3 Tips for NaNoWriMo

Hi all! If you don’t know, next month is National Novel Writing Month, or NaNoWriMo for short. The goal is to write a 50,000 word novel between November 1 and November 30. There are lot of events and write-ins, and ways to meet your local community. The goal is to get everything on paper, no matter how “good” it is. Once you have a novel written, it’s much easier to edit and polish it up.

I’ve participated in NaNoWriMo a couple of times and only “won” (by writing 50,000 words) once. But that doesn’t stop me from trying! I will be participating this November, but with a tweak to the rules. I plan on writing 50,000 words of blog posts, instead of a novel! So you may not hear from me during November (except for schedule posts), but that means lots and lots of content for you all throughout the next year!

Since I’ve done NaNo quite a few times but only won once, I thought I’d share with you some tips I have, since I’ve definitely learned from the years that I didn’t win!

  1. Plan ahead. There always seems to be a debate whether it’s better to plan ahead, or just go with the flow. For me, I definitely need to plan ahead. I make sure to lay out 30 plot points before November starts, so I never have a day where I don’t know what to write. Sometimes I write two plot points in one day, sometimes it takes two days to write one. It’s just great to have that guideline so I don’t get stuck. It’s also helpful to have some generic story twists to throw in if you need more words or find a lull in your story.
  2. Do Reverse NaNo. (Full details/wiki article on this here.) This is the only way I’ve won NaNo. Normally, I run out of steam towards the end and then Thanksgiving happens and then I just never finish my project. With Reverse NaNo, instead of writing a flat 1,667 words a day (50,000 words divided by 30 days), you start with a high daily goal 3346 and then end with 1 words on the final day. This is great because it capitalizes on your energy at the beginning and accounts for the holiday season near the end of November. Plus, if you miss a day or two, it’s easy to make up by getting rid of your 1 word day. I also know people with inconsistent schedules that will take the varied daily word counts and assign different amounts to each day based on their schedule for the day.
  3. Don’t let yourself go home until you’ve reached your word count. I work a basic 9-5, so I have a pretty consistent schedule. The year I won, every day after work I would go to a coffee shop and write until I reached my word count. I wasn’t “allowed” to go home until I reached my goal for the day. This worked really well for me, because once I get home from work, I usually just want to relax and not do much, and then I forget to pull out my laptop and write.

Those are my best tips for NaNo! Except maybe “don’t get a new dog in November”, which is why I lost last year. But I don’t regret it. 🙂

Are any of you participating in NaNoWriMo? Or have you participated in the past? Do you have any tips or tricks for me?

❤ Annette

Nanowrimo

1 year ago: Why Books Are Good for Babies

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YouTube Video About Bananas

Read my post about My Banana Book Collection? But not sure if you want to make the leap and read an entire book about bananas? Here’s an awesome video by SciShow to help pique your interest. 🙂

❤ Annette

1 year ago: YouTube Video Related to “So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed”

1 Year Blogiversary: My Most Popular Posts

Earlier this month was my one year blogiversary! Hooray! 🎉 Thanks to all of my readers, followers, and commenters! I can’t wait to see where this blog goes in another year. 🙂

Here are my top five posts from the past year. If you haven’t read them yet, you might want to – others seem to enjoy them. 🙂

50 literary

reading slump

top 2017

dogwarts

lucky dog
(book review)

If you’ve made it this far down the post, I’d love it if you took a minute or two to take a survey about my blog! I want to know what you guys want to read! You can take the survey >>>>here.<<<< It’s only five questions long. 🙂

Thanks for being awesome!

❤ Annette

blogiversary

Update to Blog Pages

Hello! Hopefully I’ll have a “real” post for you later this weekend, but I wanted to let you know that I’ve completely re-done my book review pages. They’re much prettier and more visual than they were before. 🙂 You can access them from the main menu above. ^^

I’ve also added a page called “Reading Challenges” so I can keep track of my progress for reading challenges this year. This is probably more for me than you, but it’s there nonetheless. 😀

Enjoy!

