Posted in Writing, NaNoWriMo, Story Structure, Fantasy Writing

8 Tips For Writing A Fantasy Novel

I’m no expert on writing fantasy. But I have written my fair share of the fantasy genre. I’ve written a couple of (totally not flushed out) short stories and I have written a novel or two with a few other ideas.

And when I say fantasy I mean I’ve written about mages. I’ve written about wizards and elves. I’ve written about superheroes. I’m all over the place with it.

I’m giving these tips because this is what I’ve learned along the way (and we can pretend I’m some sort of expert on writing fantasy), but also because I’m writing fantasy for NaNoWriMo.

So, here we go!

8 Tips to writing Fantasy

1. Keep it “real”

Fiction is fake, fantasy is out of this world. Still, there’s a little bit of truth in everything we write. Sometimes we base characters off of ourselves or someone we know. Sometimes we take places and warp them just a little bit to fit in a fictional land or some stories are based on real-life places.

You can always create and base elements of your story on real-life people or places. Take a myth or lore into your hands and add a twist to it. Research is your friend.

2. Mythical creatures

Like I said in the above point, you can do a lot with real-life people or places or even creatures. Unicorns and dragons don’t exist, but they can in the fantasy world. Dragons especially usually have big parts in the fantasy world. However, while you can make them your own in your world, you can also do research on them.

It took me a long time to realize that mermaids are not in fact like Ariel in The Little Mermaid. They are, supposedly, not nice creatures. It shattered my childhood, but I used that information to my advantage in one of my fantasy novels.

3. Magic

J.K. Rowling created the spells in Harry Potter using the Latin language. It’s not Latin exactly, but she twisted it around so that the spells were her own and they could kind of be “translated.”

I’m not saying you have to create a magic system just like Rowling did, but it should still make a little bit of sense.

4. Know your world inside and out

If you’re writing the kind of fantasy where you need your own Middle Earth area, you have to know the world as though you’ve been there in real life… as though you’ve lived there all your life.

Create a map. Do they speak another language? Do they have a different currency? What kinds of food do they eat? What are the seasons like? You may not need to know all of that, but it’s helpful to know anyway.

5. Use a map

Maps are important. Your fantasy novel may not need a map necessarily, unless it’s Middle Earth, but creating a map for yourself won’t hurt. It’ll help you keep track of all the areas which in turn will help you write it and allow your readers to understand.

6. Create character names that can be easily read and pronounced

Yeah. I don’t know what Flbergsted is. There are plenty of fantasy name generators out there on the Internet. Use your vowels wisely.

Sometimes I take names of people I know and spell them backward. For example, Rachel would be Lehcar. Even then you still have to mix some letters around to make them comprehensible, but most names work backward.

7. Do your research

There’s no wrong way to write a book, but research never hurts. There are so many sub-genres of fantasy. Some are way more complicated than others.

There’s a lot on the Internet and there is so many fantasy writing craft books out there. Not to mention fantasy novels in general that you can read. Just brush up on your fantasy knowledge.

8. Know your fantasy genre and subgenre

This kind of goes along with the point above. Fantasy is a vast genre and there are so many sub-genres to it. Like I said earlier in the post I’ve written many different kinds of fantasy. I go from Lord of the Rings style to X-Men style. Both are fantasy, but that’s just about all they have in common.

Do you write fantasy? If so, what sub-genre of fantasy do you typically write in? Let me know in the comments below and we’ll chat!

 

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Posted in NaNoWriMo, Story Structure, Writing

7 Ways To Avoid A Boring Middle For You And Your Readers [NaNoWriMo 2017]

Ever hear of the sagging middle? It’s when you get to that point in your novel that just seems to go on and on and on… yet nothing seems to be happening.

I think everyone, at some point or another, has a problem with the sagging middle. Even I, as an outliner, have trouble with it at times. Sometimes you don’t know where to go next in your outline or the outline changes so much that the middle gets deformed somehow.

