Wednesday, December 29, 2010

2011 Goals

Here are my writing goals for the coming year:

  1. Edit Shiloh's Children well enough to show my family and friends
  2. Enter at least 10 writing contests
  3. Win NaNoWriMo 2011 with at least 100 words over the 50,000 words required
  4. Finish the first draft of Ten Plagues

I chose number 1 as a goal because my family and friends have supported me for over a year and I have yet to show them any of my novels. I want them to see what I've been working on and what they have been supporting.

I chose number 2 as a goal because I want to have plenty of  writing experience to put on query letters I will be writing in the future. A query letter is a letter that prospective authors send to publishers. It gives the publisher info about the book and the author's writing experience. Contest wins and past publications are part of the letter.

I chose number 3 as a goal because I have won NaNoWriMo for the past two years and it is loads of fun so I definitely want to do it again. But, I have always just barely crossed the finish line. In '09, I was 54 words over. In '10, I was only 4 words over. I want to win by a little more than that this coming year, even if it's just 3 digits over instead of 1 or 2.

I chose number 4 as a goal because I would hate to leave this novel unfinished due to my lack of dedication to it these past two months. I love the story and my main character. Even though the going is slow on this book, I want to finish it. 

Happy New Year!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Ten Plagues Excerpt

Ok, so, I'm at 3,300 words. That's about 50 words a day since my last post. HA! That's pretty darn bad. I think this month has just slipped away...I've been trying to finish classes and swim team is keeping me pretty busy. But school is on hold for now and there won't be as much swim so I can focus more on friends and family and writing. Thanksgiving was great but seems like a century ago. Christmas is in 6 days and I still have presents to get, friends coming for a visit, and two songs/one monologue I have to get ready for a Christmas Eve service. I am preparing for the busy week ahead but want to write about 750 words a day if possible (check out That would add almost 10,000 words to my novel by the end of December if I could muster (yes, muster) the time to write that much. Really, 750 is not hard at all. And translated into book form, that's about 3 pages. 

Here is an excerpt from the prologue of Ten Plagues. My MC is named Jendayi but is called Jen. She is nine years old.

After she finished her chores, Jen and Ebonique, Jen’s older sister by one year, were playing in the street. They lived just on the edge of the Hebrew community. In fact, their house nearly touched that of the Hebrew homes. They dared not enter the defined threshold, though. The Hebrews were slaves. And although Jen and her family were poor, they were not slaves and they did not share the same beliefs as the Hebrews – an even larger reason not to associate with them.
            “Ebonique, you better get in here and finish your chores,” Jamila called to her daughter.
            “You didn’t finish your chores?” Jen asked with a laugh.
            “Well,” Ebonique said, “Not exactly,”
            Ebonique ran back to the house and Jen sat on the sand, wondering what she would do now that her playmate had to go. She stuck her finger in the sand and started to draw a simplistic depiction of a little girl. She soon opened her hand, though, and cleaned her drawing slate. She drew a little triangle next as she thought about the pyramids that surrounded the area. But that did not take long so she erased it as well. She now had no inspiration.
           Jen lifted her head and started looking around for something to draw. She caught a glimpse of the Hebrew community as she sometimes did but she never looked for long. This time, though, her eyes did not bounce away from the eyes of a little girl, a Hebrew, staring back at her. The girl looked about the same age as Jen but she looked so different. She had lighter skin, blonde hair, and bright eyes. The girl smiled at Jen. Jen looked away. 

Merry Christmas
I'm going to go write now :)

Monday, November 8, 2010

A Slow Start

The first eight days of My Holiday Novel have gone by with. . .not much. I have written around 1,300 words which is. . .not much. And I am still in the first chapter which is. . . not much. At the same time, I did not set a word count goal for this novel or this challenge so I can't say I'm really behind or anything. I hope to finish chapter 1 by Wednesday, though. I have 10 chapters to get through and possibly an epilogue so I need to get a move on. That's a little more than a chapter a week and it has already been a eight days.

So, not off to a great start with this one but I am off to a start.

As far as the story goes, I do like the plot. I went with the Bible story idea. My novel is third person but I am focusing on a little Egyptian girl who sees firsthand the ten plagues that God inflicts on Egypt. Throughout the story, she begins to loose faith in her gods and goddesses and wants to know more about the Hebrew God.

