Tuesday, November 25, 2008

It's official!!

I submitted my novel this afternoon, and I am an official winner of NaNoWriMo 2008! My official word count is 62,251, but that includes the prologue that had to be re-written. When I remove the original prologue, I'm left with a word count (according to Microsoft) of61,970. By the time you remove all of the "Chapter _" words it's probably closer to 61,900. Regardless, I did it!!

As you can see, I got my winner banners! There are two kinds and I can't decide which I prefer! The one below is technically a viking ship, but it is a ship nonetheless.

If you would like to read an excerpt from my novel, you can find it on my NaNoWriMo author page, under Novel Info. The excerpt is from Chapter 2. I don't know how to work the HTML, so the indenting and space between paragraphs is left out. But it will give you an idea at least!

This has been a very exciting month for me!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Blog Neglect

I know I've been barely posting, aside from word count news! I've got a backlog of pictures to post from our family picture photo session and from a friend's visit. But this is an overwhelmingly busy week between novel writing, the Twilight movie release in 13 1/2 hours, the re-reading of Twilight that must accompany the movie release, and Riley's Christmas musical this coming weekend. And yes, we're still doing lessons in there, plus dance classes, and my parents are coming to town tomorrow!

I will be back soon! Word counts for the kids are going slowly... everyone seems to have a bit of writer's block and is losing momentum as a result. I'm not sure they will make their goals, but I'm still proud of the work they have done so far!

Back to life...

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

The story is complete!

In a wee hours of the morning, after a marathon writing session that lasted about 6 hours, I completed my novel!

Well, to be completely clear, I completed the first draft of my novel. There are some sections that I need to go back and flesh out, so to speak. I was writing with only the roughest of outlines, and in a few cases the story diverged from where I had expected it to go. Over the next 12 days, I will go back in and develop the sections that had been unclear during my first writing, and rework the sections (namely the prologue) that don't correspond with where the story ended up going!

This isn't really part of the editing process, yet. There were a couple of places when I was writing the story that I wasn't exactly sure where it was heading. Or there was backstory that I wanted to include but didn't really have a firm grasp on at the time. I didn't want to get bound up in the details, so I just wrote what came to mind, with the intention of going back to work it out in more detail later. That's what I'll do for the rest of the month!

The writing process has been incredibly fascinating and invigorating. Well, with the exception of the sleep-deprivation resulting from the fact that I write best in a completely quiet house which only happens to come in the middle of the night! LOL

I did it!! I wrote a book! :)

Sunday, November 16, 2008


In the wee hours of this morning, I passed 50,000 words on my novel, and became a NaNoWriMo winner on my first ever attempt!

Of course, no woman is an island, so I would like to thank my husband for his patience, encouragement, and help with meal preparation!

I would like to thank my kids for their patience during the times they would walk up to me with a question and I would hush them saying, "Shhh, I'm in the middle of a good scene."

I would like to thank my mom and friends for their support and interest in my project!

And I would like to add a very special thanks to Lisa, without whom this would not have been possible. I found out about NaNoWriMo because of Lisa. She did it last year and I got to be an "observer". She had so much fun that I couldn't help but be intrigued. Then this fall she kept bugging me about it, even after I had said there was NO WAY I was going to write a novel. Thanks, Lisa!!

One more quick thing about Lisa. This year, she bought the badges that are sold on the NaNo site which commemorate events that happen during the month. In this post on her blog you can see some examples.

I would like to give her, through my blog, another one. Here it is:

This badge is won when you help a fellow WriMo through a crisis point in their writing. On Friday night, with less than 1000 words to go, I didn't think I was going to be able to finish the story. I was in a panic. I was afraid that the story was terrible, and when I went back to edit it, I was going to hate it. I was afraid that anyone who read it would think it was absurd. I couldn't even open the file. I was afraid and I was stuck. I was so upset that I was in tears.

Lisa helped me through it, as only a writer can do. (I add that because my mom was also very encouraging, but I hadn't let on to my mom how terrified I was to continue the story. And besides, she's my mom so she's supposed to tell me how wonderful I am and how great my story will be! ROFL I still love you, mom!) But Lisa talked to me about the editing process as helping me rather than correcting me. I guess I had felt it would be like a punishment - let's find out all the places you did badly, rather than a chance to go back and fill in the places where the story was thin because I wasn't sure at the time where it was going to end up. And she reminded me that I don't have to let anyone read the story UNLESS/UNTIL I am ready!

