Write 50k words in 30 days

Are you doing NaNo? NaNoWriMo in November is the big annual challenge to write 50k words in just 30 days.

I’ve done it a few times before but never won but that doesn’t deter me. My feeling is that as long as I take part, I am still making progress towards my goal. If you want to be buddies on NaNo, I am Redfae (add me and when I log on, I’ll add you back).

The Project

I’ve spent most of September and October plotting Diamond in the Sky ready for NaNoWriMo. I’ve been plotting using Save the Cat. I still have some work to do to develop my B Story characters but I think I am ready enough for 1 November.

Diamond in the Sky is a spin off novel from Jewel of the Sea, following Kya’s life spiral out of control after getting dumped.

Get involved

Writing can be a rather solitary experience but together with some other members of World Indie Warriors, we shall be hosting live write-ins.

I shall be doing lives every Monday in November at 9pm on Instagram. These will be a chance to chat about how our writing projects are going and get motivated for the week ahead. Even if you aren’t doing NaNo, feel free to join in the chats and cheer everyone on.

On Monday, 21 October, I did my first ever Instagram live with Jodie Groom. I was really nervous so she offered to join me online as a test run to figure things out before November and support me.

To see the live from last Monday you will need to be a member of World Indie Warriors Closed Facebook Group. It’s easy to join. Just click the join button on Facebook.

If Monday’s aren’t for you then you’ll be hyped to hear there will be other write-ins during the week. Check out the schedule to discover other days and times to join WIW online.  Some members will be doing adhoc write-ins.


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To Connect On Social Media
Click My Link Tree
To Connect On Social Media

How much development do you give you Secondary characters?

Day 18 of March’s Instagram photo challenge by  #womenwritingfiction #wwfchallenge2019 was “Tell us about your secondary characters.”
Personally, I spend quite a bit of time developing my secondary characters.  I like to know what makes them tick so I can ensure they remain true to who they are.  Often, I fall in love with a character so much that I want to write them their own story, like Kya – currently writing Diamond in the Sky about her.  
I decided to spotlight Denny.  One of the stories about this character is below.  I hope you enjoy this snipped into her background and I would love to hear about whether you enjoy developing your secondary characters as much as your primary characters.  
Image from Unsplash artist Kinga Cichewicz of how I picture grown up Denny https://ift.tt/2DByKkK


View on Instagram https://ift.tt/2Ofw15V

Unpack (Denny)

Gwyn had been a mother and best friend all rolled into one neat package. I picked the sticky tape off another cardboard box. Packing up had been a difficult chore but unpacking was a never ending task.

Revealing the contents, I realised this would be no quick task. At the top was a powder blue photo album with white writing ‘My Baby’. I can’t resist the urge to look at pictures of my son. I clutched it to my chest in the same manner I had when he had been small enough to do so.

The first page was a photo of him only hours old. Gwyneth had been my only visitor at hospital and took the photo for me.

Gosh, I look so young. Too young to be a mum!

I pulled the rigid board of the front cover free from the slip to retrieve a picture I had hidden there. It had been taken in a photo booth, a sketch of us together in black and white. Dean believed pictures looked better like that. Now, it was disappointing as the picture didn’t show the kaleidoscope of golds his hair had shone that hot May.

The Easter fair had been in town, we were down for the holidays. Mum had given my brother Greg and I some money to go ‘treat ourselves’.

“What ride do you want to go on first?” Greg asked as we walked along the closed off road.

It was dark and the rides were lit up by brightly coloured bulbs and painted with images of seductive looking women with large breasts and glossy lips.

“I don’t know,” I shrugged. “They all look lame to me.”

Image from Unsplash artist Gabriel Matula of how I picture a teenage Denny: https://unsplash.com/@gmat07


There was the familiar crashing of bumper cars and the rotation of horses on the carousel. There were the more dangerous rides for older kids like Rock City where a row of chains rotated up and down getting faster and faster, Metropolis where everyone put their faith in centrifugal force as they stood in the cage of a spinning wheel tipping on its side as they stuck to the wall. There was Niagara Falls which consisted of two carpeted tubes that spun in different direction causing you to fall to the ground. Last time we were here it gave me carpet burn. All of them looked like they would either make me sick or cover me in bruises.

