Category Archives: Books and Writing

Mid NaNo Update

It’s half way though NaNoWriMo and I’ve over half way through my novel. I hit 28k last night which is over half way to the goal of 50k but I’m concentrating on actually finishing my story this year. In years past I’ve hit the 50k without issue, but my story didn’t end until over 60k (and let me tell you trying to finish a NaNo without all the community support is hard).

This year’s novel is a different genre for me. While it’s not coming as easily as I hoped, it’s not nearly as hard as I feared.

I’m treading into the waters of dark fantasy. My main character is a young man who is hitting ‘second puberty’ where strange abilities are manifesting. He had no idea that he wasn’t a plain human, or that there was any such classification. Let’s just say he’s had an interesting couple of weeks thus far in the story.

The social side of NaNo is rocking this year, there are so many more events and even more people involved than ever before. I am truly thankful to have these folks in my life.

Good luck to everyone doing NaNo and to those just writiing, or to those who need a little luck today.

One More Sleep

NaNo is almost here again and I can’t wait.

Writing has taken over my entire life lately, so you’d think that adding NaNo would make me groan and say “Oh Gosh no, not more WRITING?!” Instead I’m energized and raring to go.

This year I’ve set myself a challenge. I’m writing form a young man’s point of view, in first person and it’s a fantasy. I’m going to delve into the world of mythologies that I haven’t really paid attention to much before.

Will I be crucified by the diehards for mashing canons or will I escape the noose by making my story believable enough to be forgiven.

Today, the ‘Eve Before Kick-Off’ I’m frantically putting the finishing touches on the games, packing the goodie-bags for transport to the venue (via transit no less) and making lists to make sure I don’t forget anything,

In addition, I’m testing out audio editing software and writing a newsletter or three for Fiction Therapy and SNB Consulting. (Why did I want to be an overachiever again?)

So – to test out my audio bit from my to-do list – here’s a little Welcome to NaNo 2010 I created this morning – enjoy.

NaNoWriMo Preparations

As my busy week draws to a close a new busy week begins and then it’s a month of absolute insanity as is about to take over my life.

What’s NaNo you ask?

I’m sure I’ve mentionned it before, but I’ll explain again because I love it so much.

Nano is a self-challenge to write a 50,000 word novel in the month of November. It’s Fun, It’s Insane and It’s a Blast.

Here in Vancouver it’s a huge event. We’ve already started the festivities. Last weekend was a pre-welcome and orientation session to give newbies a chance to ask advice and feel not so alone and old friends to reconnect without disrupting their writing frenzy.

This Sunday, on October 31st. We’ll have our kick off party at Moose’s Down Under. One of my favourite restaurants. Afterward, we’ll go home and wait. Some of us will hop on to our IRC channel and chat until the stroke of midnight. Once that clock hits 12 we’ll start writing.

During the month we’ll have all kinds of write-ins and social events. The Vancouver NaNo Group (also called has grown so big we have 3 MLs (organizers) and several mini-bosses (official volunteers who will help host events). We also have the IRC chat open so people who are writing from home can still participart in the social aspects of the month.

Then, at the end of the month we have two TGIO (Thank God It’s Over) dinners. One on Dec 1st and one on the weekend to make sure everyone has a chance to attend.

Seriously, if any of this appeals to you sign up and join the fun – it’s free (except for the cost of the food or drink you order at any of the hosting venues). The fundraising we do is to help the MLs regain some of the money they’ve spent on the goodie bags and such, anything left over goes to NaNoWriMo to help them keep the fun happening.

Sue The ML

Sue the ML will strike you with inspiration

I’ve been busy prepping the prizes for fundraising games at the kick-off event and helping the other MLs create the welcome goodie bags. Our theme this year is 8-bit games. Our amazing mini-boss of the internet has created 8-bit avatars of the volunteer team – here’s me (I’m adorable in 8-bit – who knew?) ———->

I’m super stoked about this year.It will be my forth Nano and hopefully my forth win.

I’m not a plotter, I tried once and failed miserably. I much prefer the thrill of the hunt for the next story line and the challenge of avoiding plot holes and not writing myself into a corner. Although this year, I seem to know more about my story than in years past.

I’m going to try writing fantasy – from a teenage boy’s point of view. I already know who my main character and his ‘infliction’ and have a couple of scene set ups in my mind. But, I also know that can all change once I start writing. Like I said, it’s the thrill of the hunt.

