NaNo 2013 Vs. NaNo 2014

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I won NaNo two days ago on the 26th. I completed NaNo in 17 days last year. Just looking at the dates alone it seems as though last year was easier. But was it really?

Last year l wrote Detective Florence and l loved it. Half of it was outlined and planned. When l ran out of outlines, l outlined as l wrote keeping track of everything for my edits later. For a first draft, the novel was pretty well done (if l do say so myself).

This year l wrote a Short Story Collection. This was because l was unsure what to write. I thought about doing short stories to come up with new novel ideas and just try different varieties of characters, genres, etc. It didn’t go as well as l thought it would. A few days into NaNo l wanted to continue writing my Detective Florence series, but l needed to do some edits first and the next novel wasn’t outlined yet. With that series, l feel it better to have it outlined before writing.

Point #1: l wasn’t as enthusiastic about my story idea this year as l was last year.
Conclusion: last year was easier for NaNo.

Last year l was working at the private preschool because it didn’t close until December. I was a lead teacher position and l worked 10am-6pm. Some days l got out earlier, some days l stayed a bit later prepping. Sometimes l took things home with me to work on.

This year l have a new job. I’m an aide so l don’t have any “teacher responsibilities” like staying late, going in early, or taking things home with me. Plus, l work 8am-2:30pm. So l’m home earlier and l’m working less hours in the day.

Point #2: I was working less this year and had less responsibilities.
Conclusion: this year was easier for NaNo.

Last year l was working on my bachelor’s degree. I was taking five full-time online classes. Five is a lot; especially when you’re basically teaching yourself (and some of your teachers aren’t that good at their job…).

This year l am still working on my bachelor’s degree and again l took five full-time online classes. However, one of the classes was accelerated so it ended November 8. For the majority of the month, l only had four classes.

Point #3: school was less work this year.
Conclusion: this year was easier for NaNo.

But wait! There’s more…

Last year, even though l had five classes, l barely had any homework.

This year, even though l technically had four classes, l had a ton of homework. It was hard to balance homework, life, writing, work, etc.

New conclusion: last year was easier for NaNo.

Do you see how much has changed in one year? Some things got easier, some got harder. I don’t know which year was easier for me, but l won both years and that’s all that matters.

I wonder what NaNo 2015 will bring? Where will l be one year from now?

Happy Thanksgiving!

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I am thankful for my school. As much as I complain, I would not be where l am today without it. I am well-educated and have learned a lot over the years. School has opened my mind to many new things and because of that l want to learn more.

I am thankful my job, the people l work with, and my students. I work with wonderful people who are inspiring to me with all the care and knowledge they bring to the special education world. I love each and every one of my students. Despite their disabilities, they still smile every single day and strive to be independant and do the best they can. I always look forward to going to work and am truly lucky to be one of the few people in this world who actually love their job.

I am thankful for all the past jobs l’ve had. I have met so many people over the years, some good and some bad. However, that taught me the right things to say and do and also that some people are here to stay and some aren’t, but everyone comes into your life for a reason.

I am thankful for the “little things” that l have a warm bed to sleep in at night, food to fill my belly, and a house to keep me protected.

I am thankful for the money l have. I struggle sometimes, but l have the knowledge and control to spend money only on what l need and not what l want. Because of that, l am debt-free and able to pay for school out of my own pocket.

I am thankful for time. There are simply not enough hours in the day, but l am grateful for what l can get done each day. It teaches me how to be productive and organized.

I am thankful for the Internet. Without it l would not write as much as l do. I would not be able to blog, do research, or even my school work.

I am thankful for WordPress, this blog, and all my WordPress friends (you know who you are). I have met so many wonderful people through my blog. Everyone has taught me lot (especially about writing). I love you all for your care and support through my blog and aspiring writing career.

I am thankful for my writing. It means l am creative and have an active imagination. Plus, it’s a lot of fun and what l live for.

I am thankful for my anxiety. Without that l would not have found courage and strength in myself. I would not have learned to face my fears.

I am thankful for my church. They’re like my mini family. I am happy to teach sunday school at a great church with a lot of eager students.

