NaNoWriMo Update #2- Appreciating Milestones, and Closing the Gap

As of the writing of this entry, we’re eighteen days into National Novel Writing Month and things are going wonderfully! This isn’t necessarily true for my characters (this is officially the most depressing book I’ve even written), but for me, the words are coming without too much difficulty.

Let’s get into some specifics.

Reaching 50k- I’m happy to report that I crossed the 50k mark on November 18th, which ties my previous record (Red and Black 2 back in 2016) for fastest to 50k. Now for a lot of people, this isn’t just a big deal. it’s the end goal! After all, you need to write 50k in order to win NaNoWriMo. But for me, I’m struggling to bask in the glory of this significant milestone. Part of this is practical, as my books are always longer than 50k. At the same time, it can be difficult for me to celebrate my own achievements, as my attention is always on the next hurdle.

For example, Red and Black has recently made it into two libraries. Recently, someone pointed out to me how wonderful this is, but all I could think about was how the copies were not circulating as I would like them to. It can be hard to slow down sometimes, and it’s important to think ahead, but sometimes you need to learn to stop and smell the roses. Or at least, I do!

Closing the Gap- As previously mentioned, part of the reason why I’m able to write so quickly is because I’ve made plenty of notes out ahead of time. It’s not outlining as much as it’s just freewriting my ideas. When I started NaNoWriMo, I had the first eight chapters planned out, giving me quite an impressive lead. And throughout the month I have continued to think ahead about where the story needed to go next. Unfortunately, my swift wordcount meant that I was writing faster than I was planning, and my prep work is down from eight chapters, to a page and a half.

Yikes!

I’m on vacation this week, meaning that I can take the time to do a lot of prepwork, but without the impressive lead that I once had, my daily word counts are unlikely to be as impressive as they once were.


The Next Challenge- Writing 50k during NaNoWriMo is totally achievable to me. I’ve done it eight times after all. But I’ve only managed to finish the novel during NaNoWriMo once (FYI- this was also Red and Black 2). The reasoning behind this is simple. For one thing, my books tend to be a bit longer than 50k. Secondly, the further I get into a story, the harder it is for me to write. Yes, there is something intimidating about the sight of a blank page, but the beginning of a book is the easiest part for me. The middle comes with plenty of speed bumps, but is still doable. Endings are what kill me. No matter how much I plan, nothing seems to come together quite as I’d like As a result, my writing slows down near an end of the book, which keeps me writing into December.

And I would love to be able to finish this book before December 1st.

How will it go? I’ll give another update during my Month in Review post at the beginning of next month. But for now, you can follow my daily process by checking me out on twitter.

I hope that everyone’s NaNoWriMo adventures are going well!

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Mid-Fall Book Haul

So audible had another sale again, and I suddenly find myself in possession of many new books! There’s some really intriguing stuff on there, so I’d thought I’d make a post. And to switch things up a bit I’ve also included a few books I’ve recently picked up for my kindle.

Minimum Wage Magic by Rachel Aaron (Science Fiction/Urban Fantasy)– Out of all of the books in this haul, this was the only one that I paid full price for. The reasons why should be obvious. For one thing, it was pretty affordable (only $4.99). On top of that, it’s the first book in the DFZ series, which is a spin off one of my favorite book series, The Heartstrikers. Minimum Wage Magic is all about a freelance mage trying to make it by in a dragon-filled cyberpunk future. This is a pre-order for a November 9th release so, depending on my NaNo plans, I might have started this one by the time this post goes up.

Secondhand Spirits by Juliet Blackwell (Paranormal/Mystery)- I first heard the term “witch cozy” on the Science Fiction and Fantasy Marketing Podcast, and found myself intrigued. This subgenre, which mixes cozy murder mysteries, and lighthearted paranormal elements totally seems to be worth my time. So when I saw several witch cozies listed as part of the most recent audible sale, I was quite pleased. Secondhand Spirits focuses on a vintage shop owner who receives visions off of the clothing/jewelry in her shop. I can’t wait to see the mysteries that arise from this.

Fledgling by Octavia Butler (Horror)- I’ve read several Octavia Butler books, but was a little unsure about this one, which is a vampire story, rather than her usual futuristic sci-fi. But a patron at the library where I used to work really enjoyed it, and I’ve decided to take her up on that recommendation, Fledgling is also Butler’s final novel. As someone who loved her first novel (Kindred), it will be interesting to compare the two.

