NaNoWriMo 2012 Has Arrived!

Today is the 1st of November, which means one thing – the start of NaNoWriMo! Actually, it also means another thing – I have been incredibly slack this year, and not blogged about NaNo at all yet. Crazy, I know! Thing is, this year at university, studying at postgraduate level, it’s really kicked my butt, hahaaa. And so I’ve been scrambling to get my Honours thesis written and rewritten and rewritten again and finally handed in. Hooray! But because I handed it in on 29th October, it means I’ve had little time for NaNoWriMo blogging, for which I am very sorry.

But, anyway. Here I am! And I am fizzing with excitement, ready to spontaneously combust, wheeeeeee! 😀

NaNoWriMo truly is my favourite time of year. It’s pretty perfectly placed for me actually – normally, I just about finishing up my study for the year, and summer is starting to make itself at home. NaNoWriMo is like a reward for surviving uni, really. Something which I feel is especially true this year, as this year has been a bajillion times more stressful than my past three years at uni, and I seriously felt like I was losing my mind sometimes. But now, NaNoWriMo. A whole month where I get to write what I want to write, not what I have to write. A whole month of putting aside special time to do something I love. A whole month of writing.

Fittingly enough, this year I’ve decided to write something purely for fun – Star Trek XI fanfiction! As you all might know, I write quite a bit of fanfic (when I have the time!), but for NaNoWriMo I usually choose to write original fiction. But this year… I just had this idea that wouldn’t leave me alone! It’s an AU fic (Alternate Universe) which means that it’s not actually set within the Star Trek universe – instead, my fic is set in a contemporary FBI environment, but using the Star Trek XI characters. It’ll focus on Jim and Bones, two FBI agents. Actually, I might as well paste my synopsis here!

Jim Kirk has been around the block more than a few times, despite being pretty new to “all this FBI stuff”.  Jim knows he capable of being an awesome FBI agent though, and has a desperate thirst to prove himself. When his ranking officer, Christopher Pike, sends him off to the only known address of a “retired” Agent Leonard McCoy – a seedy downtown bar – Jim finds himself in a whirl of suspicion, mystery and, inexplicibly, attraction to the rugged agent. Because while Leonard might seem like just a handsome but jaded divorcee, his background at the FBI holds more questions than Jim can find answers for. Jim and Leonard are thrust into a game of cat and mouse with their supposed FBI colleagues – and the stakes are paid with lives. Jim and Leonard must learn to trust each other enough to work together, to discover exactly what the hell is going on, and to avoid getting each other killed. Although they might be more in danger of killing each other, the way they’re getting along. On top of this, Jim has to deal with his new found attachment and attraction to Leonard, which may or may not be returned. Not even love is easy for these two, though – in fact, that might be their biggest obstacle of all.

I’ve always wanted to read a fic like this, so I thought, why not write it myself? 😉 I have… an outline of sorts. I’m certainly not as organised as I usually am! But I do have one thing that I don’t usually have – an epic playlist. Music has always been a great inspiration to me, and so compiling a list of songs that are relevant to my characters’ journeys has been so helpful in figuring out what they’re feeling and doing. I also have some awesome soundtrack music from The Bourne Legacy film to get me into the crime/thriller mood.

And, of course, there’s my favourite NaNoWriMo staple songs, about NaNoWriMo, which you can find here 😉 AND this year, there’s a NaNoMusical! *flail* I think this is such an incredible idea – I adore musicals, and I adore NaNoWriMo, so I can’t think of anything more perfect 😀 You can find the first episode here!

Now, I wish I’d had time to write a blog post with some advice for any fellow Wrimos out there. I did write a post last year which I still fully abide by, my NaNoWriMo Toolkit. As for the Desktop Calendar, the same artist has a 2012 one here – it’s amazing! I love the inspirational quotes and prompts (and occasional tough love :D). And I’m using an updated 2012 version of the NaNo Report card here!

Other than that, my best advice would be to…

If you like, you can add me as a NaNo Buddy here, or follow me on Twitter here, where I am and will be tweeting madly about #NaNoWriMo!! All that’s left to say is… let’s have some fun this month!

Word Count: 1,308 words
Write on!
Bri xx

Advertisements

Episode VI: The Return Of The Blog

*blinks*

Erm, yes.

