I admit it. For the first time, I cheated  this year at NaNoWriMo. NaNoWriMo? You know – that month when crazy people all over the world try to write a novel in a month?

True, I typed every word, but they weren’t all new words. I was rewriting my debut novel, changing third person to first and past tense to present, adding more thoughts and new scenes. I love the way it turned out, although it still needs more work.

The Rewrite Process

In NaNoWriMo terms, I “won” easily. I reached the target of 50,000 words on 19th November. Then I continued to the end of the story, and even found time to go back and add things that were left out.

I’m clearly not the only cheat. The NaNoWriMo site even has a name for cheats: NaNo Rebel. Yay!

I'm a NaNo Rebel

Despite cheating, or maybe because of it, I learned new things.

What I learned

  • I have plenty of time to devote to writing. There’s no reason why I shouldn’t be able to “win” every year.
  • I write best and fastest on my own at home.
  • I still love write-ins, where we discuss our novels and also write together.
  • I can write with background noise, but get distracted by songs I know and love.
  • I need a detailed plan. It takes me too long to create new scenes as I write, if I haven’t planned properly.
  • I love NaNoWriMo. Yeah, I knew that before.

For those who still don’t get it, don’t be put off by the words “write a novel in a month.” We all know we won’t end up with a completed novel. It’s only a first draft, and even that won’t be complete, as most novels are longer than 50,000 words. But, even if you don’t “win,” you end the month with something to work on. It’s much better than a blank page.

It’s the beginning of October. That means it’s less than a month to…

NaNoWriMo Writer

…NaNoWriMo! (That month when people all over the world go a bit crazy, trying to write 50,000 words, all in November.)

The question, this year, was never whether I was going to join in. I didn’t even consider missing out on all the fun (and hard work). It was what I was going to write.

NaNo2Small.jpg

At a NaNoWriMo Meetup in Jerusalem, 2018

I decided on something. I created the book on the new NaNoWriMo website, complete with cover, description, Pinterest board and playlist.

Then I changed my mind. I’m going to rewrite my novel, Neither Here Nor There. When I’ve reached the end, at a date that hopefully will coincide with the end of November, I’ll examine the two versions and decide which parts to keep and which to discard.

Now I have to do some plotting. I’ve already made one decision: the title is going to change. The current title is One Foot. But I might have second thoughts about that. Or third thoughts. The cover will definitely change.

OneFootCover

Temporary cover for a probably temporary title

AlmondasJourneyThe last post on this blog was two months ago. Time for a catchup.

November was NaNoWriMo, that month of the year when an ever growing number of people around the world try to write a novel in a month. Those who despise it haven’t got it, I think. The result is only a first draft. It’s not for anyone else to read and definitely not for publication. I didn’t manage to “win” this year, but I had a great time creating thirty-something thousand words that will form a basis for a new novel… when I can find time to work on it.

In Cambodia

Photo by David Drori

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Then we went away, to Vietnam and Cambodia, two countries I never expected to visit, given what I heard about them all through my childhood and beyond. The trip was wonderful.

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What’s happening now? Well, I’ve been featured on a few blogs:

Many thanks to Social Anx, Jess B. Moore, Val Penny and Lizzie Chantree for those.

I’m editing another novel. (Someone else’s novel.)

I’m still working on a novel of mine that I thought I’d finished.

And I’m making plans for 2019. One of those is for a new feature on this blog, called SIM Talks. Watch this space for more about that.

I hope you’re all enjoying life as much as I am and wish you all the best for

2019

Remember my New Year rhyme? Here it is again:

Three Years a Year

I pity the people with only one year,
Who end it all merry, never shedding a tear.
They have to say so many things in one go,
To one year goodbye, to another hello.

They try to reflect on the year that has passed,
While also looking forward to the one that is fast
Approaching… nearly… almost… it’s here!
Resolutions transferred from yesteryear.

In Israel, you see, we celebrate three
And each, in its character, is solitary.
Different, special and unique,
They make us happy, thankful and… meek?

Rosh Hashana is one of those.
With all its rules, it keeps us on our toes,
Requesting forgiveness for our sins.
That’s “our” for humanity; not just kins.

Then we join with the world and celebrate, too,
Although some disagree and think it’s taboo.
Sylvester, it’s called, I used to know why.
It matters not when I’m feeling high.

What, you may ask, is number three?
It’s the one that marks the year of the tree.
Goes under the name of Tu B’Shvat.
We plant more trees, sing songs. That’s that?