Sparrow Hill Road by Seanan McGuire (Paranormal)Sparrow Hill Road is about a ghost named Rose, a character with ties to the Incryptid series, of which I am a big fan off. I heard about this book years ago, but my interested was peaked earlier this year, when a sequel came out. So this book being on sale was well timed!

Akata Witch by Nnedi Okorafor (Science Fiction)Akata Witch is far from my first Okorafor book, having read and enjoyed the incredibly unique (and incredibly dark) post-apocalyptic novel Who Fears Death, as well as the award-winning Binti Trilogy. But Akata Witch is actually a middle grade novel, so I’m curious to see how the author tackles the age group. The reviews make it sounds both exciting and magical.

An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir (Fantasy)– Now that I’m in my 30s, I don’t read as much YA as I used to, which I’m perfectly okay with. Your tastes need to develop as you grow, right? But it does mean that I occasionally miss out on books that would have totally been on my radar just a few years ago. An Ember in the Ashes, the first book in a fantasy trilogy that draws it’s inspiration from Ancient Rome, is an example of that. It’s time that I checked out this incredibly popular series.

Hexomancy by Michael R Underwood (Urban Fantasy)- Hexomancy is the fourth book in the Geekomancy series, where the characters derive magical powers from geeky properties (among other things). To be honest, it’s been years since I thought about this series. Then I happened to mention it in a recent post and was inspired to look into it again. I found the fourth book in the series on sale, and had to pick it up. The only problem? Since it’s been so many years since I’ve read the books I don’t remember it all that well and may need to do some re-reading first.

So there you have it, my latest book haul! Given that I’ve actually read (gasp!) a majority of the books from my last haul post, I figured that talking about these was, you know, a good motivation to actually sit down and read them, rather than forcing them to die a slow death on my kindle. I can’t wait to dig into them- especially Minimum Wage Magic!

NaNoWriMo Check in #1-Smooth Sailing with Speedbumps on the Horizon

Hello all! With National Novel Writing Month under way, I’ll be spending a lot of my time and energy on this new novel. This means that I won’t be writing quite as many columns this month (although I do have some!), so I figured that I’d post a couple causal updates on my NaNoWriMo progress instead.

What am I writing this year? The fourth book in the Red and Black series, of course! With book two still in the hands of my beta reads, and having recently completed a hefty round of revisions on book three, I knew I wanted to craft something new, but also move the series forward. There’s a lot that excites me about this book, as it embraces one of my favorite superhero storylines! On the other hand, its forcing me do deal with some of my biggest weaknesses as a plotter, which I know will trip me up as the story goes on.

How’s the writing going? To be honest, it’s been fantastic. My plans of outlining through freewriting have worked wonderfully, and I am absolutely flying through my draft averaging about 2,000 words an hour. In addition, I’ve been able to add an extra hour worth of writing on the days when I don’t need to work. As of Sunday the 4th, I find myself sitting pretty at 12,282 words.

Speedbumps ahead– Things may be smooth sailing now, but I can see the problems on the horizon. I was only able to freewrite a portion of my novel in preparation for NaNoWriMo, and those 12,282 word has already put me third of the way through my NaNo Prep. Eventually, I’m going to come to the end of all my careful prep work, and it’s going to slow things down a lot.

To deal with this, I’ve decided to schedule in an hour of prep work into my evenings. This, on top of writing for an hour every morning, working full time, and dealing with other life responsibilities, is going to burn me out in the end. Scheduling in a break from writing  sometime in December may not be a bad idea.

Another potential problem has to do with scheduling. So far, the only thing I’ve had to schedule my writing around is work, sleep, and an appointment with the vets for my cats (clean bill of health. They just needed a couple shots). But Tuesday is election day, and I have a feeling it’s going to take a little longer to vote than most mid-term elections. Will voting cut into my writing time? Should I have gotten my shit together in time for early voting? I think we know the answer to that.

Regardless, I have a pretty nice cushion set up for me. So even if I don’t get that many words down on Election day, I’ll still be in a good spot.

So that’s how NaNoWriMo has started out for me! If you’re looking for more frequent updates, please check out my twitter, where I post my daily wordcount and more!

