NaNoWriMo 2017 – My Thoughts

If you are a writer, you’ll know it’s almost time again. That month that turns novelist and novelist wannabees into raving lunatics. Like zombies with one thought in mind – WORDSSSSSS!. Big ones, little ones, hell, they don’t even have to make sense. Progress is progress towards that end goal of 50,000, right?

Not exactly. At least, not for me.

I’ve done NaNo in the past, and one of my books is the result of one of those years. But I know I won’t join this year, and probably won’t ever join again. Why?

Lots of reasons. Here’s a few:

1. Novel already in progress (I think?)
A short story that just kept on rolling along has hit over 10,000 words. It’s not finished yet, not even close. I still don’t know what it is, exactly, but I know I’m not about to abandon it for a new project. I may let it sit for a few days, yet never for a week, and certainly not a month. It will die if I walk away from it that long. We can’t have that.

2. Short Story Season
I just came off a longer novel that took a year for me to feel satisfied with, and now I’m focused on short stories. Not just writing, but submitting them to publications as well. I enjoy being able to float in between shorter projects without being bogged down with a single story for 30 days.

3. Schedule Conflicts
Not just the short stories, the whatever-it-is story, or other writing projects. I also have a family. Sometimes they are extremely needy. I’d get serious stressed if I held myself to a word count requirement on one project. And when I don’t meet goals, I feel depressed. Just best to pass on added stress.

4. Agent Searching
Last but not least, I’m looking for a Literary Agent to represent Hope’s Journey. That’s work. It’s the nitty gritty stuff that needs some serious attention to detail if it’s to be done properly (which I am, hopefully, in the process of doing). So, no time for counting words. That’s not where my focus needs to be.

All that said, I do with those doing it this year the best of luck. I think National Novel Writing Month is a fun journey to take for any writer, as stressful and overwhelming as that journey may be at times. I’ll be cheering you on from the sidelines as much as possible on Twitter. I hope your prepping is going well if you chose to do that this month, and I hope you make your 50,000 words with plenty of time to fully enjoy Thanksgiving. 🙂

Best wishes, fellow writers!


2017 Update / Hope’s Journey

Several years after disappearing from the social media scene and scrapping my last novel, it’s not that hard to guess what I’ve been doing. Yup, you guessed it – I’ve been writing another novel.

In the summer of 2016, it started with a single line.

“It’s almost time.”

That haunting line would become the first line of the novel that was to be, with only a small inkling of an idea of what adventures were to come.

“It’s almost time,” the voice of Bridget whispered in my head, pulling me out of a peaceful dream.

The stage was set, and characters already in motion. This story – or rather, the entire world the story is based – has been floating around me for more than a decade. The characters already knew who they were, and what they were suppose to do. So I began to write.

Just a few weeks after I started, I lost my dad to cancer. We didn’t have a lot of time left in the end (who ever does?), yet I was able to have an extremely rare opportunity to sit down and have a long talk with him less than 48 hours before he died. It was the kind of conversation that left me feeling complete, and that everything had been said. I told him I was writing another book, and that I was going to be an author. He told me, “you’ll be great at it”. There were other trivial things and matters discussed, yet the discussion about the book was the spark I needed to keep going.

Here we are a year later, and my hunt for a literary agent begins. I have no desire to self-publish this time around, as that requires a special skill set that I’m not prepared to venture into. I would much rather work with experts in the book marketing field and focus on writing. That’s what authors do, after all, isn’t it? Write?

Be watching for updates on Hope’s Journey soon!

Forgotten Spirits of Halloween (Short Story)

This story was written years ago, the prompt being “an unlikely character POV”. It was always one of my favorites and will eventually be part of a short story collection. Since the collection won’t be out until long after Halloween, I felt it necessary to share the story now. Enjoy!

Forgotten Spirits of Halloween

Halloween night, 7:30 PM.

I watch the parade of trouble makers filing past me in search of perfect sugary treats. Silently chuckling to myself at the sight of these little people dressed in odd clothing with several layers of make-up, I wonder how anyone could mistake them for real spirits. I know any self-respecting pumpkin such as myself would not. Silly humans, anyway. It’s like they don’t even try. As if this night is just a joke to them.

