Camp NaNo: Week Three Recap

April 21 2015

Three weeks down, one more to go….

Daily Word Count:
Day 15: 2,385
Day 16: 0
Day 17: 0
Day 18: 5,514
Day 19: 0
Day 20: 0
Day 21: 2,023

Week three total: 9,922
Overall total: 40,037

Wow, I skipped a lot of days this week. I think this week was the “week two slump” for me even though it’s the end of week three. I guess I was a bit late on that front… at least I’m not behind in my word count, though.

My novel is starting to stray a bit. I had a little bit of an outline at the beginning and then decided to outline as I went on. I stopped outlining as I wrote and now I don’t know where I am.

I am coming up with new ideas for the novel, but a lot of the scenes I’m writing now I know are going to end up deleted in the editing process. The characters seem to be having fun, though.

The thing is, I finally introduced George’s mother and now I’m not so sure if it was the right time to bring her into the story.

I guess we’ll just have to wait and see how everything plays out.

How is your novel coming along?

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Camp NaNo: Week One Recap

April 4 2015

Week one of Camp NaNoWriMo is coming to a close as of midnight tonight. Of course, depending on your time zone you may have a bit longer… or week one may already be done. Anyway….

Week one went well for me. I skipped writing a couple of days (oops) but I’m still ahead of the game, so it’s all good.

Daily Word Count:
Day 1: 5,015
Day 2: 2,005
Day 3: 0
Day 4: 4,047
Day 5: 2,454
Day 6: 0
Day 7: 2,503

Week one total: 16,024 words

As you can see, my word count fluctuates.

My original plan was to write 2,000 a day, extra on the weekends since I’ll have the extra time. As you can see, that has not been happening. I hope to get into a better routine for week two, but as long as I stay on par I’m good.

My novel is going well. I’m writing the next installment to my George Florence series. It’s a brand new case with new characters, new settings, new drama. It’s going really well (in my opinion). When the month is over, I plan on posting an excerpt as a Short Story Sunday that I hope you’ll all enjoy.

In the meantime, we need to prepare ourselves for week two of Camp. It’s the slump week, so I hope you’ve all got your coffee ready!

How is your novel going so far?

January Love Letter

Yes, I know it’s February. That just means this post is extremely late.

I found this idea through Topaz‘s blog and she found it on Allison‘s blog. Allison created a hashtag for 2015 called #YearOfHappy. If you click on the link everything is explained, but I’ll explain anyway. Basically every month you do a different activity or work on some sort of project. The point of it is to get a little more out of life, to have fun, and be happy in 2015.

I thought it was a cool idea, so I decided to join in on the fun and give it a go. January’s prompt is to write a love letter to yourself. Of course by the time I found this January was almost over and I already had the rest of January’s posts planned and written.

It’s a little late, but I guess that’s better than never.

Printed and going in my journal for safe keeping.
Printed and going in my journal for safe keeping.

Hi Rachel!

So far so good, right? You’re doing pretty well with what life is throwing you at the moment even if it’s not throwing anything at you.

Last December you mentioned that 2015 was going to be your year when it came to writing. You’re going to get something published (or ready for publication) by the end of the year whether it’s a novel or a short story in a magazine or a quick poem in a contest. You want to have Detective Florence completed by the end of the year. We can do it!

If it’s one thing I’ve learned over the years, it’s how quickly things change. Change hits you when you’re mid-blink and before you know it, you’re dazed and confused and have no idea what just happened.

I know you don’t like change, but it’s inevitable and not all changes are bad. A lot of changes will happen in 2015 (some you know of right now and some only future you knows). Some will be good, some will be bad. You’ll get through them just like you always do.

–Your best friend is going to have her baby any day now. You’re going to be an aunt. While this is a good change, things will be different. There will be no more staying out late at night with her, I’m sure you’ll be texting less throughout the day, and when you do hang out together the baby will always be there. You love babies, but there will be much less time to hang out just the two of you. But that’s okay; you’ll still be friends and you’ll be there for both her and her baby.

