Let the NaNoWriMo craze begin anew

Ten years ago, I entered my first NaNoWriMo. What an amazing journey it was. NaNoWriMo2020 flair
That said, this year I decided to be a NaNo-rebel and translate enough horror and paranormal stories in Bulgarian to make an anthology. I have the original stories, some are already translated, but more work is needed. This is a project long delayed, and now is the time to push it.

The post title is an overstatement, I know, considering my actual project. Yet, I feel it exactly that way since I got the idea this morning upon waking up. For a month, I’ve been thinking about my first NaNoWriMo and how happy I was then. I thought about all the nice girl-characters I brought up, and I was sorry for not coming back to writing, editing and, eventually, publishing their stories as well as new stories.

Writer or translator – let’s see how it goes this time.

NaNoWriMo 2013 – How Well I Did?

NaNo winner 2013This year, for the third time, though not exactly in a row, I took part in NaNoWriMo. After I did it first in 2010, I have never stopped seeing myself as a fiction writer, although somewhat insecure at first.
Here is a summary of my achievements this time and an overview of how those stand next to past years’ achievements:

  • This year I managed to cover the 50k distance and did it even faster than before. I validated on the very last day, but the total pure writing time I took this November was maybe just two thirds of the two previous forays.
  • This year I finished my story. I did the same the second time, too. This year I finished the story on the very day when NaNoWriMo finished, and I actually validated a complete text. As a comparison, in 2011 I finished my story around Dec. 8th. As another comparison, the story I started in 2010 is not finished yet. I continued writing it for most of January, then had another go in July. It is still a mess.
  • This year, I edited my story. That is, I made a first edit. There must be lots of things to do more. But I will need an editor and a professional to tell me that. As far as I go, the story makes me happy. As a comparison, my 2011 novel never made it to an editing round. I read it 6 months after writing it, and bitterly regretted not doing even a rough editing.
  • This year, I took advantage of sponsors’ deals and bonus offers. I purchased Scrivener for half-price.
  • Since my story was complete, written and edited to some decency, I submitted it to the Writing Accelerator run by Lulu.com where I will get a free review. It may also happen to be one of ten novels to get really rewarded. We’ll see the results later
  •  I uploaded my novel on the Wattpad website where people may read it, comment on it, and vote. Not only popularizing it, the website will be drawing one lucky winner who will grab $2,000. Hoping that might be me. I tried to get a free book on Amazon, using their promo code, but it didn’t work the right way.
  • I sent my first chapter to the JukePop Serials, where novels are posted in series, so as to raise suspense in the readers. A couple of days later, I heard back from an editor there, that my text was accepted. I am again taking part in a competition, where the prize will be $500, to be distributed among the three serials that have collected the most +Votes by the end of the contest period.
  • I would really like to edit my 2010 novel and submit it to a YA Romance contest. We’ll see about that.

NaNo Winner 2013 Continue reading “NaNoWriMo 2013 – How Well I Did?”

NaNoWriMo Starts Today: Setting the Goals!


Participant in NaNoWriMo 2012

NaNoWriMo starts today!

Am I in? Yes, I am. I participated twice in a row, so I was just looking for a good reason to log in again this year. Of course, I found one. How else could it be, when I am part of a strong writing community – the Wordsmith Studio, which started from the April Platform-building Challenge at MNINB. Initially, we started as NotBobbers, but soon we took a name of our own. Apart from FB group and regular Twitter chats, we have two blog-sites, forum, group membership and even Founding Member’s badges J. Well, such a tightly-knit and closely-communicating group wouldn’t have let me pass through the net of NaNoWriMo, especially when I signaled so definitely that I wanted to participate.

Setting the goals

That was the tough part. To sum up, I had to choose between regular NaNo-er and a NaNo Rebel. A rebel would be a more suitable profile for me, as I didn’t actually plan to start a new project before I manage to end the existing ones. I still need to finish Orange’s story, which I started writing with so much love, and I still have to do some heavy editing of Lily’s story which I finished with so much love and support. Alongside with those thoughts, I still do my courses at University and have six exams ahead, for which I have to complete six written assignments. Still.