Turkey day is this month! :)

Sunday, October 17, 2010

My Holiday Novel - Writing Challenge for the Holiday Season

Anyone want to join me? I am not naming a specific word count, although you can if you would like. I just want to write a novel for children over the next three months and hope to get someone to join me. My targeted age group will probably be 3rd, 4th, or 5th grade. I have an idea based on the old fairy tale The Water of Life and an idea based on a Bible story. 

If you would like to join, please let me know by commenting below or contacting me another way. I begin on November 1, 2010 and end January 31, 2011. To complete this challenge you must start and finish a children's novel in the alloted time. No word count is set, just complete the first draft of a children's novel. Please note that "novel" probably means more than just short story length; then again, that would depend on what age the children are you are writing to. 

If you are doing NaNoWriMo (as I often like to do but already did this past summer), you could kill two birds with one stone and write a children's novel in November having it count for both challenges. Or, just work on My Holiday Novel in December and January -- completely ignoring it in November. Or another variation... Whatever fits your schedule and your stories best. 

Please feel free to use this banner on your blog/website.

Happy Holidays!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Published! :D

I submitted a poem to Written World Communications' Starsongs magazine several months ago and was accepted. They just came out with their first publication of the magazine today which is the issue my poem is in.  I am really excited!! This is my first publication.

Here is WWC's site:

Here is where you can order Starsongs:

issue preview

Sunday, July 18, 2010

NaNoWriMo- the Final Days

Well... the last 11 days I was behind every single day. No joke. I would catch up occasionally and then the next day I would get behind again. Sometime around days 20-25, I would sit at the dining room table instead of on our Lazy Boy. Wow, what a difference achair can make. It actually had to sit up straight *gasp*. Needless to say, it helped a lot. I also did some "Nuclear Weekend" (See No Plot? No Problem! by Chris Baty) type writing where I set the timer for forty minutes and wrote as long/fast as I could and then take a twenty minute break. I repeated this process until I made it to 1500 words. Then, take a long break (eat a meal, watch TV, read a book, talk to actual people, etc.) and do it again with another 1500 words. Then take a break. Then write again. So, I did this a few times (even though I usually only did it twice in a day rather than three times) and it helped a lot.

The last five days of NaNo ended up being pretty interesting. We were staying at a little house in New Braunfels where there was no internet access. That was sad for a couple of reasons: no e-mail, no blogging, no research for the book. But, it ended up helping a lot. On day 27 I had approximately 14,000 words left. I wrote about 3,500 on that day, 4,500 on day 28, 2,000 on day 29, and 4,000 words on day 30. It was a killer and I doubt the last 14,000 words of my book are all that great. But they are written and I am a winner with a grand total of 50,004 words.

As far as the story goes (I haven't really blogged about it) here's a synopsis:  It opens with the birth of a girl named Shiloh Ella Smith in a small town in Michigan. Her dad is a Baptist pastor there. Shiloh grew up without even leaving the state. In fact, she never even left her city unless it was for one of the families summer trips to Lake Superior. In high school, she meets a boy named JJ Wilburn. They are friends at first but by the end of high school they are sweethearts. JJ is a year older than Shiloh but as soon as she is old enough, Shiloh goes off to school with JJ that is only a couple of hours from their home (and still in the state). When he graduates college, he proposes to her. She leaves school early to marry him and JJ takes over the preaching at the Baptist church Shiloh's dad was the pastor at. They have four kids, all of them named after cities/countries that Shiloh had wanted to visit. Their names are Sydney Australia, Seoul Korea, Paris France, and Dublin Ireland (in that order). They go to the lake every summer just like Shiloh and her parents did. Shiloh's happiness does not last long enough, though, as she and Dublin both die that summer. JJ shuts down and the remaining three children have to raise themselves. Years later, the three siblings end up traveling the world together to the cities they were named after. On the trip, they find out a lot about each other, their thoughts on the past, and their faith in something bigger than themselves. 

Sorry this post is so late! Thanks for all the support from my family and friends. It was a crazy month but so much fun. This book is going to need a ton of editing but it may take me more than a month the second time around :P

120 pages!