“I’m gonna get some candy floss.” My brother said irritated by my lack of adventure. He had been bored at the caravan and the fair was all that had kept him going.

I begrudgingly followed him whilst he flirted with two young girls in the queue. He allowed them to steal bites of the blue fluffy cloud of sugary sweetness. My brother was terrible with his cheesy lines ‘are all the girls around here as gorgeous as you?’

One of the girls, who had slicked her hair back into a ponytail eyed me with her dark lined eyes, “Your girlfriend?”

“Sister.” My brother quickly corrected her but his grin clearly read ‘I’m in there!’

The girl rubbed her arms to brush off the cold. “Wanna game of pool?”

Obviously my brother said yes. He had lost all interest in the rides now his sole attention was on this girl, who to me looked like a slapper. Sadly, that was probably what he liked about her.

Her friend was chewing gum and seemed to be eyeing everyone up for a fight. Even when she smiled at my brother her eyes were half closed and she almost looked as if she was snarling, so I was surprised when she said, “You want to play?”

I shook my head. “I’ll just watch.”

I felt a little like a gooseberry standing on the side lines watching my brother tickle this girl every time she tried to take a shot. She giggled and blushed, “Stop cheating!”

I saw a pinball machine and decided to give it a go. The popular theme tune to the Adams Family started up. I pulled back the lever and let it go. The spring raced forward, smacking into the round silver ball and spinning it onto the table. The ball bounced off some bells and was heading down towards the bottom. My hands leaned over the edge of the table ready to hit the buttons to cause the flickers to stop the ball from being lost.

“You’ll never beat my score.”

I jumped and hit the button too late. Angrily, I searched for the person responsible for my loss, only to be taken back by the most beautiful eyes and gorgeous smile I had ever had the pleasure of meeting. As if moving in slow motion, I blushed as I watched the ball bounce and roll down the middle bringing the game to a halt.

“Dean.” He said confidently.

All I could see was his cocky grin and cool blue eyes. He had long blond hair that swept across his face in rebellious waves. He looked like he had stepped off the set of some Californian beach surfer movie and I couldn’t take my eyes off him.

“You’ve still got another ball.” He said with a thick Suffolk accent that killed my Mr Muscle Beach fantasy.

My hands shook rapidly to the beat of my heart and it was more difficult to pull the bar back the second time. I let it go and tried again to keep the ball on the table but I was all flustered. I managed to hit it back into the game twice more before it disappeared for good.

“It’s your last ball. Do you want my help?”

My throat was tied up in knots, pretty much like my stomach and I couldn’t speak. I gave a nod. The next thing I knew, he was standing behind me. His hand clasped over mine and we drew back the lever together. “Never go all the way.” His hot breath tickled my neck like a forewarning my body wanted to rebel against. “Otherwise the ball will be too fast to keep up with. You need it to be just enough to put it on the board and get stuck behind those bells. Then you will get the maximum points.” He let go of my hand and I released it. I let it go and as my hands fumbled for the buttons, I felt his fingers guiding me into place, finally resting gently over the top of mine.

That was how my romance for ‘Hugo Boss’ had begun.  The scent surrounded me in the same way his arms were. It was intoxicating the way it gripped my senses and spun my world like the little silver ball. From that day forward, it became the smell that I associated with summer, replacing the uplifting fresh salty sea breeze and lashings of sun lotion. I no longer hungered for the tantalising sweetness of a ninety-nine vanilla ice-cream and chocolate flake; I just wanted to taste Dean. That was the start of the holiday romance that broke my heart and changed my life eternally.

Looking at the photo, I was surprised to discover how similar Dean looked to Jace. I shouldn’t have been surprised, after all Dean was his dad. The last time he had come to mind had been when I met Dave, my fiancé. The first thing that caught my attention was the heart capturing scent of Hugo.

