Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Countdown to NaNoWriMo (T-2)

When it comes to novel writing, I'm a pantser at heart. But in the interest of actually being able to finish what I start, I do have to do some planning before the writing begins. Honestly, I hate outlining, so my process goes something like this...

Figure out the beginning.
Figure out the end.
Figure out the rest as I go along.

That being said, I promised you a summary of this year's NaNoNovel in yesterday's post. Since I'm not entirely sure of all my plot points yet, you'll have to forgive me if it's a little vague and not quite dust jacket quality. Also, there's a slight chance I have trust issues am a bit paranoid about putting my ideas on the internets. (But there's also a chance that being chosen for 30 Covers 30 Days is a secret dream of mine.) All that aside, a promise is a promise, so here goes...

12 year-old Alivia knows what no one else believes: The woods took her mother. And now the forest is calling to her with two words whispered on the wind. 

Follow me...

On the other side of the trees is a carefree world where magic is real and the tea is always sweet. But once she enters, Alivia discovers a darkness seeping through the moss and golden leaves. A darkness she must stop if she's ever to see her mother again. At least, that's what the old white rabbit with the broken pocket watch tells her.

By the way, did I mention her mother's name is Alice?

Your turn. What are you writing this November?



Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Countdown to NaNoWriMo (T-3)

It's here. The final stretch of that exciting and often panic-filled week leading up to the start of NaNoWriMo. As November 1st nears I am once again afflicted with what I like to call "NaNo Nesting" in which I desperately try to clean my house, plan a workable schedule, make sure all my notes are in one pile, and double check that the tea stash is well stocked. Since I land somewhere in between a planner and a pantser, my NaNo prep doesn't usually involve a lot of outlining and mostly consists of lots of boring, non-noveling housework. So today, I wanted to share a couple of fun things I've done in between buying new Sharpie pens and organizing my kids' closet.

NaNo Playlist
While I have a definite appreciation for silence (I'm a mother of two young children. Need I say more?) I'm the type of person who connects strongly with music. These songs don't necessarily have anything to do with my story lyrically. Instead I tend to choose songs that drive me creatively and carry a certain emotional feel. My soundtrack varies from year to year, depending on what type of novel I'm working on. Here's this year's playlist:

1. Pure Imagination - Fiona Apple
2. Introduction - Noah and The Whale
3. Static Waves - Andrew Belle ft. Katie Herzig
4. Your Head and Your Heart - The Saint Johns
5. Fall Asleep - Jars of Clay
6. Follow Suit - Trent Dabbs
7. The Ladder - Andrew Belle
8. I Had Me a Girl - The Civil Wars
9. Amsterdam - Imagine Dragons
10. Whisper Something - Aaron Sprinkle
11. Trees - Twenty-One Pilots
12. King and Lionheart - Of Monsters and Men
13. Pioneers - The Lighthouse and the Whaler
14. Devil's Backbone - The Civil Wars
15. Youth - Daughter
16. Alright - Aaron Sprinkle
17. Stuck - Canopy Climbers
18. Shuffle - Bombay Bicycle Club
19. Radioactive - Imagine Dragons

Give it a listen on Spotify. Like what you hear? Follow the playlist to be notified of any updates to the track list.

Pinterest
Instead of downloading a bunch of images to my computer, I decided to create a Pinterest board for inspirational/reference images for my novel. You can check out the board called "Follow Me" (the tentative title for my book) and if it piques your interest, tune in tomorrow. I might just be sharing a summary of what I'll be working on this November...

So, do you also suffer from NaNo Nesting? How are you prepping for Friday?

Friday, October 25, 2013

The Small Things {October Edition}

This month's happies...

New Laptop!
As a writer, I'm not sure there's any gadget better than a new laptop, especially when you've gotten into several verbal arguments with your old one. No matter how many times I reminded it that being a writer requires, you know, RESEARCH, my old laptop approached the internet like a toddler approaches broccoli. That, combined with its propensity for greeting me with a black stare, finally pushed me to the point of being unwilling to risk an all-out crash while in the middle of writing (just the thought gives me nightmares). I was already an Apple fan, but after using my Macbook for a few weeks, I'll never go back to PC. This thing is the bomb. And so shiny.


Pumpkin Carving
You know on Halloween how there was that one house where the blinds were closed tight and all the lights were off--except for the TV that the people pretending not to be home were watching? Yeah, I grew up in that house. (I love my parents to death, but when I was a kid, my mom went through a lot of NO THAT'S EVIL phases. We laugh about it now.) Long story short, while we've always happily handed out candy, this is the first year our kids (who are 8 and 5, respectively) are going trick-or-treating, and also the first year we decided to carve pumpkins. We had a ridiculous amount of fun. And since we've had a typical Montana heat-wave-before-the-winter-storm-warning, we're probably going to do it again next week now that the black cat and headless apparition are starting to wilt.

This Guy
One advantage to marrying a guy who is a phenomenal cook, is that he offers to make homemade pasta when you forget to buy linguini to go with the zucchini parmesan. He has now requested a pasta roller/cutter for Christmas so that this can become a regular occurrence. My heart be still. I'm pretty sure I'm the luckiest lady in the universe.






Now on to the best month of the year.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

The Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey

"There once was an old man and woman who loved each other very much and were content with their lot in life except for one great sadness - they had no children of their own."

