How NaNoWriMo has helped me get to hell with my hand basket.

22 Nov

Hi everyone, so that was week 3 of NaNoWriMo, everything running along smoothly for you? Still enjoying it or over it by now and waiting for December first to crack open the advent calendar door and eat the crappy choc inside?

I actually had a good week at NaNoWriMo this week, despite not making it to 5,000 words on any of the days. I managed around 3,600 words last Sunday, and 2,000 words on Thursday… but that’s it. The rest of the week was just bits and pieces, some blogging and a lot more research for There’s no place like Hell. All the same I’m proud of what I achieved as it got me to a point in the story I’ve had stuck in my head for a long time, and it was such a fantastic feeling to finally get it down on paper. Those who follow me on social media may have heard me go on about ‘meeting a headless man, driving a white van, named Karen’. Well, it finally happened! And we’re now on our way to hell! We’ve even made it onto Charon’s (not Karen’s) ferry to pass through the veil to the other side. Yes, penguin high fives all round as that seriously is awesome news. 🙂

The thing I like the most about this week’s writing is how enjoyable it has been. It’s taken me into areas I knew I was going to touch on, but I never realised how in depth I was going to go into the Other World afterlife. There’s no place like Hell had always been about my protagonist Stephanie going to hell to save the soul of someone she didn’t particularly like, but had to help as part of her new role as ‘Protector of souls’. The basic premise was she felt the deal he’d made with a soul collector, Wroth, was null and void as he’d done it when drunk. That took me into an interesting part of research into contract law and exactly where you stand if signing contracts or making deals while under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Yeah, don’t do it, in most cases you’re still legally obliged to stay committed to that deal.

I also had fun looking into the different portals or gateways to hell that are reported to being around the world. My favourite one being a giant sinkhole in Japan filled with boiling hot, red mud. What tickles me so much about it is the newly created visitor centre, heath spa and gift shop. What every gateway to hell needs… don’t you think?

When I then started doing more of the actual writing of the story, I loved how it took me off on a tangent I’d not even considered. The whole mix of faiths, beliefs and interpretations of what happens after death intermingling together, wow! The dullahan and Ankou reapers and soul collectors going about their tasks, the journey through the veil in the white van that has seen better days and onto a huge passenger ferry big enough to take vehicles. The interactions with the deities of the dead, how they’ve moved with the times, the population and the global spread. Originally the whole travelling through the afterlife, and the afterlife part of it itself was just this small thing in my mind. I was so focussed on getting to hell and the whole demon interaction I have planned there I’d not even realised this was going to take place. And I love it. I just hope my readers do too.

So this week has been a good NaNoWriMo week for me. I’ve not just enjoyed the discovery through research; I’ve also enjoyed the discovery through my own writing. I know that sounds lame, but I quite honestly don’t often know what is going on in my own stories until it happens… until I’ve written it down. Mr Vontant is a classic example of this. I never planned on him, never expected him to turn into one of my favourites, never thought of having him be what he is… which would be a spoiler so I’m not about to give that away. I’m pretty sure it isn’t explained until at least book four or five. But, see, if it wasn’t for him now there wouldn’t be a book four or five. He is part of my Other World weaving. I knew hell was going to influence my protagonist quite a bit (more spoilers if I mention what I mean) but I’m amazed and simply love how much the Other World’s afterlife has influenced me. I’m very much pro belief. It doesn’t matter what your belief is as it’s personal and should only mean what it does to you. Heck, as long as you intentionally harm none with your beliefs and don’t go around cramming them down other people’s throats, you’re fabulous. Even if that belief is to not believe. Yes, there are no atheists in my afterlife. As my afterlife is very strongly belief driven and if your belief is there is nothing… you won’t be part of it. I think I’ve got a good support system set up for the agnostics too, pamphlets and interviews with the different deities and all. 😉

I hope your NaNoWriMo has been as fruitful and fun. One more week to go before we can all start patting each other on the back for a job well done. Even if you don’t make that glorious 50,000 words the original NaNoWriMo was created for, even if you don’t make your own personal goals… as long as you’ve done some writing, loved and enjoyed that writing – and any interaction with other writers as you do it – then you’ve done well and had a successful time. Being a Writer is awesome, but like anything in this world – don’t compare yourself and your skill to others. You’re you, so just be you. Yes I say my writing is in a similar style as… insert names here. But my writing is still my writing and it’s all me.

