NaNo to Wri Mo?

Ahhh, the last day of October. Halloween. All Hallow’s Eve. And, the eve of NaNoWriMoNaNo15

Across the country and abroad, writers are saying goodbye to their friends and loved ones. They are preparing care packets filled with everything a writer needs – coffee, wine, kleenex and M&M’s. They are giving long looks, as if memorizing what their little writer looks like before sending them off to pen a novel in 30 days.

(By the way, I should point out that NaNoWriMo coincides with No Shave November … Don’t think that’s a coincidence)NOSHAVE_display

I’ve long admired the folks who dive into NaNo. It’s the ultimate test of endurance, mental strength and stick-with-it-ness. A writer’s marathon.

And, like a good cheerer-onner that I am, I’ve clapped from the sidelines. But, this is the year, maybe I should jump into the crowd and jog/write alongside my peers.

I won’t lie, my second novel all but stalled my writing career. I felt like a hamster on a wheel with it. It wasn’t a bad story, but I wasn’t getting anywhere with it. So, I put it aside, stepped out of my cage and started down the path of something new. The course was both familiar and new, but one word followed by another and suddenly, I have a story.

The momentum with this story is unbelievable. Two months into it and I’m at 20,000 words. Since I tend to make up my own rules anyway, I’m going to use NaNo to make serious headway on finishing this one. If that’s the case, if I can add 50,000 words to this WIP, then I’d be just a few chapters away.

So, what does that mean and why the heck should anyone care?

That means that I can still do it. That I can still make words that make sentences, sentences that make scenes, and scenes that tell a story. It means that while Vortex may come out of this exercise as one hot mess, it will be a finished hot mess. I can edit that.

It means that I’ll have my groove back, giving me the confidence to go back to Pardon Falls, step out of the hamster wheel and finally get that story ready for public consumption.

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Judgement-Free Writing

shutterstock_186812807I’ve recently committed a heinous crime. No one was hurt, nothing’s gone missing (well, aside from a few marbles in my head) and I won’t break into a cold sweat when I pass a police officer on the street.

The crime I committed was against myself. More specifically, it was against my novel. My Muse even.

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Birth of a Phoenix

I had a realization earlier this week. One that made me stop to reflect on where I was, where I am today and the people who helped along the way. Roughly 10 years ago, Phoenix was born.Kimberly Packard Phoenix Cover web large

The idea came from when I worked corporate communications for a former Fortune 500 company. I was in charge of contract announcements, and was getting antsy waiting on the legal department to approve a press release. The corporate attorney quipped, “Be patient, I’m trying to keep you out of jail for confusing a million dollar deal for a billion dollar deal.”

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Flash Fiction: The Trouble with Bubbles

BubblesI should be editing. I’m pretty sure everyone on the planet has doubts that I’m ever going to finish my next novel. Heck, even I’m starting to wonder that. So, to bring back the joy of writing, I thought I’d warm up with a little writing exercise. Found a prompt and took 10 minutes to write this quick little piece. It’s mostly unedited – I mean I did give it a read to make sure I wouldn’t embarrass myself further. And I’m sure my writing group is shaking their heads at the fact that it’s un-workshopped.

But, dear readers and friends, this is my gift to you. For your patience, for your encouragement and to prove to you (and me) that I can still put a couple of words together.

Enjoy!

Bubbles. Bubbles everywhere.

It would have been a comical life-imitating-art from that iconic 70s family sitcom if it hadn’t been her mother-in-law’s newly renovated utility room with the state-of-the-art, can-do-everything-but-fold washing machine. OK, so she didn’t see the “high-efficiency” sign until she closed the lid. Or, the fact that the soap went into a tiny dispenser until after she had soaked her kids’ fish-smelly, grass-stained clothes with detergent. Continue reading

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Finding that Spark

Fourth of July. A holiday filled with stars and stripes and sunburns. As the unofficial mid-point of summer, we still have that gleam in our eye before we mosey into the canine side of the season.fireworks-574739_1280

It’s also a holiday filled with sparks. And while the lights in the sky are sparked by fire the stories that live within us are ignited by something else.

A drive to entertain others through stories. A need to release those voices in our head. Sheer madness.

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Camp Howyouwriteit: Plotters vs. Pantsters

Ahhh, summer camp. We take the bus out to the idyllic woods and either you get off at Camp Plotter, flying it’s very well-constructed flag, or Camp Pantster, flying, well, someone’s pants.flagpole pants

The two camps get along reasonably well. Sometimes you’ll find someone sneaking from one camp to the other, just to see what’s going on, but they usually sprint back through the woods as if Jason is chasing them.

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Treating Book Parasites

Books are parasites. They live inside us. Growing. Feeding off us. And, sometimes, they can make their authors crippled with fear.

istock_books.jpgI know that sounds harsh, but I mean it in the nicest way possible. Continue reading

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My Wordy Valentine

Books are like a relationship. You put a lot of effort into it, flirt with it, flutter your eyelashes and maybe, just maybe, that story will like you back.

My debut novel, Phoenix, was my first love. We spent long weekends together. Some late nights, too. Fumbling through the fictive dream, sometimes getting it right, sometimes just getting our braces locked together.

We managed to make it through high school to publication without too much drama. But, alas, it was time to graduate and move on to college.

That’s where I met Pardon Falls. While there’s some commonalities between the two, where Phoenix was that easy affable book-next-door, Pardon Falls is that moody book that makes me feel like the wittiest girl in the world one minute, only to leave me binge watching My So Called Life while shoveling ice cream into my mouth the next.

If Pardon Falls were truly a boy, he’d be that long-haired dreamy guy in flannel and ripped Jordan Catalano is Dreamyjeans playing a heartfelt ballad on his guitar for me to make up for catching him flirting with my roommate. We all know how these relationships end, but we still jump in with both feet understanding that the broken heart comes with the territory.

But these second relationships are where we truly learn about ourselves. This is where we learn who we are. We learn our strengths, our weaknesses. We learn what makes us happy, and what drives us crazy. We learn to give, we learn to take.

And, most importantly, we learn to love.

 

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2015 … The Year of Endings

Ahhh, 2015. The air is filled with that new-year smell. Fresh beginnings, resolutions, sweat, black-eyed peas … everything you need to start your year off right.

For most people, a new year means new beginnings. But, I’m not most people, so 2015, 2015-2for me, means a year of endings.

Oh don’t worry, this isn’t some grand announcement or cry for help (unless you want to tie down my Muse, then ya, I could use your help). Nope, this is simply me putting my foot down to finish something(s).

I don’t have half-started knitting projects or half-planted gardens. That’s not what I meant by finishing something. The something I need to finish – the really big something – is Pardon Falls, the follow up to Phoenix. And, it’s not that I can’t write those two blessed words – The End. I can. I have, like eight or nine times (I’ve stopped numbering my drafts at this point).

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Letting Go

Writing is fraught with emotion. We feel everything our characters feel – sometimes tenfold. When we’re editing, we feel elation and complete ineptitude (sometimes all in the same paragraph). When it’s time to show our baby to our critique partners, we feel apprehension and hope.

And, that’s not including all that writers go through when we query. The highs and lows so vast that we pull G-forces without leaving our desk.

Yeah. You can see why we drink.

There’s another emotion plaguing me. It’s the sense of something coming to a close. The feeling that it’s time for me to say good-bye.letting-go

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