Creative analysis, Writing

I am a NaNoWriMo “winner”

National Novel Writing Month Winner 2021 banner.

Rather than leave it more than a year (like I did in my last post where I talked about National Novel Writing Month) I decided to update this side of New Year. So, yes I met the 50,000 words goal for NaNoWriMo for my novel Sunder (working title). And there was a joyous outcome from this year’s NaNoWriMo experience, considering my previous attempts:

I don’t hate what I’ve written and want to finish the story and redraft it!

Seriously, after writing over 150,000 words across three different NaNoWriMo years, it’s nice to finally have something I want to go back to and finish.

Next steps

I haven’t done much work on the story since November finished, but I am still jotting down ideas on what to do to keep the base story moving.

I think having a reasonably detailed (by my standards) outline has really helped. It’s taken me a while to find a tool I like for that kind of thing and I’d say that Scapple from Literature & Latte is my go to at the moment. I’ll make some notes in something like Evernote or in a physical notebook, especially world building stuff, but getting those plot points down is definitely something I like doing with a visual tool.

So, I’m probably going to start looking at the story again with a view to finish it in the New Year (I’m crafting a lot for the holidays, making gifts for loved ones, so writing has slowed down for the moment).

Once the draft is complete, I’ll be printing the lot off and editing sections by hand, taking myself away from my PC initially. Why? I found the process worked real well for me when I wrote and redrafted a feature film script for my final Masters project at uni.

Am I going to seek out an agent and/or publisher?

I think it depends on how I feel after redrafting the story.

It needs finishing, additions, redrafting and editing, and I know that very well. I’m definitely not feeling precious about what I’ve written so far but I know I need a full draft before I do any redrafting or refining. At some point, I should also probably see about trying to get it proofread too.

And there will be a point where that full draft is in a state I could try shopping around.

I’m not actually keen on self-publishing as a default, but I know that option is there for me if I don’t get anywhere with more traditional routes.

Additional next step…

I also need to properly go through my winners’ goodies from NaNoWriMo. I think I’ll be treating myself to the newer version of Scrivener with the voucher code that’s been provided. I’m still on a really old version of the software and was kinda waiting to see if I could succeed at NaNo before paying out for an upgrade as I suspected there would be a money-off code in the goodies 😅

I have actually got a copy of Scrivener 3 that I’ve been using for occasional bits of content at work. Mainly bigger pieces and script work (I actually used the comic script template on it the other week and was happy with how it auto-formatted the short comic script I wrote for a 4-panel comic strip). But it’s a work bought piece of software and not my own.

Anyway, I need to make sure I back up projects and settings. Apparently you can have both versions installed at the same time, so I will be taking advantage of that as I move from old to new.

Until next time

I haven’t made much headway on my reading list since my last post. But I’ve got over two weeks off for Christmas and New Year’s, and I’m almost done with making gifts. So, I’m probably going to be reading, gaming and knitting something for myself while I chill out over my break.

Speaking of knitting, I tend to binge watch shows when I knit and I think I am probably going to need to talk about Prodigal Son here and on Nerds Assemble soon. I watched the whole show this past week.

Books, Critical analysis and reviews, Writing

It’s been a while: NaNoWriMo 2021 and tackling my “to-read pile”…

Feck, it’s been a year since I last updated the blog. So, here’s what happened with my NaNoWriMo 2020 novel, what I’m up to for NaNo this month, plus a new challenge I’m setting for myself. Here we go…

I hated that story

I hated what I wrote and never went back to the story after I passed 50,000 words and “won” National Novel Writing Month 2020.

BUT wait!

I’m doing NaNoWriMo again this year and I’m not hating it this time round.

I’m just over 37,000 words in as of today and happy so far with the draft. Now, I might have seemed positive last year, but here’s the thing: last year’s story wasn’t dear to my heart.

Sunder is an idea I’ve been working on in terms of world building and planning since around 2018, maybe even earlier. I chose this year’s NaNoWriMo to give me the space and motivation to finally make a start on it. I can say even now that once I pass 50,000 words I will still have a ways to go, and that’s fine.

It will need editing but I’m enjoying this story and am positive that for me this will be the first NaNo story of mine I love. (My previous-previous win was in 2013 and again I hated what I wrote, but again it wasn’t a story close to my heart (or imagination) so here’s to hoping third time’s the charm.)

Anyway, all this talk of writing takes me to my next point…

112 books (and counting)

In October this year, my partner and I had a big sort out in our house over the course of a week. There were twelve trips to our local household waste and recycling centre and several more to a local charity shop.

During all this, I checked through my physical book collection and gave a bunch away to charity (though not as many as I did back in the start of 2019).

Anyway, this evening I was itching to fully catalogue the number of physical and digital books that are on my “to read pile”.

And it’s a lot, a 112 books a lot and those are the ones I can find.

Which means I think it’s only fair that I set myself a reading challenge that goes beyond something like whatever you find on Goodreads.

My to-read pile challenge

The challenge is simple, but I’m setting up some parameters that go a bit beyond “read the damn books”:

  1. I may only read books for fun that can be found on my to-read list or my currently reading list, the exception is re-reading previous books in a series in order to understand WTF is going on.
  2. I’m still allowed to take out and read books physically or digitally from my local library.
  3. I may not buy any new physical or digital books until I at least reach 50 books or fewer on the list.
  4. However, I am allowed to be gifted books or win them through competitions but these must go on my to-read list.
  5. I am allowed to give up reading a book if it’s not managed to hold my interest after I’ve attempted to read at least a third of it.
  6. I’m still allowed to read fanfic (though I will be reading with the knowledge that I have over 100 published books I could be reading).
  7. If I don’t want to keep a book after reading it, I should donate it to someone or a charity shop.
  8. I should write about the book on here once I’ve read it, and say how I got on, would I recommend it, and so on (post format yet to be decided).
  9. None of the above applies to books relevant to my role as a senior writer and editor that I need to read to help me stay skilled up for my job.
  10. All of the above is subject to change if I find this to be a completely terrible experience.

But let’s hope number 10 doesn’t come to be.

I’m using The StoryGraph to track my progress

Yeah, I’ve been using Goodreads for a hella long time but you know what? Amazon doesn’t deserve any more involvement in my challenge here than the few titles I’ll be reading via my Kindle.

So, I’m going with The StoryGraph to keep an eye on things. Two of the key reasons for this choice (other than feck Amazon) is that it’s “independent and black owned”.

If you want to add me on there: I’m emkingma.

I’ve also taken my annual reading goal over to The StoryGraph, and I’m hoping by tackling some of my currently reading, I can reach 10/10 for 2021. Currently, I’m at 8/10.

Should I actually find myself really liking The StoryGraph, I’m hoping to take advantage of their plus plan.

It’s late

I have been wanting to write the challenge part of this update for a while, and with no Nerds Assemble recording this week and cataloguing my books instead, I decided tonight was the night to brain dump this and run.

G’night and thanks for reading.