In a way, it’s kind of like week two of NaNoWriMo. You end up in some sort of slump.

Either way, here are some tips to avoid that sagging middle. Or, at the very least, you can throw something in to keep the story going. There’s always editing later.

7 Ways to Avoid Sagging Middle

1. Make it short and sweet

Quality over quantity, right? Listen, if you get stuck in your middle, skip it. Don’t worry about it. If that bothers you, write anything there. If you have any thoughts, write it out and see how it goes.

This is what editing is for. I know editing typically takes words out, but there’s nothing wrong with adding something in. After all, you usually have multiple drafts of novels. You can add something in, take it out, add something else in just to take that out as well. You have to play around with it.

First drafts are supposed to be all over the place.

2. Question your protagonist’s or your antagonist’s goals

Everyone has second doubts. Everyone worries. Everyone regrets something at some point in their life. What has happened in your novel before the middle? Is there anything that you can use to make any of your characters have an internal conflict? Or maybe they can have tension with other characters?

Bring the antagonist around, have them run into the protagonist. What happens? How do they handle the situation?

3. Play with your characters

Introduce someone new. Have someone leave the group due to a fight or they have something else to take care of. Kill someone off, whether it’s an important character or a side character.

Anything can happen, especially if tension is high.

4. Change location or POV

Where are your characters and what are they doing? Did they finish what they needed to do? Let them leave. Have something else happen and they need to move on as soon as possible.

Changing POV is harder, of course. Unless you’re writing in that kind of style where you switch POV characters for each chapter or some other way. Still, you might be able to make it work somehow. You just have to be careful with it.

5. Throw a curve ball at your characters

This is the point of novel writing. You’re supposed to constantly throw lemons at your characters, especially your protagonist.

Depending on the situation you put before your characters, anything can happen. Something as simple as changing the weather can throw your characters off.

6. Start writing in the middle

Are you nervous about your middle sagging before you even start? Start in the middle. Throw your characters into something that you think may help get your novel to the end and go with it. This may be easier to do if you have an outline in mind, but it’s doable either way.

At the very least, you may get to know your characters a little better. You’ll figure out what you want the plot to accomplish.

7. Throw in a red herring

Red herrings are fun. They’re fake clues handed out for the mere sake of throwing your characters (and your readers) off the trail. Send your characters on a wild goose chase. As long as it leads to something else that will advance the plot or bring tension, it’s a great way to keep those pages turning.

Do you typically have trouble with a sagging middle? What do you do to get out of that slump? Let me know in the comments below and we’ll chat!
Posted in NaNoWriMo, Short Story Sunday, Writing

Short Story Sunday 186: Write On [NaNoWriMo]

Short Story Sunday 186: Write On

            “Uh, Riley?” Nate poked his head into my office and looked directly over at my desk, but I wasn’t sitting there.

No, I was sitting on the couch by the door with a box of Cheez-Its on my chest still in my pajamas. I had a cat curled up beside me on my left and right and a water bottle beside one of the cats. I smacked the cheese crackers loudly while staring blankly at the TV in front of me.

When Nate looked away from my empty desk and saw me slumped on the couch, he jumped back shocked and gasped. “Oh, um… Hey. Are you okay?”

“I’m fine,” I groaned tossing in a couple more crackers into my mouth. One of the cats arched his back and stretched all the way out before curling back into a ball. He accidentally kicked my water bottle off the couch.

“Crap,” I muttered staring at it, but not bothering to move to pick it up. “I was just about to take a sip…”

Nate slowly bent down to pick up the water. He placed it back onto the couch eying me nervously. It was almost as though he was sticking his hand inside a tiger cage and he was expecting to get it ripped off from his body.

“Oh, thanks,” I smiled taking the bottle of him. I wiped some crumbs on my pants and then opened the water bottle taking a sip.

“Riley, are you alright? What’s going on?” Nate asked.

I looked away from my show and stared up at Nate confused. “What are you talking about?”

