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Now that NaNo is over and the rush to hit 50K has past, I find myself wondering: will I be able to maitain my motivation?

It’s sad really. The first draft of this book should have been completed a year ago…but December came and for some odd reason, I turned away from the book and didn’t work on it.

I have throughout the year submitted some of my written chapters for my weekly critique group, but I only ever worked on those chapters, rather than finishing the book.

Now I’m wondering if the same will happen this year.

I don’t want it to happen again. I need to get this finished…and I’m so much closer to that finish line that was elusive last year. It’s on the horizon–I can see it in the distance. Yet I can feel myself growing tired, desiring to stop and sit on the sidelines once again.

So, I need to keep myself motivated…somehow. I need to focus on that finish line, getting the first draft completed. I need to make every day like NaNo, even if I only get a thousand words written.

I am hoping to get my first draft completed by the end of the month. By midnight come the 31st of December, I want to have those words “the end” written.

It’s going to be difficult for me–more so than it was during NaNo. Perhaps I’m not what some would call a “true writer”; one who would have the discipline enough to keep writing every day. It’s that discipline that I know I am lacking–but something I have to find if I ever have the hopes of being a novelist.

So, I must still keep that inner editor locked away and search for that motivation to keep going–and finally type “the end” on this draft.

So, my question to writers out there: how do you keep yourself focused on the goal?

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Ok I’m beginning to run out of creative titles for these posts 😛

Anyway, today seemed easier to get the word count out. I managed to get 2,505 more words written, which surpasses my goal of 2K a day. Today I wrote a scene where Kaiyo finds out about her father’s roots (that he too is also illegitmate, just like she is, which of course doesn’t sit well with her). That was an interesting scene, though I need to punch it up a bit later on.

And the first time since I’ve started NaNo, I wrote a chapter from the antagonist’s POV. It ended up flowing even better than the earlier stuff I’d written today, probably partially due to the fact I involved myself in a 30 minute word war with my sister. Anyway, I’m especially excited about the scene because I’m actually using a real person from history to be a part of it. The man Kaemon, my antagonist, goes to see is Mitsuru Toyama, the leader of the Dark Ocean Society or the Genyosha.

What really  makes me excited about it (I know, I’m a history geek) is that everything flows so well! He was known to have involvement with organized crime groups (like what Kaemon and Kanamoto, Kaiyo’s father, are a part of) and was seen as a very influential figure, as he was very ultranationalist. In fact, he was also implicated in the attempted assassination of the foreign minister Okuma Shigenobu in 1889. So of course I’m using that in my novel, as Kaemon’s gang/organization were the ones responsible for carrying it out (no one knows who actually threw the bomb, so this is where I get to really use my artistic license!).

So yeah…I get really pumped and excited when I find little tidbits of history that fall into place exactly where I need them to be 🙂

Ok that’s it for today!

Official Word Count: 14,074

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Ok, so yesterday I just had to vent a bit, but now that Election Day has come and gone (praise the Lord!) I can now completely devote my mental energy to my NaNo novel.

Too bad the mental energy isn’t translating into gripping prose…

I seem to be rather down on my novel quite a bit earlier than I was last NaNo. It took me at least until the second week; it’s five days (almost six) into it and I’m already at that point.

I can’t seem to get the thoughts to flow correctly or add up coherently on the page. I’m fairly certain I repeated myself way too much already.  That and the story direction keeps changing, so it’s morphing into something that’s hard for even me the author to make sense of.

Whenever critique groups start up again, I am tempted to tell them that I’m scrapping the storyline they initially critiqued and starting over, since it’s already changed so much and they’re going to be utterly confused when they get back into it.

Bah. I hate this; I wish I didn’t feel this way so soon into NaNo. Hoping it will go away fairly quickly and that my prose doesn’t sound as stilted, forced and crappy like it does now. Sigh…

Official word count: 11,569

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I crossed the 4K mark today (thanks to a little bit of haiku, which added a few dozen words). I also challenged my little sister to a word war while at my write-in.

Of course, she won. 😛 724 versus 901 in 30 minutes. And of course she is past the 6K mark, but she’s been really working ahead since she’s in college and has classes during the week that she has to focus on. Still, I’m very impressed 🙂

Anyway, official count for today: 4,218. Just shy of 2K by about 18 words. Still, it’s close enough for me.

I must say the write-ins are very beneficial to be a part of–it helps get the creative juices flowing when around other NaNoers.

