What makes you hang on the edge of your seat? I call that a favorite, and I talk about some of my current faves over at the Speculative Chic blog!
Go check it out!
I was going to write “And from his labors, he rested” but that’s entirely to uncomfortably Messianic for me, so here’s the scoop: on the last day of Nano, I have stopped at 75,282 words.
This somehow all magically happened because I never lost my momentum after the Night of Writing Dangerously, oh, and because this is Cinnamon Frost, and she’s awesome!
This is the most I’ve ever written in Nano, by a long shot – almost 10,000 words more. Not quite, and I’m not super motivated to make it exactly 10,000 words more. If I think of more words tonight, eh maybe.
Oh yes, the traditional excerpt:
The first challenge was easy—spirit. Awareness. Being aware of faerie.
The second challenge was harder—mind. Intellect. Learnin’ the logic of faerie.
The third challenge was the hardest of all. Body. Emotion. Feeling faerie in your bones.
A huge cacklin’ thing bursts out of the water. Its head is as big as Krishna’s, a huge green dripping thing under a mass of hair, its wide smooth but mottled nose remindin’ me of a diseased muppet. We can’t see the thing’s eyes, but its arms loom around us. Ben and Surrey screams.
“Do you care?” it screams, openin’ a maw filled with giant teeth the size of playing cards. I think it could swallow any of us whole. “Do you care if you diieie?”
“Aaaah!” Benjamin and Surrey screams. “We care! We care!”
The thing looms further forward. “Then flee, mortals, or you may perish here!”
“Don’t flee,” I murmurs. “Or you may perish elsewhere—”
“We—we will not flee,” Surrey cries.
“For we may perish elsewhere,” Benjamin says with sudden insight. Did he hear me?
“But stay here, and death will be certain, mortals!” the thing cries, loomin’ over them.
“Stay anywhere, and death is certain, for mortals!” Benjamin cries.
“And you don’t care if you die,” I murmurs into Surrey’s ear.
“And we don’t care if we die,” Surrey says. “What? Ci—”
“Surely death comes to all mortals,” Benjamin says. “Why should we care?”
“I could make death hurt,” the thing cries, stretchin’ its arms out like a giant Muppet.
“Or we could die in our sleep,” I murmurs. “But I can make death hurt him more.”
I actually have practically finished BOT NET, so next up is Cinnamon Frost #3, ROOT USER! Oh, and editing Dakota Frost #4, SPECTRAL IRON! Due in about 4-5 months. Aaaaaaa!
If I keep up the pace that I’ve been keeping …
I won’t just beat my best record ever (which I already have) …
… I’ll hit the somewhat ludicrous amount of 75,000 words in a month, beyond the 70,000 I’ve already hit.
4,648 words to hit that goal … less than I did yesterday or even today. Let’s get cracking.
If I write 11,293 words by the end of the month …
~2900 words a day, not counting today …
I will beat my all time Nanowrimo record of 65,995 words:
Sounds like a worthier goal than spending the same words responding to everyone who’s wrong on the Internet.
Hoisted from Facebook:
Q. How should I start looking into getting published?
A. The most important thing is writing. The next most important thing is finishing. The next next most important thing is researching markets and sending things out. If you are doing all that, there are two other great force multipliers: not waiting to start your next piece while the previous ones are out, and networking – going where other authors are: cons, writing conferences, writing workshops. If you are doing all that, get yourself an agent – it is the next big multiplier.
And that’s it, in 95 words! Paraphrasing Robert Heinlein, to get published, you’ve got to write, you’ve got to finish what you write, you’ve got to send out what you write until it gets sold. But if you really want to get published, you can’t wait on that first piece to succeed; you need to go ahead and start the next one. And you can’t rely on your own ability to find opportunities and markets; you’ve got to find other writers and editors to help you find the right home for your work. And if you’re doing all that, you’re on the path to having interesting enough work to attract an agent, so you might as well start looking.
Hey gang, now that I’ve succeeded at National Novel Writing Month nineteen times, I thought I’d take a little time out to tell you that my secret to National Novel Writing Month success is to put Nano first.
Now, that seems obvious – almost, like, too obvious to be advice – but I want to put it into perspective by first asking you a few questions.
If you think it will work for you – if you want to finish what you write, and you want to take on the Nanowrimo challenge to write 50,000 words and you want to finish it, and you are willing to do things differently in order to make that success happen – then here’s the secret:
Put completing National Novel Writing Month first.
Well, okay, yes, you gotta breathe, and you gotta eat, and don’t get fired – however. There are a lot of things that creative people do, and if you want to succeed at National Novel Writing Month, you may need to change them. For example:
So, that’s it: if you want to succeed at Nano, put Nano first. Turn off your Internet, tune back your blogging, put off your research, and take time off to write. Most importantly, throw off your comforting illusions, feel free to outline or even to vent in your manuscript, knowing that each word you write isn’t just getting you closer to success at Nanowrimo, it’s getting you closer to having a beginning-to-end path through your story … which you can then revise into a finished product.
And that’s how I succeed at Nano. Try it. It could work for you too.
So, I just succeeded the 19th time at National Novel Writing Month!
This year, I was working on BOT NET, the second Cinnamon Frost novel. I’m writing these three books in one huge manuscript, which I successfully took from 179591 to 229911 words as of today!
