LAST YEAR of NaNoWriMo Night of Writing Dangerously

I just received this email from the staff at NaNoWriMo. If you have been holding off to join us on this fun adventure, then this is the last year to get in on it.

Hi everyone,

For twelve years, the Night of Writing Dangerously has been an important fundraiser for NaNoWriMo, but equally importantly, it has been an opportunity to connect in person with the writers for whom NaNoWriMo has been a guiding light and a shining star. The community-building aspects of the event were always as important to us, if not more so, than the fundraising side.

But over the course of the last five years, the fundraising side of it has become increasingly challenging. The total amount raised by the Night of Writing Dangerously has been steadily decreasing, while costs to put on the event have risen sharply. The number of people able to attend the event has also decreased, as our necessary price increases have put ticket prices out of reach for more and more people. Costs are slated to increase again this year, and we’ve had to sit down and wrestle with the realities of being a small non-profit organization.

And as a result, we have made the difficult decision that 2018 will be the last Night of Writing Dangerously.

We know many of you will be incredibly disappointed to hear this news. We are disappointed as well; we love this event, and have worked hard to try to find ways to make the math work. We hope that in the future, we’ll be able to plan a new in-person event that will be accessible to more participants, with all the joy and inspiration of the Night of Writing Dangerously.

Let’s send the Night of Writing Dangerously off on a high note

And in the meantime, we hope you’ll join us to send off the Night of Writing Dangerously with our biggest, best event ever. We’ll be pulling out all the stops to make our final Write-a-thon one to remember, and we’d love to see you there. We know that not all of you will be able to join us this year and were already planning to attend in future years, and we’re sorry that won’t be happening. We’ll keep in touch as plans for future events develop, and we hope to see you at a NaNoWriMo event down the road.

But if you can attend this year, we recommend getting your fundraising up and running or buying your ticket as soon as you’re able to, as we suspect there’s going to be a full house this year.

The Night of Writing Dangerously has been an incredible event for our organization and for the writers who have attended it. We will miss it greatly, and we will remember it fondly. We are so grateful to you for the support you’ve given our organization over the years, and we hope this decision won’t dim your memory of past events or dampen your enthusiasm for future NaNoWriMo events. The future is bright, friends, we just have to give it some time to reveal itself.

Sarah Mackey
Director of Community Engagement

Backstory – Han “of the Southern Isles”

Han was the thirteenth boy born to the royal family who ruled the small Southern Isles. His mother had been wishing strongly for a girl and when she saw she had another boy she lost all the energy she had left after the birth. Han almost did not survive as his mother did not have the will or energy to nurse him and was forced upon her by her waitstaff and finally had to be nursed by a wet nurse. With mother not recovering from the birth Han was eventually moved into the nursery so he could be looked after by the staff and the rest of the family.

A few years later, when Han was about 5 years old, his mother passed away. Not that he really noticed since he had barely seen her since moving into the nursery, but it hit his twelve brothers very hard. Especially numbers ten, eleven, and twelve, who all blamed him for the death of their mother. They had noticed she never recovered and she was never the same mother as before the birth and they blamed Han for this. So to punish him, they decided to ignore him. They had the childhood wish that if they pretended if he did not exist perhaps their mother would come back to them. Almost as if they took away the bad then the good would come back.

The years of being ignored took their toll on Han. He found solace in reading and he most enjoyed books about war and mind play. Not that he really understood that. He just knew he liked the fact that the characters got their way by whatever means necessary. First, his teacher would read to him and explain the words he did not understand, but later, once he was able to read better, he would write down the words he did not understand as he read and have his teacher teach him those.

When his brothers finally became old enough to realize their childish wish for their mother back was not working they were all beginning to take lessons on how to rule… except for Han. Being the thirteenth there was no reason to teach him. There was very little likelyhood of him ever being in a position of ruling. Even the brothers who were fifth born and past were only taught the bare minimalist, with the hope that they would marry into a family in which they possibly could rule.

Han instead taught himself. He saw the books his brothers were studying and once they were done with them he would sneak them and read them himself. He was hungry for power, if for no other reason to show his family that they underestimated him and that he could rule. He had thought of slowly killing his brother’s off, but could not bring himself to doing it, for all the horrible things they have done to him.

When Han heard about the death of the King and Queen of Arandell he started his research on the heirs. He was surprised to find very little was known, except that it was two sisters, and that years ago the family had locked themselves away from everyone out of the blue. No one had any idea why but there was ton of speculations.

Trade was good between Arandell and the Southern Isles and so he began to pay for information from the merchants who travelled between the two. He finally found out that there was something strange that had happened to the heir and while she was healthy, she was very closeted and shunned everyone, even her own sister. There was rumors that she did not like men or women romantically at all and there was even the possibility that she had a frozen heart when it came to the idea of love at all.

With the likelihood of not getting anywhere with the heir he looked to the youngest of the sisters. There was more information about her as it seemed that while she was locked away, she hated this fact and was very open and personal. She was also very young and naive when it came to the outside world…. PERFECT!

