Blog Archives

NaNo Jitters–Row 80 Check-in

While the little kiddies dream of All Hallow’s Eve

I’m prepping for NaNo and outlining scenes.

Giddy about candy, they giggle and bounce.

I’m riddled with doubt



About making word counts.

They get to play dress up,

To marvel at costumes.

My stomach whirls

As November 1st looms.


Ha! It’s not all doom and gloom. I’m excited. This is a big stretch goal for me. If I felt totally comfortable about it, then it wouldn’t serve its purpose–growth. Anywho…

I’ve written every day, usually around five hundred words or so. Today, I finally finished analyzing Jim Butcher’s Storm Front. I’d hoped to be done with it by Friday, but I found myself a bit distracted after Wednesday. By the time I reach the halfway point in the novel, I lose steam. Then it takes me longer to finish. It happened with A Kiss of Shadows as well. I’m grateful to have gotten two books checked off the list this month. And I’m glad that I won’t be focusing on that for a little while.

Once November hits, NaNo will be the only writing goal on my mind.I think I’ll be refreshed by the time I get to analyze the next novel. That’ll probably be in December. Right now, I’m just tired of it. I may have to do one a month until I finish the drill. James Scott Bell suggested eight to twelve weeks to do six novels. That pace just feels like too much for me.

I hope that everyone gets a great start this week. Good luck to my fellow NaNoers. Until Wednesday!


The Big Plot Drill

Been slacking in the post department lately. So, I decided to just post about what I’m doing right now. I recently read Plot & Structure by James Scott Bell which is easily the best book on  plot that I’ve read thus far. I love creating characters and cultures, writing dialogue, and setting up conflict. Plotting isn’t my favorite part of writing and books on the subject usually make my eyes glaze over.

James Scott Bell’s approach to the subject is different. The book reads less like a college text and more like the transcript of a lecture from your favorite teacher. You know the one who made you feel smart and capable. She/he broke everything down into manageable chunks that you easily understood. The teacher gave you tips and systems that you still use. And somehow, she/he did it all while keeping you entertained. Priceless, right? I borrowed the book from the library, but it’s one that I’ll purchase for my reference shelf.

To get a deeper understanding of plotting, James Scott Bell recommends a plot drill. It involves reading six books,of the style you like to write, then analyzing the plots scene by scene. Bell admits that it’s hella work, but swears its worth it. *Folds arms and raises an eyebrow.* I’m choosing to take his word for it. I’m sure this drill will be highly beneficial. If not, I can always twitter-stalk him with my complaints.

Since, I write both fantasy and paranormal romance, I’m taking three books from each category to analyze.

For paranormal romance-

  • A Kiss of Shadows by Laurell K. Hamilton
  • Undead and Unwed by Mary Janice Davidson
  • Edge of Hunger by Rhyannon Byrd
For fantasy-
  • Warbreaker by Brandon Sanderson
  • Od Magic by Patricia A. McKillip
  • Fool Moon by Jim Butcher

I chose two of my favorite authors (Hamilton and Sanderson), three that I really respect (Butcher,Davidson,McKillip) and one that I’ve never read before (Byrd). Half the reading is done. Enjoying the focus this drill requires. Looking forward to what I’ll learn from it.

What’s your experience? Have you done this drill or some other that really helped your writing?