Preptober

Less Than One Day to Go!

Are you ready?

Of course you’re not ready – is anyone truly ready for this monster?

I have a few tricks up my sleeve. As mentioned, I will be working on my novel as well as blogging and/or writing short stories to keep the creative juices flowing. I know me, and I know I will get bored out of my skull if I’m ONLY working on one thing at a time. So. I have my handy-dandy index cards close by so when an idea strikes, I can add it to my stack. Ideas usually pop into my head when I’m reading something, or writing something unrelated. (This is how I prep for my podcasts, too. I’ll be watching a video, or reading an article and suddenly, I have an idea to talk about and I write it in my podcast journal. Yes, I have a podcast journal because I’m TRYING to be organized here).

Some last minute tips:

I’m using SmartEdit Writer software for my novel. It’s similar to Scrivener but it’s FREE. I’m loving it so far. Try it out!

Here’s someplace you can host writing sprints – for either you or for a group! Writing sprints really work well if you need a concentrated time period of just writing. I will be trying the Pomodoro Technique – I think that will work well for me. (Remember the short attention span when it comes to writing … but only when it comes to writing – not sure why that is).

Here are some writing prompts if you’re still looking for an idea …

Sixty things for your characters to do

Character flaws … because let’s face it, our darling characters MUST be flawed. Who wants to read about someone perfect??

Don’t have a story theme? Here are some ideas

These are just a few of my resources. I hope they’re helpful to you. Maybe they will spark an idea … or two. Don’t feel like you HAVE to work on just one project – maybe you have several ideas in your head – write them all. It’s perfectly fine to be a NaNoWriMo rebel. Don’t fight your writing process. Embrace it. The important thing is to continue writing, no matter what that looks like.

My plan? *sigh* Who knows. My next writing project is to post Maya’s PRE story. I think it will help me understand what makes her tick if I write THE moment that shaped her personality and her beliefs. I have quite a few scenes written out in my index outline and maybe I’ll get a few more if I write her PRE story.

I still want to blog and I know I simply won’t if I put all of my eggs into my novel basket. I think it’s important, for me at least, to step back and take a breath of fresh air from my novel and shift gears a bit on to something else. Kevin and I are still participating in our podcast every week and I’m working on recording my own podcast each week, not to mention, still trying to read books though now I don’t think I’m going to make my 100 book goal since I will be lucky to read one book a week, let alone two plus a week like I’ve been doing up to this point. (I changed my goal to 90 books – because I’m a wimp).

Oh well.

Anyway. Don’t get too stressed about NaNoWriMo. The project is what you make of it and for me, I simply want to develop a habit of writing on a daily basis again – however that looks for me.

Good luck, Blogfam!

Preptober

Outline Your Novel Using Index Cards

It’s a puzzle, LITERALLY.

Outlining your novel with index cards is a lot of work, but it also makes a lot of sense. When I watched Sarra’s video, a light bulb went off over my head. I went out and bought a pack of index cards with four colors.

Act I is pink, Act II, part one, is light blue, Act II, part two is yellow, and Act III is baby green.

And side note: breaking up Act II into two parts makes a lot of sense to me, as well. As I heard someone describe the middle of your novel once – it’s the creamy, gooey filling of a delicious éclair. That’s certainly a better description than what I typically ascribe to it. *ahem*

Are all of my index cards filled out? Nope. Not even close. But laying the cards out and then writing in my beginning scenes and my ending scenes, at least, my ending as it plays in my head now, that could, and likely will, change as I get closer to the end, and then sticking scenes that pop into my head into the puzzle as they come to me, REALLY helped me. It doesn’t give me an exact view of my story, but it definitely gives me enough to start writing. I will add and change scenes as I write because I don’t like to outline fully, I like my characters to “speak” to me as I write, but I think using this method of outlining will REALLY help me as I go through the process and will likely help me not get AS stuck.

Because I’m not going to pretend I won’t get stuck. I will. And my plan when I get stuck is to move on to another writing project. Whether that’s blogging, journaling, writing short stories, or writing anything, really, and then I can get back to my novel with fresh eyes.