–You’re almost done with school. You have about three more months and then you’ll have your bachelor’s degree! I know you wanted to continue with your Master’s, but it’ll be nice to finally be done. 90% of your paychecks will not go to school; you’ll be able to save. Maybe even splurge on yourself once in a while.

–Work is difficult, but it’s worth it. Your co-workers are fabulous and the children are great–even if they sap all your strength. Some do that more than others–you know which kid(s) I’m talking about!

–Your writing is coming along. Detective Florence is on its way, you’ve found some contests and magazines to submit to in the near future, you’ve discovered something a little about yourself through your Creative Writing Nonfiction class, and you found a local writing workshop where you’ll meet new people in the same boat as you and you’ll learn lots of fun, new stuff. I’m sure that will help your publishing goals for this year.

See? This year is going to be just fine! Work hard, but indulge yourself once in a while. Go out more with friends/co-workers. Reach out to people you haven’t spoken to in a while.

You’ll make it, even if it doesn’t seem like it sometimes.

Love,

Me

I just wrote that letter right now and I have to admit it took me a while. Plus, I didn’t think it was going to be that long. Apparently I have a lot say.

Anyway, don’t forget to check out Topaz‘s and Allison‘s blogs. Even though we’re already about two months into the year, feel free to join #YearOfHappy. Even if you don’t share it with anyone, it’s fun to do it with yourself.

For December, we’re supposed to look back at this letter and reflect on the year. I wonder where I’ll be a year from now?

Halfway Done

I always tell myself l’m going to blog everyday during NaNo and then l never do.

My goal for Camp is the standard 50,000 words, but instead of writing 1,613 words a day l try to write 2,000 words a day. This helps me get ahead quicker if l skip a day or two. Plus, it’s an even number. Honestly, that was the main reason l decided to write 2k a day.

I skipped writing pretty much all week. Between homework and lack of motivation, l just didn’t feel like it. But, like every other NaNo session, l thought l could afford to skip a few days because l was all ready “so much ahead.” Well, l ended up getting myself a lot behind and it took me three days to catch up.

According to NaNo l should be at 24,000-something. I think the number is closer to 25k. According to my 2k a day, l’m supposed to be at 30k.

Today l sat my butt in my chair and wrote from 8AM up until 7PM. I had a few breaks here and there (the longest being a Dick Van Dyke episode). Then my cousins came over and wanted to play Clue. That game took about two hours…no lie.

So l should have hit 30k way sooner than 11-ish hours of writing. But l did it. I hit 30k.

I’m at the top of page 101 on my novel, too. I love breaking 100 pages.

Good luck to those particpating in Camp! We’re halfway through the month…we can do it!

Camp NaNoWriMo July 2014

“I’m playing Mario Kart 8… Don’t bug me.” –Lilah Williams

It’s that time of year again and we’re all ready three days in! As you all know, I edited my novel Detective Florence last month in preparation for NaNo so I could write the sequel: Detective Florence 2. Yes, it was July 1 when I realized I don’t have any decent titles for these novels. Which is strange because I usually come up with a title and then base a plot off of that. These novels are different for some reason. But…that’s something to think about later. As of right now I need to worry about hitting 50,000 words.

I haven’t written yet today, but I made it up to 5,012 words in the past two days. If you follow me on Twitter, you probably know I had a late start on day one. I was babysitting my cousins and Kris opened at her work. I wanted to wait for Kris so we could have a writing session together. She hasn’t written yet today either, but I think she only needs to write another 200 words or something in order to be on par for today. She wrote extra yesterday.

For day two we went to Barnes & Noble to write. We had Starbucks which was fabulous as always. That’s when I hit 5,012 words and Kris…I forget her word count, but I think she’s around 2800–something. Her word count goal is 25,000, so she’s actually ahead of the game.

Kris is still sleeping (she did the over-night at her work last night), but when she wakes up we’re probably going to have another writing session in the blue room, as some people call it. Kris and I sometimes call it our office because it makes us sound important.

I also got our friend Nickie into doing Camp this session, as well. She had never heard of NaNo before this. So hopefully I had a good idea in asking her to join in on the fun!