As Mabel and Jack struggle to bring life to their new farm in the brutal Alaskan wilderness, one unrealized dream continues to haunt them. Mabel, crumbling under the weight of loneliness and despair, is ready to give up, until one night a brief moment of joy changes everything. As the first snow falls, she and Jack, filled with longing for what they have lost, construct a child from the snow. The next day, the child is gone, replaced by glimpses of a young girl running through the trees. Is it possible that this girl is their snow child, made with love and longing, and born of magic and mountain air? As their love for the little girl grows, so does the mystery that surrounds her. And the more they open their hearts, the more their lives are transformed.

After reading this novel, I wasn't surprised to learn it was a Pulitzer Prize finalist. The Snow Child is a beautiful story of lost hope and second chances. It captures your heart from the very first page and holds it through trial, pain, hope, joy and every other emotion stirred by Ivey's graceful prose. While it seems the fantasy of a snow child might clash with the factual ruggedness of the 1920 Alaskan wilderness, the story is woven so brilliantly that it seems natural to believe in the impossible. I found myself gripped by the characters' emotions, empathizing with them, rooting for them, celebrating each victory in their journey. It's such a magical story, but at the heart of it is a realness, a rawness that paints a bigger picture of what it means to hold on to hope and to those you love, through even the most difficult of circumstances. And that is what makes The Snow Child a truly exceptional read.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Top 5 Reasons You Should NaNoWriMo

Imagine a place where a band of people, connected by a common passion, unite with fortitude, determination, and just a smidge of insanity, to attempt a journey of near impossible odds. A journey whose success lies not in the final destination, but in every step taken along the way. A journey which could alter the very course of history.

We call this place...

NaNoWriMo
*aka National Novel Writing Month, aka November

The challenge? Write 50,000 words in 30 days during the month of November. The prize? Besides major bragging rights and that oh-so-good feeling, you'll have a novel in your hands. Sound impossible? We Wrimos laugh in the face of impossible. Here's my top 5 reasons you should start perfecting your maniacal cackle and sign up.

1. There's no time like NOW.

Whether NaNoWriMo has been on your bucket list for years or you're brand new to the idea of writing a novel in a month, to you I say, "Why not?" Somedays have a sneaky tendency to turn into nevers, so why not just go for it? If you don't reach the 50,000 word goal, there's always next year. And you're a lot less likely to make future excuses if you've dipped your toes into the water this year.

2. It's Habit Forming.

They say it takes 21 days to create a habit. After 30 days of literary abandon, not only will you be hooked on NaNoWriMo, you'll be well on your way to an established daily writing routine.

3. There's No Knowing...

You never know what will come of the words you write. Bestselling books Water for Elephants and The Night Circus both started as NaNoNovels. Whether you end the month with 500 words or 52,378, you never know where those words might take you.

4. It's a Magical Place.

We have plot bunnies and word sprints and decadent amounts of candy and caffeine. Seriously, it's like Willy Wonka's chocolate factory and we all get to be Charlie. Being part of NaNoWriMo means being part of a global secret society. The cool inside-jokes kind, not the creepy sign-in-blood kind. Although, I've never been inside the Horror genre forum...

5. And in Conclusion...It's Just Plain Fun

From smack talk in cross-country (and sometimes cross-continent) word-count rivalries, to connecting with fellow writers at local write-ins, to receiving encouraging and hilarious pep talks in your inbox, NaNoWriMo is an absolute blast. Whether or not you're able to log 1,667 words a day, you're going to come away with an amazing experience, a few new friends, and a renewed passion for writing. And that, my friend, is reason enough.

So what are you waiting for?

nanowrimo.org <<click to sign up
paperpages <<click to view my NaNoWriMo profile and send me a buddy request!





Friday, October 4, 2013

Poetry and Such

Since this is a blog mostly featuring literary themed ramblings, and since I'm an author always bothering you with talk about writing, I thought it might be nice to share some actual, well...writing.

It's a little different from my usual work, since it's a poem. Most of the verses I've penned happened during my childhood, when it was my go-to Mother's Day gift. I wrote this particular poem as a Language Arts exercise for my daughter. I set out to use her spelling words in a story (making it her job to read it and circle the aforementioned words) and this is what came of it. Now, I'm by no means a professional poet, so all you rhyming masters out there will have to forgive me if my meter isn't perfect.

We Are the Books

We are the books,
We have something to say.
A story to tell,
If you say that we may.
Now if you read fast,
Or if you read slow,
It doesn't matter,
We're ready to go.
So come take a trip,
Come along and you'll see,
You can go anywhere,
See any sea.
Fly a hot air balloon,
Sit on a train.
Cut through the jungle,
Sail around Spain.
Meet lots of people,
Some happy, some sad.
Some at their best,
And some horribly bad.
Find a lost treasure,
Wish on a star,
Have an adventure,
Wherever you are.
And when you are done,
You'll love where you went,
And be ready to go,
Where you haven't gone yet.
So open us up,
And soon you will see,
A book is a door,
And you are its key.

So there you have it! I'm attempting to learn more about writing poetry, since I do have a picture book series in the works that is written in verse. I've always written by ear, so I've never really paid too much attention to the technical side of things. So if you have any advice, or links to articles or books that might help simplify things for me, please share in the comments!

Have a great weekend!