Tuesday, November 29, 2016

NaNo Update

I apologize for the relative lack of postings this month. My schedule has been very different this year from years past and I'm trying to find a way to fit writing in.  I'm currently trying to finish up NaNoWriMo with a respectable word count, so I'll be out again today. 

However, we have an author interview this Thursday! We'll be joined by fantasy author Matthew Dickerson in celebration of his release of the second book of The Daegmon War, his fantasy series. You can check out my review of book 1, The Gifted, here. I will be posting my review of book 2, The Betrayed, on Friday.

 Next week, I'll give a little more of a NaNo update and discuss the postings for the rest of the year. (How is it almost December?)

If you have any suggestions for what you'd like to see on the blog in the upcoming months/over the next year, let me know using the contact form. I take your feedback seriously. Even if you'd just like to tell me that I'm doing something right, I'd appreciate it. (That way I don't go around trying to fix things that aren't broken). 

Thanks for your patience! Happy writing!

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Nano Survival Guide: Week 4

This week is what I like to refer to as the Gauntlet.

Here in the U.S., it's Thanksgiving week. That means even less time to write, plus the danger of turkey-induced food comas. (However, there's more likely to be some free coffee hanging around the house).

Write in small chunks. Get up early. Stay up late. Drink coffee. You can pull it off.

Keep writing. You might hate your story at this point, but you can pull off the win if you're crazy enough.

If you've been following me on NaNo, you've probably noticed that I'm a bit behind. (There'll be a post on that later/next month). Take heart if you're behind, if your story is falling apart, and plunge forward. I've pretty much always pulled off my NaNo wins from farther behind than I ought to have. Being behind the week before doesn't mean that you can't do it.

(And if you're wondering why this post is so short, it's because I didn't get that far ahead in pulling posts together before NaNo struck. Procrastinators unite tomorrow?)

Happy Writing and Happy Thanksgiving!

Due to the holiday, there will again be no Friday Fiction Fix this week.

Friday, November 18, 2016

The Writer is Out

The doctor is out:

Due to NaNo, I've had very little time to read, so there will be no Friday Fiction Fix this week.

Instead, I hope that you'll join me over the weekend occasionally for some updates on my latest attempt to get back on schedule. I'd love to word war with you or do group sprints over on the NaNoWriMo website as well.

  Hope your own writing endeavors are going great!

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

NaNo Survival Guide: Week 3

Just to be the one who falls down on December 1st.

And if you don't know what song this is referencing, here you go.
This is where the rubber meets the road, folks.

If you feel like you're behind, that you can't get enough sleep, that everything you've written is stupid, and that you haven't a clue where your story is going...

You're not alone.

(If you're one of those people who miraculously doesn't feel this way at week three of NaNo, congrats! Just pretend that you aren't so that the rest of us feel better. In return, we won't give you the stink eye. Deal?)

Whatever you do, keep writing.

Take half a day to re-plan if you need to. But keep writing. Stay committed to writing something by the end of the month. Remember, if you don't make it, you at least wrote something. And that's an accomplishment all of its own. You might feel behind right now, but you still have plenty of time to get caught up. I don't know how many times I've thought I was going to lose at this point, but managed to scrape out a win.

So may your coffee cup be full, your days be full of inspiration, and your hands free from carpal tunnel. (And may you get at least a little sleep).

Personal NaNo Update: I'm currently running several thousand words behind schedule after having a few days where I didn't have much time/motivation to write. I'm bound and determined to catch back up, however.

How is NaNo going for everyone out there?

Friday, November 11, 2016

Friday Fiction Fix: "The Wolf of Tebron"

The Short: 

The Wolf of Tebron
The Gates of Heaven Series, Book 1

By: C.S. Lakin

4/5 Stars

What: A man must go on a journey to rescue his wife.

Recommended to those who like: Fantasy, Christian, fairy tales

The Long:                        

Joran is a young newly-wed. But when his wife betrays him and he sends her away, he finds himself trapped in a nightmare of regret, anger, and pain. Can he go on a journey that will free both him and his wife?

