NaNoWriMo 2017: Conclusion

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You, guys. YOU. GUYS. It’s done! I know it’s been a couple days now, but NaNoWriMo is officially at its end, can you believe it? After all the late-night writing binges, after consuming more caffeinated beverages than anything of actual nutritional value, and after writing our little hearts out all last month, it is finally OVER!

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We did it, guys! We weathered the storm. If you participated, I’d love to hear how you did. Hopefully everyone got a great experience out of it. ๐Ÿ™‚ I think the whole challenge is a positive thing no matter the word count you end with because it is a valuable learning tool as a writer. So, no matter the outcome, congrats on another NaNoWriMo battle fought and survived (and maybe even vanquished!)

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I spent the last couple weeks of November sick, but determined not to give up. Hence why I wound up going on a brief hiatus and have been a no-show around here lately. (Can you tell I started to feel the pressure when I wound up a bit shy of my intended word count by the halfway mark?) ๐Ÿ˜› Well, the near-maddening level of work I put into it paid off and I DID cross the finish line. Not in a smooth, effortless gazelle-level-of-grace sort of way, but in more of a frothing-at-the-mouth, crashing through the wall and skidding to a bloody stop sort of way.

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So, that said, by the end of November I finished the challenge by the skin of my teeth with . . . dun dun dunnnnn . . . 50,246 words. I wrote my little heart out. Some of it is pretty rough, but they call it a “rough draft” for a reason, no? ๐Ÿ˜‰ There’s plenty more to keep writing for this story, but I’ve got a lot of that figured out already, too. I tend to be a project hopper, always bouncing from idea to idea, but I’m really enjoying writing these characters and their world right now, which leads me into another big announcement as the start of the new year draws ever nearer. It’s something I’m pretty excited about. ๐Ÿ˜€

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I’m one of those people who always does the whole New Year’s Resolution thing. For a long time I was ALSO one of those people who made the goals and forgot all about them a month or two into the new year. Last year was different, though. I made a lot of resolutions aimed toward improving myself and I actually did accomplish a lot of them, which was an amazing feeling. I’ll do a whole post about my goals for the upcoming year as January gets closer, but for now, while we’re on the topic of my current writing project, I want to announce that one of those goals is to (by the end of 2018) have a finalized draft of my novel to start submitting to publishers.

NaNoWriMo was a major step in this, but only the first of many that I’ll have to take to make these goal happen. I’m looking forward to the journey though, no matter how stressful it might just end up being. Along the way I may even finally work up the nerve to talk a bit about what it is I’m actually working on. I’m neurotic about only letting people see my stuff when it’s DONE but maybe I’ll lighten up a bit on that. Maybe. lol It’s hard for me to let people see the rough, WIP versions of things I’m making, so we’ll see. Are any of you guys like that, too? I always see people sharing the things they’re working on and I love to see it, just for some reason I’ve always had a hard time showing things until they’re finished. Maybe that is something I should work on, too. ๐Ÿ˜›

Alright, time to catch up on everyone’s blogs! I’ve missed popping into WP since I was finishing my writing binge and dealing with a very busy last few days. It’ll be nice to see what you’ve all been up to. ๐Ÿ™‚

 

 

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NaNoWriMo 2017 Weekly Update: No. 2

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Woo! Half way through the frantic chaos that is NaNoWriMo! It’s hard to believe it’s half over already. How’s it going for those of you who are participating this year? Are you right on track where you were hoping to be at this point? Any tips on what’s working for you so far this go around?

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Not getting sick helps, of course. This is my second year doing NaNoWriMo and it also just so happens to be my second time getting sick during it. Lovely. Yay, tradition, am I right? ๐Ÿ˜› Oh well, it and some other things slowed me down this week, but I’m not out of this fight yet! I’m behind where I wanted to be, but I’m not giving up. It’s called a writing “challenge” for a reason, after all.

