Always quirky, sometimes sweet speculative fiction

Tag: NaNoWriMo

NaNoWriMo 2013 Prep

Challenge Accepted

As if I could have resisted making this one ;p

NaNoWriMo is a lot of fun, but winning isn’t easy, it takes a competitive spirit (oh, look, I’m a gamer – it’s in my BLOOD), good planning and real determination. However getting into the spirit of NaNo is nowhere near as hard as winning. NaNoWriMo just wants you to write, to take that dream of completing a novel and do it instead of fantasising about rolling in your money with JK Rowling and George RR Martin(good for the imagination, but not for actual productivity). As long as you start you are still a winner because you finally started that novel at long, long last.

That being said, I’m gonna win again this year!

Philosoraptor pontificates NaNoWriMo (I am obsessed with Memegenerator ATM)

Philosoraptor pontificates NaNoWriMo

With NaNo on the rapid approach I’ve been working hard on my prep again this year. Last year taught me that good prep significantly boosts your chances of winning. I’ve also been reminiscing about my obsession with memegenerator last year, so enjoy all my NaNo themed memes from last year(click to read posts they originated from).

I’ve picked my story: Between Blinks, and finished the chapter by chapter plotting. I haven’t broken it all down into scene cards in Scrivener yet, but have started. I know from experience as soon as I run out of those scene cards I run out of steam – or at least that’s what happened last year.

Don't bring me down Boromir

not ‘simply’ anyway

I’ve prewarned most people that I will not be very social (I think I might be anti-social in general though ;p ) and T-J knows from experience that I’m going to slack-out on the housework again.

This year I’m excited because I’m going to the local NaNo retreat on Stradbroke island. I’ll be rooming with the awesome Talitha Kalago so I expect lots of laughs and a big boost for my word count.

Now the hard part, waiting until November 1st to start.

Oh Yeah!

Oh Yeah!

Nothing Beats Feeling Like A Winner

Nothing beats feeling like a winner.

Here’s my winners certificate from NaNoWriMo.


I’m a little sad I hadn’t come to a decision on a proper title, so the working title is what’s listed, but there are worse things in this world and others.

The shameful part however is that after passing the 50,000 word mark my pace dropped right off. I’ve barely done 5,000 words in the last few days – though China Mieville is partly to blame since I started reading Un Lun Dun.

A quick list of tips for anyone trying to pass the home stretch with NaNoWriMo. These tips are advice I used. I hope none of them horrify any of you so badly that you never visit this site again.

Put down the books for a few days. It’s tough, I know, I thought I might die, but reading time became writing time.

Who cares about house work! As long as it wasn’t actual filth (because that is wrong) just clutter and toys all over the floor I let it slide and just cleaned once a week for an hour or two block instead of every day till it looked shiny. This also avoided the craptacular feeling when Xander would promptly up-end his toy chest or a box of cookies (that I have no idea how he got a hold of) all over my fresh cleaned floor.

Minimise internet time. I had a strict 15m on facebook for morning and evening, a ban on Pinterest and since I wasn’t reading pretty much ignored Goodreads. The only internet I didn’t cut back significantly was blogging, though I did skim read my RSS feed more viciously.

Typing one handed while cuddling Xander. This may sound horrible, but Xander still enjoys being cuddled to sleep, and I am an indulgent mother, so he would snuggle up, I’d throw one arm over and type with the other hand. I want to ensure any horrified readers that this was the only time I multi-tasked his care. We still went to the park every non-raining day, went to swimming lessons, played in his sand pit, read books together, built things, blew bubbles, practiced with his shape sorter ect ect and I was fully engaged with him those times, it was only nap wind down time and when he was actually asleep that I did this.

Interestingly, because of Xander’s sleep patterns this month, I couldn’t use the getting up early and staying up late method which helped me write 65,000 words in two months earlier this year. He did have lovely big naps in the middle of the afternoon though which gave me one and a half to two and a half hours each day.

So, with what I’ve learned from my first NaNoWriMo it is clear next year I need to intentionally set a higher goal so I don’t peter out at the end, and that I should hire a cleaner next year.

Now, off to finish that first draft that NaNoWriMo has helped me start.

Geek Out With Your Freak Out – Brisbane Supanova 2012

Supanova is on this weekend in Brisbane and for the very first time since the convention came to Queensland I am not attending. 🙁

Stupid lack of finances. I hope everyone else has a lot of fun and shares their photos, videos and stories with me. I’ll be super jealous, but it might cheer me up somewhat.