Joran meets many memorable friends along the way. Ruyah, his wolf companion, never fails to bring wisdom into Joran’s life with his timely sayings. The Moon, Sun, and South Wind also bring their particular quirks to the story.

This book was somewhat difficult for me to rate. On one hand, I really loved the different style of storytelling. It was slowly paced, which allowed for some of the more thoughtful aspects of this loose allegory to shine through. On the other, it really made the story slow down to the point where it seemed boring at times.

The allegory was loose in this story, but sometimes the endless sayings left me frustrated with their detours. Though the plot could have used a boost at times, the characters and world-building offset the downsides enough to make this an enjoyable read.

The Bottom Line: Although a little heavy on proverbs, the unique worldbuilding and characters in The Wolf of Tebron, will make this an enjoyable, if slow read for fantasy fans.             

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

NaNo Survival Guide: Week 2

Yay, you've survived the first week of National Novel Writing Month!

Perhaps it's going wonderfully for you. Maybe the words are flying onto the page, your characters are still behaving themselves, and you're managing to keep your caffeine consumption to a reasonable level.

Or perhaps things aren't going so well. Maybe you ended up with an extra class assignment, your car broke down, your characters are doing weird things, and you feel like you have writer's block.

Regardless, keep going.

Remember that the most beautiful thing about NaNo is that, as long as you put some words on the page, you've made progress. You may not write an entire novel. That's okay. You're still making steps toward a goal.

Perhaps this week you're struggling with your plot and you want to edit some things. Personally, I would encourage you not to go back and edit. Write a paragraph describing what changes you want to make and then carry forward. You might come back in a few months and discover that  you have some usable ideas within what you were going to throw out.

Keep writing. You've got this. Even if you don't write 50k, you'll at least come out of the month with more words than what you started with.

Good luck, and happy writing!

Friday, November 4, 2016

Friday Fiction Fix: "The Maze Runner"

The Short:

The Maze Runner

By: James Dashner

5/5 Stars and on the Favorites Shelf

What: A boy arrives in a strange world with no idea who he is.

Recommended to those who like: Dystopian, teen, fast-paced

The Long:

This was the first book I binge-read in a while. Man, was I glad that I started it on a weekend rather than a weeknight. It was hard to put it down!

Thomas arrives to the Glade in the Box, just like all the other boys who had arrived before him. Like the others, he has no memory of who he was before, other than his name.

The Glade is surrounded by the Maze, a strange place populated with murderous, beastly machines. Thomas feels certain he is destined to be a runner—one of the few who dodge danger in the Maze in an attempt to find the way out and home.

The plot was jam-packed with action and adventure. Although dystopian adventures have seen immense popularity over the past few years, I found that this one had a fresh flavor to it. The plot twist at the end makes me want to rush to the store to pick up the next in the series.

I found the characters loveable and considerably less whiny than most teen protagonists. (Yay!) There’s definitely room for more character development in the next installation and I look forward to seeing how the characters grow.

The book is very clean, but I would recommend it to teens and up for the grimness of the story. 

The Bottom Line: I would highly recommend this action-packed story to teens and up who enjoy dystopian-style novels.
Has anyone seen the movie? Should I watch it?

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

NaNo Survival Guide: Day 1

So, today's the big day!

You might have stayed up till midnight last night to kick off the month. (It's really sort of fun that you can finish off Halloween and start NaNo all at once).

Today is the first day in a marathon. Don't wear yourself out too fast! Get a solid start, put those words on the page, and don't forget to take care of yourself between writing sessions.

The rest of this week, focus on staying on track with your goals without wearing yourself out too quickly. I've burned myself early on in more Novembers than I can count. Personally, I shoot for about 2,000-2,500 words a day at this point in the game. It puts me ahead a little without wearing me out too much.

Here's to drinking coffee, getting sleep, and putting lots of words on the page.

When did you kick off NaNo? What's your writing goal for this week?