Post NaNoWriMo Syndrome

One week ago today ended #NaNoWriMo2015. To those who won — Hurray! To those who wrote any new words on your WIP — Hurray!

I’ve participated seven times in NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month). Each year during the month of October, I gear up and prepare for the writing marathon. Then, about mid-way through the month of November, I fall behind on my 1,700 words-per-day count and slink into a temporary depression. I sometimes cheat during this bleak time, just so I won’t dump too much emotion into a failure, but also, and more importantly, so I can focus once again on my story.

I didn’t reach 50,000 words on my WIP (Work in Progress), however, I certainly wrote over that word goal though the month…on other things. But I have a nice solid 25K of rough draft babbling to work with.

Today I’m to submit a fresh chapter of something to my critique group. A couple of days ago, after the collapsing break from the writing race, I once again picked up those raw words. In my mind, before looking at them, I thought those first six chapters were near perfection, but only a few days later: Oh, what a rough draft of babble.

I sat down for a three hour block to do some revisions on just the prologue and first chapter, and marked where I stopped and counted up my revised words: about 700. Seriously? I can pound off 700 words of babble in a third of that time! But that’s the trouble with revisions — it takes time and labor to get the words right, and to chuck out the worthless stuff. Or perhaps I just fell asleep at the keyboard. Somehow sleeping sounds better to me than spending three hours on 700 words of a novel revision.

Whatever your revision process is, don’t give up. Keep writing new. Keep improving what you’ve got. Don’t be afraid of the delete key. May the good words rule!

WAR UNICORN, tween fantasy by S.L.Carlson Release Date Today!

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DEAR Readers

My tween fantasy, WAR UNICORN, is now released for publication today by MuseItYoung, available at MuseItUp, Amazon Kindle, B&N Nook, and several others. I’ve been answering author interview questions this past week to be posted over the next couple of months with various blogsters. So, I thought I’d do an author self-interview to get the ball rolling.

*I also have three eCopies of my book to randomly be given away to the lucky three picked from those leaving a comment here. Good luck!

Sandy: So, S.L., welcome to my blog. When I think of unicorns, I think of cutesy mythological animals who are calm and lovely. Whatever made you think to make a unicorn into a warrior animal?

S.L.: Good question, Sandy. And, by the way, thanks for interviewing me on your blog today.

Sandy: My pleasure.

S.L.: To your question, that is the whole point behind my story. (Was there a pun there?) I was thinking of various fantasy creatures and thinking what twists I could give them. Then it struck me to give the loveliest of all animals, the unicorn, a very different twist.

Sandy: Hence, War Unicorn.

S.L.: Hence, War Unicorn.

Sandy: I’m aware that you’ve self-published several historical fictions for middle graders — all of which I’ve enjoyed. Tween fantasy is for a different age and a different genre. Are you finding that difficult to separate the two?

S.L.: Actually, no. That is the very reason I chose to use my initials for my fantasy books, to separate the author name with age group and genres. My middle grade historical fictions go by my common name and my tween fantasies go by my initials, S.L. Carlson.

Sandy: Did you intend to let it slip that you have other fantasy books in the works?

S.L.: Ha. So you caught that, did you? Yes. I actually have a middle grade fantasy out already called Star Opening, which was the first full story I wrote decades ago, revised and rewritten many times of course. I’m working on two other tween fantasies, one, the sequel to War Unicorn, and the other a collaboration with my son John.

Sandy: I’m glad to hear there’s going to be a sequel. And a collaboration with your son? That sound interesting.

S.L.: Thank you. The collaboration is indeed interesting, rather like two books in one…or three.

Sandy: I’ll look forward to those. Thanks again for coming onto my blog today. Please let us know when your other interviews come out, and especially when your next tween fantasy is available.

S.L.: You can count on it.

Sandy: Readers, don’t forget to leave a comment below for your chance to win a free copy of War Unicorn by S.L. Carlson. Contest ends September 7 at midnight.

You may purchase your own copy at http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00MV8VDYG among other places.

Between Tweens – Interview with Middle Grade Author Madeleine McLaughin

During the month of April four of us middle grade and tween authors are interviewing each other in a blog hop. Today Madeleine McLaughlin answers my questions, and my answers to her questions are on her blog at http://madworldca.blogspot.com.