So, I needed to think. I must confide in you, that communities do wonders in such dilemmas. One rarely needs a full-bodied and argument-supported opinion, since “one” has already decided, so the said “one” tends to hear just what is consonant with “one’s” intentions. In addition to this, I must admit that all opinions were consonant. Everybody said, “Go for it.” So I did.

My Goal for NaNoWriMo this year is to prepare the Theoretical Chapters of my Master thesis for graduation. I have no doubt it will be less than 50k, because that’s the volume of the entire work, yet writing under the pressure of deadlines and impending word count will be a great help, as always.

Happy Halloween, Happy Educators’ Day in Bulgaria and Happy start of NaNoWriMo to all!

© 2012 Mariya Koleva

New New Year’s Resolutions

Last year, I used Adi’s blog to make my NYR. Let me account for the results:

I wanted to take part in NaNoWriMo again. This one was a great success! Not only did I participate and won, despite of all the trouble I was into, what with me travelling and being off from my laptop, but I also FINISHED my novel. Yes, believe it or not, I completed it and put down the coveted THE END at the bottom of it, centered, all caps 🙂 Oh, and even though it’s still unedited, I published it. On Smashwords. It’s still free. 😉 Once I finish the edit, it won’t be free anymore. As of now it has a lot of emptiness, especially in the beginning, while I was still honing my pen 😀 The artist is still working on the cover art, so the picture you will see is about to be replaced by the real one.

I also planned to take part in Nov PAD Challenge. This one was a partial success. My travelling and study schedule allowed for only one big event in November, and I made that NaNo. Anyway, I poemed steadily somewhere till Day 18, and then faltered a bit. I believe I miss around 5-7 poems.

My other resolution was taking part in NaPoWriMo, Apr PAD, or 30Poems30Days, which is just like November Poem-A-Day, only done in April. Uh, it was a failure. I started very strong again, having a lot of inspiration and sweet memories from November PAD. Sometime around Day 8 I faltered and could not get back in line for about a fortnight. Apart from having a tough time at work (which is not an excuse, as a poem could be a couple of lines and as such should not take that much time to write), I think my greatest mistake was that I tried to follow many prompt sites that cooperated in the NaPoWriMo. Having so many prompts to choose from, one has a hard time. While in November I only had the Poetic Asides, whether I like the prompts or not. Next April I will choose one site and go for its prompts only.

My other project was to complete my first NaNoWriMo novel. Well, not really a success. It still needs a lot of work. I actually think I will start editing the text, for I need to make major changes in it, and then I will move on to finishing the story. It’s not like I have no idea what to do. I even thought out the ending.

Well, now to the complete failures: translation projects. I had many. One of them was translation of a paranormal fantasy book a blogging friend of mine wrote a couple of years ago, which I started just after she posted it on her blog. Unfortunately, I never made it past Chapter II.

The other project was translation of short stories. Uhm, I have completed all the translations which I have started, in fact. Some of them still need editing and there are some that still need to be typed in, for they were hand-written. As for new translations, I don’t see it in the future.

So. My major mistake in NYR was that I made for unfinished work from previous years, while I should have left some space for new things to to.

What I managed to do, although it was not on my list, is the Sombre Chapbook. It’s ready, complete, edited, beautiful and is also on Smashwords. Well, it has been approved for other sellers, as well. So, Apple and the rest will start selling it soon. 

Next year

1. I will edit and complete Orange.

2. I will make one more Chapbook. Maybe it will be a Lover’s Chapbook and out for St. Valentine…

3. I will publish my works in more sites.

4. I will again take part in NaPoWriMo. Hopefully, to a better success.

5. November PAD – same,

6. and NaNoWriMo. I am thinking of writing a book for children. Yet, I still have ideas around the Lemonpie sisters. We’ll see.

7. I will continue doing sports

so… what else? Learning to cook or improving in something… I don’t know. I think I’m pretty satisfied with what I do and how I do it. I can only wish I have the good luck to be fit and able to continue doing it.

What are your New Year Resolutions?

