Updates! Updates! Updates!

First, let me apologize for my lack of activity these past two weeks. Life decided to stop by and bring all of its friends and they’re a crazy bunch to entertain. So with that being said I have a few announcements to make. This year I will not be participating in NaNoWriMo. I need this time to finish my novel and doing NaNo would take away from that. I will, however, be rooting for all the participants of NaNo. It’s truly an amazing challenge and I would encourage all who have the time to participate. On my Facebook page, Blair Cousins – Author, and Twitter, @shmall_child3n, I’ll be posting encouraging memes and advice throughout the month of November for NaNo. So feel free to follow and share. Also for the month of November, I will not be following my regular weekly post schedule. I will post when I can, once again so I can focus on finishing up Ouji. Lastly, I will be posting a short story in honor of Halloween. I am very excited to take a break from editing and life to have a little fun writing. So check back in tomorrow!

 

Thanks for sticking around, hope everyone is well and to my NaNo friends, good luck and remember to have fun.

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Virtual Advice

I love this!

Elan Mudrow

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If you’re dating a dud of a download

And it’s occurring during an internet outing

Find a different server……

Don’t let a rude browser screw up your day

We can talk Facebook to Facebook,

Instant message me

No need to Skype, post, tweet, or offer me

A Goodread and get all Kindle

I will text you the same thing I’ve always texted you

It’s good to keep a few tabs open

Weed out crappy apps

Don’t let them waste space on your hard drive

Find the perfect operating system

Don’t share your network with any old device
You can’t afford to load pages slowly

Sometimes, it’s good to clear your history

Stay positive and keep updating on a regular basis

It keeps you safe from viruses

And eating too many tracking cookies

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There’s No Wrong Way to NaNo

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It’s November 1st, day one of NaNoWriMo, I have my story freshly plotted out and outlined. I’ve been waiting all year to participate in NaNo, after the success of my first year. I feel more confident now, ready to write, but November drags on and before I know it it’s November 3rd and I have 500 words on the page. I’ve hit a wall, I don’t know what’s wrong with me. The words aren’t falling onto the page like they usually do and I’m falling behind day by day. So I’m stuck and in a dilemma; power through, drop out, or start a new, none are sounding too appetizing right now, but I have to do something. I’ve been preparing for NaNo for months. This is my schedule time to write, my me time, and yet the words escape me. So I make a brash decision to start over from scratch, 5,001 words behind, three days into the challenge and thirty-seven days left to complete it.

 

It’s crazy, but I finished that year. That was the year I wrote the draft for my soon to be first novel, to be published this next year. That’s the cool thing about NaNo, there is no wrong way to prepare for it. Whether you plan your novel idea months in advance or just pick up and run with an idea on day one. The challenge is not focused on simply regurgitating 50,000 words onto the page and hitting the finish button. It’s about setting aside real time to work and craft your story into something tangible. Sure, finishing is nice, but don’t focus on the word count. Trust me, just because you have a 50,000-word draft doesn’t mean all the hard work is over. Same goes to the writers who write under 50,000 words, your story is complete when it tells you. You are not bound by the word count of your project, focus instead on crafting a well-written story, one that captures the vision in your mind.

 

So, you’re probably getting pretty excited about starting NaNo. The NaNo staff have begun their prep and you’re pumped about attending the kick-off celebration or maybe you’re still a little nervous. Regardless of where you stand, here are some helpful tips for making the most out of your NaNo experience next month.

 

1. Plan. Doesn’t matter if you do it months in advance or in a day, a simple outline will go a long way and help you with pacing.

2. Check Out Your Resources. Regardless of where you are on this beautiful blue Earth, you are not alone. There are people standing by to help you, via the NaNoWriMo forums or in person at one of the meetings. No meetings in person in your area? No problem. Their online support community is extremely helpful. And DON’T forget to check your NaNo mail, there are lots of goodies in there waiting for you.

3. NO EDITING. November is not the time to edit. This is the time to get your ideas out, you’ll have plenty of time later to correct that sentence or fix that plot hole.

4. Write Every Day. Doesn’t have to be the recommended 1,667 words, 100 or even 50 is better than nothing. The challenge is designed to get you into the habit of writing.

