Dec 13, 2017

12 Drafts in 12 Months

#Year of Writing

2017 was such an awesome Year of Reading that when I discovered this project, I have to join in.  I’ll continue to read with a focus on re-reading in 2018 because as a writer, reading is critical for the development of our craft.  Much more on this later!!  So, I’m very proud and excited to announce THE project of 2018:

The Guidelines

12 Drafts in 12 Months!  Starting January 2018, I’ll begin writing a fresh, brand new draft for a novel each month.  It’ll be the bare bones beginning of a novel in any and all genres.  Knowing my glorious, chaotic mind, there will be no rhyme or reason to how these 12 drafts will take shape.   

The host of this project is Merflower on the NaNoWriMo site.  She set up a Facebook Group also.  She outlines the rules as, you can write in any genre and try to finish it in that month.  The goal at the end of 2018 is to have 12 finished 1st Drafts.  If you don’t finish the 12 Drafts, no worries because you’ve written more than you would have!  The reward and purpose is to actually develop the habit of writing each day.  The freedom... such bliss!  

The 12 Drafts in 12 Months project will loosely follow the structure of NaNoWriMo’s November Event by writing 50,000 words in 1 month.  There are 3 methods of achieving this: Planning, Pantsing or Planting.  Planning is beginning the month with a rough outline of the project in any format that works for you.  Pantsing is just going into it by the seat of your pants, no plan, no outlines, nothing except maybe an idea of what you’d like to write about.  Planting seems to be the most common, it’s any combination of the 2 methods.  Most folks begin with an idea and outline bits of it, leaving most of it unplanned and ready for inspiration to strike!  

My Rough Plan 

I’ve had fun and happily won NaNoWriMo by following all 3 methods.  Here’s a lovely photo of all my ‘winning Nano Manuscripts from over the years, more on these later: 

Back to the Year of Craziness!! So far, January’s draft is loosely arranged in my mind.  I’m beginning to see the outline and a common thread to follow along.  The rest is a glorious surprise, such fun is writing!  The other 11 drafts are not planned or even hatched yet.  I’m not sure how all of this will play out.  Will I get an idea for March early enough so I can plan out some prompts or even an outline for it?  What type of research will these new project require?  Most importantly, will any of them be any good?  So many mysterious, chaotic unknowns!  At least with reading, the book is already finished!  The dichotomy!  Oh the dichotomy of it all!!


About NaNoWriMo's Goal Trackers

I like that Merflower is encouraging the use of NaNoWriMo’s newly developed Goal Trackers.  You can get to these trackers once you have a Nano Profile set up, they’ll be on the drop down list from ‘My Nanowrimo’ in the brown Nano Menu Bar.  In short, click around until you see it ^.^  Here's a pic of the menu bar & drop down:


The Goal Trackers are customizable for each month and year, by hours or word counts.  This means you can have 1 Goal Tracker for the entire year or decade.  You could also have one for each month in 2018, they are completely flexible for dates.  Once it’s set up, you can’t go back and update the hours/word counts, so you’ll have to update them daily to keep the graph accurate for the project.  

It sounds confusing, but just check it out after a few minutes of clicking, it’ll make sense.  If I find a Goal Tracker How To video, I’ll link it here.  

Consider Yourself Invited!

If you’re reading this, consider yourself invited to come along!  If you plan to blog or vlog about it, feel free to link your announcement post in the comments here.  If you'd like to follow my journey, I'll use: #12in12Writing and #YearofWriting on Twitter and Instagram.  

Dec 12, 2017

Perfume: The Story of a Murderer

Scent & Desire's Entanglements

By Patrick Suskind
Translated By John E. Woods
German, 1985
Horror, Mystery, Magical Realism, Absurdism

Main Attractions

1. Powerfully Descriptive Language   
2. Creepily Compelling Storyline
3. Memorable Main Character
4. Major Plot Twists & Events
5. Detailed Perfume Alchemy
6. Grisly Moments & Images
7. Filled with Villains
8. Evil Atmospheric Novel 
9. Eery, Tragic Consequences 
10. That ending though?!

Cuisine & Delicacies

Ranked as: Ghost Pepper BBQ Ribs
Immediately, this book heaps the reader one 1 of 2 piles.  Either the imagery draws you into the rotting food stalls at a back alley market or it straight up repulses you with the grotesque descriptions.  Like a Terry Gilliam film, I don’t think there’s headspace for being completely unaffected by this book.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m not attracted to the scent of rotting fish and clearly it repulses me.  Yet, this story is crafted in such an artistic way.  