Kindle Countdown Deal Results, and Prepping for NaNoWrIMo: October in Review

October Posts

  1. Red and Black is a 99 Cent Kindle Countdown Deal
  2. Four Ways to Prepare Your Life for NaNoWriMo
  3. Best Books of Summer 2018
  4. Discovery Writer No More? The Birth of a Planster
  5. Superheroes and Supernatural Romances: What I Read Over My Vacation
  6. Terrifying Tales from the TBR

Speculative Chic Posts

  1. The Future Will Be Live Streamed: A Review of An Absolutely Remarkable Thing

With gorgeous fall foliage populating my morning walks and temperatures dipping below freezing after dark, it’s clear that we in the midst of fall. The season-much like spring-feels far too brief here in Maine, with most people turning an eye towards the behemoth that is winter. But I’m doing my best to appreciate the weather while it lasts.

  

 

 

 

 

 

 

On the publishing side, I ended up running a Kindle Countdown Deal at the beginning of the month. This was, for the most part, a reaction to pretty abysmal sales in September. I knew I needed to do something to draw more attention to the book, and bringing the price down to 99 cents seemed like a good way to tempt readers that were a little more price sensitive.

For those who don’t know, a Countdown Deal allows you to discount your kindle ebook down to ninety-nine cents for up to seven days without receiving any of the royalty penalties that normally come with pricing your book so low. Amazon encourages you to have your book increase in dollar increments over said time period, but I just kept mine down at ninety-nine cents. For promotion, I did multiple social media blasts on my twitter, Instagram, and goodreads. I also created a post on this blog, and my mailing list. On the paid ads side, I spent $40 for an ad with Bargain Booksy (a service, similar to Bookbub, which alerts people about ebook sales through email), and set up dozens of amazon ads.

So how did that go? Well I ended up selling twenty-five of my discounted ebooks. I also sold one Canadian ebook (the Countdown deal was US only), and one print ebook, which may or may not have been a result of the sale/paid ads. I also got about 1,000 page reads on kindle unlimited.

Based on when I timed my ads and social media blasts, one thing is certain: pretty much all of these sales were due to that Bargain Booksy ad. They began rolling in minutes after the email went out, and a vast majority of the sales came in on that very day. I’d even go as far to say that some of the sales afterwards could have been due to people opening up their emails a day or two late. My social media blasts seemed to have little to no effect on sales (although people seemed to enjoy the picture of my cat Coraline chilling out with the book). As for the amazon ads, I ended up selling one as a direct result of that-and probably some of the page reads were due to said ads-but they weren’t as effective as I’d like.

This sale can be viewed as a success or a failure. If you look at it from a money based perspective, it was a failure, because I ended up coming up short of the $40 I invested in the Bargain Booksy ad. At the same time, based on my poor sales for September, I’m 100% sure that I wouldn’t have been able to reach this new audience if it wasn’t for the countdown sale, and the Bargain Booksy ad. Not to mention that I have sold addition copies since the sale. So while I didn’t make my money back during the sale, I more than made it back in the month of October.

I think a lot can be learned from this sale. For one, I updated my book description to closer resemble the copy I used for the Bargain Booksy ad. It’s also made me think a lot about how I use my platform. To be honest, I don’t feel like social media is the best tool for drawing in new readers, unless you’re really fucking good at it. It’s more a way to keep your existing readers emotionally invested in your work, as opposed to falling off their radar. Content marketing, on the other hand, can be an effective way to draw people in, and the lack of effect my blog had on this sale is making me reconsider how I use this space.

Ultimately, I was happy with how the sale went and am considering doing another one around the holidays (you can basically do a Kindle Countdown sale once a season). I hope to use a another service like Bargain Booksy, but I’m coming up against obstacles. There are plenty of email promotion services, but most of the good ones require you to have ten amazon reviews to apply. Unfortunately, I only have five, which severely limits my options.

This is a perfect time to drop in the fact that if you’ve read and enjoyed Red and Black, please leave a review! Not only does it make me eligible for these types of ad services, but it makes it more likely that people that do come across my book will actually buy it.

Beyond the kindle countdown deal, it was a pretty good month for author-Nancy. Red and Black has entered the wide world of libraries, meaning that Dawn is currently chilling with a certain Atticus O’Sulivan. I’ve heard back from one of my beta readers about Red and Black 2, and revised the book accordingly. While I’ve been waiting to hear back from my other readers, I’ve spent my time on future books on the series. In early October, I completed the second draft of Red and Black 3 (read more about my editing process here), and have done a bunch of prep work for National Novel Writing month. This year’s project: the first draft of Red and Black 4.

While my actually written NaNo preparation has gone well (I should, at the very least have a good start this November), I must admit I haven’t gotten my ducks in a row as much as I’d like as far as real-life stuff goes. As of the writing of this entry, I still have time to plan things out and get shit accomplished ahead of time, but there’s only so much you can do to prepare. NaNoWriMo is a balancing act after all. Let’s see if I manage to remain more of less straight for the duration of the month.

