Tag: NaNoWriMo

A to Z Challenge

I recently saw people talking about an “April A to Z Challenge” on Twitter, and it sounds like a really fun thing to take part in! The basic idea is that you write something – be it a short story, poem, blog post, chapter, whatever you want – each weekday during April (and a weekend at the end, to make enough days), corresponding to each letter of the alphabet. Then you go on a sort of Blog Party every day to share your work and check out others taking part in the challenge. 🙂

Everyone chooses their own theme for the posts they’re going to make during April. I’ve had a story in mind for a few years – well, the original idea was a collection of short stories which all add up into one large story, but now I’m leaning more towards it being one novel split into chapters. But that might change. Panster woo! 😉  And this challenge sounds like a perfect opportunity to get it out of my head and onto paper, with each chapter/short story fitting each letter of the alphabet.

So my theme reveal (and novel title) for the A to Z Challenge is…

Secret Diary Of A Serial Killer

It feels so good to actually get that title out into the world! And I’m really excited to be writing something that’s so different from what I usually write. For those new to my blog (Hi! Welcome 🙂 ) I usually write urban fantasy, but for this story I’ll be delving into the world of crime writing. Maybe some fantasy will pop up in there, as I’m a pantser that’s always a possibility, but right now I doubt it.

Are you thinking of taking part in the A to Z Challenge? What theme have you chosen?


NaNoWriMo 2014

Participant-2014-Web-Banner

It’s that time of year again – National Novel Writing Month, better known as NaNoWriMo.  Some of you might remember I didn’t get very far with it last year. I hated the words I wrote, and didn’t like where the plot was going either.  So much so that I haven’t actually looked at the novel again until last month…and it wasn’t any better than I remembered!

So this year I’m starting fresh.

Normally in NaNoWriMo you have to write 50k words of a new novel/novella, and if you decide to work on an already existing project (even if it’s a complete re-write) you’d be a rebel.  Woo rebellion! But this year that isn’t the case. This year you can work on whatever you want, with the same goal of 50k words.  But even with my rebellion ripped away from me, I’m re-writing Broken – with a possibly new title to come later – because I really do believe in this novel.  I know it can be good, I just have to get it there.

It can be disheartening to start a project with such enthusiasm and end up hating the way it’s coming out.  I know a lot of people try editing (I did!) and re-editing (that  too!) and sometimes that can help. But what happens when it doesn’t help?  What happens when you’re still left with words that make your face crinkle up in disgust every time you think about them?  Well, most of the time what happens is the document is filed away and never looked at again, because we don’t know how to fix the problem.  And I’m here to say, don’t do that!  There’s an important lesson I learned in university:

Don’t treat your work as precious.

If you don’t take anything else away from my blog, take that one thing.  It’s an invaluable lesson to learn!  I didn’t study writing at university, but it’s something that spans across all creative works and I’ve been trying to bring it to my writing a lot.  Don’t get me wrong, it’s a hard lesson to learn and even harder to do!  You have 9000 words of a novel.  They suck and you hate them, but it’s 9000 words and deleting them is a HUGE obstacle to get around!

But there is a way.

I couldn’t get over the “don’t delete all of those horrid sentences!” mindset, so what I’ve done is just move it to a different folder, and started a new document in a new folder.  Fresh start, old sucky words out of the way, clear mind to focus on the re-write 🙂  If you do this, don’t go back into that other folder! It is now quarantined!  It’s tempting to think “Well there was that one sentence that wasn’t too bad…” but no, don’t do it!  Work on your fresh start and let the words come naturally, not forced to fit around a sentence from something which had sucked away your motivation.

So that’s what I’m doing for this year’s NaNoWriMo, re-writing Broken.  As soon as you can get your mind to accept that your work isn’t precious – and that it can be edited, deleted, shifted around and crossed out many times – you’ll be amazed at how freeing it is 🙂


New Year, New Focus

First I want to apologise for seeming to drop of the face of the blogging planet.  It wasn’t my intention but with moving home, moving country and a whole host of new things to learn, I got a bit overwhelmed and needed to take an internet break.  The break also included one from writing too, while I got my thoughts straight again and could focus on plots and not “Argh this is all so new and what do I do?!”.

So, second I’d like to say…  Happy New Year to everyone 🙂  I hope you all had a fun time and that 2012 is starting out as a good year for you all.

I’m working on two short stories at the moment which will be posted on this site later this month, if they make the cut.  Right now one of them is going much better than the other but I think there’s still hope!  Nothing an edit or five won’t fix.

