#NaNoWriMo – #NoNoWriMo

Every year I see writers coming together for National November Writing Month, which challenges all writers to write 50,000 words in one month. Let it be known, I have never actually (I mean officially) signed up for this challenge and I think I know why…

I’ve never signed up and yet, something about writers coming together to avoid social media and JUST WRITE always tugs me in and makes me think you can do this, too! However, the thing is… you really have to write the equivalent of 1,667 words a day, every day, for thirty days – and it is just not as easy as you think. If you don’t have the ideas pre-formed, I think pantsing that amount in such a time has got to be hard. If you’ve also just finished one project and are working on a new one for #NaNoWriMo, that’s going to be testing because there is only so much creativity one can produce. You have to have breaks between projects no matter what anyone says. There’s only so much in the tanks.

For me, November is busy enough. Everyone wants their books edited in November because they want to give people books as Christmas presents. In the past, I was a journalist wife’s, a widow of sorts, waiting for him to emerge from the 14-hour days of November and the night shifts spent getting the Christmas magazines out of the door – so I might have had time to write every night back then. However, since he’s changed careers, we actually have date nights now in November, and it’s GREAT!

Another thing about November is that it is one of the darkest months of the year!! Truly. Everybody in the northern hemisphere is on a bit of a downer, because the seasons are changing and the jumpers are coming out. Maybe writing is the escape some people need in November, or maybe 1,667 words a day is the stress you could just do without. I personally don’t believe you can force yourself to write a structured amount every day. I either get 5,000 words out in one day, or I get nothing at all. I have to be desperate to write in order to write, that’s how it works for me.

However I do love the idea that all writers are beavering away at once and magic is multiplying across the land with all these writers casting their writerly spells everywhere. However, I just never find it practical to write like this in November. It just never works for me. Last year I did write 50,000 words in a month but it was 30,000 on one project and 20,000 on another.

This year, I’m up to my eyeballs in edits and just cannot manage it. It’s just not happening. My instinct tells me the words I’d splutter would end up scrapped in a later edit. That happened last year with Unfurl. I was trying to use #NaNoWriMo to complete this book and 75% of what I wrote got scrapped because I just didn’t have the uuuummmmppphhhh there. I was forcing words.

Goodbye NaNo, maybe next year. We do have a strange relationship, don’t we? 😉

But hey ho, while I’m not writing on the laptop, my mind is still conjuring the next projects to come…

#NaNoWriMo – THE VERDICT!

I’ve been writing fiction for three years now and this is the first time I attempted November Writing Month. I admit I have been doing this unofficially because I have a couple of projects on the go and it was a test to myself to see what I could do when really pushed. Could I write 50,000 words in one month? That was the test.

Well, I have written at least 60,000 words this month… I’ll explain…

I am currently quite deep into my ninth novel, Unfurl, which is the sequel to Unbind. Unfurl had its claws in me before November 1st dawned so my first aim with November Writing Month was to see how many words I could add to the novel in one month. Well, I added around 39,000 words to that book.

At around 39,000 words I knew in myself I was burnt out. I knew I had reached a certain barrier and there was no going beyond that. Unfurl is a planned 120,000-word novel and yet when I reached 89,000 words… I knew that was it for me, for the time being. I am a writer who listens to my gut and my gut was telling me that if I continued on, I would be writing a load of air. The thing is, the novel in question is a slap-bang-wallop thriller and when you’re writing this kind of book, it is mind taxing on every page. Every sentence. The only other book I’ve written that was like this i.e. slap-bang-wallop… was Beneath the Veil, now The Radical. Unfurl will be the type of book where you simply cannot put it down… you simply have to know what evil lurks beneath the pages. It is an evil I was reluctant to explore in the first book, Unbind, but I have someone to do justice and their will is bidding me to tell their story.

So I gave up at 39,000 words and moved onto something else. I wrote a little vampirism (an Xmas novella) and because that was already pre-planned in my head and a lot less complex than Unfurl, it was easy to churn out and actually a great relief after the aforementioned block of stuff I had given to Unfurl. 60K words to two separate projects was being kinder to myself than forcing 50K words into a novel I knew I needed a break from. As a seasoned writer, you know your own strengths and limitations and gradually, you work out what works for you and what doesn’t. Be kind to yourself, sometimes, something just isn’t meant to be.

Writing, writing, writing… with just a wing and a prayer… is not a bad method. Sometimes writing freefall as I sometimes term it, or by the seat of your pants, can help spring an idea you never would have thought of. Writing with no onus other than to get the words out has its benefits, but also its drawbacks too. I know from those 39K I added to Unfurl, I will be scrapping around 10-15K or re-writing a hefty chunk of it. I have now had a period of reflection; I’ve given the editing side of my brain enough chance to absorb and consider – reflection is invaluable when creating a novel. If you have a period of reflection during which no regrets and no doubts emerge, then you know that work is done. If however you realise it all adds up but not as perfectly as you would like, you know you have more work to do.