November Goals

  1. Writing- Complete NaNoWriMo! Write a minimum of 50k of Red and Black 4 in the month of November
  2. Blogging- Write at least four entires for this blog, and three posts for Speculative Chic
  3. Publishing– Prepare for a possible kindle countdown deal around the holidays

Terrifying Tales from the TBR

October means Halloween, a time for terrifying things. For some people that means indulging in scary books or horror movies. For the younger set, that may mean trick or treating or Halloween parties. For me, that means examining one of the most terrifying of horrors, my to-be-read pile.

Admittedly, things are a lot better than they used to be. When I moved about a year and a half ago, I purged my physical collection pretty mercilessly, but that doesn’t change the fact that my book shelves, my audible ap, and my kindle all have perfectly good books on them that I have no excuse for having not read. So let’s highlight a few of them.

Parable of the Sower/Parable of the Talents by Octavia Butler
Time in the TBR- ???
Perhaps the most shameful item in my To be Read pile, this classic science fiction duology tells the story of a young woman building a new religion in a post-apocalyptic world. Parable of the Sower would not be my first Octavia Butler book, having previously read and enjoyed Kindred, the Xenogenesis series, and Wild Seed. The problem is that Butler’s works tend to be very dark. And while I enjoy those type of books, I really need to be in the right type of mood for them. And I think that’s the thing that has held me back the most.

The Queen of Attolia/The King of Attolia by Megan Whalen Turner
Time in the TBR- ????
Sometimes, I start a series, love the first book, acquire the next book in the series, and then promptly forget about it. This is the case with these two novels, the second and third book in The Queen’s Thief, an award winning young adult fantasy series. Unfortunately, it’s been eight years since I’ve read the first book, The Thief, menaing that I would need to revisit that before continuing the series, and that’s what’s keeping these incredibly popular books in my TBR.

Libromancer by Jim C. Hines
Time in the TBR- 4+ Years
Given that I’m a librarian, the Magic Ex Libris series, where characters can pull magical objects from books, seems well suited for me. That and I’ve enjoyed books by Jim C. Hines in the past (the Princess series). But around the time I picked up this book, I also picked up Michael Underwood’s Geekomancy, which has a somewhat similar concept, and seemed to fulfill that need. But given that it’s been quite a few years since I read Geekomancy, it’s probably time to move on from that and give Lirbomancer a shot.

Mirror Empire by Kameron Hurley
Time in the TBR- 4+ Years
Remember what I said about needing to be in the right mood for dark books? Much like the Butler, this series starter has languished in my TBR for years for that very reason. It also doesn’t help that I wasn’t a huge fan of the last work of fiction that I read by Kameron Hurley (God’s War). At the same time, I’ve heard fabulous things about this epic fantasy, and I really enjoyed an essay collection I just read by Hurley (The Geek Feminist Revolution), so maybe it’s time to change that.

The Twenty Sides Sorceress Series, Books 1-3: Justice Calling, Murder of Crows, Pack of Lies by Annie Bellet
Time in the TBR- 3+ Years
What? Another nerdy novel that I am neglecting to read? And this one’s urban fantasy too? The Twenty Sided Sorceress series is about a comics/gaming shop owner who moonlights as (you guessed it) a sorceress, meaning the content is right up my alley. But for whatever reason, it’s been pushed down to the bottom of my kindle in favor of shiner, newer ebooks. It doesn’t help that I’ve heard that the shorter length of the books (they’re really more novellas) doesn’t always work in its favor. But regardless, this is a series that I really need to get around to. Maybe I’ll try it in audio?

A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms by George RR Martin
Time in the TBR- 2+ Years
My reason for not digging into this prequel to the Song of Ice and Fire series is pretty simple: I didn’t like a Dance with Dragons. In fact, I was so meh over the whole experience that I’m one of the few Game of Thrones fans that isn’t clamoring for Martin to finish The Winds of Winter. Because seriously, why bother getting worked up when the TV series will probably do a good job finishing things up anyway? I realize that this is entirely unfair, as from what I’ve heard, A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms is a genuinely good read that isn’t held down by the bloat the damaged my experience with A Dance of Dragons. But still, it sits on my shelf, waiting for me to give it a chance.

