Nikki's Notebook

My journey as a fiction writer and a place for my projects, writing and otherwise.

Posts Tagged ‘camp nanowrimo

Benefit by doing things that others give up on.

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fortune cookie

Benefit by doing things that others give up on.

That’s what my fortune cookie said last Friday at the grand opening of Co.Lab Duluth. I thought it was fitting, because I was finishing my word count for Camp NaNoWriMo, and am working toward finishing the rewrite of my novel. I’ve been working on this project since November, and there have been many temptations to give up on it. It took a long time to get a little bit of writing done at Co.Lab’s grand opening, though, because the grand opening events were so fun! We got there in time for the breakfast buffet, and stayed for lunch and the happy hour at the end of the day. I’m really excited to have a CoWorking space here in Duluth. I love the concept and hope to someday make money independently so that I can justify paying for a spot there! Preferably writing novels, of course 🙂

2012-07-04 20.32.03

Kayaking: one reason I love Duluth.

This is how we watched fireworks on Wednesday. We’ve talked about doing this since we met, because Chris had done it before. We just never got a chance. This year, we finally did it. The fireworks in Duluth are set off from a barge in the bay and it can be quite challenging to find a good spot that isn’t crowded that also has accessible parking. Plus, kayaking + fireworks = gorgeous. We put in from a beach on Park Point before it got dark, and then chilled out in the water, paddling around until it was fireworks time. Seeing the city from the water, the sun setting behind the hill, floating on the water, was just perfect. Now I want to go kayaking every day.

Camp NaNoWriMo Finished Successfully!

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Duluth Flood, Vermilion Rd 6

Camp NaNoWriMo Finsihed!

Yesterday was the last day of Camp NaNoWriMo for June, and I finished my 50,000 words! Woo hoo! I am far from finished with my revision. In fact, I was forced to rethink my whole story and go back to the beginning and take it in a whole new direction. I’ve only got about 20,000 words of this “new” story, but that’s okay.

Things I changed:

  • I took it from three point of view characters down to one.
  • My main character stays in town. I’d created this great city for her to live in, then had her leave it in the first couple chapters of the story.
  • I added dragons.
  • I changed my system of magic back to one that I’ve imagined for a story all along.
  • There are a lot of other changes, of course, but one thing I like is that I know what the ending is going to be. Well, I know the main idea of the ending. And that means I know where I’m going, so the rest of the story will make more sense.

    News Around Here

    I haven’t kept to my blog schedule very well the last couple weeks and I blame it partly on NaNoWriMo and partly on the fact that I started working with a new summer program AND I started tutoring a neighbor. My summer has been busier than I thought it was going to be. Getting used to the new routine, losing the battle against napping on hot summer afternoons, and trying to write 1,667 words of fiction a day have consumed me.

    Oh, and also, we had a flood. Our city is on a hill, so nobody really took flash flood warnings very seriously. Well, the thing about being on a hill, in a city by a great lake, is that there are a lot of streams, creeks, and rivers going to the lake. And they all swelled up and washed away everything in their path. My neighborhood lucked out and didn’t get any damage, but just blocks away our local creek jumped onto the street and washed away all the clay under the pavement and made a street look like an earthquake had hit it. It was a bizarre day. Click here to see my Flickr photo set of pictures and videos I took around my neighborhood that day.

    Written by nikkinbird

    July 1, 2012 at 10:09 am

    Camp NaNoWriMo Progress, Summer, and Vegetable Garden!

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    2012-06-10 10.24.29

    Camp NaNoWriMo Progress

    For about one day, I was caught up on my novel. I really was. I even had, like, 200 extra words. On Friday that all went out the window. See, Chris is working in Minneapolis full time, so he’s only home on the weekends. That means that, whenever he’s here, the regular schedule I’ve so diligently put myself on gets thrown out in favor of doing fun things together or catching up on house and yard things together. And I’m totally all right with this. Our summer is short here in Duluth, so we have to enjoy each moment of it that we get. I have a week off now, so I will catch up. Plus, sometimes the thing that Chris and I decide to do together is go to a coffee shop and work on our respective projects. So then I do get more writing done those times when he’s here.

    Tashi enjoys when we let him hang out in the yard with us, too. His favorite activities are getting pet while basking in the sun and exploring. He is not an outside cat, but we let him come outside supervised for short periods of time. When we don’t let him out, we sometimes have the pleasure of listening to him yowl at us in the windowsill for 15 minute stretches of time.

