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Camp NaNo Update #2

I’m really bad at writing Camp NaNo updates. Part of my problem is that I want to wait until I’m done writing for the day to write them, but then I don’t finish writing until right before I collapse into bed, and that’s not really the best time to write a blog post. Since it’s been like a week and a half since my last update, though, I figure it’s probably best if I actually pull it together long enough to write this.

This past weekend (Friday afternoon until Monday afternoon), I was on vacation with my parents, my boyfriend, and my sister and her boyfriend. We rented a house on a lake, and we spent most of the time swimming and playing games. It was a lot of fun but not very conducive to writing. I had one good night of writing while everyone else was playing ping pong downstairs, but I still only managed to write 5,884 words the entire weekend.

Monday I drove back for my last class of the summer semester. I had a debate and a huge project due. I ended up getting an A on both assignments, and I learned that I passed the English GACE (the test that I needed to pass in order to get my teaching certification). I decided to spend the night relaxing and watching Buffy the Vampire Slayer with my boyfriend. Not a productive evening, but it was fun.

Last night I started being productive again. I wrote 7,893 words, which I feel is a good start on making up for the words I didn’t write this weekend. I have nothing to do for the next month, so I’m definitely going to be putting my all into writing. Well, writing and reading, because I have 3 library books out right now and 2 books that I promised people I would read and review. So, yeah, lots of reading to do, too. I’m definitely looking forward to the next few weeks. 🙂

For those who don’t know, here are my current stats for Tilt Your Head and Smile:

Total Words: 70,104
Average Words per Day: 4,382
Total Chapters: 13
Average Words per Chapter: 5,842

At this rate, TYHAS will be about 135k – a bit much for a contemporary/literary NA novel. Of course, my novels tend to get shorter with edits, so that’s comforting. I have this problem where I’m always afraid that I’m leaving out important information. I guess I have this other habit of trying to skip scenes that are too hard for me to write, and I end up taking the easy way out and wind up staring at my “finished” manuscript, which isn’t really finished at all. In an order to fight that, I try to force myself to write everything, even stuff that should really just be summarized, and that’s how I end up with super long novels. That’s also why draft 2 tends to be shorter.

I am starting to work on a different method of outlining, though. I still have my original outline, which is about 6,100 words long and is broken up into chapters and details what happens with each different plot line in that chapter. I tried to put those in order within each chapter, but some chapters need a lot of switching around/breaking up/combining in other ways. This is all fine with me, as it seems to be working for now.

But now what I’m doing is going back through and outlining each chapter more specifically right before I write it. In the past, I’ve just gone through and made my notes a bit more detailed. Now, though, I’m also going through and trying to figure out which parts need to be actual scenes and which could just be summaries. I just started doing this last night, but it definitely helped me finish that last chapter faster – but in a way that still made sense.

Camp NaNo update: Going nowhere fast

So I’ve realized we’re about to finish the first week of Camp NaNo, and I haven’t updated this blog once. It’s time to fix that. First, some stats:

Current word count: 31,509
Average word count per day: 5,252

That’s not bad considering the fact that I didn’t write at all on Friday because I was finishing up a major project that accounts for 20 percent of my grade in my online class and the fact that I only got an hour of writing done on the fourth of July because I was out of the house with friends all day. I’ve finished through chapter 5 in my outline, although one of the chapters is going to be broken up, as it’s about 11k all by itself, which is a bit ridiculous. If I split that into two chapters, my average chapter length is the same as my daily word count, 5252. That’s still a bit longer than my chapters usually are, but maybe that’s just the way this manuscript is going to go, because I actually think most of my chapters are about that long even when I’m not finding the average.

As a reminder, this month I’m writing yet another draft of my NA novel TILT YOUR HEAD AND SMILE. I first wrote this novel for NaNo 2011. I wrote the first 50k, changed the format halfway through, and wrote another 50k, bringing my total up to 100k for that draft. Then I rewrote it for JanNoWriMo, and that draft was again 100k. I got about halfway through editing that one and rewriting parts of it when I decided to work on something else.