I hope everyone else is doing just as well in NaNo so far–remember, keep writing every day even if you’re ahead. The more words, the better.

What is Success?

Success

School has officially ended for the semester and one thing we learned has been sticking with me, so I thought I would talk about it. So this won’t be like my usual posts, but I hope you’ll stick around to read it, anyway.

In one of my classes this past semester we read a short story called Sur by Ursula K. Le Guin. I won’t describe it too much in case any of you would like to look it up, but it’s about a group of women travelling to Antarctica and keeping it a secret. One of my classmates posted on the discussion board asking about the “achievement” in the story. A few of my classmates were debating on whether or not the expedition to Antarctica could exactly be called an achievement. This is simply because the women in the story kept it a secret. They didn’t share their achievement; therefore no one knows about the achievement. How can you do something as great as travel to Antarctica and never share the news?

I commented on the thread stating that achievement is measured by your own personal goal and your perspective on it. For example, I believe travelling to Antarctica is a huge achievement; especially since it was their first time doing so. Just because the group of females did not share their journey with their friends, family, and the press, it doesn’t mean they weren’t successful. To put it simply, they wanted to travel to Antarctica and they did. Wouldn’t you call that an achievement?

I associate the word “achievement” with “success” because they’re both about reaching a goal. According to Dictionary.com, this is one definition of success: “the attainment of wealth, position, honors, or the like.” I can only half agree with this. The reason I agree with it is because of the “position” part. I used to want to be the director of the preschool I worked for. If I had worked my way up to that position then I would have felt successful because it was something I wanted to do and I would have worked hard to get there.

The reason I disagree with that definition is because of the “wealth” part. Money does not buy happiness even though our paychecks always make us smile. However, once the bills start rolling in, our smile fades and we’re back to square one. If your goal was to make it to the top of your career with a nice pay raise, then I could call that successful if that was something you really wanted. If it was a job you truly enjoyed and you weren’t doing it just to get rich off of it; even though the money would be a plus.

Another reason I disagree with it is putting the story into perspective. Sur is a work of fiction, yes, but no where in the story did the group of women attain wealth, position, or any honors. They kept their goal a secret from the world. They deemed themselves successful because they had achieved something they wanted to do.

Another definition of success by Dictionary.com is: “the accomplishment of one’s goals.” I have to say that I like this definition a whole lot better. However, what exactly is a “goal?” Again, it depends on your own perspective and what you want. My big goal is to become a full-time writer. Yet, there are many little goals along the way.

When I write my standard 2,000 words in one day, I consider that an accomplishment for that one day. When I finish a novel, I consider that to be an achievement. I’ve never completely finished editing a novel enough to throw it at a publisher, but I’m sure when I do that will be successful in itself and I’m sure I will be very happy with it. When I get a novel published for the first time, I will be successful. Will I be a full-time writer after publishing that one novel? No, probably not. However, I will write more and the more I write the better I will become. I will come up with more ideas and become more creative. Eventually I’ll come up with a novel good enough to allow me to stay home all day and do what I love and do best: write.

It won’t matter what position I’m in if I still have a day job and it won’t matter how much money I’ll be bringing in. My goal is to share inspirational characters, interactive plots, and open up a brand new creative world for all my readers to love and enjoy.

And when that day comes, I will be successful.

Short Story Sunday #6

Prompt — First Sentence: “He had to learn, and learn quickly.”
Goal: 200-500 Words

He had to learn, and learn quickly. This was going to be the biggest test of his life. There was no way that he was going to allow himself to fail it…there was no way that his parents were ever going to let him live it down if he failed it. This was his make or break moment; the one and only thing that will decide his fate for the rest of his life. If he passed this test, then he would be free. If he failed this test, then he would have no choice but to carry on the family business.

“Leo, will you set the table for dinner?” his mother called almost immediately after.

“After dinner, do you mind mowing the lawn? It’s beginning to look like a jungle out there!” his father added.

