Camp NaNo – My First Sequel

July’s Camp NaNoWriMo is coming up, and I’m excited to start my first sequel! I published Blood & Holy Water back in April, and since then, readers have been asking for a sequel…so…here we go! I have a tentative cover (since, for some reason, covers motivate me to write) and a working title.

bhw ff

Book 1 (Blood & Holy Water) was about an angel who needed a miracle to earn her wings…and it turns out her miracle involved a vampire with a secret to protect.

Book 2 (Feathers & Fur) will be about a recently fallen angel who can’t help but try to do good, but when his path’s cross with a werewolf mother that doesn’t want his help, he feels lost in this new world.

I have the whole thing outlined, and know the characters since they appeared in other stories. (The fallen angel was in Blood & Holy Water and the werewolf was in my story Bitten in my Quick Escape: Fantasy Tales freebie.)

Next, I need to come up with a series title.

So, who’s in Camp with me? What will you be working on?

I Wrote ‘THE END’ Twice Today!

update_

It amazing how productive you can be, if your mind is focused on your task. (AND you have a day off of work.)

Today, I wrote “THE END” not once, but twice!

Yup, twice. I always wish I’d only work on one project at a time, but sometimes, I lose motivation for one project and need to jump to another–for sanity sake.

For Camp NaNo, my “announced” project was to write a 15K short story, titled “Hidden” for a multi-author collection I’m participating in. I outlined this story in March and set off writing April 1st. Disconnecting my computer’s WiFi and setting the timer nearly every day, I committed to write for 30 minutes. Once my scene was laid out, I discovered that I could write about 1200 words in only 30 minutes. Pretty amazing! I wrote “The End” on this story before lunch today — clocking in at 18K words total.

Then, for a break, I’ve been working on fixing and finishing my November NaNoWriMo project, “Secret Lives of Superheroes’ Wives”. Not an official project, but something I wanted (needed) to complete.

Well, today, I could actually see the finish line…and I pushed forward. Here I am…8PM…and I just wrote “The End” on Superhero Wives.

It feels fantastic!

Next up: A round of edits and then off to beta readers.

(Okay, a little secret: My first drafts are TERRIBLE! I wouldn’t show them to anyone! I’m writing this here as a reminder to myself…when I get down and think I can’t write…hang in there and it gets better. For me, the magic happens during editing. Taking an endless ocean of raw words and ideas, polishing them, and turning out something you’d let someone else read.)

How’s your Camp NaNoWriMo project going? I’d love to hear.

Increasing Writing Productivity – Camp NaNo Style!

Guess what time it is? Camp NaNoWriMo time! I’m so excited. After participating (and failing) regular NaNoWriMo in November, I can’t wait for camp. Camping is so much fun — all due to the interaction with your cabin mates.

My main goal for camp is to write a 15,000 word short story with a title of “Hidden” for a multi-author project I’m participating in, but I have a secret goal…

Since my funk back in December (when I thought all my writing sucked, and I’d should throw in the towel) my productivity has really dropped off. I’m still moving forward, but at a snail pace compared to how most of 2016 went. For April’s camp, I want to get back in a routine. Back focused on what I love to do — write!

When I look at why I don’t get enough words down on paper, there’s two main reasons.

  1. Motivation: The massive drive I had last year is lost. Where did you go? I miss you! I think the urge to publish something kept me going. Now that I have one (soon to be two) books published, I don’t have that same fire.
  2. Distraction: Having published books means I need to spend time marketing and networking. I find myself spending way too much time doing this. (Yeah, have you been following my 1000 “true” fan blog series? Yup. Lots of time devoted to that.)

So, for camp… I’m making a commitment:

I WILL WRITE FOR 30 MINUTES, UNINTERRUPTED EVERY DAY.

This is not revising, outlining, or editing. This is hard-core putting new words down on paper. I’m going to track the number of words per day. I want to see if I learn to write faster and more efficient as the month goes by. In May, I’d love to up that time to a full hour dedicated solely to writing. (With the wi-fi off on my laptop and my phone on “do not disturb.”)

So…what’s my Camp NaNo project? A group of authors are getting together to write short stories (between 5000 and 20,000 words) with the title “Hidden.” The story can be about anything, as long as it has the “hidden” theme. We’re all going to publish our own stories this fall and cross-promote each other. It’ll be a ton of fun, since I love collaboration! (If you’d like to join us, there’s definitely still time and space — Here’s the Facebook group to join about it.)

I made my first draft of the cover here (It’ll still change 100 times before I publish):

 

Here’s the summary of the project: A pregnant fairy godmother flees to the human world to hide her secret as she looks for the father of her child.

(I have a full outline written — it was something to do while I was stuck in an airplane for 4 hours in Paris last week.)

Are you doing Camp NaNoWriMo? I’d love to hear about your project.

Blood & Holy Water – First Draft Done!