Madeleine writes from Canada, and her first tween ebook Beggar Charlie and Hickory Dick is releasing this June with Muse It Young.

Sandy: Where do you like best to write, and is there special music you like to listen to as you write, or do you prefer silence?

Madeleine: I like to sit in my easy chair with my tiny computer on my lap. I often have the television on but don’t hear the program when I’m writing. It’s just to have chatter, although when I write early in the morning, I prefer silence.

Sandy: Great. Are any of your characters based on people you’ve really met?

Madeleine: A lot of them are based on aspects of myself. The children I write about are based on what I know of children and their psychology, not any specific child. I have a diploma in Child Psychology so I know something about how their minds work. At least I think I do.

Sandy: That’s a difficult thing to comprehend, indeed. So, as a writer, what are some things you do overcome writer’s block?

Madeleine: I never really get writer’s block but sometimes get stuck on a story plot line. In that case, I just leave the story alone for a while until I get an idea. I do all my heavy thinking in bed, right before I go to sleep. That’s where I got the idea for Beggar Charlie. I wrote the first paragraph using a tape-recorder. I think it turned out well.

Sandy: Me, too. Can you tell us about your revision process.

Madeleine: First, I write the first draft which is just typing out ideas, then I get critiqued by some interested readers. Then just keep re-writing until I’m happy with it. It can take over 60 revisions until I’m happy.

Sandy: Sixty revisions is a lot, but I’m sure it turns out the best it can be after all that. My final question is: What are you doing or planning to do to grow as an author?

Madeleine: I’m always reading non-fiction to learn new things. You’d be surprised how many ideas history can give you. Other than that, I’m just trying to expand my readership. Also, I’d like to try other genres. I’ve already done horror and I may go back to that, but I’d like to do other things, too.

Sandy: It sounds like you have varied writing talents, Madeleine. Thank you for joining us this week. Good luck in your sales and with future books.

The other two middle grade writers participating in this month’s blog hop with their own questions and answers are Heather Fraser Brainerd (drivingblindproductions.wordpress.com) and  Suzanne de Montigny (http://suzannesthoughtsfortheday.blogspot.ca/)

Between Tweens: Interview with Middle Grade Author Suzanne de Montigny

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During the month of April, four tween authors are interviewing each other with different questions on each blog. This week I am interviewing Suzanne de Montigny, author of the tween eBook, The Shadow of the Unicorn: The Legacy, about a unicorn colt, a clairvoyant dinosaur, and the coming of destructive humans.

Suzanne wrote her first unicorn story at the age of twelve. Several years later, she discovered it in an old box in the basement, thus reigniting her love affair with unicorns. The Shadow of the Unicorn: The Legacy, is her first novel. Suzanne lives in Burnaby, B.C., Canada, with the four loves of her life — her husband, two boys, and Buddy the dog.

Sandy: The others will be asking you different questions, but I’m curious. Where do you like best to write, and is there special music you like to listen to as you write, or do you prefer silence?

Suzanne: Very definitely silence. I can’t chew gum and walk at the same time.

Sandy: Are any of your characters based on people you’ve really met?

Suzanne: There are many different elements of people in my characters, although some people very strongly and suspiciously resemble real people, but I’ll never say who.

Sandy: Many writers freeze up and develop writer’s block. So what are some things you do to overcome writer’s block?

Suzanne: I never have writer’s block. My problem is that I have so many stories and can’t get them down fast enough.

Sandy: Very good. Would you tell us about your revision process?

Suzanne: It’s the part I like best about writing. Perfecting. But sometimes I write so by the seat of my pants that I have quite a job organizing it afterward. It can be quite exhausting. Whoever said it’s a woman’s prerogative to change her mind must have been a writer.

Sandy: Funny. In conclusion, what are you doing or planning to do to grow as an author?

Suzanne: Just keep writing and reading.

Good plan. Thank you, Suzanne. I look forward to reading your book.

Suzanne’s book, The Shadow of the Unicorn: The Legacy, is available as an eBook on Amazon, Kobo, Barnes and Noble, Smashwords, iBooks and Muse It Up Publishing.

To receive answers from the others participating with their questions each Tuesday of this month, please check out: Madeleine McLaughlin http://madworldca.blogspot.com; Heather Fraser Brainerd (drivingblindproductions.wordpress.com); Suzanne de Montigny http://suzannesthoughtsfortheday/blogspot.ca