Posts Tagged With: November

NaNoWriMo Countdown – 3: To Plan Or Not To Plan


For many people, the only way to get through NaNoWriMo is by extensively planning their novels ahead in October. Everyone seems to have a different strategy for doing this. While three days is perhaps a little too soon to start planning, it’s still enough time to get some sort of outline prepared.

I can’t sit here and tell you HOW to plan your novel and how to structure your outline because everybody has a different, unique way of doing it. You need to sit down and figure out what works best for you. I read a book once on ‘how to write creatively’ which basically said you shouldn’t read books on how to write. In a lot of ways – although a little ironic – this makes a lot of sense.

Figure out what works best for you. Experiment with your story lines and chapters, and don’t be afraid to take risks. Also, no amount of planning is ever too much. That’s really the only advice I can give.


The way I plan for NaNo may surprise some of you (especially if you’ve picked up on how obsessive-compulsive and anal-retentive I can be). You see, my plan for my novel is not to plan.

Sometimes I feel that writing out an exhaustive outline can be just that – exhausting. If you’re anything like me then you’ll equate an outline with as close as you can get to writing your novel without writing your novel. Since your novel is thus ‘quasi-written’, it can become awfully boring and dull to flesh it all out with sentences and paragraphs. I know it is for me.

I think that sometimes, dependent on how flexible you are willing to be with your outline, planning out a novel extensively can take away from the spontaneity of creating a novel worth reading. Chances are if it becomes a struggle for you to write, it will be a struggle for a reader to read.

The most planning I generally ever do is to acknowledge the end. As a writer, you have to know where the novel is going. As long as I know how the novel is going to start and how I want it to end, everything else will fall into place during the writing process. A lot of times, I don’t know how it will all tie together or how it will even progress, but eventually it all begins to become clear to me.

That, I think, is the beauty of writing. It’s as if my mind knows the novel, but I have to work and write and progress to uncover what my mind knows – which is really just another way of saying “it just came to me.”

So, for November 1st, I know where my novel will start. The first few pages, and probably even chapters, are mapped out in my head already. I won’t reach the ultimate fini during November (I generally aim for novels over 100,000 words), but I know where I want the characters and to be at the end and how I want the plot to go.

Exactly how everything is going to get there is still a mystery. But it’s my mystery. And I intend to inspect the hell out of it.

By the end, I should have something that resembles a novel and I won’t be tied down or held back by an outline. That’s more a comment on my inability to outline than it is a critique on outlining.

If planning and outlining is how you write and is what is going to get you through November, then all the power to you.

Good luck, everyone.

Let’s get ready to NaNo.

Till Next,


Categories: Life, Nanowrimo, Writing | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

NaNoWriMo Countdown – 4: What To Write…



This is me when NaNoWriMo is four days away and I have no idea what to write.

Yes. Here we are. It is October the 28th, 2014. A Tuesday, if you care.

It snowed all day yesterday, but was too warm for any of it to stick around. Today was equally drab. But, you’re not here to read about the weather in Saskatoon…are you?

Oh, you are. Okay. Well, last February (don’t quote me, I could be TERRIBLY wrong) or at some point in the last year or two, Saskatoon reached so low a temperature that, for a day, it was literally the COLDEST place on Earth. Colder than the Arctic, colder than the Antarctic and, with most certainty, colder than India (am I right, Shaun, or am I right?)

Seriously, though. You’re not here to read about Saskatchewan weather. You’re here because the title of this post mentions NaNoWriMo and you want to read something novel. (hahahahahah haha ha)

Do you know why Canadians are so prone to talking about the weather? It’s because weather patterns are unpredictable. You never know what to expect, or when to expect it. Change is so sudden, that weather is actually the most riveting discourse one can have (mostly).

But I digress.

Seriously. Let’s talk NaNo.


Do you see why I generally have no idea what to write for NaNo? It’s because instead of actually thinking about NaNo, I think about the weather. And the way my pinky has such trouble typing. And that cracked nail on my third toe. And…

Yeah. I may have ADHD. No, I really don’t. More like an aversion to planning. And thinking ahead.