❤ Annette

My Original TBR

I found this the other day and thought it’d be fun to share. It’s my original TBR… from when I was a kid… in the nineties.

The cover says “Groovy” and has a large smiley face, likely to mimic the super-popular Lisa Frank style.

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And since there was no Goodreads (nor did we have internet), I wrote every book by hand. And if I found a series I wanted to read, I’d write down every. single. one.

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I’m fairly sure most of these came from those awesome Scholastic Book Club flyers that got sent home every once in a while. I’m also fairly sure I never got around to a lot of these. In that way childhood TBR was very similar to my current one!

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Gel pens were also the thing back then. (I also exchanged them with my pen pal, because those were also a thing.)

What was your first TBR like? How did you keep track of the books you wanted to read before Goodreads and the like came along?

❤ Annette

 

Finishing the Series Challenge

Remember how yesterday I said I didn’t want to participate in any reading challenges? Well…. I found two I’m going to participate in. 😀 This one, hosted by Celebrity Readers, is entirely focused on finishing series. I did a lot of that in 2017, but I am still so into doing it for 2018 a well!

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I’m not going to force myself to read anything if I’m not feeling it, but here are some of the series that I would like to finish:

The Lemonade War by Jacqueline Davis

Illuminae Files by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

A.I. Love You by Ken Akamatsu

Christmas Around the World by World Book

Confectionately Yours by Lisa Papademitriou

Hardcore Self Help by Robert Duff

Paradox by Rachel Bach

Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor

Follow Your Heart by Melody Carlson

Embassy Row by Ally Carter

They also have different levels based on how many series you finish – I’d love to make it to “A-List”, which means I would have to finish (or get caught up on) 9 series! Think I can do it? 😀

What series would you like to finish this year?

❤ Annette

Beat the Backlist!

So I definitely didn’t plan on participating in any book challenges this year… until I found this one! The entire goal of this challenge is to read books that were not written in 2018, which is exactly what I had planned on focusing on this year! (To be honest, I don’t often read new releases, especially now that I don’t go to the library that often.) This challenge is hosted by Novel Knight. (<– That link has all the details if you want to join too!)

As of right now, I only want to read 12 books this year. I’m sure that’ll change as I read throughout the year, but I want to allow myself the freedom to tackle some of the longer, more difficult books on my TBR.

Are you doing any book challenges this year? Which ones?

❤ Annette

My Favorite Christmas Tradition

This is going to be a super short post, but since one of my favorite Christmas traditions is book related, I wanted to share.

Every year on Christmas Eve, after we’d eaten Christmas dinner, gone to mass, and gotten into our pajamas, we would all pile on the couch and my dad would read us The Night Before Christmas. Even if we’d gone to midnight mass and it was super late, even if some of us were in high school, even if my Dad was almost falling asleep at the end of each sentence, we always read it. And I love that that was our tradition!

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My sisters, my dad, and me (my mom took the picture)

Our favorite version of the book is this one (which I still own).

(affiliate link)

 

We also had a mouse family version similar to the one below, which we read if we couldn’t find the other one. (We were all avid readers, so books roamed our house quite a bit. :))

(affiliate link)

I hope you and your families and friends have a wonderful Christmas!

❤ Annette

 

Why Books Are Good for Babies

Books are awesome! But do you ever wonder why people read to babies? Or why doing so is important? Even having books around for babies to play with is great for their development. I want to give a couple of reasons why below.

This is stuff that I remember from the early childhood literacy class I took while working on my Elementary Education degree. If any of this sounds incorrect (or if there’s updated research on the subject) I’d love to know – send me the sources so I can keep up to date. 🙂

  1. Reading to babies (and children) help them to understand that books contain information. Unlike any other object, books can carry many different meanings. Their rattle makes noise and provides entertainment, their blanket is soft and provides comfort, their bottle contains food, which quenches hunger. But books can be about colors or numbers or shapes or animals or so many other different things. Reading to them even from a young age can help them grasp this concept. We read so often for information and understanding this is a big step in learning to read. (As they get older they’ll start to tell stories of their own, learning concepts such as beginning-middle-end.)
  2. Reading to babies also helps them know the direction in which to read. For many countries/languages this means left to right, up to down, and front to back. So when you see a baby pick up a book and hold it upside-down, just remember that even in that moment, they are learning how to read.

