Author Archives: A_Rachelle

The Home Stretch

The Home Stretch

Every year at about this time one of us writes a message with a reminder not to give up, that there is still time to reach your goals and here, in this group and place and time were will support you no matter what word count you have at 12:01am on December 1st.

It may sometimes sounds like tripe when we say the most important thing about NaNo is that you took that leap and you have more written now than you did before whether it is 5,000 or 100,000, but I promise you we mean it. Take courage and continue on no matter where you are. If you’ve already hit 50,000 words (or your personal word goal) – Congratulations!!!! Let your purple bar shine!

If you’re not at 50,000 I feel you more than ever this year because as some of you have noticed, my word count hasn’t made much progress of late. As is sometimes said “life happened” and my dread of moving has been proven true as I attempt to pack up my apartment and clean in these last few days of the month. I’ve known for a couple of weeks now that short of Mary Poppins showing up and helping me out with a bit of her magic, there was little chance of hitting that 50,000 words. However, if there is one thing I have seen true in my years with NaNo, it is that not ‘winning’ doesn’t mean that your efforts are in vain.

There is a quote that has been on my fridge for years now and I’d like you to take it to heart as you read and write today.

“It must be borne in mind that the tragedy of life doesn’t lie in not reaching your goal. It lies in having no goal to reach. It is not a calamity to die with dreams unfulfilled, but it is a calamity not to dream. It is not a disgrace not to reach the stars, but it is a disgrace not to have stars to reach. Not failure, but low aim, is the real sin.”
– Benjamin Mays –

There are so so very many people out there who will never step out and take a chance on the novel inside of them. No matter how many words you have written, you have taken that first step. You may consider your first draft garbage, but that’s ok. Pretty much every first draft is, but without it there are no second, third, or fourth drafts. Without it there are no finished novels.

I won’t be seeing you all at the last couple of write-ins with moving going on, but I have complete confidence that you will have an awesome time with Annette and look forward to the TGIO coming up next weekend. I don’t know exactly where life will take me in the next few months, but I don’t expect to be in Lansing come next November, so if you’ve ever considered getting more involved with the region, drop her a message and let her know. There’s always something that could use an extra set of helping hands.

It has been an amazing nine years with you all. It is still crazy to me that it has not only been that long, but just how much we have grown from that little group of 8 or 9 of us at Schuler’s my very first year in Lansing. You have been more than just my region, you’ve been my inspiration and I am so proud to have been a part of you. I know that no matter where I end up this coming year you are in good hands and will continue to do amazing things. I may be too far to pop in next year, especially if plans to move to Germany come together, but I have already promised to pop in and visit the chat room at the very least 😉

Now for a few practical end of NaNo tips:

  • Use the validator to check your word count even if it’s less than 50,000. This will let you know if there’s any discrepancy between your program and the validator.
  • Try and squeeze in the last couple of write-ins to boost your word count (and spirits).
  • Back it up and do it again.

– Write-Ins –

Today, 2-5 pm
Virtual Write-In
Get more info here

Sunday, Nov. 29, 2-5 pm
Grand Traverse Pie Company (E. Lansing)
Orchard Room

Monday, Nov 30, 8pm-Midnight
Last Blast to Get Your Words In!
Old Chicago (Okemos)

– End of November Wrap-Up –

If you would like to get a halo or nominate someone for one, make sure to do so in the next few days.

Make sure your final monkey trades have been entered as close to the first as possible for award calculation.

Not sure how to validate your novel? Check out this article for step-by-step directions.

– TGIO Party –

Our annual gathering to ease our separation anxiety and FOMO along with celebrating another NaNo completed.

Saturday, December 5, 2-5pm
Okemos Library

For more information go here.

To RSVP go here.

To share your potluck contribution plans go here.

I must resume my packing, but have a wonderful weekend, write-well, and never give up.

Alaina aka A_Rachelle
along with Annette aka Contemplative Cat
Your NaNoLansing Municipal Liaisons (MLs) aka your event coordinators, purveyors of fun, answerers of questions and senders of periodic regional messages to keep you in the loop.

