Andi Winter

Writer, Reader, Tea Drinker, Chrononaut

Nanowrimo 2018 – Days 7-9

Day 7

Honestly? I’m feeling sick to my stomach and blocked. I am not looking forward to writing. This feels like work and a ‘should do’ — not fun and ‘I get to do this!’ Really wanting to continue with this total-pantsing attempt, but it’s uncomfortable. I keep wanting to rough outline the novel, but I have no idea of even how to do that with the current work.

I enjoyed writing the talking dog, and the banter between the characters, but I’m just feeling incredibly lost, and that I’d rather eat potato chips and watch TV or read a Regency Romance novel, all the while this novel is eating at me. And I haven’t documented my process (well) enough to know if this is par for the course for me, or no, this technique just isn’t working for me, or no, I can’t say anything about this new technique because I haven’t given it a fair shake (it’s only been seven days).

Fundamentally, I want writing this novel to be a “HELL, YEAH!”, and not a whimpering-suffering trial. Feel like I need an Idea to butt kick this thing. Or I could just sit with it…

10″ 140 words (cleaning up Chapter 5)

TOTALS SO FAR: 355″ & 7434 words


Day 8

Spent some time thinking about all of the metaphorical balls in play with this novel. Maybe there is something I’ve overlooked, some linch pin that will get me excited about writing it.

Some immeasurable time, with no words added to the novel

TOTALS SO FAR: 355″ & 7434 words


Day 9

Time to face my fears. I just sat with Writemonkey open, because after reading Dean Wesley Smith’s blog post about “typing faster does not mean being prolific” I took from that: more time of Butt in Chair, it’s not about speed, and have fun.

Got some more words in, mostly description and setting so far, but it’s clean writing (i.e. finished draft). And there is now a tiki bar in the story! Feeling a little better about this process.

Just approaching the writing like Barbara Ueland says: quietly stringing beads. Going pretty well.

60″ 988 words

TOTALS SO FAR: 415″ & 9423 words

Nanowrimo 2018 – Days 4-6

Day 4

Having written nearly 3,000 words yesterday must have taxed Muse because I just wasn’t feeling it today. Ended up blogging about the work so far. That counts for something, right?

TOTALS SO FAR: 215″ & 4357 words

Day 5

Spent an hour today cleaning up what I’ve written so far. This means reading through the story from the beginning and filling in details I skipped (like dialogue tags) and fixing inconsistencies (wait, did I say her eyes were blue or green? wasn’t there a dog sitting nearby?). Cleaning up writing is like cleaning the house—it takes time, and most people probably won’t necessarily notice the effort, but you do (and some will notice, subconsciously or not).

60″ 140 words

TOTALS SO FAR: 275″ & 4497 words

Day 6

A day of contrasts. Muse is back and chattering at me, so I made some excellent progress; however, the experience of writing varied. The first few sessions the story moved along at a good pace, with the writing feeling light and easy. The last two sessions were slow, took a fair bit of effort, and just felt like I was slogging through. Still, words are words, and they seem to be decent words. I’ll take it.

FWIW, I still have no idea what genre this story is and where it is going. I’m still feeling rattled at this, but am trying to embrace it. Although it’s a little hard to embrace a cactus.

25″ 695 words

35″ 888 words

20″ cleaning what I’d written

25″ 552 words

25″ 562 words

TOTALS SO FAR: 345″ & 7194 words


Nanowrimo 2018 – Days 1-3

Day 1

Started the day with excitement (“It’s Nanowrimo time!”), immediately followed by fretting and dithering about what to write—what title, what kind of story, what genre.

I needed a title to start from, so I tried pulling together something from my half-title lists, but I wasn’t coming up with anything that grabbed me. Then I tried a random title generator, flipped through that at least six times (that’s 36 different titles) and still nothing grabbed me. Ended up asking my husband for a title and he came back with four options, and ah ha! At last a title caught my eye.

