Filtering by Tag: nanowrimo

Writing Lobsters

Let's face it. This writing thing is hard work. Hard, lonely, crazy-making work. You can go it alone, spend every day staring at your computer screen, banging out word after word, steeping in your own stink while subsisting on coffee and chocolate.

OR you could do all these things in the company of someone else. What's better than sharing body odor and snacks. Misery loves company, right?

By our very nature, writers aren't usually fans of people. If given the choice, most of us would never leave the house. We'd be like that guy in Finding Forrester, that gets groceries delivered to his house and everything. (Now that I mention it, that DOES sound kind of nice...)

But that would be the WRONG choice.

In the video below, author Jenna Moreci talks about why Writer Buddies are necessary (Note: If you've never watched a Jenna Moreci video, two important things: She is AWESOME, and she swears. A. LOT).

Jenna makes some excellent points. Who else is going to understand when you've been stuck on the same chapter for DAYS and you just want to set your book on fire? Who's going to give you a chocolate bar and a "Suck it up, buttercup," speech when you're thinking about throwing in the towel and taking up Alpaca farming instead?

Not "regular" people, that's for sure.

I am lucky enough to have an amazing group of writers around me. For about four years now, I've been a member of the fabulous foursome, Pigasus Pen. When the group began, we were all fledgling fiction writers, giving this thing our best go. Now, two of us are querying agents, and two of us have decided to self-publish. We've come a long way, baby.

Before I joined this group, I was floundering. I'd rewritten the same book at least a dozen times and I was spinning my wheels so hard I'd worn them down to nubs. With the help of these amazing ladies, I have come so far. I firmly believe that if I hadn't stumbled upon a "looking for a writing group?" post on the NaNoWriMo forum, I would still be staring at that same manuscript. Or, worse, I would have given up on writing altogether.

In addition to my Pigasus ladies, I have a strong and supportive community of writers with the Capital City Writers Association. Between the workshops and conferences and spur of the moment write-ins I've had with CCWA members, I feel more invigorated and prepared to take on the world of publishing than ever before. The resources and knowledge this group possesses are absolutely priceless.

So, yes. You COULD stay at home and fester in your own stinky, stubborn stench. Or you could get out there and mingle. Meet some like-minded folks and form a bond. Find someone with your brand of crazy and WRITE ALL THE WORDS!

Go on...mingle.

Oh, and if you're wondering about that title, it's based on the Phoebe Bouffay lobster theory. Only, instead of old lobsters wandering around the tank, holding claws, picture two bedraggled writers in their leggings and sweatshirts, sharing a bag of M&Ms. It's a real thing, I swear! Just ask Christina.

The Balancing Act

Last month, I picked up where I left off about a year and a half ago--I went back to school. Now, if you're sensing some bitterness there, you'd be right.

My dilemma is this: I've been writing a lot over the last year. I have discovered my voice as a writer, and I have decided on a career path for these book babies. School throws a wrench in these plans. When I'm writing, I'm thinking about homework. When I'm doing homework, I want to be working on my book. And when I'm doing neither, when I'm hanging out with friends or just relaxing, I keep thinking I should be doing something else. Cue deep breaths.

Part of me wants to say eff it and focus on the writing, but the years and student loans I've put into school would be for nothing. I've only got ten classes left for my Bachelor's. Ten classes. It'd be silly to not finish, right?

So now I'm left trying to balance my newfound fire for writing with classes that I don't particularly want to take. Throw in a full-time job, my awesome friends and a new relationship with a pretty rad dude, and I've got a lot on my plate.

So, how do I balance it?

I have no idea.

As if I don't already have enough on my plate, I have decided to participate in NaNoWriMo this year. I'm going to write the third book in my first series. I'm super excited about this book. It's going to be a blast to write. That is, if I don't let everything else eat my soul.

So, how about you? How do you balance writing with a life full of other things? Any tips or tricks for me? I suck at balance.


I've been calling my next WIP a rewrite.

