Tag Archives: author

Book Unhaul #1

After several years, I’ve finally done my first book “unhaul”. This isn’t a traditional unhaul, where I’ve donated these books or given them to family and friends. I’m actually keeping most of them in case I ever want to reread them or use them as a reference for anything. However, these books are leaving the bookshelf to be hidden somewhere out of view.

There’s currently three bookshelves in our apartment. One is in the bedroom, where I keep most of my books. The second is also in the bedroom, but we use that one for comic books and other knickknacks. The third one is the living room, and we keep our boxset books and other special book series on the shelves in there. But this third bookshelf also has a lower cabinet beneath it, where I can hide anything unsightly I don’t want to see anymore. Unfortunately, for one reason or another, all of these books are being “unhauled” from the good bookshelf to the bad one.

Please remember, if these are any of your personal favorite books, then that’s okay! We all have different opinions and tastes, and what doesn’t work for me, might work for you!


Books I May Reread in the Future

Keeper by Kim Chance
The Other Child by Lucy Atkins
Lies You Never Told Me by Jennifer Donaldson
Little Sister by Isabel Ashdown

Books I Liked, But Not Enough

Not That I Could Tell by Jessica Strawser
The Wife Between Us by Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen
The Third Twin by Ken Follet
13 Reasons Why by Jay Asher
Divergent by Veronica Roth

Books I’ll Probably Never Reread

The Bargaining by Carly Anne West
The Woman in the Window by AJ Finn
Dead Until Dark by Charlaine Harris
How to Hang a Witch by Adriana Mathers
Haunting the Deep by Adriana Mathers
Someone Knows by Lisa Scottoline
My Sweet Audrina/Whitefern by V.C. Andrews

Books I Just Didn’t Care For

The Summer I Turned Pretty Trilogy by Jenny Han
Pretty Dead Girls by Monica Murphy
Eve the Awakening by Jenna Moreci
Grace and Fury by Tracy Banghart
The Window by Amelia Brunskill

Books I Really Didn’t Like

The Gilded Wolves by Roshani Chokshi
The Alpha Drive by Kristen Martin
Shadow Crown by Kristen Martin
A Line in the Dark by Malinda Cho
Three Dark Crowns by Kendare Blake
The Girl I Used to Be by April Henry
The Smoke Thieves by Sally Green
Chain Letter by Christopher Pike
They All Fall Down by Roxanne St. Claire
People Like Us by Dana Mele

Books I DNF’ed

Cradle and All by James Patterson
Insurgent by Veronica Roth
Sea Witch by Sarah Henning
Enter the Dark House/Return to the Dark House by Laurie Faria Stolarz

Books I Gave Away

The Cabin by Natasha Preston
Pretty Girls by Karin Slaughter
The Bones of You by Debbie Howells

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I decided to give away the last three books for a few reasons. The Cabin by Natasha Preston was a complete disaster for me, so I knew with 100% certainty that I had no interest in hanging onto it. The Bones of You I read several years ago during a vacation, and while I remember thinking it was okay, it just wasn’t memorable enough for me to want to hold onto it. The same thing goes for Pretty Girls. I decided to put these into the Little Free Library in our town, so I hope someone can appreciate and find more enjoyment in them than I did.

 


What books did you unhaul recently? Let me know in the comments!

XOXO – Devon

Interview with a Writer: Joy E. Rancatore

Are you interested in getting to know more of the writers who are part of our amazing community? As part of my new blog series, I’ve interviewed some of the writers in an effort to get to know them better, as well as share their stories!

So today, I’m introducing Joy E. Rancatore onto the blog! Joy and I met last year and we’ve worked together as CP’s and friends on both of our WIP’s! Joy’s advice and critiques have been invaluable to me, and she is one of the sweetest people I know! I am so excited to share Joy’s story today!


#1. What got you into writing? How and when did you first start?

