NaNoWriMo Newbie!

Between the end of 2016 and May 2019 I wrote around the grand total of fifteen thousand words, most of which were utter shit. I just couldn’t do it, I had nothing of me to give to a sentence let alone a page. My marriage had broken down and I left the family home, agreeing to joint custody of my two children, that marked the start of my dry spell. 

I’d had relative success in previous years, penning Falling to Pieces, my debut novel releasing mid 2013, Falling into You in 2014, Kissing Cassie in 2015 and Kissing Katie in 2016! I then wrote a book with another writer, which finished in 2016 but unfortunately we had a huge falling out on the account that he was an utter wanker. Therefore, that was a waste of both time and effort. 

When I left, I moved into a quaint little cottage, the end one of several and the largest. You would have thought it would have been idyllic and tranquil, but it turned out to be anything but. My next door neighbour was a nightmare. I left the property within four months. 

When I moved to the next place, I vowed to start writing again, even though I was due to start Mental Health Law  at Northumbria University. Life simply kept getting in the way.

So, what does this have to do with NaNoWriMo I hear you ask? 

I finally, oh my God, you have no idea how divine it felt, finished the first draft of a novel at the end of September 2019. But, I still feel so desperately behind and people talking about NaNoWriMo seemed to flood from everywhere. 

Of course, I understood the basics of NaNo, write at least 50k in the month of November. I’ve been a writer for long enough now to have full knowledge of what 50k means in terms of time and effort and honestly, I couldn’t think of anything worse. For me, the pressure of that would kill my creativity and freedom. There would be no way I could ever do that…

Then, this is number one…I remember a cold beginning of 2013, telling people that I was happy writing short stories and I could never write a novel. Sooo, I figure that I was completely wrong there, on six accounts actually. I got to thinking maybe I could write 50k in a month! Well, I can if I try.

Number two, the thought popped into my head that I could do NaNo if I set my mind to it, I picked up my phone to reach out to my FaceBook pals and find out their experiences with NaNo and caught a notification on the front screen of my phone, ‘Beckie Pavia shared a video to your timeline.’ Nothing unusual about that, I hear you say? 

Beckie lost her battle with cancer on 21st August 2016 and when I hit the notification there was nothing there. I’m a superstitious person by nature and I honestly believe that was a sign. For anyone who didn’t now Beckie, she was inspirational and positive to the end. I don’t know if she ever did NaNo, but if there was anyone who had the willpower to do it, it was her. That’s why ‘Falling from Grace’ will be dedicated to Bex who went by the pen name of R.K. Pavia.

Preptober has been a completely enlightening situation for me, too. I’m a loud and proud pantster, it’s in my soul and how I function best. I have saved the cat and plotted out the entire novel, if it doesn’t fly out of my fingers that way, then so be it. There’s a part of me that hopes it doesn’t, because that will mean flying by the seat of my pants was always the correct road to travel on.

Also, this awesome board has rocked my world…

I have never spent an entire month prepping a novel. All of my research has been done on the job. I have done tons of research for my NaNo project which has led to richer ideas, or so I hope. I will definitely be taking a month out for research in the future. I mean, I don’t know how I even came up with the idea of setting some of ‘Falling from Grace’ on the Scottish border, but my research has suggested that the place is absolutely heaving with inspiration. I’d love to visit.

Are you participating this year? If so, please send me a friend request. I’m ‘TheLTKelly.’ Have you entered in previous years? I’d love to hear about your experiences, good or bad.

Thanks for reading :).

Lucy

FREE ebook + Paperback giveaway

Falling to Pieces was my debut novel, released in 2013. A while ago I blogged about heading back to the Falling Series because I missed my characters more than I could bear. I completely admit that leaving the series at two books was a HUGE mistake.

However, all is not lost…as part of NaNoWriMo 2019 book three will be penned. 

As part of the process Falling to Pieces has had an editorial overhaul. With Falling to Pieces being my debut it required a little clean up and I’ve even created a playlist for my readers on YouTube, you can listen here. 

Falling to Pieces is FREE for a limited time.

Amazon UK: https://amzn.to/2Ha4li7

Amazon US: https://amzn.to/2EQ3xvn

I’m also offering followers of my social media accounts the opportunity to win a signed paperback + bonus swag!