Find us online! 
Our Forums 
NaNoLansing.org 
Facebook 
Twitter

Write-Ins and Other News

Write-Ins and Other News

What? you may be saying. Why is Alaina talking about write-ins in January? Because tonight is the first of our monthly write-ins for the year at 7pm at The Avenue. We’ll be chatting about plans for the year, writing and more.

Keeping in Touch Beyond November

Since we know not every Wrimo wants to hear from us between January and September, this will probably be the last regional message for awhile. If you’d like to keep up with us the rest of the year, here are a few different ways to stay in the loop.

Our Forums
NaNoLansing.org
Facebook
Twitter

Also, you can now receive email updates by signing up with our Mail Chimp account. Just fill out this short form to get the latest news each month from NaNoLansing.

2014 NaNoLansing Wrap Up Survey

Help us make 2015 even more awesome by taking a few minutes to fill out this survey about your experience in 2014.

Free Stuff

A number of sponsors offer goodies not just for winners, but for all participants. Now that you’re not writing quite so hecticly, make sure to check out what they’ve got available.

Winners T-Shirts

In case any of you were like me and missed the pre-order slot for your winners t-shirt and thought they missed being able to get one, they are available in the store now.

That is all for now. Keep warm and keep writing. We’ll see you again come fall.

Alaina (A_Rachelle) & Annette (Contemplative Cat)
Co-Municipal Liaisons, USA::Michigan::Lansing.
AKA your event coordinators, purveyors of fun, answerers of questions and senders of periodic regional messages to keep you in the loop.

Find us online! 
Our Forums
NaNoLansing.org
Facebook
Twitter

Make Your Last Day Count

Make Your Last Day Count

There are planned pep talks and then there are those thoughts that come to you while driving home at one in the morning because you didn’t want to stop typing at your parents house when it was a half hour to midnight because you’ve still got 5,000 words to write before the final midnight.

All of you who have already validated can go plot what you’re bringing to the potluck at the TGIO party. I love you, but I’m not talking to you right now. Really. This is the last time you’ll hear a peep from me until tonight’s Last Blast To Get Your Words In or I’ve validated myself. Whichever comes first.

For those of you still reading, I want to take a moment to encourage you to keep writing. As I have been working on catching up with the 12,000 words I need to get in these few days, I could not help but think a quote attributed to Red Smith about the difficulty of writing that goes “You simply sit down at the typewriter, open your veins, and bleed.”

We may not use typewriters anymore (at least the vast majority of us), but sometimes these last days of writing feel like bleeding, like the marathoner who didn’t quite break in their shoes enough before beginning the race.

Life happened. Writer’s block got you. Doubts started eating away at your confidence. The characters ran amuck. Whatever it is that happened in the last 29 days, I want to encourage you to keep writing today… and tomorrow and the next day. Maybe you don’t reach that 50,000. Maybe you do. Whatever happens take heart in the words of Ray Bradbury – “You fail only if you stop writing.”

Don’t let worry slow you down. Follow Walt Disney’s advice – “Why worry? If you’ve done the very best you can, worrying won’t make it any better.” 

I like quotes, so here are a few more that you can take heart in if the craziness of this all seems to have grown since you first started on this journey.

“An essential aspect of creativity is not being afraid to fail.” – Edwin Land

“And those who were seen dancing were thought to be insane by those who could not hear the music.” – F. Nietzsche

“Normality is a paved road. It’s comfortable to walk, but no flowers grow on it.” – Vincent Van Gogh

“Anybody remotely interesting is mad in some way or another.” – Doctor Who

“We wait, starving for moments of high magic to inspire us, but life is full of common enchantment waiting for our alchemist’s eyes to notice.” – Jacob Nordby

“If it doesn’t challenge you, it doesn’t change you.” – unknown

“Never, ever let anyone tell you what you can and can’t do. Prove the cynics wrong. Pity them for they have no imagination. The sky’s the limit. Your sky. Your limit. Now. Let’s dance.” – Tom Hiddleston

“Don’t limit yourself. Many people limit themselves to what they think they can do. You can go as far as your mind lets you. What you believe, remember, you can achieve.” – Mary Kay Ash, founder of May Kay cosmetics

“It always seems impossible until it’s done.” – Nelson Mandela

I could go on and on, but I have some writing of my own to do. Hopefully one or more of these gives you something to hold onto as you continue in your writing journey.

