Showing posts with label NaNoWriMo. Show all posts
Showing posts with label NaNoWriMo. Show all posts

Sunday, 28 July 2019

#CampNaNoWriMoWinner, tiny blog tweets, and a free book

Life can be tough in the boat of contemplation. It is where I am right now, after finishing Camp NaNo that is. The book, The Last Gryphon, still has 4 pages left to edit, but that is on my schedule for this coming week. After many years of attempting to revise (or edit) during a pressure month like Camp NaNo, I finally managed it. Rather proud of myself, I have to say.

Text of Twitter posts, #TheTinyBroom tweets, tiny blog posts

In a recent newsletter from Buffer (a social media scheduler that I use) they mention tiny blog posts now trending on Twitter. I am not sure about the trending part, but decided to give it a go. So be on the lookout for #TheTinyBroom tweeting twice a week @LinzeBrandon.
The Big Broom (this blog 😉) with continue the good work as per usual, so no need to replace the old broom in the closet. At least not yet.

The Last Gryphon is scheduled for publication in September, but if you want a taste in the meantime, Part 1 of the story, Galen's Hope, is already available in the Journey anthologyJourney is still free until the 31st, so grab yourself a copy and get to know Galen and Richard on the start of their quest to fulfil their queen's final wish.

Until next time!
💜 Linzé

Tuesday, 30 April 2019

A-to-Z Blog Challenge: Z is for...zarf

Aww, this is the last post for this year's A to Z blog Challenge and I chose a word post to complete my participation in this year's challenge.
Something I made myself, which I have been using extensively for all the writing in April.
And here is my zarf, an ornamental holder for a hot coffee cup 😁😁😁😁

Until next time!

Sunday, 9 December 2018

Ends, beginnings, and some crazy mixed in-between!

You know when you tell people that life is crazy busy and then deep inside you wished it was because you were busy doing something significant, and then wasn't? Well, I am going to tell you that my life was crazy busy the weeks since I last talked to you. Here is how things went and then you can decide if I was just making excuses, or doing something worthwhile:
  • I challenged NaNoWriMo - and won again. You might think that I usually do, and you would be right. Except at 8 days in, I heard about a course I wanted to do, and it started on the 25th of November. Suddenly my NaNoWriMo had shortened to 50k in 24 days! It wasn't easy, but I managed.

  • Come the 25th, the course - Modern Stoicism - kicked-off and now I had new things to learn, different meditations to do, and a daily self-assessment to do on top of that! It is now the start of week 3, and I think that NaNoWriMo was easier. I do hope, however, that as an aspirant Stoic, the choice had been a good one and I will benefit from the course's teachings.
  • While I usually post on Sundays, I missed last weekend because my gorgeous husband of almost 25 years, thought it best to surprise me with a weekend away for my birthday. The 'official' celebration of my birthday is 1 December, but this year I feel like it has been my birthday for months! Francois has been spoiling me with all kinds of lovely things, and last weekend being the cherry on the cake. I hate surprises, and he knows that, so I wasn't quite ready to be happy about it. Until it happened. It was really something special to celebrate my 50th birthday in Dullstroom and with two friends too. Only three days ago did I find out this 'surprise weekend' had been in the making for almost 6 months - Francois showed me the Whatsapp group that plotted my surprise. Thanks, love, it was an absolute weekend to remember!

Francois and me (photo taken by Phenice Rothman)
  • And no, it doesn't end there. I handed in my resignation this past Tuesday. On the day I had lunch with a few colleagues and other friends, for another celebration of my birthday. (One only gets to be 50 once after all!) If you had been following the news, you would know that several State Owned Enterprises in this country have severe financial difficulties for various reasons, including corruption. I work for one of those companies and have been for a bit over 10 years. Your first thought might be that it is the state of the company that made me hand in my notice, but to be honest, it was merely the last straw. I was self-employed before joining the company, and it had always been my plan to go back to working for myself. While it hadn't been my plan to wait 10 years (time does fly, doesn't it?), I do believe that God had a better plan for me, and in August I knew it was time to get ready to make the change. If I hadn't been such a coward (fear is a horrible thing, but I have to tell you it is still there despite my faith in my new future), I wouldn't have waited four months. But now it is the future that matters, not the past.
For my lovely readers: yes, I will continue to write. In fact, my next book is due out in January, so watch this space.
For my colleagues, past and present: I am back in the engineering game and looking forward to working with you once again.
Crazy life? I am looking forward to all what the future holds for me!
Until next time!
💜 Linzé

Sunday, 28 October 2018

The Life of a Writer, and Blogger
November is almost upon us, and in that month I hide in my writing cave, aka my study, to take part in the writing challenge more affectionately know as NaNoWriMo.
Tomorrow there is a book feature post, if you crave the adrenalin rush of being scared (horror fiction), and be sure to get a copy. These authors don't pull any punches, guaranteed!