It's a book I've written and rewritten so many times over the last almost decade of my life. The story has changed, the characters have morphed into different versions of themselves, the story has taken on many different forms. At its core, though, it's always been the same story: girl leaves boy, girl wants boy back, boy is engaged to another girl. *cue super-hot best man*

Well...that plot has been discarded.

No longer is this version a "rewrite."

It's a brand-spanking-new book.

The bones are similar to the thousand previous drafts: Character names (though they've all got new last names), the town and its residents, a few of the events. But everything else? Oh, so different.

As I was writing my last book for NaNoWriMo last year, I discovered something about myself. I was funny. I liked my characters to be funny. Not so much on the angst. Every version of the first book was laden with angst. They were all angst cookies frosted with the gallons of tears my characters cried.

Well, no more.

My hero has made the biggest transformation. In every draft, he's been this sexy, brooding guy with a Mysterious Past and a perma-smirk. Basically, he was this guy:

Hot, right? Of course he's hot! That's Ian Smolderhotter. Hold on...I've lost my train of thought...

Oh, yeah. Out with the Ian, in with a new face. No longer is my Jack a broody, moody, smirky, too-serious dude. Nope. He's lighter now. Funny. And so adorable (still sexy, though. Don't worry). Still, I know what you're thinking. HOW COULD YOU REPLACE IAN SOMERHALDER WITH SOME NEW DUDE? DON'T YOU KNOW HOW HOT HE IS?

I DO know how hot he is. He's just not JACK, people! I'm gonna need you to calm down.

Are we calm now? Okay.

My new Jack looks a lot like this guy:

Look at that smile! Doesn't he look all kinds of charming and adorable, all while still being super sexy? I told you not to worry. Also, I'm pretty sure that Mr. Smolderhotter will get his book. I'm thinking Jack has a hot older brother...

So, yeah. Lots of changes with this book. I am no longer thinking of it as a "rewrite." This is an all new book. And I am so ridiculously excited to start writing it!

NaNoWriMo 2014

While I take a break from the completed draft of a novel I've worked on for years, I've decided to start something new. And what better time to do that than in November?

For those who may not know, November is National Novel Writing Month. Basically, the crazy writers of the world attempt to write 50k words in 30 days. It's insane, infuriating and sort of awesome, and I can't wait to give it a go. This year, unlike the past few times I've participated, I'm not aiming to hit the 50k goal. I really just want a solid start on my next novel. And NaNoWriMo provides just the inspiration and motivation I need to do that.

My next novel stars Cat, the sassy, scene-stealing best friend of my last main character. I've been working on the outline for the last couple weeks and I am stoked to get started!

To get into the story, I've been listening to a playlist of songs that remind me of my characters and spending way too much time on Pinterest. I love that I get to call this stuff "research." I mean, look at all the pretty!

The soundtrack for this novel has been completely different from my last one. Lighter, sexier. These two songs specifically have been on repeat:

I really feel like Cat's story is going to be so different from Tierney's, and I'm looking forward to the challenge. It will be a nice break before I start revising Tierney.

How about you? Are you participating in NaNoWriMo this year? How has your writing been going? Isn't Jared Padelecki pretty?


It's officially NaNoWriMo season, and I must admit - I'm a wee bit jealous of all of you who are participating. With every NaNo-related blog post or status update I see on the internet, I sigh and think, "I wish that was me."

I know it's for the best that I sit this one out, but I just can't help but feel envious. NaNoWriMo saved my writing aspirations. The rush of competing against such a mad deadline brought the fire back to my writing. And I love every second of every day in November. Even when I'm stressed out and thousands of words behind, I'm loving it.

I'm sad. But on the other hand, I'm thrilled. Because of NaNoWriMo, I am writing again. Because of NaNoWriMo, I have this completed draft to work on and make beautiful. Because of NaNoWriMo, my dream is alive again. And, with this draft, I'm so much closer to making that dream a reality.

So, yeah. I'm sad. But I'm also grateful for the experience, and I will be grateful forever.

With that in mind, I wish all of you crazy dreamers out there who are participating in NaNoWriMo this November all the luck in the world. I hope this month brings you all the fantastic things that NaNoWriMo gave to me.

Every Little Thing Is Gonna Be Alright

December first.

