Thought on Nominating for the Hugo Awards

Hugo award nominees are due Tuesday, March 10th! So if you have a membership to one of the participating WorldCons, don’t forget to vote!

The Hugo Awards are given out once a year to honor great works (mostly literary, although not 100%) in the sci-fi/fantasy field. In order to be eligible to nominate and vote on these award you have to be a WorldCon member. This does cost money, although there is a special lower cost category for people who just want to vote and won’t actually be attending the con. This is my second year participating in the awards, and I found it to be a lot easier than the first time around. A lot of this has to do with the fact that I knew well in advance that I was going to be voting this year, while last year I waffled back and forth for a while before committing (guess I’m a fickle gal!). This allowed me to keep an eye out for really promising books that would likely be worth my attention come voting time.

Because I recently filled out my ballot (a more time intensive process then you might think!), I decided to share a few of my nominees. I’m not going to go into the whole slate because that would be waaay too long and I’m pretty sure no one would actually want to read that (myself included). Instead, I’ll share the ones I’m the most excited about.

The Goblin Emperor by Katherine Addison for Best Novel- Now, if you told me last year that one of my favorite novels from 2014 was a book about elves who are in the habit of speaking in first person plural, I would have looked at you like you were a crazy person. But there’s something about this book that just works. I was swept up into Maia’s world on page one, and I couldn’t help but route for this unlikely goblin Emperor until the very end. This is one I’m pretty sure is going to make the official ballot, given that it is a Nebula nominee and has a lot of positive buzz online.

The Ninety-Ninth Bride by Catherine K King for Best Novelette- On the other hand, I would be shocked to see this one actually make the official ballot. But I loved it, and I think it deserve accolades, so I’m putting it on there. The Ninety-Ninth Bride was published by The Book Smugglers, who did a whole series on subversive fairy tale retellings last year. The Ninety-Ninth Bride retold one of my favorites, Arabian Nights, and the author did such a good job putting her own personal stamp on this beloved tale. I loved the characters and was sad when it was over. I’d recommend reading it, even if it doesn’t get nominated.

Rocket Talk, hosted by Justin Landon for Best Related Work- This is one of my favorite podcasts (the other being Writing Excuses, which I also nominated). The focus here is issues facing the book-loving sci-fi/fantasy community, making it perfect for the Hugos. The host, Justin Landon, does a fantastic job of picking guests. He also has a great talent for knowing when to steer the conversation, or when to just let the guest go off. Last year, Rocket Talk was filled with episodes that were both insightful and entertaining, which is what I really need to keep me awake on my 45 minute commute.

Ms. Marvel, vol 1: No Normal by G Willow Wilson for Best Graphic Story- Holy crap was this category difficult to narrow down! There were so many great comics last year. One of the ones I really hope to see on the ballot is the new Ms. Marvel comic, which introduces Kamala Khan, a Pakistan-American teenager who discovers that she has superpowers. In addition to being really fun, I think this comic is very easy for new readers to pick up which, for whatever reason, isn’t always the case with first volumes!

The Legend of Korra: Season 4 for Best Dramatic Presentation: Long Form- Regardless of it’s shaky second season, The Legend of Korra has always succeeded in bringing a level of sophistication and quality that you’re not used to seeing in children’s television. It’s also a show that it perfectly willing to take risks, which Season Four did again and again. This begins with the decision to jump ahead a few years, bringing our teenage characters into young adulthood, and ends with a final scene that establishes our heroine Korra as a bisexual protagonist. How often do you find that in regular television shows, never mind a kids cartoon? This show has been denied any Hugo love over the past few years. I hope to see that rectified this year, either in the Long Form, or Short form categories (where I nominated the two part finale).

Captain America: Winter Solider for Best Dramatic Presentation: Long Form- Boy was 2014 a great year for superhero movies not made by Sony! But where Guardians of the Galaxy (which I also nominated) is clearly the most popular, I find The Winter Solder to be the best of the best. Captain America was just a perfect blend of bombastic action sequences, lovable characters, and real life issues. Also, wasn’t it satisfying to see the bad guys getting taken down by a team of primarily women and POCs? Marvel has set the bar awfully high for Age of Ultron.