I’m off to do the Sunday Brunch Writing Prompts at Toasted Cheese, then it’s off to bag some goodies and do the final edit for one of out authors at PaperBox Books – whee, more books coming soon!! I can’t wait.

Bookcamp Vancouver 2010

It was a rousing success and well worth the rush hour commute to get there and back.

(I work from home. My commute is normally from my bed, to the coffee maker to my keyboard. The only traffic I encounter is having to wait for my house-mate to finish in the bathroom.)

I love writers.

We’re smart, observant and interesting individuals always with a story or three to tell. The passion and dedication we bring to the table is unmatched by anyone (except artists) simply because we do this for the love of what we do not for the expectation of profit.

This makes us innovators, entrepreneurs, work-around-ers, and highly, highly creative.

I was so impressed, as I always am, at the caliber of people in the book industry. Right from the folks who aren’t brave enough to put a capital ‘W’ when they call themselves a writer to the folks who make a living wage in books.

I want to give a shout out to some of the great folks I met/talked/listened to yesterday. (Unfortunately I had to miss a couple of sessions so this is a pretty short list)

The Book Broads – Angela Crocker, Perry Richardson & Kim Plumley
Books on the Radio – Sean Cranbury
Protagonize – Nick Boutin
Namaste Publishing – Mary Kellog
Toasted Cheese – Theryn
CBC – Canada Reads Hannah Clausen and Kimberly Walsh

Things I learned:

  • As an author it’s up to you to market your book. The publisher can do only so much before it’s time to concentrate on their next title.
  • Social Media helps to level the playing field between the big publishers and indie publishers.
  • Don’t be afraid to toot your own horn.
  • Don’t be afraid to toot your own horn. (most authors need to hear this at least twice)
  • Participate – Get out there an comment on other peoples blogs.
  • Have your own blog, write about stuff related to writing, your challenges, your triumphs, things you find interesting that might interest your audience.
  • Don’t just think about it DO IT!


Writer’s Block

I think I have writer’s block.

Not that you’d ever notice. I’m so busy I don’t have time to write, editing (other people’s work for PaperBox Books) website development (for PaperBox Books, Fiction Therapy, SNB Consulting Services and their clients), plus I’ve taken some shifts at the cafe (for fun and inspiration) and then there is the preparation for NaNoWriMo starting in 5 weeks (I’m one of the Municipal Liaisons this year).

Who has time to write?

Procrastination = Writer’s Block

Procrastination also = Editing-My-Own-Stuff Block

By not editing my own stuff, I’m delaying the release of my new novel out to the masses. Shame on me. I have at least 20 hours of heavy editing, then a few more of polishing before I can send it back to my proofreaders.

So today, I solemnly swear to work on nothing else but editing “Hiding in Plain Sight”… oh look my gutters need to be cleaned….

I’m Published Again

A few days before I left the East Coast, I received notification that one of my writing prompt pieces had been chosen for the “The Best of the Boards” in the September issue of the Toasted Cheese Literary Journal.

Toasted Cheese is a great writing community (with some really accomplished writers, myself not necessarily included) many who make an income (or even a living wage) from writing and editing.

The piece of mine they published is from the Sunday Brunch Writing Prompts. We gather in real time in an IRC chat room on Sunday mornings and are given 3 prompts and ten minutes to write using each one. There is a lot of of chatting and playful ribbing in between.

It’s fun, it flexes your writing muscles and enables you to get to know another circle of writers from across Canada and the US (other countries are welcome… the time zones just make it a bit inconvenient).

I feel I should warn you.

It’s not my usual genre. I don’t know what I ate for bed the night before, but for some reason I was feeling a little creepy that morning and while the piece is called ‘Quirky’ it’s definitely disturbing.

Time to edit

No more procrastination.
If I want my next novel up for sale in August, I have to finish my edits.

my table full of proofreader notes


So what’s all this on my dining room table you ask.

Well the stuff spread out is my current novel Each chapter times 3, in some cases times 6 (depending on how many proofreaders have seen it). The stuff in the stack is from my first novel The Problem with Jake and it’s young adult rewrite The Trouble with Jake.

The week after next, I start a new pile, as my editing group and I go through my new novel – working title – “Kiere”.

Still confused about my dining room table?

Well, after I finish my first draft, I let my novel sit for a few months. Then I got through it chapter by chapter and write a point form list of what happens. I find this gives me the chance to pick out story flaws and repeated information. Since I’m a pantser, I often don’t find out much of the backstory until I’m well into the novel. One of my major tasks during editing is to bring that information forward so the reader understands where I’m taking them (because honestly, when I wrote the draft, I had no idea myself).