So, when it comes to WHAT I’M WRITING for NaNoWriMo…it can change at a moment’s notice.

Right now, I think I’ll write the newest addition to my Demonria series, Saints of the Silence. This will be book number five for all of you who haven’t taken the time to check me out on NaNo and see that I wrote the first four books for previous NaNos (2007, 2008, 2010, 2012 – to be PRECISE).

I’m not really sure what point this post serves, except to say that NaNoWriMo happens in four days. Or three (technically) if you’re a picky jerk.


Honestly, I can’t believe I’ve written such a useless post. But this gets at the hardest part about NaNo – it’s choosing an idea that will carry you through the entire month. It’s creating a story that can keep you motivated to reach that 50,000 word mark.

If you’re like me, you’ll understand that the problem is not coming up with one idea but, rather, choosing one out of the plethora of ideas stored away in your head – not to mention all the new ones that pop up each day unexpectedly.

So, while I think I’ll be writing Demonria: Saints of the Silence, I really can’t say FOR SURE until November 1st. Call me crazy, but it works. (This is the part where I could brag about my eight consecutive ‘wins’ of NaNo, but I won’t.)

Anyway, you already know NaNo is approaching. And I’m guessing you didn’t gain any value in life from this post. So why not turn the tables and give me something to sink my teeth into?

Tell me, dear reader and enthusiast writer, what are you writing this year? Because, while I have a tendency to make everything about me (and really it should be), even I have to admit that NaNoWriMo is about writers everywhere. I am just a teeny brushstroke in that masterpiece. (I’d like to apologize for my modesty. It won’t happen again.)

Cheers to everyone writing this November. Good luck. You can do it.

And, to all of you who won’t do NaNo because you “haven’t had time to think of an idea and plan,” consider me and then reconsider NaNo. If I can sit and ramble about nothing and still manage to keep your attention until the end of this post, surely you can write a little, teeny 50,000-word novel in 30 days.

Embrace the chaos.

Until Next,


P.S. This is tots my 300th post here. I can’t believe I’ve posted 300 things. I also can’t believe I just said ‘tots’.

Categories: Just Another Day, Life, Nanowrimo, Writing | Tags: , , , , , , | 7 Comments

NaNoWriMo Countdown: 5 – Why NaNo?

I shouldn’t be writing this post.

What I should be doing is reading my history texts, perusing my essay sources, formulating theses, writing those weekly summaries, reading that book for the review, and so on.


By this time next week, I’ll be saying much the same. Except, I’ll begin with:

“I shouldn’t be writing this novel.”

The reason, dear friends, is that next week I’ll be immersed in National Novel Writing Month (and hopefully you will, too).

People often question why I put myself through the intensity and deadlines that make NaNoWriMo seem so daunting. I could argue about the creative merits of such seat-of-your-pants writing. I could mention the encouragement from fellow writers, across the world. I bring up the atmosphere and energy that NaNoWriMo fills you with. It’s a response to a challenge. It’s a test to my fortitude as a writer. I could argue it is for bragging rights.

In reality, I could – and I have – argue any number of things to make people understand why I do NaNo , or perhaps even to justify why I do it. But I don’t expect you to truly understand unless you’ve taken part in the craziness that November brings writers every year. And, really, I don’t need to. NaNoWriMo is MY time. Believe it or not, it’s a relaxation. It forces me to forget about life for an hour or two every day and just write.

It is also proof that a person really can survive on coffee and chocolate and that, no, I don’t need eight hours of sleep to function normally.

I used to try to explain NaNo and offer up very thoughtful, in-depth, even philosophical answers to the question this post poses.

Nowadays, though, when asked why I do NaNoWriMo, I answer with the single, most-important factor in consideration. I answer without trying to sound like a snobbish writer. I answer without trying to explain my lifelong romance with writing and to explain the intricacies of how NaNo is a creative release, an amazing environment, etc.

I don’t do NaNo because other writers do it.

I don’t do NaNo to brag about it after.