Check out the giveaways on:

Twitter: https://twitter.com/LTKelly2/status/1188387447224311809

Facebook: http://bit.ly/345WNUX

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/p/B4HekJbAz-N/

For bonus entries please sign up to receive my brand new newsletter, here! https://mailchi.mp/f218cf8dad3c/ltkelly-romancewriter

I truly hope you’ll love Falling to Pieces as much as I do. I’m hoping the fruits of my first NaNo endeavour, Falling from Grace will be hitting your shelves in Spring 2020 But before that you’ll also have book two to read, Falling into You.

I would be grateful for your free book downloads and entries into my giveaways. But most of all your reviews once you’re done reading.

Can’t wait to hear from you!

Lucy

4THEWORDS – Sprinting Tools – Part 3

Admittedly, I had every intention of slipping in another gaming style writing site. If you want to game in the way I’m going to describe below, but for free, I totally encourage you to try out Write to Smite (link this up). However, I cannot urge you enough to at least take the free trial for 4THEWORDS, especially if you’re taking part in NaNo. It’s literally the best site, ever! I adore it and I cannot impress on you enough the amount of productivity I have had since I started using it.

4THEWORDS is a great storage system for your work, too. Even if you allow your subscription to lapse and then want to come back to it, it will all still be there. A lapse in subscription merely makes your content read only, and obviously you won’t be able to take part in the game. You can create single files to work in, don’t attempt to write your entire book in one file as it will slow down the save rate of the file as you work, and 4THEWORDS helpfully lets you know this. I have created projects for my writing, which also allows you to create goals for the projects. Each file could then form a chapter, or a part of the project you’re working on.

The game is based on quests, the main game which allows you to progress into parts of a world as well as local quests, pertaining to the world in which you’re playing and global quests. In order to win your quests you must battle against the monsters! Which looks something like this:

I’m a gamer, always looking to get to the next level, and when achieving that next level involves having to write a huge amount it motivates me. I haven’t written this much in years! This game is a huge part of why I am taking part in NaNoWriMo this year!

This is what you can expect from the quests:

Each quest is rather varied when it comes to the main quests, but in ‘town’ there are repeats such as bi-weekly monster hunts which challenges you to defeat a certain amount of monsters to win something like a golden or wooden chest. 

Each monster has certain drops, so if you need essence you’d probably select to fight a Wignow. Each monsters drops can be discovered by clicking on the monster. You can also add monsters into a battle list and set it up so that each battle automatically commences at the end of one battle, or each has a break in between and t=you have to click to manually start the next. You can add up to ten battles in each battle list.

In order to maintain your streak you must write 444 words per day. A perfect amount to ensure you get into the habit of writing on a daily basis. However, if you have a mishap you can repair your streak with stempos. You need two stempos to fix a break in streak after the event, or one stempo to book a future day off, as it were. You can earn and win stempos by taking quests and keeping up your streaks. You can also purchase them using core crystals!

Core crystals is 4THEWORDS currency. It’s also how you subscribe. 44 crystals cost $4 and that’s also how much your monthly membership costs.There are options for core crystals, gift cards and subscriptions, as pictured.

There are more options available on the site. The above are examples of what you can expect.

 I have given you plenty of freebies to use on this blog, however, this platform really works for me and $4 a month is absolutely nothing to me in exchange for the most productivity I’ve had in years. Also, you can also win core crystals through quests and by sharing your referral code. All payments are made through PayPal presently. If I’ve sold this site to you please do use my referral code, we both win core crystals for utilising core crystals for using a referral codes:  BBUHM17241

Another beautiful and welcoming part of 4THEWORDS is its forum. I’ve posted several times and received nothing but helpful and polite responses. That, you have to admit, can be somewhat of a rarity these days!

4THEWORDS also runs special events. At the moment there’s the Halloween avenger hunt which directs you to useful blogs and social media pages in exchange for codes where you get FREE STUFF!

Don’t delay, start you FREE trial today, and please don’t forget to use my referral code 🙂 Happy writing!

https://4thewords.com/home

My Write Club – Sprinting Tools – Part Two

 This is part two of my four part series on ‘sprinting’ sites for writers.