On the plus side, I hit the 30,000 word mark in my NaNoWriMo project last night – woohoo! I never realised I could write this fast. Because I forgot to update my word count on the right days the last few times my word count graph looks a little odd, but who cares. I’ve been forgetting the bestiary with my updates here, but does anyone care?

Please link me to pictures and stories of this Supanova!

Halo 4 Launches & My Word Count Skyrockets

Don’t bring me down Boromir

Halo 4 launched yesterday, so I spent the whole day working. Yep, got to the store a 7:30 for an 8am open and then was roped into closing because no one else could, so didn’t leave the store til after 5:30pm. My feet were killing me. On the other hand my lunch break was super productive and somehow, during that crazy day yesterday, I managed to pass the 20,000 word milestone in my NaNoWriMo novel. I can’t help but feel stoked about that.

That’s right, Boromir, one does not simply write 20,000 words in the first six days of NaNoWriMo. Indeed no, one busts their ass to write 20,000 words in the first six days. They take every tiny scrap of opportunity they can, they ignore the housework most days, delegate the cooking to their poor neglected husband and even type one handed while cuddling their toddler son to sleep.

How far would you go to prove you can do it? Not necessarily writing, but any great goal or dream you have.


When I made my word count calendar available I’d made a mistake in one of the formulas. I’ve fixed it now and also made it into an .xls file, not an .xlsx which only works in newer copies of Office. I’ve updated the file on the original post, or you can just download it from here.

At the time of posting this I’ve written 5229 words for the day (10,481 words in total). I know, holy wow! Three days in and I’m one fifth done, fingers crossed I can keep this pace.

As for the bestiary, only one addition:

Peglings: Smaller than a cow but bigger than a sheep, peglings are mostly piggish in appearance, but are covered with a sheep-like wool. They have a boar’s tusks and a club tail (like anklyosaurs) for defence, but are a generally passive beast, happy to be herded, though the herder needs to be known to the group, or at least accompanied by someone familiar (herding dogs count in the herd’s opinion).

With their extra defences it is harder to kill the beasts for meat; generally they are shorn for their wool. If one wants to eat pegling meat the chosen beast must be herded into a different shed for sleep and either drugged via water with anissimon juice(strong sedative with pleasant taste) or bespelled then taken care of. The killer MUST wash and clean themselves thoroughly so the peglings cannot smell the blood on them or they may attack out of fear for their own lives (or perhaps in vengeance, it is disputed as to the intelligence of peglings).

Well, back to work, I’m sure I can tap out a few more words before bedtime.

The Bestiary Begins

The first day of NaNoWriMo was super productive for me. I wrote 4,000 words in the novel and an extra hundred into the bestiary. Today was not quite so good, I was at work all day and forgot to bring my computer along. There’s still a bit more night, I hope to pound out a thousand at least.

To liven up my word count updates I thought I would welcome you all into my novel’s world a little. The story is set in a semi-medieval world rife with bizarre beasts, some cute, some dangerous. So as we meet new creatures I thought I’d post them here in a bestiary for people to read along with my word count, more fun right? I hope to have a chance to sketch a few even.

So what new beasties did we meet these first two days?

Fair-haired Volements: Also available as spotted and shaded volements.

A rabbit like creature in face and body, no ears and a small cat-like tail. Sharp claws that retract like a cat’s and broad flat teeth like a horse’s for the consumption of grass, twigs and bark.

Ridged Herrback: Also can be found in hairy ridged and smooth.

Bi-pedal, dangerous and carnivorous. Human eater. As tall on back legs as a mounted man. Hunch backed, dull tan leathery hide (fur covered in ‘hairy’ breed). Four eyes, two a side. Large ridged brow (smooth in smooth variety), large mouth with sharp fangs. Large claws on hands, smaller on feet. Territorial. Blood is muddy brown in colour. Thick neck to hold its massive head up.


So a cutie and a man eater. Sadly you have to have the cuties so the man-eaters exist in numbers large enough to be seen, but without being a threat to all mankind.

Oh, and if you’re looking for an excerpt check out he snippet I uploaded to my NaNoWriMo page.

One Day To NaNoWriMo

Happy Halloween too! From the Black Canary.