All over the world, writers are reveling in their NaNoWriMo victories. Me, I'm wallowing in a deep, deep pool of depression, taunted by the numbers 3712.

3712. That's what I finished NaNo with.

I fizzled out rather early, resigning myself to the fact that I wasn't going to make it this year. Even so, when November 30th came around and my word count hadn't budged since the first week of November, I was bummed.

I tip my hat to all of you who reached 50k. Congratulations on such an awesome feat. I'd be lying if I said I wasn't a bit jealous. But, I've decided to be philosophical about the whole thing.

I wasn't excited about my idea. That would have made for very flat characters and a painfully dull story. So really, it's for the best that I didn't push on. Now, I'll have time to polish last year's story to a gleaming, glorious shine. I'm okay with not finishing this year. Really, I am.

There's always next year.

Or Camp NaNoWriMo.

Anyway, how did YOU do this year? Did you conquer that 50k?

NaNoFail & LeAnn Rimes

It's official, folks. NaNoWriMo wiped the floor with me this year. It's the 21st day and my word count sits steadily at about 3500. It SHOULD be just over 35k. I'd need a miracle to catch up now.

I think my problem was, I just wasn't excited about my idea this year. For the last two years, I couldn't wait till November first to start writing. I was so excited I couldn't stand it. My ideas, my characters, were screaming to be written. This year...I had a couple of ideas whispering for my attention, but none of them fought hard enough for my ear. So instead of one idea with a ton of energy and strong characters, I had half-developed characters and lackluster ideas.

That's not to say the ideas themselves are lackluster. Just that I didn't have them fully-developed enough to really dig in on November first.

I'm not gonna lie. I'm bummed. I really wanted to win for the third year in a row. I wanted that Shiny New Idea to mold and shape throughout next year.

Ah, well. I can brush up my current novel and get it all pretty and shiny instead.

Anyway, if any of you are friends with me on Facebook or Twitter, you've already heard (and heard and heard and heard) about this. If not, then you're hearing now.

This passed Wednesday, we attended the LeAnn Rimes concert I received tickets for on my birthday way back in June. Now, if you know anything about me, you know that LeAnn Rimes is my absolute favorite singer, ever. I've been a fan since I was 12. We've practically grown up together. I've seen her in concert twice before, but this time I had FRONT ROW SEATS! I've never been that close at any show, ever. So you can imagine my excitement, right?

Anyway, we got to the venue and there was a booth outside that the local radio station had set up. Enter to win a meet and greet, the sign said. I entered, of course. I knew I wouldn't win. I never win. So my hopes weren't up. Dana also entered and then we found our seats.

Just before the opening act came on, Dana's phone rang and she took off to answer it. Ten minutes and lots of confusion later, she came back to get me, saying that we had won the meet and greet.

I'm still in disbelief. I'd met LeAnn once before, back in '05, but I didn't think it'd happen this year. Standing in that line to meet her, I was just like a teenager waiting to meet the Backstreet Boys or a preteen meeting Bieber. I could NOT contain my excitement.

Sadly, I don't have my picture yet - I have to call the venue this morning to get it. But it doesn't matter. LeAnn was very sweet and gave me a hug. She told me happy birthday and then mentioned our meet on stage.

The show was amazing. I was fascinated by the fact that I could hear her boots clicking on the stage, I was that close. Like, six feet away from LeAnn for the whole show. I'm still in disbelief. I mean, really?

So, what about you? How's your NaNo coming? Is there a singer you'd go all Bieber-fangirl to meet?

Naming Characters

I'm definitely leaning toward doing NaNoWriMo. And, so far, the biggest problem I'm running into is, I can't figure out my main character's name.

I picked up an old idea to work with, but the name I'd chosen years ago (Evie) doesn't seem to fit anymore. I've searched books and sites and I keep coming up empty. This character doesn't want to be named, it seems.

I'm trying to veer away from names that end in an -y sound. My last two characters were Mari and Tierney, so I figured it's time for something different. I'm definitely open to suggestions. This character is a feisty commitment-phobe with a penchant for unnatural hair colors and photography. If you can think of a name that seems to fit, I'm all ears!

