NaNo November, and Writing

tough writingWriting is hard. At least it’s hard for me. I love the flow of it, once I get there. I love going where the characters lead – especially when I don’t know that the path I’ve set them on is the right one.

Invariably (so far) I have to rewrite my first few chapters. Rarely am I right about what makes an amorphous story idea great at the beginning of the first draft.

deadlinesDeadlines help. They help me get out of my head and just write. That’s when the magic happens. Words get written. Stories evolve.

I am a better writer when I write every day – even if what I’ve written is only one page. I don’t know why that’s true – maybe because the story stays alive inside me when i write each day.

However you write, whatever your process, it’s the writing and the resulting story that matter.

NaNo write MoI’m thankful for NaNo. Not because I follow the rules, I don’t, but because it forces me to just sit and write.

Happy writing. Happy Thanksgiving

May your November be filled with joy, productivity, and writing (or reading or both).

Leigh

Get Started

 

The secret of getting ahead is getting started.   –Mark Twain

 

 

In October I gear up for Nanowrimo (National Novel Writing Month) 50,000 words in 30 days in November. Just like I talked about last month on this blog, I’m trying to step outside my comfort zone in life and in my writing. For Nanowrimo this year I’ll be working on a women’s fiction story–a first for me. I love writing romance but this idea just came to me. I’ve written the first hundred or so words to get the idea started, but it will be my project for Nanowrimo. The title is That Moment. It is about two women, best friends all their lives. One commits suicide and the other is left to wonder where her friend’s life went so wrong. Was there a That Moment that would have sent her friend on a different path? A different direction that would have set everything right? And, if she could change it, would she? Should she?


(unedited, first draft)

From monumental to mundane. From beautiful to banal. Each moment of your life is ‘that moment.’ That moment when you make a decision. A decision to stay home with your family on the perfect September day and not go to work at the World Trade Center. A decision to not call in sick because you’re out of sick days and a psycho decides today, he will show the boss he won’t be pushed around anymore. A simple decision to go on that blind date and maybe meet your soul mate—or not. An easy decision to have beef or chicken for dinner.

Each decision you make is a pebble thrown in the smooth, glassy surface of the lake of your life. From a boulder creating a splash and setting ripples inside ripples across the pond to a skipping stone making ripples lost before they are gone and out of sight. Only, they aren’t gone, just out of your sight. They still touch the sandy beach across the water, the barely-hanging-on tree with its exposed roots grasping the muddy bank, the sweep around the bend, hidden behind the trees.

Every decision doesn’t just affect you. Just watch It’s a Wonderful Life to see how one person affects so many more. Most of us will never know if a ripple of a decision will affect someone else. But . . . sometimes we do.

Chapter 1

Shelly is dead. Would my best friend have still killed herself if she’d known the ripples of that decision would rip open time and space? Would she still have done it if she’d known it would rip my heart out? Would she still have done it if she’d known what I would do to make it right?’ Funny thing about time and space. You just don’t know. Until you do.

Shelly Benedict killed herself on a Wednesday. Did she know that made it easy for me to plan her funeral by Saturday? Knowing Shelly like I did, I’m sure she did. Just like she calculated how many pills it would take to never wake up, I’m sure my best friend wanted to make it as easy as possible for me. That was Shelly.

God knows, she didn’t make life easy for herself. If there was a poster child for every way your life could suck, it was Shelly. It sucked right up to and including her funeral. How can you live fifty years on this planet and have four ex-husbands, six children, your parents still alive, and your best friend is the only person at your funeral?

Wait, I take that back. The only person besides the minister who didn’t know Shelly and the men waiting for me to leave so they can finish their job. It hurt. It hurt to breathe. It hurt to see the clear blue sky and the gentle sun on that May morning. It hurt to know my best friend was gone and no one cared but me.

I tried from when we were teenagers until her last day on Earth to tell Shelly and show Shelly, she was the person I saw her to be. None of it sank in. Her life became a series of What If? questions.

What if her parents had loved her for the person she was? What if she’d had some self-esteem and didn’t fall for every loser on the planet? What if she hadn’t let her children abuse her just as much as their fathers had? What if she’d cared for herself, just a little?


How do you get motivated to just get started?

Jill James, author of Sugar Sprinkled Memories/Christmas 2019

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

SADDLE UP AND GET GOING! Tips For Wannabe Writers to FINISH That Novel!

 

Starting, and finishing, a novel can be a daunting prospect, but you can do it if you’re willing to be a little disciplined and try a few different ways of doing things. I’ve compiled a few of the tips that have made the biggest difference to me in my journey as a writer. I hope something here will help you! I’ve used the tips below, some from others, and some I’ve discovered myself, to write and publish three full length historical romantic suspense/thriller novels in the past four years. They work for me.

