Category Archives: NANO 18

Celebrate Nanowrimo 2018 with a free how-to ebook

Here in Australia it’s December 1 already, so Nanowrimo is over for another year. I didn’t even come close to winning Nano this year, but my heartfelt congratulations to all those who did. 50,000 words in 30 days is a great accomplishment, so well done. 🙂

For those of you in the Northern Hemisphere, Nano is still in its final hours, and I imagine a lot of you will be furiously writing to catch that November 30 deadline. I congratulate all of you as well. No one can ever take this achievement away from you, but memories fade, so I suggest that you print the page that contains your 50,000th word and frame it. I did that with my first Nano; the word was ‘gut’. Not exactly poetic but hey…-shrug-

And finally, a word for those who didn’t make it. I know you’re probably feeling pretty disappointed at the moment, but you have to remember that winning Nano is not the end, it’s just the beginning. Your writing doesn’t have to end on November 30. Use what you started as the jumping off point for the story you’ll write all through 2019.

Win or lose, this next bit is for everyone. When your Nano story is polished to perfection, you will probably want to publish it. If you decide to self-publish your work, you will have a number of options:

  1. publish as an ebook
  2. publish as a paperback
  3. publish as both an ebook and a paperback

If you decide to go with options 2 and 3, then I can help. ‘How to Print your Novel with Kindle Direct Publishing‘ is my step-by-step guide to publishing a paperback with KDP. In it you will find information about trim sizes, bleed, PDFs, formatting, Amazon distribution, royalties and heaps more. Each step is illustrated with screenshots and examples, close to 150 of them so even complete beginners can follow the instructions.

To celebrate the end of Nano 2018, I’ve made the ebook version of ‘How to Print your Novel with Kindle Direct Publishing’ free for one day on December 1, 2018. [Click the link to be taken to the Amazon page or click the image of the book on the sidebar].

Due to timezone differences, the guide will become free on Amazon at about 6:00 pm, Australian Eastern time. For Northern Hemisphere writers, it will be free from midnight.

This is what the guide looks like on the Kindle Fire 6:

 

Because the ebook is in colour, and fixed format [so the layout of each page is controlled], you will only be able to use it on the following devices:

If you need the free Kindle Reading app., you can get it from here:

Clicking that link will open the following popup:

From this popup, you can select the device on which you want to use the app. I’ve only done it for the PC, but I think it should be fairly easy for all devices.

So there you have it, my free guide to printing your finished Nano Novel. Even if you don’t intend to publish for some time, download the guide now and save yourself some money. 🙂

cheers

Meeks

 

 

 

 

 

 


Nano2018 – when a Pantster just has to Plot

In a previous post I waxed lyrical about how I’d worked out what made Bountiful so deadly. Flushed with euphoria, I thought I was home and hosed, and that the writing would now flow. Not so much…

Since then, I’ve had to acknowledge that the core of my Nano story this year is actually three-fold:

  1. What made Bountiful so deadly?
  2. How did Beaumont cover it up?
  3. How did James Milgrove, aka the Burning Man, discover the Beaumont cover up?

I thought I had the answer to no. 2, but I soon realised that if I went with that particular solution, no. 3 would be almost impossible to achieve. I say ‘almost’ because I could have fudged the solution. ‘Oh  look, I just found a memo that proves Beaumont were culpable. How lucky is that?’

Just writing those two sentences raises the hackles on the back of my neck because it’s such a cheap trick, and so patently unrealistic. I mean really, with billions of dollars at stake, readers are supposed to believe that Beaumont cares enough to send an assassin to Innerscape, but not enough to burn the evidence?

Fortuitous events do happen, sometimes. Most of the time, however, big events are the result of a cascade of tiny, seemingly unrelated events, and the decisions taken over each one.  And that’s where plotting becomes a necessity.