If horror is not your thing, so much, you can read a few short stories I wrote in the Writers Write 12 Short Stories Challenge so far this year. Varied prompts, varied story lengths and a mix of genres. I took the challenge to stretch my creative wings in this challenge. I hope you will find something you will like too.

If you prefer something a bit more real, my other blog might interest you. Why not have a look?

Enjoy the break, and if you are writing along with the rest of 300 000+ Wrimos in November, all the best to you.

Until December!
💜✒️🙋‍♀️ Linzé

Sunday, 19 November 2017

Words, Statistics and Time — the creative life's little problems

Linzé Brandon, Apple Watch on charging stand
Linzé's iWatch on its charging stand
I recently read an article where the blogger/author mentioned that if you wrote 1000 words in an hour, it shouldn't take you more than 50 hours to write a 50 000 word book.
It also means that a full-length fantasy or other novel, typically in the order of 100k+ words, can be done in 100 hours. Now we are talking first drafts here. Editing and all the other activities to get a book to publishable quality, are not included in those hours.
So that means NaNoWriMo should take me (at two hours per day) only 25 days to do. These two hours are what I have available on a weekday. If I double that to 4 hours per weekend day then my NaNoWriMo target should have been completed today - the 19th of November. Since I have not achieved the 50k yet, it means that I am not as efficient as I would like to believe. Based on current performance, and present word count (41010 words) I would then complete the requisite 50k words in two days, the 21st.
Crunching a few more numbers, it means that I have only been 90% efficient at using my time this November. Using 30 days out of a potential 365 days of writing is not a large enough sample to draw any conclusions.
So I went to my word count spreadsheet for the year to see how efficiently I have used my time this year, so far. To do the math correctly, I can therefor only count the days until today - 19 November. This means my calculations must be done for 323 days if I include today.
So here is what my numbers for the 323 days of 2017 look like:
Writing: 208130 words
Editing: 126.5 hours
Until now there were 45 full weekends (ie, 2 days) plus one weekend day (today). I counted Saturdays, but it makes no difference since 1 January fell this year on a Sunday.
So that gave me 323 days x 2 hours per day + 90 weekend days x 2 additional hours per weekend day + today's 4 hours = 830 available writing hours
At 1000 words per hour, I should have written 830 000 words this year!
Let's work with hours; the numbers are just smaller to use for the calculations. Based on the 1000 words per hour premise, I had been writing for 208.1 hours up to today. Add the editing (because I can only do one of the two at a time) my total hours spend on writing projects so far were 334.6 hours.
Now my efficiency does not look that good anymore, does it? Crunching the numbers one last time gives me 334.6 / 830 = 40%.
I have used only 40% of the time I have allocated for writing this year. If this does not bother you, you can rest assured, it bothers the freaking daylight out of me!
To be honest, I type about 1200 words in an hour, which is not helping my case at all.
So where did things go wrong? Alternatively, did they go wrong at all? Am I deluding myself into thinking that writing for two hours per day is what is happening?

Reassessing my writing time slash writing life:

1. I don't suffer from writer's block, never have. So if I don't write, there must be other reasons for not writing - exhaustion, illness, and other obligations. These things happen, I am only human.
2. I read a lot. Since I work full-time, I have to choose between writing or reading in my spare time. Reading does not make me feel guilty for not writing, so those hours (which I have not kept track of) probably account for a significant portion of my writing hours not used for writing. To date, I have read 45 books - not nearly as many as I have done in recent years.
3. Studying. In September and October, I did a management course (on my own time) which required 60 hours of studying and assignments. It inspired me to change direction in my professional life. That means that I am now studying towards my diploma in Life Coaching. Again, hours taken away from my writing time.
4. Art. I have made it a point to do more art this year, and I have. The exact hours recorded are lost in a file that I cannot recover, but I did not spend them writing when I used pencils or paint brushes.
As I sit reading what I wrote here, I realise that I haven't done that badly at all. I completed Camp NaNoWriMo both times on target, I am about to finish the 50k version in the next two days, and while my fourth novel is late, it will still be published this year.
However, I have to ask: was I only 40% efficient? Judging by the numbers, I would have to say yes. However, this is my life, and while numbers don't lie, they simply cannot tell the whole story with all its plotlines, intricacies, and surprises.
Time is the most precious resource we have, and maybe I shouldn't use the number of words I write as a measure of how I spend my time. At least, not as the only parameter. A qualitative element could be more useful. Was that hour, day or week's time happy, satisfactory or fulfilling instead. Something to consider as the approach of a new year lends itself to a new way of doing things.

