Posted in 6 Word Memoirs, nanowrimo, Writing

Novel 2040 Synopsis

Finally, as week two of NaNoWriMo gets underway, I have a synopsis for the novel I’m writing. Lots of people say writers should write the synopsis BEFORE they start writing their stories. It’s helpful to work in that order: synopsis > story. But that isn’t always the way the process works. I had to write 13,000 words and then spend a day thinking about the possibilities before I could get to this point. There are lots of ways to write to the end, and reaching the end is the real goal.

Here it is:

Genre: Alternate history suspense (and maybe a little romance)

Working title: 2040

In 2020, following World War III, US citizens are out of work and emotionally and spiritually bankrupt, as is the government. Voters go to the polls in November and vote to replace politicians, who lack resources and have failed to maintain cities and states across America, with business moguls, who promised voters secure jobs, housing, and education. For twenty years they’re true to their word and the people get their rewards. But not everyone is happy. Imara Nash, a Corporate Government Communications Specialist in 2040, is assigned to help control the message to voters in her hometown of Centra City, Minnesota, in the days before the next election. Imara arrives in Centra City the same day her parents disappear, leaving nothing behind. She begins to suspect that she’s been betrayed and vows to find her parents. Distracted by her search, she fails to manage the message. Unrest and demonstrations against Corporate rule increase and Imara is given an ultimatum by the people in charge—lure Kai, leader of a group of agitators into the open so he can be removed, or lose her position and reputation. Imara believes she could also lose her life.

6-Word Memoir

Didn’t think I could; then did.

Posted in nanowrimo, Writing

Making Meaning is What Matters Most

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Five days into NaNoWriMo, I have passed the 10,000 word count milestone. Getting to that milestone was hard, and to “win,” I have to write 40,000 more words. Winning NaNoWriMo means crossing the finish line on November 30 with 50,000 words written and verified.

Verifying word count is the easy part of writing a novel-length manuscript. I just have to do a select all > copy and then paste the content of my manuscript into a window on the NaNoWriMo website and it’s done.

Writing is the hard part. It’s hard because the world the story takes place in, the characters, their relationships, motivations, and so on are all new to me. I’m like the new girl in town who has to learn what everything is before I can make sense of what I see characters in the story doing. I do a lot of describing, which isn’t what readers want to read. I hate reading books in which the author has gone on and on, explaining in way too much detail what it is I’m supposed to see or know about. Skip the details and get to the story!

Leaving the words I’ve written on the page is very hard to do. I worked as an editor at a book publishing company for thirteen years. I want to “fix” my writing to make it better. But if I do that, if I stop moving forward, I won’t finish. And finishing is my goal.

This sets up an internal struggle about the “value” of this effort, which I must deal with every day. I hear the voice in my head that says stuff like: “If you can’t do it right, you’re wasting your time,” or “You will have to do this all over again, maybe several times, because it’s awful the way it is.” And when I hear that voice, I do question whether or not the effort IS worthwhile. Of course, I also need to think about what I’m not doing when I’m writing a manuscript that may never be more than it is now.

The other side of the struggle is me countering Negative Nellie with thoughts about why the effort has value in and of itself. Some of the benefits I remind myself of are:

  1. I’ll know I can write a novel-length manuscript.
  2. I’ll improve my writing and story-telling skills.
  3. I’ll gain more understanding of the creative and writing processes.

If I also find out the story is good (which I can’t know if I don’t write it), well, that will be an awesome bonus!

This struggle is universal. It’s safe to say that every person who decides to give form to an idea has an inner voice like Negative Nellie who tries to derail their project.

The ability to get past this inner struggle depends on one thing, which is: Deciding to matter. If I don’t believe that my work matters, I won’t have the inner motivation to continue. It comes down to that simple fact.

Deciding to matter is what every person who wants to create must do.

6-Word Memoir

I can choose whether I matter.

Posted in nanowrimo, Writing

Thoughts have Power

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Some time after starting a new project or adventure, when only the unknown lies ahead, confidence can fade. Reaching a goal can seem overwhelming—even impossible. But it’s not. Even when past failures are used to predict the odds of success or failure in the present, the outcome is never predestined. The outcome is influenced by what we decide to do.

One of the biggest obstacles we face when creating something new is self-doubt. Negative self-talk often accompanies and always reinforces self-doubt. Self-doubt can detour us from our goals if we let that happen. It’s possible to talk yourself into failing to reach your destination if you don’t pay close attention to the messages you send to yourself.

If negative self-talk is a problem you’re familiar with, try writing a 6-word memoir about yourself and the situation.  Writing what you’re thinking will slow your thinking so you can hear the quality of the chatter. Stay positive.

Here’s the 6-word memoir I wrote after not reaching my Day One NaNoWriMo 2015 goal to write 1,644 words. Because of the change from Daylight Saving Time to Standard Time I woke up at 3:30 AM, and my mind felt fuzzy all day.

NaNoWriMo 6-Word Memoir

Tired. Still, I wrote 703 words.