Category Archives: NaNoWrimo

NaNoWriMo Hell: Two Weeks Down

Well, NaNoWriMo is turning out to be a massive fail for me. Today, to catch up to where I should be, I need to write 15,000 words to even get a look-in. Let’s face it, when I was 14 and had nothing better to do (I was a very dull 14-year-0ld) I could punch out 15K in a single day without any worries.

Now …

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On Neil Gaiman, Cars, Disney and Conferencing – and a Touch of NaNoWriMo

[Disclaimer: If this doesn’t make sense, please excuse it on NaNo-brain]

… So, you missed me!?

I know, I’ve been terribly remiss in blogging (both of them). It’s been one of those EVERYTHING-HAPPEN-AT-ONCE weeks that leaves you exhausted and bewildered on a Sunday night asking your mug of tea “what just happened?”

Well, I shall you exactly what just happened… Continue reading

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Preparing for NaNoWriMo

So last year, when I popped my NaNoWriMo cherry, it didn’t turn out so well. I fell by the wayside just a week from the end, and it all seemed a big waste of time – apart from the bit that made me get in to writing again … which fell by the wayside earlier this year.

This year, I’m going about it in a different way. This year, I’m planning it in advance (I know! The shock!)

I have a vague idea of a story that I need to plot, and then build it up so that I know what’s happening for every day of NaNoWriMo. I hope this means that I will be able to keep going strong right the way through.

There are 10 days to go before the Big Start. Continue reading


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The Last Day of NaNoWriMo

WELL DONE NANO-HEADS! You’ve made it! Today is the last day of that 30-day mania that is NaNoWriMo…

Time to rest, feel smug, and look around. How many of you made it to 50,000 words? How many of you smashed the target?

So I didn’t make it… I fell by the wayside one week from the finish line. I know of others who didn’t make it past the first few days. Those people who dismiss it, have NO IDEA. It’s hard. It’s ridiculous. It’s slightly mental. It’s so much fun.

I think it’s time to put down that coffee you’ve been drinking, those endless boxes of chocolate, and take stock of the achievement. Then it’s time to sleep. Pat yourself on the back – you made it in one piece (I hope).

How long are you going to wait before the first edit? Before you look over those 50,000 words with pride/dread/wonder? Do you even remember where you started?

Give me the low-down on your NaNoWriMo experience!


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Day Twenty-Nine of NaNoWriMo

So this evening was spent gossiping and catching up with good friend Bits (also previously known as S). Every week, as I probably have mentioned endlessly, we converge on Caffé Nero in the local Waterstones to have a good old catch-up. But, no, this is not a gossipy post (or blog in general). I would like to talk about the coffees/teas/hot chocolates that fuel a writer.

Also, as previously mentioned, I’m partial to a bit of Starbucks… peppermint hot chocolate, hazelnut hot chocolate, a frappuccino or two, their gluten-free hazelnut and chocolate loaf… Costa I could take or leave, frankly. And Starbucks is also a popular meeting-place for Mums and those four-wheeled weapons also known as pushchairs. So, the retreat has always been Caffé Nero. I say always, this is a recent discovery.

My love for Waterstones is inevitable – I spent a very happy year working for them in Bath, and I spend hours and hours gazing at all those shelves of books. I get to know all the Waterstones stores very well, and can pretty much navigate the local one with my eyes shut. This one in question has a Nero upstairs. It’s not big, but it’s decent enough to have a private conversation and a latte (the Nero drink of choice is the chai latte, and you can’t beat it). It also, wonder-of-wonders, has Wi-Fi.

I am one of those pathetic people with no proper internet at home. I have a white “dongle” that keeps insisting my limit has been met, and provides me with achingly slow internet, so slow in fact that I think I could do better with an army of hamsters in wheels. So I have a choice: put up with that and hope that it doesn’t really mean it when it says I’ve reached the limit, or go back to the parents’ house and drain it of internet.

Neither are particularly appealing.


To feed my NaNoWriMo/blogging/tweeting/Facebooking I have had to come up with ingenious methods. Nero, hidden in the corner of a bookshop, is one of them. What Bits doesn’t realise (though she will now) is that I actually cheat on her with Nero… some evenings and weekends I pack up my trusty laptop (it’s so shiiiiny) and lug it over to Waterstones, and sit there with a chai latte and WRITE. I write to my heart’s content (until I get kicked out).

My fellow writers: how many of you are sitting with your laptops on your knee/in a darkened study because you can’t be bothered to switch on the light, with a mug of tepid tea or coffee or some such hot beverage next to you. Is it your first, third… thirtieth? How many times a day do you have to fuel up with caffeine before you can sit in front of that dreaded blank page and actually be creative?


So, think on this. You can go somewhere other than your living room sofa/darkened study, somewhere with BOOKS and leather sofas that are squishy, and do POSH HOT DRINKS, and use their Wi-Fi until they kick you out.

Yes, my friends, there are writer’s havens everywhere. You might look like that wanker in the corner of the coffee shop with his three-day-old stubble and posh laptop supping an espresso… but the Wi-Fi is FREE, and the drinks are POSH.

I win.

Happy NaNo-ing NaNo-heads. See you in the coffee shops.

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Day Twenty-Eight of NaNoWriMo

I attempted to write a bit today, and I actually didn’t do too badly. Well, by not too badly, I mean a couple of hundred words. Not the 20,000 I need to succeed at NaNoWriMo.

But, still. It’s a lot better than I have done. And, as mentioned in my last post, it’s kind of okay that I’m not going to beat NaNoWriMo (I’m not that competitive anyway).

