Saturday, November 8, 2008

1k-a-day Day 8

Okay everyone, it's a start of a new 1k-a-day week! The good news is, each week starts on a weekend. WOOHOO. The bad news, at least for me, is that I'm out of town this weekend. Make sure to still post your word counts. Tracy should be posting Day 9 tomorrow.

I checked out the great word counts for week 1. You guys rock! I was blown away. We will be announcing the winner when I get back into town Sunday evening. For those who win, all you have to do is email us at (there's a link on the side bar to your right) and list your name and address. I'll do the rest! WOOHOO!

Have a great Day 8!


Alright, fearless leader - enjoy your weekend!

I woke up this morning to a skiff of snow on the ground and a goal of 2k today to make up for my absolute lack of writing yesterday night. Sigh. Going out with friends is so much fun - but messes with my 1k-a-day schedule of no life - just write.

Tracy's Day 7 WC: 445
Tracy's overall WC: 6085

Mindset: Where's that coffee? Why do I have a headache? Oh, right. Gotta suck it up and crank out the words!

Tracy's Day 8 WC: 1602

Good luck everyone!

Friday, November 7, 2008

Keeping the Pace

As we all fight our way to the monthly goal, it’s important not only to have the 1,000 a day, 30,000, or 50,000 words in sight but to keep the pace of your story and writing. I’ve learned a lot about myself and my writing the past three Novembers and the fourth is no exception. For all of you who are new to word count challenges, or even just keeping a healthy pace the rest of the year, I thought I would share a few things I’ve found helpful.

  1. I know it’s hard to do, but try not to focus on your word count. If you just let your fingers fly over the keys, you’ll find your mind will just get into the story. The more focused on the story, and not the words, you’ll be surprised how fast the word count climbs.
  2. If you’re still having trouble, put on some music. I find headphones are better than speakers because it feels like I’m in my own little world.
  3. If you must concentrate on word count, I suggest word wars. You can do word wars over email, IM or even Twitter. Find a friend, set a time to start writing and duration. I’ve written amazing amounts of words in a mere 5-10 minutes. You’re forced to just have a word purge.
  4. Don’t focus on editing. I’m finding this is my main problem this year. Since I started this book when I wasn’t worried about word count, but about each little word, I’ve found it’s been hard to break that habit. It’s resulted in low word counts, but also stiff writing. I never seem to get move, get into the flow. Editing is what December is for.
  5. If you have a few extra minutes waiting at the car wash, bank, etc. think about your next scene. Try to write it out in your head, or better yet jot it down in a notepad you keep with you. (You keep a pad of paper and pen handy, right? RIGHT?) I find that if I have pictured my character going through my next scene, when it comes down to writing it I just have to focus on the actual typing NOT what my characters are doing next.
  6. This might be the most important rule. COMFORT. Comfort not only in what your character do or who they are, but the outcome of you story. You need to feel comfortable with the direction you’re taking your story. There will be bumps in the road, there will be unexpected characters and scenes, but you must feel comfortable with taking those directions. If you don’t feel comfortable with the story, your characters and readers won’t either.
  7. Comfort again, but this time in your surroundings. Make sure you desk is clean, your seat is adjusted and your fingers/wrists feel comfortable while typing. Sitting in a chair in front of a computer is not healthy. Make sure you get up and take a break at least once an hour. Get a drink, play with a pet, read a chapter of your favorite book! Just make sure you find time to fit them in. Trust me, you will feel more refreshed when you get back and will help your overall word count. By the end of November, you won’t want to sit in your chair for weeks.

I hope this list helps you accomplish your goals this November!

1k-a-day Day 7

Okay everyone! Today is the big day. Don't forget to post your weekly word count by 11:59PM PST TONIGHT to be entered into this week's free books contest. We'll be giving a book to the top TWO word counts this week because YOU GUYS ROCK. Here are the books up for grabs this week. Winners get to choose!

Have a great day everyone! I look forward to seeing the amazing counts for week 1!

Tami's day 6 word count:
Tami's November word count: 6,176
Overall word count: 30,868
Cups of coffee drank: Okay, I've decided to change this since most of the Halloween candy is gone. BOOOOoo! I drank 2 cups of coffee and had chocolate covered coffee beans for dessert tonight. Do those count?
Music: Death Cab For Cutie...can never go wrong with these guys.
Mindset: I was pretty busy at work today and had plans tonight. Not a good mix. I also write my blog posts for Fridays on Thursdays (if only those words counted toward my goal!) So, enough with excuses. I'm ashamed I didn't do better today.
Tami's day 7 word count: will post my word count later
Tami's Week 1 word count: will post my weekly word count tonight!

Okay Tracy! How did you do yesterday?


Well, we were both in a slump yesterday - but at least you met the goal, Tami. I didn't quite make it. Have fun this weekend, but try to write, too! This daylight savings thing makes me sleepy at 7pm. I hate it. Maybe I'll have to start fak'n'baking to get some sun in my life.