Saturday, June 19, 2010

NaNoWriMo Days 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, & 19

During days 13-15... I hardly wrote at all. I definitely didn't write more than 1,000 words on each of those days (out of the 1,667 words a day I am supposed to write). So, Mom motivated me on Day 17 to get with it. I ended up writing more than 3,000 words on day 17 :) and another 2,500 or so on day 18. Today, I was back to my low: about 1,000 words. I even went to a write in today where I only wrote 400 words :P but it was a fun visit with Amanda and Ann. I am going to try and write some more tonight and definitely write to and from church tomorrow.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

NaNoWriMo Days 8, 9, 10, 11, & 12

These past five days have not been easy. When I got to chapter four I went ahead and started on some of the events that were going to take place in chapter five. This got my out line off a bit. Just when I thought I would recover from that... I got behind in my word count when I missed almost all of day 10. Not. Good. So, yesterday, I managed to write about 3,000 words -- not to terrible to write but not exactly fun. But I am still over 1,000 words short today plus my word count for today. Ugh.

My grandma also wants to write a book. So, I am going to her house this afternoon and we are going to have a little write in together. I hope I can catch up a bit. I need to take some time and actually plan out a couple of chapters that are very empty right now and I have no plans for them. I outlined and wrote little one page synopsis for each of my chapters except two which are totally blank (other than the title). That won't be fun when I actually get to those chapters.

So, I'm behind in my word count and on out-lining. But this would be oh-so boring if I didn't get a little behind, right?!?

Monday, June 7, 2010

NaNoWriMo Days 4, 5, 6, & 7


Over the past four days I have managed to just barely get my daily word count in but I have managed to do it. For example, I am only 90 words above my daily quota today -- but I am not behind :) I also passed the 10,000 word mark yesterday which. is. AWESOME! I love the 10k word mark. It feels so good to have written that much in just 6 days. Plus, that means I only have to do that four more times to win, lol.

The saddest part of these past few days has been that I have had to let four, wait, make that five people die. One of them was just two years old. So very sad. I have, thank God, never had someone super, super close to me die (grandparent, parent, sibling, etc.). My great-grandma died and that was very sad at the time but I was only in, like, the third grade so it has been a few years since that experience. So I am worried that my writing about these deaths may not make a big impact on the reader. A good editor could help me with that though (and I would rather have to edit it a million times than my parents die in a car accident, if you know what I mean...).

I still have a lot of month left, and a lot of novel. I am having a bit of the IGAD (I've Got All Day) syndrome and it is taking me a couple of hours what should take me about 50-60 minutes. But the plot is picking up.This is going to get better... I think... right?!?

Thursday, June 3, 2010

NaNoWriMo Days 2 & 3

Yesterday, Day 2, went pretty well. I got close to finishing the first chapter (of 12) and got to my daily quota which is always nice, especially at the beginning of the month. I got a little discouraged in certain sections of my novel but then a few paragraphs later, I was happy with it. This went back and forth a few times yesterday. My main problem yesterday (and today) is that I was writing late at night trying to get the quota for the day before the day was over. Our power went out last night, though, so that wasn't very much fun and we had no internet so that meant, no blogging for Day 2, lol. The power didn't come on until about 1:30AM.

Today was not easy (to say the least). The best part of today was that I got to Chapter 2. But I had geometry class this morning so I didn't have the opportunity to write until the afternoon. Well, by then, I managed to fill up my afternoon with things that seemed oh so much more important than noveling at the time. When I finally got around to working on my book, I think it took me 1 and a half hours to write what normally takes me half that time (or less!). I tried using Dr. Wicked's Write or Die but stopped after about 200 words. After doing this twice, I just wrote directly on my Word Doc. trying to get at least close to the quota for today. I finally made it! But I am only ahead by about 35 words. My word quota for today was 5,000 words.

So, these past two days haven't exactly been smooth sailing. More days to come, though. The month has only just begun.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

NaNoWriMo Day 1

Today I began my own NaNoWriMo adventure (it is usually in November but I am doing it in June). I got off to a rough start this morning as I wrote nothing significant until about 4P.M.; I normally write in the morning. But all is good now and I got to my daily word quote: 1667 words. I am currently at 1765 :)
My book is about a family in Michigan that struggle with their faith. Through the course of the book I will talk about three generations with the focus being on the last generation. I am a little disappointed at the first few pages I wrote but the last three pages are pretty good.

One day down, 29 days to go.