Instead I’m going to pootle along at my own pace and decide when I finish (and edit as I go). Today, I wrote a snow scene. Yes, the novel is currently set in mid-summer, but I had an urge to write about snow (maybe it’s the cold weather making me feel frosty). It might not make it into the novel ultimately, but now I have an idea of how my characters are going to handle cold weather… not very well apart from Rayne it seems, but it makes for an interesting addition to their characters!

So I’m playing around with the characters a bit, seeing what happens to the story when I do, and hopefully turn my 30,000 or so words into something resembling the bare bones of a fantasy novel.

Out of interest – what makes a successful fantasy novel for you?

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Day Twenty-Seven of NaNoWriMo

If you are a follower of this blog on Facebook or Twitter (or both… and if you’re not, why not!?), you are probably aware that I’ve just eaten my weight in roast beef.

You are also probably aware that the Queen of Procrastination (me) has just spent the last afternoon writing blog posts.

So, no, NaNoWriMo has not taken over my Sunday. Instead, food and family has. I should feel like a fail.

And yet, oddly, I don’t care. It might be the immense amount of dinner I’ve ingested. It’s also the discovery that there is no avenging NaNoWriMo angel that descends from the blue and strikes me down with a bolt of righteous lightening just because I’ve not written anything but blog posts and emails for a while. I know, you NaNo-heads, you might be shocked and worry that I really have lost it (and I’d better not be saying this out loud in case the NaNoWriMo Avenging Angel really does strike me down), but it’s true!

So I may as well accept that I’m not going to reach 50,000 words by Wednesday. But hey, I’m kind of okay with that. I’ve made massive in-roads to my novel, and it’s basically all there ready for writing and editing. So it gets written by the New Year instead. I’m also okay with that.

Guess what? I can’t NOT edit! I am way too much of a control freak to be able to Let It Go. So, I can also be thankful for NaNoWriMo proving this point for me. Water for Elephants may have been created in the midst of the madness that is November and National Novel Writing Month, but let’s face it – Tolkien took decades to write his stuff.

I am completely Pro-NaNo. I don’t care what people say that it’s encouraging sloppy writing – it’s encouraging writing, and enthusiasm for writing again, and that’s pretty damn good enough for me. Will I be doing it again? Ask me next October…

This isn’t the last post about NaNoWriMo, my faithful NaNo-readers. No, no, I will keep going with it until the bitter (joyous) end. Who knows – I might have a mad few hours of genius on Tuesday night and reach 100,000 words by midnight of Wednesday. I won’t, but who knows.

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Day 25 and 26 of NaNoWriMo

Unless I manage to write a whole novel in the space of tomorrow, I don’t think I’m going to do it! Rubbish ain’t it? I was going so well. Uni C has managed to smash NaNoWriMo already, making me green with envy.

Okay, so as you may have guessed, I still haven’t written anything. To be fair, I have been occupied by a very worthy friend – A. A had gone to Newbury races and not only needed a place to crash, but also a drinking buddy and someone with whom to put the world to rights (one big decision we made is that a mid-afternoon sausage roll does not help you lose weight).

So last night was in the pub, and this morning was in a well-known coffee shop (duh, Starbucks, the call of the peppermint hot chocolate was irresistable), and this afternoon was with the Sis window shopping (btw, if anyone wants to lend me around £5k, it would be ace, kk fanks). You should all consider yourselves lucky that this post is even making it online, as I am currently vegging out in front of Strictly after a vat of Mummaloo’s paella amazingness!

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Day 21, 22, 23 and 24 of NaNoWriMo

Nothing. Nada. Zilch. Zero. Nil. Null. Blank. Naught. Void.

Yup. The Block has hit hard. I have written nothing – no blog posts, no novel, not even a shopping list. I have written an occasional Facebook status (yawn) or an email at work, but past that, it’s been nothing.

I’ve been entertaining myself by putting stickers on my nails (see Twitter), reading LOTR and The Midnight Palace. But other than that, it’s been a big fat nil.

Any suggestions? Starting to go bonkers, and I now have a ridiculous word count to make up for NaNoWriMo…

Don’t get me wrong, it’s not like I haven’t been trying. I really, really, REALLY have. The end result of sitting in front of the screen for three hours at a time is a chocolate-and-tea coma and a blank Word document that simply won’t go away; then I get bored and go and do something fun like see friends and be a normal person instead of a crazy NaNo-head with a chronic case of writer’s block.

I am attempting to write lots of blog posts in the desperate belief that it will jog something… but I don’t hold out much hope.

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Day Twenty of NaNoWriMo

I actually behaved myself and did some writing today! It might be because I ran out of CDs to put on my iTunes and although a day of lounging in pyjamas watching films was appealing, I did feel guilty at the very thought.

That doesn’t mean I didn’t watch films… I started with 101 Dalmatians (Glenn Close you legend), then I moved on to Up and blubbed my eyes out, and THEN there was Hook!

You know how I read LOTR for every Christmas? Well, Hook is my film version of that. I love writing food scenes thanks to this film, because I always dream of a food fight just like that one. And Dustin Hoffman as Hook is simply amazing.

So, what with Home Alone yesterday and all the other Christmassy films today, I couldn’t help writing a snowy scene into my novel. It’s mainly set in summer, which could prove a bit of a hurdle, but it really wasn’t… I have my devious ways!

So today I did write. Aren’t I a good girl?

How well is everyone else doing? Is the looming deadline frightening or exciting you? Or can’t you tell the difference yet?

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