Oh, and it’s Halloween today too, so Happy Halloween all! I love dressing up and cosplay, but sadly have not made a costume this year, so I’ll reminisce about when I could pull off the Black Canary’s sexy outfit. All I have is blurry phone shots though.

With one day to go til NaNoWriMo I thought I should update you as to where I am on the NaNoWriMo checklist I put up when it was ten days to go.

1/ Finish my final read through of the altered Storybook Perfect so I can be submitting it while I work.  Done! Though the first agent I want to submit to likes a one page (longer)synopsis and my longer synopsis is two, so I’ve been tinkering with it and am almost happy enough with it to send it off.

2/ Pick my story. Certainly have done this! I was decided before I posted it actually.

3/ Set up plot outline in Scrivener. Yes indeed, if the plan is perfect (which it probably isn’t) it should be around 19 chapters.

4/ Set daily word count goals. Did it and even was so generous as to share it. The calendar is fairly simple, just a basic Excel spreadsheet, but if you’d like to use it go to this post for the link.

5/ Pre-prep a few blog posts as back up for when I’m just too busy. I’ve got a few back-ups and also a great idea to make word count posts a little more interesting. This story involves a LOT of dangerous animals, so I’ll post a mini bestiary of all the creatures met since the last word count post – does that sound like fun?

6/ Complete my other submissions for various journals and competitions since a few are due in November and early December. I’ve done one, but have one more to complete, but there are still a few more hours until bedtime.

So yay and phew, I’ve done the whole list. Now it’s just a waiting game…

I can’t wait to get started!

Too Many Topics For A Title

I don’t usually blog about multiple topics in one post, but today I’ll make an exception.

Wahoo! I finally finished Storybook Perfect (again). In case you were unfamiliar with why I mention the ‘again’, I had finished Storybook Perfect, the first in a trilogy, but when I compared its 175,000 word count to my estimated 120,000 word count for the following two books I didn’t like the discrepancy and decided to turn the trilogy into a quartet. You can read more here.

So, finally re-written, revised, edited and formatted. Now onto fixing my paragraph and 2 page synopsis (no need to change the one sentence fortunately). Then to start submissions again. Is it sad that I’m excited by that?

So that’s one thing ticked off on my NaNoWriMo prep list.

Word Count Calendar

I’ve also set up a little excel spread-sheet with my word count goals. It only took me a few minutes to make the spread-sheet, though I am laughing at myself for forgetting how to make sums in Excel (a minute of thought reminded me I need to preface the word ‘SUM’ with an equals symbol). It has been three or four years since I built a spread-sheet from the ground up.

Being the generous person I am (Toot toot! Hear me tooting my own horn?) I thought I’d share it for anyone who wants to save themselves the 10 or so minutes it would take them to make it. You just click this link.

My parents read my post about winning the Nature’s Cuppa tea pack. They are currently doing the grey nomad thing around Australia (not sure what a grey nomad is? Here you go.) and asked me to save some of the chai tea bags for them. That reminded me I probably should try some of the other flavours (I was so in love with the chai I didn’t even open the other packs yet).

The earl grey is delicious. The aroma relaxes you immediately and the flavour matches the aroma to a ‘t’ (pun or not? Your choice). The chai’s scent is a lot more peppery than the flavour (other spices level out the taste nicely) hence why I mention how well the smell matches the taste in regards to the earl grey. Who knows, give me a week and I might have tried another flavour ;p

My business cards arrived too. I was going to post about it yesterday, but doctor’s appointments, broken down cars (resulting in having to drive T-J to and from work), and Xander’s refusal to leave the park even after an hour and a half (I tried the good old ‘bye-bye Xander’ and walk away trick, but he just waved to me and kept on playing. You’re too young to see through mummy’s ruse yet Xander!) meant my day was a little too full for blogging.

A shot of my business card

So here’s my card! I used a small strip of the website background to add a little colour, and I’ve been obsessed with the QR code for months. What do you think?

Lastly, I’m looking forward to going to the Gold Coast Writer’s Festival, I’ll be attending on Friday and Saturday. I’ll let you all know how it goes. I hope someone asks for my business card 😀

Well, that wraps up my crazy multi-topic post. Do you think my word count goal spread sheet could be useful for other stuff too? What do you think of the business card (try out the QR code!)? Keep your fingers crossed for me and the submissions please.


I won the Nature’s Cuppa prize pack but am under no obligation to comment/blog about the tea. All opinions are my own and not paid for.