Rituals by Kelly Armstrong
Time in the TBR- Just Under a Year
Okay, I know what you’re thinking. Just under a year in your TBR? That’s not bad at all! And that’s true, but I’m including this for one reason: this is the finale in the Cainsville seires, so not finishing it is not just keeping me from finishing a book, but keeping me from finishing an entire damn series. What’s holding me back here is the fact that I’m just not as enamored by the Cainsville series as I am many of Armstrong’s other works. But I really need to get to it. I received this damn book as a Christmas gift, and we’re coming up on the holiday again.

So that’s it! Several books that have been languishing-perhaps unfairly-in my TBR for far too long. Do you have any books in your TBR that you feel similarly guilty about?

Superheroes and Supernatural Romances: What I Read Over My Vacation

I know what you’re thinking. Didn’t you just take a vacation, Nancy? To that I’d say, yes! How observant of you. I did take a vacation back in July! This odd schedule is mostly due to having a new job. I wasn’t allowed to take any time off for the first six months. Now, if I don’t take a certain portion of my vacation, I’ll end up losing that by the end of the year. So I figured, why not take it now, while the weather is still nice?

Of course, my favorite thing about vacations is having the time to catch up my reading. I did this by consuming one novella, one novel, and three graphic novels. Read on for my thoughts on each.

How to Marry a Werewolf by Gail Carriger (Paranormal/Romance)– These Parasol-verse novellas are perfect way for fans to see more of their favorite side characters. This time around it’s gamma werewolf Channing. In How to Marry a Werewolf we learn about his past and future when Channing finds himself drawn to Faith, an American geologist who’s been sent to England under strict instructions to find a werewolf husband.

There’s a lot to enjoy about How to Marry a Werewolf, not the least being Faith herself. Being an American, she brought a unique outsider perspective to the story. I also enjoyed the fact that much like Channing, she had secrets of her own. The novella makes a really good case for why the two make suitable partners to each other and the HEA is very much earned. As of the writing of this review, this is the last of the novellas that Carriger has written in the Parasol Protectorate Universe, and I look forward to reading any future releases.

Black Panther: Long Live the King by Nnedi Okarafor (Superheroes)- I’m going to be up front with on this one. Black Panther: Long Live the King just didn’t work for me. Which is unfortunate as I’ve enjoyed other Black Panther books, and other works by Nnedi Okarafor. Long Live the King collections three different stories of various lengths about around Black Panther and other related characters. The one I like the best focuses on a giant beast appearing in the middle of Wakanda, creating a massive power outage. This is the longest story in the collection and felt like the most complete to me.

Unfortunately, the other two stories felt like they needed a little more to them. As a whole, Long Live the King felt like it was there to tell fun adventure tales, almost in a classic comic book sense. And (much like Black Panther comics and Nnedi Okorafor stories) while this normally works well for me. It just didn’t this time around. Too bad.

Sins of the Demon by Diana Rowland (Paranormal)- Oooh boy, things are really getting interesting in this urban fantasy series. In Sins of the Demon, demon summer and homicide detective Kara Gillian finds the tables turned on her when someone is tries to summon her to the demon world. At the same time, a series of seemingly natural deaths pop up in her terrotiry. When Kara discovers that all of the victims are connected to her, she knows that something is up. But will she manage to solve the mystery before she’s ripped from this dimension?

I must admit, that I feel a little cheated with this one. Why give me cover like THAT with a book that provides the least amount of demonic sex scenes in the series thus far? In all seriousness, this was a really enjoyable addition to the series that does a great job of balancing the paranormal, mystery, and romantic elements. It also ends on a bit of a cliffhanger, so I know I’ll need to check out the next book, Touch of the Demon, soon.

Ms. Marvel, vol 9: Teenage Wasteland by G. Willow Wilson (Superheroes)- I actually already reviewed this one in detail in my Best Books of Summer Post, so I’ll just touch on this one lightly. Teeange Wasteland is another fantastic volume of Ms. Marvel, albiet one where Ms. Marvel herself is absent for several issues. Much like the previous volumes in this series, Teenage Wasteland manages to be fun, yet poignant at the same time. I will be a sad reader when G. Willow Wilson moves on from this character.

Batman, vol 2: I am Suicide by Tom King (Superheroes)-. Batman had cobbled together his own mini suicide squad in order to locate Psycho Pirate, currently a guest of the nefarious Bane. Will he manage to be successful or will the villains he fights alongside stab him in the back?

