October 31, 2014

happy nanowrimo eve

It's October 31, and that means one thing. That's right, it's National Novel Writing Month Eve. This will be my fifth consecutive year participating in NaNoWriMo, which I'm now affectionately referring to as Cinco de NaNoWriMo.

The title works for another reason, too. This year is kind of awesome, because November has five full weekends in it. For those of us who do most of our major writing on the weekends thanks to our day jobs, that's pretty exciting stuff. It's like the universe wants us to succeed. I've been looking forward to this year since I did the math back in 2011 and discovered this year would one day come. I know. I'm a nerd. Embrace it. I have.

As we gear up for another exciting adventure of writing more than 50,000 words in 30 days, I thought we'd take a brief look back at my previous four adventures in competing in NaNoWriMo.

Year One: November 2010
I wrote the first 50,000 words of my debut novel, Hard Hats and Doormats. I had no idea I'd end up going through five more drafts before it went to publication, but what a ride. I crossed the finish line a few hours before the deadline and had to have a friend upload the words for me, because my Internet connection was so crappy.

I may or may not have cried when it finally went through and she told me I was an official winner.

This year is notable for me, because I decided to participate on a whim at about 9 p.m. on November 1. Another fun fact: I spent about eight days of the month traveling for work, and I wrote about a quarter of those 50,000 words on airplanes, in airports and in motel rooms.

Year Two: November 2011
I wrote the first 50,000 words of my second novel, NOT TELLING YOU THE TITLE YET, BECAUSE I'M SUPERSTITIOUS LIKE THAT. :)

During my second attempt at reaching 50K, I was less of a hermit. I had three local friends participating in the event, and we held write-ins at coffee shops and our homes throughout the month. The competitive person in me liked having someone to race. The nice person in me liked having good friends along for the ride.

So far I have only done three drafts of this book, which is a big improvement, right? I'm also still ready to tie the knot with this one, which is good news, because it's easy to start hating a book after you spend so much time with it.

Year Three: November 2012
While I crossed the finish line this year, it wasn't my best work. I wrote the first 30,000 words of a story that will have to be completely restarted, plus 20,000 words in other short fiction. None of it has been published and none of it is at all close to publication. My friends weren't participating, which meant I was back to being a lone wolf.

That said, I still participated, I still learned some valuable lessons, and I still wore this awesome NaNoWriMo shirt while I worked.

Year Four: November 2013
I wrote the first 50,000 words of my third novel, which I recently finished. I finished almost a week early, which was a new record for me.

That may have come at a cost of quality. After I reached 55,000 words, I decided the book wasn't going in the direction I wanted and so I scrapped most of it. Then again, maybe my story didn't feel right, because I was so busy thinking about the upcoming publication date for Hard Hats and Doormats, which was early the next month. Regardless, after two more false starts, I ultimately finished the first draft of the book earlier this month.

What's in store for this year? Who knows? But you can count on one thing--the cats and I will be counting down to midnight in style thanks to our Halloween costumes.

Jane is a witch (obvi) and Bing is a lion. All we need is a wardrobe or a tin man, scarecrow and Dorthy, and we have ourselves a good theme.

I'm channeling my beloved Amy Poehler and going as her author bio photo from her new book, Yes Please.

Ah, the life of a yacht captain. You'd better believe I'll be wearing that hat off and on as I navigate the turbulent sea that is NaNoWriMo.

Good luck to everyone participating in this year's NaNoWriMo. May the words be ever in your favor.

Stay connected with Laura Chapman on FacebookGoodreads and Twitter. Like Change the Word on Facebook.

October 29, 2014

thank you, t.y.

Not again. Just when you think that perhaps you've judged your rag-tag bunch of fantasy football players too harshly, they have to go and ruin your two-week winning streak.

And while some of my gentlemen put in a great effort, not everyone received the memo about how we were done with sucking this season.

Woe is me.

Since I've already boycotted naming a Prince Charming in the past, I suppose it wouldn't be very clever of me to boycott my boys again.

So, by default, my Fantasy Football Prince Charming of the week is...

T.Y. Hilton.

Dude scored me 25.5 points (which incidentally came out to being about a quarter of my total points for the week thanks to the losers on my team). He was going to be my Prince Charming of the week two weeks ago, when I was deep into finishing the first draft of book three, so it seems only fair that he finally received his due (He earned me 33.8 points that week).

Like my beloved Peyton, T.Y. has become someone I can count on. And that means a lot to me in these tough, tough times of mine. Did I mention I lost both of my games, again? My poor, poor ego.

I wish I could muster up more energy to brag on Mr. Hilton, but my heart is sad. Maybe I should eat candy for breakfast to fix it.

Let's hope the guys get the memo and show up to play the next few weeks. Otherwise, I can kiss my chance at the playoffs buh-bye. Come on, guys. T.Y., Peyton and Antonio Brown can't do this all by themselves!

Stay connected with Laura Chapman on FacebookGoodreads and Twitter. Like Change the Word on Facebook.