If you’re anything like me, you work better under a little bit of pressure, and if you’re even more like me you don’t have anyone hounding you for your next work of fiction to come to fruition.

With NaNoWriMo upon us, I decided to review handy sprinting sites, one, so you don’t have to and two, so you’re not reliant on finding another writer to sprint with!

Today, I’m bringing you something that’s completely different from anything else I going to show you in part three and four, so it’s a real contender depending on what you’d like from a sprinting application. My Write Club does not have a gaming aspect to it. I adore gaming and it spurs me to write so I can keep streaks and win items as part of a game. If you’re currently rubbing your hand together, thinking that you’ll wait for parts three and four, I urge you to at least take a peek of My Write Club, it truly is a very clean and functional site.

Click to sign up and then you can add a goal, this could be anything you like and a very nice feature is that you can choose how to measure your success in words, pages, lines and depending on how you work best! You can also set yourself a deadline, again, a great feature even if only to trick you into striving to smash it!

Note: If you’re British and you’re trying to in put a date, remember that Americans put the month first and then the day…

Okay, now onto the actual sprinting part. In the top left hand corner there is the ‘running person.’ At this point you can choose a custom or the global sprint. I think that the custom sprint maybe a private sprint between friends utilising the same site. I may be wrong and I admit I haven’t utilised this site enough to be aware of all the finer details. I have always opted for the global sprint. Sprints start every thirty minutes and last for twenty-five minutes. There is a handy timer at the top of the page so you know where you are in the sprint. Down the right hand side of the page you’re able to see the progress of your contenders. This is great, especially if you do have a real life friend to sprint with because they can’t cheat!

Please note, there is usually a list of names at the side with their live word counts, but I took the screenshot early this morning…

However, if you find the competition distracting you can hide it while you complete your sprint by clicking on the arrow on the top right hand side.

As you can see you can earn stars for your sprinting efforts, however, these don’t really do anything for you as far as I can see. I guess it’s sort of like getting a gold star when you’re at school, you don’t get a prize, only that warm fluffy feeling that you have done a job well done!

You’re words save in your account, if you move sprint, your words come with you which is a great function.

This is a great site for those who want to sprint in a more traditional sense, you, your words and a bunch of other people just trying to create. I highly recommend it to anyone who would like to do the aforementioned. However, if you love colour, flair and game playing, I think you’ll be pretty impressed with the next two sites I have to show you, so don’t forget to subscribe by e-mail!

Give My Write Club a go: https://www.mywriteclub.com

Sprinting Tools – Part One – Fighters Block

As NaNoWriMo looms upon us, I’m creating a series of blogs over the next couple of weeks with a recent discovery which has helped me achieve more words in a month than I have managed to produce in a very long time.

I’m quite competitive in nature and I adore a good old sprint. If you’re anything like me, you’ve shouted out on Facebook, Twitter and whatever other forms of social media where you have good connections with other authors and asked someone to sprint with you, the highest word count wins. It truly helps me to keep focussed on that task for the agreed time, usually 30-60 minutes.

That said, I’ve found it difficult to pin down a time and a person to sprint with me.

I was scrolling through Facebook and saw a reference to sprinting websites. I honestly knew nothing about them, but there are tons! Some free and some paid for.

This is part one of four I have used. Fighters Block is by far the simplest design.

You arrive at this page…

Select your character, the monster you wish to battle and your word goal for the ‘fight.’ I think there must be a minimum amount of words you can put in the goal box, because I’ve experienced issues getting in when I’ve placed a low number in that box.

We then move into the action. I logged in from this device and the work I’d previously done was there. I haven’t found a place to sign up or had to provide any details at all.

The next screen is ‘the battle ground.’

The green bars below the ‘fighters’ slide in real time depending on how fast you’re typing. It can either be a great motivator to watch it move, or a horrendous distraction depending on works for you! But luckily you can hide it and turn the screen into a blank writing space. Personally, I’m not entirely sure what the point would be in that case!

Talking of functionality, there is plenty of them which we can see in the picture below.

This menu is accessed by the cog in the top right hand corner of the page. I haven’t managed to work out the difference between ‘monster speed’ and ‘monster attack’ though they both appear to be able to slow or speed up you progress bar depending on how quickly you type.