Whatever comes at midnight, I’ll borrow from lyrics of The Wanted to share my own feelings towards you all -:

“The sun goes down
The stars come out
And all that counts
Is here and now
My universe will never be the same
I’m glad you came
I’m glad you came”

Write on, my friends. We’ll see you again soon.

Alaina aka A_Rachelle
Your co-captain of the Airship NaNoLansing Sojourner aka co-Municipal Liaison for USA::Michigan::Lansing

Find us online:
Our Forums
NaNoLansing.org
Facebook
Twitter

Week 3: All the Little Things

Week 3: All the Little Things

Week three. Sometimes it feels like the Wednesday of NaNo. In week one we had a plan or the hope of a plan and asked ourselves ‘what if.’ Week two we held fast to our imaginations and steamed past the naysayers. Then week three arrived. Purple bars started appearing under some people’s pictures. Then there are those of us who aren’t quite (or not at all) near the blasted purple bar worrying as we shovel coal in hopes of creating some more steam because it feels like there might not be quite enough. This is week three. Don’t worry. It’s almost week four.

So what can you do when all those coals of ideas pushing your imagination on seem to be running low?

One of the things that is fascinating in steampunk is while there is that crazy juxtoposition of ideas and openness to just about anything, there is also a lot of attention to detail. Do an image search on steampunk and once you look past the tophats and corsets and bustles of the Victorian era, you may begin to notice that what sets them apart are all the little deatils. There are cogs and chains and intricate clockwork devices. The pistols are engraved and the brass is aged. Texture is layered over texture and every seam is defined. Without those details they don’t make the jump from Victorian to steampunk.

Word nerd that I am I looked up the etymology of ‘details’ and at its French roots it means to separate (de-), to cut (tailler). Further back that to cut is from the Latin talea meaning a twig or cutting.

What does this have to do with steampunk or NaNo? Maybe its where my own NaNo manuscript is as, but there are two pieces of inspiration I take from this.

The first is that all those ‘minor items or events regarded collectively’ can be a great place to visit when you are stuck and trying to figure out how to get those 1,667 words in for the day. Describe the details that make your story yours. Maybe your character loves pierogies or spike heels. Perhaps they decorated their whole home in purple or there is something strange about the street they live on. Daily writing prompts are a great place to find inspiration for this.Those details may never make it past the first draft, but there is a lot to be learned from the details of your world.

The second is that original Latin talea. In horticulture a cutting is a part of a parent plant that is cut off in order to grow a new and separate plant. Look through what you have written. Where are there places that you have skipped over details or days or emotions? Can a new scene be grown out of it? What unanswered questions can you address?

Need help figuring out some details? Other wrimos are a great source of info. Come and pluck their minds at our write-in today at E. Lansing Grand Traverse Pie Company or any of the others coming up between now and the end of the month.

Go get lost in the little things and we’ll see you soon.

Alaina aka A_Rachelle
Your co-captain of the Airship NaNoLansing Sojourner aka co-Municipal Liaison for USA::Michigan::Lansing

Find us online:
Our Forums
NaNoLansing.org
Facebook
Twitter

(Almost) Halfway There

(Almost) Halfway There

Congratulations, everyone! We’ve almost hit the half-way mark. Have you backed up your novel today?

November 15 Write-a-thons

This year we have two that you can attend and both are trying to figure out how many people to expect, so if you are planning to attend, please take a moment to stop by the appropriate thread and let them know.