Tracy's Day 6 WC: 804
Tracy's overall WC: 5640

Mindset: This morning I've been writing since 5am and hopefully I'll sneak in some coherent words when I get home tonight. The weekend is mine to write, write, write and so I hope to get close to 2000k on Saturday and Sunday.

Tracy's Day 7 WC: 445

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Week 1's Free books list!

Okay everyone! Here's the fun part! FREE BOOKS!!!!!!! Tracy and I have decided to give away TWO free books this week! All the word counts were SO impressive, we couldn't just give a book to the leader. We will be giving away a book to the top TWO word counts for week 1.

Make sure to post your week end word count to Friday's comments to be entered.

Here's the list of free books the winners have to choose from. Click on the titles to find out more about each book:

How To Ditch Your Fairy by Justine Larbalestier
ttyl by Lauren Myracle
Tithe by Holly Black
Valiant by Holly Black
Honey, Baby, Sweetheart by Deb Caletti
Platinum by Jennifer Lynn Barnes
When Lightning Strikes by Meg Cabot

Good luck everyone!

1k-a-day Day 6

Ahh, hump day. Why are you so cruel? Hump day (Wednesday and day 5) was an odd one for me. I couldn't get into the groove. Couldn't find the creative energy. How do you find the creative energy when it just isn't there? I sit at work (surrounded by creative people in a creative environment/industry) and can't seem to feel the spark. Do you know what I'm talking about? It's almost like the a-ha moment!

Anyway, I hope all of you faired better than I did!

Tami's day 5 word count:
Tami's November word count: 5,162
Overall word count: 29,854
Pieces of Halloween candy eaten: Only 2! WOOT for me! Must...start...running!
Music: Vampire Weekend again (maybe I need to listen to something different tomorrow. They're just so catchy I find myself singing along instead of writing).
Mindset: I felt like I would write a lot today, but when it actually came down to putting fingers to keyboard, I just couldn't get it done. I'm in an odd part of my WIP, which I'm sure doesn't help. My characters are tredging lightly into a new relationship. I think the he said/she said format is getting to me and I just need to let the words flow. I felt like I was on such a roll for chapter 7 & 8 and now I've hit a bumpy patch. I'll work my way through it, it's just frustrating right now.
Tami's day 6 word count: 1,014

Later today I'll be posting the first group of books that can be won this week! Check back throughout the day for the list. It includes some great new and old YA titles. I'll also be posting a non 1k-a-day post tomorrow, so be on the look out!

Okay Tracy! How was hump day for you?


Well, hump day wasn't awful - but I did have to lock myself in my office (and the real world out) to get my 1k done. But I did! And I wrote lots of notes for today's 1k. I don't know how many times I've plotted and re-plotted, jotting pages of notes and then used only a smidge of the ideas. Thank God for coil notebooks. And trees. And recyled paper.

Tracy's Day 5 WC: 1021
Tracy's overall WC: 4836

Mindset: I am super keen to write today - inspired by the release of an author blog created by my publisher - and dreaming of seeing my book promo'd on it one day. Here's the link: Tami, I feel your pain. When I get stuck on a chapter, or scene - I try to remember....hard writing makes for easy reading. Good luck today to all the 1k-a-day-ers and Nano participants!

Tracy's Day 6 WC: only 804 words today :(

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

1k-a-day Day 5

Day 4 was way too hard for me. I hope all of you were able to write despite the US Presidential Election. Unfortunately for me, I did not. I had a few words, but not enough to even count. I will say, it was worth it! I am proud to be an American tonight and proud to live in a country that elected an African-American president.

Tami's day 4 word count:
Tami's November word count: 4,100
Overall word count: 28,792
Pieces of Halloween candy eaten: A lot. Unfortunately, it didn't help me write.
Music: Vampire Weekend again
Mindset: I was too distracted with and later by the TV coverage. Then my favorite hockey team played a rival tonight that I could not miss. I feel shame...but tomorrow is a new day and I will try and make it up!
Tami's day 5 word count: will post my word count later

Okay Tracy! How did you do yesterday?


Well, considering my TV was commandeered by my social studies teacher husband who watched election coverage all night - I had nothing to do BUT write. :) So yesterday was my banner day thus far.

On a side note - I'm organizing a group of friends to go and see Twilight when it comes out this month. I want to go opening night - just to see how the teen girls react - why am I picturing Elvis/Edward-I-Love-You type screams?

Tracy's day 4 WC: 1343

Tracy's overall WC: 4836

Tracy's Day 6 WC: 1021

Bring on DAY 5 - cause we're all still ALIVE! (Okay, original poet I am not.)

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

1k-a-day Day 4

I don't usually talk politics, but before we get down to business I wanted to ask all Americans to get out and vote today! It's a right we have here and we need to take full advantage of that right!

::climbs down off soapbox:::

Now onto our regularly scheduled program. Day 3 was harder than days 1 and 2. But how much hard is what you have to ask yourself. The good news is, day 4 should feel a lot like day 3. A routine can be started at this point, understanding the balancing act. Letting it work for you, not against you is the key.

