Ready, Set, Write!

It’s very nearly that time of the year, ladies and gentlemen. No, not Christmas, although that has been sneaking up on me like a predator ready to pounce. I’m actually talking about National Novel Writing Month, better known as NaNoWriMo.


If you don’t know what NaNoWriMo is, at its core it is a challenge: a challenge to write (at least) 50,000 words in one month, starting November 1st and ending November 30th. The unwritten rules are that you start a brand new story on that first day and that by the end of it you aim to have a complete novel, even if it’s so bad it would take holy fire to properly edit and revise it and make it readable. The reality is that lots of people also write multiple short stories, or continue on with stories they’ve already been working on; some people even write things like autobiographies, scripts, or collections of poems. There are really no hard-and-fast rules, other than the goal: write 50,000 words in 30 days.

I’ve taken part in NaNoWriMo every year since I first discovered it, even the years during which I knew I had little to no chance of completing the task, and it’s been worth it every time.

November 2010
This is the year I first stumbled across a blogger talking about NaNoWriMo. I looked into it, found the website, and immediately fell in love with the idea. Even though I was almost late to the game (it was late October when I found out about it) I decided that I just had to take part. I’d been thinking about playing my hand at writing a zombie story, so that’s what I did, and the first draft of “Nowhere to Hide” was born. That year was my first NaNoWriMo win, with approximately 50,700 words. I came in right under the wire, and although my story was a bit messy and uncoordinated I was very proud because it was the first time I’d ever written a full-length novel start-to-finish. It was my first ever completed manuscript.

November 2011
After the fun I’d had the previous year of course I was going to try NaNoWriMo out again! This time I decided to go for something completely different from what I’m used to: sci-fi. The story was “Erased”, and it featured a cast of strange characters who find themselves abandoned in what appears to be a medical facility on a planet with two moons. I had fun in the beginning, but around the middle of NaNo I was beginning to wear, with no idea of where the story was going and a lack of faith in myself to properly write a technologically-advanced world. Eventually I wound up cheating by putting “Erased” aside and writing new scenes for other stories I was working on. Though I technically rebelled against the “rules”, I did still manage to write 57,300 words that year, so I still call it a win!

November 2012
My third NaNo was my first loss in the challenge, which is funny since what I was actually doing was a rewrite of a story I’d been writing on and off for years, “Parallels”. The fact that I already had a great deal of the story ingrained into my brain didn’t help; I was simply too busy that year and didn’t have enough motivation. Still, I enjoyed taking part in the challenge and managed to write about 37,200 words that month.

November 2013
On the fourth year I tried something different yet again. While I’d already taken a shot at horror, this would be my first time writing about vampires. I wanted to write something fun that was aimed at teens and young adults, but that was actually frightening. “Bloodlust” was the story of a girl and her friends seeking out vampires because the world’s literature had lead them to believe that they were wonderful creatures, when in fact they are the monsters people once took them to be. I had high-hopes for this story, but it never really worked out in my head and I ended up abandoning it, though not before I won another NaNo with just over 50,100 words.

November 2014
Last year I didn’t have a whole lot of hope for my chances with NaNo, but I wanted to take part anyway because hey, I didn’t want to break the streak! It was my fifth year and I had a plan. I’d still been writing “Parallels” on and off throughout the years, but I’d recently decided that the story would make a much better mini-series…say, three-to-four shorter books instead of one insufferably long one. So for NaNo ’14 I decided to write that first book: “The Other World: Book One”. I ended up experiencing my worst NaNo failure yet with only about 31,900 words, but it was a huge start toward that first book (which I’m now in the process of revising) and there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that!

So that leads us back here, to the impending NaNo 2015. I’m excited to participate again, although I know there’s a fair chance that it will be another loss to add to the board, because even when things don’t go my way I still gain something out of NaNo. It’s always my most productive writing month of the year, and I feel that has a lot to do with the community and the fun atmosphere that the challenge provides. It’s not just buckling down and forcing yourself to write…it’s almost a sort of game that you’re playing with thousands of people all over the world.

This year I’m trying something way out in left-field from what I’ve done previously. I’m going to be “cheating” by writing a number of shorter stories, and they’re all going to be of the erotic variety. I’ve been toying with the idea of trying my hand at the genre for a while, and I figured what better time than NaNo, when you’re forced to write quickly and without thinking too hard or looking back? If absolutely nothing else I should get a good laugh out of the whole thing, especially since I’ve decided to base my little erotica series on fairy tales (the #1 rule of erotica, apparently, is to find a kink – or theme – and stick to it, and I figured this was something I know enough about to be able to handle).