Alright, that said, let’s get down to business, shall we? Last week my writing update had a day by day word count breakdown, but I failed to track how much was written each day this week, so we’ll just go over the end game number I wound up with this week. I’d been hoping to write an additional 11,669 words this week, PLUS I wanted to make up for the 339 words I was shy of from last week’s goal. Well, it did not happen this week, guys.

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I finished the week with an additional 9,168 words written. With the month being half over at this point, I was hoping to have reached a minimum of 25,000 words by now. After adding this week’s numbers up with last week’s I see I am at exactly *drum roll please* . . .ย  20,498 words!

That’s a whopping 4,502 words less than I’d hoped.

Oops.

Oh, well, I feel like if I get my butt back on track and split up the extra words I still need between the two weeks I have left that I can do it. Wishful thinking? Maybe, but it’s better than giving up! ๐Ÿ˜›

Good luck to those of you still in the good fight, too. โค NaNoWriMo is one tough beast, but we’ve got this, guys! ๐Ÿ˜€

Oh! And on a non-NaNoWriMo-related side note, you should go check out this snazzy giveaway Kate over at All the Trinkets is doing for her blog’s 3rd birthday! She’s a great artist and blogger and has a few different giveaway options you can pick from going on right now. ๐Ÿ™‚ She’s got an awesome and inspiring blog so be sure to give her some blog b-day love. She deserves it! She also deserves an adorable gif of a hedgehog in a little party hat eating a tiny cake, so here ya go, Kate! ๐Ÿ˜›

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NaNoWriMo 2017 Weekly Update: No. 1

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Hey, guys! Well, we’re through the first week of NaNoWriMo. I hope everyone is right on track and having a good go of it so far. ๐Ÿ™‚ I’ll try to do one of these writing updates each week throughout the challenge just to touch base on where I’m at and how writing went throughout that particular week.

Here’s my progress throughout week 1 when it came to my daily word count:

November 1: word count of 1,679

November 2: word count of 1,688

November 3: word count of 1,321

November 4: word count of 1,092

November 5: word count ofย  1,895

November 6: word count of 1,927

November 7: word count of 1,728

My goal for this week was to reach a minimum of 11,669 words. I accomplished:

11,330 words written in 7 days!

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I came in just 339 words shy of where I’d planned on capping off the week, but hey, not too shabby of a start, right? ๐Ÿ™‚ I can catch up. I know I can. As is the case for many people, November has been shaping up to be an incredibly busy (and financially-draining) month. Still, I remain optimistic! I nearly made the first week’s goal, so I just gotta catch up a wee bit and then I’m right on track. ๐Ÿ˜€

Are you participating in NaNoWriMo this year? How did your first week of the writing challenge go? Let’s talk NaNoWriMo!

NaNoWriMo 2017: Let’s Do This!

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It’s that time of year again, guys! As many of you know, November 1st marks Day 1 of NaNoWriMo, aka: National Novel Writing Month. (Otherwise known as that 30 day span of time where you never see your writer friends because they’ve gone into that annual highly caffeinated full-blown hermit mode to reach that 50,000 word count.)

Last year was my first stab at NaNoWriMo, and I can honestly say that I went into it all bright-eyed and bushy-tailed. Something like this:

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And then when it came toward the end of November I suddenly found myself feeling more like THIS:

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Needless to say, things did not go exactly as I had planned. BUT, quite possibly the best thing about not succeeding is learning from your mistakes you made the first go around. That’s why I chalk my first attempt at NaNoWriMo as a valuable learning experience and not a “failure”. As long as you pick up on what hindered your goal and keep at it, it isn’t really a failure anyway. ๐Ÿ™‚

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I know that my number one NaNoWriMo nemesis is that damned backspace key. I am a compulsive nut about re-wording things over and over again to make them sound “just so”. (Not a good habit to have when working on first drafts.) Thankfully, I don’t have this habit while blogging. I just wing it and keep going. I’m really going to try to avoid deleting things at all costs. Just keep pushing forward. That’s the goal.

