Saturday, November 19, 2011

NaNo and 750 Word Writing Site, Anybody Out There?

The pro's and cons of "" Cons: the site gives you points. If you copy and paste from your original document, like I do, especially in pieces like I do because I leave out the notes to myself, things like, what is the divider in a cop car made of? I can't believe my mc is actually sitting in a cop car--not story, so I don't count it as NaNo words. If you do that, the site gives you less points (what, does the computer think we're cheating?) But I had one day where I had a long post, over 2,600 words, and they didn't save. I lost them all, and I was so grateful that I had an original.
To avoid this, just make sure you "force save:" control S or however you do it for your original doc, rather than relying on the computer's program to save.

Why do I post at odd times of the early morning? Maybe it's like tapping on the computer screen. I'm pretty alone here, except for my DH's snoring. Hello, is anybody out there? Sounds like a song, but I'm too tired to think of what or who wrote it. Good news: After counting my words for the month. My grand total so far: 25697.

Since I only had part of a novel to write (not officially following NaNo, but I have editing to do for the second half) he better news is that I've virtually finished a draft of Lawnmower. STill have to go back and fill in some holes, and need more conclusion, but the climax is done. I like how I've done it this time: I keep my "outline" file open while I'm writing. When I think of something I need to make sure happens, like a plot thread to tie up, or a question I have to research to get and answer (does soda pop ignite or put out fires?) I put it in my outline file so I don't forget.

Best news: I'm sleepy now. Back to bed.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Writing Site You Might Want to Check Out

I give AnnDee Ellis full credit for this discovery. (Throwing Up Words blog) No more highlighting and counting your words, unless you like to do that just for fun. is a private site where you can write, or copy and paste, your daily words. You'll get an automatic word count at the bottom of the page.

It also seems like a nice additional backup, and I like the fact that no one can read what you wrote except you.

750 words, or three pages. It's a good goal, whether you're doing NaNoWriMo or not.

Book Review: Mockingbird by Kathryn Eskine

I loved this book. I loved this book. Did I mention how good this book is? It's really sad, and I don't usually love sad books. But Kathryn Erskine has plotted this so well, following all of her threads to a good conclusion, that I want to go find her other book, Quaking.

Of course, the theme of Asperger's Syndrome is something close to my heart, but despite my bias, I thought the author did an amazing job of exploring an aspie character and making her understandable to any reader. She mixes this character with a plot about the aftermath of a school shooting, dealing with death, and healing, or "closure" as the character calls it, and it worked well.

I liked the references to To  Kill a Mockingbird, although I have to say that for the first few pages, I really thought the mc's name was Scout. Maybe that was intentional?

NaNoWriMo count

I think I like NaNoWriMo. I thought I'd hate it. I though the idea of writing a set number of words a day would make me stressed out. And yes, there are times I write when I wouldn't normally, like at ten-fifteen last night, trying to get in a few more words, but mostly it just feels good.

If my only mark of success is getting published, I'm going to have to wait for a long time to feel good.

but today I can count words and feel like I got something accomplished. Not every day is great. Yesterday I struggled to get around 1,500 words. Today I wrote 2, 480, partly because I know tomorrow won't be a great day for getting anything done. Or Saturday. But yay! I got a lot done this day.

I didn't say they were all good words. Still wondering if this story is so far-fetched that kids will want to throw it across the room and say, "That would never happen." I hope not.

Now we seriously need a National How to Revise Your Novel month!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

NaNoWriMo Update

Maybe I should try writing in the middle of the night more often. I've gotten over three thousand words written today.

Two things I like about doing this challenge (in my own way, I didn't sign up officially since I'd already started this book:) I've been trying really hard (even in the middle of the night when I should be sleeping) to think about what my characters are going to do, where the plot is headed, before I sit down and write. That makes my writing time much more productive, and it's why I'm getting so much written. Insomnia can have it's perks.

I feel a sense of accomplishment. Usually at this point in my day I'm thinking something like this, "Well, that was good to get some writing done, but I still have so much longer to finish my book. Better get going on dinner and the dirty dishes and the violin lessons and . . ."

Today, though, I'm counting my words and realizing how much I really did get done, and having a measurable goal like that (smaller than finish the book) really feels good.

Book Review: Girl, Stolen, by April Henry

When I read the back cover and realized this book was about a girl who accidentally gets kidnapped, I thought the plot would be predictable. It is, to a point. However, it's well-done, and there is one plot twist that took me completely by surprise. The MC also ends up taking a much more active role in her rescue than I'd expected, and I applaud that.

I admit I like happy endings, and you'll have to decide for yourself how happy this one is. I'm not saying I want everything tied up in an ending, but (spoiler) he asks her a question, and the very last sentence is her pondering her answer but not letting anyone, including the reader, know what it might be. Aagh! Is it sort-of like Bronte's Villette, where we're supposed to decide which ending we like best?

That aside, it's an enjoyable read.


It's 2:53 am, and I can't sleep. But between a mini vacation because my kids didn't have school on Friday, a sinus infection (maybe why I can't sleep?) and a long day today, I'm behind on my word goal. But maybe today is going to be better, because I've already written close to 500 words, and the sun isn't up yet.
My goal has been to finish my present novel by writing around two thousand words a day, then go back and edit the other two that need some serious help. That's a lot to strive for.
As Carol pointed out in her latest post,, writing can be a very, very discouraging business. So I have to remember I'm doing this because I love (?) it. Today, as I went about the mundane, I kept thinking of my character, stuck in the middle of a very dark night in the Southern Utah desert.
Goals, as as past LDS Relief Society president said, are stars to steer by, not sticks to beat ourselves with.
So I'll keep doing my best, but if I end up sleeping later today, that's okay too.
Put away your sticks. We all write because we  have stars in our eyes.

Book Review: Liar by Justine Larbalestier

I don't believe in giving bad reviews. People work hard on books, and what writer needs more criticism, seriously. So the following is just personal preference.
I liked the voice in this book. Loved the idea of a narrator we're not sure if we can trust because she lies. It's a great premise. Her boyfriend, who is/isn't really her boyfriend, dying mysteriously is really good stuff, too.
Here's the personal preference part: I don't like tons of language. If it's there, I need it to feel authentic (think Tree Grows in Brooklyn kind of necessity.) So I struggled with the many uses of the F word. It's obvious I don't like that in teen books. But to me it seemed forced an unnecessary, even though the author was trying for a gritty, New York City feel.
So I was already struggling to decide if I liked it enough to overlook the language, but the idea of a girl who had a reason for telling lies, a reason that went back to her father and grandmother getting so good at lies that they sometimes forgot what the truth had originally been, kept me reading.
And I wanted more of that. Instead, 1/3 of the way through, I got a werewolf book. I wasn't expecting a werewolf book, especially this far in. I thought all the psychological secrets were plenty for a plot. So for me, it didn't work.
It isn't a bad book at all. But I struggled to like and understand the characters, and for me, that was enough for me to skip to the end, find out what happened, and put it down.
Maybe I should have kept reading. Then maybe I would have liked it more. So personal preference, as I said.