 

 

  • Write…just write.

Get it out of your head and down on paper or on your computer, word processor or whatever you use.

ltr-3rd-ed-front-ebook-cover-529-kb

  • Plan your writing in the best way for you.

It may take some time to figure out what that best way really is. Some people are Planners (plot their novel out ahead of time), some are Pantsers (write by the seat of their pants) and some are a combination of the two, as I am. I write historicals, so I automatically have a timeline to work my story into. Once I plot out my basic story, with a solid framework offered by the real timeline (planning), I let my characters go to work and tell me the story (pantsing).

  • Let go of that ‘internal editor’.

While you write your rough draft, just write whatever comes out. It might be junk, but so what? That’s the beauty of a rough draft: you can edit it later. You can’t edit a blank page, so get on with it and progress your story, instead of getting stuck and giving up somewhere back on Chapter 1 or 2.

(Or NaNoWriMo Young Writers Program, if you’re a junior)

NaNoWriMo is a fun, worldwide, online-linked program where from 1-30 November of every year participants drive towards their goal of writing 50,000 words of their own novel. Yes, 50K words. Why would anyone want to put themselves through that? For me, it’s about getting better at the first and third bullet points, above. You can’t edit a blank page. (yes, I already said that—it’s that important) J

 I wrote a large chunk of the middle of this book in NaNoWrimo. It’s the one I’ve just released!

SOG 3D

  • Find a time to write every day.

Not most days, every day.

Finding a time to write undisturbed is not always possible and you may have to get creative. I like to write in bed, before I get caught up in everything I see needs doing around the place. This required changing my bedtime so I am awake before everyone else starts moving around and needing my attention!

  • Make a Daily Writing Pact.

In his excellent book: On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft, Stephen King suggests making an agreement with yourself to write a certain number of words every day, and keeping to it.

No, you don’t get Sundays off.

Or Mondays. This is not a restaurant.

If you want to be an author, act like one, and write.

Even at 500 words per day, in 100 days or just over three months, you will have written 50,000 words.

At 1000 words per day, in the same time period, you’ll have completed the draft of that 100,000 word novel you’ve been dreaming about. For a professional writer, he suggests 2000 words per day.

Do the maths. It works.

  • Write what you know.

It adds insights that others may never have considered, but I think it’s also good to write what you don’t know much about, using it as a stimulus to learn about things that interest you and keep yourself fresh! If you choose to do this, however, find people who do know about those things you’ve just learned, to ensure you get it right! Especially if it’s about horses. Horse owners (including yours truly–yes, we’re snobs) may be intolerant of writers who don’t know their stuff and still write about horses. For me, regardless of the intrinsic value of the rest of the story, if a writer doesn’t get the horse parts right, he or she has has lost my confidence. I simply won’t read the book.

I almost didn’t write this book…it was a request from a few beta readers…I was scared to write this part, maybe because I grew up and lived in several places in this book!  I should have known, it would make it easier! I used to run and ride where this cover pic was taken!

hills-of-gold-6x9-ebook-coversm-file

  • Help: Books for beginning writers or beginning editors (or any writers or editors, for that matter).

If you’re a beginning writer, you might read through some of the books mentioned below before you get started. If you’ve already done that draft, definitely read them before you go on.

  • Self-Editing for Fiction Writers: How to Edit Yourself Into Print by Renni Browne and Dave King.

  • The Novel Writer’s Toolkit by Bob Mayer and Jen Talty

  • The Emotion Thesaurus, by Angela Ackerman and Becca Puglisi

 ~

 

I’ve met many wanna be authors who say: “I started writing a novel once, but never finished it.”

I’ll bet my boots they kept going back to edit. How many of these people do you know?

Ask them.

It doesn’t have to happen to you.

Only you control your writing destiny.

~

Go for it.

 

I’ve just published Book Three in The Long Trails Series, entitled

A Sea of Green Unfolding

~ When you’ve lost everything,
the only way to go is up—
isn’t it? ~

Tragedy strikes in Aleksandra and Xavier’s newly-found paradise on their California Rancho de las Pulgas. Von Tempsky invites them on a journey to a new life in peaceful New Zealand, but change is in the wind. When they reach Aotearoa, they disembark into a turbulent wilderness—where the wars between the European settlers and the local Māori have only just begun.

Here’s this month’s giveaway!

.

If you’d like to go into the draw to win a copy of the regular print edition of newly-released A Sea of Green Unfolding (when it’s available, soon!), leave a review of A Sea of Green Unfolding where you purchased your eBook or paperback.