It’s been about… two or three months since I last updated. And before I get any further, I believe it is necessary for me to throw myself upon the ground in front of you and beg for forgiveness! I really don’t have much of an excuse – at first, I was taking a break from all types of writing, after successfully completely NaNoWriMo (oops, forgot to tell you…!). And then, my summer jobs started up, picking cherries and working at the bookstore. And THEN… I just got lazy.

Heh.

But I’m back now! I promise… 😛

So, what’s new with me? Well, to tell you all ‘officially’… I finished NaNoWriMo!! 🙂 I believe I finished at around 11pm on the 30th of November, so I was cutting it fine… but hey, I had it all under control! My novel, however, is far from finished. For one, I discovered that I had far too much plot, and so I think my novel still needs around another 50-60k to have actually finished telling the story. Then, of course, I have to get onto all the editing… but I’ll think of that later. I left it alone for a long while, and actually just read it through for the first time the other day. I was pleasantly surprised how ‘not-bad’ it was – I mean, it still needs A LOT of work, but I can’t help loving my characters, and their stories. I have a (vague) plan to write that extra 50-60k at some point during the year, preferably before this year’s NaNoWriMo… but we’ll see. Darn study might get in the way.

After November… well, as I said before, I then worked my way through a pretty good summer. Cherry picking is always a massively fun job, even if this season was a little disappointing. And the bookstore that I work in is just brilliant – I’ve worked there for around five years now, at first just part-time, and now it’s just during the summer break. I just adore all of my fellow staff members, and the staff discount is far too tempting…! It was also lovely to spend time with my family, who I only get to see during breaks from university, as they live in a different town – different island, actually! 😛 – from my university.

But yes, now it’s that time of year again – study time! This year, I’m beginning my first year in postgraduate study in English Literature. I am, simply put, terrified! Hahaa. And excited. There is a TON of reading to do, which I have thankfully already started (but haven’t read nearly enough yet!), and a whole research essay of our own doing. It’s been incredibly difficult trying to decide what I will be focusing on – I have had so many ideas, so much that I love, that I could spend hours pouring over… but I think that I finally have a pretty good idea of what text I will write on: T. S. Eliot’s “Prufrock and Other Observations”. Gosh, I adore T. S. Eliot, especially this group of poems. His way of writing, the unique and sometimes strange images that just work, the way the words sound when read aloud… squeeee! I feel like an uber English nerd, but I can’t help it. So yes, that will be very exciting indeed 🙂

So, that’s where I’m at right now. See, you guys barely missed anything 😛

I promise that I will (try!) to update a lot more often, as often as I have something interesting to say. I’m still meaning to blog a bit more about my ‘obsessions’, and all of that, which will hopefully be interesting to you. Who knows, maybe I’ll find another ’30-Day’ type Challenge to keep you all amused.

Thanks for sticking with me!

Have fun!
Bri xx

P.S. You might have noticed that my blog looks a little different to what it did last time – I decided that what better time than now to change to a new theme. Do you like it? I found it rather enchanting 🙂

NaNo2011: I Think I Survived Week Two!

*wince*

Okay, so I really meant to write a blog post during Week Two, but… that would have been pretty close to impossible for me. Why, exactly? Let’s back track a little bit to Week One.

There I was, having finished my exams on Nov 1st, and off to a flying start. I made the daily 1,667 word target easily in the first three days, and I realised that I loved my MC more than I thought I would!

But.

Over the next five days, I only just managed to scrape together 1,000 words. To blame: my final assignment for my undergraduate degree – a Philosophy Essay. 😛 I just couldn’t find the time to work on my novel, and when I did put some time aside, I ended up feeling insanely guilty for writing my novel when I really should be writing my essay instead. It was… frustrating, to say the least. It was like I’d been given a taste of the familiar and epic craziness of NaNoWriMo, only to have it snatched away after one teensy lick.

So, I finally finished my essay – hooray, officially finished my undergrad degree! – and so it was time to dive into my novel.

*blinks*

Uhhh.

Yeah.