Although I call myself a pantster, the truth is that I’m a hybrid who does a lot of research and a lot of plotting to make the base mechanics of the story work. In the case of P7698, that core revolves around the pseudo-science of Bountiful. In the Innerscape trilogy, the core centred on the constraints of the digital world itself. In Vokhtah, it was the whole world vs the biology, culture and history of the Vokh and iVokh.

Science fiction may demand more, in terms of these core mechanics, than some other genres, but I know that the best fantasy results from the same, fastidious attention to detail. Characters have to react to believable events and circumstances or their actions will come across as ‘fake’, and none of us want that. So here I am, a little bit stuck on points 2. and 3. 😦

I gave up the idea of winning Nano almost a week ago, and I can live with that; the element of competition was just a little added extra to keep me going. But getting this stuck is seriously depressing as I know I’m going to have writer’s block until I find solutions that feel real.

Anyone else having this problem?

Meeks


How NOT to do NaNoWriMo

I’ve just completed a 5-page, 1700 word document that I can’t add to my nano wordcount. But guess what? I’m almost popping with joy. 🙂

The 5-page document is full of URLs and direct quotes copied during my research today. As I didn’t actually write any of it, I can’t claim it for nano, but the information I’ve found has finally answered the monster question that’s been plaguing me since November 1 – how did Bountiful go so very wrong?

For those who’ve never heard of Bountiful, it’s the name I gave to a synthetic food base fed to Refugees in the Innerscape trilogy. It caused terrible cancers and ultimately death before the cause was finally found. It’s also the reason Miira is in Innerscape, and the reason the assassin wants to kill Alex Tang.

I skirted the edges of Bountiful without going into a huge amount of detail about how it did what it did. I figured that information should come out in P7698. Unfortunately, I didn’t really have all those pesky details figured out when I started P7698 for nano. -sigh- Sometimes you really do have to jump in and hope for the best.

Unraveling Bountiful turned out to be a lot harder than expected because I am not a geneticist, not even a teeny bit close. Despite my extreme amateur status, however, I think I’ve finally got it, a possible explanation for why Bountiful was so deadly. It involves a gene called PTEN-L, genetic engineering and lateral gene transfer. And it’s awesome!

I have no idea how much of my research will actually end up in the book, probably very little, but at least what does go in will be possible, even if it’s not likely.

cheers

Meeks

 


House hunting in Paris

I went looking for an apartment in Paris that would fit Jason Armitage’s lifestyle. Get ready to drool. 🙂

This first pic shows the massive skylight and two floors of luxury living:

I have no idea what 2.5 million EUR is in Australian dollars, but it seems a lot for a three bedroom apartment. Then again, it is in the most expensive part of Paris. Here are a few more pics to make you weep:

and

These last two shots are from a different apartment, but I had to include them in Jason’s dream apartment as they both have a view of the Eiffel tower in the distance:

When I was 21, I spent a semester studying French at the Sorbonne and living with a rather well-to-do family as their au pair. I remember that I had to get off at Trocadero metro station to get to the apartment. It wasn’t quite as beautiful as the one shown in the pics above, but it was big enough for a master bedroom, kids’ bedroom and a spare bedroom with ensuite for the live in nanny: me.

I enjoyed looking after Bruno and Eric, but I didn’t appreciate my huge good fortune in landing that job until just now. Room and board for a few hours of kid-sitting. I was even invited to go on holidays with them.

As an au pair, I wasn’t paid a wage, but I did receive ‘pocket money’. It was more than enough to cover my expenses to and from the Sorbonne, plus evenings at the local cafe, dining on Croque Monsieur et cafe au lait. In those days I could drink coffee all night and still sleep like a baby. 🙂

Thanks for joining me on this trip down memory lane. I can’t tell you how much I’m enjoying myself. Oh and my words finally passed the necessary daily count: 1782. I’m still behind, but writing is fun again so I’m pretty confident I’ll catch up.

cheers

Meeks


Freud wore glasses…how about that. :)

Remember how I said that research invariably leads me to new writing ideas? Well, the Sainte Anne mental hospital must have got me thinking about earlier psychoanalysts because I created a character today who has a fascination with Freud. His name is Stephen Maher:

Back in his office, Stephen spent a few minutes polishing his spectacles before calling the AI. The spectacles had belonged to his grandfather and provided no optical enhancements whatsoever, but they did provide some much needed time out. They also made him look like a young Sigmund Freud, or so he’d been told.