While you were gone… to be on TV

So, here are the Wednesday prompts again, from PA. After the overall “gone-ness” of November literary abandon, both towards NOVPAD and NaNoWriMo, here we come to relax a bit, just in time for the holiday hectic boom.


While you were gone

I hardly slept
I never ate
and all I did
watch TV.

For you were gone
to be all over it.

© 2011 Mariya Koleva

What else won’t wait? – more of Day 7

I suddenly realized that…


November never waits for you
It goes on, flies, relentlessly
ignoring your deficiency of muses
your tired eyes,
that “second best” you’re doing.

November come, November go
The one and only NaNo’s over,
And so is Nov PAD

ain’t that sad?

© 2011 Mariya Koleva

NaNoWriMo 2011 – six weeks to go

This year, my participation in NaNoWriMo – the best event that happened to me last year, appears harder to occur. I seriously doubt I’ll be able to catch on as I have plans… not featuring novel writing. For that reason, and out of pure fear for my novelist future, I started planning early. It’s true, my first novel is not completed yet, the plot is not even halfway through and I reached a particular muddle of pages full of explanations, speculations, ruminations, and many more -ations of the mind, empty of dialogue and events. It reached the dull pace of my “normal” style. So, I decided I had best leave it aside to “ripen” (borrowed from Adi, she somehow manages to hit home very often using cute phrases :-)). After all, a half-novel is easier to finish than a new one is to begin. Besides, November coming, I start to get the NaNoWriMo fever and crave for new work to be done. Of course, the autumn mood is nearing me inescapably and that truly is getting to become my favourite time of the year – leaf-covered park lanes, warm sun that everybody loves and cherishes… That autumn mood, I hope, will come to help.

I have a title! Last time, I downloaded the NaNoWriMo winner Certificate and starting to fill it in, I suddenly realised that I have no title. So, there I was, fingertips slightly tapping the keyboard, eager to say something, but what? It took me a week perhaps to come up with the title I finally gave my first NaNo-novel, and I still feel unsure as to whether that has the best ring to it, in terms of MY title. So, this was to be a concern this year, as well. Without putting too much effort in it, I decided to think the matter over as often as possible, so that at the end of the challenge I might have a plausible one. And it came!

A week later, or so, another one came. Now I may have a sub-title, too. Just which one is to be the main title and which will be put after a comma? I haven’t made up my mind yet.

My title is: Lily in the Moonlight

© Mariya Koleva 2011


NaNo turned Not-Well turning Novel


Well, almost a month into the new year now, and nearly two full months after the official end of NaNoWriMo, here is where I am: my work originally started as a NaNoWriMo novel is going steady to its finish. Not the case for a long time, however.

Immediately after the NaNo pressure, my inspiration and motivation somewhat subsided, even though my husband pushed me to write “while it’s still fresh in your mind”, which, indeed, was a fair remark, since after a half-week pause I realised I had forgotten a great deal of the characters and their aims in the narrative. (Funny to imply they have any “aims”, as most of the time, or let me admit it – the best of times, my characters just do as they please and don’t bother to seek my opinion).

Sadly, though, things were not going along the thorny path of creation, but along the rather smooth path to oblivion. My husband, however, argued, “I believe in you and do my bestest to support you, so you MUST finish it and show me I was right.” Well, he said something to that end, only more colourful and not by those dry words.

So, in December I felt compelled to keep up my NaNo rhythm, or at least pretend to. Around the middle of December, quite naturally, approaching holidays diverted my attention and kicked me in the sinister pool of fake family festivity and horrendous horrors of hypocrisy. Two sets of non-working days were nearly waisted, but not completely. The deadline I had set myself did not see the finishing of my novel. In fact, I was not even near it. In despair, I decided to cut the story short and instead of completing the school year as I had initially planned, to stop the action at the turn of the Year – 1st of January, that is. So, I needed just of couple of scenes and talks and twists to make it to the end.

Hardly finding the time and place to sit and type (a curious nearly-2-year-old hitting keys and spilling water or putting heavy objects over the laptop is not a small obstacle), I took the printout of my piece that I had printed a while after the validation of the NaNo words and started reading. Almost immediately, I needed a pen. Things were nigh terrible 🙂 I mean, really!