Until next time!

Sunday, 29 October 2017

Now is not the time to study writing...

My NaNoWriMo history
If you are a writer, your inbox has probably been inundated with emails about NaNoWriMo. Websites that sell all kinds of writing advice books that want you to buy their offerings before November. Others that offer online courses about writing just in time for November.
All of these are of course marked down by 50% or more to entice you to their websites to buy their products, to make you a better writer.
I have terrible news for you: at this late stage of the game (NaNoWriMo is three days away!) reading any writing advice books, or doing any online courses, are not going to help you. Any course or book requires time to study, time to practice what they teach you, and time for you to learn and get better at the craft of writing.
So should you just ignore these emails? Delete them without a glance? My answer is a bit different from what you might have anticipated. No, don't delete them, but don't do the work either. Huh?
Books about writing can be costly, so if you have been wondering whether or not you want to buy a book or two, I would say go for it. The prices are marked down, so now they are affordable.
If the online course allows you do buy the video course do it now as long as you can watch it later.
So why all the fuss, when I advise you not to do anything so close to the 1st of November? The answer is simple: time.
All skills take time to develop, and while it will be good for you to acquire the means to better your skills, now is not the time to do it. You simply cannot learn all there is to learn about writing in three days. Sure you can try, but what will you remember? How much will you be able to practice in time for November? The answer is not much if anything.
People place so much pressure on themselves in November to write that best-seller, because a few others have done that. The fact is, those books only became best-sellers months (or even years) after they were drafted in a NaNoWriMo challenge. That first draft is so far removed from the end product, that it might very well be unrecognisable to anyone who compares it to the published book.
So go out there and write that awful, misspelled, confused plot structured, wayward genre of fantastical characters in the medieval times, with characters cavorting with warriors dressed in kilts and wielding laser firing longbows and crystalline swords. Worry about the grammar, and the spelling and plot gaps later.
Because the one thing that November 2017 should always be in your memories nine years from now, is that it was fun. Whether the book is a national best-seller or an international movie blockbuster, at some point in your life writing has to be a pleasurable experience too, doesn't it?
Hard work it is, long hours of editing it will be, but if you don't enjoy writing the first draft, when will you have the chance to just love what you do? Write!
My writing buddy 😍
So join me on my seventh journey down the NaNoWriMo rabbit hole. Put away the books, and clear out your desks. Pour the coffee and gather your energising snacks. Dust off your writing buddies and let the words flow with glorious abandon and screaming pleasure. November is here!
You will have lots of time to study those books and watch those videos afterwards.
Let the fun begin!

💜 Linzé
PS: You can find me as Alexandra Beck on the NaNoWriMo website. 

Monday, 6 March 2017

Live in Balance: Connections, Inter-connections and Threads that Bind

Have you ever wondered what it means to be happy? In recent weeks I have been musing about the concept. The question came to mind while reading Stephanie Dowrick's book, Creative Journal Writing. The book is not about what it means to be happy, but it planted a few ideas for a book of my own. These things happen, and I am sure not a foreign concept to any other writer: read a book and ideas pop into your head that makes you ponder some new ideas. Eventually, I did more than think about it.
Linzé Brandon, Live in Balance, Goals 2017

So what is happiness?

According to Wikipedia: “Happiness is a mental or emotional state of well-being defined by positive or pleasant emotions ranging from contentment to intense joy. Happy mental states may also reflect judgments by a person about their overall well-being. A variety of biological, psychological, economic, religious and philosophical approaches have striven to define happiness and identify its sources.
Various research groups, including positive psychology and happiness economics, are employing the scientific method to research questions about what “happiness” is, and how it might be attained.”
And here I thought it was just a simple matter of an emotional high resulting from the achievement of some goal or a positive personal thing. It would seem that people, a lot smarter than I, have been pondering this same question and still haven't formulated a definitive answer. Who would have thought?

