Hunting Plot Bunnies – NaNo2017 – Day 21

Day 17: 1597

Day 18: 1781

Day 19: 2503

Day 20: 1741

Yesterday morning, I sat down with the worksheets and Lesson 1 of Holly Lisle’s How To Write a Series course. I purchased the course earlier this year, but haven’t really had a chance to go through it. This year’s NaNo wants to be a trilogy when all is said and done, and I have an idea of how I’d want to end the thing. A way to end the first book was still elusive, though. I still didn’t have much of a plot.

So I sat down to do what Holly calls a Sweet Spot Map. I kinda skipped over the personal one and went straight to doing a series specific map, sitting in the head of Sian, my main character. I pulled out my pens, and started working through the map, drawing my arrows and connections.

And the same few phrases kept coming up. Making myself safe. Being useful. Feeling safe. Safety. Secure protection. To help me feel safe. Free and Safe. Make myself safe. Fearing being out of control. Hating being out of control. Fearing being alone. Fearing being not needed.

I caught some of the connections halfway through doing the map, so when I was done, out came the pens and I drew long lines between all these phrases which I knew were interconnected, reaching a conclusion with my main character about how much she needed Control and Security in her life. I also found a connection for the main villain in the series and found a good connection between a prop (the glass ball that I mentioned a while back), Sian, and the main conflict in the story.

I learned a lot in the hour or so I spent on the Sweet Spot Map. I also did some work on the Story Core.

There’s a path and a plot here somewhere. I’m starting to get an idea of where I need to go and what I need to do to make this story tie up nicely at the end.

Ten days of NaNo remain. I’m still on track, and I think the fog is lifting enough so I can see where the track is going from here.


Sleep Writing – NaNo2017 – Day 16

I was falling asleep last night while trying to write. Like, legitimately dozing at the keyboard. There were several times where the text was “a T J k” and that was it. Then I had strange rambles like this….

No, there was no time for place. Studdyin was to be done and the faster Ora knew her work, the sooner she could get out of the school and out of her Mathematids class, the sooner she could become a proper memeber of the society that governed their lands. 

Not sure what Mathematids class is… I think my brain was trying to say “Mathematics” but even that doesn’t make sense in context, because this particular school doesn’t have Math…

Plus, what on earth did I mean by “there was no time for place”?

Word Progress –

Day 10: 2361

Day 11: 1743

Day 12: 3798

Day 13: 16

Day 14: 120

Day 15: 1126

Day 16: 1491

In other news, I’m really struggling with hitting my word count this week. Lack of plot coupled with not feeling well has made the progress very, very slow.

NaNo2017 – Day 10 – Still no sign of plot

Day 4: 2493

Day 5: 1809

Day 6: 2336

Day 7: 2280

Day 8: 2066

Day 9: 2164

Day 10 (so far): 659

It’s official. I do not like pantsing*.

I’m at 20,000 words of sludge that I’m pretty sure will get mostly thrown out during revision. I’ve done a lot of world building in those 20,000 words, but there’s a decided lack of plot and all my characters are getting along so well.

Where’s the conflict, people!?!?

I’m trying to do some rapid fire plotting in between writing sessions, because I’m quickly running out of plan. I really could have used 2 extra months to build this story before writing it…

I do have some idea of the overarching plot that will drive a 3 book series, which is kind of what I want this to eventually be. Threes are proving pivotal to this world I’ve developed. But I’ll need to do a lot more plotting to figure that out as well. I’ve built myself a 2 day word buffer, but I’d rather have that in store in case I have a day or two where I’m struggling in Redwall Survivor.

Enough procrastinating. Back to the fray!

*Pantsing – a term that means doing something without a plan. Derived from the saying “fly by the seat of your pants”.

Day 3 – NaNo 2017

Day 2:  1725

Day 3: 2870

Total written: 6278

Finally feel like I had a productive day. I got a couple of good writing sessions in this morning, including some sprints with #NaNoWordSprints on Twitter. I love word sprints to encourage me to stuff the Inner Editor deep in a box and just write as fast as I can. It’s a challenging game to me and I love it. My favorites are the #1K30min sprints, which means you have to try to write 1000 words in 30 minutes. It’s a pretty intense challenge, but it’s a great way to beef up the word count.

Take today for instance. I did a few word sprints in the late morning while my twins were watching a movie. I hit about 1700 words and was intending on calling it quits for the day, when they announced next sprint was the #1K30min. Well, since I hadn’t done one of those yet (and I knew there was at least half an hour of movie left for my girls), I decided to jump on board. I think I got 1,130-ish in that half hour.

Overall, a good day!

NaNoWriMo 2017 – Day 1

Day 1 Word Count: 1683

I have a world.

I have a magic system.

I’ve got the skeleton of an economics systems.

I’ve got my list of special resources that tie in with the magic.

I have a map.

When the clock ticked over from October 31 to November 1, I had one scene idea and 3 unnamed characters.


I’m doing this completely backwards of how I normally do it!

Even so, I sat down yesterday morning and started to set up my Scrivener document. It couldn’t figure out how to get one of the windows I wanted open and in my desperate clicking around (while crying, “I should be writing!!!”), I accidentally opened a window I didn’t know how to close, then found out it was incredibly useful, so it got to stay open. I used the name generator in Scrivener to come up with a list of names to jump start things, and started writing that one scene I had in mind.