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50,000 words in 30 days is the mission. It can be done. It isn’t easy by any means, but I’m really planning on passing that finish line this go around. Some of you might remember when I decided to challenge myself to a similar goal I dubbed the “Necro Rhino” since my boyfriend and I call NaNoWriMo “Nano Rhino” and this was me resurrecting the challenge in a different month after my little nano rhino bit the dust well below the planned word count. I may have not made it during 2016’s NaNoWriMo, but I did during the Necro Rhino challenge I set for myself, so now that I know I am capable of doing it, I am hoping to go for the gold this time around! ๐Ÿ˜€

Another useful tool? Those heavenly caffeinated beverages. Coffee? Sure! Red Bull? You betcha! I can sleep in December when NaNoWriMo is over. ๐Ÿ˜›

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Good luck to all of you who are participating in this month’s dash to reach at least 50,000 words! I saw a lot of people make, and even surpass, that goal last year, so don’t get discouraged. We’ve got this, people! โค

The Happiest Reading Challenge: Updates

Just call me Scatter Brain McGee over here, because I’ve been meaning to (and forgetting to) talk about what I thought of Six of Crows after I read it! Oops! Shame on me, I know. As I’d mentioned before, Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo was my May book selection for the Happiest Reading Challenge I’m taking part in, started by super-friendly blogger, The Happiest Pixel.

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Cover and Author of Six of Crows.

Despite what my lack of a timely review might indicate, I was absolutely head over heels infatuated with this book! It was seriously never a dull moment with criminal prodigy Kaz Brekker and his crew. From start to finish this book kept me intrigued and guessing as it surprised me time and time again with twist after delightful twist.

As is a very important thing for me when reading a book, I also loved the characters. They’re quite the mixed bag, and Bardugo manages to hop from POV to POV effortlessly throughout the tale in a way that never seems jarring or off-putting in the slightest. I myself have absolutely no problem with books with multiple POV shifts throughout the chapters, but I know some people who do, and I doubt even they would have minded in this book. It flows very nicely.

I’ve talked before about how beautiful I think the actual book is with its black-edged pages and gorgeous cover, so I won’t get much into that, other than to say that the writing is just as lovely as the book itself.

I could just keep on going on about how enjoyable of a read this was, but I’m gonna keep it brief and say: If you like a good heist story and want to read a book that lives up to all the hype, this is a damn good one to go with. Can’t wait to read the next one.

So, that covers May’s part of the challenge, but what about June so far? I mentioned already that I would be reading The Lies of Locke Lamora for this portion of the challenge, but believe it or not, I cannot find where I put the book!! *GASP* Like, what the hell? Did it just sprout legs and bound off somewhere? There is a possibility that I may have taken it to my boyfriend’s and left it there, but as my brain has been busy forgetting to post about Six of Crows it also took on the task of forgetting to ask my bf about the M.I.A. book as well. Sigh . . . one day I’ll get it all together, but today is not that day.

In the mean time, I’ve begun reading Gail Carriger’s first book in The Parasol Protectorate series, Soulless.

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Cover and Author of Soulless.

I’ve already read andย reviewed the manga trilogy based off of this series of paranormal steampunk novels, so I knew what I was getting into already. And that is a witty historical fiction series set in Victorian England. I’m interested to see how the manga series (which was only three volumes) will compare and differ to the source material, which is five novels.

Those are my updates for the reading challenge so far. How’s your reading going at the moment? Into any interesting books right now?

