Tag Archives: nanowrimo2011

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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Day Nineteen of NaNoWriMo

“Quick! To the NaNo-Mobile!”

Procrastination is my middle name… actually, it’s not but I can’t tell you my real middle name because I’ll have to kill you… it’s a State Secret.

As you can tell – I have got no further with my amazingly ill-advised “I shall beat the NaNoWriMo word count” idea for the weekend. Instead, I have managed to do the following: have a lie-in, write blog posts, clean up my iTunes (delete all the rubbish), watch some rugby (Gloucester vs. Harlequins), eat my weight in Minstrels and read some of The Midnight Palace. I have not, in fact, even got it open on my laptop – I do have Facebook and Twitter open though, natch.

I have, however, managed to do three loads of washing.

What is wrong with me!? Have the Minstrels gone to my head!?

I also blame the “two blogs to write, duh” thing, and also it’s that time of year that I re-read Lord of the Rings in time for Christmas*, so I also have two books on the go.

Speaking of, I have had to recently purchase the posh black-bound editions of said LOTR because my last lot gave up the ghost. Because they are so pretty, I have been proudly carrying them around on display for all to see, which, when drinking a 400-calorie peppermint hot chocolate in an unnamed (large and corporate) coffee shop (because I don’t show favouritism… it was Starbucks, and yes the extra calories make it extra yummy), I overheard a couple start a Tolkien discussion thanks to seeing my beautiful book. I felt smug that I could induce Tolkienism in Starbucks.

But what is truly to blame is I have now begun to reach the “This is RUBBISH” stage of my writing, at which point I usually quit and shove it into a bottom drawer and forget all about it. Reading Tolkien is making me feel woefully inadequate, which is just compounding the matter.

Anyway, I need to go to yell at the  rugby on the TV and pointedly ignore the novel until I dissolve into a Minstrels-induced coma.

*Also, speaking of Christmas… there are a particular pair of pyjama bottoms in the window of the local Primark. If anyone wants to buy me a pressie, they are only £5 which is an amazing bargain because they have REINDEER AND SNOWFLAKES ON THEM and they make me feel super Christmassy (which is rare as I am generally the Grinch until Christmas Eve).

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Day Eighteen of NaNoWriMo

Having managed to fall behind again, I am dedicating the weekend to catching up and (hopefully) exceeding the target. And it had all started so well! How is everyone else doing? I’m finding that it’s very easy to be distracted by the simplest of things that means you can no longer write… Yesterday it was Children in Need… And Mexican dinner with the family…

The highlight of Children in Need had to be the Muppets and Russell Howard… other than that and the tear-jerking appeals, I found it a bit underwhelming this year. Maybe because I’ve got used to the Comic Relief frenzy of hilarity, that watching One Direction (or, as Mummaloo calls them “No Direction Whatsoever”) doesn’t quite cut it. I did enjoy Olly Murs though… and the Children in Need single, despite being a rubbish cover of Depeche Mode, was acceptable purely on the basis that Tinchy Stryder was on and I LOVE HIM.

Which is why I went to sleep humming Tinchy.

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Day Seventeen of NaNoWriMo

The fever broke last night (thank goodness), and so I am back to writing form… ish. I had some mental dreams (fighting Ryan Reynolds with those coffee sticks you get to stir, and starring in a West Wing/Scrubs spoof crossover).

But back to my writing!

I really need to look at filling in the gaps. My writing has been flowing (relatively) easily, but not necessarily in order or even in one solid piece. It’s all jumbled up scenes and ideas that I’ve used. So now I need to start linking them – hopefully this will give me a better understanding of some of the back story, and flesh out my characters a bit.

One bit of good news is that my characters are behaving themselves, but they all seem to be getting crushes on one another, but not one of them has fallen for the person I imagined they would. I know, I know, I sound completely bonkers when I talk about my characters like this (“they’re not real people, Francesca, you can tell them to do what you want”). Well, yes and no. I created these characters with these character traits, and I certainly had an idea as to which direction they would go, but then you can’t write something that is out of character for them – it has to seem realistic. So if one of my characters starts falling for someone that isn’t the kind of person the reader thinks they would fall for, they start to lose credibility.

So it’s partly my fault that they aren’t doing what I wanted them to in the first place, because I wrote them like that. But at the same time, I can’t write them into different characters, otherwise I’d have to start all over again!

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