I understand my writing self more now. I get bored. I like to flit from project-to-project. I’m used to never finishing something completely as my day job is never ending and I’m NEVER caught up, it’s just the nature of the beast, so to speak. I am a medical assistant and when you juggle 40+ patients a week, scheduling them for testing, appointments, preparing a short synapsis of why they are coming in and comorbidities for my doctor and mid-level, answering phone calls and returning phone calls, addressing messages from my co-workers about patients, covering for other medical assistants when they’re out and all the miscellaneous work, I’m never caught up. All I can do is stay about 24-hours ahead of the “old” stuff. So I’m used to juggling several things at once and I think that’s why I get bored with one project. I like having several irons in the fire, it’s what I’m used to and I thrive on multi-tasking.

Anyway, I’m excited about this “puzzle” approach to outlining and I’m very thankful to Sarra Cannon for sharing her knowledge with us. This is the first time I’ve approached NaNoWriMo feeling comfortable with my “plan.” Which is what, you ask? I’m going to reach my 50,000 word count working on a variety of projects. I will be a NaNoWriMo Rebel because why not? That’s pretty much how I approach life, I bend rules. I don’t necessarily break the rules, but I definitely bend the rules.

I hope this was as helpful to you as it was to me.

And I hope you’re as ready as you can be for NaNoWriMo because, Blogfam, it’s nearly here!

(Pst – you can find me on the NaNoWriMo website under the username: take2max!)

 

Preptober

Plotting Pitfalls

Found another writing YouTuber: Diane Callahan – Quotidian Writer – this was really interesting to watch and it sparked several ideas for my NaNoWriMo project.

I hope it does the same for you.

Also – found something else that would be a useful tool next month: Word Sprints

I mean, you could easily just time yourself for word sprints but I like that you can set up a group sprint for and your friends.

Anyway, just a passing thought.

Preptober

NaNoWriMo Playlist

Here is my NaNoWriMo Playlist. These are songs that make me think of my story. Whether that’s the title of the song, the song lyrics or just the general mood of the song. You might be able to guess the direction I’m taking my story just from some of the titles.

Anyway, it’s another fun tool in my NaNoWriMo toolbox – and something else I can cross off my Preptober calendar.

Next up: character profiles …

 

Our weather has been perfect lately – low 80’s and sunny. Fall is my favorite time of the year. Enjoy the weekend!

Preptober

Preptober: Character’s Enneagram – Say What?

So what sort of gobbedly-goop am I spouting now?

It’s another personality test, but one that goes into more depth and will give her mixture of personality traits that could make your character more interesting.

First of all, what is an Enneagram?

The Enneagram system
The Enneagram is a personality typing system that consists of nine different types. Everyone is considered to be one single type, although one can have traits belonging to other ones. While it’s uncertain whether this type is genetically determined, many believe it is already in place at birth.

The nine types (or “enneatypes”, “ennea” means “nine”) are universally identified by the numbers 1 to 9. These numbers have a standard way of being placed around the Enneagram symbol. Enneagram authors have attached their own individual names to these numbers. On this site the type names by authors Riso and Hudson are used. They are:

After taking the test for myself, I’m a Reformer and a Peacemaker.

Let’s start with Reformer:

“Perfectionists, responsible, fixated on improvement

People of this personality type are essentially looking to make things better, as they think nothing is ever quite good enough. This makes them perfectionists who desire to reform and improve; idealists who strive to make order out of the omnipresent chaos.

Ones have a fine eye for detail. They are always aware of the flaws in themselves, others and the situations in which they find themselves. This triggers their need to improve, which can be beneficial for all concerned, but which can also prove to be burdensome to both the One and those who are on the receiving end of the One’s reform efforts.

The One’s inability to achieve the perfection they desire feeds their feelings of guilt for having fallen short, and fuels their incipient anger against an imperfect world. Ones, however, tend to feel guilty about their anger. Anger is a “bad” emotion, and Ones strive sincerely and wholeheartedly to be “good.” Anger is therefore vigorously repressed from consciousness, bursting forth in occasional fits of temper, but usually manifesting in one of its many less obvious permutations – impatience, frustration, annoyance and judgmental criticality. For this reason, Ones can be difficult to live with, but, on the high side, they tend to be loyal, responsible and capable partners and friends.