Then I found a writing prompt. Progress! But both the title and the writing prompt were so vague that the story could be anything: Romance? Adventure? Steampunk? Science Fiction? Argh!

So I waited for an image to appear in my head, got one, and started to write. One sentence. But ZOMG this would set the tone, determine the genre, of the whole story. This was critical. I had to get this right! What if I screwed it up? What if I got it wrong?

Shoving those thoughts to the side*, I forged ahead and just kept putting words down longhand. Ever so slowly.

The day ended with 650 words and the beginning of a story that I have absolutely no idea where it is taking place (somewhere dusty and flat with a mountain in the background), no idea what the story is about, and no idea what genre it is. I’m not entirely excited about what I have (a guy in an old decrepit farmhouse, he’s disgusted about it), but I will Trust the Process. <sigh>


20″ 375 words

20″ 275 words

TOTALS SO FAR: 40″ & 650 words


Day 2

Time to make the story more interesting to me, so I added a talking dog. He’s an intelligent and well-spoken dog, although he has picked up the cursing tic of our hero, but he’s giving our hero a raft of crap, so this is making the writing more fun.

I still have no idea where the story is taking place, why the hero is at the old farmhouse, what is up with the talking dog, who the woman is that the hero mentions, where the story is going, nor what genre this is—although with a talking dog, it’s probably not standard chick lit, so I can rule that genre out.

The one thing I do know is that our hero is going to Red Bluff. I have no idea why (or where that idea came from).

Chapter One is done. Speed is picking up, which is a good sign.

25″ 636 words

10″ 142 words

TOTALS SO FAR: 75″ & 1428 words


Day 3

Spent way too much time doing “research” on Red Bluff (it’s in California, south of Redding), and in the course of the research discovered some information about rumored Chinese tunnels under the town (for opium? cold storage? other nefarious purposes?).

This was after cleaning my writing room, because it’s terribly important that the place of creation be spotless. Now, while it was a good thing, and needed doing, let’s call it what it really was: procrastination.

Once I got my Butt in Chair (or couch, in my case), I started writing. My goal was 2000 words, and I ended up with nearly 3000. I’ll take that!

So now we have the hero, the talking dog, and a bitchy former classmate (and ex-girlfriend?) who a) is a US senator, and b) needs something from our hero (who happens to be a billionaire tech entrepreneur) for a device that can bring people back to life.

That may have been two chapters there.

The story is developing, and the speed picking up more as the story progresses.

20″ 147 words

40″ 692 words

40″ 981 words

40″ 1109 words

TOTALS SO FAR: 215″ & 4357 words



*Those thoughts were like a cat that doesn’t want to be picked up: it becomes incredibly dense and suddenly weighs twice its bodyweight and you cannot move it. At all.

Nanowrimo 2018 – oh, yes it’s on!

I’ve been getting a lot of questions from folks, asking me, “So, it’s November! It’s Nanowrimo*, right? Are you writing a novel?”

And my answer unequivocally is, “YES!”

It’s a bit of a change from the short fiction I’ve been writing this year (15 short stories completed since May, and a couple of those a tad bit too long to call “short”). Another change is that this novel will be written completely PANTSED**.

What that means is that I will not plan, outline, or otherwise think ahead with this novel. This is in direct contrast to, oh, every other novel I have written.

Yes, I am scared witless.

Perhaps I shouldn’t be. I’ve been essentially pantsing since May. All of the short stories (and novellas, ahem) have been written, for the most part, from writing prompts or random titles. The only outlining, when there was any, came about after the midpoint of the story, usually when I was trying to figure out what the hell the story was. The process involved reading through the story and searching for Easter eggs***, and then somehow, by the grace of the universe, the story would start to make sense and I could finish it.

But those were stories in the 3,000-18,000 word range.

Not 50,000.

And not with a deadline.

