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NaNoWriMo 2017 – I’m at it again!

Hi everyone! So I decided to take part in NaNoWriMo this year too. Surprise! Surprise! Last year, my NaNo experience was quite disappointing. I didn't go far with my story, but honestly, I probably wasn’t in the zone enough to undertake such a challenge. I did prep it quite a bit, and I liked (I still like!) the idea, quite simply, it wasn’t going to happen. But I’m not abandoning Bones of the Titans, I will come back to it. As a matter of fact, this year didn’t actually started better. It was the busiest October at work that I had in years. My workmate had to take a leave for one week because one of her kids was in hospital. That happened to be the busiest week in the entire month, so my boss and I had to managed alone. It meant shifts of 10 hours every day, all the week long, standing from beginning to end, basically without a break (well, we did have breaks of 10 minutes at noon…) and with noise continuously in our ears from people, the street and the phone. I wish it to no one. I was a zombie in the weekends and I managed to do very little. Certainly not planning a story. But the good news (for me) is that the story had basically already been planned at the beginning of the year. If fact, I’m expanding on a short story that I wrote in January for a competition. By the way, you can download the short story here, if you are interested. You can also read a shorter version on WattPad, the one that entered the competition. The novel will be very different. I’ll just say that the short story is 6.000 words long and the synopsis for the novel is already 5.000 words. The story is set in the 1920s (another surprise, eh?) in Germany, and I’m very excited to tackle this time and place again. Bones of the Titans is also set in Germany in the 1920s, but that would be Berlin. The Frozen Maze is set in a secluded country estate, quite fictional, though I still plan to tackle as some of the subject I’m planning to use in Bones. It will be an interesting experiment. The Frozen Maze started out as a story loosely based on Snow White. I’m not sure whether that inspiration will hold (it is becoming its own story very fast), but I hope so, because I really like the themes. Some elements are bound to remain: the step-mother, the mirror, the dwarves. There are many things I still have to research and I can’t wait to have time to do that. Snow White is thought to be one of the more ancient stories we still know, and it’s fascinating in its own way. So, this is just a small update. If the story turns out good… well, I’ll be serialising it on this blog. How do you like this idea? Yes, yes! I’ve always wanted to serialise a story and this may be the right occasion. Let’s see! I’ll keep you posted!

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NaNoWriMo week 2 – I need more research, but now I’ll revise

The second week was indeed the week of the New Woman’s New Look series. And believe me, it was a busy week. Of course I knew this series is demanding, but really, it drained me! There’s a lot of material to organize - and still I realized I don’t have enough info on a few topics and I need to research more.  But I have the skeleton of the series now and I can’t begin to tell you how happy I am about it because this allows me to organize my future work. I also know now that I’ll have four more installments and more or less how long they will be. The New Woman's New Look Logo The next two installments, those about make-up, are more than just drafted. Beside, make-up was the original idea for the series and it’s where I have more info and material. It was only later on that It occurred to me that it would be interesting to explore not only make-up, but the entire evolution of the woman’s body and looks of it in the 1920s as a social statement. Writing down what I do have at the moment, I saw that I need a lot more material on the perception of the woman’s body (both on her side and on her critiques’ side) as well as a lot more material on two very new practices of the Twenties: dieting and tanning. I also see I have very little on bobbed hair and I’d really like to address this subject more in depth. Bobbing their hair was shocking to Twenties’ woman and their contemporaries than today’s people normally appreciate. It wasn’t a fashion thing at all, but – maybe even more that the rest of the new behaviors of women – it was a social statement, and one of the more fiercely opposed to by traditionalists. No question I need far more material than I have on this subject. But all in all, I think I’ll be able to post the two article about make-up in December, which will give me time enough to perfect the other two articles for January. Stay tuned! NaNo 2015 Participant Badge (Large Square)I’ve also basically written all the challenges and tags I still have open, with the only exception of the One Day Photo Challenge in Verona. But I’m not particularly worried about that, it will be an easy writing (mhm… last famous words?). For next week, I’m planning to revise Give in to the Feeling. Though honestly I’m not sure one week will be enough. As I typed it on my pc last weekend, I noticed there is a lot to revise and a lot to actually rewrite in order to smooth down the narration and to make characters’ motives clear. But we’ll see. I can’t wait to start that part of job! Instead I’m quite worried about the AtoZ Challenge posts. I did a part of the research before NaNo started, but I didn’t take down all the notes I need in order to write the articles. I still have to take down all the notes from The Jazz Revolution, which is the main structure of the entire series, and read through all the other resources and take down notes as I go. I really don’t know how I’ll do this. But hey, I’ll try. It is possible that this series will stretch into December, but that’s fine. What I want is having it drafted before the end of the year… and I do think I’ll be able to do that. All in all, I’ve already written most of the posts I planned to write, which is already a good thing. Maybe I’ll have a little time to sketch up a few other posts, which I really hope. But on the whole, I can’t complain. What about you? How’s your NaNo going?