5. Have Fun. Plain and simple. Writing is your passion and November is your month to shine. Enjoy it.

 

I hope this helps. Remember, don’t stress and have fun, because there is no wrong way to NaNo!

 

Sign up now at NaNoWriMo.org today!

The fun starts November 1st!

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year

Nano Eve is among us! It’s that time of year to start getting prepared for National Novel Writing Month, or commonly known by its followers as NaNoWriMo! What is NaNoWriMo? Well, it’s a month-long writing challenge that takes place every November with one very simple goal in mind, write a 50,000-word novel in a month. Yes, you read correct, 50,000 words in 30 days. If you’re thinking this is impossible, I completely understand. I thought so too, back in 2014, when I first participated in the challenge. Back then I was still in college juggling work, school, and other activities, but the more I researched and read, the more my mind began to accept the idea.

 

50,000 words in 30 days it’s a lot, but trying is the main point of Nano. There’s no fancy prize or entry fee, just the bragging rights of “Hey, I got my ideas onto paper” because the hardest part about being a writer is typing that first word. It’s a lot to commit to, whether you plan to publish or just writing for fun, it’s a personal battle. One that you often go through alone, that’s why I’m grateful for Nano because with Nano you don’t have to go it alone. The online community is amazingly supportive and welcoming. Throughout the year, they hold discussions and post seminars. During November they hold meetings in your local town, where you can meet other participates and network. It’s truly an amazing experience, at the cost of $0.00 USD!

 

Nano has also taught me many things about my own writing style and process. It proved to me that I can write a full-length novel, something I’ve only dreamed of doing as a short story writer. Nano also emphasizes the importance of trying. Every word you write is one word more than the last. That’s progress! Be proud of yourself, whether you write 100 words or complete the challenge. It’s all writing practice. It’s time spent developing characters, working on the plot, and developing the story. It’s a wonderful experience.

 

I really enjoy participating in Nano. They’ve helped me become a better writer and because of Nano, I’ll be publishing my first book in February.

 

I encourage everyone to sign up, even if you don’t finish. Give it a try, you never know you might surprise yourself.

 

Check out NaNoWriMo and join in on the fun!

Nothing Out of the Ordinary

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Aira clutched tightly to her lunch bag as she turned the handle of the door with her free hand. There were only three doors left till she reached the freedom of her car. Work was long and relentless and the weekend was far away, but Aira liked her job even though it was exhausting. When she reached the second door Aira quickly crossed the tiny reticular room as she rushed towards the third door. That’s when she noticed the elevator door was open. She barely paid any attention to it before, but there was something different about it. The colors clashed against the ones in the room almost as if it did not belong there.

The walls were covered in sandy tan wallpaper and the floors were neatly tiled in marble stone. She’d forgotten there was another elevator at all, but this one was far fancier than the busted metal box they used to haul supplies in. Her hand pressed against the handle of the third door, as she debated taking a step inside the elevator. She applied enough force to the door that it cracked open, but curiosity got the best of her as she let the door close and walked towards the mysterious elevator.

It wasn’t as dramatic as her imagination led her to believe. From the inside, it looked like any other elevator she had been in. Aira allowed her fingers to trace the soft textured wallpaper as her eyes rolled over the detail on the marble floors. There was a patient hum coming from the elevator that waited for her next move. That was when Aira realized that the elevator had four floors instead of two. She looked curiously at the dimly glowing yellow buttons, letting her eyes wander freely up and down the panel as she counted the number of floors in her head. The buttons were smooth and felt like glass, not like the other elevator buttons warned from use. She hit the button for the first floor and the doors opened again to the room she had just left. She poked her head out and shrugged and allowed the doors closed again. She tapped the button for the second floor, expecting to reach the back hallway of the administrative offices upstairs.