Ones are serious people; they tend to be highly principled, competent and uncompromising. They follow the rules and expect others to do so as well. Because they believe so thoroughly in their convictions, they are often excellent leaders who can inspire those who follow them with their own vision of excellence. Reform movements are frequently spearheaded by Ones.

Ones are often driven and ambitious, and are sometimes workaholics. But whatever their professional involvement, they are definitely active, practical people who get things done. They are natural born organizers, listmakers who finish everything on the list, the last one to leave the office, the first one to return, industrious, reliable, honest and dutiful.”

Huh.

I also tested as a Peacemaker:

“Keeping peace and harmony

People of this personality type essentially feel a need for peace and harmony. They tend to avoid conflict at all costs, whether it be internal or interpersonal. As the potential for conflict in life is virtually ubiquitous, the Nine’s desire to avoid it generally results in some degree of withdrawal from life, and many Nines are, in fact, introverted. Other Nines lead more active, social lives, but nevertheless remain to some to degree “checked out,” or not fully involved, as if to insulate themselves from threats to their peace of mind. Most Nines are fairly easy going; they adopt a strategy of “going with the flow.” They are generally reliable, sturdy, self-effacing, tolerant and likable individuals.

Nines tend to adopt an optimistic approach to life; they are, for the most part, trusting people who see the best in others; they frequently have a deep seated faith that things will somehow work out. They desire to feel connected, both to other people and to the world at large. They frequently feel most at home in nature and generally make warm and attentive parents.”

I would agree with some of this, not all.

I wouldn’t say I avoid conflict, I just don’t care enough to partake most of the time.

Of course, I found out about the Enneagram from Abbie Emmons.

 

Pretty interesting stuff, honestly.

Now, let’s run Maya, my main character’s personality through the Enneagram and see what happens.

She’s an Achiever and The Helper.

Ha! I knew it! When I was watching Abbie’s video and she was going through the various personalities I picked the Achiever for Maya because that’s how she appears in my head.

The Achiever:

“Focused on the presentation of success, to attain validation

People of this personality type need to be validated in order to feel worthy; they pursue success and want to be admired. They are frequently hard working, competitive and are highly focused in the pursuit of their goals, whether their goal is to be the most successful salesman in the company or the “sexiest” woman in their social circle. They are often “self-made” and usually find some area in which they can excel and thus find the external approbation which they so desperately need. Threes are socially competent, often extroverted, and sometimes charismatic. They know how to present themselves, are self-confident, practical, and driven. Threes have a lot of energy and often seem to embody a kind of zest for life that others find contagious. They are good networkers who know how to rise through the ranks. But, while Threes do tend to succeed in whatever realm they focus their energies, they are often secretly afraid of being or becoming “losers.”

Threes can sometimes find intimacy difficult. Their need to be validated for their image often hides a deep sense of shame about who they really are, a shame they unconsciously fear will be unmasked if another gets too close. Threes are often generous and likable, but are difficult to really know. When unhealthy, their narcissism takes an ugly turn and they can become cold blooded and ruthless in the pursuit of their goals.

Because it is central to the type Three fixation to require external validation, Threes often, consciously and unconsciously, attempt to embody the image of success that is promoted by their culture. Threes get in trouble when they confuse true happiness, which depends on inner states, with the image of happiness which society has promoted.”

And The Helper:

“Helpers who need to be needed

People of this personality type essentially feel that they are worthy insofar as they are helpful to others. Love is their highest ideal. Selflessness is their duty. Giving to others is their reason for being. Involved, socially aware, usually extroverted, Twos are the type of people who remember everyone’s birthday and who go the extra mile to help out a co-worker, spouse or friend in need.

Twos are warm, emotional people who care a great deal about their personal relationships, devote an enormous amount of energy to them, and who expect to be appreciated for their efforts. They are practical people who thrive in the helping professions and who know how to make a home comfortable and inviting. Helping others makes Twos feel good about themselves; being needed makes them feel important; being selfless, makes Twos feel virtuous. Much of a Two’s self-image revolves around these issues, and any threat to that self-image is scarcely tolerated. Twos are thoroughly convinced of their selflessness, and it is true that they are frequently genuinely helpful and concerned about others. It is equally true, however, that Twos require appreciation; they need to be needed. Their love is not entirely without ulterior motive.

