NaNoWriMo

The End is Near

I distinctly remember that day in October when my friend texted me. It was early in the morning. I opened the message to read her giving me an update, as she had been doing all month, on the approach of November. This time there were only four days before NaNoWriMo. The same fear and anxiety that plagued me then has returned, because you see…

There are only four days LEFT of NaNo

I’m about 8,000 words away from completing my goal, which isn’t a difficult task to accomplish. I have been known to write 5K words in a given day – given enough time, that is. The main obstacle I’m encountering now is trying to figure out what would be the next step in my timeline. I have only dropped a few minimal clues for my murder detectives, certainly not enough for them to solve the mystery, and I’m honestly stuck trying to figure this out myself. I mean, I know who did it. I know how they did it. I know why they did it. And gosh darn it if they weren’t so good at concealing themselves and planting clues not even I can find fault with them.


Writing is tough business. It just is. No one realizes how much work you put into your projects, but that knowledge is solely for your benefit. You reap the most reward from sitting back and enjoying a work well done. When you pick up another author’s book, you don’t just admire the cover and flip through the pages. You don’t just become immersed in the story. You take a minute, wonder how many years were put into the pages, admire the clean look and feel, and maybe even give a nod of appreciation when you find a small typo – because everyone has one. We wouldn’t be human without typos.

I initially began this blog post with a song stuck in my head from the animated movie for The Return of the King. It speaks of roads and goodbyes and sad, sweet things. But now I’m not feeling the message (and I can’t claim the song for my word count anyway.) I’m actually feeling fairly positive.

Wrimos, we can do this. We showed up, we came to the game, and we got in and played. It’s only fair to ourselves to keep charging ahead toward that finish line as if we were in a race competing with a runner who we’ve been neck-and-neck with all month. It’s nearing the end. We can see the red tape. We just need to stay the course, inch passed our competitor, and claim the goal. Now, our competitor is Time and the course is NaNo, but the sensation of flying across a track is the same.

Minus the severe cramps, fatigue, blisters, gasping wheezing breaths…

And if you have these symptoms now, you should consult your doctor. It sounds serious.


So where are you on your journey? Are you word-stuck like I am? Are you stressing a little bit? Or are you blazing hot; on fire with words and material and imagination? Whatever the case, no matter the word count, you have accomplished something here this month. You’ve accomplished writing. And if that isn’t something to celebrate, then I’ll just shut down this blog and we’ll all go back to our black-and-white society.

Because words are real. Words are magic. And words light up the world one syllable at a time.

Happy writing, folks. It’s been a tremendous journey, and I’m proud to have come alongside you for one more year. (Google’s trying to tell me “alongside” is one word, and it’s making me cry. I just need the words!)

This has been,

Fanny T. Crispin

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I Can’t Write

It’s one of those moments in which I sit down to write, but every time I do, I’m overwhelmed by sorrow. You see, a father has just returned home from a tragic sea voyage only to discover he had been gone for seven years and his dearly beloved wife is dead. I’m trying to work through his reaction to the shock, but it’s bitterly unfair.

It’s moments like these where I hope the story moves my readers as much as it has me. It’s moments like these when I feel the strongest as a writer. You can make a reader laugh or scare their boots off with a wild adventure, but if you can break their hearts for a character, make them bleed with him, that is the highest achievement.

Please, excuse me. I have to go comfort a grieving husband and hope and pray he’ll be all right in the end.

This has been,

Fanny T. Crispin

30 Days to Publishing

30 Days to Publishing (8)

Participles

A participle is a form of verb that is used in a sentence to modify a noun and/or verb. You may or may not have given much thought to participles. In every day speech, participles let our listeners know the time frame in what we say.

“I went to the store.”
“She goes to the store.”
“They are going to the store.”

Just by the verb tense, you can assume what has been done, what is being done, and what will be done. This is what humans categorize, covet, and cope with–time.

I am not about to give you a lecture on English grammar, but the verb tense is very important to the structure of your story. Participles will determine what is transpiring and give a time frame for your readers.

Past Tense:  Past tense is just what it sounds like–everything in the story has happened in the past. It is history. Most stories, books, magazine columns, newspaper articles, and biographies are written in past tense for very good reason. The events being recorded have already happened and are finished.