Leo buried his face in his hands. His bedroom was dark except for the dim lamp that sat on top of his desk. A few textbooks lay wide open with notes and scribbles in the margins were before him and on his lap was an old notebook with ripped pages, spilled ink, and crumbled corners. He had never studied so hard in his entire life and his parents only made studying more difficult.

His mother and father constantly bothered him when they knew he was in his bedroom studying. They did not want him to pass this test as they wanted him to carry on the family business when they were gone.

The “family business” started with Leo’s great, great, great grandfather. Leo came from a long line of bounty hunters. Being in his late 20s, Leo was small for his age. He had no muscles and no back bone. He didn’t like the idea of spending the rest of his life chasing down robbers and murderers just so he could pay the bills. He was not willing to put his own life on the line every single day—not when he wanted to get married and have kids.

Leo wanted to do something great with his life. Sure, getting criminals off of the street was a good deed, but only if you did it in the right way; for example, becoming a police officer or something. No, Leo wanted to do something that he was interested in. He wanted to do something he was great at. Being a doctor was just that thing. But it also happened to be the thing that his parents didn’t approve of—something that they didn’t understand. And probably never will.

“Leo, can you take out the trash?”

“The table still needs to be set, sweetie!”

Leo put in his headphones and turned the volume on his MP3 player all the way up to the maximum. He couldn’t concentrate with noise, but music was better than listening to his parents’ disapprovals of his life decisions. Was he going to pass this test? Was he going to save lives?

Only time would tell.

Words: 494

Short Story Sunday #5

Prompt — First Sentence: “For once, she could not keep her irritation in check.”
Goal: 200-500 Words

For once, she could not keep her irritation in check. She slammed her textbook closed as soon as the bell rang to dismiss class. She gathered her things angrily as the professor was erasing the board with a smile on his face while waving goodbye to the students that were already out the door.

She shoved her books and notebooks into her tote bag and flung the bag over her right shoulder. Finally taking her eyes off of her professor, she looked down at the ground and stormed out of the classroom.

“Oh, Erin!”

She paused and squeezed her eyes shut. She began to count to ten in her head when she heard her professor call her name. She needed to calm herself down before facing him. Otherwise, she knew that she would end up getting herself into trouble.

“Yes?” Erin muttered through gritted teeth. She turned around to look her professor in the eye, who was frowning at her. What happened to that wide, obnoxious grin he was just wearing to all the other students?

“I didn’t know if you wanted to talk about your grade or not.” He sighed as if saying you-should-be-disappointed-in-yourself.

“Well, I can’t exactly say that I’m happy about it.” Erin peered into her bag. Her essay was sticking out of her notebook. She was so upset she had gotten a D that she didn’t even put it neatly into her folder. She was planning on throwing the paper into the fire place when she got home.

“You just didn’t seem to understand the assignment.” He continued on. “You should have come to me for help. You know my door is always open. I check my e-mail every single night. You have many classmates that know what they’re doing. There’s a tutoring center that could always help. You have many options.”

Erin tilted her head to one side. “So, it sounds like you’re telling me that I didn’t even try.”

“Well,” he paused and looked up at the ceiling as he pondered his thoughts. “It’s not that you didn’t try. More like…you gave up.”

Erin glared at him. “I slaved over this essay. I did go to the tutoring center. I e-mailed you a few times. I spent six hours writing these five pages. If I really gave up, then I would have gotten much worse than a D.”

“Well, a D is a pretty bad grade. It sounds like you are giving up if you’re just going to accept the D.”

“You haven’t been any help! You don’t even teach! Today in class you talked about your daughter’s Bat Mitzvah from over the weekend instead of teaching us something new. How is anyone supposed to write a decent essay in this class when the students don’t have help?” Before she realized what she was saying, the words were already spewing out of her mouth.

His next class stood behind her in the doorway. Some had their jaws dropped, others were snickering.

Just great.

Words: 499

Short Story Sunday #4

Prompt — First Sentece: “Together they were feeding ducks at the pond.”
Goal: 500-800 Words

Together they were feeding ducks at the pond. It was her favorite memory of her late grandfather. The pond was his favorite place to be. That was where his own grandfather took him to feed the ducks when he was young, that was where he took his wife after their first date. They took a walk in the moonlight and had their very first kiss. The pond was where he proposed to her, it was their special spot.