<pause for dramatic effect>

So here I will document the process, if nothing else than as a record for myself. I think I can do this; after all, I have managed to complete Nanowrimo eight times. It’s just that the whole leaping-off-into-the-abyss feeling is rather daunting. For a planner like me, this is unsettling, to say the least.

Hang in there with me! Become my Nanowrimo Writing Buddy (my user name is “andipedia”), and/or cheer/jeer me on in the comments.

To infinity (or 50,000) and beyond!


*Nanowrimo = National Novel Writing Month. When over 400,000 people around the world attempt to write a 50,000 word novel during the month of November. How long is 50,000 words? Think The Great Gatsby, Fight Club, The Red Badge of Courage.

**Pantsed = verb (past tense) of “Pants”: “to write by the seat of one’s pants” (i.e. to make the story up as one writes)

***Like the Easter eggs in movies or video games: some hidden detail. Also known as “Muse bombs,” where one’s Muse leaves little ‘bombs’ that can explode your creativity.

Happy release day!

Man, has it been awhile. There is nothing quite like having to relearn how to invent the wheel to remind you just how much you knew and then forgot. Damn.

But! I have two new stories out and available at last.

“Gravedigger’s Last Call” is a short story about a man, a beer, and a life-changing conversation. It’s a contemporary fantasy —I can’t quite call it “urban fantasy” but it’s a modern tale with a fantastic element or two. Magical realism? Maybe, but I generally don’t think of ‘magical realism’ with a lager.


An Angel of Her Own cover“An Angel of Her Own”  is a short story about a woman, a man, and a ghost. With some physical therapy, snarkiness, and a dash of romance. Again, it’s pegged as contemporary fantasy, but maybe there is a better genre for it. If you can think of one, let me know.


Both stories are out as ebooks. They will be available in print with other ‘contemporary fantasy’ stories (of a sort) in a story collection in the next month or two.

Yes, that is a public declaration that there will be more stories and books out in the near future. Stay tuned!

Today’s haiku

forest in sunlight

earthy forest scent

warm air caresses my skin

summer on the way


-on unseasonably warm spring days


Photo by Deglee Degi on Unsplash


Three for Thursday

Here are a few of my favorite things for this Thursday:

  • What I’m reading: Romance novels by Stephanie Laurens – I stumbled across her books on the shelf at the library the other day, saw that they were set in the Victorian era (which I’m currently saturating myself with), and checked two out. I then promptly devoured both of them. Intelligent, funny, emotional, passionate. Too good to miss.
  • What I’m watching: Thor: Ragnarok – This was the first Marvel movie in awhile (and the first Thor movie ever) that I truly enjoyed. It’s a different, funnier side of Thor, which will I take as the result of his association with Tony Stark. And a fight match between Thor and the Hulk? AND Valkyries? What’s not to love?*
  • Exercise program I’m loving: Classical Stretch – Sure, the instructor is Canadian and a former ballerina (i.e. super flexible), and it’s kind of quirky, but the exercises are scientifically researched** to increase strength and flexibility, the show is filmed in beautiful locations (Mexico, Jamaica), and the best part: just 20-ish minutes! These are the first workouts I have done in I can’t remember, where I don’t constantly clock watch from the beginning; I’ll start to wonder how much time is left, and discover there are only 3 minutes left! Just watch out for the pliés, though — they are killers.

What is delighting you this Thursday?

Wishing you a wonderful weekend!



*Okay, Cate Blanchett once again as a villain didn’t thrill me, but at least she was better in this than the dreadful Indiana Jones Film That Shall Not Be Named.

**The exercises use the same principles as what I studied in massage school, which won me over.

Today’s haiku

rainy bootsclouds part with sunshine

rain falls from threatening skies

-confusing weather


Today’s haiku

dandelions in grassyellow sunny heads

sway with breeze in lush green grass

-time to start weeding

Today’s haiku

cherry blossoms along riverpinks, limes, and yellows

emerge from branches and dirt

spring and life return

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