Cauldrons will be present at both events and NaNoLansing wrimos will be able to get tickets to trade in for charms at Tuesday’s write-in.

Sixth Annual Battle of Midway
9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Montrose-Jennings Library, 241 Feher Dr, Montrose, MI (off of I-75 between Flint and Birch Run)

Organized by the Saginaw Bay Region, we’ve had wrimos attending this for several years now. Go to this thread for more information and to talk potential carpooling.

Go Green, Go Write
8 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Technological Innovation Center (TIC),325 E. Grand River in East Lansing

Organized by the Capital City Writers, you can find out more here.

2014 Fundraising Goals

$1000: Specially designed NaNoLansing sticker
$1100: Specially designed NaNoLansing sticker & t-shirt
$1200: Specially designed NaNoLansing sticker & t-shirt + organized reading
$1300: Specially designed NaNoLansing sticker & t-shirt  + organized reading released as podcast
$1400: Specially designed NaNoLansing sticker & t-shirt + organized reading + parody music video
$1500: Specially designed NaNoLansing sticker & t-shirt  + organized reading released as podcast + parody music video

Stretch Goal
$5000: A_Rachelle gets a guilt monkey tattoo

Questions? Head over here for more information, disclaimers, etc.

Write Ins 

Tuesdays, 7 pm
Organizer: MLs
Old Chicago, Okemos

Get more information here.

Wednesdays, 2:30 pm
Organizer: A_Rachelle
Abiding in the Vine, Owosso

Get more information here.

Wednesdays, 6 pm
Organizer: Wrimos (look for GBJazzman in particular)
Panera Bread, West Lansing

Get more information here.

Thursday, Nov 20 @ 8 pm
Organizer: glancesherlock
Grand Traverse Pie Company, East Lansing

Get more information here.

Guilt Monkeys

Guilt monkeys have been flying, but when we updated the tracking we realized that there is some missing monkey movement. If you have unregistered monkey trading going in, take a moment to fill us in so that our tracking will be up to date.

TGIO Party

The time is approaching more quickly than we’d like to think. Weigh in here on the party details.

That is all for today. As always, keep a weather eye to the forums and we’ll see you soon.

Alaina (A_Rachelle) & Annette (Contemplative Cat)
Co-Municipal Liaisons, USA::Michigan::Lansing.
AKA your event coordinators, purveyors of fun, answerers of questions and senders of periodic regional messages to keep you in the loop.

Find us online! 
Our Forums
NaNoLansing.org
Facebook
Twitter

2014 NaNoLansing Fundraising Goals/Prize Levels

2014 NaNoLansing Fundraising Goals/Prize Levels

After some discussion between Contemplative Cat and I, here are your fundraising goals for 2014.

A couple of notes before you see the levels:

  • Stickers and t-shirt designs will be made available for you to order at cost + $1 to go back to NaNo.
  • Organized reading text is TBD. Input is welcome.
  • Song to be parodied would be decided once that goal is reached.
  • Per the discussion leading to the stretch goal, paying for it would require additional funds.

2014 NaNoLansing Fundraising Prize Levels

$1000: Specially designed NaNoLansing sticker

$1100: Specially designed NaNoLansing sticker & t-shirt

$1200: Specially designed NaNoLansing sticker & t-shirt + organized reading

$1300: Specially designed NaNoLansing sticker & t-shirt + organized reading released as podcast

$1400: Specially designed NaNoLansing sticker & t-shirt + organized reading + parody music video

$1500: Specially designed NaNoLansing sticker & t-shirt + organized reading released as podcast + parody music video

Stretch Goal

$5000: A_Rachelle gets a guilt monkey tattoo

Charmed, If You Will

Charmed, If You Will

As you may have heard, we’re pretty charmed this year as in you can win charms by participating in the Cauldron of DOOOM. If you’ve acquired one of our handy dandy goodie bags, that’s why there’s a key ring on your bottle o’ inspiration.

For your plotting purposes, allow me to share with you the charms that will be available at write-ins. We are releasing them by week, so look for new posts at the beginning of each new NaNo week.

