Posted in Creative WRiting, Nano, nano advice, nano tips, nano tricks, NaNoWriMo, nanowrimo prep, National Novel Writing Month

NaNo Prep, Tips, and Tricks!

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Hey, everyone! It’s Thursday, Friday, because yesterday my 4thewords app ate all of my words on this blog (my fault, not the sites) and that means that it’s time for another tips and tricks Blog for NaNoWriMo! Is everyone excited? It’s less than a week away now, and I’m honestly starting to get extremely antsy for it. As usual, I have a thousand ideas racing around in my head, and I’ve been tempted to completely throw out what I thought I was going to work on to plot something all new. That’s actually where my tip is going to come from today.

Follow your muse.

No, I’m not talking about only writing when your muse feels like it, because she’s in a flowing white gown and the lighting is just right, and the moonlight is poetic enough that maybe, maybe, if you ply her with chocolate and sweets and coffee she’ll come out so you can play.

I don’t believe in letting the muse be quite so in control, to be quite honest. So, before I dive into the tip that I actually meant to give you, I guess I’m going to give you another one. You can’t only write when you feel like it – especially for NaNo.

You’re working on a novel – you’re working on something that’s clearly important to you. Your writing is clearly important to you. If someone really loves sports and wants to excel, they practice. Even when they don’t want to. If someone really loves music and they want to excel, they practice. Even when they don’t want to. 

If you really love writing, you should practice. Even when you don’t want to.

Are you getting where I’m going with this? I’m not saying that you have to write all of the time – I’m just saying that if it is something that is important to you… it’s probably something that you should put effort into practicing. And if it’s something that you want to do professionally? It’s really, really something that you should put a daily effort into. Yeah, the professionals don’t have to write all day every day… but you know what? They had to practice to get to where they are. They had to figure out how to hone and perfect their craft, and they’re still learning as they go.

So, that’s my little piece of advice that I actually didn’t mean to give in this blog. Treat your writing with the same respect as you would anything else that you want to get good at – yeah, it is something that is based on your creativity; take your muse hostage though. Tie that bitch up and stuff it into the closet, and only feed it after it has given you what you want, mkay?

In all seriousness, don’t wait around for some magical being to strike you with creativity. Don’t only write when you feel like it. Write even when you don’t – write when you don’t think that you can write. Eventually, even though it seems like it was hard at first, it will become a habit, and it will become something that you can do, even on those terrible days when you don’t feel like it. You’ll do it because you can, because you practiced, and because writing every day is something that is a part of you.

Okay… I’ve completely derailed from the actual reason that I was writing this blog. You know how I just told you to put your muse in a hostage situation…? Well… uh… you do still need to follow it though. What I mean by that is that you should pay attention to what your brain is interested in, and what you want to do for your writing project. I’ve had a lot of people in my writing group this year who have already talked to or approached the subject of the fact that they aren’t sure what they want to write this year. They had an idea that they developed at the beginning of October.

The problem with coming up with an idea at the beginning of October when you’re a creative person is that your brain has a lot of trouble settling on just that one idea. So you plot, you plan, you get pictures, you make playlists… and you find that you still have two weeks until NaNo begins and a million ideas kind of nagging at the back of your mind.

Yeah, I actually had that happen to me last year. I had my novel idea all set out – RipTide was going to be about post-apocalyptic mermaid things. (Yeah, bad explanation, but the explanation isn’t what this blog is actually about.)

Half way through doing my 31 Horror Prompts for October, I came up with this story about a boy whose mother sold her soul, and his soul, in order to get pregnant and be able to keep a baby. The whole fate of Heaven and Hell rested on his shoulders, and I wrote this really awesome scene about an angel who didn’t look anything less than a monster.

Oopse. I didn’t mean it – I really didn’t… but somehow, that one scene that was only a few thousand words ended up starting a novel idea that I couldn’t shake. I couldn’t stop myself from wanting to write it. I couldn’t stop my mind from developing a plot… so, instead of freaking out, instead of spending all of November wishing that I’d worked on Angelblade instead of RipTide… I made a decision.

I worked on both.

Sometimes, you  have to follow your muse. I’ve told this to everyone who has asked me advice on this particular subject.

What do I do if I have two projects that I really want to work on?

Work on both. I promise, your mind will usually sort things out for you. I did about 15,000 words on Angelblade, and about 80,000 on RipTide. My mind figured out what project it really wanted to focus on… but by not putting myself into a box and only letting myself go the conventional route of one book, I didn’t have regrets, and I didn’t stop RipTide half way through November because I was so frustrated with the fact that I didn’t just write Angelblade instead.

