t think it through… there was no plan.

Pantsers everywhere scream out in horror.

As a reformed pantser, I cannot stress enough the benefit and necessity of some type of outline or planning for a NaNoWriMo project. Lack of planning is what caused my brain to seize up in 2013 and 2014… because obviously, I didn’t learn from my mistakes the first time.

With twenty days left until NaNoWriMo begins, there’s more than enough time to get a writing project together. The beauty… and fun of April and July NaNo camps is you determine the project and its parameters! A Novella of twenty-thousand words? Fifteen scenes for a screenplay? Twenty-five pages of research for an upcoming project? Camp NaNoWriMo is whatever you want it to be.

As an aside, the NaNoWriMo organization is currently fundraising to design a new site that will help people go further with their writing—with new and improved tools to support NaNoWriMo’s inspiration and community year-round.

That’s a win-win situation for writers! Donate today!

CampNaNoWriMo! #MondayBlog


Writing Paper


It’s NaNoWriMo time!

No, you haven’t pulled a Rip Van Winkle and slept through most of 2017! It’s CAMPNaNoWriMo, held during the month of April.

What? You’re not ready to tackle another fifty thousand word project? Good! Because that’s not what CampNaNoWriMo is for…unless you want it to be.

At Camp, you can:

  • Tackle any writing project, novel or not. Are you revising your next draft? Preparing to write the next great musical, a la Lin-Manuel Miranda? Penning a collection of poems? Camp is fertile ground.
  • Set your own writing goal. Warm up for 50K by setting a word-count goal of 25,000. Or track hours, lines, or pages… whatever works for you.
  • Find your own, personal writing group. At Camp NaNoWriMo, you can be sorted into a public cabin with writers according to your preferences, or create a private cabin for you and your already-established writing buddies.

I won’t say it’s necessarily ‘easy’, but it is that simple.

I’ve signed up and will be working on my November 2016 project, For Worse. My protagonist, Quinn Landon, seems to have developed a personality disorder. I need her to quit with the Sybil-theatrics, pick an identity and stick to it. Geeze…

For Worse generic cover

Calm down! This is NOT the cover! I repeat this is NOT the cover!

Since this is camp, there are CABINS! You can choose to be assigned to one, start your own, or just fly free.

I have yet to choose a cabin. I elected to be assigned to a cabin last year, clearly specifying my preferences.

That didn’t work out so well. The only thing I had in common with my cabin-mates was the fact most of us were breathing. I say most because a few never uttered a word during the entire month.

Not going there again.

While we do stress out at times, battle muses and deal with writers’ block, I believe writers sometimes forget that writing is supposed to be something we love to do; something we’re driven to do; something we enjoy!

If you’re not having fun with it, and don’t find yourself smiling your way through scenes and situations – why are you doing it?

If you want to have some fun writing during April, look me up. I’ll be the one arguing with myself and trolling cabins!

 

The Best Laid Plans #NaNoWriMo

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I literally began thinking about NaNoWriMo 2016 during last year’s event, and chose the WIP I decided against for NaNoWriMo2015. I began the pantser’s version of plotting and planning right after Camp NaNoWriMo in July. Work with me here.

Outline? Check!

Synopsis? Check!

Tagline? Check!

Logline? Check!

Scene list? Oh, yeah…twenty-two scenes ready to go!

I veered just slightly off course Monday morning (October 31st) when I was pulled into service to babysit for my two-year-old grandnephew, Jordan, who was too ill to attend day care, but not too ill to wear me, the mister AND Max, the dog out! My “baby” will be twenty-five next month, so it’s been quite a while since I toddler-wrangled. I stuck to my writing schedule, with a few changes, but accomplished little else. After a few flash fevers and several hundred Kleenex, Jordan was pronounced well enough to return to day care and left Friday morning.

j1_th

The one and only Jordan!

 

Peace and order restored, right? Time to kick in the afterburners and up the word count, right?

Whatever.

I’m deep into scene eleven this morning, when I noticed heroine/protagonist, Quinn Landon, sitting over in the corner…arms folded and shaking her head. I knew that wasn’t a good thing. Our exchange went something like this.

Felicia: What’s wrong, Quinn?

Quinn: It’s not right.

Felicia: What’s not right?

Quinn: That scene…and the three scenes before it.

Felicia: Do NOT start with me. YOU gave me these scenes!

Quinn: I was confused. You know how upset I was with my family.

Felicia: You were not that upset. You were jumping up and down and talking a mile a minute!

Quinn: It’s not right.

Felicia: What do you expect me to do – rewrite these scenes?

Quinn: You must.

Felicia: Not going to happen.

Quinn: It’s not right.

Felicia: Quinn, I am halfway through the scenes I prepared listening to you and your dysfunctional family. If that doesn’t get me to 50K, I will have more writing to do. I’m not re-writing anything at this point.

Quinn: It’s not right.

Felicia: Stop saying that.

Quinn: What if I stop talking altogether? What then?

Felicia: This becomes a paranormal story and you speak from the grave. George R.R. Martin has made killing off lead characters an art form.

Quinn: No! Don’t do that. I don’t want to miss out on Mason! *Swoons*

Felicia: See? Three scenes back you wanted Fletcher!

Quinn: Don’t reprimand me. I’m a woman in crisis.

Felicia: *Massive eye-roll*

Quinn: Can’t we at least discuss this?

Felicia: *Sighs* You know none of this is written in stone. You changed your name, profession, and reason for divorcing Oscar before I even wrote a word. Just keep track, and we’ll discuss it in January during the first edit, okay?

Quinn: YAY! Okay. I can do that!

Felicia: Good. Now let me get back to upping this word count.

Quinn: Um…can we discuss my name too?

Felicia: Goodbye, Quinn!

 

Who knows what this read will end up looking like? I sure don’t!

Stay tuned!