YA Buccaneers NaNoWriMo Treasure Hunt

To celebrate the upcoming entire month of November and all it means for us writers, we YA Buccaneers thought it would be fun to host a NaNoWriMo Treasure Hunt!

And what exactly does that entail?

Well it's simple:

1. Each YA Buccaneer crew member will post a tip on how to navigate the high seas of NaNo on their own personal blogs.

2. Anyone who would like to join us will simply hop from blog to blog to read all the great NaNo tips. We'll make sure to provide a link to the next blog you hop to!

3. Leave a comment on each blog. 

4. Enter your name on the RaffleCopter widget at the bottom of each post -- the more blogs you visit = more entries to win!

And voila! You're entered in our treasure hunt to win a copy of NO PLOT? NO PROBLEM by Chris Baty -- an excellent guide to help you with your MS during the 30 days of NaNo!

So, my NaNo tip for the Treasure Hunt?

Don't get caught up in the small stuff.

NaNoWriMo is a time for unabashed writing...not editing. There will be time for that later! All you need to focus on during this time is writing. Getting all those crazy words in your head, down on paper.

Yes, some of it will be trashed later.
Yes, some of it will be completely unusable.

But yes, some of it will actually stick when all is said and done.

The point of NaNo is to write.

So don't sweat the small stuff...that's all fixable later. 

I'd love to hear your thoughts on NaNo - will you be entering this year? Do you have any tips you'd like to share? Drop a note in my comments below -- and don't forget to enter your name in the RaffleCopter widget to win! 

For your next stop on the NaNoWriMo Treasure Hunt, please hop on over to The Dread Pirate B's blog for her advice on conquering NaNo this year! Stop by the YA Buccaneers to catch up on any blogs you may have missed, too!

I hope to see you around the NaNo-sphere next month!

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Friday, Veterans Day, NaNoWriMo, and Beginning to End...

Happy 11.11.11...honestly, it's not the catchy date that has me excited, but the fact that it's Friday!

But more importantly, let's not forget, it's also Veterans Day. So if you're out and about today, enjoying the traffic-less roads, the free parking downtown, or the fact you don't have school (lucky kids), please take a moment to remember the importance behind this day. And please show your support for the amazing men and women (both past and present) in the Armed Forces - it's because of what they do, that I can do what I love.

So a BIG THANK YOU to all of our Veterans!

November 11th also means, we're eleven days into NaNoWriMo - almost halfway into this mind-bending, "what was I thinking", insanity. If you aren't familiar with NaNo, to sum it up - November is National Novel Writing Month (Na-No-Wri-Mo). Which basically means, the wonderful folks over at NaNoWriMo host the amazing challenge every November to all us crazy writers: 50,000 words in 30 days.

Yep, crazy.'s also pure, literally abandon. Everything goes. No one's judging - well, unless you don't hit the 50k mark by 11:59pm on November 30th. Cause that's when those that didn't make it, hang their heads in shame, and promise themselves that next year will be different. 

My first attempt at NaNo was actually last year. I'd been dealing with the absolute worst bout of writer's block I'd ever had (you can read all about it here). In fact, I hadn't written a stitch the entire two months before.

But then NaNo came along. And with it, was the thrill of the hunt, the "I so can win this sucker". And it all boiled down to...the competition. Who would've thought? I mean, anyone that knows me, knows I'm super competitive. I love anything that's a challenge. And 50,000 words in 30 days? Yeah, I think that fits the bill. Why hadn't I done this before?

Anyhow. Last November was amazing. Not only did I hit 50,000 words, but I surpassed that goal by an extra 15,000, and completed my current manuscript, THE LUCKY FEW (TLF). Completed. It was pure insanity. And I loved every single day of it.

Well, wouldn't you know September rolled around again, and the EXACT same thing happened. Again. Couldn't write. Didn't want to. Nothing made sense.

October wasn't much better.

I now call it the Curse of SeptOber (that should be read aloud in a vampire voice, hands held up above your head, in that strange Transilvanian accent). 

Now some of you know I'm in the midst of major revisions to my above mentioned manuscipt, THE LUCKY FEW, with my dream agent, who shall remain simply "Dream Agent" for the time being. And yes, dream. Short of stalking him (come on, all you writers out there fess up, you do it too), he's been at the top of my agent wish list for the past five years. So when the opportunity came up to work on exclusive edits with him (well, after I picked myself up off the floor when he called), I of course, jumped all over it. But then SeptOber rolled around, the very same time I received my editorial letter from Dream Agent, and my fingers decided they didn't know how to type anymore. 

Enter: NaNo.

It's been almost two weeks now, and I've been unstoppable. Everything I'd been worried about for the past two months, flew right out the window. And suddenly, everything just clicked into place. Sure my ideas still have some holes that need to be filled - but these ideas are really great (yes, that could totally be subjective, I know) - and most importantly, I'm excited to be writing again! 