Once this is done I re-write my book based on my notes.

The I submit my chapters in 20 page chunks to my editing group. They tear apart my story, its logic, science, emotional connections, wording, descriptions, dialogue and everything else they can find to improve. The sessions are grueling and at the end I have three copies of my chapters with three different sets of notes. That explains the mess on my table.

Now I sort through all the comments, decide which ones work and which ones don’t and incorporate the ones I need to. I figure it will take me at least a few days working full time to complete this edit before I send my manuscript off to another set of readers for their input.

Seriously, writing the book is the easy part!

When editing gets in the way

A few of my friends have been having this same problem lately. I’m kind of glad because it means that I’m not the only one, but on the other hand, this is becoming an issue.

How do you balance writing a new piece with editing an old.

I’d love to have the freedom to write without having to worry about editing. But if I want to put out 2-3 books a year, that’s not possible. I have to be constantly writing new material … and constantly editing older stuff to keep the publication cycle going.

So I’ll throw my question out to the interwebs – how do you balance writing and editing without killing your creativity?

6400 words

Hmmm – I gues I haven’t posted in a few days.

This time I have a good excuse. Well…. sort of. No, it’s a good excuse.

It was my turn to submit something for our editing group. I had to rewrite the end of the novel I’ve been editing. When I sent my first ending to the group they called me out for it. (You might remember me blogging about how I’d written the entire novel from Hillary’s point of view and then, after she screwed up, everyone went away to fix the problem and came back to tell her about it

So, while the ending was beautiful and seriously romantic, it sucked.

Yes, it tied up all the loose ends but it still sucked.

So it took me two complete sessions to write the new ending. Hillary, is now a key player in the climax and if it wasn’t for her quick thinking and fearlessness all would have been lost.

YES – SUCCESS – This time the heroine acts like a heroine and saves the day.

The sad part is that I have been trying to re-write this ending for a few weeks. It finally came down to the wire. It was Thursday night and I had written 1000 words and barely scratched the surface of what I had to do.

Friday was do or die day. I went into NaNo mode.

Out of respect for my writing group’s time, I had to get my piece to them by Friday night at the latest. So Friday, I dug in. I finished, did a brief edit and sent it off at 10:17pm. Total count for Thursday and Friday’s writing frenzy – 6399 words (plus a 23 word – ‘where-we-left-off’)

Sooo, why has it taken me so long to catch-up on my blog?

Saturday was an ‘away from the computer’ day. I had a Marketing Dangerously seminar out in Langley followed by a BBQ at my friend Rob’s place in Surrey. Sunday was my usual Toasted Cheese Sunday Brunch Writing Prompts morning, followed by an afternoon of fixing websites, talking to a potential new client, Skyping with my parents and recently relocated brother back East then our for dinner with friends. All interwoven with making arrangements with my new roommate.

YES – I’m getting a roommate

One of my best friends still back East is moving to Vancouver. I’ve very excited. He’ll be here in three weeks. It’s going to be so much fun having him around.

A walk, sun, chocolate and writing

Start to finish today has been a great day.

Even though I didn’t sleep the best last night, I was up on time and ready for action. Apparently, that mid-evening coffee last night, wasn’t a good idea after all.

First, I was able to implement some coding fixes for the PaperBox Books website that I found while testing the new website for Fiction Therapy.

Then, it was off to meet one of my partners in crime to scope out locations for the Kick-off for Yeah, yeah, we know it’s not until October 31st. But if the crowd last year was anything to go by, it’s going to be a full house (so we need to make sure we find a big enough house to put everyone).

Next, it was a side trip to the Purdy’s Chocolate Facility near the 29th Avenue Station. We told ourselves that the walk to the chocolate factory and back would burn most of the calories we were about to consume… we know we’re wrong, but we’re chosing to ignore that tiny little fact, so please let us!

Then it was off for a sugar induced conversation at the weekly write-in… well at least we all had our computers open to attempt to write. The conversation seemed to be a little more odd than usual and considering our usual conversations….

Now I’m reading a webcomic that I coerced a friend into letting me see. (seriously, I figure if he mentioned it, he really wanted me to see it 😛 so it was just a matter of twisting his rubber arm). Again he’s utterly failed at being horrible.

Then it’s off to bed. After all that walking today, I’d better sleep well. Gosh knows I need my beauty sleep.