“This is…” Nate pointed to me and looked me up and down. I could tell he was trying to think of a way to word whatever he wanted to say delicately. “This is certainly a side of you I have never seen before.”

I shrugged my shoulders and turned back to the TV. I wasn’t sure what he wanted me to do about that.

He looked over at my laptop. He put his hands on his hips looking back over at me. “Have you written anything at all today for NaNo?”

“Nope,”

“Why not?”

“Don’t wanna,”

“Why?”

“I suck. The novel sucks. The words aren’t flowing as well as they did when the challenge first began. It’s stupid. I’m stupid.” I grumbled still not taking my eyes off of the TV.

Nate wagged an index finger in the air a sly grin forming across his lips. “Ah, I see what this is.”

I turned to look at him with a raised eyebrow. What did he know? Nothing, probably.

“I read about this on that website I found the first day you started this challenge.” Nate explained. He took out his cell phone and looked at something. “According to my calendar, we’re two days into week two of November. You’re experiencing the NaNo Week Two Slump.”

I kept a steady gaze on his face. I had to admit that I was impressed by his research. So far, he had gone above and beyond to encourage me to continue writing. He brought me a coffee multiple times during the day, every day. He loaded me up with sugar like doughnuts and candy, and he had even cooked dinner most nights so I could continue writing or just take a break. He really was one of a kind.

“Apparently, this happens to pretty much everyone who participates in NaNo.” Nate explained as though I didn’t know. This wasn’t my first year participating in the challenge.

“You just need a little coaxing.” Nate bent down and picked up the remote. He turned off the TV, ignoring my protests, which startled the two cats.

He took away my snack and picked up the cats shooing them away. “No more cuddling, no more moping.” He grabbed my water bottle and put it on m desk turning on my laptop. “You can keep going.”

“But I have no idea where my novel is even going.” I groaned.

“So write a different scene.” Nate came back over to me and took my by the hands. He pulled me off the couch grunting as I let my body go limp. “Come on, Riley!”

“I don’t wanna…”

“I heard that if you write a different scene or just try to plan out different scenarios, your mind will get back on track.” Nate said and then took a deep breath. He was a lot stronger than me, but he was still out of breath as he pushed me, with my heels dug into the ground, towards my desk.

He sat me down at my desk and I glared at him.

“You’re stupid.” I said.

“The website also mentioned to not get offended if you spoke profanities at me.” Nate said cockily.

“I hate you.”

“Great,” Nate clapped his hands together. “I’m going to make you another cup of coffee, so finish that water and hydrate. Then you can get started on catching up.”

I took another sip of my water—because I was thirsty, not because he told me to—and then leaned back in my chair. I stared at my screen as my novel popped up on the screen. I had never exited out of it the day before. I just closed my laptop and walked away pouting.

“How many words do you need to write in order to be on par?” Nate asked.

I glanced down at the word count in the bottom left corner of the screen. “I need to write about 2,500 words…” I muttered.

“That doesn’t sound too bad.” Nate nodded his head. “I know you can do it.”

I narrowed my eyes at him. Why did he have to be so perky about it?

“Listen, if you write 2,500 words, I’ll make broccoli cheddar soup for dinner.” Nate said with a wink.

I softened my gaze at me. I certainly didn’t feel like cooking, so having Nate make dinner was good to hear. Plus, broccoli cheddar soup was my favorite. It was definitely a good incentive.

“If you write 2,500 words plus a little more,” Nate continued, “then we can go out for ice cream afterwards. I think you would use some sun and fresh air, so it will be a win-win for everybody.”

I perked up and smiled, but immediately frowned again. I didn’t want Nate to think that his bribery was working, but judging by his own grin he definitely noticed me get excited. I mean, who could say no to ice cream?

I started typing away on my novel that I didn’t even hear the door click closed as Nate left to give me privacy.