I’m hoping to go to a few more write-ins this week, but not sure how many. I figure it’s better for me to go to them than to stay home and be tempted by my birthday present–the Wii Fit. I’ve been playing that a lot the past two days…and actually feeling kind of sore from it 😛 Apparently my balance is awful though; it even asked me if I had trouble tripping over my feet when I walk! (Embarrasingly enough, I do…clumsiness is inherent trait in me, passed down from my father).

Well that’s all for today; my wet hair is drying quick and if I don’t use the hair dryer, it will be a mess tomorrow!

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Midnight tonight signals the start of NaNo (as well as my 24th birthday)! I’m going to try and begin writing some then, even if I only get a few hundred words. I tend to stay up late on any given night anyway (on average going to bed around midnight or so) and normally I’ll stay up until 1 or 1:30 on Fridays and Saturdays.

Anyway, not sure how much coherency there will be to my late night writing, but it’s fun to actually do so for NaNo.

Before then though, I need to crank out as many chapter summaries as possible; I’ve gotten a few past the point I ended at during last NaNo so I won’t be writing blind 😛 However, I’m thinking I won’t come anywhere near close to writing the rest of them, so I probably will  just have to follow where the story takes me. Normally it’s difficult for me to write without some sort of basic outline, but it’s not impossible. Besides, most of my summaries end up changing a great deal as I am actually writing. My characters end up doing things I don’t expect, which I know every writer at some point has experienced.

I’m also realizing that I think my novel will be way too long with the course I was following, so I think I’m going to do a number of major changes (such as Kaiyo never discovering her father’s identity and profession until much later on). It’ll take out bigger chunks and hopefully speed the story along, as I think it’s kind of plodding along now.

I’m wondering if I should make her father’s identity a mystery to the reader as well but I’m still on the fence with that one. Part of my thinking is if the reader  knows his identity for most of the book, they’ll get frustrated seeing Kaiyo never discovering it. But then I’m not sure how much the reader will like being kept in the dark for a longer period of time without becoming annoyed as well. I can’t dwell on that now though or else it will take away precious thought space on the edge of NaNo.

Anyway, good luck to all of the rest of you out there embarking on this month long novel adventure!

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A little more than a week and the NaNo craziness begins!

Not only that, but November 1st is also my birthday (I’ll be the big 2-4 this year). What can be better than birthday cake, word counts and word wars?

I am hoping to get more of my chapter summaries done; the goal is to finish those but I’m uncertain if that’s going to happen. I am trying, though I’m normally utterly exhausted from work when I get home at 4…and I only work five to five and a half hours a day. It’s hard for me to want to do anything but laze around on the couch during the week. It’s sad; I need to push myself more despite the exhaustion.

Work has been a little on the crazy side, considering now I’m the “official” office admin assitant (the PC term for secretary). This past week there have been times where I seriously had to remind myself to breathe as there was so much to keep up with!

I’m still missing things here and there; if not for the former AA  (who stil technically does a lot of the AA work and helping me transition) I’d be making mistakes left and right. I’m getting things slowly, but there is SO much that I have to remember it’s insane.

Let this be a lesson to anyone who desires to work in the real estate industry 😛 It’s ever changing and ever frustrating.  Agents can be very demanding, though most have been very understanding that I’m still learning and that it’s not going to happen overnight (in fact it’ll probably be another six months before I feel truly confident). The industry is constantly changing though, especially with the slow economy (even though I wouldn’t think that by the number of closings I am processing on a weekly basis). Still, I shouldn’t complain, as it is a job and I do work with many good people.

So I’m trying to balance myself between the madness of work and the impending insanity of NaNo–though I’m looking forward to the latter 🙂 Cranking out 50K + words in a month could be considered a mark of insanity, too…then again, I’ve not met one writer in life that doesn’t border on the sane/insane line 😛 It’s what makes us be the wonders that we are 🙂

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I’m going to give an honest effort to try and work on some of my novel this weekend. I’m not sure if I’ll work on the chapter summaries for NaNo more or try to edit one of the chapters that may be getting critiqued in the next few weeks.

We’re supposed to be heading up to church camp this weekend for our church’s small campout (about 30 people show up…that’s half of our church :P). Considering there’s really not much to do there, I’m hoping that I’ll be able to work on the computer some (the cabins have electricity and showers otherwise I would NOT be going up there this weekend with the cool fall weather nights). I suppose we’ll see.