That was all before I realized that New Adult was a thing. I was calling my novel literary fiction. Now I’m calling it contemporary NA. I changed the plot around some. I added a romantic subplot. The romance really is just one of the subplots, though, so I don’t feel too bad about adding it. And April is now going to be learning more about herself than she was in the last several drafts, so I’m excited about this version. I’m still going to have to do major revisions when I’m done with this draft (because I tend to ramble just as much in my drafts as I do in my blog posts), but I’m excited because I think I might finally have the basic plot of this one figured out.

Of course, part of the problem I’m noticing with this draft is that I’m 31k into it and only just finished chapter 5 out of 26. If I continue at this pace, this story is going to be like 137k, which is just a tad too long (read: way too long) for a NA novel. I’m starting to think my goal of 80k was a bit too low. Still, I remember this happening the first time I wrote this, too. I think I just need to get into my groove and it will figure itself out. Or I’ll just end up cutting thousands of words when I revise. I usually end up doing that, too.

That’s one thing I’ve noticed about my writing process: I’m great at adding words to novels, but I rarely actually make progress with those novels. I mean, really, I’m 30k into the novel, and she hasn’t even reached her “to hell with all of this” point that makes her start looking for a real job. This novel takes play between May 2010 and March 2012, and I’ve only just reached the first week of June 2010. And I’m at 30k.

I have problems.

Still, this is a first draft. Well, okay, this is a third draft. But still. It’s a draft. It’s my first time drafting this particular version of this novel. I don’t care if it’s good. I care if it’s done. I’ll make it good later.

And now, if you’ll excuse me, I have some writing to do. 🙂

Cover Reveal: Dead Run by Vanessa Booke

I’ve never been part of a cover reveal before, but I’m excited to be a part of this one. Vanessa ( @V_Bogie) leads a critique group that I used to be a part of, and I knew I had to help get the word out about her new novel, Dead Run. If you’re a fan of zombie novels and/or New Adult novels (and even if you aren’t), you should definitely read on!

First, a bit of background on the novel:

Carly

Carly Rios was supposed to go to college, forget about her first love, and live a normal life. That was the plan until the whole world went to hell and the dead started becoming…not so dead.

Forced to live in the same quarantine as her abusive stepfather, Carly is hanging on to life by a thread, as she dreams of a normal world outside of the community. But when tragedy strikes home, Carly has no choice but to try and escape with her brother Michael. On the night that Carly plans to leave the community, chaos erupts, causing her plans to backfire, unleashing the undead inside.

Now, Carly must reach out to Joshua Tremell, a man from her past, and the one who left her heart in pieces. Trusting Joshua is one of the hardest things she’ll ever have to do, but without his help it’s only a matter of time until Carly loses her brother Michael to the undead.

Joshua

Two months after returning from fighting over seas and coming home to face a world overtaken by the undead, Joshua Tremell is accustomed to death and losing the ones he loves. But when fate brings him back to his childhood sweetheart Carly Rios, Joshua realizes there are some things still worth fighting for.

Carly is the last person Joshua thought he’d ever see again, let alone in the same quarantine. Facing off shufflers isn’t easy, but the thought of losing the only girl he’s ever loved again, is even worse.

With a second chance at redemption, Joshua would give anything to save Carly and help her get her little brother back, but Joshua has more secrets than he can tell, and his past mistakes are bound to collide with the future he’s dying to earn.

For Carly and Joshua, crossing the wasteland is just the beginning…

*Mature Content Warning: 17+ for language, intense violence against the undead and adult situations.

 

So what do you think? Sound like the sort of book you’d want to read?

 

If you’re still not convinced (although, really, you should be), here’s the book trailer.

Hopefully, this sounds like the sort of book you’d like to read. If so, you can add it to Goodreads here!

 

And, of course, here’s the promised cover:

Character Monday: April Trindles (from TILT YOUR HEAD AND SMILE)

Okay, so, as someone might have noticed, I forgot to do Character Monday last week. I was reminded about it right as I was getting ready to walk out the door to hang out with some Wrimos for Memorial Day, and I didn’t get back until almost 2 in the morning. Instead of rushing to try to post something late, I decided just to skip last week.

Name: April Trindles

Novel: Tilt Your Head and Smile (Contemporary New Adult)

Age: 21

Appearance: About 5’8. Slightly heavy. Brown hair and brown eyes. When she’s going to an interview, she’s dressed in business attire. The further we progress in the novel, the more time she spends in her pajamas.