    What I like about summer, when it’s not too hot, is that I can do everything outside. I’m sitting in the shade right now on the deck, looking out into the yard and admiring my freshly planted vegetable garden. While I enjoyed my coffee after breakfast this morning, I knitted on the pair of socks I’ve been working on for Chris forever! It’s taken so long because for a while I was having weird pain spasms all up and down my left arm and wrist, so I thought it was a good idea not to do the things that caused them, like knitting. It was sad, but I think it’s had a good rest now and is over.

    Vegetable Garden

    Yesterday we worked outside for ten hours! We got up early enough to be at the farmer’s market when it opened at 7am, a first for us. My attempt at starting plants indoors failed again this year, so we relied on the farmer’s market for some great plants to get our garden going. The $25 investment in seedlings will be well worth all the vegetables we get later!

    This is our second year wtih our magnificent raised bed garden. Last summer I planted 13 tomato plants way too close to each other, and they EXPLODED all over the garden and flopped over the pepper plants and stole the sun from them. Add to that, we’d planted late because of the time it took to build the garden and get the dirt, so we had a LOT of green tomatoes in September. I have high hopes for this year–I was more moderate with my 6 nicely spaced tomato plants, but I may have crammed some other things in there tight. What I did, though, was intersperse different kinds of plants together. So I planted onions and lettuce in the spaces between the peppers, and I put snap pea and pole bean seeds practically everywhere because they put nitrogen back in the soil, which helps the other plants grow.

    I’m going to take pictures of the garden as it grows. Here is Day 1.

    The big plants in the foreground are the pepper plants. We have 2 jalapeño plants, 1 banana pepper, 1 hungarian hot wax pepper, 1 green bell pepper, and 2 others that I don’t know the name of that Chris’s mom gave us. On the back row are the tomato plants. 2 big slicing tomatoes and 4 cherry tomato plants. I love love love cherry tomatoes, especially straight off the vine.

    The big trellis behind the tomato plants will be for snap peas and pole beans. The section of green fencing on the inside of the garden has zucchini seeds planted under it, and I plan to tie them up and grow them vertically. I haven’t got them in much space, so it’ll be an experiment. I won’t cry if it doesn’t work.

    On the zucchini side of the garden, the little green spikes you can see are leeks. I planted a few rows of them and had so many left over that I planted them in every extra space I could. I did the same thing with the onions on the pepper side of the garden. Both deter pests with their oniony smell, so I’m hoping the random scattering will be good. I was really excited to see, when I pulled the onion seedlings apart, that many were already forming tiny little bulbs! Onions are one of my favorite vegetables, so I will be really excited if they’re successful in my garden.

    2012-06-10 10.22.20
    2012-06-10 10.22.58 2012-06-10 10.23.12 2012-06-10 10.20.46

    Camp NaNoWriMo (still) and a New Publishing Community, Asymmetrical

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    cats are plotting against meI have been slacking on the blog a little bit and the cats are angry. I’d like to blame it on Camp NaNoWriMo starting last Thursday, but to tell the truth, I’ve been slacking a bit on that, too. I’m only about 1,000 words behind, and I have a whole week off next week, so I’m not too worried. It’s not NaNoWriMo’s fault I’ve been slacking on the blog, it’s the beautiful weather’s fault! On Saturday, Chris and I managed to do almost exactly nothing productive, which is an accomplishment for us. We went flower shopping with his mom, then went to his parents’ house and walked on the trail behind it along the creek for a couple of hours. Gorgeous. Sunday, the yard work consumed us. I planted the flowers. They are pretty. Summer is wonderful, until it gets too hot and/or humid.

    I am excited about a new website, Asymmetrical. It is a site about publishing online, and currently has a community page that is pretty active. When they say publishing, they mean many things, but it’s a lot about micropublishers (a solo publisher) and exploring the changes that are happening in publishing of all kinds because of the internet. I myself usually lurk, but am so proud of myself for posting an introduction there! Now I will have to start participating in discussions more. The project will be more than just a community eventually, and I think it’s going to be good. Check it out!

    Written by nikkinbird

    June 5, 2012 at 6:32 pm

    First revision of a short story – still more work to do!

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    UntitledI just finished the first revision of my short story that I’ve been working on for awhile. First I scribbled all over it in red pen, then I set to typing up all of those changes. Since I was adding a character, many of the changes involved writing new stuff, and that’s where I always get stuck. I think, “I’m supposed to be editing!” and I get myself into a different mindset than the one that allows me to freely write rough drafts. I stuck with it, though, and now I’ve gotten one step farther in the process. I’ve only ever finished one short story before, and that was because it was for a class. Doing it again paves the way for more successes, since I’m learning more about my process and what works for me and what doesn’t. My hope is that eventually the process will go faster because I’ll be more used to it and it will become more of a habit.