SL Huang for the Campbell Award (Not-a-Hugo)- Sometimes you’re drawn to a writer for the quality of their writing, or the strength of their characterizations. Other times, they just have really neat-o ideas and execute them extremely well. And while Huang doesn’t fail or anything in the first two categories, it’s the third where she knocks it out of the park. I highly recommend picking up her debut, Zero Sum Game, which is about a superheroine who gets her powers from being really good at math. Her stand alone short story, Hunting Monsters, is also really cool. Huang is also self published, so it would be nice to see some indie love on the ballot.

Those were some of my nominees! Who do you hope to see on the official ballot?

Spring Forward! (into writing)

It’s been a rough six months, writing wise.

Call it pure writing ADD. Months and months of jumping from project to project, leaving everything half written and 100% incomplete. This includes multiple short stories and THREE novels. I’m pretty sure if you added up all of those words, I would have over 80k, a novel in itself (albeit a pretty nonsensical one). I don’t know what was wrong with me but I kept on writing myself into corners, getting frustrated, and giving up. And even more frustrating is that this unfocused antsy attitude seemed to bleed into other areas of my life as well.

I was beginning to wonder what the point was. After all, the phrase was “three strikes and you’re out” right? I had failed with three books, so wasn’t I already out? Then I had a frustrating, albeit completely different situation at one of my jobs related to some accounting issues. You see, I’m not good at the maths, and at that moment it was really becoming obvious to me. I found myself exclaiming aloud that I wasn’t a numbers person. It’s why I work in a library, after all. And then a volunteer/friend said something that really stuck with me. How if I wasn’t a numbers person, nothing I did, no matter how hard I tried was ever going to change that. It wasn’t going to work.

And it struck me as some of the worst advice I had ever received.

She probably didn’t mean it this way. She was probably just trying to be sympathetic. But to me, those words meant one very simple thing: if things get hard, give up, because it’s never going to get easier. And that’s not something I ever want to believe. Not with work, and not with writing, two areas in which I have (not to pat myself on the back) overcome some tricky challenges.

We’re in March now, meaning that Spring is on its way (although living in Maine has taught me to expect that April fools day storm). And what better time for changing your habits then a season of change? I’m currently halfway through writing a first draft of a new novel (manged to get 40k out during the month of February, and all thanks to Rachel Aaron’s 2k to 10k ebook, something I hope to blog about soon). So now that I have an idea that I’m excited about, the key is to get disciplined. I used to be great at finding time to write every day, even when my jobs kept me out of the house from 9AM to 9PM. There’s no reason why I can’t make it work now.

In order to help me with this, I’m going back to a method that used to help me out during NaNoWriMo. I’ve printed out a calendar. It’s a standard one, with blocks for each date. Starting today, in each one of those blocks I’m going to write down how long I’ve written that day, and my total word count. My goal is to write for an hour every day, first thing in the morning, until the draft is done. But even on the days when I can’t get in that full hour, I need to make sure I get in thirty minutes. After all, this particular goal is just as much about creating positive habits as it is about finishing this draft. And if I want to write every day, I need to write every day.

I was a lot happier when I was writing every day, because even when life was frustrating, I had one accomplishment. I was a writer. I’m hoping that becoming more efficient with my writing will help me with my overall productivity. I’d like to go back to blogging more, for example. But for this week, let’s focus on the important thing, the writing, on not giving up even if it’s hard. Because I really do like this new novel I’m working on and I feel like I can make worth my efforts if I’m willing to spend the time on it.

Wish me luck.

Everything I Watched in 2014

Phew, this took a bit of effort to put together and needs a bit of explaining. Below is a list of everything I watched in 2014, whether it be TV shows, movies, web series, etc. If you’re just interesting in 2014 movie releases, those are listed first. Below that are the current TV shows I watched as they aired this year. Then there’s everything else all lumped into one list. Not included are seasons of TV shows I started to watch on Netflix but haven’t finished yet. The 2014 movies are listed from favorite to least favorite, while everything else is just alphabetized.

Without further ado, here is everything I watched in 2014!