What a fail. I just wasn’t feeling it! Honestly: my muse had deserted me, I had no idea what my characters were doing, I had no plot, the science fiction elements and techno-babble were confusing the heck out of me… and I couldn’t write a word. I started procrastinating by tinkering around on Photoshop, making myself a book cover – which was actually incredibly fun, and I think I came up with a pretty good one! 😀 But yes – I was around 8,000 words behind, and steadily losing ground each day.

I was definitely feeling the typical, dreaded NaNoWriMo Week Two Blues.

However, I had a few secret ingredients up my sleeve, to create some sort of motivation and set my metaphorical novel ball rolling again.

  • First of all, I had to face the facts – it was far too early in the month to even contemplate giving up. I mean, a whole heap can happen in three weeks. So there was no way that I was going to let myself pack it all in at the first hurdle.
  • This is my 5th NaNo. My real life friends were tackling their 2nd NaNo – and were whipping my tush with their word counts! Eep, the shame! 😛
  • Plus, the internal pressure – I’ve already won NaNoWriMo, which makes me fully capable of winning again. In fact, I shall never really have a proper excuse to fail, now.
  • And damn it, I was actually falling in love with my characters. And my setting. I didn’t want to tell them all to get lost!

At the mercy of such absolute logic, there was only one thing for it.

Just. Keep. Writing.

So, I did. And believe it or not, things started happening! I killed off a character, I punished another. My two main characters finally meet each other, and start hating each other right on cue. One of my main characters decides to go and get drunk. Oh yes, and then I discover that this same main character has some kind of romantic history with a minor character, which was a surprise to me. But hey, rogue characters FTW! 😀

And as I got more and more into my story, the easier the words flowed. Which worked really well for my plan to catch up. Yesterday, I wrote 5,000 words in one day – squeeeee! It actually felt relatively effortless, which makes me just want to dance around my room 🙂 I am almost completely caught up now, and have a much clearer idea of my plot.

The main problem I have now is that I am pretty convinced that my novel will not be finished by the time I reach 50k. I’ll be lucky if I’ve reached the climax by that point. Which is slightly troubling… it means that I’m going to have to make a real effort post-November if I want to finish my novel. And of course, I do want to.

But I’ll cross that bridge when I come to it.

For now, let me share some virtual gingerbread men with you all, and celebrate the awesomeness of NaNoWriMo! 😀

Word Count: 19,288 words
Write on!
Bri xx

NaNo2011: Ready, Set, GO!

*hyperventilates*

November is really here. It always feels slightly unreal, because I’ve been counting down and waiting for so long, that when midnight finally rolls around, I actually end up having a ridiculous panic.

Oh gosh. Day One. First sentence stress. First word stress.

I could screw this novel up right here – doom it forever.

*takes a deep breath*

Yes, even after four years of this, I don’t get any less nervous! Of course, it’s a massive mix of excitment and curiosity and eagerness to just-start-already! And I think it’s a completely normal reaction to have. Reality hits – hello, blank Word Document. You look lovely and perfect and untarnished.

But also empty and boring and way less fun than your future-novel!

So.

The only thing to do is to just. Start.

I took my own advice at 8pm this evening. I’d been having a busy day. Couldn’t start at midnight because I was too tired, and I had an exam in the afternoon – my last exam for my undergraduate degree, incidentally! Couldn’t start in the morning, as I was frantically cramming an entire year’s worth of notes into my mushy brain. Couldn’t start in the afternoon – examming away. And so, 20 hours into November… I finally settled in at my laptop with a cup of Earl Grey tea and a bowl of chocolate icecream, and started.

Because I’m feeling nice, I’ll share my first sentence with you lot! 😉

Being summoned to the Dean’s office never boded well for anyone.

*nods* Uh huh. A bit more substantial than my first sentence for last year’s NaNo, which was simply “Pain.” Deep and depressing, I know! 😀

At this moment in time, I really only have the vaguest shape of a plot. I have characters, and a setting, which is always great. I’m definitely planning on writing a separate blog post to go into the specifics of my novel, when things have become a bit clearer to me, so watch this space if you’re curious.

This post, however, is for all you Wrimos who are kicking off for the month. Maybe you’re flying at your laptop, mashing at the keyboard with your enthusiasm to get it all out. Perhaps you’re being a lot more composed about it – at least on the outside! – and have stacked up a healthy word count already. Well, if you felt even a little bit nervous, like me, just know you’re not alone! And you can totally use all of these crazy emotions to dive right into your novel.