As it has been for the past few years, this NaNo will not be an easy go for me (not that it ever is). I have a few days at home during the first week of the challenge, but then I travel out West and am tortured with 12-hour work days for 14 days straight before returning home again. For this reason I’ve decided to take a bit of a break from my blog during November so that I can focus my writing exclusively on the challenge. I’ll still write something for “Insecure Writer’s Support Group” day, and I’ll still whip up the “unboxing and review” posts for the subscription boxes I have waiting for me at home as we speak, but that will be it. I’ve been meaning to take a break from the blog for a while, so I figure this is definitely the right time, don’t you think? I’ll mention this again once or twice so no one thinks I’ve disappeared or anything. 🙂

So, I guess that’s it! I’m anxiously awaiting the beginning of the challenge and curious to know how I’m going to make out this year. Is anyone else taking the plunge into NaNo-World this year? What are you writing about? What are you planning to do with your novel after you write it? Want to be writing buddies? My username is Toreshi! Hope to see you there! ❤

Things I’m Addicted to Right Now

I actually have a surprisingly addictive personality, but not for things like drugs or alcohol. No, I get addicted to games, gadgets, TV shows, products, services, and any other number of awesome things. So I thought I’d share! Here are a couple of things that I am ridiculously addicted to right now.


These are things that I'm always obsessed with, but let's get a little more specific.

Subscription Boxes
As though you hadn’t noticed, right? When I first found out that these things existed it was like a whole new world opened up to me, and as a result I went a little overboard at first. I’ve therefore spent the past few months trying out different boxes to see what they’re like and what I want to continue getting. Currently my favorites are Loot Crate and Horror Block, which have both been sending me some pretty fun, awesome goodies, and I’m also in love with Ipsy’s Glam Bag as an affordable, value-packed beauty subscription. There’s a ton more options that I’d love to try, but at this point I can’t really justify spending any more money than I already am.

Once Upon a Time
I’ll be the first person to admit that the plotline of this show does not instill a lot of confidence in its quality: the evil queen casts a spell that rips all the fairy tale characters you’ve ever known out of their world and into ours, where none of them remember who they are and no one gets their happy ending. I mean, come on…that sounds more like a crappy cartoon than a show meant for adults, right? But I gave it a try, and even though it was hard to sit through the opening every time (the narrator says basically what I just did at the beginning of every episode), I soon found myself falling in love with it. The show actually has a pretty intricately-woven plot that incorporates a ton of characters, and it’s not as fluffy and cute as you might imagine…people even die, on a fairly regular basis even. Long story short, if you like fantasy and fun characters, this show might be worth a try. I devoured the entire second season just over the past six days.

Silent Hill (a la Guillermo del Toro)
Okay, okay, I can’t really be obsessed with a game that wont’ be out for, like, two years. But I’m very excited about it. The hubby and I recently played the teaser game, P.T. that was created as a way to show that the staff behind the new Silent Hill are capable of making a truly frightening horror game. More precisely, I played and he watched, because he wanted to see me almost have a heart attack. The mini-game certainly proved its point; I nearly threw the controller through the TV screen more than once. And having played it, I am super-hyped for this new game, because what’s more fun that being scared silly from the safety of your own living room?

Sally Hansen Miracle Gel Nail Polish
Call me girly if you must, but I absolutely love this stuff. I’ve always liked nail polish because it’s a cute, easy way to look a little more feminine (plus it keeps me from biting my nails), but I never applied it often because it drives me foolish how quickly it wears and chips. Cue Miracle Gel. There are other gel polishes out there that are quite good as well, I’m sure, but this is the one I decided to try and I’m so glad I did. It comes in tons of super-cute colors, goes on really smooth, finishes bright and shiny and lovely-looking, and really, truly lasts. I am currently wearing the “Hunger Flames” color (it’s a kind of pinkish-purple) and after almost a week only the very tips of my nails are starting to wear a bit. I’m more than happy with the product and I hope that Ipsy sends me another color or two sometime in the future!

Final Fantasy X-2
Hear me out! I know that X-2 is widely regarded as one of the stupidest Final Fantasy games ever (the “garment grid” might have something to do with that, I’ll admit) but I always thought it was actually pretty cute and fun, with the story being an interesting addition to the FFX one. A little while ago my hubby picked me up the remastered PS Vita version of FFX, which came with a download code for X-2, and just recently I began playing it. Color me hooked. It’s so silly, but it’s fun, and isn’t that what games are supposed to be? Fun? Yeah. You know I’m right.

David’s Tea: Cotton Candy flavor
Last but not least on my list for today, one of the most delicious teas I’ve tried from David’s Tea yet. I wound up with a packet of this particular flavor when I decided to try their Summer “Carnival” box, and I’m so glad I did. It’s a delicious blend of green rooibos, mango, brittle, flavoring, and sprinkles (just…because), and really truly does smell and taste like cotton candy. I demolished the entire bag in about a week and had to go get some more! And the topping on the cake is that it’s caffiene free, so I can enjoy it all day long without having to worry about keeping myself up half the night.

So there you have it: my obsessions for now. Will they last? Will they change? I don’t know…give me a few months and ask me again. ^_~