All posts by Lilycat

Getting Into Shape for NaNoWriMo

Image courtesy of digitalart at
Image courtesy of digitalart at

In some ways preparing for the write-a-thon that is NaNoWriMo is a bit like preparing for an important race, like a marathon.  Not that you’d find me out running every day, but with a target number of words a day around 1,700, you do need to prepare for the race if you haven’t been doing it all along.  And I haven’t.

I started trying to discipline myself to write every day and work on the word count.  Let me start by saying, I do write every day, just not on my novel.  I have written something just about every day of my life from age eight on.  I’ve written short stories, poetry, newsletters, articles, training manuals, and business proposals.  If you count getting paid to write manuals, regulations and training modules as professional writing, then I am a professional writer.  It’s the creative writing that has lagged behind over the years.

When trying to write over a thousand words a day, the trick may be to turn off the internal editor that wants to polish the writing, choose just the right words and linger over the phrasing.  It may be to allow the purely creative force to freely let the words flow to capture the framework of your story.  So much easier said than done.  Just for example, I paused and changed three words in what I just typed there before continuing to the next sentence.  I stopped to re-read what I had just written, looking to see if it could be written better.

To try to unleash this creative process, I started trying to write every day on my current work in progress, O’Ceagan’s Legacy with an eye to getting as much done on it as I can before starting the new novel on November 1st.  I also wanted to see if I can actually write 1,700 words in a day consistently over the month.  So far, it’s been up and down.  I have done and exceeded the word count several times in the last 10 days, but I have also missed dismally, clocking in with a paltry 368 words one day, but topping out with 3,299 on another day.  The average is good overall and if I can do that while in the challenge, I should be able to make that 50,000 word count goal.

Are all the words good?  No, of course not.  Sometimes you just want to get down the thoughts and the flow of the scenes and not let that editor slide in to search for just the right phrasing.  That will come in the second and third edits.

What you actually write during this kind of writing isn’t a polished novel, but a very rough first draft that will be refined over the next few months to one that will be worthy of being published.  At least, that’s the goal.

If you’re like me and writing a novel has taken over a year for the first draft, then learning to give the creative side the freedom to flow for even 1,500 words a day is a big breakthrough in your writing.

Getting ready for NaNoWriMo


I only heard about NaNoWriMo, the big writer challenge where authors attempt to write a 50,000 word novel in one month, about two years ago when a friend of mine did it.  Then over the summer,  during one of the writing classes I took, the subject came up again.  While talking about it, I began mulling over the idea of joining in this November.  NaNoWriMo is a condensed form of National November Writers Month and is a widely spread campaign to encourage writing.

For the most part, I don’t produce a lot of words a day.  If I did, that novel would be getting completed much sooner than it is.  I am also not a consistent writer, so I thought that maybe, just maybe, this challenge might lead me to form a better writing habit.  And if I succeed, the next novel I have in mind will be completed in first draft form.

If you do the math on this, the challenge is to write an average of 1,667 words a day, give or take.  It really doesn’t sound like much until you sit down to write and those words take a while to add up.  One of my biggest hurdles is turning off the self-editor when I write.  I can spend more time deciding which word I want to use than actually writing a paragraph of story.  Those word choices, action changes and other items that take a good story to a great (or at least better) story can wait until the editing phase, but it’s hard to tell myself that when I’m writing.  And re-reading what is already written will also trigger the self-editor and waste more time plus stifle the creativity somewhat.  At least, it does with me.

So I am gathering information and tips, and  I have an online seminar on the subject coming up later this month, to help me form a battle plan to achieve my goal.  A terrific resource, I think, is our local NaNoWriMo group that is scheduling group writes where we can meet with other writers, chat a bit and write like crazy for three hours.  We’ll see how that goes.  And I’ll report back here on my activities leading up to the write-a-thon as well the various writing events that occur during the month.

Of course, in the middle of all of this writing in November is the Reno Comic Con, so I’ll have to come up with a strategy to get the writing in on those three days of convention-going.  Sleep?  Who needs sleep?!

A “Legacy” Grows

I have been working on the new novel, O’Ceagan’s Legacy,  and it is coming along pretty well.  Not as fast as I’d like, but at least progressing.  It took its first deviation from my original plan yesterday, which is a good thing.  It means the characters are becoming real in my mind and making choices that I didn’t expect.  This is what makes writing fun!

What exactly is a legacy?  The Merriam Webster Dictionary gives two definitions for  it:

1) a gift by will especially of money or other personal property: bequest.

2) something transmitted by or received from an ancestor or predecessor or from the past: Example: the legacy of the ancient philosophers

In my novel, the “legacy” is acting on more than one level.  It also stretches those definitions to something more than what they might seem.  But, as food for thought, a legacy can consist of more than money that is inherited.  It can be a house or land or family jewelry.  The value may be intrinsic or for the history.   It can be practically worthless monetarily, yet worth a fortune in knowledge or sentimental value.  How will this play into O’Ceagan’s Legacy?  Quite interestingly, I believe.

So working on chapter 7 now and lots to go yet, but feeling that this tale will be a pretty good read down the road.  Not quite ready to put up a blurb about it, but it will be coming soon along with an excerpt from the prologue.   I will tell you that it has roots in Celtic mythology and it is set in the far future.  And there is a space freighter involved called “Mo Croidhe”, which is Irish for “my heart”.
Until next time…

About My Blog

My thoughts often flow with varied shades and nuances, much like the colors of the seasons flow in the breezes, or winds, that lift the leaves, the papers, the flower petals and other debris that litter the streets or the yards.  So it seems fitting that my blog should be called this and this is where those thoughts will flow.  I hope you will l enjoy reading some of them and will comment or ask questions; otherwise, they will simply blow away like the rest of the treasures – or debris –  in the wind.

Lily – May 8, 2014

So Easily Sidetracked…

It’s been months since my last post and I have to confess that I have been waylaid along the route. I started to tell you some about a new novel that I was starting to write in my last post. And that novel is still in the works, but it also is waylaid by a new project.

Sometimes an idea that you’ve been mulling around suddenly forms more completely in your mind and the whole story line begins to write itself. This is what has happened with the book I am now working on. It’s called O’Ceagan’s Legacy and it is a science fiction fantasy novel. So for the time being, the YA I was starting has been set aside so I can concentrate on this particular story. I think it’s going to be an entertaining read and I will be posting bits from it soon. (I promise!) This one is kind of flowing now and what will keep it flowing is some feedback from my readers, so you can have a part in helping me get this book done in record time.