As soon as she was able to walk, her grandfather immediately went out of his way to bring her to his special spot. Her grandmother had passed long before she was born, but her grandfather still went there once a week in her honor.

It soon became a special spot for her and grandfather. It was also a great way to get to know her grandmother, too. He was always speaking highly of her. How beautiful she was, how kind she was, although she apparently had a bit of a temper. She was a social butterfly and loved to be the center of attention. She always knew the right thing to say and was there whenever someone needed her—friend, family, or stranger.

Yes, she learned a lot about her deceased grandmother whenever she went out to the pond with her grandfather once a week. She also learned a lot about her mother from when she was a child. Apparently, her mother was a very mischievous little girl. She was always getting herself into trouble and she didn’t get the best grades in school. This made her laugh as her mother was very prim and proper now—anyone who knew her would never guess she was some sort of a trouble maker.

The pond was her favorite place to be. She felt as though she knew her grandmother, even though she had only seen pictures of her. She felt as though she had seen a whole new side of her mother, even though that side was long gone. Her grandfather also gave her the best advice while being at the pond. Whether the advice was about school, friends, or boys, he seemed to always know the right thing to say to make her feel better. After she did feel better, her grandfather would always chuckle and say, “I stole that line from your grandmother!” or, “Well, that’s what your grandmother used to always say, anyway.”

One could immediately tell her grandfather missed his wife dearly whether you knew him well or not. But he was always talking about her and he had a picture of her on him at all times.

When she got a bit older, her grandfather grew weaker. They went to the pond less and less as it got harder for him to walk such a great distance. However, they communicated with each other every single day and tried to go to the pond whenever he was up to taking a walk.

Now she has a son of her own. When he turned one, her grandfather gathered all his strength and took him to the pond. Her son won’t remember it, but she will and she plans on telling him all about it when he’s old enough.

After her grandfather brought her son to the pond, he has passed away. But she never forgets any of the advice he had given her or any of the stories he had told her. She remembers every visit to the pond in vivid detail.

So, together she and her son fed the ducks at the pond. And she plans to continue doing so with him then with his own children, her grandchildren. Until she is too old to walk anymore, she hopes she can carry on what her grandfather started with hopes that her son and his children will continue the tradition, as well.

Words: 642

Short Story Sunday #3

Prompt — First Sentence: “People looked at him oddly as he passed.”
Goal: 200-500 Words

People looked at him oddly as he passed. Of course he didn’t notice. He kept walking on his merry way without having a care in the world. He had a bright smile on his face, a light heart, and felt as though he could fly. He had only one thing on his mind and there was nothing that was going to get in his way.

He had a bit of a spring in his step as he walked down the street. He stopped at the crosswalk, pushed the walk button, and waited for his signal. People driving by laughed at him, but he only saw their smiles. So he smiled back and even threw in a few waves here and there. The couple standing at the crosswalk next to him chuckled to one another.

“Good day,” he tipped his hat. The gentleman bowed his head with a smile while his lady showed just a small smirk.

He faced forward as he realized the lights were signaling him to cross the street. As he put his right foot in front of his left, he skipped across the white striped-crosswalk in the middle of the road to get to the other side. He felt good today and had felt even better knowing that everyone else around him—even if they were strangers—seemed to be in just as good of moods as he.

As he continued down the sidewalk, his face lit up when a pale blue condo came into view. He attempted to hop up the front steps, but tripped. He stood up, brushing himself off, not bothering to care if anyone noticed and made fun of him.

After all, he was in love. Nothing else mattered at the moment because today was going to be the most memorable day of his entire life.

As he stood before the front door, he rubbed a small velvet box that sat gently in his pocket. He took a deep breath before knocking on the door. And when he did, before he could lay down one knee and open the box in front of his future wife, he never expected her to greet him with her child-like laugh and say with her ruby red lips:

“Why are you still in your pajamas?”

Words: 378