NaNoWriMo 2019 Update and Other Stories!

It’s almost the fifteenth of the month! And I am not even a quarter of the way through The Knowledge Stones. Oops.
This happened mostly because I’m figuring out exactly what to put where in the first few chapters that is now completely new. I then also realised that I need to change one of the secondary characters’ fate completely and add another secondary character. Now, he actually does have a true purpose and wasn’t just added because he just pitched up! (Which happens quite often while writing.)
In short, the first chapter featuring Zala has been written – whoohoo! – and I’m now on chapter three. Once these are sorted, though, the writing should go a lot faster.
That said, one of my writer friends and I are going to try and write through the night on Friday (15 November) to see how far we can get with our stories and then basically just sleep part of Saturday.

Other stories popping up out of nowhere

I may have also started another short story (which needs to be done by the twentieth as I want to send it to a publication for publishing) and I’m also excited to be busy writing that. I also got a cool idea for another story. For that one I need to do some research still before I can actually plot the whole thing out, but it’s also going to be fantasy.
A third story I’m pondering writing properly is one which has been rattling around in my brain for a few years now. It’s scifi, but definitely not hard scifi by any stretch of the imagination. The story is rather treading that thin line between fantasy and scifi. The story will be an Afrikaans one (just because I feel like writing an Afrikaans one for a change!), while I also want to translate Pandjieswinkelgoed that appeared in Vrouekeur in 2018 into English and send that out for possible publication. But that will have to wait until after November, I’m afraid.

Also, be sure to check out my Instagram (@carin_chronicles) feed for more stories and updates on NaNoWriMo as I go along. You can also read along some parts of The Knowledge Stones on my Patreon page if you’re one of my Patrons.

That’s it from me for now – hope everyone has an absolutely awesome week!

NaNoWriMo 2019 News!

The weeks have been absolutely flying by — along with all the deadlines that come with the last stretch of the year when you work in magazines. With the worst of the deadlines behind me now (I hope, because, wow, we were extremely busy), I realised about a week ago that NaNoWriMo is literally a few days away. And, in the spur of the moment, I signed up.

NaNoWriMo Plans

Now, I’m not planning on starting a new project for NaNoWriMo, but will try to finish The Knowledge Stones. Basically because I’ve been saying that for months now, but have completely fallen out of my writing routine. So I am seeing NaNoWriMo also as a way to get back into my writing routine. Will I reach 50K words though? Yes, if I manage to finish The Knowledge Stones! Actually, it should be a bit over 50K, but I’ll first focus on just getting the book done as opposed to simply hitting a target.

The first two days of NaNoWriMo didn’t go quite as planned, though. On Friday I was simply too tired after a week of deadlines and one crisis after another at work. I may have also had pizza for lunch and that also made me very lazy.

Then, on Saturday, it was the final match of the Rugby World Cup (South Africa vs England) and I spent part of the day listening to the match on the radio and, when we won, the street erupted with the sound of vuvuzelas, which was quite unexpected — and didn’t help my headache at all.

I ended up doing most of the chores on Saturday afternoon before starting to write. But this at least means that I can spend a glorious Sunday writing most of the day.

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Updates for NaNoWriMo

I won’t be doing a lot of updates on the blog though, but will be doing updates on Patreon (where you’ll be able to read along if you’re a patron) and Instagram. Come say hi!

5 NaNoWriMo Tips

Signed up to do NaNoWriMo (or even Camp NaNoWriMo)? Here are some tips to keep you at the top of your writing game.

Set a goal other than writing 50 000 words

While a goal of writing 50K words is no small feat, just having that dangle in front of you will not necessarily inspire you to great lengths to reach the goal. However, setting a goal like “finishing the first draft of novel Untitled” can lead you to write even more than 50K because you are excited about that goal.

Or, if like me, you end book 1 and realise you suddenly have a series on hand – why not start writing book 2 as well while you’re already in the zone? Or maybe even figure out the whole series?