So, yeah, that’s my NaNo Tip for you today – listen to your muse, and follow it… but don’t let it dictate when you write. Your muse is there to give you ideas, and it’s there to gentle urge you along… but you are a writer, and you don’t need your muse to write. You can do it just fine all on your own.

With NaNo only a few short days away, I hope that everyone is prepared! I’m probably going to do daily update/tip blogs come November, and then in December, we will get back to our regularly scheduled blogging program. I’m really glad that you guys are enjoying these tips and tricks, and if there’s anything that you wanted me to talk about, just leave it in the comments below. I promise, I’ll do my best to help you through whatever it is that you need help with.

So, until… not next tip. There won’t be another Tips in October. Guys… NaNo starts this coming Tuesday. So, the next NaNo blog you get from me will be my Day One Update.

That’s pretty damn exciting.

Until next time guys!!! Keep reading and writing, and keep being absolutely awesome!
Author Amanda McCormick

Twitter | Patreon | NaNo Page | Tumblr | Blog Masterpost | My Writing Group
Buy Me a Coffee at ko-fi.com

My Discord Group (click to join) is starting to rev up for NaNoWriMo! If you want some help with plotting and a group to stay steady with after, feel free to click and join!

Posted in Creative WRiting, nano tips, NaNoWriMo

NaNo Prep and Tips

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Hey, guys! It’s Thursday, so that means that it’s time for me to get another blog going for NaNo Prep and Tips, since November is right around the corner. It’s important for us to get ourselves as ready as we can! This blog will happen every Tuesday and Thursday until NaNo starts, and then I’ll be posting up tips and tricks on how to get through NaNoWriMo as it goes through November!

But, that will be in November. For now, we’re worrying about what prep you can do before National Novel Writing Month begins! Today, I’m going to talk to you about something that I think is pretty important. This is just my opinion, and you should certainly do what works for you… but I think that one of the most important things to writing a novel successfully in a month is to plot.

I know, the pantsers go wild with rabbling. I’m not someone who will negate that as a style of writing… but honestly, you don’t have to plot your entire novel out. You don’t have to take out the mystery of it…

What you can do is a nice little mixture of the two – call it Plantsing. This is how I generally outline my novels, and I find it so important to getting a cohesive novel out by the end of the month. My goal isn’t just to churn out a complete novel at the end of November… it’s to turn out something that I want to keep – something that I don’t have to cut out half of because I was just floundering for words. It’s to turn out a novel that I can edit and potentially publish one day.

So, I plot. I do a very small outline.

Basically, I start writing. I write down my ideas, my characters… that thing that even the pantsers do – get an idea of what you’re writing.

After that, though, I go a step further. I’ll look at what I’ve written, and I’ll go down the page.

1 – Introduce main characters.

2- MC A meets MC B, they go to an ice cream shop and talk about flying whales.

3 – The flying whales come and attack the town.

4 – They have to fight the flying whales.

5 – Chaos and romance ensue.

6 – They follow the flying whales into space by way of making a ship.

7 – Epic final battle.

So, that’s clearly not my plot outline… but it’s an example of what I’m talking about. I don’t really plan the chapter, but I give a sentence or two that is a very small idea of what I want to happen. By doing this, I don’t end up having a completely superfluous chapter about kitten ice cream cones, because clearly, that isn’t important to the novel at all. Basically, you’re just making a map of how to get from beginning to end. You aren’t writing the whole novel, you aren’t completely spoiling the discovery process as a writer…

You’re just giving yourself a skeleton to flesh out, and I find that this is the difference between being able to smoothly write the whole month through and struggling mid-month because you’ve run out of plot by accident.

If you guys are interested, I can do a more in-depth blog on this, but I hope that I’ve covered the subject enough so that you can get a general idea of what I’m talking about. It’s really all about getting a general idea – figuring out where you want to start and where you want to end.

Trust me, you’ll thank me for it!

More tips to come every Tuesday and Thursday of October!

Until next time guys!!! Keep reading and writing, and keep being absolutely awesome!
Author Amanda McCormick

Twitter | Patreon | NaNo Page | Tumblr | Blog Masterpost | My Writing Group
Buy Me a Coffee at ko-fi.com

My Discord Group (click to join) is starting to rev up for NaNoWriMo! If you want some help with plotting and a group to stay steady with after, feel free to click and join!

 

Posted in Creative WRiting, Nano, nano advice, nano tips, NaNoWriMo, nanowrimo prep, nanowrimo tips, nanowrimo trick

Nano Preps and Tips!