So now I am writing a book?

While I would love to say yes to the book idea, it is not as simple as that plonking my butt into my chair and bleeding on top of my keyboard (liberal paraphrase of the Hemingway quote - sorry!). For a start, I am no psychologist, but then the idea for the book is not about to write about happiness either.
I know, I am contradicting myself even as you read this. This seed of an idea still needs a lot more research before it could be considered a 'book idea'.
The problem I am invariably stuck with: how much research and what to read?
While I consider myself smart enough to know to stay away from the formal academic publications, several articles and suggested books have crossed my path in recent weeks. Luck? Or fate perhaps? While I believe that nothing ever happens without reason, I have started to read books and articles completely outside of my comfort zone.
Remember, I am an engineer, and any material to do with human behaviour or philosophy or psychology would generally make me green around the gills.
However, I found myself immersed in a new world and am fascinated by what I found.

Linzé Brandon, Live in Balance, Goals 2017

Connections, inter-connections, and threads that bind

While reading (and studying) these publications somewhere in subconscious mind I get the feeling that there are more to all of these topics than what I can see at first glance. Somewhere, somehow the topics of journal writing, happiness, achievements of goals, life and my Live in Balance goals are connected. Of course, very few things in this world stand independently on their own feet.
These connections, to my mind at least, are threads of lessons I have to learn or tie together in my quest to Live in Balance, and not only for this year.
While these threads have a logical connection, it is the non-rational, the non-academic, gut feel there-is-a-link-for-me that I have to find. Maybe you have found yours, or perhaps you are still seeking, but this journey for has turned into far more than I have anticipated when I made my list for 2017.

Now, about that book...

During the month of April, there are two challenges going out to the world for writers and bloggers: Camp NaNoWriMo and the A-to-Z Blog Challenge.
I have taken part in both and have as a result published books (fiction and non-fiction) afterward.
With Camp, I usually prefer fiction, while the blog challenge lends itself to both fiction and non-fiction. The problem is time and I don't have more than two hours per day during the week, about double that on weekends. So the solution was there before my eyes - I can do both at the same time.
Develop the book idea with blog posts, and it would be great if you offered your opinions as we go along. Then I can also use the words for my Camp target during April. Remember that word count target I have for my Live in Balance year?
*taking a deep breath here* It is not easy putting myself out there, but I believe that I can do it. What I also know is that feedback from you, my readers, could help to develop this seed into a good idea.
In fact, I think it could be a great idea with your help. Are you in?

Sunday, 13 November 2016

Linzé's Mischief: 13 November 2016

Tweet bird, NaNoWriMo, week 2 text
I learned something about myself this past week: I hate being behind and needing to catch up.
This year is my fifth year doing NaNoWriMo and it is the first time that I fell behind the daily word count target. By week 2 I had been ahead all the previous times, and laughed at the 'dreaded week 2' warnings that everyone dished out.
Only this year I was a victim of week 2, and I have to say, I did not like it one bit. Of course, the were extenuating circumstances (there always are, true?) but dammit, it is not as if I am a rookie at this. I should have seen it coming!
But I didn't. And that I think is where the true danger lies. We get so lost in the speed of life, that before you have a chance to blink, three days have passed. A few years ago, I set myself a personal target of 100k words in November. I made the target, but I learned something very valuable: taking care of myself, especially my hands. They were really hurting and I promised myself not to do that again. I write everyday, so why should I punish myself by overdoing it one month of the year? Not that 50k is what I normally do in a month, but still. I need to care for my hands. I only have one set, and I do like them just the way they are.
So stuck in the misery of week 2, I had fallen behind far enough that I was wondering how I could possibly catch up, without going through that pain again. And it hit me - voice recognition. So I put on my trusty gaming headset (thanks, Francois) and started dictating my words.
Only until I caught up those numbers that I was behind on, since I still prefer to type my words. I caught myself laughing a few times - at myself. Dictation requires practice and like writing you have to be 'fit' to do it, and I had forgotten that. Some of the words the computer wrote down...really had me going. Thank you, editing. Those words will really need a hard edit before this year ends, otherwise I will never remember what I wanted to write. But that is for after November.

So now I am caught up, a little ahead to be honest, and I can relax. Not completely though, since I still have a few thousand to go. But to my mind I am no longer a potential loser, I am a potential winner. And that makes all the difference, doesn't it?