As a side note of awesomeness, I have the most amazing beta readers ever. No offense to any other beta readers out there, but it's true. They've all got a knack for giving useful feedback without deflating the writer's sensitive ego. Instead of feeling defeated, I'm pumped to start revisions. I can't wait to have a polished, pretty draft in my hands!

So, how do you come up with your character names? Ever have one who refused to be named? Are YOUR beta readers as spectacular as mine?

Positively Indecisive

Despite my best efforts and fabulous list-making skills, I still haven't come to a decision on the NaNoWriMo front. I've got one foot planted more firmly in the Yes camp than the No one, though. Which, I suppose, is a start. I've even started a rough outline for a novel I just may work on next month. Given those facts, I suppose you could say that I HAVE made up my mind to participate. Which is probably true.

But still.

I have reservations.

I'm sure we all know I'll do it, though.

The blogosphere is abuzz with NaNoWriMo posts these days. Seems every writer with a blog has something to say about this fabulous, insane month. And why wouldn't they? NaNo is awesome!

Anyway, I've been hoarding links again. And, you guessed it, most of them are about NaNoWriMo. And so I decided to share them with you lovely people.

Elizabeth Spann Craig of Mystery Writing is Murder shared some great links in her post All about NaNoWriMo

Over at Terrible Minds, there's a super-awesome list of 25 Things You Should Know about NaNoWriMo

And is doing a month-long series, How to Nail Your NaNoWriMo Lots of useful advice here!

Hopefully those of you participating will find some golden nuggets of information in these links. And, heck, even if you're not!

In the meantime, I'm off to figure out what my potential NaNo MC's name will be...

Tipping the Scale

Three days into October and I still haven't decided. I can't seem to make up my mind. I've got one foot planted firmly on each side of the fence. It starts in less than a month. I should be planning already.

If you're lost, I'm talking about NaNoWriMo. I'm torn right down the middle about whether or not I will participate this year. The last two years were easy decisions. Of course I'd do it. Why wouldn't I? It's the best thing since sliced bread! Or the Internet. Or whatever super awesome thing you couldn't live without.

This year, though...oh, boy. I've got a full plate. And so I've resorted to making a Pros and Cons list. Here goes nothing:

1. I'd have a ton of words on a new project to work with when Projects One and Two are finished.

2. 50k in 30 days is fantastic practice at just letting go and writing. And isn't that practice we all need?

3. The sense of community from fellow NaNo-ers is unbelievable. Writers, in general, are an amazing group of people. But NaNo-ers? SO great!

4. I'd get a free proof copy for completing the 50k. And, let's face it, holding a hard copy of your book in your hands is one heck of a motivator.

5. Well, NaNo is just FUN.


1. I've got a full course load, including a math class I HAVE to pass. And math and I don't get along, so it'll take extra work.

2. I'm also working between 20 and 30 hours a week.

3. I've got a lack of fresh ideas. There are a couple old ones I can dig up and brush off, though.

4. Preparation for the winter holidays. Baking for Thanksgiving, Christmas shopping -- Black Friday, in particular -- random holiday parties that may crop up.

5. Two projects are in various stages of revisions. Shouldn't I work on one of those instead?

Oh, and I'm not putting this one in the Cons list because I'm so darn excited about it that it could never be a Con, but I've also got the LeAnn Rimes concert in mid-November, which will involve driving two hours to Detroit then staying overnight.

So, there you have it. My Pros and Cons list. Neck and neck. Of course. And, here, I thought it would help!

What do you think? Do either of these lists outweigh the other in terms of importance? Am I just over thinking it? Would YOU participate if you were me?

NaNoWriMo 2010 Recap

I'm slowly emerging from my post-NaNoWriMo coma. What an intense thirty days!

I'm not gonna lie and say it was pretty -- it wasn't. In fact, for the majority of November, it was downright U-G-L-Y. I fell behind about a week in and stayed that way for the rest of the month. When November 29th rolled around, I was more than 10k behind.

So, how did I manage to finish at all?

