NaNoWriMo: WON

After a month of tireless writing and constant panicking over word counts, I officially crossed the 50,000-word threshold at around 5:45 this morning.

I have participated in a total of eight NaNoWriMo and Camp NaNoWriMo sessions, and of those sessions, I have won six times.  But never have I felt this proud of myself at the end of the month.

I have truly immersed myself in my screenplay this month and learned more about myself in the process.  I have spoken more to my characters than I have to real, physical people.  I have been slowly going insane.

So basically I’ve just been doing normal writer stuff.

I feel a strange sense of freedom now that I’m not tied to a prescribed word count quota.  I find that writing about 500 words a day (as opposed to 1,667) generates the best quality of writing from me, even if the total project word count does go up slower.  So I think I’m going to stick with the writing schedule I developed during this month, but I’m going to give myself a 500-word daily goal instead.

I apologize if this post was a bit messy, it is still very early in the morning and I have post-NaNoWriMo adrenaline.

Congratulations to all you NaNo winners!  And if you didn’t reach 50K this month, don’t despair!  Stick with your story and you’ll get there!

More later,



NaNoWriMo: Closing In

After a month of nearly nonstop literary self-doubt, I finally breathed a sigh of relief this morning when I realized my screenplay has a beginning, middle, and end.

That’s more than I could say about any of of my previous NaNo novels on 27 November.

I know each character’s backstory.  I know their primary struggle over the course of the story.  And, most importantly, I know where they end up just before the credits roll.  It took a lot of headaches, word sprints, and confusing moments of panic to get here, but who cares about that now?  I’m here.  And this is the closest I have ever come to creating a story people will actually listen to.

Now, I know there are more headaches down the road.  In fact, I probably won’t feel this confident about completing my screenplay until I type “THE END” at the end of my Scrivener document in big, bold letters.  But at least now, I have some type of road map to follow instead of just feeling around aimlessly in the dark.

As of right now, 27 November 2016, this year’s NaNoWriMo has been an overwhelming success.  Will I have a finished project by the end of the month?  Not even close.  But will I know what to do to get to that finished project?  Absolutely.

So I will continue writing these next few days with more fervor and excitement than I have all month.

Happy NaNo-ing, everybody.  We can do it!


NaNoWriMo, Weeks 2 & 3

First of all, I have a totally legitimate excuse for not updating last week.

I have been insanely busy.

And not just normal busy.  Really, really busy.

So this entry is going to be a summary of both this week and last.

My Current Word Count: 38,443 words (slightly above quota, for once!)

Last week, I was having a lot of difficulty getting my head in the right place for writing.  My only writing time was in the late afternoon, and by that point I was often so mentally exhausted or preoccupied with the events of the day that I just couldn’t write that much.  So I decided to start waking up early and writing before I even washed my face in the morning.

Surprisingly enough, this was incredibly effective.  My inner-editor was as tired as I was in the early morning, so I wrote quicker and more freely than usual.  Most days, I’d have my word count goal reached before I even left the house.

Then the super-busy week from Hell came and I was barely getting enough sleep.  I slept in more than I should and I had absolutely no time to make up for it in the afternoons.  As my novel statistics below show, there were several days where I didn’t reach my quota and, as every NaNo participant knows, if you’re behind one day, you’ll be working double-time to get back on track.screen-shot-2016-11-23-at-8-43-00-pm

But I’m glad to say that as of tonight, I have officially met my quota for the first time in days.

I am by no means close to the finish line with this project, but I know I’m on the right track and, despite the setbacks, I consider this session of NaNoWriMo to be the most successful one I’ve participated in so far.



NaNoWriMo, Week 1

Due to my fabulous time management skills, I have about five minutes to write this post.

So I apologize in advance–to all of you.

A week into NaNoWriMo 2016, I am less than impressed with myself.  I have spent way too much time doing non-writing things and way too little time doing actual writing.


This happens every year at some point, I know, but I really thought it would be different this year.  I just put my two year-long project on the shelf to work on this screenplay and now I’m feeling like the guy who left his wife for another woman only to discover that this new woman is certifiably insane.  Which, coincidentally, is something that actually happens to one of my characters in this new NaNo project.

The reason this NaNoWriMo is so difficult this year is the same reason I temporarily stopped working on my novel–because writing just doesn’t feel fun anymore.  It feels more like a chore than something I enjoy, even though I know that it’s not.

Writing is hard.

And…my five minutes are up.

Anyone else in the same boat here?  What gives you motivation to keep writing?  Please, help!