The main character isn’t a complete being, he is very dehumanized in so many of the descriptions and choices he makes.  For his human inadequacies, he’s blessed with an uncanny and sublime gift of noticing scent.  While there are many descriptions of unruly fragrances, there’s also intriguing characterization  and plot happening.  

Suskind fully showcases the realm of scent far beyond what we notice in the entire course of our lives into a mere, very short novel.  This twist of odours with fragrances into artistic descriptions makes this novel cringeworthy.

Why Visit Here

The artistry in Suskind’s descriptions is so incredibly powerful.  He weaves in the overlooked details of life and the details of some historically accurate methods with completely unexpected and surprising events.  All of this makes the novel tip in favour of being an artist view of the human condition rather than a mere story about repulsive odours and the perfumer who experiences them.

Destination Summary

In short, this novel is about an unwanted orphan with a phenomenal sense of smell.  His gift actually leads him through life and keeps him alive until he becomes a perfumer.  That’s when he takes command of his gift and the climactic conclusion happens.

Off the Beaten Path

Top 5 Perfume Facts You Never Knew By MsMojo a 6 Min. video

Travel Advisory

The violence in this book isn’t gratuitous or stomach turning which is a surprise.  I was expecting a gory, nasty book and it wasn’t at all.  The horror of this book truly lies in the descriptions of pungent orders of decay that’s all around us, hidden from every day life.  These descriptions are unsettling and clearly remind us why we don’t like flies in our home.

Packing List

✓ Your favourite bottle of perfume
✓ Overly burned candles with waxy buildups
✓ Images of a 17th  or 18th Century Town

Recommended Resources
Alternate Books
The Hunchback of Notre Dame By Victor Hugo (1831) - The treatment of the main characters  from both books would be interesting to compare and the descriptions of both books are outstanding but for wildly different reasons.

Movie Adaptations
✓ Perfume: The Story of a Murderer  (2006) Directed by Tom Tykwer - It’s the film adaptation which follows the book closely with some alterations to suit the screen.  The book is more detailed and the movie has great cinematography. 

Dec 5, 2017


I’m back!! After a long break.  I just cannot keep an Olive Schedule because I could vanish as often as Tall Tales.  I would love to have the abundance of the librarian, Richarson Read’s curated collection though.  I sure hope my writing is as witty as Kiss My Frog’s videos.  What is this? A Booktube Book Booktuberism? Naw… too easy!!

Reading is more than just hobby for me, it’s my Poland Bannana youthful insane zeal.  Though I do treat it with the chill, thoughtfulness of a Griffiths.  I would like to catalogue and recall everything I’ve read with the speed of 1Book 1Reader.  That would be a Tortoise Dream!  But then, perhaps the snappiness of current events like Kamil Reads would be pretty cool too!    Alas, I just have the emotional reactions of Hannah Tay!  Everything makes me feel something, which I love.  If only, I could summarize my reads with Earnest conciseness and bring out that level of discussion!  It’s ok because I always greet my books with Lauren’s hA-LO.  Then afterwards regard them with Portal’s thoughtful reflections & musings.  But then, I must think, what are, the Words of a Reader?  I can be here until the Medieval Reader chimes in with a well needed discussion.  During these thoughtful times, I cancel plans.  Alas, I say, I’m Between Books and I can’t go out.  I’m in the Restricted Section with so little Time to Read!  I’m staying in the Library till I’m Drunk!  I wanna be a Literary Gladiator!! With me now: Bookmarks!!  Geeze…. I need to get My own Reading Life.

Here’s a good one!!  What’s the answer to the age old question: “to break a spine or not to?”  Or, what if your Lit’s Book Cover was Stripped?? Ah! Let’s ask The Book Chemist.  Make a note, if you wear out your book, there is a repair guide over at Sues Book Nook.  So it’s all good, it’s ok to always be Awake and Reading.  See, we’ve got A Book Utopia because we’re all Poptimists here!  Books are Better than Food after all, even those who don’t want to be included.  Cliff… I’m looking’ at you…  Really, I have no idea what the Pickle is.  We’re a great community, he’s welcome to chill with us!  Does he need a Paper Bird to fly in an invitation to him?  Probably not, he’s just a Wading Moose staying at his side of the Library!  I hope this is witty!! I never want to be Lost in Articulation!! May I always be able to Insert Literary Pun Here.  And my Thoughts to be Novel.  

So, booktube, readers, viewers and fellow content creators, if you ever feel stress, be sure to hang out at our Garden Scriptorium.  She’ll get your plant’s grove back and your Ben Sander’s or J. D. Estrada’s writin’ again.  Archers too.  Have I forgotten anyone one?  Oh yes! My 2nd hand book haul of Paperback Junky’s Epic Reads’ proportions!! Tip for buyers, don’t let book Insomnia get you down!! Buy 2nd hand!  Your bank account will Remember you.

