Declaring A Win And A Completion

Camp NaNo 2017 Winner

Camp NaNoWriMo April 2017 WINNER!!!

That’s right. I managed to pull off the win on the very last day of Camp. As predicted, after the long work week I had, I totally blew getting anything done on Saturday. So come Sunday I was up and writing from the moment I woke up to get that final 5,669 words I needed. Come to think of it, I didn’t even stop to eat until I had validated, which by that point was definitely dinner time. Whoops…

But I pulled off the win! Hooray! *Throws confetti*

30 days, 30,058 words (30,053 after validating), 65 pages, and 4.5 chapters plus a blurb.

It may not have been a pretty win this month, but it’s a win. And guess what else?

That’s right, baby.

Fated to Darkness is FINISHED!!!

SQUUEEEEE!!!

Excuse me while I scream, cry, laugh, and essentially freak out internally for a little bit again.

I can’t believe I’m finally typing those words. I’m in shock. It’s a dream come true. (Or, well, the beginning of a dream come true.) I actually did it. I actually finished my first full length novel after almost three years of working on it with NaNoWriMo’s and spare time.

And this isn’t just any novel to me. This is the first book of the series that is my heart and soul. The storyline that has been kicking around in my head since I was a little girl. The characters that have literally grown up with me in my head. They’ve been waiting for this to happen for as long as I’ve been waiting for it to happen.

I finally did it.

Book 1 of The Dark Heir chronicles is complete.

I’m still in shock, and I’m definitely still freaking out internally. *Happy dances*

This whole month, this whole book, has been a roller coaster. I started out this Camp with the intentions of having Fated to Darkness finished within the first week so I could spend the rest of the month working on Clockwork Heart. (Obviously I didn’t get to work on Clockwork Heart at all.) But I was both excited and scared out of my mind to finish this novel.

I struggled to get through the end of this book for many reasons ranging from frustration to hesitance, but I made it and I managed to type these words for the first time in my life:

end book 1

When I got to those words — which I’m not going to leave them in come edits, I just wanted to be able to write them, lol — I had to stop and just stare at my Word doc while I tried to process the fact that I actually did it.

It was quite an interesting day of writing on Sunday to get to that point. Because I was so frustrated with Chapter 41, I left it off with my lengthy ranting note to redo the chapter. I didn’t try to pick up from where I had stopped, but I did jump ahead just a little to the end of the chapter where I knew how it was going to go down to the smallest detail.

Once I got to that part the words just started flowing again full force. The end of Chapter 41 went down without a hitch — though it could use a bit more bang — and I went onto writing the Epilogue. (That was another word I had to stare at whenever I typed it because I couldn’t believe I was seeing it.) I thought the Epilogue was going to be a bit difficult to write because I have to be very careful in what I reveal in it. (No I’m not going to tell you why. Mwahaha!) Surprisingly it didn’t give me the issues I thought it was going to, and it even ended up setting up the Prologue for Book 2!

Of course once I got to writing the words “End Book 1” I realized I was about 150 words short of hitting goal for Camp.

Go. Figure.

I was not going to write a 150 words of something new or another WiP, and I realized the blurb I made years ago for Fated to Darkness needed some tweaking and kind of sucked. So you know what I did? Yep, I took that final little spurt of words and wrote another blurb!

Gods I hate blurbs…

This one wasn’t that bad to write though, shockingly.

It got me to the NaNo win so that’s all I cared about. I just can’t believe I’m going to be setting this novel aside now for awhile so I can come back to it with fresh eyes. I miss my characters already. I miss Kailyn, and Matt, and Gods…I even miss Ciara, the evil bitch. It feels really weird to not be working on their novel. I feel lost.

Granted, I’m not putting it away completely yet, there’s still a few things I need to do with it before I’m ready to begin editing — which I plan to be the start of next year — but I still miss them already.

But alas, the explanation of that headache stuff I need to do, as well as my next plans, can wait a couple days. After all, I’m still celebrating my win and the completion of my first full length novel.

Camp may not have gone the way I had planned for it to go last month, but it will definitely be one that goes down in my history books. I did it, baby! Now excuse me while I go celebrate some more and squeal in happiness.

Gaining Momentum

We are officially in the home stretch of April’s Camp NaNo madness. Only nine days left. Yesterday the site officially announced that validating had begun, and to those who don’t follow NaNoWriMo that means that there’s no more changing your goal. It is set in stone now so if you’re slacking, you better light a fire under your butt and work like mad to come out with that win.

Validating is essentially the proof that you did the work throughout the month. If you’re using Camp to write it means you have to copy and paste every single word you wrote that month into the little box they provide and click validate so it can compute the number of words to prove you haven’t lied on your word count.

(Which is exactly why I write everything for NaNo in a separate Word doc. It makes it that much easier to copy and paste at the end, and that much easier to update your word count during the month.)

Then if validating accepts your progress as a win… Voila! You get a nice big winner badge, banner, gold star, and goodies! Not to mention the satisfaction that you made it! That might be the best part about the win.

(I’m not quite sure how validating works for anyone who’s used Camp to edit by page numbers, or an X-number of hours put into working on writing-related projects that month. That part is still really knew to me and I’ve never used it.)