Alternate Frozen

I have been watching a lot of Frozen lately due to my daughter potty training and a few alternate storylines have gone through my head now, so I hope you enjoy a few posts of alternate ways Frozen could have been written.

 

Elsa rushes over to Anna. She had not meant to hurt her as she slipped on the ice under her feet and her aim had been thrown off. But now Anna was laying in her lap with pain creased on her face. The fear within her blossomed to ice crystals spreading from her and up the walls of the ballroom, destroying the snowman, Olaf, they had made only a few moments before in pure joy.

“Mama, papa!” she held her sister close and tried to comfort her as much as possible, not even sure if there was any way to comfort her.

Her parents burst through the iced over doors and looking around the room gasped at the amount of ice which had covered the room. They saw their daughters in the middle of the room and their hearts dropped to see their youngest being held by her sister.

“Elsa, what have you done? This has gone too far!” the King angrily said to his eldest as he came to her side.

Elsa’s mother picked up Anna in her arms and before she could scold her husband for acting so harshly to their eldest her heart dropped to feel how cold Anna had become. No human should be that cold!

“She’s ice cold!” the worry in the Queen’s eyes was evident as she looked at her husband.

“I know where we have to go!” the King said. How did he know? It was not something he had ever told his wife nor anyone else in the staff. The only ones who would know would be the old record keepers who kept the history of the royal family.

His family was no stranger to magic. His Aunt had been born with magic and the King himself had to have help from the trolls from a magical accident. There had been stories of her succumbing to her magic due to being bitter to her family who had cast her out. The King was not aware of what had happened, only that she had been told that there was a way of controlling her magic and doing good, but his father had been too afraid and had sent her away to learn, away from the new prince.

To the colony of the Trolls the family raced as quickly as possible. Upon arriving the King wondered if the story had been just that, a story. All he saw were rocks covered in moss around him, but he called out for anyone who was listening all the same.

“Please, we need help. It’s my daughter!” he pleaded to the night air.

The boulders began to roll towards the new comers and as their faces appeared they recognized the King and his family.

The eldest troll walked forward and having already sensed the magic within Elsa took her hands.

“Born with the power or cursed?” he asked the King.

“Uh.. b… Born. Aaa…aa…and it’s getting stronger.”

The troll nodded and then looked over Anna. He nodded, “You are lucky it was not her heart. The heart is not easily swayed, but the head…”

“Do what you must!” the King frightened for his youngest life paid little to no attention to Elsa who was trying to keep her fear in check as the Troll worked on her sister.

“I suggest we remove all magic. But don’t worry, I will leave the fun.” he weaved through Anna’s memories changing the situations which needed to be changed in her memory.

“But she won’t remember that I have powers?” Elsa worried.

“It’s for the best.” The King tried to reassure her.

“Come here, Elsa. Your power will grow. There is beauty in it, but fear will be your enemy! Learn to control it or else it will control you,” the Troll tried to get Elsa to understand, though he knew she was too young to, and tonight had frightened her.

“No, we will protect her. She can learn to control it, I’m sure. Until then, we will reduce the staff. Keep her inside and away from people. Including Anna.”

As the Troll listened to the King’s idea he frowned, “Your majesty, I believe that is the worst thing for Elsa in this situation.”

The King looked startled and was surprised at being contradicted. His anger was beginning to swell which was evident by the red which was raising from under his collar.

“Please understand, your majesty. Locking Elsa away, especially from Anna is going to make her fear her powers and as I have already said, fear will be her enemy. If I am correct you do not have any sorcerrer in your castle at the moment, correct?”

The King still fuming, “No, not currently, I do not trust them, truthfully.” It was true, after the stories of his accident as a child had made him fearful of any magic and when his eldest had begun to show signs of powers he had cowered away from her and had turned most of his attention and love to his youngest while treating his eldest more as a student rather than a daughter.

“My suggestion is to allow her to visit us so she can learn how to control her powers. We are able to sustain most anything which she could possibly dish out to us and we also have the knowledge of how to teach her,” the Troll watched the King who had calmed down while he had been talking, “Also, allow the two to play together still. Tell Anna that Elsa has extra studies due to being the eldest when she had to come to us, but do not seclude the two. Their love for each other will be helpful to Elsa more than our teachings even will be.”

The King looked to his wife who gave a slight nod. She had been scared by his decree of separating the two girls. They loved each other so much and she had no idea what that would do to their psyche.

And with that, a plan was made to for the teaching of Elsa with the Trolls.

Workspace

I have an office and it is finally at a point where I can actually work in it. I have been putting it off as I organized the rest of the house, but I finally have the majority of the house done and was able to focus on my office. It is by no means done, but I have a desk where my computer is now set up. I have my books starting to fill shelves I am having to add to. My pictures are all finding homes on the walls. I even found a service I can send my son’s artwork and school work into and they will photograph it for me and make a book of it all for me. I am in 7th Heaven with that idea. I have about three or four boxes of stuff and received another bag of it home the last week of school so I think the majority of the papers, now, are his school work.