Stories have been part of my life since birth, really. I knew from an early age I wanted to be a writer. I wrote my first event article when I was still in single digits and began my newspaper career at age 16. It took me a little longer to overcome all the fear and doubt that accompanies the pursuit of book publication. I had a few stops and starts on that path over the years, but 2016 was the year I finally beat Self-Doubt and haven’t looked back since.

#2: Where do you usually get your ideas?

That’s a tough one! It can be in a cypress knee peeking up out of a bayou, a funny thing one of my children says, a news article that makes me ask “What if?” or a stranger’s eyes. Other times, it’s just the voices in my head whispering me a tale.

#3: What current project are you working on right now? What was the inspiration for this project?

Currently, I’m preparing for the launch of my debut novel, Any Good Thing, in September. I’m not just waiting idly, though! Accompanying this novel, I have plans for a novella, a short story collection and—perhaps—an epistolary. I’m revising the novella now and compiling some stories for the collection. These could be classified as contemporary southern literary fiction with religious themes.

The initial inspiration for this novel was a news story. One of the incidents in my main character’s life was directly influenced by a real-life tragedy. While that event was altered quite a bit for my novel, it launched me on an exploration of what would happen if a young kid who had made some mistakes in the past but was trying to get it together suddenly found himself the cause of a child’s death. What would happen to him? Could he survive under the weight of his guilt?

#4: Traditional, Self-Publish, Small Press? What path to publishing are you pursuing/have pursued and why?

I chose to go the Indie route. When I dreamed of becoming an author, I always pictured the big publishers and trips to New York and royalty checks. But, as I started working toward achieving my dreams, I just knew I wanted to publish my own work. I like the idea of maintaining control over all the decisions, including titles and covers and all that jazz. Also, as I was thinking through those details, I realized every job I’ve ever had has prepared me to wear the many hats required for an independent publisher. I also wanted to leave a legacy for my kids in a tangible way through a business, and that is why I launched Logos & Mythos Press. It’s through this company that I will publish my books, including those I co-author, continue my editing services and podcast and—down the road—publish other authors’ works.

#5: What’s the best writing tip you’ve ever received?

Just write!

I know that sounds ridiculously simple, but it’s often the procrastination or the fear of writing or the over-thinking about the writing that keeps us from reaching our full potential. Feeling unqualified, like every word is too simple and getting you nowhere? Just write! Unsure about the current story you’re working on? Write it out! Cannot for the life of you determine why your character’s doing these crazy things? Write about him!

#6: When are you most creative?

I am definitely a night owl. 10 p.m. to 2 a.m. is my ideal writing time. Mornings were made for sleeping and sipping coffee, right?

#7: What authors inspire you the most?

J.R.R. Tolkien is my favorite author of all time. He’s also why I swore I’d never write fantasy. I mean, he perfected it, so why would I even try? Fast-forward to now, and I have a published fantasy short story which will be part of a much-larger series I’m currently world-building. What can I say? The faeries wouldn’t stop whispering in my ear.

It’s hard to narrow my list of author influences down after him. I’m sure I’ll forget someone, but I’ll give it a try! Laura Ingalls Wilder, Lucy Maud Montgomery, the Brontes, Beatrix Potter, C.S. Lewis, Edgar Allen Poe and William Shakespeare, to name a few of the usual suspects. And, I have to add my critique partners to that list—Devon, Tauri Cox, Kelsey Atkins and Mea Smith! They inspire me every day!

#8: What’s your most anticipated read in the next few months?

Oh wow!! With so many amazing books coming out this year, I’m not even going to try to narrow the new releases down! There are two classics on my list that I have somehow never read that I’ve decided I will read before the end of this year—Interview with a Vampire by Anne Rice and Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein.

#9: What are you currently reading?

Right now I’m reading The Clearing by Tim Gautreaux. He is a great writer of southern fiction. This book is set under the dark shadow of the mob’s influence around a sawmill in the bayous of Louisiana.