So with only nine days left to the madness, where am I sitting at now?

On Tuesday’s post I was sorely failing in all accounts for NaNo. I was below par by 5k and I had blown every single day off I had in a four day stretch for writing.

Before I went to bed Tuesday I forced myself to write. I had a little help from a friend who wrote with me, and I also had a little bit of motivation in the form of a snail-mail letter bribe if I hit 2k before I went to bed, and that eventually got me going. Needless to say, I ended up making the 2k before I crashed around 4am.

Wednesday was my final day off, and my last chance to get some serious words written. Of course, it’s also my Shard day, and I had a couple errands and menial chores I needed to run as well. Unfortunately. That meant my writing didn’t start till late afternoon again, but once I got started…

There was literally no stopping me. The apocalypse could have started and I would not have stopped writing. I was on fire, the words were just rolling right off my fingers, bleeding over the keyboard. You would have had to pry me away with a crowbar, kicking and screaming bloody murder, to get me to stop writing.

At the start of Wednesday I didn’t think I was going to catch up to par, I was still 4k below once midnight hit that evening, even with the 2k I did the night before. I expected at the most to get maybe another 2k or so and then that would be it.

So boy was I blown away when my final numbers showed I had managed to write 8.2k in twenty-four hours by the time I crashed for bed Wednesday night — which was again somewhere around 4am.

Not only did I catch up to par, I passed it by 1.2k again. I’m still caught up to par right now, and I haven’t done any writing since late Wednesday night thanks to work and exhaustion. (Granted once midnight hits I will drop 800 words below par again, but I have a nice, free, undisturbed night tomorrow after work, and I am going to use it.)

You know the best part about my 8.2k frenzy?

Chapter 40 is finished.

I am one chapter closer to the end of Fated to Darkness.

I’m on the final chapter, and after that is completed all that is left to write is a short Epilogue. The first draft of Fated to Darkness will finally be completed after almost three years.

I have no words. None.

The range of emotions coursing through me over that fact are unreal.

I will finish this novel this month. I won’t get to bump my goal up any now because I struggled so much in the beginning of the month, and I won’t be getting to write anything in Clockwork Heart for the month more than likely — at the very most it might be one or two thousand words, if that. I’m not going to have a 60k month like I did last year in April, but I will be finishing this novel, and right now that is all I can ask for.

Nine days left. Only 8,750 more words to validate.

April’s win, here I come. My momentum and motivation are back, baby, and I can see the end of the novel that much closer within my reach.

Camp Creatures And Eureka! Moments

Happy Camp NaNoWriMo!

Camp NaNo 2017

The first plunge into madness for 2017 has finally begun! Hooray! I’ll be honest, I’m quite a fan of the banners and icons they have for Camp this year. They even named some creatures to pertain to writing and novels. Like the infamous, abundant Plot Bunny pictured above on the banner. I’m not quite sure why the bunny has antlers, unless they’re supposed to represent the branches of scenes and story that make up a plot.

I totally pulled that from thin air but it actually makes sense.

I think my other favorite creature they came up with is the Block Ness Monster. It’s just so perfect in so many ways. They also had the Darewolf, Chore Grizzly, Guilt Monkey, and Storysquatch.

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I think I might end up using these creatures when I talk about writing now, just to reference them. Like when I’m stuck and I’m screaming at my story, I’m going to yell, “Get out of my way Block Ness Monster!” Or something along those lines. I love it.

So onto the stories of NaNo so far!

I did start writing the eve of NaNo before I went to bed. I was a little bit late starting because I was distracted by things and amused with other stuff, but I did write before crashing. I ended up not going to be till about 5am, but I got a little over 2k written and finished Chapter 38 that night.

I will admit I’ve been slacking the first few days already. I mean, I had four days off in a row — today is my last day off, which, heh, work tried to call me in, I didn’t pick up or ever respond — but I should have had oodles of words written by the end of tonight!

As I did in past NaNo’s, I should have had 5k written for each day off. My own little personal goal I set for myself in past years because normally on work days I’m lucky if I do any writing depending on the shift, and rarely do I have more than one day off in a row to gain any momentum. Welcome to the wonderful life of retail. *Heavy sarcasm*

With that math, by tonight I should have a word count of roughly 20k already written. And, ah, yeah. I don’t.

At the end of the first day I was just under 5k. I was tired that day because I was woken up early with less than five hours of sleep from my late night by a whole lot of banging and voices coming through the vents. Gotta love when you have to fix a vehicle. I also had a spontaneous road trip so that didn’t help productivity too much. Lack of sleep helped even less after the week of work I had before Saturday.

Day 2, which was Sunday, of NaNo I severely slacked and I don’t think I wrote anything. I was kind of bleh that day and I also had to get through my taxes so the day was kind of shot when I add on my shows for Sunday night. Or, well, show now. No more plural. ABC cancelled Time After Time with no warning right in the middle of the first season. I was so pissed. Still pissed.

Yesterday was sorta, kinda better. I didn’t start writing until later at night, but I also had a major eureka moment. And I mean like…

“EUREKA! THAT’S IT!”