Background: April’s just graduated from college, and she finds herself moving back in with her parents and younger sister. She’s near her family and boyfriend, but she can’t seem to find a job, and that leads her slowly into depression.

Personality: Not a big risk taker. At all. Goes with the flow. Keeps her feelings to herself so she doesn’t bother anyone. Afraid to admit what she really wants out of life.

Why you should want to read her story: April was told that if she did well in school, she would do well in life. Now she’s learning that that was a big fat lie. Her dropout sister is doing better than she is. She’s in a relationship that doesn’t seem to be going anywhere. Her parents are sure to be disappointed in her. She’s the only one she knows (besides her father) who can’t find a job. Can she ever figure out what she wants out of life? And if she does, will she have the guts to go for it?

Playlist:
1. Down by Jason Walker
I shot for the sky
I’m stuck on the ground
So why do I try, I know I’m gonna to fall down

2. Shattered (Turn the Car Around) by O.A.R.
How many times can I break till I shatter?
Over the line, can’t define what I’m after
I always turn the car around

3. This is Your Life by Switchfoot
This is your life, are you who you want to be?
This is your life, is it everything you dreamed it would be

4. Downtrodden by Abney Park
I learned each virtue I was told
I worked hard to avoid the mold
But as I saw my life unfold
There was no place for me.

5. I Wish I Could Go Back to College from Avenue Q
I wish I could go back to college.
In college you know who you are.
You sit in the quad and think ‘Oh my god,
I am totally gonna go far’

Want to participate in Character Monday? Just write a post on your own blog and then click on the linky below and share the link to the post so the rest of us can learn about your awesome character!

Book Review: The Coincidence of Callie and Kayden by Jessica Sorensen

I feel a bit guilty including this as the first book that I read in the new year, as I read most of it in the past several days, trying to bring my 2012 total to 50, but I guess that’s okay. Now I’m starting the year with 1/52 books and 1/10 NA books read. There was a big sale a few days ago on YA/NA novels, and I found this for free and decided to give it a shot.

Title: The Coincidence of Callie and Kayden
Author: Jessica Sorensen
Page Count: 296
F/NF: Fiction
Genre: New Adult Contemporary

Rating: 6/10

Summary:
There are those who don’t get luck handed to them on a shiny platter, who end up in the wrong place at the wrong time, who don’t get saved.

Luck was not on Callie’s side the day of her twelfth birthday when everything was stolen from her. After it’s all over, she locks up her feelings and vows never to tell anyone what happened. Six years later her painful past consumes her life and most days it’s a struggle just to breathe.

For as long as Kayden can remember, suffering in silence was the only way to survive life. As long as he did what he was told, everything was okay. One night, after making a terrible mistake, it seems like his life might be over. Luck was on his side, though, when Callie coincidentally is in the right place at the right time and saves him.

Now he can’t stop thinking about the girl he saw at school, but never really knew. When he ends up at the same college as Callie, he does everything he can to try to get to know her. But Callie is reserved and closed off. The more he tries to be part of her life, the more he realizes Callie might need to be saved.

Opinion:
I’m not really sure what to make of this book. There were definitely parts that I liked. I liked Callie and Kayden and their best friends, Seth and Luke. I liked watching as Callie and Kayden dealt with their problems in their own ways. I’ve read a lot of stories where people have been hurt in the past and then miraculously get over it as soon as they find someone, and I’m happy to say that that’s not the case here. Their pasts weren’t just erased. I liked watching as they got to know each other more and fell in love.

That said, there were many aspects of this book that I didn’t like. First, Callie’s secret and the identity of the person who hurt her are extremely obvious, and I’m not sure if it was supposed to be or not. Kayden’s secret, as well, was fairly obvious. I also found it a bit strange that Kayden’s obsessing about the girl who saved him and then didn’t recognize her when he saw her, though his best friend did. Supposedly he didn’t recognize her because she had changed so much, but if his friend could recognize her, I feel like Kayden should have, as well.

There were a lot of typos and left out words in this novel, which might not bother other people but definitely bothered me. I found the entire story predictable and sort of clichĂ©d. That’s not to say that it was a horrible story, though. Even though it was obvious, I still enjoyed reading it. If you’re looking for a new, original story, one that makes you think about life and question the way you view others, this definitely isn’t for you. If, however, you’re looking for an easy read about people dealing with serious problems, you might want to give this one a chance.