I suppose what I am surmising here is that NaNoWriMo is good but only for experimentation purposes. Even a seasoned writer such as myself was tested to meet that 1,600+ words a day quota required to complete the task. Though what I often ended up doing was writing 500 words most days and on good days, when an idea was straining to get out, I might have written a healthy or indulgent 8,000. I am a mood writer, like some people are mood readers, and sometimes I have to wait all day to be able to get my precious writing time in. After working and looking after my husband and daughter, the idea has to be good for me to want to write, otherwise I am too tired to struggle with something that I am not quite feeling.

Word count is irrelevant, however. I firmly believe that. A story will be told in how ever few or many words it needs to be told in. I advise writers who take part in NaNoWriMo to step into the experience with the knowledge that what they write in one month is very likely to need plenty of work afterwards. You might even *shock horror* just want to put it in the bin. Yet the experience might have been worth it for exactly that – the experience. I also advise that if you don’t finish NaNoWriMo, it isn’t because you’re not good enough to be a novelist, it’s just that the story you were writing at the time wasn’t meant to be written so quickly or in so many words, or so few in my case. As I said, Unfurl will be around 120K when complete. If not a little less, maybe a little more! It will have as many words as it needs. I have said things in the past that my future self has disproved, so you know…

I can honestly say, I found the NaNoWriMo experience helpful but I won’t pressure myself to take part in this again. Especially when half the battle of being a writer is connecting to your readers and having enough time away from the laptop to actually generate the content and ideas that make your novel what it is… i.e. an enjoyable reading experience which doesn’t give away the fact that the writer rushed, struggled or compromised themselves during. Readers can tell, they can always tell.

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Unofficial #NaNoWriMo Blog #5

So far this month I’ve managed to add 37,000 words to the pot! Woo-Hoo! How many of those are good do we think? I personally think a great portion! I am not sure if my future self will agree, but you know…!

I had to have a no-writing day today because I had edits to do and needed that break from it all. However, no-writing days are great for the mind to scour over all those ideas you’ve poured on a page – and to redesign that fictional landscape in a way that will flow and actually make sense! Seeing as though I’m writing a sequel, I will soon need to go back and re-read Book One to match sure everything matches up!

In other news, I have a special Christmas novella coming soon…! Details to follow!

And oh yes, I just bagged myself an agent, who is willing and brave enough to represent me! I know! Someone wants to represent my work! It’s amazing!

Peace out!

Still 99 cents….

99 cents

UNBIND CHAPTER 40 ‒ INSIGHT INTO CAI’S MIND

Guys and gals,

I am currently writing UNFURL, the sequel to UNBIND. #NaNoWriMo has so far helped me add 30,000 words to this WIP.

The following extract does NOT appear in UNBIND, neither will it appear in UNFURL. This is extra material, for those of you wondering about the content of UNFURL…

UNFURL is a dual POV novel that will take Chloe and Cai right up until present day. The tagline is “NO SECRET DIES”.

UNFURL will answer a ton of questions but also take Cai and Chloe’s relationship to another level… so here is a tiny, little *unedited* insight into the mind of CAI MATTHEWS…

***

I felt torn between maintaining composure and doing what she was trying to do earlier—rip the punch bag from the ceiling and then kick the stuffing from it until there was nothing left.

I wanted to smash something. Hard. Chloe didn’t know but I was an undefeated champion on the underground boxing circuit in New York. She didn’t know that all the stuff she was telling me—she used to compete and then gave up—made her more like me than even I could have guessed. I was stock still on my gallery floor just because I was terrified if I moved, I’d start punching and I wouldn’t be able to stop.

She’d just told me the horrific circumstances surrounding that scar on her head. Worse—she’d told me about the one man in the world who was meant to protect her no matter what—and he hadn’t.

“I have this memory,” she said pointing to her skull. “I can remember all the names and faces of people I’ve ever met. I remember when I fell from a rope swing into a stream when I was little, I was wearing some cheap high-top trainers I loved. They were ruined by the mud. I remember what top I wore to a school disco when I was 13, a thing I spent hours picking out. I remember the day Kay got her first tattoo,” she smiled such a sad smile it made me swell with love for her, “I remember how long she spent making sure the design was right, how faint she looked when the dude doing her ink brought the needle toward her skin. I remember the ringlets in Amanda’s hair and how innocent they were and I remember every, single moment of pure evil he ever wrought on us. You see I can’t forgive, Cai, not when I can’t forget.”