I am thankful for my pets Chip the dog, Hunter the cat, Raph the turtle, and Nano the fish. I am lucky to have a great home with a lot of space to give these animals a loving family and long, healthy, happy lives. If l could get more, l would. I plan to someday.

I am thankful for my friends, past and present. People who l am no longer friends with have come and gone for their own reasons. They reminded me that if l don’t have anything nice to say l shouldn’t say anything at all. However, as much as you dislike someone, you should always be polite and pleseant to them. You never know what else they may be going through. My present friends teach me something new every day. They love me for who l am. They support me in everything l do, no matter how silly it sounds. I am lucky to have friends that l can call “family.”

I am thankful for my extended family. All my aunts, uncles, grandparents, and cousins on both my mom’s side and my dad’s side of the family. I may not see them often, but they’re always there for us and are just a phone call away. I am lucky they are all in-state.

I am thankful for my immidiate family. My mom and dad, who l would be lost without. They have taught me how to be me and become a responsible adult. They taught me everything about life. My sister Kris who has always been there for me and supported me in everything l do. She listens to my writing ideas and plays video games upon video games with me. My sister Lisa who introduced me to the wonderful job l have now, always listens to my problems, and also introduced me to the “classics” such as Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Alfred Hitchcock, and my favorite Jerry Lewis. She’s always there to sit and watch a good movie with me. My new brother-in-law Nick, who has made his way into my family comfortably and fits right in. He’s interested in just about everything l’m interested in and really cares for Lisa and the rest of the family as his own.

I am thankful for me. All my strengths and weaknesses, my looks and personality, and all the ups and downs of my life. All that makes me who l am.

Today take a moment and think about what you’re thankful for and share it with the world. We all really are lucky for what we have. It’s time we recognize it.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

NaNoWriMo 2014 Winner

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Winner

I hit 50k this morning on my NaNo!

I wrote 5,000 words this morning in order to finish before work. I am so proud of myself!

I hit 50,055 words and when I tried to validate it on NaNo, the word count came out as 49,985. So I needed to add in some more words. I don’t know how that worked out. Now Word says I have 50,100-something, but NaNo says I have 50,067. I don’t understand it, but whatever–I hit 50k!

As much as I love NaNo, I am so relieved that it is over. I did enjoy writing the short stories because I didn’t have to commit to one story and I was able to get ideas for new novels. However, I did miss writing a novel. Or, I should say, I missed writing Detective Florence. I didn’t think I would since I was begging for a break from it, but once I was away from it for the first week, I started to really miss the characters and such.

So, now that NaNo is officially over (for me, technically not for the month), I decided that I’m going to go back to working on my edits for Detective Florence 2. Then I’ll outline the third novel, write the third novel, and then it’ll be all editing all the time. I’m excited to work with George and Lilah again.

If you’ve won NaNo, congrats! If you haven’t yet, keep going! The end is near!

Fire And Ice

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I wrote almost 3,000 words this morning. My NaNo word count is now 45,050. The end is near… it’s so close, but it’s so far away. I only have another 5,000 more words to write and then I’ll finally beat NaNo.

I have to say that NaNo didn’t go as well as I thought it would. My original plan was to write 1,000-word short stories so that come December I could expand and edit each story. In the end, I would have a decent collection of short stories that I thought I may or may not publish.

Some had potential to be decent short stories. Others I couldn’t see going very far. Most of them I’m keeping as back-ups for Short Story Sunday. Some of the short stories, as I’ve stated in other posts, have the potential to be something bigger than a short story.

For example, I am currently on part ten of something I called Fire and Ice. It’s a cliched title with a cliched pairing. However, it seems to be coming along quite nicely.

I don’t understand where the idea came from (or where it’s going to go for that matter), but it’s basically about two best friends who, on their 18th birthday, discover they have fire and ice powers. The girl, Joan, has the power of fire and the boy, Grant, has the power of ice.

There is a prophecy (I didn’t write this part as of yet, but the idea has been in my head since I wrote the first part) that states that both has a potential evil inside them. In order to kill this evil inside them, they must kill the other. In other words, if Grant wants to rid of the evil inside him, he needs to kill Joan or Joan would have to kill Grant. Like I said, they’re best friends so you can only imagine how devastated they are going to be when they hear this prophecy.