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Skip a day when you need to

It’s extremely difficult to write every day, never mind finding time to write every day. Life happens, so, when you need to skip a day, do it. That doesn’t mean that you should go on a Netflix spree every other day, but it also means that you are allowed to go out with friends and spend time with your family.

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Don’t beat yourself up

If you fall behind, don’t beat yourself up about it. Even if you don’t finish writing the 50K, you will still sit with the beginnings of a book that you can continue with, in the following month. This is especially true if something goes wrong during the month that you hadn’t expected. For instance, you can get ill (or your spouse or children) and, of course, if you’re in the US there is Thanksgiving weekend and holidays.

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Get involved in some way

However, having people behind you can be a great help to get you to finish your 50K in November. Make some friends on the NaNoWriMo site, get your family and friends to sponsor you, and follow the hashtags on social media.

Keep hydrated and healthy

While having some chocolate as a treat to say ‘job well done’, living on chocolate and coffee for the whole of November is not a good idea. Remember that things like water and veggies exist for a reason.

Good luck!

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Why I will not be doing NaNoWriMo 2018

After some consideration, I’ve decided not to take part in NaNoWriMo 2018. Although I enjoy it – and the energy around it – greatly, there are just too many other projects waiting to be finished or get started for me to completely stop to write something else for a month.

The projects, or, I think my plate is overflowing

  • The projects I’m currently busy with, include:
  • Finishing and editing The Knowledge Stones
  • Editing Grove of Graves
  • Finalising the outline of and writing Porselein
  • A ghost story which will be about 7 000 words
  • The outline of a radio drama
  • “Not the Chosen Ones”, part 2
  • “Forgotten”, part 2

So, instead of having a slow and relaxing November, it will still be a very busy month (in which I may just write 50 000 words in any case…), especially taking into account that I have blog posts to write, a Christmas Market where I have a stall, making Christmas gifts and, you know, a day job!

Still, I’m not complaining, I just wish I could work faster!

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Plans for October

That said, I’ve now managed to open up October a lot more, as I usually use October to prepare for NaNoWriMo. So, instead of doing that, I will spend all my time editing The Knowledge Stones to get that out by the end of November. That is the final deadline I’ve given myself!

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What are your plans for November? Are you taking part in NaNoWriMo? Please let me know in the comments!

Writing update – July 2018, part 2

July (and Camp NaNoWriMo) is about 12 days from completion, and though I have not reached my target word count, I can say that I’m optimistic that I will still reach it as I double down and work on my projects and articles.

Another “Mighty” article

The Mighty has published another one of my articles – and even featured it on some of their facebook pages. I’m quite chuffed, actually, as I definitely wasn’t expecting the extra shares. Also, seeing that the articles hit home with people and helps them encourages me to keep writing for them!

Here’s my contributor’s page for The Mighty.

Conference paper

Plane tickets, the hotel room is booked and the conference paper for next month is coming along really well, although I’m still doing some of the research (i.e. reading papers that I’ve only come across now). And it took some time for me to realise that this paper contains some of the themes that are also present in my fiction. Go figure.

I’m spending time mostly on weekends working on it, though, which is why, I think, I feel like I’m making very slow progress. And I still think my title – “Rememberer of Gods and Kings” sounds quite cool, haha. Guys, I can’t wait!

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Jozi Flash

A quick update on Jozi Flash 2018 as well – the first edits are done and the fifth story is mostly planned. Currently called “The Singing Tree”, it’s another fantasy-mythology-folklore kind of story. So, basically, right up my alley. Unfortunately, I cannot share anything more – and what’s the fun in giving the surprise away in any case!

Porselein and The Ruon Chronicles

I’m still pounding out the whole outline for Porselein, but so far the feedback I’ve received has been positive – yay!

Then I reread The Grove of Graves… yeah, my writing has definitely improved during the past two years. So, I will work on Grove during September as well as quite a bit needs to be either rewritten or severely edited before I can put it out into the world again. (Thus far I’m planning on putting it on Noisetrade as a start, but I will have more information in September or October.

