NaNoWriMo: Day 7 (55,802)

NaNoWriMo2016I have run into a wall… and it wasn’t all friendly-like.

Sundays are traditionally a recharge day for me, but it’s NaNo. Recharge means I wrote a little over 4k, finished up the cover and formatting for The Wicked Witch of Whatever, and hit the shiny “publish” button.

Today, I don’t want to write.

And this is honestly the thing that will separate me from the pack when it come to the long-term. Because I’m going to sit my rather fluffy butt in the chair and write anyway. I may grouse. I may kill off Eric in new and exciting ways. I may even deny the Bobian (and myself) ice cream.

But I’m going to write.

Take a chill pill, those of you who just went all full-defensive.  There’s no judgement in this. The only writer I get to judge is myself. But I want to be a full-time Writer. (I also want to be a Real Person, but that’s a different blog post.) Are there writers who manage a good living without writing when they don’t want to? Absolutely. But there are more who make themselves write when they don’t want to, because the road to success isn’t paved by Muses, it’s paved with sweat, tears, and the blood of our Characters.

So I’m off to write some words. Actually, I’m off to write a lot of words. Hopefully that inspires you. If it threatens you, why? We have the same 24 hours in a day (except on the days I cheat and write myself into a world with 37-hour days… you didn’t read that).

Yes… but you get to write full-time.  Actually, I write full-time now and then, but a Figment who wants to be Real has to spend time at a day job, same as most of us. I have orientation for a new job today.

Yes… but you don’t have babies or toddlers or small demon spawn running around. I don’t, but I have done time in the world of parental units. When I did, I wrote during naptimes. I got up early. I settled for smaller word counts. But I wrote a little every day… and the experience added up, even when the words were unusable.

Yes… but you aren’t as sick as I am/ don’t have my mental illness/ seem perfectly healthy. First of all, I work really hard to seem this healthy, both mentally and physically. In fact, tomorrow I’ll post about that. But I have dental issues, eye issues, ulcerative colitis, the niggling start of what may be rheumatoid arthritis, and a few other concerns that I can’t get into a doctor to work on because, well, I don’t have a regular full-time job with insurance. I also struggle with being overly sensitive behind this debonair, devil-may-care exterior and suffer from depression, especially in the fall months when all the glorious sunshine takes a vacation somewhere else. Helen Keller wrote books, blind and deaf. Stephen Hawking wrote books and he has trouble with basic functionality. An excuse is an excuse is an excuse. (Also, if you’re creating yourself as a Real Person, only add in so much angst. Yes, it makes you a better writer, but it wastes so much perfectly good writing time.)

So, get off your “yes… buts” and get on your writerly butt and write some words. Or don’t. But don’t come whining to me about it. I’m busy writing.

NaNoWriMo: Day 6 (52,132) ONE BOOK DOWN

NaNoWriMo2016I did it. Yesterday I crossed into the hallowed halls of “I’ve written an entire book and the rest of you can suck it” land (only with more joy and less “suck it”). I hit 50k (FINALLY) and I finished the first of the six books I’m attempting in November.

Yes, yes. I hear the naysayers now: 50k isn’t really a book. Maybe a novella. Maybe a very short novella, for people who don’t like to read. Have you considered taking a writing class from JK Rowling, GRR Martin, or any other person who puts out really SOLID books?

First of all, suck it. (I’m sorry. My inner editor fled yesterday and I’ve reverted to a twelve-year-old boy, even though I was never a twelve-year-old boy in the first place.)

Second, this is a first draft. While I realize for many people it’s customary to write too many words and have to cut them out in the rewrite, I tend to under-write and then add things in (like, oh, descriptions) in the rewrite. Also, prophetic songs, which I was just not feeling right around 46 thousand words.

So I assure you, this will be a full-blown novel. In fact, based on what all I left out, it may hit 90k, which would make it one of the longer works in my repertoire.

No, I do not ever plan to challenge Robert Jordan’s ghost to a writing contest.

Also, I admit that I totally flubbed the ending. I mean, it ended where I planned it to end, but with all the excitement of stepping in a steaming pile of dog poo in bare feet. Maybe less than that.

So, today I move on to book two anyway, because I have my inner editor gagged and tied up in the closet and I’m not going back to fix anything in November.