I may not hit the 50,000 word goal this year (although I think I'll be close!), but to be honest, that's only the motiviation behind the writing and not what's important. What's important will be to finish this first round of revisions, make my manuscript that much better, and keep all my hair while doing it.

Cause I'd look awfully funny bald. 

So, in honor of NaNo and everything wonderful about it, that leaves me with today's Paper Hangover Friday Fives topic:

What are the FIVE ways that get you from the beginning to the end of your WiP without losing all your hair? 

1. Competition. Nothing makes my fingers come alive more, than a healthy does of competition. Challenge me with a deadline, tell me to surpass a wordcount, and as is the case with NaNo, throw in a few hundred thousand other individuals doing the exact same thing, and I'm game. Now to figure out how to create that same sense of frenzy the other eleven months of the year.

2. Read. Take the time to read. For me, it's reading books that fall within my genre, YA. While that's not the only genre I read, YA definitely contributes to around 90% of my TBR stack, since after all, it's what I write. Not only does reading YA allow for me to escape the mundane of day to day life, but it also helps me as a writer, to write better. 

3. Take a break. Don't forget to eat. Maybe take in a movie or watch a favorite show (hey, no shame in my game, I'm addicted to The Vampire Diaries. So every Thursday from 8-9pm, I'm parked in front of my TV - and it's kinda nice knowing I have that to look forward to every week).

4. Work or focus on something else. Strangely enough, when I was having issues working on TLF, I'd started writing something new - completely out of my comfort zone, falling in the category of contemporary YA. And it was just what I'd needed. Maybe it's the freedom and newness a brand new story brings, allowing my creativity to run rampant. Whatever it is, it works for me.

5. Fall in love with your story and your characters. Seriously. Writing is kinda like trying to grow something in your garden. I know this analogy has been used a million times before, the whole plant the seed and nurture and water it, till it grows into something beautiful...but I suck at gardening. I kill everything. Money tree? Yeah, I've had nine of them. They've all died. Rosemary - the herb that never dies? Yep, killed it in less than a month. Plastic plants? Cats got those, so technically it's not my fault. Anyhow, you get the point. Either way, like growing something in your garden, take the time and invest in your story and your characters. If you love them (even the antagonists, which happen to be my favorites!), it will show in your writing, and ultimately, your readers will connect. 

So, how do you make it through from beginning to end of your manuscripts? What inspires you to keep going? I'd love to hear your suggestions...after all, next SeptOber is only 9.5 months away.

Happy Friday / Veterans Day everyone!

My NaNoWriMo Challenge...And A Torn Calf Muscle, To Boot!


I have a walking cast and crutches, I'd like to personally thank - but more on that, below.


2010 brought with it, my first attempt at the NaNoWriMo challenge. For those of you who don't know what that incredibly long acronym stands for - it's the National Novel Writing Month competition - where writers from around the world, are challenged to write 50,000 words, during the thirty days of November.


That's right - a 50,000 word novel, in just 30 days.



That's what I first thought, when I set out to take this challenge head on. It didn't help, that I entered into the contest, having just spent almost 9 weeks with the most amazing bout of writer's block, I'd ever experienced in the four plus years I've been writing.

And so I sat for the first few days, staring at a blank page on my computer screen. Waiting. Hoping. And downright pleading that some form of inspiration would strike.

But it didn't.

For the entire first week of the month, I sat there and was unable to type more than a few words here and there. I wasn't able to blog, tweet, or really even draft up a legible email. And to make matters worse, I'd severely torn my calf muscle at one of my CrossFit workouts that same week - and was house bound with one of the most beautiful walking boots, that would make even Christian Louboutin jealous...and let's not forget, the lovely matching crutches (should I mention they were kids crutches? Yeah, evidently the adult ones, were too tall for me).

Seriously - nothing like striking a women, while she's already down.

Sleeping with my foot propped up on a bunch of pillows - it suddenly hit me. Okay, maybe being blindsided in my sleep, at 2:45am one Tuesday morning, is a better way to put it.

I immediately jumped out of bed - practically launching the cat who'd fallen asleep on my foot, across the room - and hobbled as fast as I could, to my computer. And I started writing. And writing...and I wrote, until I heard my alarm go off for me to get ready for work that day (which completely sucked, by the way).

But who was I to complain? I was finally writing again - and chalked up over 5,000 words that night alone.


And two and half weeks later, I crossed the finish line, with 52,770 words - almost 3k more than the goal, and two days ahead of the deadline.


And the best part is? I'm still going! In fact, I think I'll be finished with my entire first draft, in the next week or so - which just blows me away. Especially considering where I was, just three weeks ago.

So in the end, I owe a big thanks to my lovely walking boot and crutches.

Because of them, I was forced to sit down and put fingers to keyboard.

And because of them I have an almost completed WIP.

Thanks, NaNoWriMo for the awesome challenge! I look forward to next November, when we meet again.

Here's hoping I won't need to severely injure myself, to kick my muse into gear.