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April Writing Update

Or, some days… the dragon wins.

Sometimes it feels as if I am taking one step forward and two steps back when it comes to my writing. Not that I suddenly suck one day (I mean, obviously some stories don’t quite work, but I don’t mean that), but it’s like the month that there is a Camp NaNoWriMo I suddenly get ill and stuff and can’t seem to have the time to write.

Okay, work has been crazy busy, and writing for a living for your day job can make it very difficult to do the switch to writing fiction during the evening. Especially when there is the always-present chronic crap wanting to flare up. (Let’s just say that I am not amused when this happens. The exact vocabulary I may use sometimes will not be repeated here.)

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And then — blissful weekend — or so I thought. Turns out I woke up on Saturday with my right arm (my dominant arm) completely useless thanks to hurting my elbow and my elbow doing something with a nerve in my arm. I don’t know, it’s been happening for years, I don’t bother going to the doctor as it’s usually fine within two days or so.* But, though I was okay to knit, typing and writing by hand was out of the question.

So I basically lost a whole weekend of writing part 9 of The Box of Secrets and did not work on Porselein either.

Good news is that my arm is basically back to normal and I caught up on some of my podcasts over the weekend at least!

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Happy thoughts — Jozi Flash 2018 and other projects

Good news, though, is that everyone taking part in Jozi Flash 2018 is busy writing away at the first of the stories!

To read the previous Jozi Flash Anthologies, simply go to this page.

This week I’ll be working on Porselein to get my next scenes finished and then I’ll work on The Box of Secret’s final part over the weekend. Good thing that there is still another long weekend left in the month to try and finish Camp NaNoWriMo!

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* If you don’t read the blog often, you won’t know that I have various chronic illnesses. Basically, if I had to go to the doctor every time something went wrong or I felt ill, I would never leave the doctor’s rooms. Fun.

Camp NaNoWriMo & Other Bits and Pieces

I think someone went and pressed the “fast forward” button on 2018. Days are flitting past faster than I can keep track of, it seems, not to mention not being able to keep up with all the projects I have in mind for the year!

Alright, the only project that I 100% have to finish is the paper for the conference in August, but still. (BTW, good grief research as an independent scholar is expensive. I am so thankful for the little library I was able to build up during my MA years! And thank goodness I don’t need to work in a laboratory!)

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Camp NaNoWriMo April 2018

I am planning to take part in Camp NaNo next month, though, as I think that that will be a good way for me to keep a track of my writing as well as forcing myself to finish at least the first quarter of Porselein and finish The Box of Secrets.

The feedback I’ve received on Porselein thus far has been positive and is also helping me to make my writing a lot stronger, I think. Hopefully this will even (start to) show in my first drafts.

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TGD of 2018

That said, I seem to also like adding more and more projects as I go along. The Great Declutter (TGD) of 2018 was not planned or part of my New Year’s resolutions, for instance, but I’m almost halfway there (I only work on it on Saturdays so I don’t exacerbate all my chronic symptoms too much) and plan to have it all done by the end of April. Huzzah! And then I will be able to spend my Saturdays working on fiction again. It might have been the decluttering articles I’ve been writing for work that initially inspired me, though! Then there were also two books on hoarding which I read and which was extremely insightful. Oh, the rabbit hole one goes down in Kindle when looking for something like a book on “natural cleaning recipes”. Mind you, the same also happens when I’m on JSTOR* – I get pulled into researching one topic and before I know it my list called “interesting articles” (very creative, I know) is growing faster than my research one.

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*A repository for a great many scholarly journals and their articles. Fascinating reading!

Book reviews

I also want to start doing book reviews again. I have not been reading as much as I want to, but have read and listened to some fascinating and thoroughly entertaining books since last I did a book review.  I seem to be on a non-fiction stint again at the moment…

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When NaNoWriMo is a Flop… But Also Not Really…

Yeah… so… NaNoWriMo 2017 did not go AT ALL as planned. Oops. But most of what happened was beyond my control. And when I actually had the time to write, I did. And, whoohoo!, I managed to finish about 10K words, which is more than I had thought I would, actually.

