Saturday, December 1, 2012

My Pen Ran Out Ink - My 2012 NaNoWriMo Adventure

I hate feeling overwhelmed. I'm a writer, I love to write, but I've discovered it's not wise to over commit yourself. Last year I contracted 5 books. What was I thinking?

When National Novel Writing Month started creeping around the corner, I knew I had to commit to it. I'm down to 3 contracts, but even still, finding the time to write is challenging. This was my opportunity to catch up.

About two weeks out I started researching my project, Book 3 in the Moldavian Moon series, Sunrise Over Brasov. The paper flew. The ink spilled. Character bios. Thank goodness for Google images. I stocked up on pens, paper, French Roast Coffee and ink cartridges. I drew maps and outlined a plot. Come 1 NOV I was ready to write. My goal? 5 handwritten pages a day.

The challenge isn't actually the writing. Juliet, my muse, is fired up, has the strawberries stocked up, and is ready to go. It's finding THE TIME. Juliet will throw a hissy fit if I don't find THE TIME to write. I hate it when my muse gets mad at me.

November 1st came and I hit the paper writing. Words flowed like a rushing river onto the paper. The hero, Michael, re-kidnapped the heroine, Rosa, from the evil werewolf's fortress. I even fit in a day to meet with my NaNoWriMo buddy, Jenifer Ranieri at Panera.

Then my pen ran out of ink.
Juliet forced me to use a pencil.

My son, Joe, had a tumbling and trampoline class and his regular gymnastic class. Taxi service time.
Juliet made me take my laptop.

My son, Andrew, had basketball practice and Hip Hop Dance.
Juliet got mad when I told her I watching football on Sundays.

She pushed me toward the paper, whispered sweet nothings into my ear, promised me Lindor chocolates, and made me neglect my emails. I've got one account with over 700 emails.

THE TIME threatened to derail my progress, but Juliet kept me steady. My 6-year-old hid my thesaurus under couch because he wanted "Mommy" time, but Juliet found it.

I'm tired, weary, my fingers ache and I have a couple more gray hairs because I was stressed out to the max, but I did it. I'm a NaNoWriMo winner!

My treat? Lindor truffles and French Roast coffee from Starbucks. Actually, I'm hoping to give Jen Ranieri a buzz. Maybe we can go to lunch to celebrate if THE TIME lets me. He's a demanding beast right now.

The good news? I have over 50K on "Sunrise Over Brasov." There's more to write, but I'm pleased with the plot and characters. Now I can slow down and smell the roses.

The bad news?

I have to catch up on over 700 emails. Juliet tells me there's a button called delete. I'm not so sure.

For those who took the challenge and won, Juliet wants to invite you to a party. (Not at my house!) She's serving strawberries and chocolate.

For those who took the challenge and didn't quiet finish, Juliet says she's available for hire at a fee.

She's a taskmaster, just so you know.

I'd love to hear about your NaNoWriMo experience. Did you write with others in your region? What region do you come from? Give a shout out. Did you hang out at the coffee shop? Run out of ink, too? Share your word count and your story!
Author Bio: Stephanie Burkhart is a 911 dispatcher for LAPD, a taxi service for her boys, and addicted to dark chocolate and strawberries. The first book in the Moldavian Moon series is "The Wolf's Torment." Can Mihai save his family from an evil werewolf that threatens to destroy their happiness?

Here's a sample from the opening of Sunrise Over Brasov:

Several gunshots and piercing screams forced Rosa from the comfort of her bed. Uncertainty knotted in her stomach. What was happening? Flinging off the covers, she rushed to the window and pushed aside the heavy drapes. The thunderous noise made her pulse erratic. 
Frost had collected on the thick windowpane. Outside, several gun muzzles flashed – or was it nistal root exploding? She couldn't be sure. Overhead, a waxing half moon appeared just over the Brasov skyline. Rose worried her lower lip. The battle continued, but who would attack the fortress? 

She glanced at the mechanical brass clock on the table next to the fireplace. Five-thirty in the morning. The logs in the fireplace smoldered, threatening to flame out. Sunrise would come soon. She approached the chair next to her bed and slid her robe over her shoulders, crossing her arms over her chest to keep warm. Should she determine if Clement needed help, or should she check on Rickard? This fighting might trigger a change in him.

The door flung open and a man stepped into her room. Who was he? The vaguely familiar scent of sandalwood and pine filled her senses. Her heartbeat spiked, but she held her ground and set her chin, determined not to show him an ounce of fear. 
There was no denying his masculinity. He was tall and his massive shoulders filled out the cloak he wore. Most of his facial features were enveloped by shadows, but she could make out his penetrating amber-hazel eyes through the darkness. A soft gasp escaped her. 

He raised his hand and lowered his hood. An inherent strength filled his profile. Confidence. Concern. Relief. 
Rosa's breath jammed in her throat. He looked familiar. He smelled familiar. 
"Rosa, it's Michael. Let's go."

"I'm not going anywhere with you."


  1. I was not a winner. I tried, but could not keep up with the high demand of words and work the Renaissance Faire. I used a notebook and pen as well, but because I didn't have a laptop. What made you decide to write by hand?

    Congratulations on winning and I do hope Juliet eases up on you a little for December.

    1. IDM ((Hugs)) I write by hand because they don't let us us a computer or lap top at work. I answer 911 for LAPD so when I have down time, I write, but no computer.

      I'm sending Juliet on a vacation to Hawaii!

  2. Hey! I participated but also had difficulty finding the time. I ended up with my lowest score ever 32000. But I'm proud I did that much, I think that's about a third of the total story. And I've been plotting to save my critique partner some misery :)

    1. Wren, not bad! I think 32K is great. And you do have 1/3 of a story. It's a good start.


  3. I never did a Nano. Years ago, we had something similar on the FTHRW loop, but we wrote at our own pace and reported wc the next day. It was a good stimulant. Contrary to your Juliet, my muse--no name-- prefers to take her time, ask for write and rewrite.
    Congratulations on the 50,000 words. Amazing. It would take me three months to write them.

    1. Mona, Juliet could take a page out of your muse's book. I wouldn't mind. hehe...


  4. Wonderful post! Love the title. :) Thanks for sharing your NaNo experience. I made it to the goal, but I've got a lot of repair work to do. Congrats to all who participated in NaNo.

  5. Cher, congrats on making it to goal. I have some repair to work to do, too, but I'm glad to be a winner. hehe.

    Have some chocolate on me.