#10: What’s your favorite book or book series?

My three (actually, four, because I can’t decide between the last two for third place) favorite books of all time are The Silmarrillion (and all of Tolkien’s works), Quo Vadis? by Henryk Sienkiewicz, Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte and Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte.

#11: Favorite childhood book?

Black Beauty by Anna Sewell. I have always loved horses; whether that love was sparked by or fueled by this book, I’m not sure.

#12: Biggest book pet peeve?

Lack of editing and a lack of depth to the story and characters.

#13: What book has made you cry?

Every book by Nicholas Sparks. Seriously, Nick, you owe me a case of tissues.

#14: Favorite writing snack or drink?

Hmmm … this might be the hardest question yet, because Devon can tell you I’m all about the snacks! Chocolate is a given, usually as little bite-sized candies of some type. Brownies are even better—the gooey-er, the better! My favorite salty snack is probably tangy pickle BBQ chips—I was skeptical at first, too, but they are ah-MAZ-ing! Drinks vary depending on if I’m writing, revising or editing. Usually strong black coffee or hot tea of some sort with the occasional red wine or Scotch.

#15: What’s your biggest fear? Writing related or otherwise – or both!

This may sound strange, but my biggest writing-related fear used to be success. It took me a few years and stops and starts, but I’ve been able to move past most of my fears. That’s not to say they don’t sometimes pop up, usually at the worst moments, but they don’t control me any more.

#16: What other hobbies do you have outside of writing?

I love photography and reading. Long, long ago, I was a terrible golfer and tennis player. I doubt my lack of practice has helped!

#17: Biggest real life pet peeve?

People who don’t put up their shopping carts. If I can push a cart into the cart holder thingie (seriously, what are they called??) through the pouring rain with a baby strapped to me and a toddler’s hand in mine, no one else has an excuse.

Man, that felt good to get off my chest!

#18: Any final words to aspiring writers out there?

Surround yourself with positive, encouraging, real, honest people. Listen to them; learn from them; and grow with them.


All About Joy

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Joy E. Rancatore began early as a writer and reader (which came first is a bit hazy). She entered the professional writing world at age sixteen with a small-town weekly newspaper where the editor consistently ran her byline as Joe E. A double major in Journalism and English offered a choice— pursue her dream to be an author or actually make money with words. She chose money. She wrote for a total of five newspapers before joining the dark side of public relations. After the birth of her first child, Joy freelanced for magazines, businesses and fellow writers as a writer, editor and proofreader. After battling Doubt for nearly a decade, she broke free to run toward her dream of authorship. She writes fiction, nonfiction and everything in between. When she’s not doing horrible things to her characters or dreaming up faery creatures and fantastic weapons, she beats her husband at card games, homeschools her two children, snuggles with her two stinky dogs and lets her cat, Tolkien, do whatever he wants. They’d prefer to live in Middle-earth or Narnia or Hogwarts or in a galaxy far, far away; but, for now, they live across Lake Pontchartrain from New Orleans.

Joy’s Top Five Writing Facts:

5. Joy’s primary editor is her cat, Tolkien. He hopes one day she’ll improve. Any improvement, however small, would be grand in his estimation.

4. Both of Joy’s children learned to write with the same fat Snoopy pencil she did.

3. Joy won Camp NaNo her first time out. She began the challenge with just over 30,000 words and ended the month just past 95,000. That is how her first literary fiction novel was birthed.

2. One of Joy’s short stories, “Ealiverel Awakened,” won second place in a competition. Her work, along with many others’, will appear in an Adventure SciFi and Fantasy anthology edited by Rachael Ritchey. Proceeds will benefit Compassion International. This story will one day be part of a much larger fantasy series of books she is currently world-building.

1. Her biggest writing accomplishment to date remains penning the cover story for the August 2003 issue of Leatherneck, Magazine of the Marines. It featured her brother.

You can follow Joy on her blog and on Twitter!