A lot of people (but not everyone) seem to enjoy Tom King’s run on Batman. I liked the first volume well enough, but it wasn’t until I am Suicide that I really started liking it. And I must admit, that mostly has to do with Catwoman. She and Bruce share a fierce connection, built on a strong emotional bond and steamy chemistry. At the same time. she is a trickster, which makes her wonderfully unpredictable. While I am Suicide has it’s faults, I was pleased with it overall and I will be continuing this particular run.

So that’s it! Everything I read over my vacation. A paltry list, I know, compared to some other super readers out there, but for me, this was pretty good. I hope you find something interesting as a result.

Discovery Writer No More? The Birth of a Planster

When I did my first National Novel Writing Month back in (dear god) 2004, I was a complete pantser (someone who writes by the seat of their pants, with little to no preparation). I had a vague idea of what I wanted to write about, and how I wanted things to end. As for the rest? Well, I’d just figure that out as I went along. And it went well enough. No, I didn’t finish the novel, but all you need to do to win is write 50,000 words. In the years since then, I’ve participatedin NaNoWriMo seven times, and I’ve moved from someone that couldn’t complete a first draft to someone with the ability to bring a novel through multiple rounds of revisions. And during said revisions I realized that I was kind of fucking myself over with my pure pantser ways. Revisions were always painful, and time consuming, thanks in large part to my super messy first drafts.

So, one year (not for NaNo, but for a side project) I tried doing the traditional, chapter by chapter outline. And it was a complete disaster.

Then, a couple years back, I read Rachel Aaron’s fabulous 2k to 10k: How to Write Faster, Write Better and Write More of What You Love, which, as you may have guessed from the title, is all about upping both the quantity and quality of your word output. In the first chapter, she talks about the importance of preparation, and how she realized that the words would flow much easier if, before she wrote, she spent a few minutes sketching out her scenes.

The concept of freewriting a scene out before writing it highly appealed to my pantster soul, as did the idea of planning your books more or less as you wrote, instead of committing to an entire outline of a book before beginning your first chapter. When I tried to do that traditionally outlined novel, once I actually began writing, I quickly realized that my carefully laid prepwork had a lot of problems. I found myself trying to force the story back to the outline,  which didn’t work.

But this method of preparation didn’t require me to look ahead quite that far! So during NaNoWriMo 2017, I decided to give it a shot.

Admittedly, I didn’t do things quite the way that Aaron laid out in the first chapter in her book. For one thing, I knew that it would take me a lot longer than a few minutes to plan out a scene, and given that my writing time in the morning is only an hour long, I needed every minute to be devoted to my word count. Also, the book I was writing had a particularly tricky structure that utilized multiple timelines and viewpoints. So, in order to make sure things lined up more or less as they should, I needed to know where I was going for the next few chapters, albeit not the entire book.

So, during the second half of October of 2017, I freewote the first third of my novel. This didn’t violate any of the NaNoWriMo rules. I wasn’t writing out any of my actual words. Instead, I simply described what was going to happen in each chapter in a very free flowing way that soothed my need to discovery write.

Another benefit is I was able to tackle the types of things that typically trip me up in the drafting stage, like knowing the names of all of the characters, important physical details, or everyone’s powerset (I write superhero fiction). I was also able to discover small problems and fix them before they made into to the actual novel.

It’s important to note that this wasn’t a small time commitment. Rather than a few minutes here and there, I ended devoting quite a few hours to this both before and during NaNoWriMo (I would continue to free write upcoming chapters in the evening after work). But you know what? It was totally worth it. My NaNoWriMo writing experience went very smoothly, and I was able to finish things on schedule in December, despite the tricky structure of the book. But where I’ve really seen positive results is in the revision process. Sure, things were still pretty messy, but compared to my previous NaNoWriMo draft, where I had to throw away and rewrite half of the book, it’s been so much better.


As of the writing of this blog entry, I’m in the middle of prepping for this year’s NaNoWriMo using the same method. This year, I’d like to plan things out a little further. Freewriting future chapters in the evening was totally doable, but it got to be quite draining after a few weeks. And I find NaNoWriMo to be plenty draining to begin with.

It feels a little strange to be preparing like this. I’ve been a discovery writer for as long as I can remember. But if I had to be honest with myself, some more planner habits have been sneaking into my NaNo prep for years, whether it be something as simple as writing down character names. Maybe this is just the next step. Maybe being a planster (a hybrid planner, pantser) is for the best. Maybe it’s a sign that I’m becoming a better writer. Maybe it’s just a symptom of getting older and not being able to hold an entire book in my head quite so easily anymore. Regardless, it’s made the entire writing process much smoother. So I’m going to stick with it.