Saturday, 29 October 2016

Nine Things to Help Make your NaNoWriMo a Success in 2016

NaNoWriMo, 2016, National Novel Writing Month

November is around the corner, and NaNoWriMo is already taking centre stage in many of the social media sites where writers congregate. If you plan to take part this year, make you are prepared for what is install for the 30 day, 50k challenge.
  1. Tell your friends and family that you will be taking part in NaNoWriMo. Explain the time commitment. Say ‘no’ when you have to. December is time enough to catch up with them again.
  2. Week 1: Get ahead of the word count target as soon as you can. Writing 1667 words per day requires a 1.5 to 2 hour commitment from you depending on how fast you write.
  3. Make a backup of your work. You will spend hours writing. Don’t be stupid and take the risk of losing it with computer problems. Backup! Backup!
  4. Week 2 is the most difficult week of NaNoWriMo. Be prepared for things to interfere with your writing. See point 1 and 2.
  5. The people in your life will not take you seriously if you don’t take yourself seriously as a writer.
  6. Week 3: Focus and make sure you are keeping up with the word count target. If you get stuck, ask for help/support. Take part in word sprints and word challenges to help you to keep going. This is not the time to give up!
  7. Week 4: Dig deep. Keep calm. Keep writing, even if you feel like giving up. Even if you feel you are not going to make it. Keep writing!
  8. Week 5: Start validating your word count. Backup your novel/short stories. The NaNoWriMo website will not save your file for you. It is your responsibility.
  9. Don't forget – enjoy the challenge!
Do you have any special tips that work for you in November? Please share in the comments below.

See you at the write-ins and support groups!

Sunday, 16 October 2016

Linzé's Mischief: 16 October 2016

I am bone tired. What a weekend! As mentioned last week Francois had photographs selected for an international photographic exhibition that opened this afternoon. It was one amazing experience.
You might have heard about the concept of storytelling in photography, and this exhibition was the definition of that. It is also known as street photography, or photojournalism. That means the photos are not posed. It happens in a moment, and if you didn't capture it right then, the opportunity is gone.

Here are some of the pictures I took at the exhibition. You can see more on Instagram.
Histories of Shanghai and Beijing, 3cities+1, photo exhibition, Johannesburg
Histories of Shanghai and Beijing on a pillar at the exhibition

Francois Venter, photographer, Johannesburg, 3cities+1, exhibition
Francois next to one of his photos (bottom right)
History of Johannesburg, 3Cities+1 exhibition, Rosebank, Johannesburg
History of Johannesburg in the 3Cities+1 exhibition, Rosebank, Johannesburg

I also finished a course on Business English ( and managed to score 97% in my final assignment. Quite relieved that I did it today since my next course (also with Shaw) starts tomorrow. It runs into November, yeah, NaNoWriMo is going to be a challenge this year.
I decided to switch to editing. I cannot seem to get my tush in gear and finish Waiting for Adrian. So NaNoWriMo it will be. I have never not made the target, and I am not planning to do so this time.

And that is about all I have energy for tonight. I have to finish reading a book for review that is due on Tuesday. Since I take notes while reading, the review will be easy to write, but only if I finish reading it!
Look out for my interview with the sixth Journey author, René van Dalen, also coming this Tuesday, and the last chapter of The Billionaire Baritone will be coming your way on Thursday.

Until next time!