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    My little sister, Gina, learning how to read
  3. Exposure to pretty much anything as an infant helps them with visual development. So helping them learn to focus on pictures or words in books definitely can’t hurt. 🙂
  4. Reading to them can help them develop a joy for reading. Since reading is pretty crucial in a school career and then is used constantly in many actual careers, it’s important to get them off to a good start! If it’s something they enjoy, it’ll be something they spend more time doing. And the more practice they get, the better they will be at it. This will help with reading speed, comprehension, vocabulary, and so much more.
  5. Reading helps them develop language skills. This includes vocabulary, but also includes intonation and the different phonemes (sounds) required for their specific language. The more they are talked to and read to, the more they are going to learn.

Did I miss anything? Or is there anything you’d like to add? Let me know!

never fade
This is my dad, me, and my little sister Emily. 🙂

❤ Annette

My Least Favorite Literary Technique

Before I tell you what my least favorite literary technique is, I’m going to tell you which books I plan on discussing. That way if you don’t want spoilers, you can move away from this post now.

  • Tiger’s Curse series by Colleen Houck
  • Hunger Games series by Suzanne Collins
  • Glitch series by Heather Anastasiu
  • Fortune’s Pawn by Rachel Bach
  • Tangled Up by Robyn Neely

My Least Favorite Literary Technique

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My least favorite literary technique is when amnesia is used as the reason two love interests can’t be together. I don’t mind amnesia as a plot point, per say, there are plenty of great books that use it well, but I do mind when it’s the sole excuse for why two characters can’t be together. Here’s why I hate it as a technique:

  1. There needs to be a stronger reason for two characters not to be together. This can be internal conflict or external conflict, it can be with just one character or both, I don’t care. There needs to be a real reason they can’t be together, an actual problem. Characters can struggle to reconcile different lifestyles or backgrounds; or deal with personal issues that make them not fit for a relationship. But at the very least, they remember each other an can actually work on the relationship.
  2. This is such a weak excuse to further the plot. It’s very deus ex machina. The author created characters who have no problems… wouldn’t it be convenient if one forgot the other? Forget having to come up with an actual plot point or actual conversations, just give an easy excuse for them to not be together. It’s also sometimes used to get rid of one character in a love triangle and that just seems like a cop out.
  3. It hurts too much to read. If the author is even semi-decent, I’ve connected with the characters and I’m invested in their relationship. When that is suddenly ripped away for no (real) reason, it hurts. I know some people read to feel and some people enjoy reading sad books, but it’s just too much for me. I’m fine reading books where the characters are going through tough times, I just don’t want to go through them too.
  4. If the characters to manage to work past the amnesia to restore their memory partially, I feel like the resulting relationship isn’t quite the same as the one I was rooting for in the beginning. Sure, it’s technically the same characters, but it sure wasn’t with the ones I shipped.

I’ve seen this technique used in a couple variations. Usually it comes through a spell or interference from a deity. Sometimes it’s done through brainwashing/torture, and in one book I read they just performed a lobotomy to remove the character’s emotions. (So he could remember, I guess, but he couldn’t feel.)

As I mentioned before, this technique is present in many books. Sometimes I got over it because I liked the story enough to keep going, but nevertheless, it was there. The ones that come to mind are:

  • Tiger’s Curse series by Colleen Houck
    • This is my least favorite use of the technique ever. The author is skilled, but connects you to the characters just enough to rip your heart out when the memory thing happens. This is probably my least favorite books series of all time, because it just hurt so much to read.
  • Hunger Games series by Suzanne Collins
  • Glitch series by Heather Anastasiu
  • Fortune’s Pawn by Rachel Bach
  • Tangled Up by Robyn Neely

So that’s my least favorite literary technique. What’s yours?

❤️ Annette