Xander and my business card

10 Days To NaNoWriMo

Philosoraptor pontificates NaNoWriMo (I am obsessed with Memegenerator ATM)

There’s ten days until NaNoWriMo takes over whatever scraps of free time I have. I know I’m going to need to prepare for this because people with less on their plate are posting how they fear they will not be able to win. No I didn’t write that line to beg for people to praise me and tell me I can do it, nor did I write it because working a full-time job isn’t tough. All I mean to say is if back when I worked a full time job I’d known how little free time I would have with a child at home I would have put in more effort to wisely use the free time I had back then. Even now I’m sure there are people reading this rolling their eyes thinking, “Jeeze, you only have one kid? You don’t know how good you got it.” So I’m not trying to say I have the biggest load on my plate either.

Whoa, went off on a serious tangent there…

Well, suffice to say, I know I need to plan this out, because I intend to knock this out of the park.

So, here’s the list of what I’m working on to prepare:

1/ Finish my final read through of the altered Storybook Perfect so I can be submitting it while I work. Ok, sure that doesn’t sound like it should be important, but I don’t want to leave something so close to finished undone, nagging away at the back of my mind. In a fit of procrastination I might go back to finish it and loose precious time. Also I’d like to be doing something to get it back out there ASAP.

2/ Pick my story. Well technically I’ve done that. If you’re already following my Facebook page you will have seen the synopsis I put up. The synopsis is still a little raw, not quite pitch perfect, but it definitely gets the idea across. Follow this link to my NaNoWriMo page and you should be able to read it. Feel free to tell me what you think.

3/ Set up plot outline in Scrivener. Since the idea isn’t brand new I’ve got plenty of ideas of how I want the plot to go and the themes I want to bring up. It’s been rolling around in my head for a year or two, but has always been on the back-burner because I have so many stories I’m desperate to write that it hasn’t had a chance to come to the front. I have a very large, very active back-burner.

4/ Set daily word count goals. 50,000 divided by 30=1667(why do keyboards have no division sign? Is there a HTML way to make them?). But I intend to goal more heavily in the early weeks so I have a buffer for busy days/writers block/illness that may strike later on. Being a mum has made me very safety conscious ;p I want to make a tickable calendar so I can track days I was under and over. I already track word counts(when writing) and page counts (for revision) in my five year diary, but I want something I can absorb in one glance. edit 24/10/12: I’ve done this now, and I’m sharing it. The calendar is fairly simple, just an Excel spreadsheet, but if you’d like it go to this post for the link.

5/ Pre-prep a few blog posts as back up for when I’m just too busy. No phone-ins though! I’m going to want to keep focused on my NaNo and even though I love my blog, I can see it being a distraction. I’ll keep thinking of really cool things to post and keep writing here instead of in the novel. Sadly, blog posts do not get counted toward your NaNoWriMo total.

6/ Complete my other submissions for various journals and competitions since a few are due in November and early December. This is the bottom of the list because I’m not sure how much time I can create. I’d love to get this done, since this will hopefully get my name out there, but if I can’t then I can’t. I’m still going to strive though, because that’s in the spirit of NaNoWrIMo.

Can you think of anything I’m missing?

NaNoWriMo – First Time

Challenge Accepted

I just finished signing up to join in with NanNoWriMo officially. For those who don’t know, it’s a challenge during November in which writers try to write a whole novel (well, at least 50,000 words of one) in just one month.

I’m in two minds as to whether I can actually do it. I did write a 65,000 word first draft in two months (and a couple of days) so it is achievable if I goal it seriously, but I have the typical ‘artist’ lack of confidence popping up reminding me I have a full time job (mum) and part-time job(shop assistant) that can destroy my writing time whenever. Of course ‘winning’ isn’t all that this is about for me, it’s a chance to get some more words on the page as fast as possible and an opportunity to do something very writerly.

The really tough part is which idea to use. I have a couple that have been begging me to focus on them. T-J thinks I really need to write one of my ideas which isn’t cross-dimensional. He’s got a point, I might end up pigeon holing myself. So, do I go with the urban fantasy story about a single mum, her son and the ghost they live with, or the high fantasy story of a quest being done for all the wrong reasons?

Well I’m on record now as saying I’m going to tackle this challenge seriously – so all of you have to hold me to it! You can check out my participant page here.

Is anyone else doing NaNoWriMo? Do either of my very vague sentences strike you as particularly appealing?

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