I’m 2600 words in now and still writing that scene.


I don’t usually get that sort of distance out of my scenes. My average seems to be around 1000 to 1500, so I’m pretty pleased with 2600, even though I’m really pantsing it at this point of the story. It think I’ve got a few info dumps in there that will need to be pulled out later, but since I’m so clueless about this story I’m writing, they’re helpful to me for now. Plus, I’ve had a few other scenes come to mind while writing, so I’ve added them to note cards in Scrivener.

Downside to having no plan yesterday and having to spend some time finding names and getting things set up is that I didn’t make my personal goal of 2000 words. I got just above the 1667 word recommendation, but I did make it. This is the first NaNo where I haven’t written over 2000 on Day 1.

Well, it can’t be helped. I do need a buffer, because I’ve still got Redwall Survivor going on as well. I’ve got a draft for a post written for the next round, but I hate it at the moment, so I’ll need some serious revision time before it goes up. 😛 Let the November juggling act commence!

Who else is a part of the literary madness this month? Anyone have any advice for doing NaNo as well as another project?

Celebrating Perseverance in the Writing Community

Today I am happy to be part of Writers Persevere!, an event that authors Angela Ackerman and Becca Puglisi are running for the next few days to celebrate their release of their newest book, The Emotional Wound Thesaurus: A Writer’s Guide to Psychological Trauma. This book looks at the difficult experiences embedded in our character’s backstory which will shape their motivation and behavior afterward.

Because Angela and Becca have spent the last year exploring painful human struggles, they wanted to highlight a very important aspect of overcoming difficult circumstances: it can make us stronger. I promised to let Angela hijack my blog today, so please read on!


Hi everyone! When you set out to find examples of inner strength, you don’t have to go very far. Right here in the writing community we see it every day. Writers more than anyone understand the swirl of emotions as we work toward publication. We dream of making it and seeing our books in the hands of readers…yet doubt and frustration can be a constant companion. For us, there is a lot to learn, much to steel our nerves for, and unfortunately, a host of real-world problems that can try to derail us. And, even as we slowly move forward and grow, we can sometimes feel like impostors. This is a tough road.

But the fact that writers face this battle, day after day, and KEEP GOING…this should be celebrated! We need to be reminded that we are much stronger than we sometimes believe. We dream, create, and force ourselves to keep striving. Through the ups and downs, we persevere!

Have you encountered something on the writing road that made you question yourself? Have you faced an obstacle that required a force of will to get past?

If so, we want to hear about it! Join Becca and me at Writers Helping Writers from October 25-27th, where we are celebrating writers and their stories of perseverance. Stop in, and tell us about a challenge or struggle your faced, or if you like, join this event by writing a post on your own blog and share it using the hashtag #writerspersevere. Let’s fill social media with your strength and let other writers know that it’s okay to question and have doubts but we shouldn’t let that stop us.


We also have a prize vault filled with items that can give your writing career a boost, so stop by Writers Helping Writers. I would love for one of you to win something that will help you get closer to your goal!

If you struggle, remember to reach out to others. We are in this together, and by supporting one another, we cross the finish line together (and then keep going!).

Happy writing!

Angela & Becca






Rag Dolls and Glass Balls

My Muse threw a rag doll at me.

Figuratively of course, but my mind can be a funny place sometimes.

There’s been a lot going on over the last few weeks. I’ve really been stretched to my breaking point more often than I’m comfortable with.

I’ve been feeling like the emotional equivalent of a kicked puppy, cowering in a corner.

And it killed my creativity.

I like using the term “Muse” to describe the creative right side of my brain that I have all sorts of fun with. I think any writer out there knows that creative side can take on something of a life of it’s own when you really get in the thick of things. Usually my Muse and I get along pretty well.

But it turns out that high levels of stress chase her about as far away as she could possibly go. Not good when members of the Survivor cast ask me what’s I have planned for the next round…

In a desperate attempt to lure the Muse back, I pulled out my copy of Holly Lisle’s Create A World Clinic. I sat down to do the first little exercise, hoping to generate a few ideas for NaNoWriMo. Last time I did the exercise, I got inspiration for Crafting the Badger’s Head, so my track record here is good.

My Muse opened a door, threw Laura Ingalls’ rag doll at me, then stuck out it’s tongue, blew a raspberry, and slammed the door again.

Somehow, I’m supposed to turn the rag doll into a story?

Actually, I’ve got a couple ideas already.

I did a couple other exercises in the book and got some more interesting elements. A glass ball like a marble, yet, bigger. A canyon of many colors, and a swatch of dark black, thick fur.

Even stranger was an emotion that came with the glass ball. I had a very vivid memory of a visit with my grandmother a year or so ago. She sat on the floor with my girls and she was showing my oldest some marbles. She mentioned the names of some marbles and I got a very strange vision at the time of my grandmother as a school-aged girl, sitting around with her young friends and piles of glassy marbles between them.

Thinking of my grandma being a girl some 80 years ago was a weird sad/happy nostalgic emotion.

Not sure how it’ll fit in to this story that I’m going to do for NaNoWriMo, yet, but at least I have an idea.

Now, time to caffeinated the Muse, who crept back in sometime during the night, bringing an offering of dialogue for the next Redwall Survivor chapter.