Sunday, 1 May 2016

Linzé's Mischief: 1 May 2016

It has been a busy month of April, but Camp NaNoWriMo has been a good one for me. I managed to finish the first draft of my contemporary novel, We, the One. I also finished the first draft of the fifth (and final) story in the Third Gender series, entitled Breathe.
I hate editing, but yeah, I do spend some time editing my own work before sending it off to a professional editor. Galen's Hope, my story for Project JOURNEY, has left my email outbox a few minutes ago to start its journey towards publication as part of the anthology.
It has been a journey for sure. Three authors had withdrawn from the project while another has joined about two weeks ago. I have been privileged to read one or two of the stories (still first drafts) of the other authors and it still amazes me what people come up with. I give them a small brief, and the variety of the stories that result is nothing but worth the effort on my part.
My JOURNEY story is part one of a trilogy, if you like, entitled THE LAST GRYPHON. Part one is called, Galen's Hope, and starts the journey of Galen Surov, the last Gryphon, to find hope after losing everyone in an unexpected attack on their planet, Xyridia. The second story is Richard's Choice, with the conclusion entitled, Galen's Destiny. THE LAST GRYPHON trilogy will be published at the same time as the JOURNEY anthology, round about September 2016.
I decided to do that, not to keep people waiting on the outcome.
My next challenge, yeah it is a challenge, is to edit Waiting for Adrian, the fourth novel in the Nations of Peace series.
You might recall the difficulties I had with coming up with a title for the story, well that problem struck again with the cover. I simply couldn't get it sorted. Even my husband, who does the actual graphic work for me, had no solution for the problem of the design I came up with. After several attempts, we abandoned the design and I went back to my original idea. Such is the life of an indie author!
I have taken the plunge and committed myself to review three books in the next two months. The first is the debut romance novel of a local author, Aziza Eden Walker. I hope to have it read and reviewed before Francois and I go on our annual holiday in the middle of May. Since we are going to Botswana again, I will be doing another Follow Me tour where you can enjoy the experience with me.
The second book is a science fiction novel, by Ed Kurst. It has been a while since I have read a full-length sci-fi novel and I am looking forward to it. It looks intriguing from the description.
The last book is a romance novel about second chances. Keep an eye out for my impressions if these genres interest you.
The last chapters of The Friendship Affair will be posted during May. My next blog serial, The Billionaire Baritone, will start in June. It will also go on Wattpad if you would rather follow it there.
Since tomorrow is a public holiday, I will have a short working week. Always something to look forward to.
May your week be filled with success in whatever your choose to do.

Tuesday, 30 June 2015

Writing a Marketing Plan for Camp NaNoWriMo

Writing non-fiction during NaNoWriMo is not easy. Not that writing fiction is, but the real world words tend to create problems all on their own. Yeah, you guessed right – I will be tackling a non-fiction project in July. Contrary to my previous journey into non-fiction NaNoWriMo (not to be confused with NaNonFiWriMo taking place in November), I am better prepared this time.
My project is planned properly. Refreshing my memory on what a marketing plan entails, went better than I thought it would. It’s been years, literally! The contents have been thoroughly thought out and the Table of Contents already structured (and restructured) and ready for those first words to be penned.
And they will be something like “Michael’s Mystery – a story about a man investigating the truth behind serial murders, only to discover a woman could be involved whose power could destroy the future of the universe.”
Maybe a bit overly dramatic, but hey, that is what a blurb is supposed to do, right? Although in this case perhaps not dramatic enough.
Speaking of drama, I have also been looking into what goes into the making of a book trailer. Interesting concepts have come to light, and I am excited about exploring the option of making a book trailer for Michael's Mystery.
While I have watched my share of video clips on YouTube, I have by no means explored the platform for promoting my books. I have some ideas and will keep you posted on how I plan to accomplish bringing one of my books to life.
Marketing anything, books especially, is no longer the advertising campaigns they used to be not so long ago. In some ways marketing has become more personal, and to my inexperienced mind, more exciting. There are more platforms to explore and more exciting ways of doing things. And not only social media platforms. I think sometimes people get saturated with the advertising, and buy-me buy-me posts on the various sites. It could be that we forget there are people on the other end of that internet connection. People want interaction with a person not an IP address.
With Camp NaNoWriMo starting tomorrow I plan to write a marketing plan for a book, as my project. Hopefully, I will not make the same mistakes as others have, yet still manage to put a plan on the table that would get people interested in the adventures, challenges and lives of the characters that live in my fantasy world.

Wednesday, 16 April 2014

AtoZ Blog Challenge: N is for NANOWRIMO

April and July presents the opportunity for anyone who wishes to write a novel to 'practice' for the main event in November each year.
CampNaNoWriMo as the events in April and July are known, differ slightly from NaNoWriMo in that you can set your own target with a minimum of 10,000 words. It might sound like a lot but if you break it down into a daily target, it is an easier target. How difficult can it be to write 10,000/30 = 333.3 words (okay, make it 334) every day for 30 days?
The benefit is that you get into the habit of writing, you can plan to write everyday and if you get ahead of your target (which is always recommended) there is less pressure when the dreaded deadline looms.
And these events are fun. There are local groups and online groups and the best thing of all is the support given by everyone taking part.
Not a novel writer? Why not write a collection of short stories? I have found that a Plan B, the short stories, is an excellent way of writing for this challenge. You never know what ideas might crop up that could be explored in a novel.

My work schedule is especially nightmarish this year, but the one thing that I add to my calender on January1st, is NaNoWriMo - and Camp is the best preparation there is.