As far as the novel goes… I’ve made an executive decision to turn my focus to my 2011 NaNoWriMo novel, Pink Mist, instead of the 2005 one.  As I wrote in an earlier post, Pink Mist pushed the other ideas aside and demanded that it be written for NaNo.  Well, the story is still clambering to be written first and the world that it’s in is throwing ideas at me left, right and center.  Which is great 🙂 but I do wish they’d order themselves a bit better hehe.

As a teaser, Pink Mist is (currently) focused on good vs evil and how the smallest of actions can have huge effects for either cause.  The protagonist is an assassin, who still has no name.  But I think as an assassin its ok for her to keep some anonymity 😉


Slow And Steady Something Something

My NaNoWriMo progress is slow this year.  I know in the past I’m normally ahead of the 1667 words per day but this year I’m trailing at 2527 total at the end of day 3.  Le sigh.  It’s not the end of the world, I know that this early on it doesn’t create a huge deficit to catch up on later, but I’m feeling generally unmotivated this year for some reason.  Part of me feels like there are normally more NaNo pep talks and things to spur you on by now, but perhaps I’m just making that up!  I know I miss the word count bars on their forums, as well as the word count widgets for posting elsewhere.  As small and seemingly unimportant as those were, they’re actually a really good push to make you write more – racing against writing buddies and other people who have word count widgets on their blogs, etc.

But, enough of that wallowing in self-unmotivation! (That’s totally a word)

I started NaNo thinking I would be writing the first book in a (so far) 2 book series that I have in mind, the first with a title choice of either Hellbound or Devil May Care – my favourite title seems to change as often as the weather so I’m hoping it’ll become more clear when it’s written.  Except that all kind of went out the window when I sat down, opened up Scrivener, and started typing a more recent novel idea of mine for a book titled Pink Mist.  It obviously wanted to be written first, so it’s wish is my command!  This is possibly the first book I’ve written where I know the title but have no name for the protagonist.  She just doesn’t want one!  I suppose as she is an assassin that anonymity is probably better for her in the long run, but I think she’s going to get stuck with a nickname (or two) whether she likes it or not.

In between writing about no-name and her shenanigans, I’ve been working a bit more on this website with updates and also setting up my Facebook “Author Page” which I’m very excited about.  Although I probably shouldn’t be as excited as I am, there’s no shoes involved after all.  You can check it out via the link below (please do 🙂 ) and hopefully “like” it, or you can get there by clicking the Facebook button over there on the right. *points*->

http://www.facebook.com/pages/Natalie-Westgate/309459942413821


Tis The Season

Yes, it’s that time of year again!  Time for all of the planning, making sure you keep in touch with family and friends and stocking up on food and supplies.  I can’t believe the past year has flown by, it seemed like only yesterday that we were all doing this NaNoWriMo prep! 😉

Actually, I didn’t get to take part in NaNoWriMo last year.  Brian and I had only just got married a couple of months before and the America move plannng was well under way, so things were pretty hectic without adding 50,000 words into the mix.  I’m torn this year though between a couple of ideas: one that’s been in my mind for quite a long time, or one that’s a fairly recent idea but is set in the same “world” as the previous idea.  Or, I suppose, I could be a NaNoRebel and work on my manuscript that was started in NaNoWriMo 2005.  But I think something new is better, gets the ball rolling on other work that’s floating around in my brain.

This will be the first time doing NaNo in America – yep, I’ve finally moved as of 10 days ago 🙂  We’re actually off to a resort today that was Brian’s Anniversary gift for me (that we couldn’t do until after I’d moved).  It’ll be nice to get away and relax before the hectic month of November.

As well as writing the 50,000 words, I’ll be going to my first ever Thanksgiving to Brian’s family in another state.  Very exciting but I hope they won’t mind me turning up with my laptop and NaNo notes in hand hehe!

One last NaNo related(ish) note.  I’m going to be disabling comments on my blog after this weekend for a while.  I went to update my profile on the NaNo website, to add this web address in, and almost right after I did it my site is being spammed to hell.  I have this site linked on several other places and never had any issues before, but this was going from zero spam to a lot right after I posted it on my profile there 🙁  I’ll notify them, although I’m not sure what they could do about it anyway, but for now (or very soon) the comments will be disabled on here.

Back to better things, good luck to everyone taking part in November!  Just remember that every word counts, so even if you can only fit in 5 minutes of writing then take it and just write as much as you can in those few minutes.  It’ll all add up in the end 🙂  Be sure to check out the fun things on their website too!  This Nanotoon was me a few days ago 😉