    Camp NaNoWriMo is just around the corner, and I’m trying to prepare myself to be immersed in my novel again. I have a lot of changes I have to make, and it will be mostly a complete rewrite. This is technically “cheating,” since the rules of NaNoWriMo are to write a new novel, but I am using NaNoWriMo as a motivational tool. Camp NaNoWriMo is cool because it puts you in a virtual cabin with cabin mates. When I first signed up, it was too early to have cabin mates, but now I have them! I’d better go introduce myself soon.

    Last week, we had some spectacular thunderstorms. Gru is afraid of the thunder and lightning, but we enjoyed the storms. Storms are a perfect opportunity to hang out in a cozy coffee shop and write, or have a fire and hang out at home and write. See picture above: fire, wine, writing, and scared dog. A perfect memorial day weekend!

    Written by nikkinbird

    May 30, 2012 at 9:58 pm

    Summer School!

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    lil chicken!Yesterday I spilled coffee on my editing. I was just getting into a good groove, too. Then I had to bring the whole thing inside and let it dry out. The good news is that after it dried, I finished editing it! I actually just finished scribbling all over it, which I’m not sure counts as editing. The next step is to type up the new draft.

    After I finish this draft, I may post the story at Scribophile. I haven’t used it before, and I only just signed up about a month ago. They use a system called karma to determine whether you get to post your work for review. Before being able to post a story, I will have to earn karma points by doing a few thoughtful reviews myself. It seems like a great site, though I am nervous to take the step of offering my work for criticism.

    Another cool site I’ve found is Coursera. Coursera offers free online college courses from well-known universities. Heck yes I’m taking advantage of that! There’s no college credit or certificate offered, just the good ol’ satisfaction and pleasure of learning something new. I’ve signed up for Intro to Sociology and Fantasy and Science Fiction: The Human Mind, Our Modern World. I’m so excited!

    As June gets closer, I’m getting more excited about Camp NaNoWriMo. I’m also getting a little nervous! I’m stacking lots of things up on my plate right now, from the courses mentioned above to other self-imposed learning endeavors, not to mention my job. Luckily, working with kids tends to follow a school-year schedule, so my service this summer will be with a summer program, and I will get done around 3 each day, and have Fridays off! Additionally, I’ll have almost a whole week off between the end of school and the start of the summer program. I plan to make the most of all the extra time I’ll have. You may have to remind me I said that a month from now, when I’m sitting around being lazy “because it’s summer, and that’s what you do in the summer!”

    Check it out, one of our staff members brought her baby chicks to school! That’s me with one of them. She’d ordered 4 hens, and to keep them warm, they were packed with about 10 baby roosters! Nobody really raises roosters, apparently, so all they are good for is packing material 😦 Instead of killing them, she gave them away to another staff member who lives in a rural area and already raises chickens. Yay!

    Written by nikkinbird

    May 20, 2012 at 2:47 pm

    Camp NaNoWriMo, here I come!

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    cn_participant180x180
    Well, it’s May already and that means it’s time for me to start preparing for Camp NaNoWriMo for June! I just got an email about all of the camp goodies that are in the store, and I want all of them! Just look at them. I want the poster. And the coffee mug. And the merit badges. And the camp care package. And the tshirt. All so cool!

    Since I am using Camp NaNoWriMo to motivate myself to revise my novel from November, I’m kind of cheating. I’m not starting a brand new novel for the 50,000 word goal. My thought is, though, that things like NaNoWriMo are a tool to help me accomplish what I already want to accomplish anyway. My revision will be an almost complete rewrite as well, so having a word count goal will still be a legitimate way of tracking my progress. And boy, do I ever need the motivation!

    In the past, when I’ve done NaNoWriMo in November, I’ve usually let it sneak up on me. I’ve never outlined, or planned very much ahead of time. This time, I am going to try outlining and some more advance planning. I still think November’s more spontaneous writing helped me–after all, I wouldn’t even know my characters or the world they’re operating in if it weren’t for all that writing! But now I need a clearer roadmap of what they’re doing so that this revision actually will improve the original draft.

    Sponsor me!

    If you support my novel writing efforts, consider sponsoring me at my StayClassy fundraising page! I always try to donate a little bit to the Office of Letters and Light when I do NaNoWriMo, but now I want to try to support them even more! Their resources allowed me to teach NaNoWriMo as an afterschool class and spread the novel writing love to some awesome kids, and the whole program provides encouragement, support, and community to tons of writers all over the world. I love it, and if it sounds cool to you, consider supporting my efforts. Plus, your donations will help guilt me into sticking to my word count goal for the month!

    Written by nikkinbird

    May 9, 2012 at 9:36 pm

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