After a very informal poll, I have decided to work on The Word Runner next. The title could change, but Christopher and DJ are a bit upset that I’m writing anything other than Figments books, so I’m trying to appease them long enough to get around to my Great Literary Novel.

You may laugh. It’s definitely a joke.

I just realized I don’t have a soundtrack (or single song) for this book. I’m also not in a coffee shop, which is where I wrote the last two Figments books. My triggers! How will I manage?

At least I have this word crawl to get things moving.

Now that I’ve adjusted to the time being entirely different from what it should be because some politician decided to prove that politicians mess with things that shouldn’t be messed with, I’m off to write. I hope.

Wish me luck!

How is your writing (or reading) progressing?

NaNoWriMo: Day 5 (45,036) DOUBLE-UP DAY

NaNoWriMo2016It’s #DoubleUpDay for #NaNoWriMo2016… but more on that in a moment. First, the important things.


It’s Day 5 of NaNoWriMo2016 and I still haven’t made what was my ambitious Day 1 goal: 50k. Not only does this mean I haven’t reached my goal, but it means NO PIE! Yes, I will get pie today, but I could have had pie yesterday, and that’s what really matters. Pie. And words, but mostly pie.

So, today is Double-Up Day in NaNoWriMo land. This is supposed to have a two-fold effect: one, you can get double the bling for donation efforts. If you donate $25, you get the $50 prizes. See? If you haven’t donated to NaNoWriMo yet (you don’t have a halo over you because you’re Alistair or Lilith, not Castiel), then this would be a great day to do so.

But it’s also Double Your Words Day. Because I didn’t have enough pressure on this frail “I want to be a real person” body already, NaNo wants me to hit 90,072 words by the end of the day.


No, really.

So, with that sobering thought, I have mainlined caffeine directly into my digestive system, nervous system, limbic system, and solar system. By the end of the day, I expect to be able to levitate near Mount Everest while simultaneously throwing snow balls at the sweaty people in the southern regions of the United States and creating an entire world with just my mind. Not a book world. A world. With physics and stuff.

Which means, as much as I’d like to keep having this charming, one-way exchange with you (why do none of you leave me comments? it’s like not getting a Valentine in class on Day Before Cheap Chocolate Day), I need to go write words that matter.

But you still matter.

Just less than pie. Words! I meant words.

Oh, go write and stop distracting me.

NaNoWriMo: Day 4 Pep Talk


I’ve had a few writers tell me that my word count intimidates them (although I know others who have even higher totals). That made me think: is trying to achieve a high word count actually hurting someone else’s journey?

No. I finally settled on no.

We’re not all running the same race here. Some of you are brand new writers, trying out this adventure for the first time. Some of you just do it for fun. And some of us, well, we write every single day and need to hit milestones in order to make deadlines.

Since I’m already using a running analogy, let’s take it a step further.

When kids are young, they to love to race just for the fun of it. We cheer for them even though we could beat them every time– walking. They are doing great for where they are at.

I don’t run competitively anymore, but I like to get out and run just for the fun of it. I still set myself a goal, like “under ten minute per mile” or something, but if I don’t hit it, it doesn’t stop me from enjoying the run. I’m there for the exercise and the enjoyment.

On the other hand, I follow Sara Hall, an Olympic-level marathoner, on social media. When she goes out to run (every single day), she has a plan, a goal, and a reason for it. I will never hit her speeds or her miles…and that’s OK! Our reasons for running, our experience, and our talents… all different. We’re still both runners and we’re still hitting our goals.

So whether you’re a toddling runner taking your first jaunt around the block, a casual runner out for a chat and dash, or a marathoner trying for a PR (personal record), I’m here cheering for you on the sidelines. Or the track. Whatever. You know what I mean.

Now go write so I can cheer!

NaNoWriMo: Day 4 (34,315)

NaNoWriMo2016Well, snot slugs in a bucket. I did not make my word count goal yesterday. I didn’t even make my low-end word count goal, which is to always have a 10k day. Close (9,800), but no dice, cigars, or fruity drinks.

We’ll fix that today.

I slept well tonight (although the concept of needing sleep is still something I’m learning) and I had social time yesterday at a real-live write-in, so I’m ready to be focused. Focused, I say! Best of all, I’ve bribed myself. If I can finish 50k by tonight, I get PIE. (If you math, which I don’t out of self-preservation instincts, you may note that to reach 50k will take… a lot of words. Definitely more than a 10k day. But I don’t math, so I should be fine.)

