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You are currently viewing archive for November 2010
Posted By Michelle Birbeck

29 days have almost come and gone, and with them all manner of sanity, thoughts of healthy living, and any semblance of spending time with friends or family. Such is the nature of National Novel Writing Month. Through the tears and the pains, novels all over the world have been written, and not just written, but written within a month. If you’ve never written a novel before, then it is almost impossible to understand writing one in a single month. But if you have, then you’ll know that it is not only a lot of hard work, but it’s surprisingly tiring.

Then you have the problem of the end of the month. I’m not talking about the final push to get past the 50k mark, but what comes afterwards. Suddenly I’m going to get to wake up in the morning and not have to write. The days will be free from any desperate need to add more words to my word count, and I will be left with several drafts, all of which are in serious need of editing before I even think about rewriting. However, the month of December lends itself not just to the festive sprit that us NaNo’ers have ignored for the whole of November, but also to a certain feeling of boredom. We’ve written our novels, we’ve scaled the mountain words, avoided the pitfalls of writer’s block and escaping plot bunnies, and we’ve finally emerged victorious. But now what?

Well, I am going to be catching up on the reading for college that I have successfully avoided for a month. I’m also going to be working on some of my fanficion work and another short story. So December will not be all sitting around staring at the computer wondering where the last month went and thinking, ‘I wrote that? But it makes no sense!’ Believe me, that will be a big part of it, huge, in fact, but not the whole of it. Everything that has been neglected has to be picked up again. Time needs to be spent with families, and apologies for all of the coffee induced mood swings need to be made. Neighbours have to be informed that I have not actually died, gone crazy, moved, despite them seeing me making some kind of snowman in the middle of the night. And all those little things that have been utterly forgotten about, like Christmas presents and cards, need to be added to the to do list for December.

But first of all, the NaNo Oscars, aka: N’Oscars. Even after November ends, the madness never really stops. It all starts again with the N’Oscars; A glitzy, glamorous, completely over the top post NaNo awards ceremony to celebrate our achievements. The dress code is simple, if it is over the top, sparkly, or just plain weird, then it’s in. The ceremony, well, I shall have to wait, because this will be my first year as part of Darlington and Tees. I do know, however, that it is going to be a lot of fun.

So the month is almost at an end, and tomorrow we will all be working our way towards midnight, fighting it out with our muses in order to get those last few words down before the end of the month. Then there is the wait with baited breath for the final scores to be tallied up and the Word War Champions to be announced.

For now I am off back to add more to my count and keep Darlo on the top spot for another few hours. Just 32 hours left before the insanity is over.

Posted By Michelle Birbeck

The final week is almost over, and there are mere days left to the insanity that is November. This last week has seen a great push from the Darlington region to get to the top of the word war scoreboard, and I am happy to say that through a massively impressive combined effort, we are sitting happily at 5k in the lead.

Now all we have to do is keep it for the remaining five days.

But when we have some wonderfully motivated people pushing the boundaries of their abilities and pumping out more words than they have ever done before, a little bit of optimism can go a long way. Combined with the fact that we are all excited for the mere possibility of winning, we are all going to spend these last few days adding words to our stories. No doubt our online write in on Saturday night, because we NaNo types cancel any resemblance of a social life for the month, and the addition of the Final Day Extravaganza, we are sure to be hitting the heights of word counts that will live in our minds forever. Providing we can keep the lead, the win of the UK Word Wars will live much longer.

Problems for this final week have thankfully been few and far between, and despite having to now work on any project that I can think of because I only planned three books, things are going well. I have managed to beat not only my highest ever daily total, but my personal best in an hour, half an hour, and a minute. I can’t say that these last few days are going to be easy; I am sure my fingers will hate me for the whole of December. But I can say that it will be fun. The anticipation of the morning scoreboard update is enough to get even me, who hates mornings with a passion, to get out of bed, load up the computer, and sit with baited breath as the page loads.

With only four whole days left, my fingers and neck are looking forward to the end almost as much as I am, but for completely different reasons. They are looking forward to the long break that wrapping presents and writing cards includes. I am looking forward to the final scoreboard, the final lead figure, and the party that will ensure as soon as midnight hits.

Once again, good luck to all of you who are participating in the madness. You don’t have to be mad to join in, but a little bit of insanity goes a long way. And it sure helps.

Also, check out the links page on the site. There is a new link up there now for Afternoon Tease, a new venture in Darlington, which includes the writing group, Random Acts Of Creativity.