Words: 1,111

I hope you enjoyed the story! Let me know what you think in the comments below and we’ll chat!
Posted in Book Reviews, Memoir, Poetry

Into The Light By Emily Stroia [Book Review]

Into The Light by Emily Stroia

Title: Into The Light
Author: Emily Stroia
Published: 
October 2017
Genre: Memoir, Poetry
How I got the book: I received a free digital copy in exchange for an honest review

Summary:

Into the Light is a memoir-inspired poetry collection in seven parts.

The book shares the author’s life from a transformative perspective of being in a deep state of darkness to finding hope, miracles and light. In the final part, there are notes to the reader and finding one’s inner peace after adversity.

This book explores trauma, abuse, sexual abuse, mental illness, loss, healing, spirituality, meditation, inspiration and empowerment.

My Review:

rp-first-thoughts

This isn’t the kind of book I would typically read. I’ve read poetry before and I do enjoy memoirs. However, if I saw this at the bookstore I probably wouldn’t have picked it up. It’s a dark, sensitive topic, but it’s a quick read and it never hurts to branch out a little. Since this is a memoir, this review will be written a little differently.

rp-plot

This memoir is told through the author’s point of view from birth and beyond. It goes through all the motions as everything she witnessed as a child between her father’s relationship with her mother as well as her father’s relationship with herself. She describes both of her parents and watches them both continue on with their lives, though not necessarily in an upbeat way.

There is light at the end of the tunnel, however. It’s hard to describe as the story is so short. This one is better if you just read it yourself.

rp-writing-style

This book is a quick read being only 158 pages. It’s told entirely through poetry, so it goes fast. Some pages only have a few words written on them.

The poetry was well written and easy to follow. Some pages rhymed while others didn’t. Some of the poetry was written in longer sentences and some weren’t. It flowed well and no matter how it was written, it just read poetically. The author does have a way with words.

The book is broken up into several parts as well. We start at the very beginning, go through the journey and pain, and end up with her breakthrough and finally forgiveness. It goes through the motions very well almost as if it were the stages of grieving.

It’s fast-paced, but I think it worked well for this particular topic. As I read the story, I felt as though the ending, the redemption, was slower than the beginning. That was my interpretation of it, but I liked it. You want that happy ending.

rp-overall

This was a great read. While I can’t personally relate to the author, I’m sure there are others out there who can. It’s easier said than done, but there are positive moments in life and everything does and will get better. I think that’s what this story is about. You go through tough times, but there always is a light at the end of the tunnel. It was well written and I commend the author for sharing her story.

Into The Light by Emily Stroia gets…
5-Star Rating | Book Review5 out of 5 stars

Favorite Quote:

“If you ever wonder what you could
have done differently
remember you were doing your best
with what you knew how.”
-Emily Stroia, Into The Light

Buy the book:

Amazon

About Emily Stroia

Emily is an intuitive teacher, spiritual leader, author, and artist. Emily first discovered her gifts of intuition and creativity as a child and was placed in a highly gifted program for children. She often explored her gifts through writing, art, and experienced frequent visions and dreams that would turn out to be accurate. Not understanding fully why or how she was able to do this, she decided to study.

She has always felt a strong attraction to the metaphysical and spiritual aspects of life and continues to delve deeper into each. Believing strongly in her intuitive gifts, as well as wanting to express her deep desire to help people, Emily decided to utilize her abilities to turn her passion into a profession.Her mission is to inspire people to find the gifts in

Her mission is to inspire people to find the gifts in their stories and live powerful transformed lives with ease and peace. Her life is a breathing expression of intuition, passion, spirituality and creativity. Most days you can find her coaching clients, writing, practicing yoga and playing with her dog in Los Angeles.

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*This post contains affiliate links.

Posted in Guest Posts

Healing From Trauma [Guest Post]

Today’s guest post is brought to you by Emily Stroia! Thanks, Emily!

Emily Stroia Guest Post

Healing from trauma isn’t a straight line. For me it has and still is an ongoing journey.

We all have our scars, stories and experiences that have shaped our view of the world and of ourselves.