When the elevator lifted it moved effortlessly as the gears and machinery merged together in a marvelous chorus. The doors opened and a light blinded her as the sound of music rattled through her ears. Once her eyes adjusted she looked out at the sea of dancing bodies below her. She peered over the patio at the crowd, all moving to the beat of the music coming from the bandstand. She was shocked at first, unable to take her eyes off the faces in the crowd, who looked so content and carefree; something she had not felt in a long time. Part of her wanted to dwell in this transitional state, as her eyes passed over the sweat covered faces of the people below her. She couldn’t help but feel a little bit envious, but she leaned back into the elevator as the doors closed once more. She stood there for a second trying to wrap her mind around how a crowd full of hundreds of people could possibility be on the second floor. It was so bizarre, almost unbelievable, but she was curious and pressed the button for the third floor.

It was the smell of the ocean that she noticed first when the doors opened. There was a gentle breeze and blue skies when she looked out in front of her. She noticed the endless sea around her, she wondered if she were now on a boat. She looked out onto the wooden deck which was completely empty except for a few patio chairs and tables when suddenly she heard gunshots. She pressed her hands to her ears and ducked. A few yards in front of her a man came hurtling towards her. Behind him were three tall men not far behind. They were shooting at him. She immediately hit the close door button, but as she did she couldn’t help but notice the smug look of excitement and exhilaration on the running man’s face.

The doors closed leaving only the gentle hum of the machinery. She stepped back and leaned against the wall listening to the beat of her heart. What in the world did she just see? A part of her wanted to stop this crazy adventure, but she couldn’t take her eyes off the fourth floor. This time, she was more hesitant, as she reached out and pressed the button for the fourth floor. The doors opened to an all-white office, with tiny light gray cubicles with people crouched over their computers like drones. On the walls were hundreds of clocks with no hands, silently ticking away. No one noticed her on the opposite end of the office; they were too immersed in their work. It was odd, she took a second to look at everyone’s faces – all were stoic, empty, and emotionless.

Aira stepped back into the elevator, her mind reeling as if she had just lifted the curtain on reality. She stared at the floor as her mind shouted to her to hit the first-floor button and run away, but inside of her she couldn’t ignore the tiny spark of curiosity. It burned brightly in the depths of her self-conscious, driving her forward. She reached for the third-floor button.

The doors opened, “What took you so long?” smiled the running man.

The Thrill of the Chase

Lately, I’ve found myself eager to jump into the page. The prospect of editing and revision has put me in a better mood, which is very uncommon for me. These feelings, reminiscent of my college days, are a welcome refresher as I finalize my novel for publication.

I may not like every part of the publishing process, but nothing brings me more satisfaction than the headways of progress. Earlier this month I received my draft from my Editor filled with lots of mistakes and errors to be fixed. Goosebumps jolted down my spine as I read the feedback. It was exhilarating to have someone look over my work and give good feedback. I’m hungry for it, I want to know what I can do to make my story better, to drive it forward. I can’t wait to start up again and much work needs to be done, but I’m loving it. Yes, I’m sure the revision process will have me pulling my hair out, but I’ll be better for it and Ouji will be better for it too because this is what passion is. Passion is seeing the value in every part, even the parts that drive you to the breaking point and when all is said and done you can look back with pride at your work.

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I’m excited to finish this project, not just to get it out of the way, but because I want this story to be the best story it can be.

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Ouji The Curious Cat comes out this February and is recommended for readers eight and older.

Coming Soon

I realize I don’t talk very much about my novel coming out in February and in truth I wouldn’t know where to start. I have that sort of writer’s point of view where I feel the need to unload every little detail of the story and I know that can be a bit over the top. I’m not going to let that be an obstacle, though, I believe I’ll get better with practice. So let’s have some fun, let’s try to flush this out a bit.

My first project is entitled Ouji The Curious Cat, a modern tale about a very curious house cat with a heart for adventure. He dreams, like many other creatures, to have the freedom to do what he wants, when he wants but soon learns that freedom comes with a lot of responsibilities. It’s a lot for a little house cat from the suburbs, but he quickly learns that he is not alone and that there is great value in having friends.

Themes of adventure and friendship are very important in this story. As Ouji starts to step further and further out of his comfort zone. Join Ouji this February on his journey from his warm cozy home in the suburbs to the vast mountainous forest of lore as he discovers that the most important part of the journey is not the destination, but the friends you make along the way.

How was that? Needs work, I know, but time is on my side!

Ouji The Curious Cat comes out this February and is recommended for readers eight and older.