I'm one stubborn chick. I refused to watch that clock roll over to 12am on the 30th with my word count less than 50k. In fact, at one point I'd been trying to write in bed but my eyes kept drifting closed. So I got up and took my laptop into the bathroom, where I sat on the cold linoleum floor for an hour. I wrote over a thousand words that way.

On the 30th, I spent three hours sitting in the lobby at work, typing furiously. I managed to get to 46k before starting work. I got out at 7 but didn't get home till well after 8. Then, I planted myself to the couch with my computer. I wrote for three and a half hours straight until I hit 50k. And then I wrote a little more before validating. I finished with half an hour to spare.

And ya know? I actually can't wait to get back to this book. I'd forgotten just how much I love these characters and this story is just a blast to write. I changed the POV from its original 3rd person to 1st person and the change completely refreshed my entire novel. Not to mention I'd started from scratch, with only barebones ideas of the scenes I needed to write. So many new things! I had a blast this November.

Here are a few things I learned:

*My MMC has VERY strong feelings about The Rolling Stones. Especially when Tierney throws insults at them.

*Tierney's "one who got away" can be kinda mean. I totally did NOT see that coming.

*When your characters are really and truly well-developed, they are completely out of your writerly control.

*Mt. Dew works wonders for those brain-dead moments when you'd much rather be sleeping.

*Things like spaghetti, chili and pizza are perfect November foods because the leftovers last for days.

*It IS entirely possible to get buried under laundry and dishes and all-around clutter if you don't clean on a regular basis. Poor Dana has had to put up with quite a mess!

How about you guys? Anyone else learn anything from their NaNoWriMo experiences?

Monday Mixtape - NaNo Edition, Week 3

Ahh, Monday. It's nice to see you again...not.

I'm flailing in the somewhat shallow waters of my wordcount at the moment, as you can no doubt see on the handy dandy widget to the right. I've made the mistake repeatedly of trying to write at night. I am no longer a night person. I used to be, but then my work shifts changed and now I'm up and functioning no later than 7am. So by the time 11pm rolls around, I'm ready to crash. I was up the other night till 2am trying to write. Kept falling asleep as I was typing. Started typing things that made no sense. Oh, it wasn't nearly as bad as last year, when I typed something about my main character drinking "two sips of vodka" -- while she was pregnant. But I'm sure it does no good for my writing to type half-asleep.

So, I'm up early this morning to try and catch up on my words. Wish me luck!

Real quick, here's Monday's Mixtape:

Tierney's love for hair bands + a disastrous and dysfunctional love life = Def Leppard's Love Bites:

This song is so heartbreaking and captures a low point in Tierney's story perfectly:

And last up, the incredible Rachel Williams with a song I'm sure everyone can relate to (plus, she bears an uncanny resemblance to what I picture Tierney to look like):

Okay, I've gotta get busy writing. Happy Monday, everyone!

Oh, So Many Numbers

Hey, there! How's everyone's November going so far?

Mine's been busy and, strangely, gorgeous. The weather has been so lovely lately. All sunshine and cool fall breezes. No "S" word yet. But since November is nearly half over, I won't be holding my breath.

As for my NaNo progress...I've been behind pretty steadily these past few days. I'm currently at 20,414 words. I'm supposed to be at 21,271 -- by the end of tonight. So, I have roughly about 30 minutes to write just over 1200 words. I'm, like, 90% sure that's not going to happen. So, I'm setting my eye on tomorrow's goal -- 23,338. Yikes.

Looks like I'd better get a move on, huh?

Anyway, hope everyone's been good during this hectic month. Only two more weeks before things get back to normal!

PS. Do you think I could use this blog post toward my wordcount? That would be awesome :)

Monday Mixtape - NaNo Edition, Wk 2

I can't believe it's the second week of November already. I got a little behind on my wordcount yesterday, so today's post will be brief.

I've mentioned before that I'm a huge SHeDAISY fan. Kristyn Osborn is one of the best songwriters I've had the pleasure of listening to. This song, Mine All Mine, is perfect for the moment my main character realizes that the things that went wrong between her and her ex are all her fault. Favorite lyric: "I drove you to the edge of the map and after that, I pushed you off just to watch you fall."