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NaNoWriMo week 1 – I don’t have the faintest idea where I stand

NaNo 2015 Participant Badge (Large Square)And so the first week of NaNoWriMo has gone.

I’m quite happy with it actually, though I don’t have any idea where I am in terms of word count.

My original plan was to write the first draft of Give in to the Feeling before NaNo started and then revise during NaNo. Well, as it turned out, I didn’t make it. I actually wrote the last chapter this week, which is good for my word count… if only I knew what it is. Because see, I handwrote the first draft. That’s what I normally do with short stories. Handwriting helps me concentrate (don’t ask me why) and so I prefer to do so with shorter works.
I’m now in the process of typing the novelette, so I’ll soon know my actual word count. At the moment, as I’m typing, the only thing I know for sure is that I love the story, but the writing sucks. Revision will be more likely a rewrite, but hey, that’s normal, right?
And also, the story has evolved while I was writing it and I have to do lots of adjustments especially in the first couple chapters (there are 5 chapters altogether).

But let me tell you, I’m quite happy with it. I enjoyed writing it, a lot. Writing Susie, Blood, Michael and even Simon was such a blast, even when they gave me headache because their motives kept changing.

Give in to the Feeling mock up cover
Mock up cover

So, now I’ll type the whole thing up, then I’ll let it sleep at least one week. This means next week I’ll be otherwise busy. I’m thinking: The New Woman’s New Look. I have all the notes ready for that series, so I hope I’ll be able to write it completely. Let’s see. Looks like articles will be quite long, so I’m debating whether I should split them in half. I read recently that the new trend is having blog articles around 2000 words long.
Isn't that too long?
I don’t know. I’m going to write them first, then I’ll see. If you have an opinion about it, please share.

I'm a bit worry abotu my AtoZ posts, instead. I still have to take all notes. I have to find time to do that. Uhm... maybe on the train.

If you look at my NaNo profile, you’ll see a word count of over 5000 words. That’s bits and pieces I wrote on the side. Blurbs of the story, presentations, a new bio, a few reviews and the beginning of my blog post about the Cliffs of Moher.
It’s kind of tricky. When you write a novel, you always know where you are. Writing many different things and part of them by hand, it’s baffling.
But I’m enjoying it, and that’s the main part for me.

As a side note, I see all my buddies are doing very well, so give a cheer for them!

What about you? Are you doing NaNo?

Banner - Ghost Trhough the Cracks by Sarah Zama - A historical fantasy novella

Pinteret pin. The text reads,

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If you’re a Wrimo, you know it’s coming

And because I am most definitely a Wrimo, I know NaNoWriMo is starting next week!

I can’t believe a year has already passed from last NaNo post, whitch was one of the firsts I posted on the new self-hosted blog. It has been such a meaningful year for me and this blog. A year of learning and discovering, of meeting beautiful people and fellow bloggers and of finding my way as a writer.
So this NaNo post is more than a NaNo post for me.


But if a year ago this blog was new to me, NaNoWriMo certainly wasn’t. This will be (gasp!) my 10th NaNo. I kind of think I should celebrate.
NaNo never fails to be a new, rewarding and exciting experience. Every year there’s something new to experiment with, new people to meet, new stories to discover. Over these ten years, NaNo has given me something new every time I took part.
The first time I participated was rewarding because it was new and I did it. I could indeed write a novel (well, nearly a novel. It wasn’t finished when I hit the 50k words mark) in one month, incredible as that sounded.
The second time it was rewarding because I worked to a much more complex story and I could managed it. I loved The Dwarven Blade, that year project.
Then I discovered something which should have been obvious, but it hadn’t been. The first two NaNo were a solitary experience for me. I did my challenge, I won and it was nice. But when I discovered NaNo wasn’t just a challenge, but a community… boy, that opened up a completely new world. Having buddies, cheering one another, teasing, challenging, congratulating, sharing. This is what NaNo is for me today and it took me a while, but I’m still enjoying it a lot.
That’s why I always say, don’t worry whether you can write 50k words in a month. Just try. Immerse yourself in the experience, it will be rewarding in itself. And you’ll find that if you take the challenge not alone but together with many buddies, it’ll be a lot easier writing those 50k words.
So, if you are on the fence whether to take part or not, I’d say go for it!

Last time I did a straight NaNo it was 2010, when I drafted Ghost Trilogy. A straight NaNo means that you write the first draft of a novel. But over the years, NaNo has evolved to accommodate to the many needs of the thousands of people who take part. Today, the challenge is writing those 50k words in the month of November. What you write is up to you. Revision, biography, travel guides, plays. You can write anything. You can even start writing before NaNo, as long as you do write 50k words during November.
It’s really up to you. There is no judges or prizes with NaNo except your personal satisfaction.
From 2011 I’ve been a rebel. That means, I’m writing 50k words, but not as the first draft of a novel. These four years in between I’ve been revising Ghost Trilogy. This year I’ll be rebelling very hard and will be not only revising, but writing new posts for this blog. I whole lot of new posts.

This is what I plan.