6 Tips to Make Reading a Habit

Reading is fun, and it’s just like every other entertainment medium out there. But so many people struggle with picking up a book, or never develop a consistent reading habit. If you’re someone who’s struggling to read more – or just looking to form a new habit – here’s six tips that should help you out!


#1. Find Books You Enjoy

I’m a big believer that high school English classes killed a love of reading for many people. Being forced to read classic literary novels that were hard to understand, digest, and even comprehend really sucked the joy out of reading for countless teenagers.

But here’s a secret: if you want to get back into reading, and make it a habit, it’s important to find books you’ll actually enjoy reading. You don’t have to read Charles Dickens or Nathaniel Hawthorne to be considered a reader. All you need to do is read.

Whether it’s YA books, science-fiction and fantasy, historical fiction, even graphic novels or comic books, find a genre that you will really be invested in. Reading is so much better when you actual enjoy it.

#2. Always Carry a Book on You

Whenever you leave the house, keep your book on you at all times. There are plenty of moments throughout the day where you can squeeze in some reading time. Like between classes, or waiting during a doctor’s appointment, or at the bus stop. You get the idea.
Think of it this way: if it’s a moment where you’d pull out your phone to browse the internet, try pulling out your book instead.

#3. Reduce TV Time

TV can be a great source of inspiration, creation, and wonderful storytelling. But TV and books are two entirely different mediums that tell stories entirely different ways. They both have their benefits, but TV can also be a time-consuming distraction.

For example, if you normally spend about three hours a night watching TV, try cutting your TV time down to two hours, and use that last hour to read. When developing a new habit, it’s important to be consistent.

#4. Set Scheduled Reading Times

If you find yourself struggling to sit down and read, try setting some scheduled reading time. Set a timer for fifteen, twenty, or thirty minutes – or however long you feel comfortable – and just sit down and read. Give yourself permission to sit back, relax, and enjoy whatever novel is in front of you for the allotted time period.

Even if it’s just fifteen minutes a day, doing it every day will only help you form a new reading habit.

#5. Set a Reading Goal

If you’re someone who is highly goal oriented, setting a reading goal can be a great motivator. Find a goal you are comfortable with – like reading one book a week – and stick to it. The important thing here is to motivate yourself to meet your goal, while also working at a comfortable pace. Set a goal that will not only keeping you invested, but also having fun. Because that’s what reading should be: fun.

#6. Read Daily

Find a time within your day where you can dedicate it fully to reading without any interruptions. Even if it’s only a page a day, the important thing is to be consistent. Reading daily will not only help you develop a reading habit, but it will also teach you to read faster, improve your vocabulary and writing skills, and stimulate your creativity. You can’t go wrong with a daily reading habit.


The important thing to remember is that reading should be, above all things, fun. Don’t force yourself to read books you won’t enjoy, and read at a pace you feel comfortable.

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Do you use any of these tips to develop your own reading habit? Let me know!

XOXO – Devon

8 Tips to Help You Brainstorm Ideas

In my previous post, I talked all about how to choose your next book project. But let’s take a step back: how do you actually get those ideas for a book in the first place? Where do they come from? How do you develop them? Today, I’m going to share nine tips on how to generate exciting ideas that will get you inspired and itching to write in no time!


#1: The “What-If” Method

Stephen King has been known to use this method frequently to develop his own ideas. The method is simple: ask yourself “what if this happened?”

“What if a girl wakes up with no memory of who she is?”
“What if a nurse is kidnapped while hitch hiking?”
“What if an abandoned baby is found by a couple who’s always wanted children?”

By just asking myself these “what-if” questions, I can already feel another series of questions brewing.

“What if the girl was in a horrible accident?”
“What if the nurse is running away from an abusive home life?”
“What if the couple who finds the baby are having trouble conceiving?”

