April Camp NaNoWriMo

Midnight begins the April session of Camp NaNoWriMo! If you did not already know, I’ll be working on draft two of the novel I wrote in November, “Snowfall”. You can read about it here and here.

I’ve gathered my Camp NaNo Survival Kit:

  • A laptop
  • A flashdrive
  • My outline
  • My music playlist
  • My Kindle
  • Post-it notes
  • Fountain pens
  • Multi-colored inks
  • Leather notebook
  • Candy (yum!)
  • Coffee and blueberry tea
  • “The Emotion Thesaurus” by Angela Ackerman and Becca Puglisi
  • Purple binder
  • Corkboard of inspiration!

and I’m ready to go!


A little nudge…


Just something I saw on pinterest that I thought would be cool to do as I work on my second draft of “Snowfall” this April. For those times when you just need a little nudge, a reminder to write, or some advice about writing. GaimanNeil

I’m posting a picture of writing advice written on my hand on twitter every day this month.


IMG_0166In preparation for Camp NaNoWriMo (only three days away!) I’ve been furiously outlining. Now, this is my second draft of this novel, but I’m finding it funny how completely differently I’m approaching this stage of editing. I’ve found in the past that outlining really didn’t help me much, and usually it actually ended up hurting me as I felt kind of trapped in a little box and I didn’t let myself run around following any littleIMG_0165 plot bunnies I chose. However, since my novella for Creative Writing class is turning out so well using an outline, I figured I’d give it a shot while I started getting ready to re-write my NaNoWriMo novel from November of last year (Snowfall).

Now, I haven’t started writing yet, but I’m really, really excited about how all of this is going to turn out. I’ve gone through a couple of phases of outlining (as detailed in the pictures) and now I’m down to eight pages of printed outline for me to refer to as I write. The big reason I decided to do such an intense outline when it’s never really worked for me before the Novel Project is because I’m attempting to write 75,000 words in the month of April. That’s equivalent to 2,500 words a day. In order for it to even be possible for me to make those kind of numbers every day, I need to have a very specific IMG_0164idea of what I’m supposed to write next before I start writing. Thus the giant outline.

With three days left before the bell sounds, I’ve finished up my outline, made up my pinboard, and all I have left to do is flesh out some character and setting details. I’m super excited for April!


Mad Libs!

This week’s Sandbox assignment was to make a Mad Libs of a paragraph from something we’ve written. Choose your words, and then scroll down for the paragraph. Have fun!


Verb ending in –ing



Plural Noun











A bird once looked down upon a squirrel           -verb ending in –ing along the ground as he sat up in his nest. Perceiving how         -adjective the squirrel looked to be as he rushed around the forest floor, gathering        -verb to store up for winter, he decided he would           plural noun the squirrel to see how he too could be so happy. After a day of watching the squirrel, the bird had decided that with such          -noun that the squirrel had, it would not be hard to be happy. He observed the squirrel’s beautiful, sturdy nest, his numerous secret stores of        -noun, and his        -adjective pelt that would protect him during the harsh, cold winter months and thought to himself, “If I had these things too, surely it would not be hard for me to be happy!” Two years after this, the bird heard word that the squirrel had lost, in quick secession, his           -adjective nest, his stores of           -noun, and that his silky, warm          -noun had lost much of its fur. Wanting to pay his condolences, the bird         -verb right over to find, to his surprise, the squirrel was just as happy as before!

The Bird and the Squirrel


Pride and Leadership

Here are ten quotes that go along with the main theme of my novella. Each of the quotes deals with pride, leadership, or a combination of both. There are some secret, hidden clues that point to some key points in the rest of my novella, but you’ll have to look really hard to find them!

“No man will make a great leader who wants to do it all himself or get all the credit for doing it.” –Andrew Carnegie

“A man’s pride will bring him low,

But a humble spirit will obtain honor.” –Proverbs 29:23 NASB

“A proud man is always looking down on things and people; and, of course, as long as you are looking down, you cannot see something that is above you.” –C. S. Lewis

“He who has never learned to obey cannot be a good commander.” –Aristotle

“He that is proud eats up himself: pride is his own glass, his own trumpet, his own chronicle.” –William Shakespeare

“Ignorance and power and pride are a deadly mixture, you know.” –Robert Fulghum

“There are three essentials to leadership: humility, clarity, and courage.” –Fuchan Yuan

“A proud man is seldom a grateful man, for he never thinks he gets as much as he deserves.” –Henry Ward Beecher

“Humility and knowledge in poor clothes excel pride and ignorance in costly attire.” –William Penn

“Pride prevents a good leader from becoming a great one.” –Christine Dunn

Camp NaNoWriMo!

It’s almost that time again! Camp NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) is almost upon us! I know, I was just talking about this a few short months ago in November of 2012, but the first Camp NaNoWriMo of the year is starting the first of April, and I’ve decided to take the challenge again! This will be the seventh NaNoWriMo event I’ve participated in, but this time I’m diving into an entirely different type of project than any I’ve done before. In April I’ll be working on a SECOND DRAFT.

