Tag Archives: Municipal Liaison

One And A Half Months

It’s only a month and a half until NaNoWriMo.

I know, I know. For most of you, you’re not even really thinking about it yet.

But I am. I’ve actually been thinking about since last month when a plot bunny hopped into my head and said, “Hi! I’m your 2015 NaNoWriMo novel!”

In addition to working on the outline for that (and fending off two other plot bunnies and a non-fiction idea) it’s time to get started on Municipal Liaison stuff.

Toward that end I have so far scheduled two talks about NaNoWriMo for next month and dropped off fliers at both local libraries, scheduled three write ins for November, dusted off the Google calendar and sent out a regional email.

Not too bad for one day’s work.

Still to do: a lot.

I need to find all of my ML stuff and get it sorted out.  (Some of it is in a wheeled craft tote bag that I finally brought in from my car, but I also have a box somewhere with stuff in it, and some stuff is on my computer – although I’m pretty sure that everything that’s on my computer is also in either the box or the rolling tote.)

I need to post fliers in other places, too.

I need to order this year’s ML kit.

I need to make goody bags for the kick off party and write ins.

I need to figure out what I’m going to talk about at the “What is NaNoWriMo?” sessions at the libraries.

And I had the brilliant idea to post documents on Google Drive for participants to print off and use to help with plotting and so on.

And a few bazillion other things that are going to start piling up faster than I can write them down on a list.

But it’ll all get done.

After all, I still have a month and a half…






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Back to Work…

All in all, it’s been a fairly productive three days off.

First of all, I came up with some potential cover images for Sanguine, so please go vote for one if you haven’t already.

I did some editing of Sanguine using Sarah’s comments, and I fixed a name change that I missed. (Thanks, Danielle!)

I’ve been posting chapters to Wattpad, but I still haven’t tackled Goodreads.  (But I’m blaming that on the fact that it suddenly got too hot to think again. Ugh.  I can’t wait for cooler weather!)

I’ve added words to my current WiP (Book Two of The Other Mages trilogy).  Only a couple thousand, and a lot of them are probably going to be cut, but sometimes the important thing is to just keep writing, because sooner or later something that you write is going to show you the way to move forward.  And yesterday something did so I’m excited about the project again.  I’m not sure how to segue to it, but since this is just a first draft I’m perfectly content to write [SEGUE NEEDED] and get on with it.

And I’m working on outlines for November.

Yes, outlines.  Plural.

No, I’m not planning on doing two novels in November – I did that once and swore to never do it again – but I’m having trouble deciding what to write.   Sarah wants a sequel to Sanguine, but Rowland has been patiently waiting for a sequel to Song and Sword.   And then there is Book Twelve of The Academy of the Accord series that needs to be written (along with Books Six, Seven, and Ten, but they’ve been sort of started so they don’t count).  And of course, there are a few other plot bunnies hopping around nibbling at the edges of my mind…  It’s getting crowded in there and will be worse by the end of October.

Oh, and I got the email from HQ that the 2014 Municipal Liaison kits are ready, so if I hadn’t already been thinking about NaNoWriMo I would be now anyhow.  But now I have to plot and ponder how to use this year’s “theme” for my region.  And start putting together a calendar of events.

But, now it’s time to go back to work at my day (well, evening) job, so…

Other than more work on the outlines, which I’ll print (on reused paper) and take to work with me, I doubt I’ll get much done for the next week or so.  I’m working five days in a row, get one off, work one, get one off, and then will be working at least three days.  (I haven’t seen that schedule yet.)  I’m hoping that during my next run of three days off I can get Sanguine formatted, but I know I’ll be too wiped out to do it next week.

I might also start working on a blurb for Sanguine.  If you hear a lot of swearing coming from Western Pennsylvania it will probably be me.  (I hate writing blurbs.  I would rather edit than write blurbs…)





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The Secret Society Guide to Noveling

So, anyhow, I don’t remember what I had set out to look up on Google when a Wikipedia article sidetracked me into secret societies.

I rationalized the distraction by deciding that it was research for the Academy of the Accord series, since there are two secret society type groups in it – the Bastions, and the as yet unnamed “wizards in the tower” – two groups that should be at odds with each other but are working (separately) for the same goal.

Plus, of course, there’s the superhero thing that’s been kicking around in my head for a while, although it’s a long way from coming to fruition. The information might be valuable for that, too…

Okay, so I was procrastinating.

Procrastinating is not necessarily a bad thing: it gets me closer to crunch time and I tend to be a lot more focused with a deadline looming nearer and nearer and nearer…

And the deadline that is sneaking up on me is to put together a lesson plan for Saturday morning’s character creation workshop as part of a series of workshops to get prepped for NaNoWriMo.  (I’ve been creating characters and writing stories for as long as I can remember:  how do you teach something that is second nature to you?)

Anyhow, in my secret society searches, I came across an article on how to create a secret society,  and, while it reads like a fun activity for kids in fourth or fifth grade, it also has some not bad advice for…

… well… for creating a secret society.

(And it has spawned a plot bunny that I really don’t have time to deal with right now but I think it’s not going to go away any time soon and I might be able to hook it up with another plot bunny that I’ve had for a while…)

Anyhow, the other thing about that how to guide, is that if you look at it from another angle, it gives pretty good advice for world-building and writing in general.

