I’ve been asked to write a guest post about my research process! I’ve written three books since late 2017 (two not being out yet), and all three of them have had their own individual research approach, so this will be fun.
My name is Imogen, and I’ve never written a novel. But today is the 1st of July and that means it’s the first day of Camp NaNoWriMo. Scrivner is downloading as I type and I thought it would be interesting to track this a little, after all, one day I would like for some of you to read it! So here are my workable goals for Camp NaNoWriMo 2019, helped by the 5 things I learned from an unsuccessful NaNoWriMo.
Read one of my research books
I have a couple of books I’ve bought for research when it comes to my planned projects, but I struggle with non-fiction sometimes. I actually think reading more academically and making notes will help me get through them- my old teachers might be shocked to hear that!
Write a good chunk of notes
I’m not a great planner when it comes to writing but if I’ve learnt anything from my past couple years at the Open University, it’s that I do better when I have at least a little bit of an idea of where I’m going. So I took one of my immaculate notebooks off the shelf and wrote in it! I even made a spelling mistake which is truly the sign that a notebook is used. I want to get an outline, a couple of mind maps and use a couple of Rhianne’s incredible resources from her website to really get a grip on my project.
Write the ending
Here’s the thing, I know my characters quite well already and I know where I want them to end up. I know ho I want this story to end, I just don’t know how I’m going to get them there. My hope is that once I’ve got it out of my head and actually in words, my brain will be free to figure out a little bit more.
Slow and steady wins the race, as they always say. There are 31 days in July and I’d like to write around 200 words a day. That feels manageable since I know that there’ll be busy days when I won’t be able to write anything, and hopefully some productive days when I write quite a lot. Heck, this blog post is more than 200 words. Wish me luck!
I lost NaNoWriMo. I think it was pretty clear that was going to happen after Update 1, and definitely after Update 2. I’m still excited about the story, and I’m still going to write it even now that November is over. And I learnt a lot from the experience and that’s good enough for me. So here are the 5 Things my unsuccessful NaNo taught me..
3. Co-Writing is hard
I wanted to write these check-ins to keep myself accountable for NaNo and I’m totally regretting it. I haven’t been writing! There’s not much difference from my first check in because the past fortnight has been horrible; both my co-writer and I have been sick, the election happened which was just awful, and I haven’t hit my sweet spot yet.
We took some time out and planned up to Chapter 8 which took some time but helped with understanding where our characters would be at what time, and the pace. Pace is always important when it comes to zombies, and not just the question of running zombies or shuffling zombies. We want to get the spread of the infection right. Too fast and there’s just chaos, too slow and what’s the point. So *spoiler alert* Chapter 8 is when shit goes down.
“I think we’re determined and doing our best considering our schedules. We have a lot of heart.”
She’s right, as always. We’re going to get this done. We’ve written things in the past that have spanned over three years, different laptops, jobs, huge life events- and we still finished it. No abandoned projects when we’re working on them.
The Word Count
Just over 3500
It’s Day 2 of NaNoWriMo and I’m doing a quick check-in before I start writing today. In four weeks today it’ll all be over, and I’d love to have a record of how I did and what worked and didn’t. But I’m getting ahead of myself! NaNoWriMo is National Novel Writing Month where writers around the world get together and write a first draft of 50,000 words in November. Here’s a bit more about my NaNoWriMo…
I’ve mentioned Ashley, and linked her blog before, but in short- we met 7 years ago in a The Walking Dead chatroom and a bunch of us just became buddies. As you do with strangers on the internet. We still watch the show, and I love it, even if it has become garbage. Season 6 ended with a cliffhanger that got most fans annoyed and that with the continuity problems led to this conversation and the beginning of it all:
Late last year, I had an idea for a podcast. It hasn’t yet come into fruition because, in short, 2016 has been awful for my group of friends that I’m doing it with. Without giving too much away, it’s about transatlantic friendships and zombies, because write what you know, right? My character is a 999 Ambulance service operator called Velma. And hopefully in a week, I’ll have something I’ve written that I’ll want to share and a title that isn’t just ‘Ashley and Imogen Write a Novel.’
The Word Count
At the moment- 294. Don’t judge me. I haven’t written yet today.
Lately I’ve been working on my novel, and I’ve been having so much fun with it. But I feel it looming, the dreaded Writer’s Block. So to keep myself pumped up and ready to beat any opponent in my way, I thought I’d write down 5 Things I love about writing to remember in the future and keep this streak up!
1. Getting the world in your head down on the page!
Sometimes I’ll sit there and it feels like an entire universe in my brain and I have so many thoughts on what I want to happen to my characters, there are scenes that run around my head for days. So writing it all down on paper or screen is amazingly freeing.
2. Hitting the Sweet Spot!
While I believe in writing even if you don’t feel like it, even if your mind is blank, even if you have nothing to say, I also believe that there is a sweet spot that every writer hits once in a while. When everything is just right and the words flow from your fingers that by the time you hit the end, you’ve written more in one session than the rest of the week.
3. Finding that perfect writing song!
I cannot tell you how many times I’ve paused a TV show or movie to Google the song playing because you just know it’s perfect. You listen to it and you can see your characters lives that much clearer. Personally, I find myself listening to a lot of original soundtracks; Lost, The Walking Dead, The Social Network, Lord of the Rings, or songs that I know the lyrics so well that it doesn’t get in the way of the words in my head.
4. Reaching a Word Count goal!
Word count is my nemesis. I believe that if you can say something in five words, don’t stretch it out to ten. *side-eyes certain books on my shelf* But this can make any work I write pretty short, and fast- which is something I’m working on because some scenes really need slowing down- so reaching word count goals feels awesome! 5000 words? Amazing. 10000 words? Incredible. 50000 words? Unheard of so far but I’m hopeful.
5. Positive Feedback!
Stephen King, who wrote my favourite book about writing, says; “Write with the door closed, rewrite with the door open.” And JK Rowling has been quoted saying; “I find that discussing an idea out loud is often the way to kill it stone dead.” But. Sometimes there’s nothing quite like sending a snippet or a plot idea to a friend and getting a nice response. Even if they’re lying. Constructive criticism is for the editing process!