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It’s the time of year again, where I’m off to give you guys tips for a successful NaNoWriMo. I guess I’m going to start with the one tip that I find to be the most helpful. You may have heard these tips and tricks from me before, but they’re making a comeback in October for the purpose of NaNo Preparation!

Find a Writing Group.

Seriously. The only year that I didn’t win NaNo (2012), I didn’t have a writing group. I’d heard about it from someone on youtube. I thought it would be fun. I signed up – I didn’t have any friends who were participating. I wrote for the first day, completely forgot about it, and just went on about my life.

The thing is, a writing group and writing friends will hold you accountable. It’s not just that accountability that you need though. The excitement and air in a writing group really makes the difference between you going through those first week blues and stopping… and having an entire group of people who are experiencing the same thing as you are, but htey keep cheering you on. It’s the atmosphere, it’s the sense of community.

It’s honestly what I think NaNoWriMo is all about.


My Discord Group (click to join) is starting to rev up for NaNoWriMo! If you want some help with plotting and a group to stay steady with after, feel free to click and join!


I’m actually going to give out the link to my Discord writing group on here. I’ve had the group going since 2013, and I’ve won NaNo Every year since then. It’s just something that can honestly really help.

If you aren’t into the chat room scene, I really implore you to go and visit the NaNoWriMo Forums. There are so many helpful, friendly people there.

With a group, you can run sprints, you can challenge each other – you can share in your excitement and your days of defeat… and you can know that you aren’t on this crazy journey alone. There is always another person online at the very second that you’re feeling your emotions… and they’re feeling them, too. The best thing that you can do for yourself is to seek those people out – be a part of the writing community.

Trust me, you’ll thank me for it!

More tips to come every Tuesday and Thursday of October!

Until next time guys!!! Keep reading and writing, and keep being absolutely awesome!
Author Amanda McCormick

Twitter | Patreon | NaNo Page | Tumblr | Blog Masterpost | My Writing Group
Buy Me a Coffee at ko-fi.com

Posted in camp nanowrimo, Creative WRiting, nano tips, NaNoWriMo

July Camp NaNoWriMo – Day 6

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Hey everyone, and welcome to day 6 of Camp NaNoWriMo! I can’t say what anyone’s word goal for the day is, because we allllll have different goals. My personal goal for the day was 5,000 words. (I took day one off, if you remember.) I managed to exceed that early this morning, and I decided to finally go back to something that I had intended on being a huge majority of my NaNoWriMo Camp Words… so, of course, I waited until Day 6 to even think about working on it.

Cerulean Darkness is my novel from a previous NaNo, and I’ve been working on editing it lately – I finally went ahead and dove in, telling myself that today, I wasn’t allowed to write anything else until I edited at least 1,000 words of that story.

True to my demands, I got 1,008 words edited before I allowed myself any fun of writing on something else.

So, my writing for the day looks like this


When Flowers Fall – 2128

The Second Realm – 1516

Serial Killer – 500

Cerulean Darkness – 1134

July Camp Total – 5278/30,000


As you can see, I’m doing pretty good so far, and I’m pretty happy with my Progress. I love using Camp NaNo as an excuse to go crazy, and just get a lot of personal writing done. I love using it as an excuse to go crazy, and get a lot of fanfiction writing done (that’s what I did for this last Camp NaNo). I love just using it as a reason to write, and to interact with the amazing community that is the NaNoWriMo Forums. Honestly, I’ve said it once, and I’ll say it a thousand times… having a writing group, having people who will push you, hold you accountable for your words, and help you to be a better writer in general is one of the most important things in making sure that you succeed.

My writing improved double when I finally participated in NaNoWriMo and looked to the forums. It’s the only reason that I have my amazing writing group, and it’s the only reason that I’ve made the amazing friends that I did during that initial year when I finally started being in the forums. I’m thankful for it, and I know that I wouldn’t be the writer that I am today with out.

So, make sure to check the forums – talk to your cabin mates! Drop me a line of Skype if you need to! Us writers have to stick together!

Until tomorrow’s update guys! Keep reading and writing, and Keep being awesome!

Author Amanda McCormick

Twitter | Patreon | NaNo Page | Tumblr | Blog Masterpost
Buy Me a Coffee at ko-fi.com

Posted in Creative WRiting, nano tips, NaNoWriMo, National Novel Writing Month, Writing Tips

NaNo Day 14 – A Cool Little Chart

So, my friend showed me this cool little chart. It’s a really nice spreadsheet that he made, and he allowed me to use. It’s helping me to keep up with how much I’m writing each day, and how much I have written on my novel that I’m focusing on first – RipTide. I’m going to screen shot, but if you want any help with it, please head over to HIS PAGE and ask him. He’s cool and stuff.

