What I learned about writing two novels at the same time.

NaNoWriMoFor NaNoWriMo 2018, I wrote two novels at the same time: Revelation Stones and Beyond the Myst. I didn’t plan it that way. My goal was to complete the first novel. The second one started as a homework assignment from my writers’ group.

I focussed on the book I wanted to complete first, writing a minimum of 2,000 words a day for it. I wrote 1,500 words a day for Beyond the Myst.

To keep the stories separated in my mind, I wrote Beyond the Myst in the morning between 5:30 am and 7:20 am. If I didn’t reach my goal, I spent a few minutes after the morning chores to complete it. I wrote Revelation Stones from 5:00 pm to 9:00 pm. Often I finished early, so I was in bed by nine o’clock. I get up at 4:35 am, so I need to go to bed early.

Before each writing session, I’d envision the scene I was about to write. This put me in the mood to write and provided details I might not have considered. I run scenes in my head like movies, so I get a clear idea of what I want. The scene is basically written before I sit down to the computer. I just record what happened.

I’ve never tried to write two full novels at once. I have written a short story while writing a novel, but usually I’d write the short story in a few days, then return to the novel writing. This whole experience of writing two in one day was completely new to me. Here’s what I have learned listed under the benefits and the drawbacks.

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My 2018 NaNoWriMo Experience – Why Was I Successful

NaNoWriMoNaNoWriMo 2018 has been extremely successful for me. My record for words written in a month stood at 60,000. In November, I shattered that and wrote 143,770 words. That’s an entire fantasy novel. I’m thrilled, shocked and every other word that means unbelievably amazed. I never knew I could do it. There are two reasons for that:

  1. I’ve never done it before.
  2. Others said it couldn’t be done.

So, how did I do it? I’m not exactly sure, but here’s what I think I did right.

The Writing Stage

The stars aligned in 2018 and after completing several assignments and miscellaneous projects, I was left in the middle of October to complete the draft for Revelation Stones, the 3rd book in the Castle Keepers series. I had also started a small assignment from my writers’ group, one I thought would be a short story. However, it turned out to be a full-blown novel, one that ties in to the Castle Keepers series. I predict it will be 100,000 words. I called it Beyond the Myst.

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NaNoMoWri is Fast Approaching

Here we write again. NOVELmber is almost here, which means thousands—maybe millions—of writers across the world will challenge themselves to write 50,000 words in 30 days.

Are you onboard? Are you up for the challenge?

The last time I participated was in 2015. Since then, my schedule hadn’t aligned with the challenge but this year, it does. I’m working towards finishing the 3rd book in the Castle Keepers series, Revelation Stones. As of last night, it was 43,334 words complete. I have about another 90,000 to go.

I’m also writing Project M, which is turning out to be a full fantasy novel, not the short story I expected. I’m debating on where it will fit in with the Castle Keepers series. Technically, it is book 4, but I’m leaning towards it being the first book in another series. It intertwines with The Land of Ath-o’Lea but can lead to additional stories not related. Time will reveal its purpose. So far, 10,183 words have been written.

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Filter Words – Who Knew? Not Me

A week ago, I stumbled onto a YouTube video discussing filter words. Never hearing this term before, I watched, listened and learned…and discovered I was guilty of using filter words.

What are Filter Words

Although I’m relatively new to the idea, my understanding is: words that create distance between the reader and the detail the character is seeing, hearing, tasting or feeling.

In other words, we are not using one of our senses to digest the story, rather instead, we are being told through one of the character’s senses.

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Two Vital Questions to Ask Yourself About Writing

Thought for the dayWe are all looking for our path to success, but our paths are drastically different. We all don’t get to success the same way, and we don’t all identify success in the same manner.

In my years of reading about marketing and writing, the same questions pop up, and by answering these two questions, it makes us better able to plan our writing careers. In fact, the answers to these two questions are vital in making important decisions in our publishing journeys.

Last week, I posed these two questions to members in my writers’ group. They have a month to think over the answers, but I’ve been thinking about my answers for much longer.

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Writing Tip: How to Make any Story Good

Writing TipLast week while I was cooking supper, my thirteen-year-old son walked into the kitchen and asked, “Do you know what makes a movie good?”

I looked up from peeling potatoes, and the expression on his face told me it was a rhetorical question. He didn’t want to know what I thought; he wanted to tell me what he thought made a movie good.

My son is a Marvel fanatic. He’s watched them all: Captain America, Hulk, Thor and, his favourite, Iron Man. He’s also seen Guardians of the Galaxy multiple times. He’s analysed them, critiqued them and guessed at the story line. Immediately after watching a movie or Agents of Shield (the TV show connecting with the movies), we know to expect his mind—travelling at light speed—to start churning ideas, and his mouth—also travelling at light speed—to start sharing them.

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Making a Mountain Out of a Mole Hill

Writing TipAll my life, I’ve been told to not make mountains out of mole hills. Why? Because situations are usually not that dramatic or life-threatening. If we can stop and evaluate the situation, we often find we can deal with it without creating too much anxiety.

However, as a writer, you should get in the habit of making mountains out of mole hills in your fiction. They make for interesting stories, ones readers can’t put down.

We all have stories in our lives—real stories. We go through our day doing small and medium sized things. We get the kids up and ready for school, we clean up the garden to prepare for planting, we drive to work through heavy traffic and so on. All of this doesn’t sound very interesting, but if you let your imagination run wild—and mine often lives on an open plain—we can turn a simple outing to a park into a story others might want to read.

We can also take that little scene and drop it into the middle of a larger story. Here’s how it works. Below is a simple story, one that actually happened to me. The names of my children have been changed.

We walked away from the SUV, and I looked back at it, cursing. Why had it failed to start at the end of a dirt road, miles away from houses and the main road? Glancing at the sun, I determined we had about four hours of daylight left. It’d take us over half of that to reach the first house where we might find someone at home to drive us the rest of the way to our camp.

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