I have explored healing through the mystical, spiritual, self-help, therapy and emotional intelligence. You name it and I have most likely done it.

I have been in therapy since I was 5 years old when I shared with my teacher a fight my parents had. This conversation sparked my healing journey and every week I would meet with the school therapist. These sessions were my saving grace as a child.

Home life was very confusing, dark and traumatic.

My mother was diagnosed with schizophrenia and my father was abusive; mentally, physically and sexually.

One day around the age of 13,  I went out on my balcony and had a serious talk with the universe. I remember asking what the purpose was for me.

I asked the big question many of us ask when bad things happen,  “WHY?, WHY ME?”.

At first I heard silence.

And then I heard this intuitive voice whisper, “This isn’t happening to you. This is happening for you.” I had the faint realization that I would share my healing journey and my story with the world.

Nearly 20 years have passed since that realization. Slowly in the healing process I have been able to release the need for my story to be different. I have learned that there are gifts in the scars.

The healing journey has also inspired me to write my story in a form of raw poetry.

My new book, Into the Light explores healing from trauma and abuse through the creative art form of poetry.

This book is memoir-inspired and also has notes to the reader on healing from brokenness, finding light in the darkness and coming to peace with the past.

There is a favorite quote that still resonates with me, “Forgiveness is letting go of the past being any different”.

We may not be able to change what happened to us but we can make magic, art and beauty from the broken parts.

Healing is a personal journey of finding freedom, liberation and transcending from what once was. We are not what happens to us.

A storm may leave damage but it is up to us to repair it. I am not a victim to the circumstances I was born in.

It may not make sense and it may never make sense why people hurt us in the ways they do. We may not know how to forgive the unforgivable. But we are born with the capability to love and heal each other through the power of story-telling and sharing.

A poem from my new book, Into the Light:

 When you are at the end of
your rope,
tie a knot and hold on.
When you think you are at the
end of your journey,
reach out your hand
and someone will meet you
there.

About Emily Stroia

Emily Stroia Author PicEmily is an intuitive teacher, spiritual leader, author, and artist. Emily first discovered her gifts of intuition and creativity as a child and was placed in a highly gifted program for children. She often explored her gifts through writing, art, and experienced frequent visions and dreams that would turn out to be accurate. Not understanding fully why or how she was able to do this, she decided to study.

She has always felt a strong attraction to the metaphysical and spiritual aspects of life and continues to delve deeper into each. Believing strongly in her intuitive gifts, as well as wanting to express her deep desire to help people, Emily
decided to utilize her abilities to turn her passion into a profession.

Her mission is to inspire people to find the gifts in their stories and live powerful transformed lives with ease and peace. Her life is a breathing expression of intuition, passion, spirituality, and creativity. Most days you can find her coaching clients, writing, practicing yoga and playing with her dog in Los Angeles.

About Into The Light

Into The Light by Emily StroiaInto the Light is a memoir-inspired poetry collection in seven parts. The book shares the author’s life from a transformative perspective of experiencing trauma & darkness to finding hope, miracles, and light.

In the final part, there are notes to the reader and finding one’s inner peace after adversity and healing through brokenness. This book explores trauma, abuse, sexual abuse, mental illness, loss, healing, spirituality, meditation, inspiration, and empowerment. This book is for anyone who has ever experienced loss, grief, brokenness, depression, abuse, trauma and heartbreak.

Want more? Check out this INTERVIEW with Emily Stroia!

Posted in NaNoWriMo, WIP Wednesday, Writing

WIP Wednesday 1 [NaNoWriMo 2017]

I’m adding a new feature to my blog! It’s just what the title suggests, WIP Wednesday – or Work In Progres Wednesday.

This will be something that will be posted on one Wednesday a month, most likely in the middle of the month. For November, though, I’ll be posting it every Wednesday to give an update on my NaNo novel for you guys.

With that said, here’s the first one.

WIP Wednesday

What am I working on?