Squeeeee. I really, truly love November 😀

Right. I’m gonna go have another 15 minute word sprint.

Word Count: 1,268 words
Write on!
Bri xx

NaNo2011: Everyone Needs A Toolkit!

During my first three years of NaNoWriMo, I did very little preparation. I had a few scraps of paper with ‘vital’ points scribbled down – “Wedding! Love Declaration and Explanation!” (errr, yes, that really helps… *facepalm* :P), but other than that, I didn’t even write my plot/character ideas down. In fact, one of the years, I am certain that I only started *thinking* about my novel in the first week of November. In other words… it was a mess.

Now, don’t get me wrong – I’ve heard of success stories where people decide on October 31st to participate, and off they bounce to successfully cross the 50k finish line. Sounds pretty epic, huh! Sometimes I wish it were that easy for me. But, looking back on my past attempts, I’ve come to a conclusion that certainly applies to me, and I don’t think I’m alone here.

1. My past failed attempts were disorganised,  I lacked motivation and direction, and didn’t have the set-up to survive the full 30 days.

2. My successful attempt, last year, I had what I’d like to call a NaNoWriMo Toolkit. I was organised, visualising the month ahead, planning my novel and getting a direction for the plot/characters, and the most important thing – all this preparation was making me excited and motivated to win.

So, I’d like to share what makes up my NaNoWriMo Toolkit this year, and hopefully some of you will find it helpful for your own preparation for this November! 🙂

Notebook + Pen

THE staple, most important thing that I have for NaNoWriMo. This is where I write down everything – absolutely everything – regarding my novel. On the first page, I’ve got a wee slice of inspiration – “Rocking NaNoWriMo 2011!” and after that, I’ve got space to jot down my initial novel ideas. I must admit, I haven’t actually gotten further than that yet this year, but my plan is to have…

  • Character Profiles – I’ve always believed that if I know my characters really truly well, inside out, so that I can conjure them up into my mind whenever I like – even dream about them! – then from this, a story will arise. My characters will let me know. After all, everyone has a story. So, I write up profiles including categories like the basics, like age, occupation, and then ones like family, friends, love interests, living space, hobbies, backstory (how they came to be in the position they are currently) and values. It varies from character to character, depending on what’s relevant, and what’s not.
  • Character Pics – So I can visualise them properly. Doesn’t have to be exact, but I either try to find an actor or someone who looks similar (not someone famous, or all I’ll be thinking of is the actual actor!) or if I’m feeling brave, try to draw a (rough) sketch of them.
  • Plot Outline – Once I know my characters, hopefully I’ll also have thought up a clear plot line. I try to keep it as chronological as I can, because that’s the way I work best – I leave lots of empty space in case I want to add more though 🙂
  • Research – At the back of my notebook, I keep any notes that I’ve had to research for my novel. For example, my last year’s NaNo was about a guy with Dissociative Identity Disorder, so I jotted down relevant points that I’d come across while researching.

Plus, the feeling of having a notebook is just plain awesome. These days, I do around 90% of my writing on my laptop, the only exception being taking written notes in university lectures 😀 So, it’s quite fun to be able to write in a notebook again, so old school and ‘writerly’ 😉

Ahh, and the pen. I am just a wee bit of a pen nerd (*cough* collectomaniac!) and so it is really important for me to have the right one. Last year, I indulged myself and purchased a proper NaNoWriMo Pen, squeeee! But… as awesome as it is, some part of me doesn’t actually want to use it, in case I break it or something, hehee. So, I have another pen that I store in the spiral binding, just a plain black pen that is comfortable to hold and writes really well. Honestly, my advice would be to try every freaking pen in the shop. Who cares if the shop assistant gives you bung looks… it will be worth it 😉

Post-Its

What a fantastic excuse to do even more stationery shopping! I actually don’t go through an excessive amount of Post-its myself, but they are still pretty useful. I currently have three Post-its stuck to my laptop, one of which was written by my Mum last year, for NaNoWriMo, saying “It’s all sooo worth it!” 🙂 Awww, thanks Mum! So yes, while I use Post-Its for motivation, you can also totally use them for your actual novel. Plot points, random things you want to include in your story, sudden inspiration… anything you like! Go crazy. There’s no such thing as too many Post-Its!