With that encouragement both Friday and Saturday, I was able to resume the story and push through to 50K. I am excited about my story again, and can't wait to dive back into writing tonight! So Lisa, I wish I could give you the real badge, because you deserve it. But this will just have to do! Thank you, my friend, and WRITE ON!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Family Word Count for November 14th

Mom - 49,004
Austin - 1,406
Riley - 2,413
Reece - ummm, I forget, and I'm too cold to get out of bed to find out

I'm sorry for the lack of posting this week! It's been a very busy week, but very nice. I will try to catch up tomorrow. As you can tell by my word count, I'm just about up to amount of words I need to be a "Winner". My story won't be finished at 50K, so I'll keep writing until it's finished! I'm hoping to accomplish that this weekend.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Family Word Count for November 10th

Mom - 32,887
Austin - 1,326
Riley - 2,173
Reece - 342

Everyone got back into writing on Monday! Austin seems to have relaxed a little bit, and he keeps doing what I consider to be 'positive self talk' to encourage himself not to compare to his sister, and to just keep moving forward and not focus so much on numbers!

Riley and Reece are both typical girl storytellers! Like their mama, they get on a roll and it's hard to stop!

I'm going to attempt to start typing up everyone's stories! I thought it would be fun to be able to print them out for easy reading! The penmanship is not the greatest... but that would be my Inner Editor/Teacher coming out, and that's not allowed in November!

Write ON, NaNoWriMo's!

Monday, November 10, 2008

Word Counts?

I'll resume posting family word counts tomorrow! Neither Austin nor Reece worked on their novels at all this weekend, between respite on Saturday and football and Nascar on Sunday. We'll pick back up today, and I'll get the numbers posted tomorrow.

Austin was a little on edge about his novel. He set his word count goal higher than Riley's which was probably a mistake. But he is the older brother, by 3 years, and in a higher grade. He won't accept doing anything less that she will. But she has far surpassed what he has written, and it's frustrating to him. We've all talked to him about how they are different people. And how we are proud of him for what he has written so far. It's actually very expressive and humorous in places! He's putting pressure on himself, which for some people can be productive and inspiring. But for Austin? It's just bad news.

The purpose of this project for us all is fun and creativity and expression. I am hoping that Austin will be able to move past the stress, and move back into enjoying it! As I told him yesterday, we're only 10 days into this project! There's plenty of time!

Sunday, November 09, 2008


My mom and I are taking Riley to Disney World for a week for her birthday in March!

We had been talking about it, saving money, and hoping for a great deal. Finally it happened! My friend Jan is a travel agent, and she let me know about this fantastic deal:

Spend 4 nights with tickets at a Disney World Value Resort, get 3 nights free, including tickets!! And if you book certain dates, you also get a $200 Disney gift card!!

That was an offer we couldn't refuse! The last sticking point was that my husband couldn't take so much time off to watch Austin and Reece. Imagine my surprise when my dad stepped up to the plate and offered to take care of them for those 2 days?? I've got some great men in my life, don't I?

I called Jan this morning, and she took care of all of the details, including booking a birthday breakfast for Riley at Cinderella's Castle!!! Oh My GOSH!!! We get to have breakfast in the castle again!! Um, I mean, of course, RILEY gets to have breakfast in the castle! ;)

If you'd like to get quotes on this awesome Disney deal, please visit Jan's Travel Site and she'll be happy to help you like she did us! She's not only a travel agent, and a great friend, but she's also a Disney Expert!!

In 4 months, Mom, Riley, and I will be Disney Bound!!

Friday, November 07, 2008

Family Word Count for November 6th

Mom - 23,126
Austin - 1,227
Riley - 1,809
Reece - 284

Riley made her next word count goal, so we'll take care of her reward tonight! Austin's slowed down his pace a little bit, but he has all weekend to write! I think he was really shooting for that Pizza Hut reward and once he got it, he was willing to slow down.

I'm really excited about the next part of my novel, but it's one of those scenes that I want to really focus on. Which means I need quiet. Which means I haven't written it yet today! Tonight, for sure!

Austin's Last Fall Baseball Game

I took a couple of snapshots of Austin before his game last night. He will be 13 in the spring, and the church where we play ball doesn't offer fall baseball for 13+, so he will only be playing in the spring from now on. This was his 5th fall baseball season, and it's hard to see it end. Here is a picture of Austin and Coach Dad before the game:
I snapped this one through the fence. This is the top of the batting order, and on their own they had come together to discuss some strategy! These three boys have played together for 3 years (6 seasons) either on the same team, or on opposing teams in the same league.
Our team won 20-5, and Austin pitched one inning. It was a great way to end fall baseball!

Word Counts for yesterday will be posted this afternoon! We are on our way out the door for a field trip!