Still on the same song on repeat, but I’m going to make up my own word crawl as I go. Debating counting the word crawl toward my total. I haven’t been counting my blog posts, but a word crawl is really a NaNo thing so– No? No cheating? Do this fair and square or go home?

With a side note that I am at home (although I’m due to be chased out by the construction ninjas later today), very well. I will play fair and not count my word crawl numbers. But, because you are a meanie, I may not share this pie with you if I reach 50k. When I reach 50k. Semantics.

For those who haven’t noticed, I am now on Facebook, in spite of my wiser thoughts. I have already wasted moments there that I should have spent writing. We will see if it continues, but feel free to follow or friend me until then. I cannot promise I will follow or friend back. I’m a Figment. We’re wispy bits of thought cloud. Trust me, remembering to do things like friend people is a tough commitment. Instead, I will promise to be as entertaining as possible at all times and to never post angry hate rage posts.

And now I’m off. 50k. Considering I planned to do this three days ago, it’s going to feel anti-climactic no matter what, but the pie drives me on.

Pie I’m not sharing.


NaNoWriMo: Day 3

NaNoWriMo2016I am just shy of halfway to finishing official NaNo: 24,718 words. I was going to try for the extra 300-ish words last night, but I was completely out of juice. I had managed a one-hour walk out in the cold and rain as well as attended my first write-in.  I’m working hard on my NaNoBingo card; as soon as I have a win, I’ll post a picture of it here. I’m going for a blackout, but we’ll see. Maybe one kind of over-achieving is enough. (Nah!)

Today, I’ll be starting out with this word crawl to get my blood flowing (as if situps, pull-backs, and toe taps weren’t enough) and this awesome music played on I may choose a different song from this CD for each day in this book.

Which reminds me (in an oblique way): I think I might put together my own Captain America: Civil War word crawl. I think it would be fun and I don’t see one out there (although maybe I just haven’t looked hard enough because I want to do one.

Also, the goal today is to beat yesterday’s word count, so at least 13k in the books by bedtime. There’s also a pesky Real Life day job interview in there, a *sniff* shower, more exercise, and another write-in.

Good luck to you today, WriMos! Don’t let my over-achieving stop you from getting out there and putting your words on paper. Remember, even if I’m just a Figment, I also do this all the time, so I have a muscle built up. I’m that annoying person in yoga class who does all the poses and asks for more. You may not be yet. But you can. Just keep writing. Build that habit and that muscle!

Ooh, look at that. A pep talk. Now that I’m all peppy, it’s time to take my sweet and spicy tea and my music and get a little groove going. See you on the other side!

NaNoWriMo: Day 2 (12k)

NaNoWriMo2016Yesterday I had the lofty dream of reaching a #50kDayOne day. Nahhhhh….

I’m pretty sure the Conductor saw fit to send me a crew of construction ninjas, who proceeded to make the most awful sound. I will have to find an appropriate book to memorialize the construction ninjas in; I’m not sure they fit in anything I currently have. Maybe… the Bobian could take them on.

Anyway, I made it to 12k. Exactly. It’s creepy when word counts stop on an exact number. I’m never sure if I just got lucky or some perfectionist is out there writing about me writing my story and they needed it to stop on 12k. Yeah. Creepy. Visit my head some time. There’s prime, empty real estate.

Anyway, I’m currently at 15,503 on Aquae or Aquaeus, or whatever I end up changing the name to. I’ve only changed it twelve times so far. Let’s go for lucky thirteen before the month is up.

What? You want a blurb? You want to wallow in my word vomit? (Gross. I mean, I’m not judgey, but… gross.) Alright. Get your Pitch Perfect on and make vomit angels, if you like:

Once, rare once, only every tun-tak’umunaq tun-tatlam pi tun, adventure comes to the Lummi. Adventure walks on the Earth, granted permission by the Great Bear, and seeks the One who will be kinslee, He Who Walks All the Domains.

Once such time, time hilu, came when the land was only somewhat younger than it is now. A boy was chosen of the Lummi to seek out the Elder gods.

There were great races and talkings, as many wanted the honor of kinslee. But one boy, one who was outside and within, did not want the honor. He did not seek kinslee, so kinslee  found him.

