NaNoWriMo 2016, the Aftermath

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It seems that every November the same thing happens to me. With a total of 58,066 words, I won NaNoWriMo on November 17th. I was doing 5,000 or 6,000 words on a daily basis and having a hell of a time. Then I crossed the finish line, finished the chapter I was on and promptly slowed waaaaaaaaaay down.

This is almost exactly what happened to me when I was writing the first draft of Escape a couple of years back. I wrote until I was at the brink of sanity and then just stopped. I’m still writing it and still enjoying it but I’ve kind of slowed down.

In any case, I won. I’m glad I did it, as always, and I’m planning on putting this crazy amount of effort into another project that just sort of occurred to me today while I was at work listening to an interminable amount of Christmas music. It’s going to take a lot of effort and some research, and there’s no way I’ll be able to hold off until April and Camo NaNoWriMo but I’m excited about it!

Thanks to Hamilton, I suddenly hear the chorus singing “how do you write like tomorrow won’t arrive? How do you write like you need it to survive? How do you write every second you’re alive, every second you’re alive, every second you’re alive?”

Lin-Manuel Miranda is both a terrible and wonderful human being.

The Great NaNoWriMenace

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I am excited and proud to be taking part in NaNoWriMo again this year!

I’ve been doing NaNo since 2002 (!!!) when I was living in Colorado and doing my externship for my vet tech degree. I stumbled upon it while probably whining about something on Livejournal and thought it sounded kinda fun and terrifying at the same time.

My memories of that first NaNoWriMo are a little hazy but I still remember parts of it with amazing clarity. Writing on my lunch break, taking the weird little mini word processor I had everywhere so I could write a little whenever I was sitting still, calling for my husband to bring me another Coke so I didn’t have to get up and get one myself. It was cold already in Colorado and even though it’s not particularly cold now I’m still under a blanket because it feels right.

every year I feel a little more comfortable but I still have that same feeling of panic when I look at my word count and I’m not where I want to be. That first NaNo I completely pantsed it but now I usually work off some sort of an outline.

This year I’m working off an old outline and writing the second part of the Escape trilogy. A Couple of years ago I wrote the first part of Escape for NaNo and though a lot of stuff has been changed and rewritten, I have discovered the zest for it again that I had lost. More about what changed that for me later.

Saturday morning I was way behind on my novel but thanks to determination and word sprints (which didn’t even exist when I first started doing NaNo) I’m back up to par. Hopefully today I’ll be able to get my word count up enough to support a day or two of sad numbers. Work is hard, y’all.

An Update At Last!

Okay, so now that I’ve got some deadline stuff out of the way and returned to this website in a spectacular way (posting a couple of stories?), I feel like it’s a good time to empty the litter box.

As I’m sure you’ve heard by now, Booktrope has closed its doors so Drowned History will not be published after all. Thankfully we hadn’t started work on it so I wasn’t trapped in a contract like some of the other people I know. This means I’m free to try and publish it elsewhere if I feel like dealing with crushing rejection, which I currently do not.

Why? I have a good job that I like for the first time in a long time. I like the people I work with, I love my clients, and I’ve actually started smarting off to the management a little lately with good results. It’s really more of a career, since I’ve been working as a credentialed tech for almost 14 years, and I don’t expect to give up anytime soon. And since I’m not looking for an eject button, I can take my time looking into publishing or save up the money to publish it myself. It’s rather freeing!

However, that doesn’t mean I’m not going to be writing! In fact, I plan to be writing a great deal. As a matter of fact, I’m back at work on the Escape trilogy. I’ve made some pretty major changes to the characters and some of the story, so I’m probably going to remove it from Wattpad and resubmit it with new chapters. I was struggling with it for a bit and the changes are making me love it as much as when I first came up with the idea.

I’m also going to be working on adapting a screenplay for a gentleman I met through Booktrope. He based the screenplay on a book that was written by a family member and wanted it adapted into a novel, which is where I came in. I’m going to be working on an outline and sending it to him, then writing as much of the first draft as possible during NaNoWriMo season, so I’ll hopefully have that out of the way by the end of the year.

And of course, I’m going to be posting my weekly short stories for the 52 Week Short Story Challenge. Once that’s finished for the year, I may compile them into some sort of collection and sell them for a buck or so. I’ve always enjoyed writing prompts. They remind me of college!

Indecision!

Hovering back and forth between putting Escape up for free or hanging onto it until I can publish it. I really enjoy serializing Drowned History but I feel like I would be losing money by giving it away for free and then just hoping that people would buy the collected bits as a book. I may gain readers but there’s no guarantee of that.

Maybe I’ll just put excerpts of it up here and tease it that way, or maybe put excerpts up here and short backstory pieces on Wattpad. Just thinking out loud here, really. I want to keep people updated on what I have started referring to on Twitter as #EscapeRedux so people can mute the hashtag if they want.

As for the project itself, it’s moving forward. I got the outline for the first part finished and am almost through with the second. Once I get through with the third I will probably take a week off and then start on the first book. Or part. I still haven’t decided how I’m going with this. It’s going to be a little large for one book but I feel like the second book won’t be as interesting and people won’t buy it, which means they won’t buy the third and miss the grand finale. Basically I’m going to try and write the whole thing at one time and decide whether or not I’m breaking it up later.