The digital version is available on Amazon right now for just $2.99 USD! It’s also available to you if you’re on Prime or Kindle Unlimited!
Just send me your email address and the site where you left your review and you’ll be in the draw!

Amazon

My email: lizzi@lizzitremayne.com

What reviewers have to say about

A Sea of Green Unfolding

“As usual in this series, the historical research is excellent and extremely detailed, and…well-integrated into the narrative. The description of the environs through which Lizzi Tremayne’s characters travel are particularly good – lush and vibrant. In the New Zealand section of the novel she makes our country sound like paradise. Which it is. There is one more volume to come after this, Tatiana, and I’m looking forward to it.”

   –Deborah Challinor, number one bestselling author and historian

“I was lucky enough to read A Sea Of Green Unfolding prior to release and really enjoyed this beautifully researched and engrossing story.
This is the third book in the Long Trail series and follows on nicely from the other two, though if you’ve picked this one up and are keen to read it first you’ll find it stands alone well. Author Lizzi Tremayne has developed an exciting tale which kept me on the edge of my seat throughout as Aleksandra and Xavier faced one issue after another, first of all at their Californian ranch and later on their journey to a new home in New Zealand.
I loved the way that this story was interwoven with New Zealand’s turbulent mid-19th century history as European settlers and Maori tribes battled over disputed land. I loved the imagery too. Most of all though I loved travelling with Aleksandra through the Waikato countryside in her bid to be reunited with Xavier.
Lizzi Tremayne has stamped her mark as an excellent story teller who does her homework well and puts her knowledge to good use in her writing. I look forward to seeing what she comes up with next.”

   –Shelagh Merlin, NetGalley Reviewer

 

Reviewers are saying of the rest of the series:

The Hills of Gold Unchanging:

“The pace is fast, there’s plenty of action and adventure and a few twists I didn’t see coming. Lizzi Tremayne writes good characters, and that definitely includes the horses. For me, though, it’s the history that’s the star in this story. Good characters plus excellent history equals a great read, which is what this is.”
–Deborah Challinor, number one bestselling author and historian

“…superb storytelling. As Aleksandra and Xavier faced and survived human malevolence, natural disaster and accidents, and their own doubts and insecurities, I kept turning pages to find out what happened next. I love books in which adversity sculptures character and where challenges to relationships bend them to breakpoint and rebuild them stronger. This is one of those books. I can’t wait to read the sequel.”
–Judy Knighton, editor

“There are so many things to like about this story. Lead characters, Aleks and Xavier, are well rounded and strong. Aleks has a stubborn streak and a determination to survive, no matter what. Both inspired me to cheer them on as they faced one problem after another along the way from Utah to California. The plot is well developed, and I particularly liked the attention to historical detail along the way. This is an author who does her homework, and it shows. I was intrigued by this story, and wish I’d read the first in the series before venturing onto this one. Despite that, this story does stand alone well, and is a cracking good yarn.”
  –Shelagh Merlin, NetGalley Reviewer

And about A Long Trail Rolling, Book One:

“vivid, light and fast-paced…it will appeal in particular to anyone interested in American…history, and in general to those looking for a ripping good read. I’m looking forward to reading The Hills of Gold Unchanging, the next volume in the Aleksandra and Xavier saga”
   –Deborah Challinor, number one bestselling author and historian

“The mystery, adventure, and danger of life in Utah in the 1860s is beautifully described…an authentic, emotional story of one woman’s fight for survival in an unforgiving landscape. I couldn’t put Lizzi Tremayne’s book down.”
  Leeanna Morgan, USA Today bestselling author
 
“An impressive debut from a New Zealand (ex-American) author…a romance, a western, and an adventure story, all rolled up into a compelling read…I devoured this one and am hungry for more.”
   –Booksellers NZ

Awards for A Long Trail Rolling

With this debut novel, Lizzi was:

Finalist 2013 RWNZ Great Beginnings;
Winner 2014 RWNZ Pacific Hearts Award
Winner 2015 RWNZ Koru Award for Best First Novel
Third 2015 RWNZ Koru Long Novel
Finalist 2015 Best Indie Book Award
Click here to go to my website to read the rest! 

 

I hope you’re having a great start to August!

Good luck in the draw!

Regards from NZ.


Lizzi

DSC00342

(This is my son Elliot and I in a Combined Driving competition, driving Maya, or Blue Mist Shemaya. The wee lad is much taller than I am, now!)

 

…and now I’ve done this post, I’m off to work on my book for the Christmas Boxed set with Authors of Main Street!!!!

xx

Lizzi