My 5 Step Process for Revising My NaNoWriMo Manuscript

February 2, 2015 § 2 Comments

or, I’m Pretty Sure I Don’t Know What the Hell I’m Doing

February 2, 2015

  1. Realize I’ve spent too much time marathoning Masters of Sex and pull out manuscript to re-read for the first time. Think, “Huh. This sounded so much better when I was writing it.” Nod off and go to bed.
  1. Ignore manuscript for two weeks and read books about one night stands instead.
  1. Receive encouraging messages from NaNoWriMo and start over, with a notebook, a red pen, and two or three shots of Vodka.

Read Write Bliss NaNoWriMo Manu

  1. Make notes to myself like, “Develop this or drop it” and “Must figure out S & R’s relationship” and “What is the issue here?”
  1. Occasionally, once in a while, every so often, note, “Huh. That’s pretty good. I don’t remember writing it. Not at all.”

5 Writerly Things to Do in 2015

January 12, 2015 § Leave a comment

or, 5 Things I, the Writer, Will Probably Do This Year. At Least, I Should Do Them.

January 12, 2015

My cat thinks he is going to help me look up recipes in a cookbook. That's nothing new.

My cat thinks he is going to help me look up recipes in a cookbook. That’s nothing new.

My friend T sent me a HuffPo article that lists 52 new things writers can try for 2015. So many of the items were such great ideas that I found it kind of overwhelming. So I picked just 5 things that I will definitely think about/try/do in 2015.

Participate in NaNoWriMo in November 2015.

I had such a great time participating in my first NaNoWriMo last November that I am going to do it again this year. If I hustle on my rewrites sufficiently, maybe I’ll be scribbling out the first draft of a sequel.

Map a book you love.

Already happening. I’m trying to figure out where the heck I went so wrong on overwriting my first novel. Right now I’m mapping Jane Eyre, since the structure of that book has influenced how I view my heroines’ journeys. I’m also appreciating that while the recent movie adaptation was a decent effort, it never captured the magic and wit that is Jane and Rochester.

Read your work out loud.

Last year, I had actually seriously considered participating in my local DimeStories literary open mic night—before the holiday crunch set in, that is. It would be a good way to practice my public speaking. Eep. Hyperventilating. Like I said, I’ll think about it.

Do a literary pilgrimage to see a site where a favorite author lived or wrote about.

Now this is synchronicity. I just read an article in the paper about the D.H. Lawrence house in Taos reopening. This summer—day trip!

Set up a separate bank account for your writing pursuits.

Yep. As soon as I start making money from my writing, I’ll get right on that.

Five Crazy Things that Happened During NaNoWriMo

December 1, 2014 § 6 Comments

or, Magic happens when you are forced to write a novel quickly, flaws and all.
December 1, 2014


I participated in my first NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) this year and at 10:53 a.m. Mountain Time Sunday, I finished with 55,178 words. I was a little dazed, a lot euphoric, and, suddenly, really, really hungry. I am pretty happy with how it turned out. I have something to look forward to in the new year when I pull out this raw draft and start reworking it. I also experienced some crazy things during this writing process.

Characters stood up for their rights, even though I had no idea who they were yet.

No backstories, no bios, sometimes not even real names — just ridiculous placeholders like “Blondie”—and yet, when my fingers were flying across the keyboard, their personalities revealed themselves in surprising ways. When my villain was supposed to be frightening, he was dark and tragic. When the male lead was supposed to be understanding, he was jealous. When the protagonist was supposed to be conflicted, she was decisive and kick-ass. Which leads to

Scenes didn’t play out how I’d planned them.

Oh, they’d start out exactly how I envisioned. But then the characters took over and the scene would end up someplace completely different and I’d be left wondering what the hell just happened here? On the other hand, when I got bored, and did not know what to do with this miserable scene I had put everyone in, I just made everybody start acting like total jerks. Then things got interesting real quick.

Stream of consciousness = the mf’ing bomb.

I got crazy word count just letting my protagonist ramble on. It was a great way to learn her voice and figure out how her mind works. Plus, it was fun as hell. Too many times I would laugh my head off thinking, “I can’t believe she just said that.” (She said it. She did. Not me.)

I found out that I can just make stuff up as I go along.

Usually, a scene has played out in my head in Technicolor, multiple times, before I write it. I did not have that luxury with NaNoWriMo. I had an hour before work and the minutes were ticking away and I had to get my protagonist through her next test pronto. Bing! Just throw her in a room with this guy she barely knows and have her start talking trash. Next thing I knew, I had 900 words and my next conflict set up. When forced to, when I had no other choice, I just made up random shit. And some of it is probably usable.

I did not know how the story was going to end until ten minutes before I wrote it, when the final line came soaring into my head, while I was in my pajamas, standing over the floor furnace, sipping hot cocoa spiked with Vodka.

I am not making this up.


NaNoWriMo gear: chair pad, laptop, headphones, cookies from Trader Joe’s, hand warmers, and a notebook gift, handmade by the Saturday mornings write-in host.

The (Witching) NaNoWriMo Hour

November 3, 2014 § Leave a comment

November 3, 2014

A few minutes after midnight I got on my laptop and kicked off NaNoWriMo. I was still up after coming home from a Halloween party. And I had to get the disturbing images out of my head.

Ever since my trip to New Orleans in July, I’d decided I need to check out American Horror Story: Coven. I’d also been warned by more than one person that the show can be a little traumatizing. So I figured what better way to get through it than on Halloween, surrounded by a bunch of other people.


We made it through the pilot. Then we were like “Okay. I’m done. That’s enough. I’m going to go home now and try not to have nightmares.”

I was really glad I had NaNoWriMo.

A little before one a.m., I hit the daily word count of 1,667. Then I went to bed and slept like a log. No nightmares.

As for the remaining episodes of Coven–I’m making my friends come over to watch with me.


I went to my first NaNoWriMo write-in on Saturday. Who knew how easy and fun it is to lose yourself in your writing while surrounded by others. Especially after a Mimosa (or two).

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