2014 Movies
Captain America: The Winter Soldier- A
X-men: Days of Future Past- A-
Snowpiercer- A-
Guardians of the Galaxy- A-
How to Train Your Dragon 2- B+
The Lego Movie- B+
Edge of Tomorrow- B+
Belle- B+
Gone Girl- B+
Begin Again- B+
Into the Woods- B+
Big Hero 6- B+
The Fault in Our Stars- B+
In Your Eyes B+
Mr. Peabody and Sherman- B
Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit- B
Mockingjay: Part 1- B
Interstellar- B-
The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies- B-
The Book of Life- B-
Divergent- B-
Muppets Most Wanted- C+
Maleficent- C
The Amazing Spider-Man 2- C
Hercules- C
Godzilla- D+
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles- F
Total: 27 Movies

Current Television Shows (watched as they aired in 2014)
Agents of SHIELD- Back half of Season 1- B+. First 10 episodes of season 2- A-
Avatar: The Legend of Korra. Season 3- A. Season 4- A.
Castle: Back half of season 6- B. First 9 episodes of season 7- C-
Constantine: Season 1 (so far)- C+
Doctor Who: Season 8- B-
Downton Abbey, Season 4- B-
Gotham: First two episodes of season 1- C-
Sherlock, Season 3- B-
Total: 8 Shows

Other Movies/TV/Web Series Watched in 2014 on DVD, Netflix, youtube, etc.
American Hustle- B+
Archer, Season 1- B+
Archer, Season 2- B+
Archer, Season 3- B+
Archer, Season 4- B
Arrow, Season 1- A-
Arrow: Season 2- A
The Avengers- A (rewatch)
Bones, Season 9- B-
Captain America: The First Avenger- B+ (rewatch)
Captain America: The Winter Soldier- A (rewatch)
A Charlie Brown Christmas- B+ (rewatch)
Doctor Who Christmas Special: A Christmas Carol- B
Doctor Who Christmas Special: Voyage of the Dammed- B+ (rewatch)
Elf (rewatch)
Eureka, Season 1- B-
Emma Approved, episodes 24-Final- B
Frankenstein, MD, Season 1- B-
Game of Thrones: Season 3- A-
The Gamers: Humans and Households- A-
The Gamers: Natural One- B
The Grandmaster- C
Gravity- A-
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire- A- (rewatch)
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban- A- (rewatch)
Hero (2004 Chinese film)- A- (rewatch)
The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug- B- (rewatch)
The Host (2013 American film)- D+
How to Train Your Dragon- A (rewatch)
Journey Quest, Season 1- B (rewatch)
Journey Quest, Season 2- B (rewatch)
The Lizzie Bennet Diaries, Full Series- A (rewatch)
Love, Actually- B (rewatch)
Merlin, Season 3- B+ (rewatch)
Mulan: Rise of a Warrior- C+
The Muppet Christmas Carol- A- (rewatch)
Muppet Treasure Island- B- (rewatch)
Orphan Black, Season 1- A
Orphan Black, Season 2- A-
Robot and Frank- A-
Robin Hood Men in Tights- B- (rewatch)
Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer- B+ (rewatch)
Santa Claus is Coming to Town (1970 Rankin/Bass Production)- B (rewatch)
Shrek 2- B+ (rewatch)
Sleepy Hollow, Season 1- B+
Space Jam (don’t judge me!)
Star Trek: The Next Generation: Season 5- B
Superheroes: A Never Ending Battle- B+
Thor: The Dark World- B+ (rewatch x2)
True Detective, Season 1- B+
Vikings, Season 1- B+
We’re the Millers- B
The Wind Rises- A
The Wolverine- B (rewatch)
Wreck-it Ralph A (rewatch)
The Year Without a Santa Claus- A- (rewatch)
Total: 56

Reflections on My 2014 Reading

So yesterday, I finished up my list of everything I read in 2014. It was quite an undertaking, something I’ve actually been working on since October. While compiling this list, I found myself struck by quite a few things (I read THAT in 2014, instead of 2013? Wow we didn’t get that many issues of Saga this year, did we), but there were a few things that grabbed me the most. They were…

1. Equal love between formats- I separated my list between books (both paper and ebook), audiobooks, graphic novels, short ebooks, literary magazines and comic books. One thing I found kind of funny that between books, audiobooks, and graphic novels, I unknowingly read about the same amount in each category- roughly forty. This wasn’t really a shock as much as something that I found to be a neat coincidence.

