Fun-Day Friday – Book Review and Recap of Week One of NaNoWriMo

So, before I get to the book review, I wanted to recap that November is National Novel Writing Month. I’ve written three full days thus far, and the word count comes out to:
Day 1 – 1804
Day 2 – 1924
Day 3 – 1683

Remember that the average minimum for each day is 1667 words, so I’m ahead of the curve, so far. Hopefully, I can keep up the momentum.

As for the book review, it’s really a set-of-books review. Last time I did one of these, I mentioned the Montague Portal series. I’ve read the rest of the books in the series, and I wanted to share my thoughts on them.

All of these books except the first one (already reviewed) follow a single person named Aidan Redding. She is a security officer for Montague Corporation, and she gets progressively better at her job as the stories progress.

In “Sticky Supersaturation” the premise is that the universe is a two dimensional space, so the laws of physics make everything sticky to the touch, tastes are bland, and so on. The lab gets overrun by some horny chipmunks that devour antimatter, and it all goes downhill from there. The antics are memorable, and the story takes a couple of twists before Redding saves the day. Again, my only complaint is that it was too short.

In “Forever Falls” the universe is literally on a cliff face with a never ending waterfall. Redding investigates the death of one of the researchers, ends up in some sky diving death defying situations, fights to survive, and gets her suspect in the end. Mostly because the suspect believed she was dead, and couldn’t handle himself when she showed up to announce his part in the murder. She only lost part of a hand for her efforts, though she also got a bit wind burned. This one is longer, labeled a “novella” and is almost just the right length for these kinds of stories.

In “Hydrogen Sleets” the universe is just like our own. The laws of physics are the same. The problem is, it’s right at the beginning of its birth, so most of the universe is composed of free floating hydrogen that hasn’t decided to form stars or other matter, yet. A space station is built for the research, and she gets a try at a political stint. As a liaison officer, she has to deal with both her boss from Montague, and the civilian Congolese workers on board. Politics play a big role in some of the tensions, but she manages to navigate her way through the issues without too much trouble. I mean, what’s a damaged hand (again) and almost getting crushed by super gravity, plus a nice jagged jab in the side among friends? Yeah, it went something like that. She gets sent back for medical leave (again) at the end, but gets compliments and reprimands in spades for her efforts. This was labeled a novel, and while short for one, it was pretty much the perfect length.

I hope more Montague Portal stories are forthcoming, because the concept is divine. I highly recommend all of these if you haven’t read them yet. I wonder if it would be too difficult to develop a tabletop RPG around the series. Hmm. Food for thought.

Fun-Day Friday – National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo)

Since this is the last Friday before November gets here, I thought I should bring this up. November is “National Novel Writing Month.” That’s NaNoWriMo for short. I’ve attempted to participate in this event year after year, and always gotten sidetracked or overwhelmed before completing a novel. Except for last year. That’s the first year I’ve ever actually made it to the end and come out the other side with a finished first draft novel.

I’m considering making another attempt at it this year. In case some of you dear readers are also aware of this month and are chomping at the bits to take a stab at it, here’s what helped me last year.

1) I used a site called to help me track my words per day. You should probably do something similar. It was the greatest factor in helping me finish. Remember that if you intend to write “the bare minimum every day” that comes out to an average of 1667 words each day.

2) I finally let go of perfectionism. You can’t “write” and “edit” at the same time. The goal is to just write. The months AFTER NaNoWriMo are for editing. What you write might be, (okay, let’s face it… probably WILL be) a turd, but you will have plenty of time to turn that crap into something useful (like fertilizer or compost) AFTER you produce it. Just focus on the writing, and don’t worry about mistakes.

3) If you’re struggling with plot, write a few random sentences in a note pad and let one of those give you a sudden change in direction for your plot. You don’t have to know the gory details, just the broad overview of where you want to go with the story. As long as you can keep a good pace (both writing, AND within the story itself,) things will work out in the end.

4) It’s hard. It will be tough to maintain the pace. That’s okay. Do it anyway. Stay up late, get up early, whatever you have to do to find some extra writing time, do it. BUT more importantly than this…

5) Write at the SAME time every day if you can. Setting a schedule for your writing forms habit. Habit leads to eventual success.

6) Finally, “have fun with it.” It’s okay that what you write may be terrible, but remember this: There are books with story lines that are almost guaranteed to be worse than your own, and people have paid to read them. (Just google “Thorfinn Viking Vampire” at some point, and look at the books that pop up.)

Hopefully, everyone will be feeling much much better by the end of this month, so that I can do this. If not, I may have to choose between NaNoWriMo and UnixSecLab. If I have to choose, the WriMo is going to lose.

Are you planning to try for NaNoWriMo this year? Leave a comment below, and keep us updated on your progress!