cool pumpkins!Goodness, I just could NOT wait for this month to roll around! I love fall. It’s got gorgeous colors, the BEST and crispiest weather, it marks the beginning of a wonderful holiday season, and I especially LOVE how two awesome days are positioned back-to-back: Halloween (10/31) and the start of National Novel Writing Month (11/1)!


Your reward for a writing job well done! MM!

For all who don’t know, NaNoWriMo is the BEST month of the year, and I’m so super excited! What’s NaNoWriMo, you ask? It’s a month wherein we get to kick our inner critics and editors to the curb and write the novels we’ve always wanted to write. The goal is to hit 50,000 words by the end of the month. It’s time to be wild, uncensored, and creatively sexy.

And the best part? After you’re done writing a fat draft of your first (or next novel), you get to totally pig out at a Thanksgiving feast and then put up a Christmas tree! Sheer awesomeness, back-to-back-to-back. But enough gushing, let’s get into it! Here’s what I’m up to for NaNoWriMo and how I’ve customized it to my own goals. I’ve also included some helpful tips to help you get geared up for this month of writing and adventure!


NaNoWriMo Project: “The Final Page”

The Final Page Cover (front)So, my project for NaNoWriMo will be to finish the first draft of “The Final Page”, which is the second installment of the Books of Ezekiel series. I won’t spoil the ending of the first book, but let’s just say that things are going to get CRAZY intense for our protagonists as the alchemic war between Koa, Civilians, and Azures escalates!

I’ve got some kick-ass stuff planned for this book, including a deeper delve into Alchemy and into the Guilds that teach it, clashes of loyalties and honor, betrayal and lust, action-packed fight scenes, car chases, shoot outs, and of course, some horrific new world demons that all the characters, good and bad, need to tangle with. Currently, the Final Page first draft is already at approximately 70,000 words, but if I can add on another 50,000+ and also give some structure to the story by the end of November, I’d say I’m well on my way to having a final version out by this month in 2014! 😉 Wish me luck!

NaNoScriMo Project: “Ground Zero”

So, yeah, there’s no NaNoScriMo, officially, but there is NOW, yo. I’m declaring November the official “National Nova Script Month”. Nova, from the Latin word “novus”, means “new”. Yeah, I know I’m clever! 😉 Some of us might not be too into novel or prose writing and might just want to work on a fat draft of a script! So why not?

As I mentioned to you guys in my last update podcast, my company Rebel Ragdoll is expanding its reach and moving into filmmaking, and our first film is going to be a sci-fi horror-thriller. My delightful COO, Claire Zhuang, has put me in charge of writing and developing it. Oh boy, lol. The working title of this script is “Ground Zero”. Lol, talk about pulp_fiction_scriptpressure!

How am I going to get this done? Well, for my own personal NaNoScriMo, this is the structure I’m going to follow:

  • A week’s worth of plot and character development from November 1-8. I’m a firm believer that a basic (and yet flexible) plot and well-developed characters is a strong way to start writing a story. I’m getting some help from the B2S / Blake Snyder Beat Sheet, with some added structural input from Syd Field, Pilar Alessandra, and their helpful exercises. (If you don’t know what these exercises are, and if you have no clue who Snyder, filmreelAlessandra, and Field are, no worries! I’ll be blogging about these folks all month!)
  • Starting on November 9th, I’ll aim to write FIVE script pages a day! Yes, it’ll be challenging, especially alongside the novel writing. And since there’s no fantastic NaNoScriMo counter to keep me honest, I’ll have to report to you guys on my progress every few days! PRESSURE!!
  • At the end of the month, I hope to have an industry-standard 110 pages of screenplay to work with. It may not be pretty, but it’ll be done and ready for the first round of major edits. Overhaul City, here I come!

Now, hows that for a challenge? Wish me luck, because I’m definitely going to need it! I have a couple of tricks up my sleeve, though, to help me maintain my writing momentum and morale along the way. I’ve listed them out for you below, and maybe these tips will help you too!

Survival Tips for NaNoWriMo & NaNoScriMo!

The Lord Of The Rings_ The Return Of The King (OST) 1. MAKE a NaNoWri/ScriMo PLAYLIST: Every hero has a soundtrack. His personal soundtrack speaks his moods, dreams, and plays when he’s in despair or when he triumphs. Music keeps the heroic writer going, so put your playlist together, my writing Spartans. Go forth and conquer… with all the DJ-ish glory you deserve. My tunes? Lots of rock, techno, electronica, heavy metal, classical music, and dramatic movie scores and trailer scores keep this girl writin’!

2. SNACKS. And make ’em quick and easy. Go for the healthy stuff and the brain food, if you can. You’ll be sitting around for a few hours a day, so don’t collect lard on your butt while exercising your brain! My snacks? I love the simple stuff. Grapes, cheese, French bread, wine, nuts. I’ll post some writing food inspiration if I can, because I have some TO DIE FOR recipes for roasted brie and the sweetest bread pudding ever… did I say “healthy snacks”? To learn more about how to make this recipe, feel free to visit food blogs.

3. SCHEDULE IN YOUR WRITING! Pick your “on” times and use those to nanowrimo_desktop_calendar_by_pixiesailor-d31if90write. Try to get in a good solid two hours a day, if possible. If you loathe morning, it’s best to sleep in and work during your better hours, lol. My writing schedule? At the crack of dawn, between 4:30 AM and 8:30 AM. It’s calm, quiet, and my brain is bright and just COOKIN’. (Yes, I’m a little cray-cray.)

dietwitterdie4. LIMIT YOUR SOCIAL MEDIA TIME. Let’s face it. As much as I love blogging and tweeting and Facebooking, it’s a huge distraction that just eats away at our writing time. I’m going to try and limit my social media time as much as possible, unless it has everything to do with keeping the blog on life support or tweeting / posting briefly on NaNoWriMo. If you need to post often, then try out free social media managers like “HootSuite” or “SproutSocial”, wherein you can post a status or an article to multiple sites at once. If you have to, unplug the internet and turn off the phone while you’re writing. Check your social media when you definitely aren’t writing or can’t write, like when you’re on the treadmill, traveling from one appointment to the next, or taking the bus. Make time for watching Scandal and The Walking Dead, though, of course. That’s essential.

My nifty NaNoWriMo word counter!

5. GET A WRITING BUDDY. Keep each other on point, on task, and honest. Create a community that can make writing less solitary and more fun! TractableCat and some other dude are my buddies. You get some too! Also, use this nifty little NaNoWriMo word counter! I’ll be using it, and it’ll be a permanent fixture on right column of my blog until November 30th. You guys’ll be able to see if I met my goal or not! 😉

So that’s all I got for ya! Happy Halloween and Happy NaNoWriMo / NaNoScriMo! I’d love to hear about your experiences with this month, your tips, and your creative projects, so please post them below! I’ll be checking in and updating the blog about every 3 days, and I’ll also be active on my Facebook Page and Twitter, so hit me up there for some writing camaraderie and inspiration! And as always, in the meantime…

Keep it indie (and write on, rock on!),
<3 Colby