I shut my eyes, the red fury replaced by incensed, overprotective love. “I wish you’d told me all this sooner, tigress. I wish you had.”

“Why?”

“Because I’ve spanked you and hit you. I didn’t know, Chlo.” I finally allowed myself to react and slammed my fist against the floor, the urge to keep hitting something there… but quelled by her resounding presence.

“Yes, you’ve spanked me lots of times and I never said stop because I like it that we’re open enough to do that. It’s not the same, Cai. It’s just not… you’re not spanking me to hurt me, you’re doing it because you’re expressing our bond, our passion… I love it when you spank me. I love you.”

I wanted to rip her father’s insides out, then my own. “Look… the truth is… I don’t like spanking, Chloe. I don’t fucking like it. I just do it because I think you want it.”

I didn’t like it. I didn’t. Yet I wanted it. Wanted it like I wanted to fight. Hated that aspect of myself, couldn’t caution myself enough about the danger of letting myself loose, yet all the ways she made me feel unleashed me. Set me free. Made me who I really was. It was just that, he was a man I didn’t like, wasn’t yet happy to be. I didn’t want to be ME.

“I do want it, but only if you want it too,” she said passionately, like she thought she was saying the right thing. She was saying what she thought I wanted to hear but it wasn’t her fault she didn’t know the whole of me—I’d tried to keep the dark away from her shining light.

I felt manic, shaking my head side to side. “I want to please you, I always said that. I want to give you everything you need.”

“I only want you to make love to me, how ever you need to make love to me. I don’t care how… I love you. I just need you holding me. I don’t care about the rest, Cai! I don’t care!”

She was yelling, trying to make me listen. I was listening. It was just she didn’t know… she needed to know… but she didn’t know about the real me.

The demons danced constantly on both my shoulders.

I had to divert this away from me, so I stood and started pacing the room rapidly. “You’ll fight everyday now, Chlo. I’m not having you hide who you really are anymore. You’ll fight me and I’ll teach you some better tricks than the ones you learned. I’ll teach you and protect you. I don’t care if you hurt me, you can hurt me because I can take it. Chlo, you have to be who you are, do you hear me? You don’t know how much I need that from you? Please… say you’ll fight again, for me? Please baby.”

Her soft, plump body captured mine from behind and pressed against my back to give me shelter. “I’ll do it for you, if you ask it of me.”

I turned and put my hands on her warm cheeks, asking, “Fight for me.”

“I’ll do it.”

She let the demons keep dancing by not asking any more, but I didn’t mind, I’d rather they danced on both my shoulders than touch a patch of hers. “Good. You’ll still keep your figure. I want breasts and my big ass, still.”

“Okay,” she said, and then to quell the conversation, I took her upstairs.

I had something to prove to myself, not just to her. I had to give over control. I could do it. I could be different, I could break the cycle. I removed my clothes and told Chloe, “Tie me up. Do whatever you want to do to me. I need this. Now, do it. Damn it. Tie me up, tigress and use me. I’m yours to use, baby.”

She proceeded to bind me and dominate me. I was hard for the touch and scent of her before she even began kissing my body, inch by inch. I begged for her soft layers to take me home and it was a temporary reprieve from the raging war inside my mind.

The man I wanted to be and the man I was didn’t much like one another.

BUY UNBIND ON AMAZON…

**IMPORTANT NOTE** UNBIND does not have a cliffhanger. It was originally intended to be a standalone. Readers said they wanted more answers, so….

99 cents

Unofficial #NaNoWriMo Blog #4

Is this life? 😉

If I’m honest, I am a bit written out. Week Two and I’ve already accomplished this week’s quota of more than 12,500 words. I’ve accomplished this because the voices are noisy right now and one character wants me to lock down his journey and get it set. He’s running rings in my head and I have to write. I have to listen! It’s crazy, I know! I have to follow his trail and run his marathon.

Loads of #NaNoWriMo peeps out there are doing amazingly! I bet loads of you are well past the 25,000 words stage already, given we’re nearly halfway through the month! It’s always the editing though, isn’t it? Bah! Well, that comes later.

It’s nice though… being able to just write and think, “Fuck it, I’ll just write,” with some intention of where the plot is going, but mostly with the whole intention of getting the fecking words down.

Yes, whew. Writers are cray cray sometimes, especially when they’re manic with the word frenzy. Ha-ha. Word mania. Word disease… the thing that wants out of our minds and onto a page! *eyes are bugging right now from sleep deprivation*

I tell you what, though, when I get to the hallowed 100K mark of the WIP at the end of this month, I am gonna celebrate like cray cray too! I managed to read a bit this week in between, but hopefully I can start smashing my way through a few more tomes not my own in December. For the reading is half the writing!