2. More love for Nonfiction- The vast majority of what I read is fiction, and will probably always be fiction, but the fact that I went from reading only one nonfiction book in 2013 to reading thirteen works of nonfiction in 2014 is a pretty significant increase, even if the end number isn’t hugely impressive. I think it’s because for such a long time, I always equated nonfiction with “slow,” which is totally not the case. There’s a wide variety of pacing with nonfiction books, just like fiction. It’s all about finding what you’re in the mood for. In fact, three of my favorite reads of last year were nonficiton: Let’s Pretend this Never Happened by Jenny Lawson, Brain on Fire by Susannah Cahalan, and Wild by Cheryl Strayed, three incredibly different (and incredibly good) titles. I hope this increase in interest continues into 2015.

3. Reading more graphic novels/trade paperbacks- Last year I read twenty-six graphic novels. This year it was forty-three. That’s a big shift! This more or less continues my trend of reading more comics, as well as my new found trend of reading more trade paperbacks versus single issues. Don’t get me wrong, I’ll always read plenty of comics in single issue form, especially the ones that I’m already following that way. But comics that feature more complex storylines (especially when combined with a less consistent release schedule), often feel more satisfying when read in big chunks. Oh, and it’s usually cheaper that way.

4. MVPs- The authors I found myself revisiting the most this year rank as follows. I read four works by Kelley Armstrong (three books, one short ebook), Tamora Pierce (four books), Brandon Sanderson (one book, three audiobooks), Agatha Christie (four audiobooks), Gail Simone (four graphic novels), Brain Azzarello (four graphic novels), and Marjorie M. Liu (four graphic novels). I read five works by Laura Lam (one novel, four short ebooks), and Scott Snyder (five graphic novels). And my MVP of the year was Seanan McGuire/Mira Grant. I read two books, listened to four audiobooks, and read one short ebook. That’s a grand total of seven works!

4. Weakness as a Reader in 2014- I’m not a book blogger any more, but I do still read them from time to time. This is the time a year when people might post a master list of what they’ve read, or a list of their favorites. One thing I’m conscious of is when women writers are underrepresented on one of these lists. I don’t think people need to be 50/50 when it comes to gender representation (especially not regular readers, as opposed to book bloggers). I’m not (excluding the single issue comics, I read 74 works written by women, 62 works written by men, and 8 that were a collaborative work somehow between men and women), but it strikes me strange that some readers seem to go out of their way, consciously or subconsciously, to read only works by men.

At the same time, I don’t feel very comfortable complaining about that, because you could look my list and say that it looks like I go out of my way to read mostly works by white people. Excluding collaborative projects, I barely squeak over a dozen, and that could be better. So for one of my New Year’s Resolutions, I’d like to make it an effort to read more fantastic works by POC authors. I usually make a goal to read a hundred books in a year, so if twenty of those are by POC, then that’s an improvement. If I read more (which I usually do), then I should increase that number. This will include reading work by authors I already enjoy (both NK Jemisin and YS Lee have new books coming out this year), as well as finding new writers that I can add to my list of authors to watch. I consider variety to be an important part of anyone’s reading diet, so I’m happy to add a little more variety to mine.

Anything you noticed about the books you read this year? Do you have any reading goals for 2015?

Everything I Read in 2014

Hello, all! As I don’t think I’ll be finishing anything else in the next two hours, this will be my list of everything (and I do mean EVERYTHING) I read in 2014, including books, audiobooks, short ebooks (think stand alone novellas and short stories), and comics and graphic novels. I hope to make another post that includes more in depth thoughts, including my strengths and shortcomings as a reader in 2014, but for now, here is a list of what I read. My favorite titles are bolded and I am more than happy to talk about any of them in more detail in the comments. All and all it was  good year for reading for me, and I hope it was for everyone else too!