But, if you must go on a book buying binge, let Jen Campbell or Steve Donohue be your guides, they know what’s what.  If you’d like some more thoughts on the subject be sure to ask the Skeptical Reader what not to buy, Big Al or Sadie Ruin if you’re from Canada.  Beyond one more Page before I go.  If you have only money for 1 book, here’s my Thoughts on Tomes, just buy one and, For the Love of Classics, don’t be a Madman or a Baked Book!!  Okidoboki?  Always, Looks before you Books.  Make each read count.  It’s ok to have Literary Diversions or to Climb the Stacks.  And occasionally please, Dust your Shelves.  Britta will thank you.

Thank you for 200 Subscribers.  I adore this community.

Oct 30, 2017

Prompts for Emergencies

Take 1 hour, write up 30 prompts that are just for your story.  They should be customized for your characters (what you know of them) and the bits of the plot that exist.  

Caution: using this strategy will encourage plot holes & rampant inconsistency.  But, it times of crises, you just have to make do!!  Got your matches of inspiration?  

Let’s get started, there’s truly no time to waste:

The Basics:

5Ws are always helpful to get the ball rolling: 
✓ Why is he going there?         
✓ What does she want?            
✓ Why does she want that?
✓ Who are they talking to?       
✓ When is (the big scene) going to happen?  What's next?
✓ What would my character say to me?  Have the character write you a letter explaining them self to you.

The Customized:

Write 1 sentence for what your novel’s about.  Then write 1 paragraph.  From this paragraph, begin to ask yourself questions.  
✓ Why am I writing this?
✓ What does my character want?  Who is this other guy? What does he want?
✓ What will they fight about? Why?
✓ Who wins the 1st fight?  What’s the consequence?
✓ Make the 30 questions as personal for the story as you can.  The more customized, the better.  If you can get 30 questions out, you’ve got Nano in the bag. 

The Bonus Round {for Extra Insurance}

Add Creativity for spice:
✓ What if a talking rabbit joins the party?
✓ What if the main character decides to …..(buy a set of angel wings for himself, something outlandish is encouraged)

Perhaps some dares?
✓ Add a burning crayon to the scene you're writing now.  
✓ The next time you're in a restaurant or coffee shop, do some people watching. Take notes on the most interesting-looking person you see. Create a character out of them, and insert them in your novel.
✓ Pick any celebrity (living, dead, film, book, music, politics, etc.) and add them to your novel!
✓ Give your character a life altering food allergy! 

Don't panic!! Just follow the steps & calmly write.  You've got this ^.^

Oct 21, 2017

Survival Kits & Munchies

With only 16 more days until the madness begins, we simply must consider the key to winning Nano: 

Survival Kits!

Do you pack one? What's in it? Does it change each year?

Ideas to start us off:
 Notebooks or Software? Favourite Type of Notebook or stationary?
 Calendars, Time Management Tricks 'n Hacks 
 Word War Buddies, Team Cheer Us On! Do you have regular folks to root you on?
 Junk Food! {That's what everyone's secretly thinking!}
 A Detailed, Embellished Reward System 
 Any other Top Secret Arsenal?  

The Munchies & Rewards!                                             
I use Scrivener.  *romantic sigh of adoration*  Details on that is a romance story for another time.  I have coloured pens, spiral spined notebooks, sticky tabs & coloured cue cards.  But I don't use these as often as others for some reason.  

My #1 Best Tip: I also keep notes/summaries on what I wrote for each day.  That's the most important for me otherwise I lose track & have to read what I've written.  A nano no-no.  It opens the door so Charolette can enter with all her editorial criticism.  Charolette's my inner critic, she's vacationing in Siberia until January.

Word Wars!  I have a regular comrade on FB who's a heavy hitter in the US.  She beats me every time.  But this year, her keyboard is on the fritz so I have a chance!  3 or 4 of those and I can reach my word count for the day.  10 or 20 if I'm really behind!

The good stuff, we all know nano's just an excuse to binge on junk food!  I have coffee, maybe a glass or box of wine and brownies.  The brownies are also from a box.  I just have to procrastinate, add water & an egg, bake then eat.  Delicious break food that's also a distraction.

Rewards, I saw some awesome ones online where folks tier them.  I haven't thought about rewards as much.  I'm probably too full of brownies & coffee to be overly concerned! But it's sure an interesting idea to focus more on this year.  Maybe I can dial back on the calories & go for something more concrete & lasting? Who am I fooling? I've still got Rudolf muffin papers saved from 1964! 