Tami's day 3 word count: 1,032
Tami's November word count: 4,100
Overall word count: 28,792
Pieces of Halloween candy eaten: Waayyy to many. Stupid co-workers bringing leftovers to work! They're all to blame. ;)
Music: Vampire Weekend and Jakob Dylan
Mindset: I felt like I would have a ton of time today at work to start my 1k. Usually my days are slow. Of course today was just busy enough to keep me from writing. A Microsoft Word scare happened (I haven't gone through a November without one in the last 4 years), but all is okay! My word count wasn't great today, but I'm happy for each of those words.
Tami's day 4 word count: 0

Okay Tracy! How did work and 1k-a-day mix for you?
Good luck to everyone on Day 4! Remember,!


How did is work for me? Oh, girl, it was tough. Especially making supper. I'm feeling some takeout coming on next week.

Tracy's Day 3 WC: 1206
Overall WC: 3493
Mindset: hurried and blurried and writing this post from work...bad, I know. Hopefully I'll bust through the 1300s today when I get home and hide away in my office. :) I'm newly inspired as my hubbie bought me some models from the movie, Dracula - and yes, I took them out of the box.

Tracy's Day 4 WC: 1343 words today. So long 1200s!

Congrats to everyone hanging in there!

Monday, November 3, 2008

Script Reading: Pregnant with Learning Opportunities

It started with a chair - a butt-worn, chocolate stained chair – so old it didn’t have a cup holder. I sat in it while watching the movie, Juno, at our small town movie theatre on a cheap Tuesday night - and I was blown away.

I was in awe of Diablo Cody’s slap-happy dialogue, and the actors who so casually delivered line after snarky line. This, I thought, was going to change the way I write. And it did – once I bought the script.

I’d never read a script before. I didn’t even know you could buy them until I searched one day, looking for the Juno DVD, and found the script. I ordered it from my local bookstore and a few weeks later it was mine.

Scripts are a bare bones kind of thing. Stark. Filled with strange formatting. Still, they have much to teach - especially if you need to beef up your dialogue. There’s nothing like reading the back and forth between characters – stripped of all narrative and dialogue tags - to show you, that with good dialogue, you can eliminate pages of needless exposition from your WIP.

It ended with a chair - my “office” chair, with my butt in it, and me – writing noticeably improved dialogue.

Want to read a script from your favourite TV show or film? Can’t find it to purchase? Try this fabu website:

1k-a-day Day 3

The first 48 hours down. How do you all feel? It seems all of you have been rockin' the word counts! Congrats!

Now onto business! Day 3 may come as a shock to some of you. The weekend went great, but now comes the hard part. The part when our real lives take over and we have to balance work with writing. I know you can do it!

Tami's day 2 word count: 2,038
Overall word count: 27,760
Pieces of Halloween candy eaten: 4 (doubling day 1's candy count...not good)
Music: My Eels catalog as always when writing in Pence's POV
Mindset: Actually, today was a long, hard fought battle but LOVED it. I sat all day in front of the computer and didn't feel guilty taking a web-surfing break. It rained here in San Diego for the first time in I don't remember when. The greatest thing about day 2??? I FINISHED CHAPTER 10! I can't tell you how happy that makes me.
Tami's day 3 word count: 1,032

Okay Tracy! I'm throwing it to you...How did you manage on day 2?
Good luck to everyone on Day 3! Remember, squeeze in writing time when you can!


So it's day 3. Like Tami said - this is the real deal. Here, friends, making life sustaining meals, and walking two crazy Labrador retrievers so they don't get bored and eat another couch (I'm not even kidding). But we can do it. Because we're all freaking nutbar writers and we love it! :)

Tracy's day 2 WC: 1014
Overall WC: 2287
Halloween candy eaten: crap - nothing but Rockets left and Walmart changed over to Christmas stuff already - I hate that
Mindset: Really wishing we had a few more teeny tiny chocolate bars left in the candy bowl, but otherwise determined to meet today's challenge - chocolate or no.
Tracy's day 3 WC: 1206 words today!

Bring on the madness that is day 3!!! Go us!

Sunday, November 2, 2008

1k-a-day Day 2

I hope you had a great first day of 1k-a-day. As for me, I didn't do as well as I had hoped, but still hit the goal.

Tami's day 1 word count: 1,030
Overall word count: 25,722
Pieces of Halloween candy eaten: 2
Music: My Eels catalog as always when writing in Pence's POV
Mindset: Pretty good. Again, didn't get a ton of words but happy with the quality of them.

Tami's day 2 word count: 2,038 - took me all day but feel accomplished!

Okay Tracy! Your turn! How did you do?
Good luck to everyone on Day 2! I'll be posting my Day 2 word count later on.


Okay, well - Day 1 wasn't all giggles for me either, but I managed to meet the goal.

Tracy's day 1 word count: 1267
Overall word count: 1267
Halloween Candy eaten: tooooooo many :)
Mindset: Other than being miffed I have to do extra time on my treadmill because of Halloween movie watching and candy eating....I'm keen to write today. Chapter 9 will be beaten into submission, yes it will.

Tracy's day 2 word count: 1014 - just made it!

Good luck to our 1k-a-day buddies!