Tuesday, October 27, 2015

My NaNoWriMo Strategy (advice on being prepared and successful)

Well, hello! I've never done a NaNoWriMo post before, mostly because I am slightly scatterbrained, slightly disorganized, and slightly inexperienced. But as this is my FOURTH year (O_O !!!!), I have decided to attempt this. This post will be in two sections, PREPARATION and SUCCESS.
(this is post has a two-day warranty, because I cannot guarantee your success)

I usually have a different preparation strategy for each year. The first one was just planning out my story, which changed quite a lot over the month (October) that I took to prepare. The second year, my strategy took the whole of 2013 to prepare. I wrote a whole novel that was supposed to come before 2013's novel, and finished only a few months before. Then I planned like a madwoman. 2014, I convinced my mom to buy me soft, soft, soft pants, a huge sweater, and warm socks.
Okay, so I'm a bit different then most writers as you can tell. Most of this is due to the fact that I live in Africa. Most seasoned NaNoWriMoers would tell you to buy pens, chocolate, energy drinks, the like.
It's a well-known fact that I spend all my money on books, and therefore, this is for mostly broke people. If you have no money for all the things advised in other posts, do read on.
Most of w
hat you'll need after this post, you probably already have. Yay!

Tea. Go buy tea. If you don't like tea, get coffee, or apple cider, or hot chocolate. Tea is something my mom normally buys for me, but I suppose you might have to go get it. I recommend something fruity. My favorite is a peach-cassis tea mixed with a raspberry tea, and that really makes me write.

Research. Whether you're writing a new genre, or continuing your usual, reading and watching books and movies that are your chosen genre WILL help. Honestly.

Find everything warm in your house and hoard it like a dragon (blankets, pajamas, hoodies, socks). If you're going to be writing all month, you want to be comfy. I personally recommend FUZZY blankets and pajamas, BUT BE CAREFUL. That mix produces sparks (I am so not kidding).

Get a cat. Honestly, if you don't have a cat, go get one. Cats will lighten the darkest moments of this month, and they are ANOTHER source of warmth. (if you are allergic to cats, I suggest you buy a motivational cat poster)

Download music. Get a spotify account. Get music recommendations. NaNoWriMo completely ruined me against writing without music, which is slightly good, because I now imagine every scene like a movie scene, which honestly helps my descriptions.

Take a few days to let everyone know what you're doing this month. It will keep you accountable and also then they will stay away and let you write.

Get a really, really good pair of earphones. You will need those to drown out any and all sounds.

If you live alone, stock up the kitchen before this month-long excursion. Writing makes writers into ravenous beasts.

I can honestly tell you that I have never lost NaNoWriMo. I've been close to losing, but I haven't lost. So everyone wants to ask: What's my secret to success?
The goal for each day is only 1,667 words a day. For me, that takes about two hours. So set out two or three hours around your favorite time of day to write, and spend them writing.
Honestly, it's the fact that I'm good at ignoring my surroundings. I have a really good pair of earphones. I have loud music.
Reward yourself. I know you've heard this before. Don't go on the Internet until you've written that goal. And honestly, even if you write the goal and finish within the time you set aside, keep writing. EVERY EXTRA WORD HELPS.
I have a ninja for a cat who attacks any and all botherances (kind of). I have a lock on my bedroom door.
Feed your cat. Cats are friendlier when they are full of food (and less likely to eat you).
But, I think mostly, it's the fact that I'm very, very stubborn, and I love what I'm doing. I hate to fail.
But NaNoWriMo isn't as hugely drastic as people make it out to be. You CAN have a life and still win.
You can stay up late, but not too late. You won't win if you're too tired the next day to write anymore.
Good luck, y'all. Drop a comment below and let me know what YOUR strategy is. Unless you also wrote a post—then tell me the link! I want to read it! :)


Monday, October 26, 2015

Double Review! By Divine Right and The Shock of Night by Patrick Carr

Hello! This is a two book review, because I'm review Patrick Carr's By Divine Right and his new release The Shock of Night.


Willet Dura ekes out a living as an assistant reeve in the city of Bunard, the royal city, investigating minor and not-so-minor crimes in the poor quarter. Ever since a terrible battle, Willet's been drawn to the dead, and has an uncanny ability not only to solve their crimes, but even to know when one has been committed. 

When a gifted musician is found dead in the merchants' quarter of the city, everyone assumes by the signs that the old man simply died of a stroke, but Willet's intuition tells him better. When he learns that this is the second death within the last month of one of the gifted, those with a rare inherited ability, he begins to suspect that something more is afoot, and he soon finds himself chasing a mystery that could bring down the very kingdom of Collum.

So we all know how much I love Patrick Carr's The Sword and the Staff series. This book is just as good. (yes, you read that correctly)
I really loved how this was a novella, but it had a full plot, three-dimensional characters, and no cliffhanger.
But, despite the lack of cliffhanger, this little story leaves you hungering for more. It makes you love the world, the characters--makes you want to read the next story. I really enjoyed how Patrick Carr developed that element of the story, instead of depending on a cliffhanger to make his readers keep going. It was a unique approach. 
Four and a half stars!


The Darkwater Claims All Who Enter It.
All But One.

When one man is brutally murdered and the priest he works for mortally wounded, Willet Dura, reeve to the king of Bunard, is called to investigate. As he begins to question the dying priest, the man pulls Willet close and screams in a foreign tongue. Then he dies without another word.

Willet returns to his task, but the clues to the crime lead to contradictions and questions without answers, and his senses are skewed. People he touches appear to have a subtle shift, as though he can divine their deepest thoughts. In a world divided between haves and have-nots, gifted and common, Willet soon learns he's been passed the rarest gift of all--a gift that's not supposed to exist. 

Now Willet must pursue the murderer still on the loose in Bunard even as he's pulled into a dangerous conflict that threatens not only his city, but his entire world--a conflict  that will force him to come to terms with his inability to remember how he escaped the Darkwater Forest--and what happened to him inside it. 

"Book one in the Darkwater Saga is filled with suspense, intrigue and action. As readers get to know the characters, Carr seamlessly immerses them into his fascinating kingdom. This story sets the stage for a series fantasy fans will love."--RT Book Reviews

This book was intense. Sheesh. No sleep happened for me. 
I really loved how this is a book with two different battles, one in Willet's mind(his fight to remain himself) and the fight with Volsk. I really loved the mental battle in this. A lot of stories just have heroes who have powers, and that's super convenient, but this book showed a darker side to those rather convenient powers. Usually there's not much of a downside, but with this, the downside is that you could lose who you are. It's wonderfully done.
Aghck, emotions. This book made me cry, like, four times. I have a list. :D 
I really, really love these characters. Each one was complex and amazing. 
The plot was good, but this book is definitely character oriented. However, that does not draw away from this amazing story! :) 
Four and a half stars!