Twos often develop a sense of entitlement when it comes to the people closest to them. Because they have extended themselves for others, they begin to feel that gratitude is owed to them. They can become intrusive and demanding if their often unacknowledged emotional needs go unmet. They can be bossy and manipulative, feeling entirely justified in being so, because they “have earned the right” and their intentions are good. The darkest side of the type Two fixation appears when the Two begins to feel that they will never receive the love they deserve for all of their efforts. Under such circumstances, they can become hysterical, irrational and even abusive.

Because Twos are generally helping others meet their needs, they can forget to take care of their own. This can lead to physical burnout, emotional exhaustion and emotional volatility. Twos need to learn that they can only be of true service to others if they are healthy, balanced and centered in themselves.”

I won’t say I’m as into this as Abbie, but I have to admit, it’s hugely helpful in shaping my characters.

As you can see, Maya is vastly different than my own personality – I hope I can pull it off. But at the same time, I’m excited to write her.

As for the rest of my characters:

Dree is the individualist

Jax is The investigator

Ava  is the peacemaker

​Damon is the challenger

I think I’ve settled on a theme: You are valuable – the character’s misbelief is, she’s worthless. Or at least not worthy of her family’s reputation.

I’ve also picked out some pictures of my characters from Pinterest:

Good looking people, no?

Anyway, I’m getting closer! This is more fun than I thought it would be. Next, I’m working on character profiles but these personality quizzes are really inspiring me to dig under their beautiful surfaces.

Preptober

Preptober: Daily Word Count Goals

This is my word count schedule for next month.

Let me explain my thought process … the first week of November I am going to be chomping at the bit to get started. I’m always very enthusiastic the first week, somewhat excited the second week, start burning out the third week and then the fourth week I’m motivated to make it across the finish line.

So. I figured the weekends will be my heavy word count days – I will hopefully knock out the word count goals. I figure I can stop, take a break, then come back and keep writing on Saturdays and Sundays. That’s the easy part. My weeks are going to be challenging. I will most likely get up early and knock out 1000 words before work, then sit right down after work and knock out another 1000 words before the day catches up with me and I’m nodding off in my chair. (I can’t even tell you the number of times I’ve practically hit my head on my desk because I’m just going to shut my eyes, just for a second and … *SNORT-SNIFF* Where am I?)

I’m taking it easy on Mondays and Wednesdays. Those are my clinic days and by the time the day ends, I’m checked out. I’m mentally tapped out. I’ve dealt with patients and doctors all day, I don’t have any mental stamina left. On Tuesdays/Thursday, I will try and write before and after work again – we’ll see how it goes. I anticipate these days being my biggest struggle, especially if I”m asked to cover another MA on one of those days.

Fridays are also light days. Not because it’s crazy at work but because Kevin and I go out to eat and then do our grocery shopping every Friday night so we’ll get home late(ish) and I will be losing steam by the time I sit down to write anything. I’m not sure I will be able to write 1000 words, but I’m going to try it.

I will probably use the day before Thanksgiving to look at my outline and plan enough for me to cross the finish line because by that point, I’m usually stuck in my head and I’ve convinced myself that what I’m writing is trash and I SUCK – WHY FINISH??

And then the 30th – I’m using as an extra day just in case my count is off and I haven’t done as much writing as I need to – that will be my last ditch effort to make it across the finish line – I wish it wasn’t a Monday, but it is what it is.

I think the total is 53,000 words, or thereabouts. I wanted to give myself a little wiggle room – just in case.

We’ll see how this pans out.

I’m not really worried about the word count – I can write and spew crap all day long. I just need to not worry about whether it makes sense or not, I guess. I’d like to post excerpts here but I won’t make any promises because if it’s really bad … well … I won’t put you through that. ha!

Remember, you can friend me on the NaNoWriMo website if you wish. My username is take2max. We can cheer each other on. Also, if you’re interested in chatting on the NaNoWriMo website, let me know what your username is in the comments and I’ll send you an invite to the Write Away group I created. Or, you can join the group by clicking this link (just know that it will make you sign into your account – so if you haven’t made an account yet, now would be a good time to do that!).