Using this method, an entire door of creative possibilities can open. Ask yourself “what if” questions about the characters, the world, the “why”. This method is a sure way to create some story ideas!

#2: Listen to Music

I’m a big fan of music, and it’s one of my – and many other authors – favorite method of generating story ideas. Music has a way of pulling us in and taking us to a whole other world. When I’m generating ideas, I’ll listen to my entire music library at random, letting any and every song play. I like to have a pen and paper (or the notes app on my phone) at the ready in case an idea springs to mind.

#3: Read – Anything and Everything

I’m a big believer that if you want to be a writer, then you have to be a reader, too. There’s so much reading can do to help us grow and learn, not just as writers, but also people. When looking for new ideas, reading can be one of the best sources to find them.
Binge read for a couple of days. Devour every book you can, and see what ideas may spark inside of you. Maybe it’s a line or scene from a book. Maybe an author writes a retelling, and you don’t like the execution, so you think about how you would have changed things. Give yourself time to absorb everything you read, and see what happens.

#4: Take a Drive

A couple years ago when I was in college, I had to drive forty-five minutes there and back every day. Do you know how many ideas I got from those long drives? Tons!
Driving can admittedly be pretty boring, but it gives you the opportunity to let your mind wander. Simply letting your mind go, free of all restrictions, can help generate story ideas.

#5: Sleep

This may be one of my favorite methods, because I love napping. Dreams have been a source of inspiration and ideas for all writers. Even Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight came to her in a dream.

Even if you don’t get any ideas from your sleep, just getting enough sleep is a sure way to have a healthy mind.

#6: Absorb other Creative Mediums

Go to a movie. Binge Netflix. Browse Pinterest. Anything that can get your creative juices flowing is always a proven method. Let your mind absorb the information around you. Maybe there’s a line from a movie that sparks inspiration, or a photo on Pinterest (one of my personal favorite methods). Maybe you binge watch a TV show, and one of the episode concepts sparks inspiration. Whatever it is, absorbing new creative inspiration is necessary.

#:7: Go About Your Daily Routine

Sometimes our best ideas come from doing literally nothing but going about or day. Driving to work. Making that first cup of coffee in the morning, putting makeup on, cooking dinner. We do these tasks so frequently that it’s easy for our brains to wander, and before you know, an idea may come out of nowhere.

I’ve come up with a ton of ideas by simply doing my nighttime routine. Taking my makeup off, feeding the cat, getting a glass of water before bed – so many novel ideas have come from this monotonous routine.

#8: Research

My previous WIP, Forbidden, is heavily inspired by Ancient Greece and Greek Mythology. I spent a long time doing research on ancient Greek customs, festivals, rituals, etc. – all of which helped generate story and scene ideas.

Research different cultures, different mythologies, different fairytales – anything and everything can spark story ideas.


I think by now you’ve probably got the hint: inspiration cane come from everywhere. A person, a place, a line in a movie, a scene in a book. I actually have an idea for a science fiction novel that I got because of someone’s license plate! The point is, let yourself find inspiration everywhere you go. Don’t limit yourself, and the ideas will be sure to flow.

How do you generate story ideas? Let me know in the comments!

-XOXO Devon

7 Ways to Refill Your Creative Well

Back in April, I finished writing my YA Thriller, Little Lost Girls. While I was proud of my accomplishments, I was pretty burned out. It felt like all of my creativity had been run dry. No new ideas were running through my head, and I felt a little bit like a failure. Where did all my ideas go? What was I going to write next? Why can’t I think of anything to write about?

After a while of feeling that way, I knew it was time to take a step back from writing in general. I needed to refill my creative well. The well had run dry, and the only way to get back into a creative mindset was to give myself ample time to rest, recover, and refill the well. Here’s seven tips that helped me get there!


1.) Take a Shower or Bath

I think all of us writers swear by getting some of our best ideas when we’re in the shower, but it’s not a lie! Immersed in all that hot water, and feeling relaxed, does wonders. I’ve recently started taking bubble baths as a nightly routine, and it’s been amazing in helping me relax.