Monday, 25 November 2013

NaNoWriMo 2013 - the blood, sweat and almost tears

After my previous (albeit very successful) NaNoWriMo, I decided never to punish myself that way again. What was I thinking? This year was worse!
And the punishment had nothing to do with the word count target of 50k, but everything to do with my attempt to write non-fiction.
For a pantser, planning is the equal of pulling teeth, through the ### (okay, I won't say it, but you get it) and yet non-fiction cannot be written any other way.
Having had some experience with non-fiction writing over the years, academic papers and such, I knew what to do.
Research was in place.
The structure of the document was in place.
The format changed and changed again until I was satisfied with the way it looked.
So I just had to write each chapter and I was set, right? It didn't happen. Sure the research was there, but not complete. So I had to spend several hours finding the info I had missed somehow. Did I mention that was a deadline involved here?
So Plan A was ditched, temporarily, and Plans B, C and D came into effect. And boy, did that help. I still have to do a lot of work on the non-fiction title, but I got three complete short stories written too! And one of them will be submitted for an actual competition in December!
This year I may not have done the 100k like I did last year, but I have three completed projects (the first drafts anyway) and another one well on its way.
Now to go and dig out that internal editor. Where are you hiding, little butterfly?

Tuesday, 9 July 2013

Camp NaNoWriMo - Day 9 - Excerpt of Michael's Mystery

As promised I said I would post an excerpt of my next book: Michael's Mystery - The Grandmasters. It is not the beginning since that would be giving a little away of the ending of Keeper of the Dragon Sword (sorry!)If you would like to see how I see the world where Michael's Mystery takes place - visit my Pinterest Board Michael's Mystery (WIP) for a visual glance into this story.

So here is the excerpt - enjoy!

She had gotten used to people staring at her over time. She barely noticed it any more, but Michael wasn't staring at her bloodred hair, nor was he frowning at her odd eyes trying to decide if she was a demon or not. The way he was looking at her had nothing to do with her features.
This time she had kept his gaze as penetrating as it was.
Did he see as deep as it felt? Could he devise her confusion when she was unable to? A thought flitted around the edges of that confusion. Did he know how to fix it?
"Do you want me to?"
She blinked at his quiet tone. "Can you sense my thoughts?"
He held out his hand and without thinking she laid hers in his palm. He pulled her to stand between his legs. "Anoré shared with me the ability to sense if someone was lying or not. It helps with my work, but I cannot sense thoughts just because I want to." He pressed her hand to his lips.
But for some reason when I look into your eyes long enough, your thoughts float into my mind.
Oh dear, I hope not everything.
He grinned and her mortification turned into a shy smile.
"That's better. I don't like to see you so unsure of yourself."
He put his free hand on the small of her back and pulled her right up against him.
It was not what she had expected to happen and didn't protest. Even when he just looked at her, letting her adjust to the heat and scent of him so close up, did she for a moment thought to push him away.
It was quite odd, she thought. "You didn't ask, and for some reason I don't want to refuse you," she mused out loud.
His immediate response was the movement of the thumbs against her back and hand. It made a different kind of heat flow into her veins.
"Do you want to kiss me?" Her voice was barely there. It felt wrong to repeat the question so she didn't.
"You're beautiful and I like you."
"Oh. Umm. Do you always kiss the people you like?"
His naughty grin appeared. "Only the women. I am not much into kissing men."
She couldn't help the giggle that escaped her. It felt so nice with his hands making those little pleasurable circles and the joy of his teasing, put together.
She put a tentative hand on his chest. Like her he had removed the outer layer of clothes when they came inside, and she felt his heart beating through the thin fabric of his shirt. This time heat infused her palm.
"Have you kissed many women?"
"Yes," he began, but held her in place when she wanted to pull away. "But only special ones get special kisses," he whispered before leaning closer and claiming her lips.
Andesine knew that he was an experienced lover, but his kiss told her so much more than his words. Kissing did not always mean love or lead to sharing pleasure, but she knew that sometimes it did.
Was it going to happen now?
Andesine had been kissed before. Teenage curiousity more than an actual desire to experience the sensation. At the time she had written it off as not worth the shivers her friends had pretended it caused. When she couldn’t get excited about it, with a boy she had liked, she decided to let it go.
Michael was not a boy.
And his kiss was not making her shiver either. It was causing her insides to quake and she feared her legs were not going to last much longer in keeping her upright.
She must have made some little sound to show her distress because he softened the kiss even more and lifted his mouth away. It was a relief that he still held her though. It would have been most embarassing if she fell to the floor at this point.
Feeling that she had to say something, she opened her mouth. “Um…”
He touched her lips to silence her.
Her confusion changed direction. He didn’t think her a tease or worse, did he?
“Did I take advantage?”
His voice was tender and she could feel his concern.
Instead of answering, she laid her head against his chest and closed her eyes. It took her a moment to realise that his heart was racing too and the hard heat against her stomach was still there.
Standing quite still she absorbed the feel of his body. He had wrapped both arms around her and she smiled when his nose shifted to her hair. Dragons had sensitive olfactory receptors and even as a female child of a dragon-human mating, hers were heightened.
Just like that the need for words was gone.
As a healer she came into contact with all kinds of people, and sometimes they were naked when a healing was required.
Michael, fully dressed, was an experience beyond which she had no reference. It was hot but his heat was calming instead of frustrating.
There was an unexpected safety to be held like this. On some level it reminded her of her parents, but it wasn’t the same. It felt more elemental, like the crystal she was named after. Something so basic and primitive that it could only be described in its elemental state of molecules and crystalline connections.
And overlaid was his scent to weave the moment together in her memories.
She had learned about pheromones and scent to attract mates in shifters, but she couldn’t smell the mustiness normally associated with that. Instead he smelled of the herbs they were working with this morning and fresh rain and some wood that invited her closer.

