NaNoWriMo Meal Plan

I woke up this morning and stretched. The dogs didn’t wake me up to go out, so it was a good, full night’s sleep.

Then I realized it was Halloween.

October 31.

NaNoEve! Holy CRAP!

I need a plan…

Last year, I posted a few easy meals for NaNo, you can find them here.

Adding to that this week – bonus! There’s still time for you to run to the store tonight and grab the ingredients here to make a fabulous week’s worth of dinners!

Slow Cooker Honey Garlic Chicken and Vegetables – Crockpot. Veggies cook along with the meat. Morning prep. Don’t think about it again ’til dinner. Win!

Taco Tuesday – Use the taco recipe I posted last year. Make meat in the crockpot. Everyone assembles their own tacos.

Jambalaya – Crockpot again. It gets a work out in November.

Spaghetti – Mine’s easy. Brown ground turkey. Dump in a jar of your fave sauce. This week I am using a couple of spaghetti squash (cooked like this) and serving these roasted veggies. Because roasted veggies are easy, but make you look like an over-achiever in the kitchen.

Pizza Night! We have DiGiornio’s. It’s Friday and I’m tired.

That’s leaves you on your own for the weekend. Remind yourself that you need to eat leftovers, or make a sandwich.

Also, I don’t care what anyone says, kids will not be harmed by eating cereal for dinner.

Indie Author Fringe

Spending the day learning about the industry via the Indie Author Fringe. Already learned all about author business plans and getting more information on going wide versus going all-in with KU.

Also, pretty much finished the plot of Star of Fire on deadline. Pretty pleased with that. Still writing every day, developing some character backstory and making notes on events and side arcs.

The timing of having all of this education material available was just kismet since I have time in my schedule to actually listen and watch this week!

Plotting & Planning

October is all about NaNoPrep for me. In past years that’s mean having a kernel of an idea and then sitting down on November 1st and pounding on the keyboard until I hit the 50,000-word mark.

Not this year!

Star of Time came together so much better with a detailed roadmap. In hopes that the same will hold true for Star of Fire, I have spent the last couple of weeks nailing down some specifics.

I have used Take Off Your Pants to map out the major happenings and then flipped over to Super Structure to map out the guideposts. In fact, I actually nailed down the “Q Factor” and “Final Battle” moments this morning.

Having this map helps me to more fully “see” the story and know what’s coming and what needs to be foreshadowed.

It was funny, marrying these two techniques have really helped me, since when I hit a wall with one method I can flip to the other method and come at the block a little differently.

I’m right on goal to finish plotting Star of Fire by Friday. Since the cover for Star of Time is already done I can work on tying up loose ends and prepping for November 1 when the work really starts again!

How I Finally Finished

Let’s be honest, shall we?

I was done with Star of Time way before I was finished with Star of Time, you know what I mean? I love the book. I love what it has become. I was just ready to be done writing it. It’s consumed me for the better part of what? Two years now?

The last few days, when I was getting so close, I was only wishing I could type faster. That felt like the only thing really holding me back. Then I realized, why not skip typing altogether and just dictate the darn book?

I did a little research and thankfully my Mac has dictation built right in. After a quick download and plugging in an old microphone headset I was ready to go.

Here’s what I learned:

1. It’s awkward, but not like you’d think. Or like I thought, anyway. I thought I would struggle with “ahhhhs” and “ummmmms.” I didn’t.

I did struggle with remembering to say punctuation. It was weird, y’all, having to say, “open quote, blah, blah, blah, close quote,” all the time. It felt awkward to call out all the punctuation.

2. I have to plan more carefully. I can’t do dictation if anyone else is in the room. I have to block out time to sit in the office and close the doors and focus. The mic will pick up everything and the errors are pretty frequent already, so I don’t need to create even more work.

It also means I have to have a solid outline. I did for this book. I’m working on the outline for Star of Fire. To hit the pace I want I have to have a scene by scene breakdown of goals and motivations and conflicts. It means more work up front, but it’s so worth it!

3. It was much easier to immerse myself in the story. Not even kidding. I would lean back in my chair and just start dictating the story and then I’d look up and have 1500 words done. It was insane.

4. Even with the errors, it was faster. I would dictate a scene and then go back and fix the glaring errors (most common was writing out punctuation – weird. <shrug>). It was a messy edit, mind you. I’ll get the little stuff when I do the full pass through. Still, I netted 4500 words in an hour.

Stop. Read that again. 4,500 words in an hour.

I had only a couple of 4k days before that and they were all day efforts.

Final Thoughts
For my next book (Star of Fire) I plan on leaning more heavily on dictation and I look forward to spending a couple of hours to get 10,000 words. If I can manage that I can move on to book 3 before the end of the year. That alone excites me so much!

When time is a premium, I have to find ways to make the most of my time. Dictation seems to be the answer. Even if I have to spend a little more time cleaning up the errors, I’m okay with it. Just knocking out that first draft feels so good period



The End.

I actually typed those words yesterday.

I finished Star of Time.


Set it aside. Finally.


The weight has been lifted and I can move on to Star of Fire. Already jotted some plot notes. Very exciting stuff!

​Just wanted to let you know.

October 2016 Writing Goals

Where did you come from October? Because the last time I looked up it was July…

I have three things that I really am focusing on for this month. Since I was thinking about them, I thought I would share them here.

1. Finish Book 1 (The Star of Time) by October 6.

I have 6 chapters left. This should be achievable, I just have to sit down and get it done. I’m so close I just want to be done. I am tired of writing this book. It has consumed my creative time for over a year now. It’s miles better than it was last year, but I. Am. Done.

2. Plot Book 2 (The Star of Fire) by October 21.

This is a semi-rewrite. I actually wrote this book (or 50,000 words of it) for NaNoWriMo last year. I need to go read what I wrote then sit down and plot it like I did the rewrite of SoT.

I start off using Story Genius by Lisa Cron. This gives me the emotional arc of my main character(s) and helps inform the major plot points. Not sure how much I’ll need it for SoF since SoT provides the major backstory, but I’ll at least be using it to explore the inner conflicts going into SoF.

Then I use the map provided by Libbie Hawker in Take Off Your Pants. This helps me see the overall story arc and major plot points that I need to hit. This book was really integral to getting my plot for SoT into shape, to begin with.

Then it’s on to the scene by scene, character by character, considering the GMC of each player, etc. overview in a Numbers document.

If I can get each of those steps completed my book will be fairly strong even after the first draft. I am hoping that by putting in the work ahead of the writing that I can avoid the rewrite after rewrite after rewrite that I’ve done with SoT.

3. Finish Book 1’s Cover by October 31.

I have a roughed out idea sitting in Photoshop. I need to play with it and I am setting aside the last week of October to do that and prep for NaNoWriMo.

Getting all three things knocked out should set me up well to win NaNo and also get Star of Time out to Beta readers and an editor and then hopefully an early 2017 release!

Soooo…..anyone up to do a beta read?

P.S. The linked books above are affiliate links. So if you click through and buy I’ll make a little money. Just wanted to be upfront about that.