And So, It Begins…Learning Swiss German and Canadian French

The main character in my upcoming NaNoWriMo novel hails from Zürich, and, in doing research of that city, I’ve found I’d quite like to visit someday.

So I’ve officially decided to start learning Swiss German.

And I just know I’ll find myself in Montreal someday, so I should probably brush up on my French as well.

My posts on here have gotten more and more erratic in the last few months, but I’ll try to update more, especially with NaNoWriMo coming up and this new language-learning journey about to begin.

So, if anyone knows of some really great online Swiss German and Canadian French learning resources, please let me know.

Also, exciting announcement: the rough draft of my novel is officially done!  Actually, it’s been done for quite a while now, but today was the day I decided would be the deadline several months ago.  I’ll admit, when I wrote the words “YOU’D BETTER BE DONE” on October 28th in my calendar I didn’t really believe I’d be able to do it.  But I have.  And it feels wonderful.

I purposely took a little hiatus from my novel about a month and a half ago, after I finished my rough draft.  I had a new idea for a completely different type of novel and I wanted to explore that a bit before I returned to the mind-bending work of editing a 150,000-word monstrosity.  I’m planning on writing my new novel idea this November, and after that, who knows?  I’m really excited about both ideas, I guess we’ll just have to see which one develops into proper book form first.

Whew, this blog post is kind of a mess.  That’s okay.

Bye for now,


Novel Excerpt: Livy’s Dream

This is an excerpt from the first draft of my novel (which does not yet have a title).  Enjoy.


By: Millie

The man on the opposite side of the compartment had resumed his reading and the woman was still sleeping peacefully away.  Livy settled back, breathing deeply for the first time since she and Elizabeth said their good-by’s.  How nice, she thought.  How sweet.  I rather like it here.

Livy’s eyes began to close and soon she was inches away from sleep, eagerly awaiting.  In the final moments before she drifted away, she remembered something.  It was really important, and it was really urgent, but it slipped from her head before she could properly remember it.

In her dream, her mother was sitting in her tangerine convertible.  Her lips were painted so beautifully—she must have spent hours before the mirror to get them just right—and they smiled brightly as Livy approached the vehicle.  A pair of large sunglasses rested gently on her nose and cloaked any and all evidence of her eyes.  Livy frowned when she couldn’t see them.

“Mama, I can’t see your eyes,” she said, opening the passenger door and climbing into the seat.

Her mother shrugged.  “They’re working fine for me!”

“But I want to see them,” Livy said.  “I haven’t for such a long time.”

Her mother sighed and looked down at the floor of the car.  She stayed there for a long while, her right foot dancing off and on the gas pedal but never pushing it down.

“I don’t have any idea where I’m taking this car,” her mother realized, her lips falling open in shock as she turned to Livy.

“Don’t you have a map?” Livy asked.

Her mother shook her head.  “I was hoping…You would.”

“Nope,” Livy said.  She bit her lip.  “I’m afraid we’re both in trouble.”

Her mother’s lips curved into a delicious grin and she threw her head back in laughter.  “Oh, you funny girl!” she cried.  She reached a hand out to pinch Livy’s shoulder hard.

“Ow!” Livy cried, and her mother withdrew her hand, returning it to the steering wheel.

“Well, I hope you’re ready for a scrumptious adventure,” her mother said.  “Ready?”

Livy nodded vigorously, and her mother stomped on the gas pedal with what looked like incredible force.  The convertible careened forward with a nauseating screech, and soon they were driving up the driveway with enough speed to make the nearby trees look like blurs of green in Livy’s periphery.

“Stop!”  Livy screamed.  They were drawing closer and closer to the house with every second.  “Stop the car!  We’re gonna crash!”

Livy looked frantically over at her mother, who was wielding the steering wheel with a malicious smile and paying no heed to her daughter’s concerned words.  Livy turned back to the ever-approaching house, her heart pounding and eyes watering.  “No!  Stop!  Stop the car!  Mama, stop the car!  Stop!”

Livy gasped as she opened her eyes, lifting her head from the train seat.  Clair was looking down at her with an expression of worry and Fabian was still reading his newspaper.  “Are you alright?” he asked.

Livy blinked slowly, sitting up.  “Y—Yes, I’m fine,” she said.  Her heart was still beating rapidly in her chest.  “Just a nightmare.”

Clair nodded and turned back to look at the sleeping woman.  Livy turned away and looked out the window, watching the fields of grey stone and silver water rush past.  So much for the trees.

Before she could stop herself she was crying again, her fingers running over the spot on her shoulder where her mother had so harshly pinched her in her dream.