In the end, will Grant kill Joan? Will Joan kill Grant? Will they both decide to stay friends and allow the evil to overcome both of them? Wouldn’t that be an interesting sight… the two protagonists become the antagonists and run amok together.

I don’t know too much about this story idea, but I keep developing it in my head as I continue to write the parts for NaNo. It’s definitely an idea worth writing down to try to develop into a novel at a later time.

I am still going to start working on my Detective Florence series again once I hit 50k words and NaNo is over, so if I do work on Fire and Ice it won’t be for a long while. I’m sure I’ll be jotting down notes and ideas here and there, but what do you guys think of the potential new novel idea?

My Weekend

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I hope everyone had a good weekend. It is Monday yet again. I feel as though it were just yesterday that it was the beginning of a week. However, this week should go by quickly with the holiday coming up.

Kris and I never went to Barnes and Noble on Saturday. We both woke up feeling a little under the weather so we decided it would be best to write at home. I didn’t write as much as I expected (or hoped to) on Saturday, but I did get some writing done nonetheless.

Yesterday I didn’t think I was going to get any writing in at all. I had church in the morning and my friend’s baby shower all afternoon. I came home exhausted and Kris and I decided to play video games (because… priorities). We ended up playing for a half hour, writing for a half hour, alternating the two tasks. I ended up writing over 4,000 words yesterday. I was impressed with myself.

This morning I wrote a little over 2,000 words. I have to get ready for work soon, so I decided to stop for now. I may get the chance to write some more later.

I started writing a “short story” for NaNo and I am now on part seven for it. So, that’s where I stand now on my NaNo. New novel idea? Maybe.

I’m at 42,108 words for NaNo, finally back on par and ahead of the game. I have about 8,000 more words to write and I’m hoping to finish it by Thanksgiving on Thursday. That means if I don’t write again today I need to write at the very least 4,000 tomorrow and 4,000 on Wednesday.

Of course, today I have to babysit after work. Tomorrow I have to go to the doctor after work and Wednesday after work is most likely going to be spent cleaning and preparing for Thanksgiving. The good news is I don’t have school this week, so no homework for me. That’s at least one less thing I need to worry about.

I would really like to get my Short Story Collection/NaNo finished by Thursday so I can continue editing Detective Florence 2 over the break. I need to start riding that horse again.

Short Story Sunday #32

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STRANGERS IN A CAFE

            Two men entered Latte Caffeine. One wore a baseball cap announcing his favorite baseball team to the public with an oversized brown sweatshirt. His jeans were baggy with a few rips and tears down his legs. His sneakers were dirty, his left shoe missing a lace. His head was bent down as he looked at his smart phone, both thumbs dancing across the touch screen.

The other man wore a pressed baby blue button-down shirt that was tucked into what looked like brand new jeans. His black shoes shined brightly as though they were brand new. His hands were stuffed into his jeans pockets as he swayed in line looking at the back of the person’s head in front of him.

It was easy to guess which one cared more about what was going on.

“So my wife just texted me asking what I want for dinner tonight,” the disheveled man stated, “what do I want?”

The other man stood in front of him shrugging his shoulders. He didn’t bother to turn his head to look back.

“Josh, stop thinking. You know that’s just going to make you feel worse.” His friend put his phone into his sweatshirt pocket.

“I’m thinking about what drink I want to order.” Josh scoffed looking over his shoulder. “I am not nervous.”

“You seem pretty nervous to me; especially since you order the exact same drink every time we come here.”

“Maybe I want to switch things up this time.” Josh scratched the back of his ear. He took a step forward in the line once someone ordered their drink and stepped out of line.

“Randy…” Josh scowled.

“I’m just saying.” Randy smirked and chuckled.

They waited in line in silence after that. Randy looked all around the café with a smile on his face soaking in his surroundings. Josh was fixated on the menu studying it even though he knew what he was going to order.

When the lady in front of Josh started ordering her drink, Josh turned his head to look at all the people sitting in the café. An older couple was sitting on the couch by the fire sipping on their coffee while sharing a cupcake. A woman was sitting at a nearby table with a large coffee typing away on her Dell computer. Two women and a man were sitting at another table having breakfast and catching up with one another.