I don’t do NaNo to connect with like-minded individuals around the world.

No, these things, and so many others, are byproducts of doing NaNoWriMo.

The real and most important reason – and probably the only valid one – why I do NaNoWriMo is because it is incredibly fun.


Thanks for reading!

Till Next,


Categories: Demonria, Just Another Day, Life, Nanowrimo, Writing, Writing Devices | Tags: , , | 5 Comments

I’m Back. Unfortunately For You.

Well. I guess I decided I missed blogging, finally. That, or I’ve got a rejuvenated passion for the damn art of blogging because of a surprise I’ve planned for next Wednesday (which I can’t say much about as of now). I guess, I just realized, it could be part of my two year celebration. Yeah. That’s right. I wrote this first post two years ago.

So, I figure explaining why I was absent for so long might be nice. Which is why I’m not gonna do that.

I’m here now. With more to come. NaNoWriMo is right around the corner. That should be fun.

Referring to above was I this sarcastic and cynical when I used to, you know, post these things regularly?

Anyway. I need food. And you need two minutes of your life back for having to read this. I hope you guys are still there, reading this. I don’t expect you to be. I’m sure I can find new followers. Wait. This is the part where I’m supposed to be nice and endearing? Ah, damn. Better luck next time.

Stay tuned for a NaNo post. Always my favourite. If it’s not yours, then move along.

hahaha I really am joking. Mostly.

Anyway, I’m here. See?


Until Next,


Categories: Just Another Day, Life, Nanowrimo, Writing | Tags: , , , , | 7 Comments

What If It All Means Something – Part 5 (Chapter 4)

Now you may notice that this title is a little weird, but I will explain. I recently decided that my novel What If It All Means Something was getting too long to not be divided by chapters, so I did just that. I had originally posted four parts as just that, parts. Now, however, I have broken up the novel into chapters and the first four parts that I posted have become Chapters 1-3. This is Part 5 and, now, officially Chapter 4. That means from now on I’ll be posting it as chapters not as parts. I wanted to include the Part 5 in there just so I didn’t confuse any of you and get this look:

(Photo Credit:

I’m not assuming you’re all stupid or anything…

Here’s Part 5, now Chapter 4, of What If It All Means Something. Please forgive any grammar/punctuation/spelling/etc. mistakes as this was written for NaNoWriMo this month.

Chapter 4


            I didn’t feel like going home right after school was done at three, so I went for a short walk around town. I already knew the place pretty good, but it was nice just to walk and think. I couldn’t believe that only one day of school had gone by; so much happened today, it’s awesome. I think I’m going to like Gold Beach. Definitely going to like my new friends today. But they weren’t on my mind so much.

I was thinking about what mom said this morning. About me finding a ‘nice girl’, and I keep thinking Laura is the kind of girl she would want me to be friends with. I didn’t want to be friends with Laura. Or was I just telling myself that? If I really didn’t want to be friends with Laura, why am I not able to stop thinking about her?

I tried to clear my head before heading home. I didn’t want to have to dwell on any of this tonight. Or ever. I tried to not let things bother me, or worry me, but sometimes I can’t help it.

By the time I got home – shortly after four – Brett and Sherry were already home. I barely got in the door before I heard Brett’s voice from the coach in the living room. “Where’ve you been?”

“Since when do you care?” I asked, pretending to be upset. Brett could tell I was joking.

I walked into the living room and dropped my backpack on the floor. Sherry wasn’t in the room. I assumed that she was probably in her bedroom. Besides, I didn’t really care where she was.

Brett turned his attention away from the television and stared at me, feigning an unimpressed look on his face. “I thought you’re school ends at three. Where’d you go for an hour?”

“Oh, sorry mom, I thought you were Brett for a second,” I joked, walking towards the couch. “Let me just tell you my life story.”

Brett shook his head. “Man, I really just want to know if you stayed behind with a girl. To, you know, “study”.” His face was overtaken by a sheepish grin and he started to giggle.