It only took me nearly TEN years and multiple first attempts, but Blood & Holy Water has a completed first draft! It feels fantastic!

PLUS I feel it’s the best first draft I’ve ever written. This story I wrote with the help of a critique partner (who I found on GoodReads) that went through each chapter as I wrote it – helped me with plot holes and grammar issues as I wrote… Which left me with a First Draft I’d actually show more people.

I started June 26th with the actually writing and finished today… 41 days to 60K. Not bad, but this novel practically wrote itself (it should have, I had 10 years to think about it!)

Next step: August 15th I’m participating in a novel swap though Scribophile where we swap novels with 3 others writers. I haven’t participated before, but we each will end up with three critiques on our novels. There’s still time to sign up (it’s free) if you need a read through of your novel. There are alpha reads and beta reads.  I have 10 days to zip through what I wrote one more time and make sure it’s ready for the swap.

Also, here is the first chapter of Blood & Holy Water if you’re interested.

Thank you for following my journey!

–Joy

Blood & Holy Water Cover

 

Week 4: Camp NaNoWriMo – Not The End

When I first heard of November’s NaNoWriMo, I thought it was an insane idea. How can anyone write 50,000 words in one month? Anyone that does it must not have a family or a full time job, right?

Well, now, I’m realizing that it is possible. During July’s camp, my goal was 25K in the month and I surpassed it, reaching 42K. (I started my novel the last week of June, because I couldn’t wait, and I’m currently at 50K.)  I think if I wasn’t editing my other novel and reading a few manuscripts for others, I could have easily hit 50K this month. And, that’s with a 40+ hour per week job, a husband and two children at home (though, I probably didn’t really cook or clean this month – which I’m not complaining about), and a few little family weekend trips squeezed in.

I only have 6-7 chapters to go and I’ll have completed TWO novels in 2016 so far. With November’s NaNoWriMo, that’ll be THREE novels. And to think that when I started this blog I swore I’d never try to write another novel again!

Well, August’s goal is to figure out what to do next. What do you do with a finished novel? Is it ever really finished?  Stay tuned for my step-by-step saga. That whole process seems quite overwhelming.

So November, here I come! I’ll get to 50K, I’m sure of it. Now, I just need a new novel idea and I can begin outlining.

What I learned this July:  with a good outline, the writing part is easy.  Coming up with the story is the difficult part.

How did July’s Camp NaNoWriMo go for you? Did you reach your goals? (I hope so!)

Week 3: Camp NaNoWriMo– Be The Villain

camp nano

I’m late for my update. Well, I won camp! Woo Hoo! (Since I didn’t technically win April’s camp.) I’m currently well ahead of my goal! 40K done of a goal of 31K and I still have 7 days left this month. (Which is good, because I still have 10 chapters of my 27 chapters to write.)

I’m approaching the climax now. The middle of the book is HARD! I was stuck earlier and took a day off from writing to plot the story out. I obsessed about it and couldn’t function in the real world as I tried to figure out how to get from point A to point B.

To get me out of this, I put myself in the mind of the villain, forgetting my protagonists. I wrote a few chapters of the middle of the story from the villain’s perspective. (I planned on putting then in the novel, but cut them when I realized it took away from the mystery/suspense.) This was an amazing technique to keep the story moving and add some depth.

My brother tells me he loves the villains. I never understood, but now have a new appreciation. They are flawed. They take action to make things go their way. They make the story happen.

How do you get through the endless middle section/act 2 of your stories?

Week 2: Camp NaNoWriMo – Critique Partner

CNW_Participant[1]

I just finished Week #2 of Camp NaNoWriMo and things are smooth sailing.  I’ve finished 28,100 words of my 31,000 words goal.

On GoodReads, I stumbled upon an ad for a critique partner. A fellow writer was looking for a partner to read each chapter of her novel as she finishes it (Work in Progress). What pulled me in was her characters were similar to mine for this Camp Nano. I jumped at the opportunity to have some feedback on the novel as I wrote it.

This is an entirely new concept for me. I’ve never shared a work in progress before. My first drafts… Or rather, draft zero, is typically terrible. A complete embarrassment that I won’t even show to my mother. Maybe this one is too, but I’m still sharing it and using the feedback to make it better. I believe that when I get to the end, I’ll have the best first draft I’ve ever written.

My palms sweat and my heart flutters before I share each chapter – both from fear and from excitement. I really like having feedback on the plot before I write a 50K+ novel and have to rework the whole thing.

Plus it keeps me going. I don’t think I’d be 28K into the novel already if I didn’t have someone eagerly waiting to read my next chapter. So even if it’s not perfect, I still click “share”.

We’ve been using Google Docs, and I’m really enjoying this program for critique partner/feedback. It handles comments really well and you can go in and see exactly what your partner changed in their story based on your feedback.

How is your project going, and what have you been doing to stay motivated?