Now Jace was wearing it thanks to Dave trying to bond with him “Wear this, the women love it.” I never told Dave why this woman loved it.

“Wings” by Birdy


This song has beautiful imagary that I feel captures the intoxicating feeling of first love and the magic of the whirlwind, followed by the crushing destruction when all is not as it was and all you have left is sweet memories that are painful to carry.  I think it captures the emotions of the scene above well.

If you enjoyed this chapter, you may also like:

What theme is heavily portrayed in your story?

Do you keep notebooks of story ideas?

Does your story have an antagonist/bad guy?

I did #FebWritersChallenge


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Tips for Surviving NaNoWriMo

If you follow my blog then you know that on Mondays, I like to share posts by other bloggers that I have enjoyed.  Today, I am sharing with you an article by Stacey Jane McIntosh. 

Tips for Surviving NaNoWriMo 

Stacey is attempting NaNoWriMo and attempting the the full 50k words.  This isn’t her first time and in her article she shares what she has learnt to help other writers.  If you are doing NaNo, this is worth a read!


Who is Stacey

Stacey writes paranormal romances and Celtic fairy tales – she sounds like my type of girl and I should probably go check out her books.  She blogs about what she is reading and writing so if that appeals to you, then give her a follow.  

Would you like to be featured?

I am always looking for new bloggers to feature on my blog.  If you are interested, please comment to help me find you blog.  I often share articles on writing, blogging, parenting or organic beauty.

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How to prepare for NaNoWriMo? #amwriting

What is NaNoWriMo?

It stands for National Novel Writing Month. The event started with a November challenge to write 50k words in 30 days.

Now, the event runs on other months of the year and you can set different word count goals.

How to get started

Firstly, you will need to create an account on NaNoWriMo. Here you can record your progress and if you complete the challenge you get a certificate. There are also other benefits (keep reading to find out more).

One benefit are the free participant images that you can use to show you are taking part on social media.

Story idea

It’s best to have an idea of what story you will be working on before you start. Coming up with ideas is never a problem for me. Staying focussed on one is where I struggle – I’m confident NaNo will help fix that.

I asked Instagram and Twitter which project they thought I should work on as I was couldn’t decide.

Set it in stone

Update your NaNo account with details about the project you have chosen.

Write a blurb (the text on the back of a book) and, if you have already started the project, include a sample (I.e. first chapter). You can update this at any point during/after the challenge.

I like to use Canva to quickly make a simple book cover image. It’s also great for making social media pictures.


NaNo can be intense and it can really help if you know where your story is going. An outline is a brief overall plot for your story and helps you stay on track. It can also be useful at the end for writing your synopsis.

I shall be using the snowflake tool in Wavemaker to do this.

Character Development

It can help to know who your main characters are and their names. Especially, if like me, naming your characters takes time.

Click here for my article on naming characters.

World Building

Wherever your story is set there will be an element of world building. You need to consider where they live, the type of homes and people, jobs, education and how it is run.

If you are creating a new world then this will need more thought as you will need to consider everything from species to habitats and vegetation.

My story is set in a post-apocalyptic environment and therefore needs a lot of world building as the nature of our current state has changed drastically.

The setting of your story can be as vivid and diverse as any character. Places have history and can change a lot over time.


By signing up on NaNo you will gain access to some great deals just for writers and some of these are for writing software.

This year, I have chosen to use Dabble Writer again as I love how easy it is to use and it keeps track of my word count so updating NaNo is a breeze.

Click here for my review of this product. I’ll review it again at the end of NaNo as I understand it’s even better now. It is free to trial during November for NaNo!

Writing Buddies/Camp NaNo

Sometimes they run a There are online camps for NaNo participants. It will group you with people that have similar goals or projects. Then you keep each other motivated as the challenge isn’t easy. I loved this during the July challenge but sadly it looks as if camp is running for November.

If you get a group that’s not very active, share how you are doing on social media. Writing doesn’t have to be a lonely business. Connect. Other writers are out there and want to see you succeed. You can do it.