2.) Read – and Read a Lot

Reading has seriously helped get me back into a creative mindset. Just being able to absorb the words instead of worry about my own novel that’s waiting to be written, has really allowed me to just sit back and enjoy reading.

3.) Binge TV

I admit, I’ve been doing this quite a bit the last couple weeks. I’ve been loving Switched at Birth, and I admit, I may be spending a little too much time in front of the TV. But when I’m writing, I hardly do anything else, so it’s nice to catch up on all the things I’ve missed otherwise.

4.) Take a break

No, but really. Take a break. By that I mean don’t do anything that involves writing. Unplug from the internet, don’t think about writing or editing. Step away from anything – like Twitter or Instagram – that may make you feel guilty for not writing.

5.) Go For a Walk

I never use to go for walks. But due to some changes in my life, I’ve been able to take walks, and when the weather’s nice, they’ve become a frequent, evening routine (and Pokémon Go is a good excuse to take them). There’s something about stepping away from the inside world, and being immersed in nature, that feels so refreshing.

6.) Make an Aesthetic

Since joining the Writing Community on Twitter, I’ve come to love making aesthetics. I find all my pictures on Pinterest and use Canva to edit them. The simple acting of creating an aesthetic, and just browsing Pinterest for story inspiration, has helped me come up with entire scenes and ideas.

7.) Listen to Music

I’ve been an avid music lover all my life, and it’s always been a huge source of story inspiration for me. Lately, I’ve learned that I need total silence while editing, and while writing my recent WIP, I didn’t listen to any music. Being able to put my headphones back in and listen to my favorite songs and artists – and find some new ones – has helped tremendously in discovering new ideas and inspiration.


What do you do to refill your creative well? Let me know, and I hope these seven tips help you!

XOXO – Devon

10 Steps to Fast-Draft Your Novel

My writing process has changed a lot over the years. But recently, I’ve come to love fast drafting.

Fast drafting is the process of writing the first draft of your novel as fast as you can. You don’t edit as you go, you don’t look back, you just keep pushing forward. But fast drafting isn’t easy. I spend hours pumping out as many words as I can, only to have writer burnout in the end and I need to take some time to recover.

It’s definitely not a process that works for everyone, but it does for me, so I thought I’d share ten tips on how to fast draft your novel!


1.) Make an Outline

Having an outline can be a lifesaver. If you find yourself getting stuck because “you don’t know what happens next”, this is where an outline comes in. Whenever you get stuck in your writing, simply look at your outline and you’ll know where to take the story next. Even if you’re not a plotter, and hate outlining, knowing the beats of your novel can come in handy too.

2.) Do Writing Sprints

Working with my cabin mates for Camp Nano really showed how powerful writing sprints are! You set a time, say thirty minutes, and work with your writing friends (or by yourself) to write as many words in those thirty minutes. The competitive nature of seeing who can write the most really helped some of my cabin mates (and me) push ourselves to write as much as we could.

3.) Set a Scheduled Time

Similar to writing sprints, but without the “sprint” part. Set aside a time, such as an hour or two, and force yourself to write. Don’t get up from the chair until the time is up. Likewise, writing in short bursts I’ve found can be really beneficial. Sometimes when I’m waiting for dinner to finish cooking, or cleaning, I’ll sneak away to my desk and write as much as I can before getting back up to continue what other things I’m doing.

4.) Know When You’re Most Creative

All of us are most creative at different times of the day. Some of us are morning people, some of us are night owls. Finding the time when your brain is ready to go can be so beneficial. Forcing yourself to sit down and write during a time when your brain is not ready can hurt more than help. For me, I’m most creative in the morning and the evenings. I crash in the afternoon.