Reading Updates + Inside & Out Book Tag

Hey, there! So now that I’m back home and things have settled down a wee bit (for now anyway) I figured I’d post some quick reading updates, but then the lovely Irena (blogger behind Books & Hot Tea) tagged me for the Inside & Out Book Tag so I’ll just go ahead and blend the two things into one post! If you’ve yet to venture over to her blog I definitely recommend you grab yourself a nice cup of tea and head right on over. Don’t worry about bringing a book of your own though since she always has plenty of good ones to recommend. ๐Ÿ˜‰

So, let’s talk a bit about the most recent book I finished reading:

While visiting, celebrating, and marching in the name of SCIENCE this weekend with BFF an fellow blogger Cupcakes and Machetes, I did manage to squeeze in the time to read next month’s assigned reading for the book club I’m in. C&M had already read it and still had her copy from the library so I just went ahead and gave it a go. The book’s called Finding Me- A Decade of Darkness, A Life Reclaimed – A Memoir of the Cleveland Kidnappings, written by Michelle Knight with Michelle Burford.

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The book really pulls you in right from the beginning. I honestly feel like I could have read it in a single sitting if I’d just been at home when I’d dug into it. The things Michelle and her fellow survivors went through at the hands of their captor are unspeakable and yet somehow this woman bravely recounts the horrific events that unfolded over the course of the 11 years she spent trapped and tortured in a mad man’s hell house. Not to mention, the hard and tragic life she led up until that point as well. I was in awe of the strength she had, not only to survive through all of it and be able to share her experiences with the world, but also for the incredible level of compassion she had and still does have for others despite the things that people have done to her throughout her life. I would highly recommend this book. It won’t be a pleasurable reading experience because of the terrible things these girls had to go through, but it is definitely an eye-opening one. Cupcakes and Machetes did a review of this book as well if you’re interested in reading another person’s take on it as well.

Now, onto the book I’m currently reading:

The next book I’ve started is so much lighter than the last one it isn’t even funny. I know I am incredibly late to the party on this one, but I’ve finally started reading The Chronicles of Narnia for the first time.

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The decision came during Easter, a holiday that always makes me think of my late grandmother on my dad’s side. I spent a lot of Easters at her house, as well as plenty of other visits, and I always remember seeing this book series on her bookshelf. For whatever reason I never wound up actually reading it though. Well, I recently found her copies of the books in a box of old books my parents had and I’ve decided to give them a read. Call it being sentimental if you will. They’re short books, not very long at all, but I’ve just begun reading the first, The Magician’s Nephew. I’ll probably review the series as a whole once I’ve finished it. I’ve only just gotten into it, but I hope it is a series that an adult can fully enjoy even if they don’t have the nostalgia factor of having loved it as a child. I hear C.S. Lewis is good for that though, so I hope that turns out to be the case. I love fantasy and fairy tales, so the odds are probably in my favor for it. If you’ve read this series, I’d love to hear what you thought of it. Especially if you’ve read it as an adult. ๐Ÿ™‚

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Oh, and here’s the reading challenge I’m going to try to take part in for the rest of the year:

So, I was reading The Happiest Pixel’s recent post about her newly made reading challenge and I’ve decided to join in on the fun. It starts in May and then carries on each month through the rest of the year with one challenge for each month.

MAY: a book by an author you already love

JUNE: a book someone has recommend to you

JULY: a book published in 2017

AUGUST: a book set in a country that youโ€™ve never been

SEPTEMBER: a nonfiction book

OCTOBER: a book you chose for the cover

NOVEMBER: a graphic novel

DECEMBER: a book set around Christmas

I’ll post each month about the book I wind up reading for the challenge, so if you wish to join in with your own choice of a book that fits the challenge theme each month, the more the merrier! ๐Ÿ˜€ I think I even have my book for May already picked out. I love Leigh Bardugo, and I really enjoyed The Grisha Trilogy when I read it, so I’m finally going to venture into her latest duology set in the same world and read Six of Crows.

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So, those are my reading updates! What are you currently reading? What’s the latest book you finished? Do you ever do reading challenges? Lets talk books! And while we’re on the topic of books, here goes my stab at the Inside & Out Book Tag:

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1. Inside flap/Back of the book summaries: Too much info? Or not enough?