Let’s look at it:

1) “Create a secret or secret mission.”  Well of course a secret society needs a secret – otherwise it wouldn’t have a purpose.  A novel needs to have a purpose too – but we call it a plot.

2) “Read a few clique-like books, like the clique series by Lisi Harrison, for some background information, although, maybe not so mean like they were.” Research!  Not necessarily factual stuff, but know your genre. I write fantasy (and some science fiction) because that’s what I mostly like to read.  If I tried to write a romance novel, especially historical romance, it would be irredeemably bad, unless I spent a lot of time reading romance novels, which I have no wish to do.  Ditto murder mysteries, although I could, if pushed, probably plot one out – I would enjoy the challenge of creating the puzzle.

3)  “Think of a name.”  Oh, don’t get me started on names!  But they are necessary, not just for secret societies but for novels and the people and places and institutions in them.

4) “Conduct a proper initiation for you and your closest friend.” It’s always good to have someone to bounce ideas off of.  Bringing someone else into your world lets you see holes and flaws that you might not notice on your own.

5) “Figure out what your society does.  Who rules it and how? Theocracy, monarchy, democracy?  What sort of industry does it have? Is there a class or caste system?  How spread out is it and how do people travel? Gender roles?  And lots more – this question can take a year to answer if you want to go in-depth. (I have a bad habit of doing a lot of this part of the world-building as I go.)

6) “Find potential members.”  Yep, ya gotta have characters.  (Actually, I usually start with the characters but I know that not everyone does.)  And not just your main characters – they don’t exist in a vacuum.  They have family, friends, enemies, people from their past… Not to mention the people that populate the world around them, rather like extras in a Western movie.

(Alternately, identify potential readers for this thing.)

7) “Induct your members.”  Now that you have characters, get them into your society and get them doing stuff.

(Alternately, turn your potential readers into people who are actively interested in your progress.)

8) “An important thing in secret societies is to meet in secret, that means meeting in a new place every time or having access to a secret room somewhere.” You’ve created a whole world – move your characters around in it.

(Alternatively, sometimes writing in a new and different location will increase your productivity.)

9) “Make a dress code.”  Don’t forget to show the reader your stage dressing.  I’m really guilty of this, especially in my first draft: I know what the scene looks like, what my characters look like, and what they’re wearing, but do I let the reader know?  No, not usually.  If I’m lucky I put that in the second draft but sometimes it doesn’t get there until a beta reader beats me over the head.

10) “Keep quiet and have fun.” Yeah, you want some people to know what you’re doing, but sometimes it’s best to keep it to yourself, with just occasional reminders to friends and family about your project.  Enthusiasm for your project is natural and good – you should fall in love with it.  But talk about it too much and your loved ones’ eyes glaze over.  I know: I’m guilty of it.  So guilty, in fact, that I actually made a sign to put on my computer that says. “No one else cares about your writing so STFU about it.”

11) “Initiate well to do people in the society.” Make connections!  Network with other writers and other creative types. Beg for beta readers. (And if you come up with a successful means of doing so, please share.  I fail at it.  Badly.  But I’ll keep trying.)

12) “At first, be friendly, but do not reveal the central secrets of your society.” Share excerpts, but don’t give away the whole plot.  After all, you might want someone to read the whole thing someday.

13) “There needs to be a way to get rid of someone if they become bad for the group or start talking—like blabbing the society’s secret.” I know it’s hard, but sometimes characters have to die, no matter how much you love them.  (I rarely kill my characters.  I think I’ve only killed two that I cared about:  one because she deserved to die and one because… well, because it made for a better story to kill her.)

Writing guides can be found in the darnedest places…

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I have defined NaNoWriMo as “a month long ascent into insanity.”  It is also addictive and demanding – it drives you to write, to create.  As proof I offer the following:

In November of 2011 I became officially insane.  I was a brand new ML (Municipal Liaison) for NaNoWriMo — a volunteer organizer of local write ins, etc. I was also working full-time and going to school part-time.  And I was writing two novels in one month.

Why?  Because I had two story ideas and a stunning lack of decision-making ability.  One had more plot, but the other had a couple characters that had been kicking around for a while, and, no, they would not fit into the other plot.  So, since I couldn’t decide which to write, I wrote both.

And they both hit 50k.

How did I do it?  Beats me!  Shameless word-padding was part of it.

And planning.   I had a series of small papers due for a class.  There was no deadline other than “before the end of the semester” so I got them done and turned in before the end of October, freeing up loads of time in November.  I was happy. The prof was happy.  Everyone else thought I was a brown-noser.

And not being critical of what I was writing – that came later.  I let odd things happen.  I got silly.  I got dark.  And out of the silliness came some things I loved, and out of the darkness came some massive changes.  (Yeah, both books are waiting for a re-write.)

Writing in every spare moment was another:  I had scheduled a lot of write-ins and I went to all of them, except two.  One I missed because of an asthma attack triggered by potpourri in the bathroom at the library, and the other one…

The other one was the first write in of the month.  On the first of November, no less.  I had to miss it because the hot water tank declared war on the carpeted basement floor, my roommate was an hour and a half away having lunch with her mother, and the shut off valve was stuck.  (Yeah, that’s the way to get NaNoWriMo off to a good start… )

So, yeah: working full-time, going to school part-time, ML’ing for the first time… 30 days, 100,000 words…

And, sadly, no men with white coats.

I needed the men with the white coats.


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