October 23, 2014

work hard and be kind

We all have those days (or weeks or months or even years, if you want to believe the Friends theme song) where we just feel a little blue. There can be any number of reasons, but for me it usually starts with disappointment about my current state in the world or my anxiety when it seems like there's nothing to do about it. And I don't know about you, but when this happens, it can be really hard to shake.

If you're like me, and you've had one of those bummer days recently, here's a little video I like to watch:

Isn't that a nice thought? If you work hard and are kind, amazing things will happen. That's not a promise you'll end up with a late night show or a best-selling novel, but can't life still be amazing?

So with that thought, I'm going to check my cynicism at the door and do what I can to make it a great day. I hope you do, too.

Stay connected with Laura Chapman on FacebookGoodreads and Twitter. Like Change the Word on Facebook.

October 21, 2014

nobody does it better (and i never wish someone could)

I'd like to dedicate this song to a special someone, and I think you know who you are...

I wasn't looking, but somehow you found me. I tried to hide from your love light. But like heaven above me, the quarterback who loved me, is keeping all my secrets (like the fact that I benched Charles Clay in favor of Jared Cook this week) safe tonight.

No, nobody does it better than Peyton Manning, which is why my Fantasy Football Prince Charming of the week is none other than Mr. Future Hall of Famer...

Peyton Manning.

If you follow NFL even a little, then you know my one true love, my No. 1 quarterback of this fantasy season and the past two, had himself a bit of a banner weekend. Not only did he score me more than 37 points (which, honestly, is enough to land him lovey dovey nickname status in my world), but he broke Brett Favre's touchdown pass record.

Even on his worst week, Peyton Manning has been the most reliable football player on either of my teams--this season, last season and the season before. I know I had that little fling with his brother a few weeks ago, but I swear it meant nothing. I'll never go out for a hamburger again when I have a steak at home. And not just because I don't eat meat. There's just no point.

As a reminder, Peyton was my inaugural Fantasy Football Prince Charming back in 2013, and he earned one of my teams a spot in the championship game. Granted, we came in second place, but that was still 60 bucks in my pocket!

Peyton, you're everything to me. If I was a poet, I'd write sonnets about your ability to rack up the passing yardage. I'd write songs about your audibles. You are my sun, my moon, and the stars in the sky. You, and you alone, make me cheer for the Broncos every week. (Now that Eric Decker is gone, I can't even use the excuse that I'm cheering on the star of one of the most ridiculous shows to ever appear on E!)

Just keep it coming, Peyton... Baby, you're the best.

And great news, everyone. I'm almost too scared to type this for fear of jinxing myself, but both of my teams are now on two-week winning streaks. It's still way too soon to say I'm back, but at least I'm not sucking as badly as I was the last time we chatted about football.

And as you noticed, I didn't post my Prince Charming of the Week last week (I was too busy finishing the first draft of my third novel), but I'll make it up to you this week with a bonus post.

Stay connected with Laura Chapman on FacebookGoodreads and Twitter. Like Change the Word on Facebook.

October 17, 2014

cinco de nanowrimo

Hey, everyone. Long time no write. In case you don't follow me on Facebook or Twitter (which you totally should so click herehere and here for that), then you probably don't know that on Tuesday night I finished the first draft of my third novel.

And of course there was much rejoicing.

Write 1,000 words, you get a sparkly star.
Finish writing a novel, you get a star and champagne.

Even from the kittens.

Please, please. Hold your applause until the end of the post. Not that I'm not thrilled. I started this book during National Novel Writing Month last year, but after I made it about 60,000 words in (most during November), I realized I needed to take the story in a totally different direction. Three times. But finally, the fourth time I started the book (in September) I found the right groove.

I'm sure that leaves all of you with a couple of questions, namely, "Are you still going to do NaNoWriMo even though it's only two weeks away?"

The answer is yes. While I won't divulge any details about the story I'm working on, I will say that as of last night, it has a rough outline and planning. And it's already started.

The devil, you say? Yes. I'm going to be a bad, bad girl and start my fifth attempt at National Novel Writing Month early. No, I won't be cheating and counting these words towards my November word count, but I am going to start writing while the inspiration is hot.

If I've learned anything from my four previous NaNoWriMos, and several failed Camp NaNos, it's that you have to write your story when you're ready to write it. This also gives me a chance to ease into my story so I can get a good feel for the tone and pacing to really hit it hard and pump out some words come Nov. 1.

I'm not the first or last person to do this. It's called being a NaNo Rebel. While I never had any beef with others who took this approach, I never really considered myself an ideal candidate for the role. Bu then I gave some serious consideration to other people who are rebels...



And I realized, umm, yeah, I could totally rock the rebel look and mind-set.

Now, this back-to-back announcement comes with a little fine print. Because my head and heart are already so wrapped up in this next story, you might not be hearing from me quite as much. I may even have to ask Bingley to come back as a guest blogger from time to time. But I'll do my best to keep you updated on the progress (because I'm sure you're all super excited for it, right? ;)).

If, in the meantime, you'd like some of my tips on plotting out a book or preparing for NaNoWriMo, go ahead and read on here.

Stay connected with Laura Chapman on FacebookGoodreads and Twitter. Like Change the Word on Facebook.