So, between being ill, family emergencies, crocheting baby shower gifts, a guy almost drowning in the ocean, and even a lost 3-year-old that one day just pitched up at our complex (yes, really), I’m surprised that I made it through the month.

That said, you may ask why my NaNo that was a flop, wasn’t actually a flop? Well, turns out the time spent not writing gave my subconscious time to mull about the story. And figure out a much better storyline than I initially had in mind.

Which means that I took some days in November just for planning instead of writing, as pantsing the “new” story was getting me absolutely nowhere.

I’m hoping that December will be a better writing month, but, at least for the moment, it’s all a bit wait and see…

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My NaNoWriMo 2017 Novel!

At last! My NaNoWriMo novel for 2017 has a premise! Behold! (I wrote it in English, but the book is still going to be in Afrikaans… for now.)

In a world where the mask you wear and the magic imbued therein can literally determine your social station, talented mask maker Liza-Rose Emmerly wants nothing more than a quiet life plying her trade, but when the ruler of the city state Tiravnalone  asks her to make him a mask, she is thrown into a  world where she must choose between her own life and mind and that of others. To make the mask will mean ruin for many, but renewed vigour for her ailing city-state and safety for herself and her loved-ones. It seems Liza-Rose is left to make the decision  alone until quack doctor, Eric Wellnicht, shows up on her doorstep, asking her to make a choice that  will haunt her for the rest of her life.

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Jozi Flash Anthology and NaNoWriMo 2017 News!

It is with some trepidation that I watch the last days of October flit by, leaving me too scared to look at the date in my diary as that just reminds me how close NaNoWriMo really is and how much I still have to do before Wednesday!

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But first – Jozi Flash Anthology news!

The Jozi Flash Anthology will appear later than expected (but no less awesome), and will be released this November. It is a collaborative effort between Chasing Dreams Publishing and a bunch of writers based in and around Johannesburg (also called Jozi at times). And the writers includes me! (And some other brilliant writers like Nthato Morakabi.)

This year Chasing Dreams is hosting a cover reveal competition with a $20 Amazon gift voucher up for grabs – and it’s not too late to start. Just keep your eye on my Instagram account today for the next clue…

The competition and rules are quite straightforward…

  • Rules – Jozi Flash Cover Reveal Competition!
  • Download the #FindJoziFlash17 Info Pack from https://chasingdreamspublishing.wordpress.com
  • Print page 4 of the Info Pack in order to save details about the hunt.
  • Read through the pack to get to know the authors and artist (participants), and find their social media links.
  • One clue will be posted each day starting from the 23rd October 2017 and running until the 2nd
  • November 2017.
  • The clues will lead to one of the participants’ social media sites and will be posted at random times.
  • Make a note of who posted each clue on the relevant days and which social media site they used.
  • Once the cover is revealed on the 2nd November 2017, return to
  • https://chasingdreamspublishing.wordpress.com and leave a comment listing the order in which the clues appeared.
  • The competition will be open until midnight GMT+2 on the 3rd November 2017.
  • The winner will be randomly selected from the correct entries and announced by the 5th November 2017
  • Friends and family members of the participants are illegible for entry.
  • The winner will be notified by e-mail and will have a week to claim their prize.
  • The prize is a $20 Amazon Gift Card and is not exchangeable for cash.
  • The draw is final and no correspondence will be entered into.

NaNoWriMo is upon us!

October has been more of a whirlwind of a month than September (did not see that coming), which means that I have a lot of planning for NaNoWriMo still to do. Which must happen this weekend.

I’ll try to put bits and pieces of the planning on social media (being careful not to give away any spoilers, obviously), mostly so that you can see how I go to work on outlining a new story.

I’d like to hear what your last minute preparation for NaNoWriMo is this year – or are you just going to pants it?

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