This year, the combination of participating in the Night of Writing Dangerously, plus having the luxury of taking off the week of Thanksgiving to write, really pushed me over the edge:
Interesting, the hole at Thanksgiving. I wonder if that’s true every year? That’s not something you can readily see when you look at the yearly charts since it moves (stay tuned, these charts are going to come back later):
There was a time when almost every post about Nanowrimo I’d include an excerpt. Frankly, that’s gotten harder to do as I’ve switched from doing Nano once per year to three times per year; the Nano material has become more inchoate as I blaze new paths out into story space, requiring more work to turn it into final material. But, occasionally, I can indeed include some material that gives you a flavor …
“I … I gotta be honest here. I needs help.”
“Cinnamon,” Nri says gently. “I know that. I’ve had many, many students before.”
“Another damn teacher,” I rollin’ my eyes. Then I realizes—“Did I say that out loud?”
“Yes, you did,” Nri says, smiling sardonically. “I don’t even think that was Tourette’s.”
“It-it wasn’t,” I says. “I’m sorry, sir, but …” I grimaces. I genuinely don’t know what tone to set here. Act like Mom’s world, use Southern politeness, act like the werekindred, use growls and barks … or, maybe, just be me? Who’s that then? “I, uh, don’t, ah, know how to say this but I wasn’t tryin’ to insult you before or to butter you up now but we gots a real situation and if we leaves it up to my Mom there’s a very good chance that the D of the W. A. will spirit my boyfriend and my alt-crush off to the wilds of nowhevers, and if the elders of the werehold finds out where they are they may go and do somethin’ stupid right on the doorsteps of people totally prepared to do somethin’ stupid, so I’m guessin’ the smart thing is for the people who are smart and wizardly to do somethin’ smart and wizardly, but I can’t do this alone, because I am, like, thirteen, and why in godsname does everybody think I can do everythin?”
Nri stares, blinks, shakes his head, like he’s comin’ out of a trance.
“God, I’d wish I’d timed that,” he says. “I think you talk faster than JFK—”
“Who?” I asks.
“Nevermind,” Nri says. “I’m sold.”
Ah, Cinnamon, you and your wacky hijinks. Thanks for coming into my writing life, wherever the hell you came from.
And now, on to all the things I’ve been putting off blogging while I’ve been working on Nano, including … how to succeed at Nano! (I hope you’ll agree I have some credentials in that area).
Onward, fellow adventurers!
Milestones are coming. And the first of these is catching up on my wordcount for my Nanowrimo project this November, BOT NET!
Winning at Nano always feels like climbing a hill, but for me in particular it almost always feels like I start out sliding back down, Sisyphus-like, as I struggle to get a handle on the story.
But then there comes that magic point where I need to write 1,666 words in a day and I. Got. Nothing. Then I’m forced to be creative, and the real fun stuff happens, an event I call “going off the rails”. Hey, let’s try to embed a tweet!
It’s all too easy for stories to fall in predictable ruts – but in #NaNoWriMo , when you’ve got to produce 50,000 words in a month, sometimes your story “goes off the rails” into territory your conscious mind never expected … and that’s gold! https://t.co/Qmtuzb1XKE
— Anthony Francis (@xenotaur) November 13, 2017
So now things are back on track for the month, and I’m smack in the middle of where I normally am this time of Nano … Actually, it appears I’m ahead. Checking the stats … yep. At this point, I’m normally just shy of 6,000 words behind ( -5,984, though that estimate is numerically precise, it is not likely to be meaningfully accurate ) but today I am 169 words ahead of the Nano wordcount:
I’m one more thing too: 200,000 words into the Cinnamon Frost trilogy.
There are 3 published Dakota Frost novels: FROST MOON, BLOOD ROCK and LIQUID FIRE, and three more finished rough drafts: SPECTRAL IRON, PHANTOM SILVER, and SPIRITUAL GOLD. By my count, I’ve written about 900,000 words about Dakota Frost, Skindancer, the woman who can bring her tattoos to life. But in one sense, that’s expected: I planned Dakota. I wanted to write a character that other people who can relate to.
Cinnamon Frost, as I’ve said before, is a character I never expected. She shoved her way into the Dakota Frost universe, in one of those “step off into space moments”, and she shows no signs of leaving.
Cinnamon might say 200,000 seems significant because of how humans process patterns – how we love all those zeroes – but it’s just a number: 2*10*10*10*10*10. But somehow, it feels right to take it this far, and I look forward to writing the next 100,000 to 150,000 words that will finish her trilogy and give her a chance to live her own literary life.
Time to get back to it.
P. S. I said milestones are coming. If you’ve read closely in this post, you’ll realize another milestone is coming soon. Stay tuned …
So, the good news: I just crossed the 10,000 word mark in Nanowrimo 2017!
The bad news: I need to be at 13,333 words by today!
The good-bad news is, normally I’m closer to 4500 words behind at this point of Nano, so I am ahead of where I am normally behind:
What can I. say? “Don’t get cocky, kid.” Back to it …
Oh hey! I almost forgot! Thinking Ink Press, the small press of which I am a part, is doing a fundraiser to produce a book of essays by my good friend Keiko O’Leary, leader of the Write to the End writing group.
Keiko’s “we accept all writing” philosophy and no-drama writing sessions have inspired many writers over the years, and she’s written a lot about her philosophy on her own blog and on Write to the End.
This fundraiser, in addition to getting you a cool tote bag that will remind you that “You have a story to tell,” will help us put together a book of her essays and publish it through Thinking Ink Press!