The next song on my playlist isn't meant to be taken literally. But the bittersweet, melonchaly feel of it, the idea of being "almost honest" is perfect for Tierney's life. After all, she's been "almost honest" with everyone in her life. Plus, Josh Kelley has an amazing voice.

The last song is another by Sara Bareilles. What can I say? The woman has a way with words. This song captures Tierney's desperation for reassurance, that she's not an awful human being. To me, this is her begging the one person she's been totally honest with to stick by her. To make her feel "not alone"

Alright. I need to be at over 13k by the end of the day and I'm sitting at almost 11k. So I've got some work to do!

NaNoWrimo Update

Six days into NaNoWriMo. How are all of you doing? I'm managing to cling to my sanity AND keep up the word count -- so far. Then again, we're not even a week in just yet. Here's an overview of my stats:

Wordcount: 10,042
Where I'm supposed to be: 10,002
Words ahead of schedule: 40
Pieces of candy consumed: I'm sure I don't want to know.
Number of times characters have ticked me off: None -- yet. Tierney is a handful, so I'm expecting it before the end of the month.

I've been ahead of schedule pretty steadily. I didn't write at all yesterday, but I was two days ahead. Now, I'm barely ahead. But I've got just over an hour before work to crank out some words. I'm determined to stay ahead of schedule. I'll need the extra padding when Thanksgiving and Black Friday roll around.

I made it to the kick-off party for my region on Halloween. There's just something about being in a room full of people participating in this insanity. The adrenaline and enthusiasm. Definitely got me pumped to get started. Sadly, I forgot about the write-in this past Thursday. It was too late by the time I remembered I was going to go. I fail. I'll be there next week for sure.

Alright. I need to get some words down before I get to work. Hope everyone's having as much fun so far as I am!

Monday Mixtape - NaNo Edition + My Writing Space

Happy NaNoWriMo!

As promised yesterday, this is going to be a double entry. First up, my entry for the Writing Space Blogfest:

Here is an overview of my space. I put this desk together all on my own last winter, after NaNo. It's kind of cluttered with various inspiriational bits. The pink and purple blanket on my chair, my mom made for me. I love it.

Here's a shot of my cork board. Various writing quotes and my winner's certificate from last year's NaNo. The blue question mark man is a Jason Mraz sticker for the song Mr. Curiousity, which he wrote about Writer's Block.

A shot of the shelf on my desk. To the left is the plot bunny I found at a thrift store. He's cardboard and hollow inside, but I thought he was pretty cool. I've got a bunny pencil holder and a dinosaur with bunny ears, too. The book is last year's NaNo novel. I am so ridiculously proud of it, even though the cover didn't turn out exactly as I wanted. I promised Dana she could design this year's cover.

A close-up of the other board I keep on my wall. It's filled with various inspirations. As you can see, Audrey Hepburn is a big one. I like to think of her as my muse. Sweet and doe-eyed and soft-spoken, but capable of saying just the right thing to kick your butt into action. Jason Mraz in the upper corner, a sweet note from Dana on the shamrock in the lower right. My grandma is next to that, then a few concert tickets. The lottery ticket is from Dana, too. It's a losing ticket, but she cleared the words NOVEL and MINOR. She handed it to me and said, "Your issues are minor, write the damn novel." Surprisingly, it's pretty great motivation.

And last, but definitely not least, a shot of my bookcase. It's not super organized, but it makes sense to me. Two shelves' worth of writing books and a shelf of the classics. The rest is a mix of my all-time favorites and to-be-reads. Scattered throughout are various bits of inspiration. Again, Audrey. A stuffed pig on top. Snoopy with a typewriter.

And that about sums up my writing space. It's kinda cluttery but I love it! Can't wait to check out everyone else's!

Now onto the Monday Mixtape. Here are a few songs off my NaNo Playlist:

Bon Jovi, because my main character, Tierney, has a thing for 80's hair bands.

The Dixie Chicks - I Can Love You Better. Because Tierney is in love with someone who's in love with someone else. And she really does believe she can love him better!