Books
Nice Dragons Finish Last by Rachel Aaron
Loki’s Wolves by KL Armstrong and MA Meyer
Visions by Kelley Armstrong
Wild Justice by Kelley Armstrong
Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher
The Clan of the Cave Bear by Jean M Auel
Sword and Laser Anthology by Veronica Belmont and Tom Merritt
Honolulu by Alan Brennert
Skin Game by Jim Butcher
The Bitter Kingdoms by Rae Carson
Stories of Your Life and Others by Ted Chiang
The Lives of Tao by Wesley Chu
Paris Was the Place by Susan Conley
Parasite by Mira Grant
Symbiont by Mira Grant
The Snow Queen’s Shadow by Jim C. Hines
Dust by Hugh Howey
Think Like a Cat: How to Raise a Well Adjusted Cat, Not a Sour Puss by Pam Johnson-Bennett
Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? by Mindy Kaling
Shadowplay by Laura Lam
The Devil in the white City by Erik Larson
Altered Carbon by Richard K Morgan
Clariel by Garth Nix
Alanna: The First Adventure by Tamora Pierce
In the Hand of the Goddess by Tamora Pierce
The Woman who Rides like a Man by Tamora Pierce
Lioness Rampant by Tamora Pierce
Shades of Earth by Beth Revis
Allegiant by Veronica Roth
Elantris by Brandon Sanderson
One and Only by Lauren Sandler
Look Again by Lisa Scottoline
Infected by Scott Sigler
Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail by Cheryl Stayed
Geekomancy by Michael R. Underwood
The Girl who Soared Over Fairyland and Cut the Moon in Two by Catherynne M. Valente
Six-Gun Snow White by Catherynne M. Valente
The Martian by Andy Weir
Just a Geek by Wil Wheaton
Total: 39

Audiobooks
Fortune’s Pawn by Rachel Bach
The Poisoner’s Handbook by Deborah Blum
Behind the Beautiful Forevers by Katherine Boo
The Tropic of Serpents by Marie Brennan
Night Broken by Patricia Briggs
Shifting Shadows: Stories from the World of Mercedes Thompson by Patricia Briggs
Brain on Fire by Susannah Cahalan
Curtsies and Conspiracies by Gail Carriger
Waistcoats and Weaponry by Gail Carriger
The ABC Murderers by Agatha Christie
Murder at the Vicarage by Agatha Christie
The Mystery of the Blue Train by Agatha Christie
The Peril at End House by Agatha Christie
14 by Peter Clines
Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn
Three Parts Dead by Max Gladstone
Hexed by Kevin Herne
Orange is the New Black by Piper Kerman
Valour and Vanity by Mary Robinette Kowal
The Friday Society by Adrienne Kress
Let’s Pretend this Never Happened a Mostly True Memoir by Jenny Lawson
The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch
A Storm of Swords by George RR Martin
The Bat by Jo Nesbo
Discount Armageddon by Seanan McGuire
Half-Off Ragnarok by Seanan McGuire
Late Eclipses by Seanan McGuire
Midnight Blue-Light Special by Seanan McGuire
Mark of the Demon by Diana Rowland
The Alloy of Law by Brandon Sanderson
Legion: Skin Deep by Brandon Sanderson
The Rithmatist by Brandon Sanderson
The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot
Taste of Darkness by Maria V. Snyder
The Secret Diary of Lizzie Bennett by Bernie Su and Kate Rorick
Attack the Geek by Michael R. Underwood
Celebromancy by Michael R. Underwood
Blackbirds by Chuck Wendig
Goliath by Scott Westerfeld
Total: 39

Short Ebooks
Gifted by Kelley Armstrong
The Waiting Stars by Aliette de Bodard
The Truth of Fact, Truth of Feeling by Ted Chiang
The Water that Falls on You from Nowhere by John Chu
Opera Vita Aeterna by Vox Day
Wakulla Springs by Andy Duncan and Ellen Klages
21 Reasons You think You Don’t have Time to Write by Mette Ivie Harrison
The Stolen Throne by Gary Hauger
The Ink Readers of Doi Saket by Thomas Olde Heuvelt
Hunting Monsters by SL Huang
The Lady Astronaut of Mars by Mary Robinette Kowal
The Card Sharp by Laura Lam
The Fisherman’s Net by Laura Lam
The Snake Charm by Laura Lam
The Tarot Reader by Laura Lam
One Hell of a Ride by Seanan McGuire
Total: 16