E.g. John Doe was a curator at the Museum of Natural Art. He was in charge of bookkeeping and purchasing items for the collection. Often he traveled far distances to acquire items that could not be shipped by air mail. John Doe enjoyed the challenge of digging up old artifacts.

Present Tense: Present tense is a verb form of current action. For example, the critically acclaimed book series Hunger Games was written in first person, present tense.  Often times books in first person are written in present tense to give a feel for events happening now,  as in right now. First person can be written either in present tense or past tense, but do not feel restricted to present tense just because you want to write in first person.

E.g. 1. I am a curator at the Museum of Natural Art. I am in charge of bookkeeping and purchasing items for the collection. Often I travel far distances to acquire items that cannot be shipped by air mail. I enjoy the challenge of digging up old artifacts.

E.g. 2. I was a curator at the Museum of Natural Art. I was in charge of bookkeeping and purchasing items for the collection. Often I travelled far distances to acquire items that could not be shipped by air mail. I enjoyed the challenge of digging up old artifacts.

As you can see, both are acceptable forms of writing. Admittedly, present tense can be more difficult to write, because you might be more accustomed to thinking, speaking, and writing in past tense. If you choose to use present tense, keep in mind the verb changes, but don’t get frustrated with your writing if it proves difficult. You can always go back and edit those verbs later.

Future Tense:  Future tense is rarely used, except in rare instances of narration. It describes an event about to transpire that has not happened yet, and is looked forward to–in the future.

E.g. John Doe will be a curator at the Museum of Natural Art. He will be in charge of bookkeeping and purchasing items for the collection. He will travel far distances to acquire items that cannot be shipped by air mail. He will enjoy (we hope) the challenge of digging up old artifacts.

Future tense can be used when characters are planning a battle strategy or other event to be held in the near future. You can write your whole book in future tense, it is possible…If you like that sort of challenge. But you may find it too wordy with all the extra verbs, and confusing to boot. Your editor might not appreciate it, but then again, this is your story. And who knows, you might be the new JK Rowling. So push the boundaries and be who you want to be.

That’s all for today, friends. Have a pleasant Easter and Passover week.

~FanTC

30 Days to Publishing

30 Days to Publishing (2)

Determination

Today we are going to talk about a little thing called “determination”. Webster defines it as “the act of coming to a decision”, and I want you to keep this in the background of your mind–the act. Coming to a decision starts in the mind. What do you want? Are you journaling? Blogging? Noveling? Regardless of the genre, you will be able to use many of these tips.

First, let’s address your fear–what is keeping you from this writing project? Don’t try to deny it, something very well may be holding you back. And that is okay. Honest. I would like you to take five minutes–set your timer–and write down why you have been putting this project off.

Lack of inspiration?
Failure?
Publicity?
Money?
Peer opinions?

After your five minutes, I am going to tell you the words that changed my perspective:

You cannot fail for trying.

There. That knocked out one fear. Block those obsticals from your mind. Now take a deep breath and slowly let it out. Remember what brought you here. You wanted to write. You imagined this amazing article, conceived an epic novel, and it got you excited. Everyone has a story, and in the words of the NaNoWriMo staff, the world needs your story.

So let us set ourselves to the task. Commit yourself mentally. Get excited. You are about to start an adventure, and now comes the action. Go buy your books, set up your Word Document, open your blog, get out your super sleuth detective journalist recorder, and get to work. Rekindle your love for writing, or discover for the first time the joy of writing! In my 30 Days to Publishing, I will walk with you step by step through the process of writing your project, editing the manuscript, and navigating the labyrinth of editors, agents, and publishing houses. This blog will update daily to complete my own challenge 500 words in 31 days, so check back to see where we are at in the lesson.

Tomorrow I am excited, because we will start with the subject I honestly used to dislike, but through the years of writing I have grown to enjoy this process. Everything requires research–even fiction. Especially fiction. We will take a look at it through the eyes of beginning a fiction novel, but the steps will also be applicable to other areas of writing as well. If you are just joining us, introduce yourself in the comments and let us know what you are working on. We will have writing prompts to hone those skills and get you warmed up for the task. Are you committed? Are you exciting? Then get ready to work.

Determination starts in the mind and ends up on paper.