Coolness

So, this chart lets me see that my word total for NaNo thus far is 52,080 words. However, only 47,000ish of those are on RipTide. I can track my progress for each day, how many words my chapters are, etc.

Whether you do this in a notebook, or on a cool spreadsheet like this, I think that getting an idea of how much you work everyday is a great idea. I’m honestly thinking about keeping this and doing it every month. At the end of the month, I’ll post the chart so that you guys can judge me for how much I have or have not written. How cool would it be to have a spreadsheet for the entire year?

I think it’d be cool.

Anyway, tomorrow I’m going to post another motivational blog, since we’re on the 15th day, the hump day, the downward slope of NaNo month! ❤ I can’t wait to see how you guys are doing! Let me know your wordcounts!

Until then, keep on writing!

Author Amanda McCormick

Posted in Creative WRiting, nano prep, nano tag, nano tips, NaNoWriMo, National Novel Writing Month, writing tag

I figured that it would be a lot of fun to go ahead and do some tags today and tomorrow, since NaNo is only 2 days away!This tag was created by Kristina Horner on youtube and I found it on Annette Read’s blog!

NaNo Tag

  1. How many times have you done NaNoWriMo?

This will be my fourth year doing NaNo, though my very first year doesn’t really count. I started doing it and then had a lot of things going on and literally had to stop a few days in.

  1. How did you first find out about NaNoWriMo?

I honestly can’t remember where I first heard about NaNo. Probably from one of my writing friends. I can remember the first time I really got hyped about NaNo was from a bunch of youtubers videos!

  1. What was the name of the first novel you attempted with NaNo?

The Highwayman was the first novel that I attempted to do during NaNo. It’s also the only novel that I never won with. Hm. I still finished it at least.

  1. Give us a 1 sentence summary of what you’re writing this year.

Erm. Let’s see. One run on sentence coming up! Angel Blade is my first novel, and it’s about a boy who finds out that he’s half demon and he is the only one standing between the world and the Apocalypse, while RipTide is about genetically altered humans who have turned into mermaids after the threat of the polar ice caps melting. Heh. One sentence, baby.

  1. What’s the best writing advice you’ve ever been given?

I’ve gotten a lot of writing advice, but I think that the best advice is just to write every day. Write when it’s easy, and write when it’s hard. Make it a habit, because only you can tell your story.

  1. Did you ever take a year off from NaNo? Why?

That very first year, I wrote about 3000 words and then stopped. Personal reasons as to why.

  1. What’s your biggest inspiration when figuring out what to write?

A lot of things really influence me, though lately it’s actually been my husband. I go up to him and say, “Hey, Josh. Give me a fun idea pertaining to _____” and he’ll go off. Sometimes it’s really silly stuff, but a lot of the times, he comes up with fun things.

  1. Read us the first sentence from one of your novels.

Oh. Oh dear. Erm. Okay. Let me find one.

The dream that had plagued her for as long as she could remember woke Nevaeh from a deep sleep.

Heh.

  1. Why do you love writing?

Oh, that’s a hard question. Writing is my passion. Writing is that thing that I go to when I’m upset, or that thing I go to when I’m happy. It’s at my very center, and making people happy with my writing? That’s about the best feeling in the world.

So, that’s my NaNo Tag (at least my first one). I hope that you enjoyed, and please, do it as well! I’d love to see your answers!

Until next time, keep reading and writing (and prepping!)

Author Amanda McCormick

Posted in Creative WRiting, horror prompts, nano prep, nano tips, NaNoWriMo, National Novel Writing Month, Writing Tricks

October Horror Writing Prompt – Prompt #30

NaNo is so close that I can feel it in my bones. Oh my Goodness. I’m so excited! Let’s carry on with the novel-themed-horror-prompts today! Are you ready?

Write about the death of your main character. If you want to do something fun, make it a death as if the villain of your novel won!

Heh, so, that should be fun. I’m excited to see how mine turns out, that’s for certain! I will talk to you guys later today with another NaNo-Prep Tip!

Until then, keep on reading and writing!

Author Amanda McCormick

Posted in nano prep, nano tips, nano tricks, NaNoWriMo, nanowrimo prep, National Novel Writing Month, Writing Advice, Writing Tips, Writing Tricks

NaNo Prep Tip #11 – You Gotta Be You

NaNo-2015-Participant-BannerRead, read, read. ”If you don’t have time to read, you don’t have the time (or the tools) to write.”

-Stephen King

   This is advice that I take to heart. I read voraciously, and I try to read without bias. As writers, we absorb everything that we read. It’s through reading and just writing (a lot) that we hone our skills. We study the art that we love this way. However, I sometimes find that people take this a little too far. It doesn’t just happen with authors that we love. We see people’s style in life, people that we’re around… and we’re impressed. Imitation is the highest form of flattery, they say.

