Tag Archives: nanowrimo

November 2013 Goals and Releases

Because I’m clumsy, I gave myself a concussion last Tuesday. Things have slowed down for me quite a bit. I was really frustrated at first. I’ve been trying to write 250 words a day, and had a hard time writing a single sentence.

Luckily, I was feeling well enough by the 1st to at least start on my NaNoWriMo project. It’s been slow progress, but it’s going well. I decided to write the sequel to Crazy Comes in Threes so that I can release it relatively soon after. I don’t even remotely have a release date yet, but will let you guys know as soon as I do. The book will be called Trouble Comes in Threes and will introduce some new characters and issues.

Honestly, I don’t really think I’ll finish NaNo this year, but I’m okay with that. With Crazy Comes in Threes coming out in six weeks, I have a lot to do!

  • Continue writing 250 words a day. Aside from the sequel to “Crazy,” I have the rest of the ESX series and Sandpaper Fidelity Season Four in the pipeline. Yes, my life is currently a cycle of eat, sleep, and write. ;) I wouldn’t trade it for anything, though!
  • Schedule a tour for Crazy Comes in Threes. You guys know that I’m a huge advocate for going local. While I am only doing one stop in December, I want to organize more events for early 2014.
  • Catch up on some reading. I love writing, but my first love was reading. I haven’t had much time to read for pleasure lately. With the year slowing down and more free time, I’ve been able to refill my well. Right now, I’m reading Frostwalkers by Brandon Luffman. After that, George R.R. Martin’s A Dance with Dragons is waiting for me.

There will be no new releases this month, but you can pre-order Sandpaper Fidelity Season Three, which includes an exclusive short story. You’ll also be able to pre-order Crazy Comes in Threes very soon! I’m working on some other things, but am not quite ready to talk about them yet.

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What are your goals for November? Are you participating in NaNoWriMo?

4 Ingredients for an Awesome Plot

So You Want to NaNoWriMo

2013-Participant-Facebook-ProfileNational Novel Writing Month is just around the corner! (Literally—it’s been lurking there all morning, waiting to steal my coffee.) If you’re like me and sort of decided at the last minute to just do it like Nike, you might need to throw a quick plot together. NaNoWriMo is about throwing caution to the wind, parking your butt in the chair, and writing—something we all have a hard time doing, whether you’re a seasoned professional or someone who’s never even written an essay.

So, how do you create a great novel idea? I’m glad you asked!

Create a Tug of War

A novel that will keep you writing late into the night has a lot of conflict in it. (And I’m not talking about the kind of conflict that involves you,  your refrigerator, and a certain half-full can of frosting.) Conflict is what keeps the wheels turning, driving the story and characters forward. It can be as simple as a zombie slayer who is afraid of zombies, or as complex as a man who has just lost the love of his life and child and is wondering what he has to live for.

Set Up an Entertaining Cast

Arguably, characters and what they do are the most important part of a story. When casting for your novel, create characters with interesting backgrounds and motives. Give them quirks. Trent may be the new guy in school, but he loves to draw weird comics. Zoleen may seem robotic and cold, but she collects action figures that make her smile.

Throw in Wrench After Wrench

Once you have these characters, don’t make it easy for them. Throw something in their way every time they try to accomplish anything. These can be small obstacles, like having to move boxes before they can get into the refrigerator, or large challenges such as finding out the frosting was stolen by a burglar.

Know Your Ending

Even if you like to write by the seat of your pants rather than plot out the details, it’s helpful to know how your story ends. After all, every story has to end eventually. It’s okay to pick an ending and then change it later while you’re writing. That’s one of the coolest things about writing: sometimes, the book takes over. In the meantime, give yourself a destination.

What’s your favorite plot recipe? Leave your tips in the comments below!

Help Me Choose a Title for NaNoWriMo 2013!

2013-Participant-Facebook-CoverI’m taking a break from writing the ESX series to write a story that has been gnawing at me ever since I found it. If you like me on Facebook, you may have seen me post links to the NPR investigation of the state of South Dakota. There is quite a bit of evidence showing that the state’s Department of Social Services is wrongfully removing Native American children from their homes and tribes, potentially violating the Indian Welfare Act.

One family’s story really stirred me up emotionally, and I haven’t been able to get it out of my head. Since I use writing as a way to process things, and want to spread the word, I’ve been slow-cooking a story in the last few weeks, based on the Sioux family that was highlighted in the NPR investigation.

A single voicemail is the only clue Winona has when her infant daughter goes missing.

Winona thought she would be taking care of someone else’s children, not her own. When she starts a new job as nanny to a white family, she is shocked to discover that they are the foster parents of her daughter, taken from her and her Sioux tribe by the DSS only months ago.

“You are going to be arrested for drug abuse,” the social worker said. “We have taken your children.”

But Winona has never done drugs, and the police never came to arrest her. Even more mysteriously, the DSS never took her five-year-old son. Horrified, Winona finds herself caught in a war between the Sioux and the state to get back her kidnapped daughter.

I will be writing this novel for NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month), which starts on November 1st. I feel that this is an important story, because regardless of some of the controversy, the state is not doing its job thoroughly. My novel will aim to highlight some of the main issues, including:

  • the violation of the Indian Welfare Act, which requires social services to place Native American children with members of their families or tribes
  • the DSS’s lack of resources to help Native American parents who are struggling with mental health and substance abuse issues
  • the loss of Native American culture appreciation in our country

I’m a little intimidated by this project, for a few reasons, but I feel very passionately about it. I see the United States as one big family, and we need to take better care of each other. I’m slightly worried about offending the Sioux tribes in South Dakota, so I’ve been looking for some books and resources to help me portray their culture better. I’m also struggling with a title. I have a few potentials, but none of them are quite right.

Here’s where you come in! Vote for your favorite, or add your own suggestion.

Okay! Into the insanity we go! I’m toying with the idea of posting the chapters as I write, the way I did with Sade on the Wall a few years ago. This requires me to not be a scaredy cat, though, so we’ll see.

If you are participating in NNWM this year, add me and I’ll add you back!