Dealbreakers: What Makes You Quit a Book?

Earlier this week, I wrote about dealbreakers for the RRFS blog. Come talk to me about what makes you drop a book!

The Rabid Rainbow Ferret Society

I think we’ve all got those dealbreakers, those things that a story can do that will make us drop it like a hot potato. These vary from person to person, and what wrecks a story for one person will be something another can let slide. Some people will finish a book no matter how much they hate it; others won’t give it more than a few pages before they toss it into the “did not finish” pile and move on to something else.

I used to be in the camp of “finish the book no matter what,” but in the past 5 years or so, I’ve come to the conclusion that life’s too short to read books I don’t like.

Here’s what tends to throw me out of a story:

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NaNoWriMo 2014 – First Update?!?

Participant-2014-Twitter-ProfileIt’s amazing how quickly this month has flown by. I meant to do my weekly NaNo updates as I have every year since 2011, but this year it just seems like it wasn’t in the cards. So here’s where I am so far!

Minimum word count for November 18: 30,000/50,000

My word count: 29,469/50,000

Current story count: 5 drafts complete

Adventures in NaNoing: Why yes, you read that correctly. “Current story count” is a new statistic!

That’s because this year I didn’t have a story I could expand to a full novel this year, so I decided to write short stories and novellas. This also gave me the chance to get a few stories I’ve had in my head for awhile on paper, and it is kind of nice to practice writing in a shorter format than what I usually do.

By “five drafts complete,” I mean I’ve finished first drafts on five stories. Some need more editing than others. 😀

If you look at my graph on the site, you’ll see that this year I’m tracking along almost exactly with the daily word count. I think this is in a large part because I’m doing multiple shorter works, as opposed to one giant one. It’s occasionally difficult to get traction on a short story the way I would a novel, because whereas there I’d have one scene that’s 2500 words, with the short stories, that’s my entire word count. Plus, with switching between different stories and characters, it sometimes drains me faster than just being able to immerse myself in a single story, so even my big word count days aren’t as high as they usually are.

That being said, it’s also EXTREMELY satisfying to accomplish little goals in NaNo, not just by hitting my word count, but also by finishing a story draft. 🙂 I like being able to look over a story and go, “Yeah, this is done!” and then set it aside to edit the first week of December.

So far, NaNo itself has been tremendously satisfying as well. We had 40 (40!!) people show up at IHOP on Halloween for our midnight kickoff, which was a bit of a mess but still so, so much fun. There are few things I enjoy more than getting to start writing with a big group right at midnight. It feels like we start the month of right that way. 😀

We also had a mid-month party for the second year in a row, and spent the evening hanging out at a comic shop, eating pizza and cupcakes and talking about random things while one of our WriMos did manicures for those who wanted them. It was nice to have a break from the writing madness and get to see people who hadn’t gotten to come to some of the other in-person events.

Of course, next week is Thanksgiving, which means at LEAST two days of no writing, possibly three. I’m looking forward to seeing my family, but I am equally glad there’s a full weekend at the end of the month so I can catch up on my word count. 🙂

For you other NaNo writers, how’s your month going? Are you staying on target? Insanely behind? Insanely ahead?

Final March #WriteMotivation Update & April Camp NaNo Kickoff

Header image and thumbnail photograph by Hugh Lee and licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0.

Header image and thumbnail photograph by Hugh Lee and licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0.

– Write 10k on the NaNo novel.
Stretch goal: Finish it.

And my total for the month was just under 12,000 words! Given where I am in the story, I’m hoping that another 10,000 will be all I need to finish it up. We’ll see.

– Edit 5 more chapters of MGG.
Stretch goal: Finish paper edits.

Finished the 5 chapters, which puts me with about 8 to go in paper edits.

– Write all Ferret A-Z posts.
One’s scheduled, two are finished and awaiting editing, a fourth is halfway written, and the last two are outlined. I will have them finished before the end of this week, most likely, but not before the end of March. Oh well!

– Read 2 books.
I finished The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms this weekend! Somehow I will managed to get reviews up for it and The Lotus Palace. SOMEHOW. I also started The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. Finally. 🙂

The sign-up for April’s #WriteMotivation is still up, but it goes down after midnight tonight.

And speaking of, here are my goals for next month:

1. Camp NaNo – Finish draft 2 of MGG.
This is my big one, since I’m 2/3 of the way through paper edits. So I’ll finish those first and then dive into moving all of them over into the Word document. As long as I get this goal completed, I’ll call April a win.

2. Finish 2013 NaNo novel.
I’m very close to the end of the climax right now, and after that, it’s a series of wrap-up and resolution scenes, at least one of which is already written. WHEEEE.

How did your March go? You all ready for April? Who else is doing Camp NaNo?

March #WriteMotivation Update – Week 4

We interrupt your regularly scheduled #WriteMotivation update because X-MEN TRAILER!!