   Well, I say that originality is the key to your writing success.

   I am in no way implying that you’re going to be able to come up with an all new, completely original idea. I know what you’re thinking. It’s like this…

   But, I had this great idea about people who were living underground and then they–

   No, that’s been done.

   Okay, so maybe I write about mermaids who–

   It’s been done.

   Fine! I have a completely original idea about a hobbit who–

   Seriously?

   I’m not saying that you should be discouraged and never write. I’m saying that this is where originality comes in. You are going to write about something that’s been done before. I’m writing about a half-demon stopping the apocalypse and mermaids this year. It’s been done. Multiple times… but what I can bring to the table is something solely and completely unique to me. I can bring my voice. No other writer in this world can tell the story the way that I can, the way that my characters will, the way that my voice can. This is where you shine – this is where you become an author who will stand out. Now, the problem arises when we read and find ourselves coveting the way that an author writes. We love their tone. We love their voice… and so, we try to emulate it.

   We can’t do this as writers. We have to take a breath and realize that our voice is our own, and nothing is better than us using our tone. We will pick up little nuances from our favorite authors, and that’s okay. However, if you do your damn hardest to sound just like Stephen King… the only thing that you’re going to do is make sure that no one ever gets to hear you for what you are, for your originality… and that is a damn shame. You’re the only you this world has… so do everyone a favor and let your own writing flare shine!

That’s all that I have for right now, and I hope that you guys were able to take it to heart! Until next time, keep reading and writing!

Author Amanda McCormick
Twitter | Patreon | NaNo Page

Posted in nano prep, nano tips, NaNoWriMo, National Novel Writing Month, writing prep, Writing Tips

NaNo Tip #8 – Don’t Put It Off

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This is probably something that you’ve heard a million times before. I’m sure you’ll hear it a million times again… but I’m going to tell you now, and speak from the heart. Sometimes we think that we have a lot of time to do things… so we put it off for a year, for another year… for another year. We do that thinking that we will always have time to finish our goals.

How would you feel if you woke up tomorrow knowing that you only had a few weeks left to finish everything that you had on your ‘to-do’ list? I’ve recently had some events taking place in my life (nothing to do with me being ill, so no worries) that has put into perspective the fact that there isn’t always time to wait. Sometimes the ‘eventually’ should be today. Sometimes the things that we need to put off should be done in the moment. Sometimes that moment is all that we have.

So, before you decide to tell yourself that you can always do NaNo next year, think for a moment about the reasons that you should do it this year. What if someone that you care about isn’t around this time next year to read what you produce? Do you want that regret in your life? Of course you don’t. I promise you don’t. So, please, listen to me when I’m telling you this… don’t wait to do tomorrow what you might only have today to truly appreciate.

This is a short little tip, but one that I felt the need to share. You’re all amazing, and signing on here every day to see my views and comments really helps to cheer me up with the upset that I’m feeling right now. You’re all amazing.

Until next time, keep reading and writing.

Author Amanda McCormick

Twitter | Patreon | NaNo Page

Posted in nano advice, nano tips, NaNoWriMo, National Novel Writing Month, Writing Advice, Writing Tips

NaNoWriMo Tip #6 – It’s Okay To Be Evil (No, really though.)

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Me: Before you leave, I want you to have a basic plot outline ready.

Gauness: You’re evil.

Me: Am I evil, or helpful.

Gauness: We’re going to go with evil.

So, my friend Gau (go on, click his name above) came over to my house today. We are doing NaNoWriMo boot camp, and he needed my help to get himself into gear. He should be here for about three hours, and he knows what he wants his basic story idea to be. That’s why I gave him the task of outlining.

It doesn’t have to be a deep outline. It doesn’t have to have all of the points… but a basic outline.

It’s okay to be ‘evil’. It’s okay to push yourself to limits that you didn’t think you could attain. I’m doing a day one 10k. And since I’m doing 2 novels, I honestly might push it up to a day 1 20k. That’s right. I’m going to push myself… and that’s okay.

NaNoWriMo is about pushing your limits and doing something that you didn’t even realize you could do. It’s about writing a novel in a month… do you understand how crazy that is? You’re giving birth to your creative baby in a month! It’s okay to set higher goals for yourself than you thought possible. You’re reaching for the moon, and no matter what you do… you’re going to land amongst the stars.

You’ve got this. You push for it. You’re an author… we’re all crazy anyway.

Until next time, keep reading and writing!

Author Amanda McCormick