This is all terribly exciting, I know, and I’m going to try and update as much as possible. If you want to get more updates, cat pictures, and screenshots from my epic victories on Love Live, follow me on Twitter. There’s also a fair amount of family stuff and lots of vague talk about my work that doesn’t quite qualify as subtweeting. Oh, and retweets about cat stuff. If a friend of mine is talking about their cat licking the floor or eating a bee, you can bet I’m retweeting that.

Back Again For the First Time

So I decided that if I’m going to make any kind of an online presence for myself I should probably set up a Goodreads page. I’ve always had one but I’ve never done much with it. Imagine my surprise when I went on and discovered that I have reviews!

Sadly, no one likes Minor Side Effects much. I can’t make myself be too terribly concerned about it because it was originally a Livejournal project that was just for fun while I kept myself writing every day. My skills have definitely leveled up since then, judging by the good ratings for Plans both on Goodreads and Amazon.

Something interesting I had heard about Goodreads through writer friends was that you can do book giveaways through them. I just so happen to have restocked myself with hard copies when I did a book trade with Jennifer Foehner Wells, so I may do that this week. I’ll be sure and post a link to the giveaway as soon as I have one!

Work continues on Escape. I finished the outline for part one last night, and it came out to being 17 pages long. Yeah, breaking it up into three parts was definitely a good choice. I started the outline for part two last night also. I think I’m going to get the whole outline done before I start writing because I want to make sure I’ve got all the things in the right places first. I don’t want to retcon. I hate retconning. This is why I had such a hard time with The Lost World.

I also found about fifteen pages of a story that could easily be worked into a book in the same universe as the Escape ones, and about the same size. If I get working on it and release one book a year, I’ll have four years worth of books in the can just in case life blindsides me. Again.

One last thing about Goodreads for now. I plan on going back through my recent readings and doing small reviews of them, so if you’re a friend and suddenly get slammed with reviews from me, I’m sorry. I read quite a bit more than my past performance would have you believe.

If you’re interested, my Goodreads page is here: http://www.goodreads.com/Natalie_Smothers

Out Of Control

Well, it looks like I’ve got a project that’s escaping (ha ha) me.

A couple of years ago – in 2013 to be exact – I wrote part of a story called Escape for NaNoWriMo. I hit 50K with it in spite of a lot of stuff going on in my life, but because of all the stuff I kind of forgot to validate it so it’s not an OFFICIAL win. Still, I wrote the big five-oh and did a little butt dance in my room. The only problem was that it wasn’t even close to being finished.

Flash forward to earlier this month when I decided to merge two Wattpad accounts. I have about 10 weeks worth of Drowned History left to publish and decided I was going to start updating Escape so that it could be my next online project.

To quote Sublime, that’s when things got out of control.

I decided to work on an outline that would incorporate both the old and new stuff. Needing more background on characters led me to work on character sheets, which then ended up being about four pages long each. Now I’m working on a synopsis to go before the outline.

I was considering just self-pubbing this story once I get through with it but it’s kind of looking like it’s going to be a beast, so I decided I was going to break it into three. I even figured out natural break points between books. Then I remembered ANOTHER story I had partially written that could be in this same universe. Like I said, out of control.

Then there’s the issue that I have no idea what genre to even call this story. It’s got spaceships but it’s not really sci-fi. It’s got dystopian elements but I think people would be disappointed if I advertised it as that. There’s also a very weird “romance” that’s actually almost platonic. Really it’s just about the people trying to escape shitty circumstances in a variety of ways and I don’t have a clue how to describe it.

So I’m working on this story and trying to come up with an idea for a trilogy or series name (you need one of those, right?) and it’s all kind of giving me choice paralysis. I still plan on putting it up while I’m writing it because without a genre audience I doubt anyone would publish it, but it’s starting to eat my life and I can’t decide if that’s a good thing or not. I still need to start editing The Weather.

Vic Quest™

Why did I start my new Wattpad account with the name Vic Quest and why is it my display name on Twitter (for now)? You can actually thank my boss for that one.

When I got my hair cut last December he said I needed a new name, one that fit my new hair. I said I like the name Vic (way too many rewatches of The Shield) and he said it was a cool name.  He also said that he knew a girl named Jen Quest, and that it was a cool last name. So on that fateful day he dubbed me Vic Quest, and he occasionally refers to me as such, usually in regards to my writing. He let me borrow a book for research earlier this year, asking if it was for my writing and wishing Vic Quest luck in finding what she needed in a veterinary parasitology textbook. What she was looking for will have to be a surprise for all of you, I’m afraid.

It was sort of a joke and I fully intended to put Vic Quest on my book covers on Wattpad, but the girl who did the covers for me (they’re serious sully the best premades I have ever seen) put my actual name on the cover of Drowned History and I decided to go with it. I merged the two accounts but left my username as Vic Quest.

I don’t know if I ever explained the whole VQ thing on Twitter before but I figured I probably should since I changed my display name to have it before my actual boring name. It’s not like I really have a personal brand on there anyway apart from retweeting cat nonsense and pictures of what we made for dinner.

Work on Escape continues. It seems like it’s going to end up being a series of sorts. From what I have and what still needs to be written, it’ll  probably be around 100,000 words. A little excessive for one book, even an ebook. Might be perfect to split into two, or maybe even three. Trilogies are good, right? People love trilogies.