The Librarian. I’m not sure if this will be a full novel or just a novella, but I plan on publishing it to Wattpad in January 2018.

What’s the easiest part of writing this novel?

The actual writing. Even though I don’t have an outline this time around, I haven’t written a novel in such a long time. It feels good!

What’s the hardest part of writing this novel?

The plot. While the words have been flowing well, I still don’t have an outline. As I write, I’ve been getting more and more ideas. And those ideas require research. A lot of research. I mean, this is a topic I never thought I would ever write about. So we’ll see how it goes.

NaNoWriMo Stats

Day 1: 4,094
Day 2: 2,017
Day 3: 4,573
Day 4: 2,052
Day 5: 2,384
Day 6: 2,034
Day 7: 2,921
Total Words: 20,075

So far so good.

I’m proud that I was able to reach 20k words, almost halfway there, in week one. On Friday, November 10th, Kris and I are going to be doing a 10k day! So I’m hoping that by the time the weekend officially begins, I’ll have 35k or so words.

How is NaNo treating you so far? What are you currently working on? Let me know in the comments below and we’ll chat!
Posted in Writing, NaNoWriMo, Story Structure

How To Start That First Chapter The Right Way [NaNoWriMo]

What’s the hardest part about writing a novel? It’s different depending on who you are, how you write, and what you write.

Still, you may have all the ideas and you may even have a quick outline, but beginning a novel can be tricky. It is, after all, one of the most important parts of your novel.

There are plenty of readers out there who not only read the book’s blurb on the back, but they already read the first paragraph or so of the first chapter.

Why? Because they want to get a feel for the writing style. They want to see if they’ll be hooked into the story right away.

If they are, they’ll buy it. If they’re not… well, maybe the next reader who is enticed by the blurb will be into it.

How To Start The First Chapter

There are so many different ways to start a novel. There’s no certain way that will work for every novel. That would, of course, end up being boring and unoriginal.

Though while many books may start with a piece of dialogue or some ominous message, each one is different and unique because every book and idea is unique.

With that said, here are some ways you can start your first chapter.

Introduce A Voice

Begin with a piece of dialogue. I know there are some people out there who don’t agree with starting with dialogue, but I personally like it. It introduces a character (whether it’s clear who it is right away or not) and it also gives you a sense of what kind of character you’ll be following around.

You don’t even have to start with dialogue. If you’re writing in first-person, start with a thought from the main character. Or no matter what the point of view, start with some sort of point the character is noticing or thinking.

Get Right Into The Action

Throw your readers and your characters into the heart of the matter. Or, the heart of matter that may lead into the main plot. The action is always enticing, especially when it starts the book off. The readers don’t know what’s going on, but if done right, they’ll want to know. They’ll keep reading and reading and reading.

Start Slow, But Not Too Slow

Feel free to ease your readers into the story. You can start with a typical day in the life of your main character or have them do something they would normally do that ends up affecting the plot somehow.

Just be wary of opening with your character waking up. That one gets old pretty quickly.

Throw In A Little Background

You want to keep your readers guessing, yet you want to give them something to work with. I’m not telling you to info-dump because no one wants that. However, giving a little insight to your characters and the world around them isn’t necessarily a bad thing.

The Prologue

We talked about this yesterday. Use at your own risk.

What are some ways you typically begin your novels? Let me know in the comments below and we’ll chat!

 

Posted in Writing, Story Structure

How To Determine If Your Novel Needs A Prologue

Prologues are such a hit or miss. Some people love them and some people hate them… though I tend to see more people hate them than love them.

I personally don’t mind prologues. As long as they’re done the right way.

How to determine if your novel needs a prologue

What is a prologue?

A prologue is the pre-chapter of a book. It goes before the first chapter and acts as an introduction of sorts. Prologues can try to accomplish a few different things:

  • Peek into the future
  • Delve into the past
  • Shine some light on a certain character

Prologues can, I believe, do more than that, but those are the most common I’ve seen. (They’re also the types of prologues I’d prefer.)