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Family Word Count for November 5th

Mom - 21,455
Austin - 1,000
Riley - 1,705
Reece - 194

Some good writing was accomplished yesterday, as you can tell! I was still writing at midnight, so although the NaNo counter put those words on today's word count, I still count them with 'yesterday'!

Austin made his next word count reward, which was dinner from Pizza Hut! It was more like a reward for all of us, so thank you Austin! The pizza was delicious!

NaNoWriMo is costing me more than I expected! But you know what? It's a small price to pay for the excitement and enthusiasm for writing stories that I've seen going on here the last 5 days! We're all still having so much fun!

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Family Word Count for November 4, 2008

Mom - 18,003
Austin - 894
Riley - 1,460
Reece - 161

Austin and Riley and I made good progress on our novels, even with all the excitement of the election. I made my next word count goal of 18,000 which yielded me a trip to the convenience store for some preservative-laden, food-dye riddled, training-destroying junk food! YUM! While I was out, I also found some nice jogging pants (or pants that I will use as jogging pants!) at Target (which was my 10,000 word reward).

Reece didn't work on her novel today. She was having a bit of a day day yesterday. I had promised the kids they could play with their gameboys while we waited in line for me to vote. But when I arrived, there was a sign that said "No personal electronic devices allowed" (which including gaming devices). Our voting was done on computers, and apparently personal electronics can cause interference? Anyway, the big kids were OK with it, but Reece was crushed. We don't do video games during the week, and she was so excited. And since that was all I brought, it left nothing for her to do in the 40 minute wait. Had I known, we would have brought books or paper/pencil for coloring. She cried silently, and repeated, "It's all the president's fault!" much to the delight of those in line around us who found it all quite funny (thankfully). She didn't want to write yesterday, and I didn't push the issue, for fear of having a novel entry with sorrow caused by the president!

I've got to do a big blog post about this whole experience so far. I will try to do it this weekend! I'm so glad I decided to go with the flow this year and take on this novel project with my children!

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Family Word Count as of November 3rd

Mom - 12,911
Austin - 662
Riley - 1,090
Reece - 161

Riley met another word count goal, and her reward was a video game rental at Blockbuster. She chose the "Littlest Pet Shop" for her Nintendo DS.

Austin's closing in on his next goal, and he's shooting for tomorrow! His is Pizza Hut dinner, so it's really a reward for all of us! :)

Reece's rewards aren't tied to word count, so I'll give her her next one on Friday!

I'm expecting to make my next word count this afternoon, assuming I can write during rest time again!

Monday, November 03, 2008

My Little WriMos

There's lots of writing going on at the Black Pearl Academy, and I thought everyone would like to see what it looks like! Nobody takes the same approach!

Riley does the "I write better in my jammies, on the loveseat, with a fleece blanket" routine!
Austin's more of a "I'm in my jammies, but at my desk, so I can have a firm surface to write on" guy.
Reece discovered that her imagination works better when she closes her eyes and puts her fingers in her ears!
It must be working, because she's done 4 pages. I do the writing for her from what she dictates, and then she does the illustration to go with it. Like her siblings, she prefers to write in her jammies!
Everyone is still very excited about their novels. Riley was up before all of us so she could complete her lessons and be free to spend the rest of her time working on her novel! Wait until you see her word count tomorrow!!

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Family Word Counts as of November 2nd

Mom - 10, 708
Austin - 400
Riley - 418
Reece - 112

I made my 2nd word count goal, which means I get to go buy some pants to jog in!! I first have to figure out what sort of pants one wears when jogging! ;) The kids made their daily goals! We're all having a great time!

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Family Word Counts for November 1st

Mom - 4,700
Austin - 201
Riley - 172
Reece - 77

Everyone made their 1st word count goals (well, Reece doesn't actually have a word count goal, she just gets a reward every 5 days LOL), and they were able to get their rewards. Austin's was 2 bags of Cape Cod Potato Chips (YUM!), Riley's was a trip to Bruster's for ice cream, Reece's was a Snowboarding Outfit for her Snap N Style dolls, and mine was to pre-order the Twilight movie soundtrack which comes out on Tuesday!

I'm getting ready to start writing again now, so I'll post my word count tomorrow morning!


My first word count!

Early this morning, I wrote for a little more than an hour, and I made it to 1634 words!

My daily average needs to be 1667, but that's assuming that I am able to write that much every day! I would rather get ahead on days like today where there is nothing much else going on, to make up for the days where I won't have time or if I get writer's block.

I think I have learned one important thing from this morning's writing:

I might just take after Diana Gabaldon (author of the Outlander series) in my writing style. Why?

Because 1634 words into the story, and my main character has just finally crossed the bridge onto the Island! LOLOLOL

Stayed tuned for more writing updates this month!