“Is that all you think about?” I asked him, falling down on the black coach beside him. It was true, though. He was always talking about girls. How he wanted a girlfriend or how just how great they are. I mean I get that’s he’s just starting puberty and the girls are…developing. But was I this horny and excited at twelve years old? God I don’t even know.

“Really, Darren?” Brett asked me, this time his boyish voice was free of sarcasm. “Of course that’s all I think about. There’s nothing else worth thinking about.”

“You think they’re hot now? Wait a few years.” I figured that would get him going, which was funny to see, and it did.

His brown eyes went wide and he looked a little embarrassed. “I wish I was seventeen. You get all the babes.”

I had to laugh. He really was obsessed. I wasn’t this bad, was I? No way I was. I reached over and punched him playfully on the shoulder. “Come on, man. Keep it in your pants. I don’t want to be an uncle yet!”

Brett looked at me, his face showing a mixture between a smile and a look of shock. “And you say I’m bad?” Then, without warning, he jumped up so he was standing on the couch and dived at me like a suicide bomber.

I caught Brett half-way, pulled him back down to his seat and put him in a headlock. He started to laugh as I started to squeeze. The tighter I squeezed my arms around his neck, the more he was giggling. His thin arms were flailing wildly until, finally, I let go. He was laughing for a few seconds as I fell back into my spot on the couch, until he punched me in the gut. It wasn’t very hard, but I cried out anyway and we both started laughing. It had been a long time since we’d had any fun together. A very long time. Last time we wrestled like that was more than a few years ago.

“That was fun,” Brett said as he sat back down. “But weird.” He looked at me with an expression of curiosity that I was very familiar with. “You’ve been different lately.”

“What do you mean?” I asked him, not sure how to feel about that.

“I don’t know,” Brett said with a shrug. The smile left his face.

I tapped him on the shoulder, trying to encourage him to talk. “Come on, you can tell me.” My eyes met his and I nodded my assurance. “I’m your brother, man. We’re buds. You can tell me if you want.”

He looked at me with a sudden sadness in his eyes. I wasn’t sure exactly where it came from, but a had some pretty good guesses. “Since dad left, you’ve been different. I don’t know how. And I know you and mom don’t get along.”

Oh, this was what he wanted to talk about. Great! “It’s just a lot to deal with,” I tried to explain. “Lots of stress and sometimes stuff happens. Me and mom fight just to relieve the stress.”

“She talks about you when you’re not around,” Brett said, like it was his duty to tell me. “It’s not nice things.”

“Brett, please,” I started, trying to find the right way to phrase what I wanted to say. “It’s not mom’s fault. She can say whatever the hell she wants. I’ve been a dick to her. I know that.” It was definitely hard for me to say, but I had to. If not for me, then for Brett. “It’s just a stress reaction. A lot going on and I take it out on mom sometimes.”

Brett nodded. I think he understood. Everyone was stressed from the divorce, but it bothered me so much more. Maybe because I was older and I’ve been in relationships before? I don’t know. I could tell though, from the expression on his face, that Brett wasn’t finished.

“Can I ask you something?” He was avoiding my eyes for some reason. What was up now? What the hell did mom tell him now?

“Yeah, man,” I said, nodding. “Anything. You know I’ll tell you the truth.” I would, too. Just for him. Brett really was a good brother, and he deserved to know the answer to any question he wanted to ask.

“Earlier this year, when we still lived in Washington,” Brett started. I noticed he was fidgeting with his fingers. Why was he nervous? “One night, you were out, mom was on the phone with Aunt Carrie. I was supposed to be in bed, but I couldn’t sleep and wanted some water. I got halfway down the stairs when I heard mom talking on the phone. I knew I wasn’t supposed to hear, so I didn’t want mom to know I was up.” He finally looked at me, a little guiltily. “I knew I should’ve just gone back to bed, but I sat there and listened because she was talking about you.”

“You don’t have to feel bad for that,” I said, feeling a little sick. My stomach felt like it was turning and my mind was running through all the different things she could have possibly. “If it’s something I did, it’s my fault, not yours for overhearing.”