Do you really need a prologue?

Before you write the prologue, ask yourself,

  • What will my prologue accomplish? How will it contribute to the story?

If the answer is anything that I stated above or something else reasonable, try writing the prologue and see what happens.

After you write the prologue, ask yourself,

  • Did the prologue accomplish what it was supposed to?

If the answer is yes, feel free to keep it in. If the answer is no, take it out.

Still, people may get annoyed by the prologue.

Is your prologue long? Is it purely for information purposes?

Don’t make your prologue too long. A prologue is supposed to be an introduction of some sorts. If it’s going to be ten pages long, you might as well just title it “Chapter 1.”

You also don’t want to info dump. Yes, prologues are to shed some light certain aspects of the novel – a character, the setting, background info for the plot – but you don’t want to give away too much at once. You also don’t want to bore your readers will too many details at once before you even meet the protagonist.

Then again, you can’t please everyone.

Remember when I said that prologues can be used to look into the future, look back on the past, or shed some light on a character?

Do that. That’s good.

(Well, in my opinion, anyway.)

Feel free to take a dip into the past. Maybe something happened way back when that caused the plot of your story to happen.

Looking into the future to foreshadow may be a bit difficult, but I believe it’s been done before.

Of course, there is always the background for the main character or some other important character. Give a brief introduction.

Just be sure to save the bulk for the first chapter.

Do you like prologues or not? Do you typically write them for your stories? Let me know in the comments below and we’ll chat!
Posted in NaNoWriMo, Short Story Sunday, Writing

Short Story Sunday 185: Listen [NaNoWriMo]

Short Story Sunday 185: Listen

“You’re not listening to me.” Nate said. He was standing behind me as I sat at my desk typing away on my computer. I rolled my eyes at his comment. I was hearing him loud and clear and listening, too. I was just ignoring him.

“Riley?” he spoke again.

I hit “ctrl-s” on my keyboard and swiveled around in my chair. “You know, it’s really annoying to write when someone is standing directly over you reading over your shoulder and talking at the same time.”

“You know,” Nate mocked my tone, “it’s really annoying when you’re trying to talk to someone and they completely ignore you.”

“What do you want?” I groaned.

“Are you coming to bed anytime soon?” he asked.

I turned back around and looked at the time in the bottom right corner of my laptop screen. “It’s only 12:30.”

“In the morning,” Nate finished.

“Right,” I said nonchalantly. I didn’t understand what the problem was.

“So… It’s really late. You should come to bed and get some sleep.” Nate explained.

“I don’t need sleep right now. I need to keep working on this.” I said.

“Riley, tomorrow—well, today—is Wednesday. You have work.”

“Nope,”

“What do you mean no? You’re a teacher.”

“I called out sick for tomorrow… Or today?” I replied suddenly confused with the date.

Nate scratched the top of his head. “Why did you call out sick? You’re not sick, you’re just writing.”

I turned back around in my chair and stood up. I took him by the hand and brought him over to the couch on the other side of the room. “Nate, let’s sit down and have a chat.”

Nate and I had just moved in together after being in a relationship for two years. Neither one of us were quite ready to get married, but we wanted to take our relationship to the next level, so we rented a two-bedroom apartment together.

He was nice enough to allow me to turn the second bedroom into an office for myself where I would be able to grade papers and work on my writing in peace. Well, except in the middle of the night, apparently.

Nate knew that my passion was to become a published author someday in the, hopefully, near future and he respected and supported that. He knew November was always a tricky month for the two of us to see each other. He had a lot of family events during the month as did I, plus the holiday at the end of the month. But I also had NaNoWriMo, which he never really knew about. Now that he was living with me, he was going to have to realize that he still wasn’t going to see me during the month of November.

“There’s a writing challenge during the month of November called National Novel Writing Month, or NaNoWriMo.” I explained right after I pushed him down onto the couch.