Posted By Michelle Birbeck

It’s that time again, almost the end of another NaNo week. This week has had its fair share of events, the most notable of which being nothing to do with NaNo. As you can see, the site is finally up! It is working, looks wonderful, and finally, after several delays and issues, it is up!

Now, back to NaNo. This week has seen a lower word count that the previous two, simply because I managed to bash my wrist and now have some issues with it. Not good, not when I have NaNo for another 11 days. However, part of it is also because I had coursework and homework to do, so I knuckled down and got it done.

Lona’s book is well underway, and I am happy to say that Bunny, the Plot Bunny, has altered the whole plot. The chapter plan that I put together in time for NaNo starting is now only serving as a checklist to ensure that I got all the plot points in. It no longer has any bearing on the order of what is happening. However, that does mean that the book will be running longer, especially as Lona and Serenity are twins and have the tendency to think a little alike, which means lots of thought processes from Lona.

I even now have a list of the updated book names. I thought them up at some point during the night, and actually remembered them without having to write them down. At least not until I was in class on Thursday night and suddenly remembered them!

In other news.

There will be a big final write in for NaNo held at the Gala Theatre coffee shop/café on 30th November. There will be prizes and sweets for words most written, and plenty of motivation for anyone wanting that last push before the end.

And for those who know me, I am not involved in the contests. It seems a little unfair for me to be in them when I write on average double what the others write. I blame years of writing at work and playing on computers. The touch-typing course that I took did great wonders for my typing speed as well. So I shall be joining in, but only because I am determined to give the wonderful people of Oxford a huge kick up the behind in the UK Word Wars.


Posted By Michelle Birbeck

After several months and a number of issues and delays, I am absolutely over the moon to announce, that the site is finally here.

If you use the link, to get here normally, you’ll notice that it no longer takes you to the blog. Now you will find yourself in my wonderful website, created by the wonderful Stan.

It has take us a while, what with NaNo being this month and various delays with the pictures, text, and general time constrains, but the wait is over, and the site is up.

I do feel that I should apologise to the wonderful people at DotEasy, though. I stayed up until, currently 2am, to finish the changes and upload the site, and being on the new side to website creation, I found myself at a bit of a loss once I reached the uploading stage. The FTP software was easy enough, as was the uploading, but after that, I did not have a clue. So I contacted a wonderful young man on the live chat function, who talked me through the process, and didn’t laugh at me when telling me that it was as simple as removing the redirect function that I had in place.

Yes, I felt rather stupid. However, that was soon overridden by the fact that I finally have my website up and running as it should be.

Thank you again to Stan for creating my wonderful site, and to my husband for the cat. I love the cat.



Posted By Michelle Birbeck

Week two is almost at an end, and this week has brought with it its own share of hilarity, desperation, and complete insanity. From singing the Doom song at the computer, to sitting and wondering what on earth I am doing, the week has had it all. However, the end of the week will see me peeking over to the 200k mark. Currently I am on about 160k, which for 12 days of NaNoing that is a lot of words.

I am now deep into the bowls of Poppy's book, and I am loving every second of it. Out of the 5 books that I have now written and drafted in this series, Poppy's is by far the darkest. It is a proper look into The Seats, a real, in depth look at the twisted minds that make up the vampire ruling body. There are no lengths that they are not willing to go do, and no depths too deep.

Apart from one complete break down, where I sat in front of the computer, stared at the start of a new chapter and almost screamed that I did not want to do this anymore, I have had so much fun writing Poppy's book that I am almost tempted to think of more books for The Seats. They have such a different view on the world to that of The Keepers, the witches, and the Weres.

Thankfully my bout of insanity has passed, or at least it has receded back to its normal state of complete and utter NaNo madness, which will last for another 18 days yet. After that I have every intention of spending the whole of December reading for my A Levels, and revising for my January exam. Mainly that will be to give my fingers a break from typing and my mind a break from living in a different world.

Having said that, no doubt come the day after my exam, I will be straight back to writing, and either straight into the drafting of the final books in the series, or working on the complete rewrite of the drafts that I am currently on.

With Annabella's book done, and Poppy's well under way, there are only four more left to write after this. There is certainly no shortage of people to write about, and the more I write, the more new characters are coming to light and threatening to take on a life of their own, but the original ten books of the series will most likely be where I end it and move on to one of the other projects that I have lying around.

In the meantime, NaNo is calling my name and telling me that I need to write some more words.

Once again, good luck to all of you who are participating with NaNo. With any luck, the insanity of week three will not last long. Then we are on the home stretch!