To those publishers who don’t want a distinctly Australian voice as it doesn’t sell – I don’t care, don’t sell my work.

To those people who look at commercial fiction and urban fantasy in distain as around here we only accept you into our social circles if you write poetry, literary fiction or historical romance – I don’t care, your loss not mine. I’m an anti-social cow as it is and wouldn’t turn up even if you did invite me. 😉

To those who look down their nose at me as I am ‘merely’ an eBook author while their books are on paper in print – take a look at your royalties. If you’re happy with your 5% of royalties for a paper book compared to my 45%, good on you. Well done.

To those of you who just write for yourselves and for your friends to read. Who only publish on blogs and fanfic sites and the like – bravo! You are Writers with the capital letter and be proud of your work too as you’re writing is just as important.

Not meaning to sound too Yoda like, but write or don’t write. But when you do write, be yourself, write the way you want to, not the way you think you need to to make money, be famous or get published. If you take nothing else away from NaNoWriMo, take this: As in everything we do in life, be yourself. It makes the job a lot more fun and show people just how amazing you are. If they can’t see it their loss, not yours.

Wow! I hadn’t meant to end with a bit of a bitch and then a pep rally, but there you go. I’ve had a stressful few weeks out in reality and so writing has really helped me relax and find myself again. That and the nut milk cacao lattes I’ve been making. 😉 And did you see the chocolate biscuit recipe I created on my Foodie blog? Oops, shameless plug.

Summing it up – write for yourself, enjoy what you write. If you’re lucky enough to find others who like reading it as much as you do, that’s a bonus. But the fact you’ve written it and enjoyed the journey, then you’ve already ‘made it’.

After recent feedback on Bonnie’s Story: A Blonde’s Guide to Mathematic asking if there will be a sequel… I suddenly had a desire to read it again. And despite spotting areas I felt could do with an edit, I really enjoyed reading it as a book. The fact I’d written it meant nothing. I fell in love with Rogan and Bonnie all over again and can’t wait to learn what else they get up to… Once I finish with Stephanie in another four books time. Yes, I may have written about them all, but that honestly doesn’t mean I know what they will do. I love that about writing… I’m merely the tool these people use to appear on paper. 😉

So NaNoWriMo companions – keep writing when December hits, keep enjoying the journey and keep being yourself as you do it. It’s the best person you can be and you’re awesome at it!

Until next time,

Janis. XXOO


Posted by on November 22, 2014 in Writing


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6 responses to “How NaNoWriMo has helped me get to hell with my hand basket.

  1. Leonie

    November 23, 2014 at 11:23 am

    Nice post Janis! I’m not sure if you’ve read anything by Patty Jansen, but she echoes your comments about the Australian voice in writing.

    • janishill

      November 23, 2014 at 11:50 am

      Thanks. No I’ve not heard of Patty (but we know I’m a recluse). Would love to read any of her work that comments on the Australian voice as it’s a big thing for me. My fan base is full of people from the USA, Canada and the UK who love my work BECAUSE of it’s Australian Voice. But when you have places like Momentum Books poo pooing it and saying they won’t accept it as their audience doesn’t want it… it does make you wonder if they’re actually listening to their audience. 😉

      But that’s another blog post. 😀

      • Leonie

        November 23, 2014 at 12:13 pm

        Have a look around here This post mentions it, but I suspect you’d enjoy her website. She writes SF, and I’ve read a couple and really enjoyed them.

    • janishill

      November 23, 2014 at 12:18 pm

      Thanks Leonie, will do.

  2. Pingback: Leonie Rogers
  3. Lacey Fowler

    February 22, 2023 at 3:39 pm

    Thankks for the post


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