Well no, we give presents of nuts and fruit,
And we eat same with much relish to boot.
So whatever New Year is appropriate for you,
I hope it is happy and fulfilling, too!

 

NaNo-2015-Winner-CertificateYes, I’m happy to be able to say I wrote 50,000 words during November. I also met some lovely writers and enjoyed writing not only at home but also at cafés, in a large hall and on a boat!

WritingOnBoatInJaffaNovember was also a month of many stabbing attacks and other terrorist attacks, and unfortunately this latest wave isn’t over yet. Despite the news, we continued to go out and meet each other. It’s not that we’re not afraid; just a sense that life has to go on regardless.

So now December is here and I have to do all the things I postponed in November and much more. I listed just some of my to-do list in my post in The English Informer.

Don’t forget to read my Friday series: Letters From Elsewhere, in which you can get to know the fictional characters who come to visit. There might be a problem with tomorrow’s post; we shall see.

NaNo-2015-Participant-BannerYou must have heard of NaNoWriMo by now, but in case you haven’t, it’s all explained in the link. 2015 will be my fourth go at it. I only “won” once, but really I won every time. I particularly enjoyed all the write-ins and I always ended up with words written, even if I didn’t always reach the magic 50,000. I wrote some more about NaNoWriMo in the English Informer.

Just now, I’m attempting to clear the decks – doing everything I can in advance of 1st November. That includes blog posts like this one, articles, etc. It also includes research for the novel, because this will be the first time I’ve ever attempted to write something historical – something from a time I don’t remember.

You may not hear a lot from me during November. But hear you will, because I’ll still be doing my popular Friday feature, Letters from Elsewhere. I also hope to find time to post progress reports.

To everyone who’s doing NaNoWriMo: GOOD LUCK!

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November, for my third year running, means: NaNoWriMo, that month when crazy people around the world, together or alone, type out a lot of words, hopefully 50,000 of them. So if you don’t see me around so much, you’ll know what I’m doing. As usual, I haven’t planned enough of the novel in advance, but I have a provisional title and a cover that I rather like.

Cover2

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Last night, at my Toastmasters Club, I gave a speech called: A Novel Approach. I’m sure you can guess what that was about. It was my second speech there. I didn’t think my first one was good enough to publicise. This one wasn’t perfect either, but it’s an improvement:

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Today, I discovered a new, comprehensive map of the Machane Yehuda market, which features in my novel: Neither Here Nor There. It’s designed by Joel Haber and includes a complete list of all the stalls, shops, bank and whatnot in the area. I used the map to rewrite part of the novel:

So, Esty is at number 7 when she spies Mrs G and her accomplice marching towards her. She has to get away from them. Along 16 and back along 3 and 4? No, she’d be too visible there. So she goes along 6 and 5, then turns along 12 and hops on a train at 29. But the two women are just behind. Will they catch her?

but I think  prefer the original!

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The other day, I read a blog post that made me angry. I was so angry that I decided to write a blog post about it, even though it wasn’t about anything this blog is about. When I’d finished writing it, I felt less angry and decided it really wasn’t suitable here. So it remains in my draft posts. Perhaps I’ll put the sentiments into a novel one day. Perhaps I’ll put them into the novel I’m about to write. We’ll see.

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Whether you’re doing NaNo or not, I wish you lots of success and will be back on the other side, if not before.

BackInApril

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No, that’s from a different break.

This time it’s December.

I realised what I want from 2014 when I commented on Annalisa’s blog: “I had fun in 2013. I want 2014 to be fun, too, but more productive and fulfilling. I want to push myself more.”

Last night I had more fun when we welcomed 2014 with a little celebration at folk dancing. The January New Year in Israel is always a bit subdued compared to many other parts of the world. Although we know it’s not religious, there’s a feeling that this holiday isn’t really ours. “Happy New Year” refers to a different time and today is a normal working day.

Before that I made a decision about the 100k in 100 days challenge. I’m going to do it. I’m going to write lots of blog posts and stories and more and hope to reach the target. I succeeded at NaNoWriMo in November, so there’s no reason I shouldn’t be able to do this.

The only problem is that I haven’t done enough planning and will have to decide what to write as I go along. Any suggestions will be gratefully received.

One of the ways I think I should push myself is by blogging more about social anxiety and how it comes into play in everything I do. Because not mentioning it is like trying to pretend it doesn’t exist, which I did for much too long. I started writing in order to raise awareness of social anxiety and I need to carry on doing that.

So that’s what my ‘Fourteen will be about: Fun, Fulfilment and Forcing myself to cross new boundaries.

What will your 2014 be about?