Thusly, here are all of the charms you can acquire as of the ML write-in this Tuesday, November 11th at Old Chicago.

Kick-Off Charms: N, A, O, Guilt Monkey, Plot Bunny

CharmsWk1

Week 1: bee, arrow, lightbulb, book (gone)

CharmsWk1pt2

Week 2: Shovel of Death, skeleton key, regular key, genie lamp (gone)

CharmsWk2

Week 3: gear, angel wing, octopus, dragon (gone)
NaNoCharms wk 3

Week 4: rabbit moon, sand castle(limited), spider(limited), pawn (limited), crown (limited)
NaNoCharms wk 4

Donation Day, an online write-in, and other news

Donation Day, an online write-in, and other news

Throw some confetti! Blow on the kazoos! It’s Donation Day!

If you haven’t donated yet and plan to, today is a great day to do it with prize drawings and double donor goodies at the $25 level and more. Check out this page for more information.

Are you a broke Wrimo who would love to have a halo and get that badge on your dashboard for donating but just don’t have the cash to donate yourself? Check out this thread and this one.

2013 NaNoLansing Fundraising Video

Last year we had an awesome fundraising year and promised you all a video. It’s been live for a little over a week, but we know not everyone has found it yet,

You can watch it here.

Also, keep an eye on the forums for this year’s ‘ways your MLs are willing to embarrass themselves’ fundraising goals.

How to Track Your Word Count on a Partial/Revised Novel

We know our wrimos come at NaNo from a lot of different places in their writing. While most are starting something new, some are taking an old story and re-writing it or doing a new section, so the question has arisen of how do you record that word count?

It’s really simple. If you didn’t write it after 12:01 on November 1st, don’t record it in your word count and certainly don’t use it to verify.

Just like character sheets and plot outlines and all of those things that may have been created as prep in October don’t count, neither does anything else you might have written before that time. Create a new document, mark off the information from before so you don’t include it, whatever you have to do to differentiate between NaNo and the rest of the year.

If you have any questions, feel free to message either of your MLs.

Online Write-In This Afternoon

Saturday, November 8, 1-4 pm
The NaNoLansing Chat Room

Check out this thread for information on how to register and join in.

Write Ins – ML Sponsored

Tuesdays, 7 pm
Organizer: MLs
Old Chicago, Okemos

Get more information here.

Wednesdays, 6 pm
Organizer: Wrimos (look for GBJazzman in particular)
Panera Bread, West Lansing

Get more information here.

Thursdays, 8:30 pm on Nov 13 & 8 pm on Nov 20
Organizer: glancesherlock
Grand Traverse Pie Company, East Lansing

Get more information here.

November 15 Write-a-thons

This year we have two that you can attend.

Sixth Annual Battle of Midway
9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Montrose-Jennings Library, 241 Feher Dr, Montrose, MI (off of I-75 between Flint and Birch Run)

Organized by the Saginaw Bay Region, we’ve had wrimos attending this for several years now. Go to this thread for more information and to talk potential carpooling.

Go Green, Go Write
8 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Technological Innovation Center (TIC),325 E. Grand River in East Lansing

Organized by the Capital City Writers, you can find out more here.

Less than a half hour until that online write-in. I had best go fortify myself with food.

Alaina (A_Rachelle) & Annette (Contemplative Cat)
Co-Municipal Liaisons, USA::Michigan::Lansing.
AKA your event coordinators, purveyors of fun, answerers of questions and senders of periodic regional messages to keep you in the loop.

Find us online! 
Our Forums
NaNoLansing.org
Facebook
Twitter

Week One: When 'What If' meets 'Yes, and…'

Week One: When 'What If' meets 'Yes, and…'

Ah, week one. You learn a lot about your novel in week one. You may have discovered that you hate your plot and changed it or had your first character rebellion. You may have fallen in love with a place or gotten side-tracked on a detail. One week end the world is full of possibilities. Don’t be afraid of them.