With all of this accomplishment I have less excuse to write. I tried to do NaNo’s April Camp and flunked out after the first week. I could not find the time or the motivation as I was still trying to get the house under way. The next camp is in July and while I have no idea what I am going to do for it, I plan on doing as much writing as I can. I have been going to the gym during the day, which will open up the evenings to allow me to write. I just will have to make sure I am not too tired. I cannot seem to focus if I am too tired.

Information for The Night of Writing Dangerously has come out and I have my fundraising page setup here. I have only a week left before prices go up and would love if you could help me out in going. I went last year and had a wonderful time with networking and actually getting a really good chunk of words in during that night. There was so many speakers and fun stuff to do that night. I wasn’t sure what to expect but it was a wonderful experience and I cannot wait to do it again.

Alright, enough procrastinating, back to writing.

Romance Genre

I am curious, what is it about romance which makes it such a big seller? I don’t write romance, though I would like to try. According to a group I am a part of contemporary romance is the top dog for booksellers. Which, to me, sounds really boring. I have never been into romance. I have owned one romance book my entire life and that was to try it out as a teen and had somehow tricked my mother into allowing me to buy it (Sorry mom, it wasn’t from the teen section, I was just really curious). So, what is it about this genre which makes it so enticing?

Even when summer comes around one of the things which is kind of a summer thing is to hit the beach with a steamy romance novel. I have never actually seen anyone do this, though I have never really paid that close attention either. I would prefer a mystery on a summer beach, personally, but again, I am apparently not the targeted audience.

Romance, contemporary romance, is it because it allows us to touch upon a primal part of ourselves which may not be receiving what we need? Or perhaps, not that we aren’t receiving what we need, but allowing us to see something even stronger than what an everyday real-life relationship can even bring to us? I mean, these stories, at least from what I have seen, are about everyday men and women finding a connection which just reaches through the ages and through the depths of their souls. Is it the idea of a soulmate which entices the readers to pick these books up? Do all contemporary romance books actually have a soulmate type of story? Or is the main thing even more primal? Is the main thing they want to consume is that passion in the sexual fantasy which you only get every so often in real life? That feeling of utter and full living within the other person. To almost feel like your skin is one and the primal instinct of still wanting to be closer and deeper pouring into every pore it can find. I will admit, those moments I have had with my partner are intoxicating. Is that what it is which pulls readers into these books? Is THAT feeling? It is hard to get every time you have sex, but in a book, you can feel it through the pages if it is written well.

I am curious to see what those of you who read or write contemporary romance think. I am trying to understand and I have a very narrow sense of the genre in a whole. Which probably means I need to pick up a book or two before trying my hand at it. But, seriously, what is it which makes it almost a given that you will make at least a few bucks on a book written in this specific genre?

HydroFloat Short

I recently tried out Hydro Therapy and very much enjoyed it. They encourage people to create afterwards and it is understandable why. I did it late in the evening so having actually fallen asleep in the water I was a bit out of it when it came to a close and I stepped out. I was extremely energized and at first could not focus, but as my body calmed my mind opened up.

Here is what came out:

 

She came from no wehre, which of course is somewhere. She had no plans, no goals, no worries, and no woes. She travelled here and there without a care. Until she found us. The ones who cared. The ones who had to put everything into a box. What we did to her as we began to bend her mind. Her head having always been light was now uncomfortably heavy. Her mind wizzed and the pressure was so much.

She lost th edesier to travel and imagine. The things we told her she must do and the things we told her was silly or stupid… it crushed who she was to become the nothing from which she came from.

What we have done was – no is – unforgivable. She died the moment she walked into our world. A world we consider living is truly that of the living dead. We allow nothing of the true freedom of the soul, though we claim we do.

The conventions we live by crush, smother, and eventually kill us.

2018 NYC Midnight Short Story Challenge

Last year I was introduced to NYC Midnight short story challenge. They give you a genre and two other criteria to incorporate into a short story piece. If you write a unique enough piece which follows the necessary pieces then you move on to the next round. There are three or four rounds (I forget now) but I was unable to pass the first round last year. You can see my piece here. It was supposed to be a comedy and I failed miserably at doing that.

This year I entered early for two reasons. One, they were offering $5 off the entry price. Two, I was worried I would chicken out when the time came at the beginning of the year to actually sign up. I had actually forgotten I had signed up and was trying to decide if I even wanted to when I received a reminder email about the event. After searching my email I found the receipt showing I had paid early to enter. Well, I guess I knew what I was doing and knew myself pretty well since I had not planned on entering it at that point.

I figured there was no way I would receive comedy the second year in a row and was ready for what the committee was going to give me. Well, comedy was apparently going to see if I had learned anything over the past year since that is again the genre I was given. The other two pieces being teacher’s assistant and recycling. Those two lend themselves hand in hand actually pretty well, but I keep thinking of making it a social commentary rather than a comedy. I know I can do both, but I have a hard time not making something like this into a drama.

So, I have been doing some research and landed on 10 Ways to Improve Your Writing While Thinking Like a Comedy Writer. I think I may have found it last year since some of it sounded familiar, but the ten ways make a lot of sense in just writing in general. Hopefully, it can help me through this challenge well enough to move on to the next challenge. And hopefully, I will not receive another comedy genre.