This is now my second time writing this since my first post just got deleted thanks to an accidental backspace. Sigh. Anyway, let’s try this again.

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I won! Today is November 30, 2015, which means that NaNaWriMo has come to a close. I validated last night at 11:01 p.m. and finished with 50001 words (Yeah, that’s right. 50,001. I’m such an overachiever.)

If you check out my page on the site, it will say that I have over 63,000, because I actually just copied and pasted what I had in the manuscript document thus far since I couldn’t get the exact number to show up properly. And adding in the 4k to that manuscript, I have roughly 65,000 words to ย this novel. It’s completely different than I imagined it, and I already like where it’s going and know what I want to change during editing. But the thing I’ve learned most about this book is that you can’t tell a story without listening to the characters. You may start out with the intention to have a horror novel, only to find that’s only a part of the story and there’s actually a lot of romance, comedy and plenty of other things for your characters to experience and go through. Because that’s real life, isn’t it? Even the scariest moments are dispersed by humor, by love.

I want to write more here, but don’t know what to say other thank thank you to all the writers on Twitter who encouraged me and inspired me with their own dedication to their craft, and a big congratulations to anyone who has made it this far, whether you’ve got 2,000 words or 70,000. You rock and should be proud of yourself for trying!

Remember, it’s not about the destination. It’s about the journey.

Guest Post: Advice for NaNoWriMo by Mariella Hunt

Tips on NaNoWriMo from Someone Halfway There

For most writers, November is a stressful month. It’s a time during which writers worldwide accept the challenge of NaNoWriMoโ€”one that, if approached in an organized manner, will help them write a new book or make progress on their manuscript.

I’ve reached the halfway point for my project, The Autumn Prince. Somewhere in the process of writing those 25,000 words, it dawned on me: Without NaNoWriMo, I probably wouldn’t have gotten the motivation to write a new book this year. I’ve written books without NaNo, of course, but dragged my feet because there was no pressure.

Pressure can be a good thing when it comes to art, but also a cause of stress! Though my book is not yet finished, I’d like to share three tips from my experience so far. Hopefully they’ll help you like they did me, and NaNoWriMo won’t feel like a chore!

1 – Wake up with the mindset that you’ll get something written. Go to bed believing that you’ll make progress tomorrow. It’s easy to have a negative I don’t have time attitude, but feeding negativity will most likely lead to failure…you’ve practically decided not to win.

2 – Write according to your ability regarding writing speed and time. However, it’s satisfying to challenge yourself and do better! Write a hundred words more than your average, or add fifteen minutes to your writing time. Make it a habit to reach higher every day and you’ll finish the month with improvement, even if you don’t complete the novel.

3 – What’s more intimidating to a writer than staring at a blank screen while facing a deadline? In that situation it’s easy to get lost. If you’re like me and can’t work on outlines for entire books, I found something that helps: Make little plans for each day’s scene. Jot down characters, revelations, and significant objects you want to include. If you have a map, even a vague one, you won’t get lost in that Word document!

Since I’m not done with my novel, I can’t boast that these methods helped me win…but they did assist me in reaching a huge goal! If you’re struggling to get your book written, try them and maybe the challenge will be easier to beat.

Bio: Mariella Hunt writes faery tales from her bedroom/library in Boise, Idaho. She enjoys reading the classics and hopes to one day write like Charles Dickens (hey, a girl can dream.) Her first novel, Dissonance, was published in June of 2015.

More from Mariella:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/mariellahuntauthor/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/mariellahunt

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/mariellahuntbooks/

Blog: http://mariellahunt.com/blog/

To Paris

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It’s 1:34 a.m. in Rome, Italy. I was stressing over work, worried about all of the things in my life, and I hear this news. Over 100 lives have been viciously stolen tonight in a terrorist attack on Paris. I don’t know what to say. I don’t know. I just want to write this because I’ve been crying at my kitchen table for half an hour and I am mad. I am mad at God. I am mad at these horrible human beings who have brought devastation to so many families, friends and people they will never know who will now suffer with guilt, pain and longing the rest of their lives. Children will grow up without mothers and fathers. Brothers and sisters have lost their partners in crime. Parents have lost sons and daughters. Husbands and wives have had their soulmates stolen. This is horrible. It is inexcusable. It has to stop.

I don’t know how, but it has to.

I’m scared, too. I live in Rome, a very Catholic place. The Jubilee is coming up in January. What then? How many people are going to die? I’m terrified for my mom to leave the house to go to work. I want to work more just so I can pay for her to take a cab instead of using public transport incase its bombed.

I don’t want to have children in this type of world. I don’t want to risk losing them, or having my life robbed, while they’re here. I don’t know why God allows such pain to happen. No answer of sin or evil or Satan helps. Yet I pray. I cry and I pray to Jesus to watch over these people, for our Heavenly Father to bring them peace and strength and courage during this time.

In spite of everything, I must still believe that He is allowing this sin to occur for a greater good. I must believe that those who have been lost are at peace. And that those who live tonight, who take pride in the horror they have struck in our hearts, will pay for what they have done and it will be such a more painful, just and apt death than the one these innocent victims suffered tonight.

I read on Twitter tonight that on 9/11, Paris headlines read “Nous sommes tous des Amรฉricains.”

Tonight, Nous Sommes Tous Les Parisiens.