There are a range of fonts available, mine is set to ‘roboto’ as well as an ample plethora of text sizes and themes as well as widescreen and thin screen. The arrow pointing upward is what you would use to hide the sliding scales and characters from view.

Admittedly, this is a nice, simple and functional site. Also it’s free.

I’ll be honest and let you know that this was my least favourite out of all the sites available out there. I thought there could have been a better visual cue on how you’re getting toward the end of your goal, such as your character moving toward the monster rather than the sliding scales! I’d love to hear your comments on what you think of the site, even better if you can suggest some for me to take a look at!

I have three more sites to present to you, so if you’re interested please make sure you sign up to receive e-mails when I post.

If you want to check it out for yourself it’s here: https://cerey.github.io/fighters-block/

Thanks for looking! 🙂

***NEW RELEASE*** Drunk Boy by Aubrie Lee

Drunk Boy, is LIVE and FREE with Kindle Unlimited!
Buy or Borrow on Kindle Unlimited
Was it a push from above, or just too many shots? 

We were both drunk, that’s my excuse.
He had just broken up with his fiancé, that’s his excuse.
But we both want to do it again.

Miguel Mancinelli isn’t anybody’s idea of a typical Daddy.
He’s twenty-two years younger than Dallas Coulter.
He’s physically bigger, but too rough around the edges to take care of anyone, but himself and his club. 
Yet, the day they meet everything changes… can they really blame it on the drinks?

Accountability is KEY!

I think I’m sat here writing this post as a valuable reminder of what works for me. Though, unfortunately, August marks the month that I have sadly ‘fallen off the writing wagon.’

But, this blog post may be useful for those of you, who like me, stopped writing for a long time. This could be for many reasons and trust me, I had many reasons and excuses for stopping for as long as I did. There were that many excuses/reasons that there wasn’t even a main reason.

This had to stop, especially for someone like me who has a poor prognosis when I’m not writing. Writing helped me almost eliminate a life long battle with depression. Writing also keeps me energised in all that I do, it keeps my mind oiled which assists in my battle with despondency. Funnily enough, the more I write the more I get done in other areas of my life.

So, August just happens to be one of those months where I am on a knifes edge with keeping the house clean, doing laundry and ironing and just completing tasks in general. Oh, and not writing!

Today, I’m taking it back and I still have eleven days to reach my goals!

When I decided in April that I absolutely had to start writing again. I missed it so much that a part of me had died and I could almost feel the life being sucked out of me. I eased myself in gently and listened to an audiobook of a craft book called Write Naked by Jennifer Probst. That book really helped me and I’m certain that I will listen to it again.

Anyway, Jennifer speaks about accountability and it struck a chord with me. I’m not lucky enough to be set deadlines by a publisher, agent or anyone for that matter. In fact, I never have been. The only thing that ever happened to me that could even resemble that is receiving an e-mail from my previous editor asking me what I had planned for the year ahead!

There are literally no human beings that are sat there voicing or even thinking their annoyance that L.T. Kelly hasn’t produced a book for an age, either!

So, I went on an adventure. A little bit like Weight watchers when you know that you will have to face the scales every week in front of all of those people and die of shame when you have added 5lbs, but at least there are other people there like you, ones that also share your shame of accidentally eating ten doughnuts that week!

The 1st of May hit and another author who shares a horrible, life changing diagnosis of type one diabetes teamed up with me to be my checker and I was to be her checker. Her schedule is insane, made worse by a huge event at work and then summer break. It all fell a little to the wayside and I quietly stepped back and introduced the concept of an ‘Accountable Group’ to my fellow authors within the Romantic Novelists’ Association. I had quite a few takers! Alas, I think the RNA conference and the summer has stolen them from me too, and I totally blame them for not keeping me on track this month! Just kidding, it’s totally my own fault! If you’re an RNA member and you like the idea, please drop me a line and I’ll send you an invite to the group. 🙂

There are probably many groups like it and if you’re struggling to sit down and put words on a page, even shitty words, then what do you have to lose? Contact other authors and shop the concept to them, get as many as you can and hope that everyone stays with you. I promise that you will get at least a couple of months of productivity out of it, if nothing else!

What do you do to stave off the despondency and stay on track with your writing goals? I’d love to know! Drop me a comment.

Happy writing!

Lucy