The charm of NaNo is that it gets you in the habit of writing. Try to write every day. Every bit you do is progress.

If you don’t hit your goal, keep writing. If you only achieve 20k, that’s still 20k more than when you started. Don’t quit. Writers don’t quit.

November is notoriously a busy month for me and if it wasn’t for NaNo I’d likely not get any writing done. I never shy away from the challenge and one year I will achieve… maybe, this year.

Good luck

Let me know if you are taking the challenge and wish to be NaNo buddies.

Links to articles regarding my previous attempt are:

  If you want know how I got on read my NaNoWriMo diary entries for Week One, Week Two, Week Three, Week Four or NaNo Done.

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Reflecting on Camp NaNoWriMo (July 2018)

NaNoWriMo stands for National Novel Writing Month. You set yourself a word count goal and attempt to write often (ideally daily).

I thought NaNoWriMo was only in November.  November is full of birthdays and we often take a family vacation which means I get very little time to write that month. It turns out there are now more months throughout the year to take the challenge and July is one of those.

Challenge over.PNG

Sadly, I did not achieve my goal of 25k. It was rather ambitious considering I’ve had a lot on this month with:

  • Noah finishing at both his nurseries (2 x sports day, graduation and leaver parties)
  • Taster days at his new school including homework
  • Continuing to work up to 39 weeks pregnant was exhausting most evenings I just wanted to sleep
  • Hypnobirthing classes were so relaxing, afterwards I was too chilled to write
  • Increase in midwife appointments as my due date nears

Things I hadn’t anticipated affecting my goal:

  • Noah catching a sick bug
  • My husband getting Labyrinths (swelling inside the ear drums)
  • Myself catching a cold and I can’t take any meds (a week on and it is almost gone now)
  • Referral on my last CIPD assignment so I had to work on resubmitting that
  • The opportunity to write for Ginger Parrot!

As I’ve not done this challenge before I had no idea what was a realistic goal. I decided on 25k as I felt that would be achievable and yet also challenging.  Perhaps, ordinarily that would have been true but I hadn’t anticipated the germs about to invade my home or how tired pregnancy and keeping up with work and a 4 year old would make me.

Putting that aside, I am super impressed with what I have achieved *pats myself on the back*.  I’ve also identified from my daily word counts that certain days I am more productive and other days I don’t write at all.  It could be that these are the days that I am working on my blog posts.


At points, I fell back in love with my story and was excited and proud about scenes I created. Other times, it was a struggle and I know I’ll need to return to fix some parts lacking in lustre.  I also discovered I don’t have to write my novel in chapter order, I can skip ahead and return to parts later and this sometimes makes things more clearer.

I also managed to keep up with my blog posts (just about), however, I have drafted a new schedule to reduce posting as I think blogging will be more challenging with a newborn.  I’ve also agreed to keep writing for Ginger Parrot and they’ve added me to their team page – this is a big achievement for me and I don’t want to let them down.

Novel writing is my first love and I’m hoping that in the coming months I will find a way to make more time for this. I don’t quite know how yet but perhaps setting myself monthly word count goals would be a good start.  I think I’ll start low and try to beat it each month…


Did you do the NaNoWriMo challenge?  How do you manage to juggle life and your writing goals?  I would love to hear how you got on.

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Camp NaNoWriMo (July 2018)

I literally signed up yesterday! This challenge is inline with my July writing goal. Wish me luck…

5 Tips for achieving NaNoWriMo

When I attempted NaNoWriMo back in November 2017 I blogged 5 tips to help you achieve. The only thing I’m doing different this time is my goal is 25k words and I’m going to use Google Docs so I can write anywhere! If you’d like to read my tips, please click here.

What I learnt from failing

Well November 2017 was a very challenging month for me and I didn’t achieve NaNoWriMo despite my top tips. November is always busy month for me but last year’s November was awful!

I don’t think you should see failure as a reason to give up. It’s a chance to learn and grow and become even better. If you’d like to learn from my mistakes, please click here.