The Hearth Mother came to him and marked him with her kiss, choosing him above all others. When he turned aside, the Elder gods themselves put the elements to choosing him.

Reluctantly, the kinslee boy agreed to go. He first made his own boat, for he would travel the Waters of Samen and needed find safe passage. Then he chose his companions, for no adventure is true if it is taken alone. One for Water, one for Earth, and one for Air.

The Hearth Mother took him aside, after deep fasting, to tell him of his journey. While none is certain what she said, there are tales that come down through times of her words:

“Because the Lummi come from Water, you will first go to Samen, the great Salmon god, and you will ask for safe passage. Because the Lummi are made of Earth, you will then go to Bahr, the great Bear god, and you will ask for strength. Because the Lummi breathe the Air, you will then go to Haq, the great Hawk god, and ask for speed.”

The rest of her words are lost, even in time, and the kinslee must make his own journey.

So this boy, this kinslee boy, with his companions took his boat and the foods he had gathered and he bade farewell to his people who were not his people, for he was kinslee. Then he made the great passage to the Earth and the tales say he wandered with many adventures, learning magics that only the Elder gods could teach him, and he traveled so far as the great Fire, where his tale was lost.

But the Lummi continue, so it is thought that the boy, the kinslee, must make his goals with his companions and must bring the Lummi the blessing of the Elder gods, even if he never returns.

And so the kinslee will ever be the only Lummi with adventure and travel, the Lummi with magic, for he is the one Lummi who can see the Elder gods and return us to one with the Elements.

I’m basing my world around the Lummi, who lived on Orcas Island, Washington, but I need to go back and change things so I’m not just doing a culture grab. For now, this is NaNo and these are placeholders to remind me to come up with my own stuff. The tale, at least, is my own.

And back I go. I’m currently fueled by decaf chai tea (too early to start pumping the caffeine), leftover pizza, this word crawl, and this sound track. Working my way to 20k before my next break.

Sanity is for wimps.

Needed: Social Reality Manager

NaNoWriMo2016So… my social reality manager quit.

I’m a Figment. I’m not real. I have to have a real person to interact with reality for me. I’ve had the same person since the very beginning.  Unfortunately, she up and quit on me due to what she called “the stresses of the job”.

This means I’m now limited in how I can interact with my beloved fanbase. Apparently Facebook frowns on unreal people using their service, so I no longer have a Facebook presence. Twitter and Google appear to me more forgiving, so I’ll continue to use Twitter when I remember to and, perhaps, I may get around to using Google+ more.

However, if you’re used to finding me on Facebook, you may want to either start checking here occasionally or to follow me on Twitter (@Zanzibar7writer) or Google+ (Zanzibar 7 Schwarznegger). Updates will still be posted to both sites.

Thanks. Back to working on NaNo prep now. Less than one week to go.

NaNoWriMo Prep: Testing the Waters


If you’re not flat-out pantsing NaNo this next year (and I’m a fan of not pantsing the first finish, but I know that everyone is different), how do you get the plot from point A (the beginning) to point Z (the end) without writing it all out?

One way is linear. Use the old outlining method to just plug from beginning to the end with as much detail as you find necessary. It would look like this:
I. Part I
A. Chapter One
1. Kitty sees the mouse.
2. Mouse gets away.
B. Chapter Two
1. Mouse taunts kitty
2. Kitty plots mouse’s death
II. Part II

Okay, yes, it sucks. Do you really think I’m going to waste my plotting powers on a blog post? I mean, I like you… no, that’s not true. I don’t know you. What are you doing on my site?

I may need more sleep. The grump is gone. Back to plotting.

Another way is notecards. Write each major plot point on a notecard and just move them around until they make sense to you.

Another way is mind mapping. Now, I’m a Figment, so my mind is a bit of a nebulous construct in the first place, but you can find some good tools for mind mapping in this Lifehacker post. It also gives a general idea how to do it. Very general.

There’s also something called the Snowflake Method. Again, I don’t have much familiarity with snowflakes, so I have to rely on someone else’s guidelines, found here.

Finally, I have a major writer’s crush on Joanna Penn, so she’s my go-to for most writing things. She has a great post here. (Note that it’s a writer’s crush. I’m not stalking her. That would be creepy.)

Now, why are you still here? Either you’re a pantser and you’re bored or you’ve got work to do. Either way, you shouldn’t be wasting time reading my words any longer. Go make your own.