Give in to the Feeling

Mock up cover
Mock up cover

This is the very first story I wrote featuring Blood, Michael and Susie back in 2009 and it’s about how Blood and Susie met and fell in love.
The story has been completed for four years, but lately I started thinking I’d like to revisit it. So many things have changed over these years. The characters have hugely evolved and I learned so many things about the 1920s I didn’t know when I wrote this story.
This is what I’m doing right now: rewriting - and let me tell you I didn’t expect to enjoy it so much. True, the plot is basically the same, I didn’t change much in terms of plot. But the characters!
When I first wrote this story, it was mostly a characters study. I was planning a novel with Blood, Michael and Susie (not Ghost Trilogy, that came later on), and I wanted to try the characters even if I thought I had a pretty clear idea of them. Still I struggled to find a balance, to pinpoint what each character wanted and what space I should give to each of them.
I thought the result was pretty good, but guess what! After five years of working with these characters, I know them so well, it’s pure pleasure writing them. They have also evolved so much that some episode simply don’t sound like them any longer and I had to rework them. I also changed the central conflict of the story (now it’s much more about Susie and her choices) and the motives of all the characters. Well, it is the same story… though I’m not sure it is the same story…

One of the many reasons I wanted to rewrite Give in to the Feeling is that I want to edit it with a professional editor. It is manageable and affordable and I’m really anticipating it, because this is something I’ve ever done before. And if it turns out good enough, I’d like to try and self-publish it.
So I plan all kinds of new experiences around this project. I’m really excited.


Jazz Age Jazz

Last April I took pat in the AtoZ Challenge, for which I thought I was prepared enough. Insert hysterical laughter here.
Don’t get me wrong, I had done a lot of work in advance (hence why I thought I was prepared), but in the end that barely allowed to go through the challenge (and there was a moment in the middle of it I really thought I wasn’t going to make it). Because most of my time was taken up by taking notes, writing and revising articles, searching for suitable photos, look up references and posting the damned thing, I ended up having little time for true networking. I ended up sticking with a handful of blogs - truly awesome ones, I enjoyed them a lot, but I know that AtoZ could have been a much larger experience if I had been better prepared and I had to do less of the leg work while taking part.
So, since I’ve already decided my theme and I even figured out most of the letters, I’m going to write all my posts during NaNo.
I’ll be blogging about early jazz, in a series of posts heavily influenced by Kathy J. Ogren’s beautiful social history of 1920s jazz. It’s a subject I don’t know as much as I’d like, so I’m really looking forward to writing and researching and later on adding some more to my posts.
Oh, and since I’m still missing letters E, V, Y and Z, if any of you has a suggestion, let me know please (no artist, I’d prefer to avoid using people as entries).


The New Woman's New Look Logo

The New Woman’s New Look

Guys, let me tell you I didn’t expect the enthusiasm you showed me for this series. It’s true, I put a lot of effort into it and it means a lot for me that many of you pointed this out. That some told me it was well worth the wait. That they learned new things from the series. This is what it is all about. Your appreciation is what makes this all worthwhile… I just wanted to tell you.
There will be at least four more entries in the series. I have a lot of notes already taken, but since I’m trying to make it as organic as possible and avoid repeating the same concepts in different posts, there’s still quite a bit of work to do in terms of organization. Then I’ll have to write it. And that’s where NaNo comes in.


A few tags and challenges

I’m behind with a few tags and challenges I’ve gather over the summer, and since it will never be said that I don’t take up a challenge when it comes my way, I’m going to write them during NaNo.

  • A Day in the Life Photo Challenge (thanks to Celine) – The Cliffs of Moher.
  • Photo Chalelnge (thanks to Celine again) – My routine day in Verona
  • 777 (thanks to Lucy Flint….) From the new story?
  • Siblinghood of the World Bloggers (thanks to Sara Letourneau). Sara actually left this one openes, but since it is such a nice challenge, I’d like to take it up.

And I won’t be writing the Spooktacular Challenge (thanks to Ed) because that needs to be ready by the 31th October.


NaNoWriMo Updates

Last year I did a parallel challenge during NaNo, posting an article about my NaNo experience every day. Since I think I have more then enough on my hands already this year, I’m not going to do it again. But I’d like to let you guys know where I am in the challenge, so I’ll try to be good and post one update a week.


Lots of odds and ends

I’m telling you, when you decide to write 50k words of blog posts (even if some 11k are really a short story) you don’t really know what you’re doing.
Because I was starting to realise what I was doing, last week I sat down to plan my posts and organise my 30 days as best I can.
It’s going to be a hell of a lot of posts!
There are a couple of interviews, characters intro I want to write, a new ‘About this blog’ page. Presentation material for Give in to the Feeling. At least one more post about the 1920s, inspired by a book I’ve read and will be about the Scopes Trial. I’m also coming up with more posts about the 1920s, though at the moment I’m still deciding about the subject matter.
You know? I’m not sure I’ll make it this year… but I’ll try!

So, you now also know what I’m planning for this blog. this November I’ll probably won’t be as present on here as I normally try to be, but don’t give up on me!

Anyone else doing NaNo?

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