“Mom just said some stuff about you and your friends that I couldn’t believe.” Oh shit. I could feel my stomach work against me. What did he hear? I tried to not let my nerves show as I waited for him to finish. “She said you and your friends liked to drink a lot and party and….” he looked away again, and he looked to be in deep concentration, like he was contemplating telling me or not. “She said you guys did drugs, too.”

And there it was. It was like someone stabbed a knife in my side. Now it was me who couldn’t look Brett in the eyes. I tried to find the words to speak, but nothing came. I didn’t know what to say, and I felt awful that he had to hear that. I mean, I wasn’t a druggie. I smoked a few joints, is all. There were a couple times when it maybe got out of hand, but just a couple. I didn’t even know mom knew…

“So you did do it, then?” Brett asked me when I hadn’t answered for nearly a minute. “I thought it wasn’t true.”

“No, man,” I said right away as the guilt I was feeling increased. What kind of role model am I? A downright shitty one, no doubt. But now I better tell him. I can’t lie to him. “Listen, Brett.” I finally found the courage to look back into his eyes and all I saw was a helpless look. I felt like I betrayed him. “Stuff happens, alright.” I had to take a deep breath, hoping it was going to calm me down. I could feel my hands shaking, vibrating on my legs. “It was only a couple times. When I was really down and I thought there was no way I’d be happy again. I was never addicted, or anything. It was only a couple of times.”

When he looked at me after I spoke, I couldn’t tell if he was upset with me or feeling sorry for me. I really hoped it was neither. I don’t want him to be mad with me, but I’d rather have him angry than feeling sorry for me. I don’t need anyone’s pity. “You don’t do it anymore, do you?”

“No man,” I told him, putting on a fake smile. “Not since we moved.” It was true. I didn’t have any friends who smoked. I wonder if Alex and those guys do?

“Darren,” Brett said, interrupting my thoughts. Why was I so easily distracted these days? My thoughts always seem to be wandering on nothing in particular.

“What, buddy?”

“I want you to promise me, Darren, that you won’t do it again.” His face was stern. Whenever I forgot how old he was getting, it was moments like this that reminded just how mature he was.

I took a deep breath. Promise him? What if Alex smokes? I’ll look like a loser if I turn it down. Crap. Whatever, Brett’s right. “You know what, man? We have a promise.”

“Really?” Brett’s face lit up and the smile returned. I was glad that he was glad, and I tried not to think about Alex. My brother is more important than some guy I don’t even know. “Good,” Brett continued to say. “’Cause that shit is bad for you.”

What? Did he just say ‘shit’? “Excuse me, young man?” I said in a mock authoritative voice. “Watch your mouth.”

“Oh like you never swear, man!” Brett argued. He had a good point. Guess I’m not much of a role model. “And, come on. I’m in Grade 8 now. Everyone talks like this at school.”

“Really?” I asked. Really? Did we start swearing that young, too? I can still remember when we used to swear just because it was cool.

“Just a little,” Brett said, nodding. “The other kids swear way more than me. I think every second word out of their mouths is ‘fuck’.” Again, what? Fuck? Where is this coming from? Where’d my brother go?

“Okay man. I can’t really lecture you on swearing because, well, obvious reasons. No one wants to be a hypocrite.” That got him laughing again and made me smile. “But,” I said, raising a finger, “don’t let mom hear you or she’ll rip you a new one.”

“Yeah, I know,” Brett sighed. “Besides, I only feel like swearing when I’m at school. It was the same back in Washington. I guess I just wanted to fit it.”

“There’s nothing wrong with not fitting in,” I told him. That’s when I realized, though, that the people who don’t ‘fit in’ are the same people I always say are losers. What’s gotten into me lately? Why do I care so much about all of this crap? “No matter what people think of you at school, you’ll always be my brother and you’ll always be my buddy.”

“Darren, you’re a sweet brother.”

I couldn’t help but smile.

Not The End

Thanks for reading!

Till Next,


Categories: Life, Nanowrimo, Writing | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

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