Literary Magazines
Fantasy Magazine: October 2014, Women Destroy Fantasy Special Issue
Inaccurate Realities: Magic
Lightspeed Magazine, January 2014
Lightspeed Magazine, February 2014
Lightspeed Magazine, March 2014
Lightspeed Magazine, April 2014
Luna Station Quarterly, Issue 018
Total: 7

Graphic Novels
Alias, Vol 2: Come Home by Brian Michael Bendis
Alias, Vol 3: The Underneath by Brian Michael Bendis
Alias, Vol 4: The Secret Origins of Jessica Jones by Brian Michael Bendis
Avengers: The Enemy Within by Kelley Sue DeConnick
Batgirl, vol 1: The Darkest Reflection by Gail Simone
Batgirl, vol 2: Knightfall Descends by Gail Simone
Batgirl, Vol 3: Death in the Family by Gail Simone
Batgirl, vol 4: Wanted by Gail Simone
Batman, vol 1: The Court of Owls by Scott Snyder
Batman, vol 2: The City of the Owls by Scott Snyder
Batman, vol 3: Death of the Family by Scott Snyder
Batman, vol 4: Zero Year- Secret City by Scott Snyder
Batman, vol 5: Zero Year- Dark City by Scott Snyder
Batwoman, Vol 3: World’s Finest by JH Williams III
Batwoman, Vol 4: The Blood is Thick by JH Williams III
Captain Marvel: Higher, Furthur, Faster More by Kelley Sue DeConnick
The Complete Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi
Daredevil, vol 1 by Mark Waid
Daredevil, vol 2 by Mark Waid
Daredevil, vol 3 by Mark Waid
Erstwhile, Untold Tales from the Brothers Grim, Vol 2 by Gina Biggs, Louisa Roy and Elle Skinner
Fables, Vol 19: Snow White by Bill Willingham
Fables, Vol 20: Camelot by Bill Willingham
Journey into Mystery featuring Sif, vol 1: Stronger than Monsters by Katheryn Immonen
Justice League Dark, vol 3: The Death of Magic by Jeff Lemire
Ms. Marvel, vol 1: No Normal by G Willow Wilson
Rat Queens, vol 1: Sass and Sorcery Kurtis J Weibe
Sex Criminals, Vol 1: One Weird Trick by Matt Fraction
Shutter, vol 1: Wanderlost by Joe Keatinge
Thor: The God of Thunder, vol 1: The God Butcher by Jason Aaron
Thor: The God of Thunder, vol 2: Godbomb by Jason Aaron
Thor: The God of Thunder, vol 3: Accursed by Jason Aaron
The Wicked + The Divine, Vol 1: The Faust Act by Kieron Gillen
Wonder Woman, Vol 1: Blood by Brian Azzarello
Wonder Woman, Vol 2: Guts by Brian Azzarello
Wonder Woman, Vol 3: Iron by Brian Azzarello
Wonder Woman, Vol 4: War by Brian Azzarello
X-23: Innocence Lost by Craig Kyle
X-23: Target X by Craig Kyle
X-23, Vol 1: The Killing Dream by Marjorie M Liu
X-23/Daken: Collision by Marjorie M. Liu
X-23, Vol 2: Chaos Theory by Marjorie M. Liu
X-23, Vol 3: Don’t Look Back by Marjorie M. Liu
Total: 43

Single Issue Comics
All New Ultimates #1
All New X-men #21-33
Amazing X-Men #1-4
Angela: Asgard’s Assassin #1
Angel and Faith: Season 10 #1-8
Black Widow #1-13
Buffy: Season 10: #1-9
Cyclops #1-7
Death of Wolverine #1-4
Death of Wolverine: The Logan Legacy #1
Guardians of the Galaxy #10-21
Lazarus #6-13
Loki: Agent of Asgard #1
Miles Morales: The Ultimate Spiderman #1-8
Ms. Marvel #1-3
Mighty Avengers #5-10
Pretty Deadly #5
Rocket Girl #4-5
Saga #19-24
Serenity: Leaves on the Wind #1-6
She Hulk #1-11
Superior Spiderman #1-18
Thor #1-2
Trillium #6-8
Ultimate Spiderman #200
Uncanny X-men #23-28
Ultimate Spider-man Cataclysm #3
Veil #1-5
Velvet #3-6
The Wake #5-10
Wolverine #1-12
X-men #9-10
Total: 177 issues

NaNoWriMo Update #2- Breaking the Rules in Week 2

Today is Day 14 of NaNoWriMo!
By the end it, you should have written at least 23,333 words
What’s your word count?