5.) End on a Cliffhanger

If you’re getting close to the end of a scene or a chapter, don’t finish it. Just stop. Get up and continue with your day. When you come back to write, you’ll find it’s easier for your brain to pick up the momentum from where you left off, instead of starting a whole new scene or chapter. Try it!

6.) Use Placeholders

This doesn’t work for everyone, but it can work for some! If you find yourself getting stuck on a particular scene, simply use a placeholder! Skip over that scene and come back to it later. Use whatever method you want – a specific word, brackets, a color. Something to let yourself know that you need to come back and write the scene. For some people, this can work wonders.

7.) Set a Goal

Make a goal to write a certain number of words every day, or at least when you can. It doesn’t have to be a huge number of words, but anything that you know you can feel confident about sitting down and doing. For me this means writing at least two-thousand words before getting up and doing anything else.

8.) Keep Pushing Forward

Seriously, don’t look back. I know how tempting it can be to start rereading what you wrote the previous day, and get the itch to fix it. But don’t! Just keep pushing forward.

9.) Research Later

If you reach a spot in your writing where you need to do some research, just write whatever you need to get yourself through the scene. You can research later and add it back in. It’s easy to fall down a hole of research and suddenly find yourself spending hours looking up a particular piece of information that you may only need once. (On the opposite end: do all your research before you begin writing at all! This works too.)

10.) Challenge Yourself

The most important thing you can probably do: just challenge yourself to write. When you can, as much as you can, give it a try. Fast-drafting involves a lot of word vomiting on the page, and for me, it works.


If you haven’t noticed – one of the biggest things about fast drafting is that you have to keep pushing forward. The most important thing about fast-drafting is not looking back. Don’t get caught up in some poorly constructed sentences, or crappy world-building. The important thing to do is get the words on the page. You can edit them later.

“You might not write well every day, but you can always edit a bad page. You can’t edit a blank page.”

-Jodi Picoult

XOXO-Devon

Camp Nano: How I Did (April 2019)

With Camp NanoWrimo over, it’s time to look back on how I did!

If you don’t know, NanoWrimo stands for National Novel Writing Month. In November, writers get together to join a “cabin”, and set a word count goal for themselves. The standard is 50k, but you can go higher if you want. You then try to write those 50k words in one month! There are different times of year Nano happens, like in April and July, where you can focus on not just word count, but if you want to edit a certain number of pages, too.

I did Camp Nano last July with several of my cabin mates Tauri, Kelsey, and Joy. This year we decided to do Nano again, and added Madeline to our cabin! Last year, I set a goal of 100k words for myself – which I surpassed and beat Nano with a few days to spare. That was the first draft of Forbidden.

This year, I sat down to write Little Lost Girls and set the goal of 70k words for myself. I went into Nano with 20k words down already, and was confident I could write another 50k…and, well, that didn’t quite happen. Since I was writing my thriller, the book was rather fast paced. I tend to write chapters between 8 – 10 pages long, but this time, my chapters were 4 – 6 pages. There were a ton of scenes involving police procedures, or other criminal investigations, that I flew through and made up because I didn’t actually know how those procedures went. It took me twenty days, but I finished writing Little Lost Girls halfway through Nano. It ended up being 54k.

That’s the shortest novel I’ve ever written. I’m definitely an over writer, and most of my revisions involve cutting or trimming down scenes, so I was shocked to see how short my novel actually turned out to be. While I did finish writing my book, I didn’t quite “win” Nano. Or did I? I don’t really know! Either way, I’m proud of myself for finishing writing another book!

It still needs a ton of work though. There’s a lot missing that needs to be expanded on, especially things like police procedures that I had no idea how to write. Luckily there are some people I can reach out to in hopes they’ll answer some questions I have.

Overall, I’m very happy with myself for using Nano as a tool to help propel myself into writing another book. And having cabin mates is a blast – we did writing sprints that really encouraged us all to write as much as we could and further our goals. If you’ve never done Nano before, I highly encourage giving it a try!

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XOXO – Devon