Sara Bareilles - Between the Lines. This song is so heartbreaking and I think it captures perfectly the moment Tierney finds out her love is marrying someone else.

Now I must be off to crank out a couple thousand words before work. Wish me luck and good luck to all you other Wrimos out there!

Happy NaNoWriMo Eve!

For all the average, every day folks out there, today is Halloween. For those folks,

For us writers, it's NaNoWriMo Eve.

I'm so excited/nervous/panicked I can barely sit still. I feel like I'm ready, but who knows? Either way, it's going to be AWESOME!

I spent the last few days cleaning the house. I've even got the laundry all caught up -- which, if you know me, is huge. I HATE doing laundry. I think I've officially NaNo-proofed my house. It should hold up fairly well throughout November.

What about you? Did you have a list of things to get done before November? If so, did you get them done?

I signed up to participate in the Writing Space Blogfest hosted by the awesome Summer. Tomorrow, I'll post pictures of my writing space so you all can see where the magic happens. Okay, where the magic happens sometimes. It should be fun.

One last thing. If you haven't yet, be sure to jump over to Sticky Note Stories and sign up for the NaNo Bloggers Blogchain. It's a great way to keep in touch with fellow Wrimos!

Anyway, I have a few last minute NaNo-related things to finish up before I head to the kick-off party for my region. Dana's going with me and I'm pretty excited. I missed last year's kick-off and I haven't been to a meeting in a very long time. I can't wait!

I'll see you tomorrow with a double entry: The Writing Space Blogfest and my Monday Mixtape, NaNo Playlist Edition.

Have a safe and happy Halloween!

Monday Mixtape - The American Idol Edition

This is the last Mixtape of October. Next Monday is officially November. AHHHH!!

Every Monday next month, I'm going to share songs from the playlist I've put together for my NaNo project. Some fun stuff on there. Today, though, is the American Idol finalist edition:

As I've mentioned before, I have watched every season of American Idol. Kat is pretty much my favorite finalist. Her new cd is amazing. Here is one of my favorites -- although, it's hard to choose since they're all so good!

Kelly Clarkson. Such an incredible voice, such an infectious personality. I adore this song. The lyrics are beautiful and Kelly's voice is...well, just take a listen!

I have a soft spot for guys who can sing like this. David Cook's voice is super sexy and this is, by far, the best cover of any song I've ever heard. I mean, it's Mariah Carey for God's sake!

I hope you guys enjoy these songs as much as I do. I have the sneaking feeling this won't be the last American Idol edition of Monday Mixtape...

Alright. I've got to go make dinner and get a few things organized for NaNo. I am under strict orders from Dana that I am not to do anything NaNo-related on our day off, so I want to get everything ready before Thursday! All you NaNo-ers out there, how is your planning coming along?

Ahh, Fall

October is flying by. I can't stand it. I love October. It's been such a beautiful fall this year, with mild temperatures and gorgeous shades of gold, orange and red. I want to live in that world forever. Sadly, with each day that passes, the weather gets colder. The leaves fall to the ground. Winter is nearing. I am not ready for it.

I have been neglecting my blog again. But it hasn't been for nothing, I swear! I've finished the outline for my NaNo novel, which is something I really struggled with last year. I still need to re-interview my characters and get to know them again, but other than that, I feel prepared for the insanity of NaNoWriMo.

I'm sure I would have had my character interviews finished by now if it weren't for the crack that is The Hunger Games. I've spent the majority of October immersed in the world of Katniss Everdeen and her friends, family and enemies. I have to say, I've learned a lot from these books. Suzanne Collins put that poor girl through hell but I think it just made me care about her and what happened to her even more.

It's gotten the wheels in my head turning. When we throw things at our characters -- death, the possibility of yours and probability of those around you, heartache, torment, indecision, etc -- it forces them to grow and react in ways we might not have realized. It's the true test of whether your character is developed enough.

So, as a result, I've been pondering my novels. Trying to think of anything I can throw their way. To see what they're made of.

What are your thoughts? Do you think hardship strengthens your characters and the bond your reader has with them?