Now, the weird thing is that I wrote that paragraph without any clear memory of whether Freud wore glasses or not. This is what I found:

Followed by this:

Both photos are of Sigmund Freud and come from the Freud Museum London.

I was tempted to draw spectacles on the younger image, to give myself a reference pic for ‘Stephen Maher’, but then I got cold feet. I’m more into Skinner than Freud, but defacing his portrait would have felt terribly disrespectful!

Anyway, thanks to Stephen Maher and Freud, my wordcount today is a much more respectable 1161. My imagination is still creaking from lack of use, but I can feel it loosening up, a little bit more each day. Life’s good. 🙂

cheers

Meeks


Sainte Anne, psychiatric hospital in Paris

I’ve been researching psychiatric conditions because the story of P7698 starts with two Innerscape Residents needing treatment. One of them is Keith Marsden, a minor but charming character who appeared in both ‘Miira’ and ‘Nabatea’.

Anyway, the Residents respond better to therapy when it occurs in a hospital setting so suddenly, I needed a mental hospital. As Keith Marsden lives in Paris, it seemed reasonable to start my search there. And boy did I hit pay dirt!

The link below leads to an article with lots of pictures of this amazing hospital, right in the heart of Paris. Not only is it an utterly beautiful place, it’s a good hospital too. If you read the history, you’ll realise that much of modern psychiatry originated at Sainte Anne:

https://www.cherrychapman.com/2014/05/05/sainte-anne-psychiatric-hospital-in-paris-a-hidden-sanctuary-of-nature-and-art/

For those who don’t want to read it all, here are some pictures. First up a map showing Paris:

By ThePromenader at English Wikipedia – Transferred from en.wikipedia to Commons., CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=1753317

The thick brown line denotes the original arrondissements of Paris. Within that shape, the area shaded in dark orange is the 14th arrondissement where Sainte Anne is located.

The next picture is of one of the old buildings. The campus is huge.

This pic gives you some idea of the gardens too. Back when there were no treatments for psychiatric conditions, patients were encouraged to work in the gardens – fresh air, sunshine, purpose, exercise. These days we’d call it occupational therapy.

Anyway, the setting is superb and gives me a great location to work with.

Happy Weekend!

Meeks

 


Yes! New music for writing

Nano took a back seat this morning as I’ve been searching for the ‘right’, writing music. I listened to new music by old favourites, but nothing really matched how I feel about this new story. So in desperation I went to SoundCloud and there, thanks to SoundClouds great recommendation engine, I found…

Jon Altino

This is the playlist I just put together. It’s a bit rough as I just grabbed songs as I heard them, but the very first one – A World Asleep – is glorious and should give you some idea of the kind of music I need this year.

Jon Altino? If you’re reading this, I wanted to buy the album, but iTunes only offered Superhero. Please, please put a new album up there!

Well, time to put this lovely music to the test and fire up StoryBox.  I have this feeling P7698 is going to flow a whole lot better today than yesterday.

cheers

Meeks


Nano 2018…it begins!

And we’re off, in eastern Australia, at least. For those who worry that we get an unfair advantage, don’t forget that our Nano ends earlier too.

So what now? Well, I’ve started my 3rd nano by writing this blog post. Some might call that procrastination. I call it clearing the decks. -smirk- I’ll be obsessed with nano for the rest of November so it behooves me to explain, right? Right.

Anyway, this post is really just to say that I won’t be posting anything of world shattering importance in November, so apologies in advance. I will post little bits of research though, if they’re interesting, and the word count, of course. If anyone wants to look me up or become a writing buddy, you’ll find me on Nano as ‘Meeka Flory’. 🙂

cheers

Meeks

 


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