Not sure how much time I’ll have Sunday, as we’re going to a cabin that my husband’s aunt and uncle are renting. But I’m hoping that evening I’ll be able to get something done.

Well I have to get going…violin lessons in a half hour!

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I know I’ve been wondering whether or not I should have a prologue in my story. I’ve read that a lot of agents don’t like them and many will reject the entire manuscript because it has a prologue. Personally, I think that’s a bit overboard–I’ve read plenty of books that were published and that the prologue added to the story.

I was reading on Writing World that for a book to warrant a prologue, it needs to be one of the four following:

  1. Future protagonist–meaning that the prologue is set after the events of the novel and show why the following story occurs. It also needs to be written in the same POV as the rest of the novel.
  2. Past protagonist–It shows a defining moment that occured and made the protagonist who/what  he/she is and helps the reader further understand the character.
  3.  Different POV–Obviously this is that the prologue is a relevant event seen through the eyes of another character. The relavence HAS to be seen at some point in the book. It helps an author pull of plot twists that would not otherwise be revealed or known to the MC.
  4. Background–Normally these are used in fantasy or sci-fi novels to give a background to the world that the story is set in that the reader would not be able to pick up on in the story. Again, it has to be relavent to the story. This one is the hardest one to master and do successfully.

Currently, my novel is using a mix #2 and #3. It starts off with Kaiyo as an infant, a few months old. Obviously we don’t see in her viewpoint as she is so young, but I have it through her mother’s. In it, I briefly introduce her father–who throughout the story remains obscure to her–and show him parting from Kaiyo and her mother. I don’t go into the reasons behind it, simply to say that it’s safer for them both. I thought by using this, it would show some background to her story and thus is a “defining moment” when her father determines to stay out of their lives.

I’m wondering if it’s really needed or not, though I do like the fact that it’s there. I do have to change some of it. I figure I’ll decide on its necessity as I edit more.

Anyway, if you are writing a novel, do you have a prologue? What’s its significance? Does it use any of the four types of prologues or mix of them? I’m curious to see how many actually use them in their writing.

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Not surprising that I’m going through yet another one of these spells of what I like to call “writer’s slump.” Not exactly like writer’s block, just the fact that the motivation is getting hard to find. Hence the name.

Perhaps it’s because the past week has been a bit on the crazy side. First, there was the sudden death of a beloved family pet.

Then came traveling a total of 6 hours to Cleveland and back to Dayton between Friday evening and Sunday afternoon (not something I complain about–it’s nice to see my family).

Of course there was the great celebrating of a first anniversary yesterday.

And I can’t forget the myriad of new and often confusing responsibilities I’ve been given at work.

I must admit through all of this, the creative juices have stagnated 😛

It’s hard to keep it flowing when I’m just so busy all the time! I know–it’s not a valid excuse. A true writer would keep going regardless. Perhaps I’m not a true writer in that sense. I find it very hard to keep writing when so much is going on…I try but often with less than stellar results.

Still, what’s the use of complaining about it? It really gets me no where 😛 I just need to try harder.

I need to make every month like NaNo…it’s just hard for me to get into that mindset.

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Banner for my novel, created by a fellow NaNoWriMo Participant

Banner for my novel, created by a fellow NaNoWriMo Participant

Isn’t that the best? August. over on the NaNo forums is taking requests from people (up to November I think) for a banner.

Here’s the link to the thread:

Taking Banner Requests

Anyway, I think it looks great–they even used the singer who I base my MC’s looks off of 🙂 (I suggested it and they found a good picture).

Anyway, I know some don’t see the value in NaNo–I’ve read some comments about how it’s only for “amateur” novelists and those not serious enough to commit all the way. I know others think it’s too much hype.

Though that’s true for many, I know it’s also a falsehood, since without NaNo, unfortunately I don’t think I would have been able to write nearly as much as I have for my book–and not in a month’s time. I suppose I’m not as dedicated in some aspects as I should be…but NaNo helps fuel the dedication. It’s also helped me connect with others in the area and be a part of a critique group (again, something a great many writers say is unnecessary, though I disagree in many aspects…that’s another post though :P)

Besides, writers of NaNo have been published, and by some pretty notable companies too.

Did you know that Sara Gruen’s Water for Elephants was written during NaNo? A book that ended up on the Bestseller’s list nonetheless.

NaNoWriMo may not be for everyone–but it’s definitely something that I encourage others who aspire to write a novel to at least look at. 🙂

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