Seeing as I have a big fancy to-do to attend tonight (for Tanner’s work. Even bought a dress for it), I know that having any post-work time to write is an impossibility. So my final word count today is 25,650. It’s a good place to be. I’m still ahead of the game, and I’ve made great progress this week. It is, one might notice, significantly less than last week’s word count (where I wrote 15,011 words, meaning I only wrote 10,639 this week alone). And that’s 100% due to the fact that I have been breaking the rules by rewriting.

Experienced NaNo-ers are probably shaking their head over this. After all, isn’t the point of NaNoWriMo to allow yourself to suck? To write without abandon, to not go back and revise, as that way leads to madness?

In many ways, that’s true. The trap of never really progressing, to only rewrite the same things over and over again is a dangerous one. You really do need to accept the fact that first drafts are not only imperfect, but highly flawed and, sometimes, actually pretty bad. That’s what revisions are for.

For me, it was the fact that I couldn’t see myself moving forward until I went back. As I’ve mentioned before, in this novel I have four central characters whose perspective I shift between. I was having a hard time getting the feel for them all down, so I knew that before I could move these characters to the next level, I needed to get a better feeling for who they were in the beginning. And I’m really glad that I did.

This has made me think a lot about revising/rewriting during NaNo. I actually think it can work, but would recommend the following if you still want to hit 50k by the 30th.
1. Don’t do it until you’re ahead. Like, more than a few hundred words ahead. Behind ahead by a few thousand words last week gave me lots of room to play with. As a result, even though I’ve made some cuts, I’ve never fallen under par for my daily word count.
2. You still need to be adding to the overall word count of you manuscript. Whether this be in the form of fleshing out existing scenes, or adding in new material all together, your story still needs to be growing and progressing. I did both this week. Notice I did not say “write endless description that you know you’re going to cut out later” or other tricks I’ve seen people do to artificially inflate their word counts (like removing all of the contractions, which only results in your dialogue sound unnatural). Seriously, you’re just making more work for yourself during revisions. Still, make sure your novel continues to grow and progress each day, or this is where you fall into the trap of revising the same shit over and over again and not getting anywhere.
3. You need to set aside more daily writing time than you’d initially planned on for NaNoWriMo. Because revisions take time.
4. No wordsmithing. This is not the place for it. As mentioned above, rough drafts don’t need to be perfect.

Hope everyone is doing well. If not, well it’s only the halfway mark. Plenty of time to double down and catch up!

NaNoWriMo Check in- Week #1

Today is Day 7 of NaNoWriMo!
By the end it, you should have written at least 11,669 words
What’s your word count?

So it’s been an interesting week one for me on this year’s NaNoWriMo. I’m not quite as on fire as I was last year, but while there have been days when the going’s been tough, there have also been days when my novel (working title The Twin Kingdoms) has been so much fun to write. So I’m feeling mostly positive as I go into week two. My word count is a healthy 15,011, which is more than I expected it to be. You see, I’ve had a very busy week, often with only just enough time to squeeze in writing. Then yesterday, I blessedly found myself with a whole extra hour and a half on my hands, and I used it to jump ahead. I don’t foresee myself having this opportunity again until Tuesday, when I have a vacation day from work.

Beyond lack of time, I’ve faced other challenges with this novel. For the past few years, the novels I’ve been working on were all been YA with a third person limited perspective. This is an adult fantasy work, with four central characters. Juggling the multiple perspectives has been tricky. Also, all of three YA books had taken places in the same universe, and featured the same MC. Developing a new universe is incredibly fun, but also challenging. The big hurdle I’ve had this time is mostly related to revealing information. What’s the best way to reveal background information that doesn’t feel info dumpy? How much should I tell the audience about my characters now, and how much should I save to keep up the sake of mystery? Most of this will get ironed out in the next draft. I’ve made a bunch of mistakes already!

Hopefully, things will go smoothly in week two!