There were two empty tables one in front of the other that Josh eyed. He turned around and opened his mouth to say something to Randy, but a voice interrupted him.

“Excuse me?”

Josh turned around and gaped at the cashier in front of him.

“You’re next. What can I get for you?” he asked.

“Oh, uh,” Josh could hear Randy snickering behind him, but Josh did his best to ignore his friend. “I’ll just have a small peppermint mocha, please.”

He handed the cashier a five dollar bill, took his change and stepped out of line.

“Medium mocha frap, please,” Randy stated immediately once Josh stepped out of line.

Josh received his drink and waited for Randy to get his.

“Are you ready? You seem to be really distracted.” Randy questioned in all seriousness. He took his drink winking at the barista.

“I’m fine,” Josh sighed. “Where do you want to sit?”

Randy glanced back and forth between the two tables, both sitting next to a window. Each table had one chair at the ends seating two people to a table. He shrugged his shoulders and finally pointed to the left one.

Josh nodded and sat down at the table on their right. He sat in the chair facing the door of the café. Randy sat down at the left table facing Josh at the other table.

Without another word, Randy took out his phone and started playing a game. Josh held his coffee in both hands gazing out the window. His foot tapped nervously on the ground. After a few minutes, he heard the door to the café open. He straightened his back and stared at the door.

A blonde woman entered. She was petite, but tall with her black high-heeled boots on. Her jeans were dark with a bright yellow blouse. She clutched her handbag tightly as she looked around the café. She stepped in line and ordered her drink right away, as there was no one in line anymore.

“Small peppermint mocha, please,” she ordered.

Josh smiled.

She grabbed her drink and scanned the café with her eyes once more.

“Uh, Gabrielle?” Josh slowly stood up from his chair and raised his hand a little above his head.

“Joshua?” The woman walked towards him.

“Josh,” he nodded sticking out his hand.

“Gabby,” she smiled shaking his hand.

Randy looked up and put away his phone in his pocket. He smiled and gave Josh a thumb-up from behind Gabby’s back as she sat down at Josh’s table. Gabby was good looking and Randy approved so far. Josh tried not to look at him.

“It’s nice to meet you.” Gabby’s voice shook as she spoke.

“My pleasure,” Josh chuckled. He scratched the back of his head and glanced out the window.

“Are you as nervous as I am?” Gabby wondered.

“Is it that obvious?” Josh blushed.

“A little, but I think it’s cute.” Gabby took a sip of her coffee and tapped her fingers on the side of the cup.

“So,” Josh cleared his throat, “according to your profile you like to read?”

“Fantasy all the way.” Gabby nodded with a smile.

“I read a little bit of everything, but fantasy is my favorite too. What is your favorite book?” Josh leaned forward intrigued.

Gabby laughed out loud. “Ask me what my least favorite is. That is a much shorter list.”

Josh laughed at her joke while Randy rolled his eyes. He took another swig of his coffee and peeked inside it. He should have gotten a large.

Friday Morning

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It’s six o’clock in the morning and I did not write today. I could have gotten pretty ahead on my word count for NaNo, but now I’m behind yet again.

My psych professor always opens our weekly quiz on Thursday, so I usually take it Thursday morning before work… it’s timed for an hour, but it’s only five questions. It takes me 15 minutes to do. Of course I forgot about it because I finished my homework so early this week. I remembered it last night when I went to bed. So I took it this morning. No big deal.

Now I have to start getting ready for work soon so I’m not going to be able to get any writing. This blog post is going to be as close to writing this morning as I’m going to get.

I’m going to my friend’s house after work today to help her prepare for her baby shower this Sunday. Depending on how early I get home tonight, I will try to write before I go to bed. It’s Friday so I feel no obligation to go to bed early because I don’t have work tomorrow… if I can stay up that long.

Tomorrow I am going to Barnes and Noble with my sister for a big writing day. I hope to really catch up on my word count and go above and beyond.

We just need to see if I’m focused enough between the people coming and going and the Starbucks in my system.

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