NaNoWriMo – Day 15, Some Tips

Colors with black and white
This is a mystery plant but I wonder if I could imagine some sort of crazy, fictional world for it: “Once upon a time…this plant bestowed psychic powers upon anyone who touched it; it only grew in two places in the entire world….”

Halfway through the month, but more than halfway done at 34, 327 words.

I can tell you that my inner-editor is like a tiger in a cage, reaching out with clawed paws, trying to slash at my work.

I panicked last night.  It was after dinner and I was in the bathroom washing my hands and I looked in the mirror.

“My story sucks!” my inner-editor screamed. We’ll call him Saber (as in saber-toothed tiger).

“Aw, crap.  Can authors publish books in more than one genre?  I mean, if I write a sort-of love story now, can I go back and write a fantasy, if that’s what ekes out of my head?”

It was like I had an angel on my left shoulder and the devil on my right and they were having a shouting match.  Except this time it was Saber and that squeaky little voice in my head that plays the Victim so well.

“Probably not,” Saber continued.  “You shouldn’t have tried this NaNo thing.  You’re going to put all this time into a book that will never sell.”

“Shut up!” Victim yelled, trying to push Saber back into the cage.  “Just shut up!  Even the well-known authors produce crappy first drafts!”

“Yeah, but they actually have something to work with!”

Leaving the conversation between Victim and Saber in the bathroom, I began to look online for inspiration.  It has become my habit to find inspiration in those moments of self-doubt.  More than anything, it helps me to keep Saber in his cage, where he belongs.

I found some interesting websites worth a read for any writer, thanks to StumbleUpon.  I selected my category, “writing” and stumbled from site to site.  I noted my favorites that came up:

Aliventures is a great blog.  She talks about the fact that fiction is so hard to write.  You won’t get any argument from me there.  I’ve had to draw upon my own life in more than one instance and I know it’ll happen again, but this puts it all in perspective.

There are some exercises for writers of fiction, in case the creative juices dry up.  I don’t have much time to look at these while I’m doing NaNo, but before I go back and edit my first ugly draft, I might try some of these.

I know I will also have to make my vocabulary more colorful.  Right now, I’m using simple verbiage and elementary sentences.  That’s okay, but I intend to dress up my prose with some of the most beautiful words in the English language.

I try not to use “said” too much in my dialogue, but in the interest of cranking out some words with a unique variation, I’ve looked online for other ways to say “said.”  It’s really helpful.

I found an editor’s page who talks about the words she never wants to see in my novel.  I’m actually glad she wrote that because looking at my first draft, I do have a number of “suddenlys” and probably an overload of “thats.”

But you know, looking at these sites tames the Saber.  Now, when I go back, I know my first draft is going to be crap.  I can approach it logically and in small steps.

I still wish I could create a fantastical world like some of my favorite authors, though.  I’m hoping that will happen on the next go-around.  I love stories where you just get lost and wish with a sore heart that the world you’re reading about was real.

I found that to be true when I was in middle school and wanted to be an astronaut for a while.  I wanted the world of Star Trek to exist, complete with a Starfleet Academy and a Federation of Planets.  In my mind, I pictured myself as a cadet and flying a starship as a freshly minted ensign, ascending the ranks so that, one day, I could take Captain Janeway’s place on Voyager.

It was true again when I read Harry Potter.  I know, I know, everybody knows about Harry Potter and it’s almost becoming cliché.  Maybe it already has.  But can I tell you, when the first book came out when I was in college, I read it and wanted to live in that world.  I wanted to cast magic spells upon my enemies and take Defense of the Dark Arts.  I wanted to be Hermione’s best friend and show her that I could do a Patronus charm better than she could.

The same thing is happening now – even as an adult – as I’m getting through the Eragon series.  Dang it, I want a pet dragon whose blue scales shimmer in the sun.  I want to know how to speak the ancient language where no one can tell a lie and they can only say what they mean.  I wish I could live as long as an elf and live in a magical world, breathing life into the nearby trees and flowers.

I’m going back to my own book and it’s fine.  It’s interesting enough to me.  But at the risk of using NaNoWriMo only to prove to myself that I can actually write, when I get to the 50,000 word mark, I have the biggest desire – in this moment at least – to shelve it and figure out how to create a fantasy world that I want to live in. Those are the kinds of books that capture others’ imaginations.

The question is, how do I imagine it?  How do I create it?  How do I play God?


14 thoughts on “NaNoWriMo – Day 15, Some Tips

  1. Cyndi, I have had my moments too and have forced myself not to go back and read what I have written before in this novel experience just because of this, because I will probably want to trash it all and start again. I am pushing and going to do this and then when it is all said and done worry about what I could do differently in that editing phase. That said I can relate and then some on this.


  2. Beautiful picture, Cyndi! You really have a great eye for photography. 🙂

    And now I must get busy; so many hubs await me, and my mind is craving the adventure.


  3. Thanks so much for the link to Aliventures (and I’m really glad you’re enjoying the site). 🙂

    The Star Trek world is a wonderfully imagined, and compelling, one. I wanted to be a Vulcan when I was about 12 — and definitely an astronaut. Had to settle for being a writer instead!


    1. Ali – aww, your blog is beautiful! 😉 I wanted to be FROM Vulcan when I was 12, complete with the pointy ears. lol I went around doing the “live long and prosper” hand signal to everyone, and enjoyed those Star Trek conventions. Total geek, I know. 🙂


    1. Julie – lol. I know, right. Sometimes I think I just need to publish this thing and see what happens, but then I’m like, but I want to be “known” for something else. LOL


  4. Let me cite Freddy Mercury on this:
    “You can be anything you want to be,
    just turn yourself into anything you think that you could ever be.
    Be free with your tempo,
    be free, be free.
    Surrender your ego,
    be free, be free to yourself.”

    I try to think of this verse when inhibitions and self doubts catch up with me.
    It helps…. sometimes.


    1. Christian – you have the best quotes and references. Indeed. I think part of those doubts come from the fact that you put yourself out there and you just hang on, as if it were a roller coaster ride. Learning to really enjoy that ride is what’s a little harder. Haha.


  5. I take total encouragement from this Post, that I am a writer, as such, trouble is, I find myself stuck with the idea that I ‘need’ to write a book. The part that I find positive here is that I decided soon after starting the project that my goal was simply to complete. Write something that had a beginning, middle and end, that was (and still is), I have read enough to believe that the re-write/edit, while difficult, is about improving the ‘book that you have written’. I can easily see myself trying to improve sections and never having a complete whole.
    Thanks for the reinforcement.


    1. Clark – I think that’s becoming my goal now: to just complete it. I may do more, I may not, but I need to just plow through and not think about it too much, hehe. I’m good at reinforcing things. 😉


  6. I absolutely love the photo today. Maybe I say that everyday, but this one is special. It is otherworldly. 🙂
    I can you relate to what you are saying. I love fantasy worlds and want to escape into them myself. I don’t believe that I could create one, at least not at the moment. I wrote a novel for nano a couple of years ago and shelved it. It’s still sitting there. I’m not sure what I meant for it to be in the first place, but it ended up being a mystery. I don’t like mystery so I have no idea how that happened.
    The experience of realizing that you can do this…you can write a book…is valuable. You can take that with you to your next project. You can learn from it.
    I bet that your novel is awesome though! I can’t imagine that it would be anything less. I hope that you will not put it away and move on. 🙂


    1. Amy – EXACTLY on the ‘create another world.’ Thank you for the feedback on that photo – that’s what I thought when I finished processing it. I’ll definitely take to heart what you said. I’ll *try* not to shelve it, hehe.


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