…kind of major.

Jumping up and down, grinning from ear to ear, squealing uncontrollably kind of eureka moment. The kind where I run through my house crazily to get a drink and make my parents wonder if I won the lottery or something in my excitement. (Winning the lottery would be nice though, because then I could quit my job and just write.)

Surprisingly, my eureka moment didn’t come from a shower this time. I was meaninglessly scrolling through Facebook, trying to find my motivation to write, and I think I was looking at the cover of Paranormal Pleasures, staring at my name in print when suddenly motivation reared its head hard and nearly knocked me off my feet like this:

“You know what, dammit, I want to publish my first standalone novel this year and that is not going to happen with me sitting here mindlessly on social media. I’m going to write. I’m going dark for several hours until words bleed from my fingertips onto the page. And I have absolutely no idea where this is coming from so strongly all of a sudden but I am running with it dammit. Onwards! To Word, and to fantasy lands! *Holds out sword and pen, charges away from the internet*
(Yep. I’ve definitely lost my mind.)”

So at that point I did go dark. However, I managed about 200 words before I started to hit a brick wall. That’s when I realized my lack of excitement for NaNo the first two nights while working on Chapter 38 was because I was unsure exactly how the final chapters were supposed to go, and I was still trying to figure out my Epilogue issue. If anyone remembers my post from Friday I had a slight break through on the Epilogue, but it still wasn’t fitting perfectly.

My problem wasn’t a lack of excitement and motivation this time around, after all, it was that I was unsure how to work out the end of the novel without knowing how to fix my Epilogue. I mean, I was only 2.5 chapters away from the Epilogue, I had to figure it out soon.

Instead of writing then, I grabbed my fidget cube and started pacing my room, talking to myself and in the mirror as I tried to work out what was going to happen. I ran through multiple scenarios of, “Okay, what if she does this instead of this, how would that affect the end?”. That eventually made me realize I needed to change the timeline between Chapter 38 — which I just finished — and Chapter 39, the chapter I was stuck and dragging on at the moment.

By realizing I need to change the timeline just a bit to allow more time in between the chapters so it would fit my original outline and plotline, I stumbled across where the chapter needed to go, and how the next chapter needed to work. That then lead me to working out kinks to better fit my original ending of the novel and then suddenly…

BAM!

The solution to my Epilogue was slapping me in the face, all with a simple town scene, all with a single character showing their face in my head. It was perfect. Instead of using the character I thought of in my shower inspiration, I could use a different character I had never introduced yet, but someone who would become important in the next book. My Mystery Man character would hold the similarity I needed to match to leave my readers on cliffhangers and questions as the hook of the end of my book, and it still allowed me to the use the Epilogue how I originally planned for.

It was absolutely perfect!

I spent probably a good ten to fifteen minutes squealing and jumping around because I was so happy over the fix. (It’s an author thing, don’t judge me.) After that I grabbed paper and pen and feverishly began to record everything step by step I had just figured out in my head. I even went to a couple friends to run a scenario past them to see if they, as the reader, would assume and react in the way I was thinking the reader would.

(It’s not easy being author, reader, and character all at once. At one point I even threw my pen across the room and grabbed another because it stopped working and I didn’t have time for that.)

To my excitement, they pretty much assumed what I had hoped for, and after that I was all set. I’m still going to have to be careful with the Epilogue so I don’t give away anything I don’t want to, but I have my fix and that was all I had hoped for at the moment.

An hour and a half later of pacing my room talking to myself, reciting character lines out loud to see how they would react, much squealing and yelling, feverish writing of two and half pages of scribbled notes, and somehow a pulled muscle in my neck — don’t ask, I still don’t know how, and I finally had the FINAL two and a half chapters and the Epilogue all planned out.

No more uncertainty. No more plot holes. No more hesitance.

I can write like the wind from here on out in this novel, and that’s exactly what I did afterwards. I sat back down around 1am and just wrote. No distractions. Just music, my notes, my Word doc, my characters, and my fingers bleeding away on the page. A little over two hours later and I had written about 5k words and had finished Chapter 39.

There’s only two chapters plus my Epilogue left to write in this novel and I will officially be done with the first draft. I seriously can’t believe I’m saying that. I will be done with the first draft of the first novel that is my heart and soul series. Ho-ly. Shit.

I think my estimate of 20k to finish this novel might be a little bit off, but I don’t think it’s going to surpass 25k. I only have three full chapters to write altogether, and I’m pretty sure the Epilogue is going to be short. Chapter 40 will be the longest one, and Chapter 41 won’t be too long I don’t think, depending how much drama this final scene ends up bringing.

But I’m almost there! *SQUEALS!*

I’m half terrified and half excited to finish this first draft. Like, AHHHH!

Two more and the Epilogue and then I can move onto Clockwork Heart for the month, because I do want to finish and release that novella/novel this year. As of last night I’m just over 9k words for Camp this month already, I think by tomorrow I might be near 15k. Right after I hit the post button on this bad boy I’m jumping into starting Chapter 40. Once I grab a snack to munch on too.

End of the novel, here I come!