Though I managed to make it to the finish line of 50,000 words in November of last year with my novel “Snowfall”, there was a great deal of the plot missing in the middle. However, I love the characters and the setting and most of the general plot, so I’ve decided to try to fulfill its potential by completely outlining the whole thing and rewriting a second draft. This will be a pretty big undertaking for me–for one, I’ve never gotten far enough to really complete any serious editing of any of my previous novels. I also have never written such a large project using an outline I made up beforehand.

However, I’ve been learning a lot from my Creative Writing class this year, and one of the things I’ve been learning is how helpful an outline truly is. Before I began the Novel Project we are doing for class (a short, 30 page novella we are writing over the rest of the semester), we were told we needed to write up an outline for our story. At first I was really skeptical. Whenever I’ve written a novel before, it’s always been in a meandering, fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants sort of way. When I started, I would have a general idea of where I was going with it, and I would already have a fairly good idea of the ending, but the middle, the meat of the story, I came up with as I went along. Now, that has certainly worked fairly well for me before–I’ve come up with some of my best ideas on the fly–but this story was so short that we really needed a good solid outline in order for us to be able to finish the story in 30 pages.

So I wrote my outline, and as I wrote, all of these ideas started to come to me, filling my head; and filling my outline. I toyed and prodded and rearranged until my outline made me super excited about the story it was going to help me produce. There’s character development in all of the right places, and action to help speed things along and keep people interested, and the characters are so much more complex for the time and effort I’ve spent working on them. So, now that I’ve learned so much about the advantages of outlining, why wouldn’t I use my newly acquired skills to help me fill plot holes before I started working on the second draft of my novel?



Survivor: Daryian

image“Uh, Alicia,” Matt said as he walked up the sandy beach toward her, “What are you doing? Everyone else is gathering firewood or branches to help make the shelter.”

The young woman looked lazily up from her spot sprawled out on the beach, soaking up the sun. Sheltering her eyes with her hand, her face twisted as she thought. “It’s Tom, right?”

He sighed. “My name’s Matt.”

“Oh, right!” She said, smiling at him. “Sorry–there’s so many people it’s hard to keep everyone’s names straight.”

Matt looked at her, thoroughly confused. “Where did you get Tom from? There aren’t any Toms on our tribe, or the other tribe for that matter.”

She shrugged. “I dunno. You just look like a Tom to me I guess.” That settled, she closed her eyes and lowered herself back onto the sand.

Glowering angrily now, Matt said, “You never answered my question.”

Alicia opened one eye, squinting at him. “What question?”

“What are you doing?” He asked again, getting exasperated.

“What does it look like I’m doing?” She asked, giggling. “That’s not a very smart question you know. If you were paying attention you’d be able to figure out the answer to your question without bothering me at all. Wouldn’t that have been nice. You woke me up you know. It wasn’t very polite of you to do.”

“Honestly, I don’t really care,” Matt told her harshly. “We’re trying to put up our shelter and get some firewood together before it rains tonight. Personally, I don’t really feel up to getting drenched all night long, and I would prefer to have some dry firewood to warm up with in the morning, so do you think you could get up off of your butt and help us out?”

“Oh, that!” Alicia exclaimed. “There were so many people already working on that stuff that I figured I’d just get in the way. Plus, if I take a nap now and preserve my energy, I’ll be all ready to go when it’s time for our first challenge! Then maybe we can win, and we’ll get a tarp, and we won’t have to worry about getting drenched tonight!”

“That’s an awful lot of ifs and maybes.” Matt said through gritted teeth.

“I didn’t say you had to stake everything on me winning the challenge for us, just that my being well rested gives us a better chance. By all means, go ahead and finish working on the shelter. I’m sure it will do adequately until we win a tarp today.” She told him, closing her eyes again.

Matt opened his mouth to reply, and then closed it with a snap. After one last dismissive glance, he walked slowly back to camp, picking up palm fronds and firewood as he went. After depositing the supplies in their respective piles, he pulled one of the other guys, Ben, off to the side.

“What is it?” Ben asked, looking a bit concerned.

Matt looked around carefully, checking to make sure they were alone. “I don’t care how well this girl does in challenges—as soon as we go to tribal council the first time, we have to vote out Alicia.” He told Ben vehemently.

“What did she do?” Ben asked.

Matt laughed. “She’s done nothing, which is exactly why we have to vote her out. She just gave me some crap about how we could all go on gathering firewood and building the shelter if we wanted to, but that she was going to keep on sitting on her butt on the beach taking a nap so she would be “well rested” for the challenge. She’s got it in her head that she’s some kind of Wonder Woman who’s gonna win all of the challenges for us. I want her gone.”

Ben nodded. “I’ll talk to a few other people. I can’t believe there’s someone who’s really that stupid. Not helping around camp is like a death sentence in Survivor.”