NaNoWriMo Update #1


It’s officially November and I’ve been working on this year’s NaNoWriMo project. Today, I just wanted to give a little mini update of how everything has been progressing so far. This is the least planned out writing that I have done in the past ten years (fiction wise). My characters and settings are all over the place and I really have no excuse since these are characters that appear in another story.

By day three of NaNoWriMo, I realized that I might never make it. I did great on the first day and okay on the second but on the third night it took me until well after midnight to get the required word count for the day. Day four was amazing, I made my word count a little before midnight. However, day five was interrupted by my decision to finally dig into Stranger Things so I only wrote 495 words and will be trying to catch up this week.

I have been writing on my laptop and will probably port everything into Scrivener on the last day of November.

I also can already tell that this will be the crappiest, least organized draft that I have ever written.  I will be giving another update later on this month but I hope that the month and the writing is going better for all of you.


Scrivener ?



This is the first NaNoWriMo that I will be writing where I have Scrivener. Unfortunately, I have not used it at all, since the month that I purchased it. So, I’m a bit reluctant to try using the software in November because of that. However, I wanted to try to devote at least two to three days next week to it before I make a final decision. I wanted Scrivener so bad and this would be the perfect time to use it.

I have also decided that I want to write my project on my desktop computer which will make it easier to save (since my laptop has virtually no memory) and to use Scrivener. But on the lazy days where I just want to nap, I know that will be difficult. As a way to combat that, I am going to try to develop and stick to a writing schedule/routine that is earlier in the day around 6-8 pm where I can get my writing completed before I get distracted by the TV or things around the house. That time will also allow me to take a nap after work and still cook dinner and get settled to write.

One of the things that I really love about Scrivener is that I can import notes and scenes that I’ve already written. I also noticed that there are sections for settings and characters. Since the story that I’m planning on working on will be changing to a fictional town in Virginia I am really excited about giving those components a try and having all of my information in one place.

Has anyone here successfully used Scrivener for any of their writing projects? How was it? Do you have any tips or recommendations?

Writing Spaces



I have two places devoted to writing: the desk in my office and my secretary which is tucked in a corner of the living room. They’re both awesome although I wanted a secretary for long after I had the desk.

Both spaces ideally also serve as the places where I grade and come up with lesson plans.  However, both places are completely cluttered and I haven’t worked at either of them in at least six months.  One of my goals for this weekend, in addition to catching up on my grading, is to completely clear off one of my writing spaces.

It will most likely be the desk in my office because that one is the most cluttered. Although that desk is in a room, I don’t have enough space to store everything that I need so a lot of it just sits on top of my desk that includes papers from past classes that I’ve taught and taken. The top of the desk also has my wireless keyboard, stapler, tape dispenser, coasters, wireless mouse, pens, hand sanitizer, desk lamp and a mouse pad. In addition to a headset, webcam (still in its package), and a 4 port USB hub (also still in its package). I also have a stack of three letter trays sitting on the corner of the desk that I was supposed to be spray painting this summer.

I only used the desk sporadically and completed two degrees without ever touching it. I began to use it in 2012 and have worked to sit at at it and work at it since then but I often do most of my writing and grading in my bed or in a chair.

The office desk is an old, metal, brown clunker that I have had since at least 2004 that was liberated from a junk pile. I love this desk, in part, because it was free but also because it’s a solid piece of furniture that is almost my ideal desk. The only thing missing is a long drawer to store my pens and things right under the opening. But I’ve fixed that by inserting an organizer to store those supplies in the top drawer. Although I initially loved the color I am now thinking of painting it. But first, I have to clean it off so that I can use it.


Another Preptober



Okay, so I am gearing up once again to take part in NaNo. It took me quite a while to decide that I would give NaNoWriMo a go again this year. Once I had, I immediately knew which story I wanted to try to complete this year although I’m not certain that it needs 50,000 words. It is a sub-story from one of my previous projects and I decided that these two amazing characters needed to have a story of their own. It’s a friends to lovers tale and they are extremely entertaining so as part of my prepping and planning I am working on the elements and backstory of their friendship.  So today I wanted to share two major things that I am tackling as I work this Preptober.


