I’ve survived the first week of NaNoWriMo! Not going to lie, it’s been pretty hard. Since I have a normal 9am-5pm job I can only write during the night on weekdays. I also have several other responsibilities outside of writing that have to be done as well. So spending two-three hours a night writing on top of everything else can be draining and stressful. Overall though I’m actually having a lot of fun and feeling really motivated. I am one hundred percent that person who is motivated by badges and trophies. When I’m playing video games I don’t consider the game complete until I’ve gotten every trophy available. There are badges you get along the way for participating in NaNoWriMo that definitely motivate me, particularly the one that is for hitting the daily word count of 1,667 words a day. So far I’ve managed to hit that but it’s been a close call a couple days. We’ll see how week two goes.

A few people have asked me what my approach is to writing new books. Specifically how much time I spend outlining or storyboarding. The answer is not much : )

I have a very active imagination and a difficult time shutting my brain off. When I’m not writing, I’m often thinking about writing. About ideas for future books, how some scenes will play out, character development, etc. I usually let things sort of “live in my mind” for a while and once I have a pretty solid idea I actually make a note of it. This is especially true for scenes. I’ll get an idea for a scene and then that will be all I can think about for a few days. Once I get to the point where I’m not longer re-writing it in my head I write it down as a note and save it for later. I use Plot Factory for writing because I like cloud-based things and find it intuitive and well organized for making notes on characters, world building, and storing things like future scenes that can be used.

Before I started Book Two I had a general idea of how the story was going to go. I knew what the opening scene was going to be and a rough idea of how the book was going to end. There was also a major scene with Eddie that was cut out of A Shift in Shadows that has been re-used for Book Two. I made an outline that I broke up into three parts, Act 1, Act 2, and Act 3. Pretty straight-forward, beginning, middle, and end. Then I made a list of everything that needed to happen in the book and listed them in the Act that made the most sense. That’s really all I do for outlining. Some writers like to have very detailed outlines and use different tools to help them plan and that works great for them. It just doesn’t work well for me.

I’m currently just shy of 14,000 words. I’m making a minor style change with this book having slightly longer chapters so I just started chapter four. A Shift in Shadows ended up being about 83,000 words. I think this Book Two is going to end up being around 90,000 but we’ll see how this goes. While I’m writing I’m trying to keep ideas for a title in the back of my mind but nothing has come to me yet. The sooner I settle on a title the sooner I can get the cover designed which is always exciting. I’m not sure my brain can handle NaNoWriMo and coming up with a title though so that might have to wait until December.