He looked up at me standing before him. “NaNo-what?”

“You can just call it NaNo if you want. It’s a month-long writing challenge in November where people write 50,000 words of a brand new novel in the 30 days of the month.” I explained.

“Okay?” Nate agreed, but it came out as a question. I knew he was going to be confused regardless, but since it was going for one o’clock in the morning I didn’t expect him to fully comprehend what I was trying to explain to him.

“It’s a big deal and so many people all over the entire world participate in it. Some people take it seriously enough to start writing their novel right at midnight on November first. Hence, why I have a steaming cup of coffee on my desk next to my laptop in the middle of the night.” I said.

“And that’s why you called out for tomorrow? Because you knew you were going to be up most of the night?” Nate asked.

“I was planning on going to bed between one and two, but now I might be later because you interrupted me.” I sighed folded my arms across my chest.

“Sorry?”

I chuckled. “It’s okay. I don’t expect you to fully understand. Just know that it’s a writing thing and I need more support from you during this month than any of the other months I write.”

Nate nodded his head. “Okay.”

I smiled. He was the best guy ever, even though I could tell by his meek tone that he was still very much confused and had no idea what I was talking about or what I expected from him.

Nate stood up from the couch. “So, you’ll be in bed soon? Are you going to be doing this every night?”

I shook my head. “It’s just the kick-off for the month. I’ve never stayed up past midnight to begin writing early. I’ve always wanted to do it but never have because I’ve always had work the following morning. I just decided to throw caution to the wind and take the day off for tomorrow.” I grinned proud of what I was doing. I loved teaching, but writing was more serious to me. This was something I wanted to do all the time and I was glad I finally had the guts to put writing first, even though it was just calling out sick for one day.

“Okay, that sounds… uh, good, I guess.” Nate stood up from the couch and forced a smile. I smiled back at him. He was pretending to understand even though I knew that he had no idea. He was trying, though. And that was all I could ask from him.

“So I won’t wake you when I leave for work in the morning, then?” Nate asked.

I nodded. “Well, a goodbye kiss would still be nice. I don’t know if I’ll wake up from it, though.”

Nate kissed me on the cheek. “Goodnight, Riley.”

He left the room and I went back to my desk. I continued to write, my fingers flying across the keyboard. It was around two o’clock in the morning when I realized my eyes were beginning to droop, the screen became blurry with my sleepy eyes, and my fingers kept missing the correct letters and making typos all over my word document.

So, I went to bed.

I woke up around nine the following morning. I didn’t bother to get dressed or to even take a shower. I just went into my office and turned on my laptop to continue my new novel. While my computer booted up, I went into the kitchen to make a cup of coffee. Our two cats rubbed up against my legs as I filled up their food bowls. By the time they started eating, my coffee was ready. I filled up the biggest mug we had in our kitchen cabinets and then brought it back to my office.

I wrote for most of the day getting a good chunk of the 50,000 words done.

Nate came home from work around lunch time. He usually didn’t come home on his lunch break, so I was surprised when he walked through the door.

He walked into my office holding a large coffee in one hand and a box of doughnuts in the other. He put them down on my desk and gave me a quick kiss on the top of my head.

“Hey, what are you doing?” I asked, but I couldn’t help smiling.

“I Googled ‘how to take care of your girlfriend participating in NaNo-what’s-it,” Nate explained. “it said to give you space, lots of caffeine and sugar, encourage you when you reach certain word goals, and encourage you when you get behind on your word count.”

I chuckled. “Slow day at the office?” I took a sip of the freshly brewed coffee he had brought for me.

“Oh, it’s the worst day there.” Nate sighed. He smiled again and gave me a wave. “I ducked out to check up on you. The website also said that you might forget to shower or feed yourself.”

I rolled my eyes, but the grin never faded from my lips.

As Nate left, I realized that he still didn’t get NaNo. But he understood enough.

Words: 1,376

I hope you enjoyed the story! Let me know what you think in the comments below and we’ll chat!