Hmm . . . well, it depends entirely on the book. It varies. I like when the summary gives me enough info to get me really excited to read it, but without spoiling anything for me in the process. Most books seem good about not doing that but I’ve seen a couple that do and it’s kind of a bummer when that happens. My biggest pet peeve is when there’s like no real information about the story on the inside flap or the back of the book. You gotta gimme something to work with here, people! lol

2.ย New book: What form do you want it in? Be honest: Audiobook, E-Book, Paperback, or Hardcover?

I usually go for paperback, but as long as the story is good I don’t normally fuss too much about the type of book it is.

3.ย Scribble while you read? Do you like to write in your books, taking notes, making comments, or do you keep your books clean clean clean?

Ooh, this is a topic that can get pretty heated with readers. lol For me, it 100% depends on the TYPE of book it is. If it’s a fictional novel I never write in them. Ever. I keep it clean with those. However, and omg, I feel like people are going to come for me with pitchforks at the ready when I confess this, but some of my books I own are FILLED with notes as well as pages of highlighted and underlined text. Mostly my history books. Basically, if it is something I’m reading to learn about a certain topic, things are going to be highlighted and what were once clean, blank parts of the page will become littered with scribbled notes. Oddly enough, even in books I write in I still never dogear a single page. I might be reckless enough to write in them, but I am no monster.

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4.ย Does it matter to you whether the author is male or female when youโ€™re deciding on a book? What if youโ€™re unsure of the authorโ€™s gender?

No way. Doesn’t matter at all to me. People don’t write their books with their genitals last I checked.

5. Ever read ahead? or have you ever read the last page way before you got there?

Not really. Maybe if it winds up being a book I am condemning to the DNF list. Then I might, I suppose. But I love when a book surprises me too much to risk ruining it usually.

6. Organised bookshelves, or Outrageous bookshelves?

Kind of both? I always keep books that are part of a series together, sorted numerically, but my book shelves are not alphabetical or anything. I do tend to keep types of books together, though, so there’s that. (Like graphic novels and art books in one area, novels in another, history books in their own place, etc.)

7.ย Have you ever bought a book based on the cover (alone)?

I have a weakness for a damn good cover, but I still need to see what the book’s about before I give into it just based off of what it looks like.

8.ย Take it outside to read, or stay in?

I usually like to be cozy and inside when I’m reading, but I will read outside on occasion if it’s nice out.

Who do I tag to do this? Why, anybody and everybody who loves to read books, of course! ๐Ÿ˜€

So, that’s it for my book tag and reading updates! I’ve been trying to catch up here on reading everyone’s blog posts I’ve missed but it isn’t easy since I was out of town this weekend, so if you have a post I may have missed that you wanna bring to my attention please link me to it so I can be sure to check it out. I’d hate to miss anything of importance! Thanks! Hope you guys all had a great weekend! โค โค โค

100 Follows and a Healthy Necro Rhino

Hey, guys!:D

Just popping in for a couple weekend updates.

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Update #1: Big thanks to all of you awesome people who have made this blogging experience such a joy. I’ve just reached 100+ followers and I’m really thankful for it and for all of the wonderful folks I’ve met here and had such great chats with. โค I think we have such a great community of bloggers here, and it’s been so much fun sharing thoughts and ideas with you guys. โค โค โค

Thank_you!!!!

Update #2: The Necro Rhino Writing Challenge is getting pretty close to completion. By the end of March 30th I’m really hoping to have at least 50,000 words written for the rough draft of the story I’m working on. That was the goal I set, to complete 50,000 words in 30 days, and so far so good. ๐Ÿ™‚ I just passed the 40,000 word mark this morning, so I’ve got 5 days to write the remaining 10,000. That means I need to write 2,000 words per day and I think that’s totally doable. ๐Ÿ™‚ Keep it up, Necro Rhino! So many words to be written and brains to be eaten. It’s gonna be a busy 5 days.

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Thank goodness for caffeinated beverages!

Hope you guys are all having a great weekend. I’m off to work on what remains of my writing challenge. Anyone else got any exciting updates you’d like to share of your own? I’d love to read about them!