They also don’t even know it’s not late enough. The real spirits don’t appear to me for another few hours, once all the children have put themselves into sugar-induced comas and all their care-givers have retired to their beds. Once all is quiet on the street again, I know they’ll come.

When 11pm comes around, I see the first one. She is a beautiful flowing light, with smoke trailing her like a long transparent dress. Alone and looking distraught, I know she is lost.

“Hello there miss, need some direction?” I ask, hoping she can see my form in the dark. I only wish my creators would have left the candle inside burning. Although sometimes that scares them a bit when they are new, and I wonder if she may be.

“Who said that?” she whispers in tones only we can hear, even on Halloween night.

“Over here. The pumpkin. I’m here to help guide you.”

“You can hear me? See me?” She looks at me with a puzzled look, not quite understanding how a pumpkin could communicate with her when no one else can. Now I know she is a new spirit, having very little interaction with the others. She needs to be with her own.

“Yes, and yes. Have a seat beside me, and I’m sure others will arrive soon,” I would smile sweetly, but my face has been carved in a fixed evil grin. I assure her I am not evil, but rather created to look it. She accepts this information, still bound by her former knowledge of the forgotten holiday.

We sit and chat awhile, as I explain to her the ways of the ghostly world. I am not like her, and have never been human. Instead, I only exist around the holiday, fading in and out of existence. My only purpose is to guide, similar in the way the sun gives off heat.

It isn’t long before more travelers appear. An aged gentleman and younger woman, both standing similar to that of my new girl. I call out to them. “Hello travelers! Might you come here for a moment?” They look to me, seeing the new girl. The older man nods. He knows what favor I seek.

This newly deceased girl has been taken care of, but more come tonight. Resting on the front porch of the living, I wait in the darkness under the moon for more travelers to arrive.

NaNoWriMo 2014

Usually this time of year is an exciting one for an author. Nature is changing, begging for new stories. Weather gets colder, forcing us inside to write. There is a distinct buzz in the air about the infamous “National Novel Writing Month”.

This year, however, it will be different. There will be no NaNoWriMo. At least, not for me.

Why No NaNoWriMo?

Don’t get me wrong, I love the idea of NaNo. I love that it kicks authors into gear and has the ability to crank out some wonderful fiction (and sometimes non-fiction) novels. I love the “do or die” writing that comes from being held accountable for so many words a day, week, and for the month.

What I don’t love is the drama and stress that it brings into my household. While my family has no problems with me writing (and a few even enjoy my stories), they do have problems with me being locked in a room for an entire month. Our family unit simply falls apart if my attention is solely devoted to writing. I have tried in the past to prepare them for my November disappearance, but it flat out doesn’t work.

So, with a heavy heart I have to decline participation in NaNo this year. Not because I don’t want to, or even because my family doesn’t want me to. But because there is only one of me, and this one has other obligations that prevent cranking out x-number of words per day. It stresses me out, but more importantly it stresses my family out. Badly.

Still Writing?

Even though I won’t be smack in the middle of the hype, I will still be writing. Just not 1,700+ words per day or 50,000 in a month. Maybe a few hundred, may none at all, but I WILL still be writing. I HAVE been writing, even if lately it’s been nothing but crap (we all have those days/months/years).

The beauty of skipping the challenge this year is that I will be able to work on multiple works instead of just one. I actually have several ideas in the making – a short story collection, a new fiction novel in a different genre than fantasy (not too different, just hopping over to paranormal for a moment!), and there’s even some ideas in the back of my head for a type of book rarely seen anymore. Make no mistakes – I AM WRITING! Just not for NaNoWriMo.

Not only will I still be writing, but I’ll be sitting on the sidelines cheering others who will be giving it a go. Seasoned vets and newbies, too, will have my total support. Just because I won’t be participating doesn’t mean I won’t be supporting others. Quite the opposite! Be sure to follow me on Twitter as I’ll be pushing you along in between writing, editing, and family obligations. 😉