NaNoWriMo Star Chart!

This is something I did last year, and mannn – you can’t go wrong with stickers! Squeee! I actually was talking about this with a couple of my tweeps, as they were curious about the idea, so I decided to take a photo for you guys. It’s pretty simple to make, and fun too – I like to use a lot of colour. Then, you just write in the total word count you need to be at for each day – when you achieve it, you get a sticker!! 😀 Great for motivation.

…and, a Desktop Background Calendar!

As well as my Star Chart, I’m going to use a calendar as my Computer Background too! Doubles my motivation, and all that 😉 There’s an official thread to find these on the NaNo forums here, if you want to flick through and find one that you like. The one I’m going to use is here – it’s absolutely fantastic, with the word counts AND the words of inspiration! Brilliant 🙂

NaNoWriMo Report Card 2011

One final kind of calendar/motivation thingy, which I swear by, is this beautiful NaNoWriMo Report Card. I used the same one last year, and this kind person has updated it to fit this year. I am nuts about statistics like this, and thankfully I found this one because my Excel skills  aren’t exactly up to par… 😉 You record how many words you write per day, how many writing sessions you have, even your morale levels throughout November… and you get awesome statistics to look at! And a graph! Squeeee! 🙂

Q10

So SO thankful I stumbled across this piece of genius! *grins* Q10 is a minimalist writing program – it looks exactly like the above screenshot. It means I don’t get tempted by clicking idly on the internet, or whatever, because it blocks out everything else.  You can change the text and colour and all of that, but I love the default text as it looks like a typewriter – AND, Q10 comes with typewriting sound effects! It may sound silly, but it makes me feel EPIC to hear the quick noise of the typewriter when I’m writing my novel 😀 Plus, it has a brilliant alarm setting that lets you set it for a certain time – just like a NaNo Word Sprint. I found that writing furiously for 15min blocks helped immensely, as I was racing against the time, and trying to better my previous amount of words written in 15mins – leading to a massive boost for my overall word count! Very, very fun, and it’s free to download, so why not give it a go?

NaNoWriMo Hoodies + T-shirts!

*grins* I won’t deny it, I’m a tad obsessive here… but yes, I own 2x NaNoWriMo hoodies, and 2x NaNoWriMo T-shirts! 😀 The first one I bought was the Black Hoodie, as a reward for last year’s win. I actually would live in hoodies if I could, they’re just so darn comfortable! Which is why I bought… ahem… the Gray Hoodie too! 😀 (Confession: I’m wearing it as I write this blog.) I just figured, it’s a great way to support OLL, and they’re actually great conversation starters – I’ve had a couple of people recognise it, which always gives me warm fuzzies! *smiles*

But, I didn’t stop there… to celebrate my first NaNo win ever, I purchased the NaNoWriMo 2010 Winner T-Shirt 🙂 I couldn’t NOT, really! Bring on summer, when I can actually wear it…! Plus, I also have the Camp NaNoWriMo T-Shirt – too epic, really! Actually, I did kind of attempt Camp NaNo this year, in August, but I wasn’t really trying to get the 50k. I ended up with 30k which I was perfectly happy with 🙂 So yes, bought the shirt, because I am most definitely planning on winning a future Camp NaNoWriMo 😉

And finally…

NaNoWriMo Song Playlist

This is always a heap of fun to make. My staple songs in any year’s NaNo playlists can be found in my previous blog post, to add a bit of motivation. Other than that, I go with what fits my novel’s genre, and my plot/characters. So far, I have the Star Trek 2009 OST, a smattering of Doctor Who Soundtrack songs (mostly from Season 5!), “Luka” by Suzanne Vega (one of my character’s names is Luka), and “Think You Can Wait” and “Sorrow” by The National (some sweeeet Indie!). Only just started compiling it, so there should be much more come November. You may be able to guess what genre I’m writing now… but just to keep being mysterious, I won’t say anymore than that just yet! *grins*

So, there you have it! My own personal NaNoWriMo Toolkit. What do you guys have in yours? Do you think I’m missing anything? Did I inspire you to add more to your own? Did I inspire you to have a Toolkit in the first place? 😀 Let me know!

16 days to go!
Have fun!
Bri xx