Over and out! 😉

Unofficial #NaNoWriMo Blog #3

I managed to produce 12,500 words in the first week, which wasn’t bad. It was pretty good actually and some of those were through a bit of editing, too!

As I mentioned before, this is unofficial because I am mid-project. I am reaching a stage, too, where I need to have a little breather from that project. So I may move onto another while I just have a break from that. There’s a short novella I’ve been planning a while so now’s as good a time as any to figure that out onto the laptop. I am still going to try to ensure I’ve written at least 50,000 words by the end of this month, in whatever form!

In other news, life does indeed get stranger everyday…

I have possible BIG NEWS to reveal soon. I also recently got this review of UNBIND and just had to share it here because it meant a lot to me… so here you are:

Format:Kindle Edition
From the very first paragraph, I was hooked on this book, having not read a synopsis or a blurb. I received this book a week or so before publication date as an ARC and had just finished the Song of Ice & Fire books, followed by a Terry Pratchett… this was an entirely different type of story. There was something about the way it was written that captured my imagination: an old house, a graveyard scene, something hidden within an angry young man.

From that point onward, with each chapter read, I delved further into this very real world of secrets and experience. The main character, a journalist, a writer, moves to London and finds herself lost and overwhelmed, finds herself the object of sudden interest, and a relationship sparks. Hot erotica flows gently through the scenes between them, but only ever in context to the story and never sex for sex’s sake.

The story is well paced yet moves briskly across the Atlantic Ocean, weaving a historic tale of family issues that cut deeply into the psychological profiles of these characters. Chloe, the journalist, and her new found interest, Cai, present their own true-to-life traumas, dipping from the sad and traumatic to the sadistic, and through all of it still managing to make a grab for a turbulent love affair.

This book brought me to tears at one point, so strong was the powerful and personal emotion presented, and by the end of the book, I found the perspective of truth from each character painting a completely different set of events, much like the human condition tends to do outside of fiction. I really loved reading Unbind. Sarah Lynch is a truly talented writer. A beautiful book.

Purchase on Amazon:
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Unofficial #NaNoWriMo Blog #2

What is it? Day #6?

AAAGGGHHHH!!!????

I think I’ve added about 5,000 words to the pot altogether since the start. Yesterday I had a client’s book to sign off and got derailed from a chain of thought I was on with my latest WIP. It’s funny how sometimes… you foresee yourself dedicating quite a lot of words to one scene and when it comes down to it, you realise you don’t actually need that many. I guess that’s the power of distance.

When I get brain clump (that thing where there are too many ideas and I need to decompress) I have to go for a long walk or have a bath or sit and talk to my hub about nonsense for a bit, just to switch off that writing part of my brain while it undergoes repair and de-clumps!

So although a routine of writing is great, I don’t always stick to a pattern. I know those periods of reflection are important and giving your writing brain healing time is so invaluable. I can easily knock out 8,000 words daily so maybe #NaNoWriMo is for me, hey? If I only need to do a little bit at a time, it’s giving me that space in between to direct my novel rather than letting it direct me.

So my target today is a thousand words and a lot of pre-planning!

in other news…

Woke up to discover a FIVE STAR review for A FINE PROFESSION today! Please visit … https://www.facebook.com/BooksandBeyondFiftyShades/photos/a.811098642240685.1073741828.810760315607851/995916467092234/?type=1&theater

www.facebook.com/SarahMLynch

www.twitter.com/SarahMichelleLy

Unofficial #NaNoWriMo Blog #1

So on the first day I managed 1,600 words which was rather measly for me (it was a Saturday), but it was something. Second day, nothing. Today just 1,000 words. But they were pretty good words, so that doesn’t bother me. That’s after spending a day doing many other family/work-related things.

So… yes… here is my blog of unofficial #NaNoWriMo.

Why unofficial? I dunno. I am a person who refuses to be defined and I just so happen to be midway through a project which I have, you guessed it… 50,000 words left to write on. I want to try get to 100,000 words at the first draft stage.

I am just leaving an intense period of editing so I am pumped for this challenge and I am writing a storm on the days I do get to write. By write, I mean switch off everything for just two hours and then be able to enjoy the luxury of knowing I can just type at will for that specified block of time. Yes, two hours a day really is enough for me! I can do my 2,000-a-day with that… just when I am able to fit it in. Let’s see, shall we…

More to come…

And yes, something relating to this might be in the works… p.s. grown men cry over this book apparently…

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