All the Creative Stuff

One of my favorite things about writing (aside from creating the story) is creating interesting characters and their worlds. This year, I am behind in my creative process but I plan to be prepared by November 1st. Part of that, is doing all the little things that enable me to feel as if I have well-developed characters, a firm idea of the setting and the plot.

Worksheets are one of my major prepping tools. I use them to work out the character, my storyboard, and setting/character’s homes.  This year, I am using sheets that will help me figure out the opening scene as well as the ending. I am in the very beginning stages of completing those sheets but it’s important that I take the time to complete them. They are great resources for me to look back on if I get stuck.


Plotting Pantster

When I first started writing, I was a definite pantster. But the more that I write I find that I need the structure of the plot. That’s where my trusty storyboard sheets come in. I use these to highlight the major parts of the story and sometimes I will put little notes underneath so that I don’t forget the scenes that I want to include in each chapter. This year, I have also taken the time to highlight some of the major scenes that will take place. I am going to add those to my official NaNoWriMo notebook and I will be referring to them as I work on writing.

Are any of you planning to take on NaNoWriMo this year? If so, please share some of your tips and plans for winning.

Starting in the Middle

I have a bunch of story ideas. They are semi-organized; meaning that most of them have character lists and sketches and are in their own folders. Some of them are no longer viable or interesting to me and some of them will become subplots in other stories but one of them is a must write. The working title is “The Funeral” and I initially started working on it based on an observation one cool, overcast morning in D.C. in 2001/2. 

Don’t be ‘a writer.’ Be writing. 

                     -William Faulkner 

The story is a mixture of that initial observation and quite a few outrageous occurrences. Unfortunately, I have had quite a bit of experience with funerals and they have included some weird moments so I hope to insert that feeling.  One of my cousins, who’s like a sister, and I have the tendency to laugh at funerals. We’ve done it so many times that it’s probably second nature at this point. That’s another underlying theme that I want to infuse into the story; the unexpected hilarity of family gatherings. I am intrigued by the idea that outrageous things happen even in times of sorrow.

I have switched the heroine three times in drafting/working on the story but I’m convinced that I finally have the right one. The supporting characters have remained the same for the most part and they are all extremely entertaining. I have index cards with dialogue and interesting tidbits to insert But in revisiting the story I realized that I will be crafting it from scratch because I lost three to five pages in the great hard drive crash of 2012. What I do have though is the original folder: full of ideas, character sketches, and my initial observations and I’m so excited about building this story.

I’ve decided that this is one of my projects for this year and I am not waiting for November to get started. I look forward to sharing bits of it with you as it’s created. Do any of you have a story that just won’t leave you alone? One that you just have to write?

Writer’s Travel List-Update

I went to New Orleans, again! This time, I was able to mark off something from my literary travel wish list. Right before I landed, I took a look at the New Orleans section of the list just as a refresher. Of course, I visited the French Quarter, and ate beignets and po’ boys but…I also went to Faulkner House Books. It was so amazing! It’s a small place but it’s shelves are filled with books so as a bibliophile I was suitably impressed. I managed to keep my purchases down to two books but I’m already envisioning a trip back. 

I was also able to sneak in a bit of writing while I was away. I’ve found that when I travel, I’m almost always inspired to create. So expect to see that in the coming weeks. 

Don’t Make Plans

A few weeks ago, I shared that I planned to do things a bit differently this year at least concerning my submission goal and that I planned to study for and take the GRE. Well, we’re almost through the first month of 2017 and I’m already flaking on those goals. Seriously! In my defense, there are a few literary journals that I already had listed to submit pieces to and I need to get those in by February for the most part. 

I still want to work on some academic and nonfiction pieces while I have the time but first and foremost is getting these poems submitted. Especially since it’s on my to do list for the year. I have so many pieces that I think are interesting and one that I want to research and build so here’s to hoping that I can make it happen. 

The GRE is being pushed to the back burner because I am seriously reconsidering, again, whether I truly want to pursue a Ph.D. I’ve been waging this battle for quite a while but I think that I’ll eventually (hopefully) get the GRE taken. 

 In the meantime, I am finishing these poems for submission and then getting back to my original plan. I  hope!