Days of Future Past was one of the first X-men stories I ever read, one of these children’s novelizations that were published back in the early ’90s. It was a heartbreaking story, and I hated reading about how many of my favorite characters had died in the future. Even so, it was a good story, and I’ve been really, really excited for this movie ever since I found out they were adapting Days of Future Past.

The trailer scenes between Magneto and Professor X in the future are just killing me. I’ve always enjoyed their dynamic in the movies, and it’s so nice to see something that looks good with Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellen after the awfulness that was X-men: The Last Stand.

Anyway, on to the update!

Header image and thumbnail photograph by Hugh Lee and licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0.

Header image and thumbnail photograph by Hugh Lee and licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0.

– Write 10k on NaNo novel.
Stretch goal: Finish it.

Woot! Managed to hit 10k yesterday. Apparently I need to write more fight scenes and characters snarking at each other; they’re great for the word count.

On the upside, I also figured out what happens with the last major plot thread I hadn’t quite ironed out. On the downside, that pretty much requires me to add an extra 3,000 words to the story, which means there ain’t no way this is getting finished in March. OH WELL. We’ll see how far I can get before next week.

– Edit 5 more chapters of MGG.
Stretch goal: Finish paper edits.

I’ve edited three chapters now, woo!

– Write all Ferret A-Z posts.
One’s scheduled, a second is mostly written, and two more are outlined. I need to pick it up on this goal.

– Read 2 books.
I’m 63% of the way through The Lotus Palace, still 15% of the way through The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms, and have added The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe to my list. THAT ONE’S FOR YOU, JESS.

In case anyone’s interested, April’s sign-up for #WriteMotivation is up now, and there’s still time to sign up for the April session of Camp NaNo.

ONE WEEK LEFT IN MARCH, PEOPLE. LET’S DO THIS THING.

March #WriteMotivation Update – Week 3

Header image and thumbnail photograph by Hugh Lee and licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0.

Header image and thumbnail photograph by Hugh Lee and licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0.

Night Vale Night Vale Night Vaaaale!

In case you couldn’t tell, I went to Dallas this weekend to see the live show of Welcome to Night Vale, which I’ve been listening to since last summer. Actually getting to see it in person was fantastic.

Cecil’s voice is always expressive, but he was equally physically expressive on stage, which I could see even though I was sitting near the back of the theater. He also knows how to respond to a very loud, large crowd while still making it seem like he was on the radio.

It was so much fun, and my voice was sore the next morning from all the cheering we did. We also got to (briefly) meet the cast (Cecil Baldwin, Symphony Sanders, and Meg Bashwiner) and creators (Joseph Fink and Jeffrey Cranor) afterwards. Eris got a poster signed, I got my ticket autographed and got a chance to tell them all that they’d done a great job and I’d had a total blast at the show.

If you like WTNV and you have a chance to go see a live show, do it.

– Write 10k on NaNo novel.
Stretch goal: Finish it.

Current word count for the month is 6400 words! Slowly but surely getting there.

– Edit 5 more chapters of MGG.
Stretch goal: Finish paper edits.

No change from last week.

– Write all Ferret A-Z posts.
I’ve written two Ferret posts and started two more, so I finally feel like I’m making headway on this. Huzzah!

– Read 2 books.
In addition to The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms, I’m also reading The Lotus Palace by Jeannie Lin, which is a romance set in 800s China. So far, so good, even if I’m only about 4% of the way through.

How’s March treating everyone else? Can you believe we’re halfway through the month? Anyone signing up for Camp NaNo?

March #WriteMotivation Update – Week 2

Header image and thumbnail photograph by Hugh Lee and licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0.

Header image and thumbnail photograph by Hugh Lee and licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0.

March marches on (haha, I slay me!) and so does the time I have to accomplish my goals. I’m doing so, slowly but surely, though this weekend will likely be mostly a loss because NIGHT VALE. 😀

I’m totally stoked. Full report next week.

– Write 10k on NaNo novel.
Stretch goal: Finish it.

So far, 5500 words, which puts me more than halfway toward this goal. I have no idea if I’ll be able to hit my stretch goal, but that would be really, really nice. Especially considering I’m fairly close to the end. Climactic fight scenes FTW!

– Edit 5 more chapters of MGG.
Stretch goal: Finish paper edits.

Almost through one chapter! Unfortunately, there are a couple of points in this chapter and the previous one that I’m not entirely happy with. Fortunately, they aren’t HUGE issues, so I think I’ll keep going and then unknot them when I start transferring my edits from paper into the Word doc.

– Write all Ferret A-Z posts.
I…still haven’t made much headway on this. I’m going to hit it hard this week and hopefully get the first three posts written. (And there’s a seventh post I’m supposed to write before the end of this month. Ack!)

– Read 2 books.
I’ve started The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms by N.K. Jemisin and I am loving it so far. It’s first person, which is rare in fantasy, but I really, really love Yeine’s narration and I love what I’m learning about the world.

How’s March treating everyone else? Anyone signing up for April’s Camp NaNo?