Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Family endures yet another year of NaNoWriMo

My family during NaNoWriMo:
Me during NaNoWriMo:

Even though I only wrote about 23,000 words in November this year, falling far short of the 50,000 word goal of NaNoWriMo, I'm still pumped, and I'm still a NaNo junkie. It truly is my favorite time of year. It's a time when I can put off all other things without feeling guilty: the one time of year when my writing comes first, guilt-free.

This was my 7th year, so my family is used to the drill. I don't think they like NaNo very much (probably because of that glazed look in my eyes: either from being sleepy because I was up too late writing, or glazed because I'm far off in novel land, conversing with my characters), but they know how important it is to me and they try to grin and bear it.

As always, the pep talks were inspiring (you can read them all here). Here's a few tidbits:

From Lev Grossman, author of the Magicians.
Let’s say you’re not a writer hard at work on your first novel. Let’s say you’re a Tribute who’s just been selected for the Hunger Games. You’re freaking out because you’re facing almost certain death in the Arena. And instead of a published author, I’m going to be that drunk guy who’s supposed to be telling you how to survive.
His analogies between writing and the Hunger Games were amusing and also a little scarily apt!

From Malinda Lo, author of Adaptation:
Inspiration is like that hot girl or guy you met at a party one time—and when you talked to him or her, it seemed like you totally clicked. There was eye contact; there was flirting; maybe there was even a bit of casual brushing of your hand over theirs, right? I know. I’ve been there. At the end of the night they asked for your number and said, “I’ll definitely call you. We should hang out." But then they never did, and you were left waiting for a call that never came, feeling increasingly like a fool. That’s what inspiration is. It’s seductive and thrilling, but you can’t depend on it to call you.
Oh, and this one, also from Malinda Lo:
How often am I filled with inspiration before I start writing? Pretty much never. Instead, I usually stare at my work-in-progress with a vague sense of doom.
I can so relate to that!

From Marie Lu, author of the Legend trilogy, some excellent tips:
Pull your favorite, tattered, dog-eared book off the shelves. Find a chapter that leaves you breathless. Start typing it out in a new document, word for word. Don’t just type blindly; think about what you’re writing. For me, something about this exercise helps me see the genius in the other writer’s storytelling, and will stimulate my own writing and thoughts. Be careful, of course, that you don’t end up plagiarizing it right into your novel… but there’s something to be said for drawing inspiration from another.
Write a long list of all your characters. Then, start drawing random lines connecting random characters to each other. Don’t think—just connect. Afterward, look down at your page. Try to figure out a connection between each of the two random characters you just linked—something scandalous, maybe, or something sweet. Something three-dimensional and unexpected. Some explosive scene that throws the two together.

From Rainbow Rowell, author of Eleanor and Park.
One of my challenges as an author is staying inside the fictional world I’m creating. I have to write in blocks (at least four hours at a time, at least four days in a row) to make any progress. During NaNoWriMo, I never left the world of the book long enough to lose momentum....I stayed immersed in the story all month long.
That's what I love about NaNoWriMo, the immersion into the story, staying so closely connected to it, day in and day out. Of course at times that means times of discomfort and disillusionment, but if you push past that, the story sweeps you away to amazing places.

How does your family handle your creative escapes?

Also, I'm excited that it’s time for the 3rd Annual YA Superlative Blogfest hosted by Jessica LoveTracey NeithercottAlison Miller, and Katy Upperman. A great way to highlight our favorite YA novels, covers, characters, and story elements. Coming December 16-19


  1. Congrats on NaNo! I'm happy to hear your family is still intact!! :)

    My favorite pep talk quotes were these:

    "If you need inspiration, try perspiration. If you’re meant to write, you’ll write. Sure, we’re all stymied from time to time, struggling over how best to shape a character or how to bring a crucial scene to life. But the best way to confront such problems is to sit down and start typing. Things happen when you make them happen." ~Ralph Peters

    "That resistance you’re feeling is proof that you’re digging deep. To write a novel is to lose your way and find it over, and over, and over again. ~Lev Grossman

    Best of luck continuing with your novel!!

    Happy reading and writing! from Laura Marcella @ Wavy Lines

  2. Cheers for your NaNo-ing! And seven years running...Woohoo!

  3. Writing for four hours at ONCE? Four DAYS in a row? Sounds wonderful!

    But I'm lucky if I get four hours of productive writing time in during the entire week. NaNo is an impossibility for me until.... Well, maybe when I retire?

    Congratulations on a successful NaNo!

  4. The pep talks were fantastic! It was cool to hear advice from so many great people.

  5. Hey, 23k is nothing to sneeze at, especially if you were having FUN! :)

    I really, REALLY miss my novel right now. I'm working on my POW non-fiction book and it's taking up all my brain power. Can't wait to get back into the world of fiction.

  6. LOL! That Hunger Games analogy had me roaring. :)

    You did well for NaNo! You have 23k more than you started with, which in my opinion is definitely praiseworthy. I'm glad you feel pumped about it!

  7. Whoa, awesome NaNo advice, and congrats on the great progress!

  8. Aw, the glazed over NaNo look. I had it at work myself and kept spacing out. Thankfully my boss thought it was funny when he'd say something to me and it would take me a moment to catch up. I hadn't ever considered now it can effect non-NaNo's though. It is great, how much families endure for their writing members.

  9. I love the title of your post. And 23,000 words is awesome - I wish I could say I did that! Love the pep talks, those were great. :)

  10. The family isn't particularly thrilled but they deal. I always plan out no fuss dinners. Most of my writing is in the morning so they aren't around. Kid and hubs work.

    I participated but I didn't get half way this year, but I knew I wouldn't because of work. Good news I'm still writing the story so that's a good thing. :-) Inspiration? Pffft. Mine starts with an idea and goes from there.

    Sia McKye Over Coffee



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