#WeNeedDIverseBooks, Writing

NaNoWriMo Madness or The Only Way to Write A First Draft

Yes, I’m slogging through the madness of NaNoWriMo.

The video above is a good indication of how we NaNo-ites or NaNo-etta’s feel about now.

I could only take three minutes of the video. She’s a good singer–sorta.

I’ve been typing words upon words,

compiling hundreds, then thousands.

Fifty thousand words is the goal; 1,667 words per day.

And I have a head cold. Been in my house for the past three days.

My oldest son feeds me cough drops, meds, and ginger ale.

I’m forcing myself to write. It allows me to not think about the 21 people I’ll have to prepare Thanksgiving for in a couple of weeks.

I’m writing a novel with multi-cultural characters, three generations of women and men, the Mexican culture of curanderismo (that means healers), and a love potion that goes awry.

By this time, I should be at the second plot twist, according to Storyfix. (give or take five pages).

I double checked my pages and yes, I’m close to that point.

Here’s a screen shot of my NaNo page—I don’t know about that novel cover increasing my odds, but could be, it is part of visualization— And, lest I forget, I do have some empty badge area sections:

Writing partner and halo. If anyone wants to be a writing partner, hit me up. I really don’t know how to do this step but I’ll figure it out.

Mona AlvaradoFrazier-New Adult Novel NaNoWriMo 2014
Mona AlvaradoFrazier-New Adult Novel NaNoWriMo 2014

Participating in NaNoWriMo is a great way to a first draft. Far from perfect yes, but useful.

And don’t refer to it as a “shitty first draft,” because it’s not. It’s raw, you put in some effort, yeah, it’s imperfect, just like your first time at bat, or your golf swing, or the first time you made a casserole.

Remind yourself that you started with a goal. You accomplished it. You now have something to build on.

You have words, lots of them, to play with after the first draft is completed.

Well, you probably won’t play with them, you’ll do the edit, delete dance. Then you’ll pull your hair out a few times, and laugh your head off while doing said hair pulling, because you’ll remember—‘member this now—it’s your first draft.

It’s okay.

It will take time and hard work to shape it up, revise, plug plot holes, revise, and love it into being better.

Remember, first drafts can be powerful. Remind yourself that you carved out time for your writing, you set your creativity loose and you were courageous until the finish line (whatever that is to you: 50K or 25K words).

Only 24,610 more words to go.

Write On!

(Please excuses any left out comma’s or other grammatical errors. I’m partially delirious now). Thank you.

#WeNeedDIverseBooks, Art, Books, Illustrators, poetry

Reading is the Best Way to Relax

pabloneruda_poetofthepeople      

      “A book is proof that humans are capable of working magic,” Carl Sagan 

The week has flown by, riddled with the everyday happenings, participating in the writing challenge of NaNoWriMo, and revising an old manuscript.

Like many of you (I’m assuming) I love to read: poetry, YA, Adult, and Children’s Books. I read during my down time, which is literally when I’m in bed, for an hour or two before I drift off to sleep.

I’ve read some extraordinary books lately: Jean Rhys “The Wide Sargasso Sea,” and Helena Viramontes’ novel, “Their Dogs Came With Them.”  Both five star books, IMHO. These highly emotive, descriptive books had an intensity to them that I loved, but that also exhausted me—in a good way.

Reading doesn’t just keep the mind sharp, possibly stave off Alzheimer’s, and help you sleep better (not if you read horror), but research says reading is the tops in relaxation. Really—they did studies. Here’s the conclusion from the UK-University of Sussex: 

Reading worked best, reducing stress levels by 68 per cent, said cognitive neuropsychologist Dr David Lewis.

Subjects only needed to read, silently, for six minutes to slow down the heart rate and ease tension in the muscles…it got subjects to stress levels lower than before they started.

Listening to music reduced the levels by 61%, have a cup of tea of coffee lowered them by 54% , taking a walk by 42%, and video games, 21%. 

So today I was delighted to come across a children’s book I think I will enjoy. Maria Popova said this about the book she featured for the week:

I was instantly smitten with Pablo Neruda: Poet of the People by Monica Brown, with absolutely stunning illustrations and hand-lettering by artist Julie Paschkis 

Go have a look at the gorgeously illustrated pages that Popova has on her website: Brain Pickings. The colors delight the eyes, the illustrations and words relax the body.

An instant chill pill.

I’ve added this book to my public library list, which has grown now to 10 books on hold.

So relax everyone. Take time out to enjoy your favorite activity to help you gather yourself together and take on the coming week.

Books, Encouragement, Uncategorized, Writing

NaNoNaNo

NaNoWriMo-Ambulance Debbie R. Ohi
NaNoWriMo-Ambulance Debbie R. Ohi

Writing, like old age, is not for wusses. It takes patience, resilience, strength, and a little bit of crazy to keep on keeping on with your stories. It takes a whole lot of crazy, and love, to participate and finish NaNoWriMo. This year 303, 754 people signed up for NNWM. Stay out of their way until December.

Are you all sufficiently tired, stressed and behind on your NNWM goals. I’m not participating this year, made up my own thing-but back to this later.

In November 2011, I participated in NaNoWriMo. I remember clearly how I went through the roller coaster of excitement, joined a NaNo support group, rah-rah when word count met, and satisfaction.

Cool ride until mini emergencies happened, then I plummeted when I couldn’t make the time. I talked bad about myself. Did all that, ‘I’m not a writer,’ what the hell am I getting carpal tunnel for, who cares, waa-waa.

The next day I put on the big girl chones and rode again. Up, up until I broke through my own NaNo glass ceiling.

Again, I slide further below my word count. Now I didn’t want to make time. I threw out word count goals for the day, tried to relax and wrote when I felt like it (but I made myself feel like it six times a week). Sometimes I wrote for 10 minutes, other times for three hours.

I got it done. Got the badge and everything. I spent a couple of months in 2012 completing the story and then I let the manuscript sit for two more months.

Time passed while I got busy revising a previous manuscript, creating queries, and struggling through writing the synopsis for two manuscripts. I parked the NaNo manuscript in a folder on my desktop-until last month.

This year I created my own writing challenge. I did NaNo Revision Month or NaNoReMo. The ms word count is 65,000 so I divided that number by 26 days (no work on Sundays). My goal is to revise 2,500 words each working day. So far, so good.

This infographic is very helpful. You can find a printable list to use as a checklist when you decide to do your own NaNoReMo.

25 editing tips from thewritingcafe.com
25 editing tips from thewritingcafe.com

Writers know that revisions come in rounds, like a boxing match, a heavyweight one. Someone I find extremely helpful is Holly Lisle. She has a bunch of information on revising your manuscript. She calls it the One Pass Manuscript Revision.  I found it challenging but helpful.

Good luck to all you NaNo’s and keep writing. You can catch up on sleep in December.