Monday, 1 July 2013

Going Camping!

I am going to Camp in July and after the month long excitement of Keeper of the Dragon Sword being on blog tour, and the launch here at home, I am ready to write again.

And my project is the next book in the series of The Nations of Peace - entitled Michael's Mystery. It will be the second Grandmaster novel, and it starts almost immediately where Keeper of the Dragon Sword ended of.

Shall I tell you a bit more? Let's wait a day or so for me to get stuck in, then I will let you peek into the story that will bring closure to the mysterious murders in Keeper of the Dragon Sword. Of course, there is another romance on the cards too, for Michael.

Even Camp NaNoWriMo is a writing challenge, and I have set myself the target of 50,000 words for the month. Camp with me, and let's see if I am up to the challenge.

Saturday, 1 December 2012

NaNoWriMo - The Day After The Month Before

November 2012 is behind us and so is NaNoWriMo for another year. My target for this year was 120k words, and while I did not make it, I did manage a respectable 100k in my opinion. But setting such a large target did teach me a few things:

1. Make sure the house is cleaned before November, because there simply is no time for anything but the most essential chores.
2. Practice typing such large word counts for a while, my hands are tired and even typing this blog post is taking some time.
3. Having a Plan B in my pocket was very useful, yet again. But for such a high target this is essential as there is simply no time to sit and wonder where the plot is going.
4. A support group is a life saver. Whether it is your NaNo group, or your writer's group, or just friends and family. Without such people behind you, a target this high becomes impossible.
On this last point I have to make special mention of :
-my husband, Francois Venter, who practiced an unusual amount of patience with my constant typing and taking my notebook computer everywhere we went, and
-the kind people of Cherry Berry Café who not only let my write there for hours at a time, but with their enthusiasm, and great coffee, I made it with my sanity intact!

Saturday, 17 November 2012

NaNoWriMo - Day 17

We decided to take a weekend away in the Drakensberg, and you have to agree the view is a spectacular one. My writing is not spectacular in progressing towards my target though, but I am getting some words in. It is difficult to write when such a scene is before me, but then again it is a terrific inspiration too :)

Thanks for letting me share the pic, Francois! Hubby did an HDR with 5 photographs of the view from the Berghouse and Cottages in the Northern Drakensberg, near Bergville.

Wednesday, 14 November 2012

NaNoWriMo - Day 14

Yes, I have fallen behind on my crazy schedule, but I am still writing and still having fun. My story has taken a few unexpected twists, but that is not really a bad thing. The end goal is still the same, my plot is only taking a more interesting route to get there.

Thinking back, and knowing where I stand now in terms of writing it, I didn't plot as well as I should have. Lesson learned. With the editing still to be done, whenever that is going to happen, I can always fix the little glitches that have cropped up along the way.

My favourite line so far:  "I wanted you to myself for a few minutes without them hovering over you like bees on a flower."

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Will she get the future she wants? M/F/M Erotic vampire romance (18+ only)   Solange knows that she is not like the average woman who...