So, a new-to-me book is in there for sure.  Maybe something from Lush?  There's a new chocolate store in town, maybe their coffee flavoured chocolate bar can be 5,000 words? Musing, musing.  The rewards are a great time to support some locally owned businesses after all!

✓  5,000 words = Coffee Chocolate Bar
 10,000 words = Loose Leaf Tea
 25,000 words = Artisans @ the Farmer's Market
 30,000 words = Bring Husband on a Date.
 45,000 words = Order only a dessert from a local restaurant!
 50,000 words = The Most Dangerous Book: The Battle for Jame's Joyce's Ulysses By Kevin Birmingham 

Well, I've just spent a bit of time crafting this fun post. *blush*  I've giggled a lot while writing it.  I hope you did too!  Are your Nano experiences a bit similar?  Have you thought of these things as much as me?  What are some fun rewards that you're going for?

Oct 13, 2017

NaNoWriMo Calendar 2017

Fellow Wrimos! 

 It's that writing time of year again!  Feel free to download this calendar to use for NaNoWriMo.  

So, I did borrow some of the calendar's prompts from older calendars & added a few of my own.  Feel free to leave a comment on what you're excited about for this year's Nano or even feedback on what you'd like to see in 2018's Calendar.

NaNoWriMo is that in English?

It's short for National Novel Writing Month.  Hey, it's a link to their official site!
Nano is when Wrimos all over the planet morph into seriously caffeinated writers.  With, with the 1 goal of attaching 50,000 words onto a white canvas: digital or archaic.  Some have become inspirational rogue overachievers and aim for a much higher goal: 100,000+ or even publication.  In my books, if you write more than you did in October, you're a winner! 

Happy Writing

Writing Prompts, Word Counts, Word Count Tracker, Coffee Beans

Aug 31, 2017

Notes from the Underground

It’s About THAT Guy

By Fyodor Dostoevsky
Translated by Pevear & Volkhonsky
Russian, 1864
Existentialist  Philosophy, Novella

Main Attractions

1.  The Most Comedic, Painful Narrator
2.  Great Insights into the Dark Side
3.  Highly Quotable Lines of Greatness
4.  Philosophy of the Human Condition
5.  Great Intro to Existential Novels
6.  Easy to Read, Yet Astounding Depth
7.  A Snippet of Life Underground
8.  More Enjoyable After Re-Reading it
9.  A 40 Year Old Reflects on Being 24
10. Asks the Ignored Bigger Questions 

Cuisine & Delicacies

Ranked as: Decadent Chocolate Cheese ’N Cake
The first part is a lively philosophical social commentary but the 2nd part takes a radical turn!  It’s told as a flashback and becomes more and more embarrassing for the narrator.  Understanding a lot of this book depends on the social context of the time which can make it confusing for the reader and possibly difficult to finish.

Why Visit Here

Everyone has faced the darker aspects of the self, this novel showcases it with such psychological depth.  At times, it’s over the top and goes to great length to show just how far a character will go to sustain their position while suffering.  It’s a great journey into the mind of a suffering protagonist.

The Literary Conversation:
These 3 books were written in reply to each other:
Fathers and Sons By Ivan Turgenev (1862) - It started it all with a powerful story about tensions between generations & social change, introducing Nihilism.
What is to Be Done By Nikolai Chernyshevsky (1863) — He added a Feminist spin and political/economic themes to the dialogue, introducing some idealist solutions.
✓ Notes from the Underground By Fyodor Dostoevsky (1864) - He took the idea of Nihilism and ran with it, crushing any idealist notions with practicalities of social conventions or poverty.

Destination Summary

The unreliable, unnamed narrator gripes and complains about everything.  His ideas are presented in a very personal way and the reader can’t help but react to his actions & dialogue.  At times, he is comical in his extremely melodramatic suffering.  Other times, it’s painful to read what he says, thinks or does.  The reader is left with a clear glimpse into the shadow of the soul.

Fabulous Summary by Thug Notes in 4:29 min.

Packing List

✓ Wet Blanket
✓ An Ant Farm to Shake
✓ Reading Chair Under a Bridge

Recommended Resources
Alternate Books
Nausea By Jean-Paul Sartre (1938) - His break with reality maybe self imposed, is told with a different writing style and has deep insights.
✓ A Hero of Our Time By Mikhail Lermontov (1840) - The main character is satirical hero who is comically bitter and even teeters on cruel.
✓ Demons (also called Devils/The Possessed) By Fyodor Dostoevsky (1872) - He goes much deeper into ideas that he started in Notes from the Underground.
✓ The Will to Power By Friedrich Nietzsche (1901 Posthumous) - Has parallel themes, but with radically different conclusions.