This year we took one look at the artwork from the Office of Letters and Light and knew that steampunk would be the theme for our region, but what, you may ask, is steampunk? The term appears to have originated in a letter written by K.W. Jeter to Locus magazine in the mid-80s, but its influences reach back into the Victorian where steam ruled and the scientific romances of Jules Verne and H.G. Wells came into being. More recently it can be found in the work of authors like Cassandra Clare (City of Bones) and Raven Dane (Cyrus Darian And The Technomicron).

Steampunk is an amazingly versatile genre. Authors have taken the feel and technology of the Victorian era and asked themselves the question ‘What if?’. What if there was magic? What if instead of futuristic cyborgs, people were augmented with clockwork parts? What if combustion engines didn’t overtake steam as an energy source? Then they ran with it.

In the world of theatre we have an improv game called ‘Yes, and…”. It’s our equivalent of committing to ‘what ifs’ in our storytelling. While playing the game you are not allowed to say no. It doesn’t matter what the previous person threw at you, you have to accept it and go. Beavers may be bowling or aliens kidnapped you in the middle of a lovely date. You can’t change where the story has taken you, you can only take the ‘what if’ you’ve been given, follow it with a ‘Yes,’ and run with it.

As we head into our second week, that is what I encourage each and every one of you to do. When you hit writers block take an idea that is totally outside of your novel and ask ‘what if’. Don’t be afraid of it. Embrace it. Make ‘Yes, and…’ a regular part of your writing experience. Bring in an element of sci-fi to your literary fiction or horror into your fantasy. It may not live past December 1st, but it also may open you up to ideas that you never would have thought of otherwise.

Not sure where to get a crazy what-if? Here are a few places to find them:

  • Ask your friends and fellow writers
  • Visit the Adoption Society or Plot Doctoring forum threads
  • Use a plot generator (Here’s one, but there are a ton out there)
  • Browse a library, bookstore, Amazon, or your own bookshelves

Whatever you do, remember that NaNo isn’t just an opportunity to write a novel with a bunch of other somewhat crazy fellow writers, it’s an opportunity to explore. So just like those authors that started this whole steampunk culture, and in the immortal words of Nike, just do it.

I mean now. There are three weeks left, but I promise they will fly, so write like the wind, my wrimos.

Alaina aka A_Rachelle
Co-Municipal Liaison, USA::Michigan::Lansing

Find us online! 
Our Forums
NaNoLansing.org
Facebook
Twitter

Last Minute News

Last Minute News

Welcome to the last day of October! Are you ready?

RSVP for the Kick-Off Party

Saturday, November 1, 3-6pm
The Avenue Cafe (Gone Wired) 2021 E Michigan Ave, Lansing, MI

It’s tomorrow, so please take a moment to let us know you’re coming. After all, we have goodies and we want to make sure we have enough for everyone.

RSVP at Eventbrite now.

Midnight November 1st

Interested in a midnight write in to kick off the month? Check out this thread.

Scheduled ML Write Ins

Thursday, November 6, 7 pm
Grand Traverse Pie Company, E Lansing

Tuesdays, November 11, 18 & 25, 7 pm
Old Chicago, Okemos

Get more information here.

More Write Ins

While we can’t be everywhere, we know that you are spread far and wide and would like to help you find each other. Here are a few of the places that we know we have space or people. Check out these threads for more information:

West Lansing

Dewitt

Owosso

Brighton/Howell

Not seeing your part of town? Check out our Host Your Own Write-In thread.

Check in on the Introductions Thread

Say hi to others in the region and let us know a little about yourself.

You can find the thread here.

That’s all for now. Get some sleep, stock up on supplies, and we’ll be seeing you soon!

Alaina (A_Rachelle) & Annette (Contemplative Cat)
Co-Municipal Liaisons, USA::Michigan::Lansing.
AKA your event coordinators, purveyors of fun, answerers of questions and senders of periodic regional messages to keep you in the loop.

Find us online! 
Our Forums
NaNoLansing.org
Facebook
Twitter