Reading what I had written so far, yet, was extremely useful for me. I saw that although I thought I was spending too much time on a scene, it did not show in the text. Obviously, the time spent thinking and re-thinking, or even pre-thinking, does not have a way to get recorded on the page. I saw that certain events, or sub-events are so hasty and hurried that they are annoying. In addition, the big work of my November, was too short and I read it very fast. So, here are the lessons learnt.

Firstly, readers will not know what was in my head. That is why the “thing” in my head should not stop me from producing on page. I may get tired with my characters, due to over-use or over-communication with them, but that does not apply to the reader, in fact.

Secondly, the initial part is rubbish, but when I got the impetus, around the middle of the book, the reading is good. So, I need to give myself some time for tuning and then go back and revise those parts. It means that I need to spend longer chunks of time at a single sitting as it is around the 10th page that I begin writing tolerable stuff.

Thirdly, I decided to complete my original intention and cover the entire first year at school.

So, around the middle of January work began anew, and with a new perspective.

It’s official now – I’m a NaNoWriMo WINNER!

(See the Winner badge above?)

So, NaNoWriMo is officially over. It ended at midnight on 30th Nov.

Even before the final day I had submitted a work of over 50k words, so MY NaNoWriMo was over as early as Saturday, 27th.

Some statistics – I submitted 50519 words, grouped in XXIV chapters. I found a slight discrepancy in the chapter numbering, so maybe the chapters were in fact one or two more or fewer. I have one Main Character and around 10 minor ones, who are either her very good friends or not, but tend to appear often in the story. I have some even more minor characters who fill in the crowd scenes, so to speak. I wrote the novel in English and still am not sure whether I will translate it into Bulgarian.

Credits section: First of all, thanks to Adi who, in the first place, started chatting about it in Twitter and suggested I should give it a try. Then, thanks to my husband, Emo, for his support throughout the entire month, for looking after our girl, for cooking, for doing chores, for keeping quiet, for amusing me when in bad mood and for his never doubting I can and will do it; besides that, it turned out he had believed all along I could tell great stories and was himself thankful to the event that made me realise it, too.

Lessons learned section:

The most I have learned was even before November: Firstly, preparing a set of characters with descriptions, bios and goals was of vital importance for my success. Before I seemed to wallow in mediocrity exactly due to that lack of pre-created characters. Secondly, having at least some outline is of tremendous help for me to start. Over the initial days, without any particularly clear idea of where I was going, the outline was a real prop to which I leaned and on which I relied to go forward. Later on, I did not need it so much, yet it is still a good idea to keep an independent track of your characters and scenes they take part into, because after Week 2 I noticed that I had put the same character in two places at the same time and I also noticed that I had given a wrong description to a character. Many more inconsistencies will emerge, for sure, yet the outline and assisting files (as I call them) where I group Characters by certain features and events have to be maintained and frequently checked.

Then, I learned, or rather found out that I can be quite creative as to events, experiences and conversations. Particularly, the conversations of my characters, came as a sheer surprise to me, as I was not aware I was able to do it.

I found out that what they say about ‘Don’t worry if your characters take on a life of their own, just follow them’ and the one about ‘A story writing itself’ was sooooo true. Just after Week two was over, I had noticed that happening with my novel and me and it took me the whole Week three to get used to it and stop feeling so surprised. Unfortunately, that new awareness took away my edge and my mind started to wander at off-topics, so to say, now that it was not busy thinking of the tense plot and how-tos. So, my final week was not so brilliant in terms of prose achievement, the story got flat, diluted, and pointing to a dull end.

That was the final thing I learned during NaNoWriMo – that I should never relax and that a story does not actually write itself so readily. One has to put some effort in it, first, it seems, after all.

Bottom line, I still have to finish the novel as it is somewhere in the middle right now. I have put a deadline for that, let’s see if it works. I took the over-satisfied grin off my face and went back to work with the initial awe, thrill and diligence, yet armed with the new knowledge that novel writing is within my reach. Which alone is worth it, isn’t it?


И така – реших да се запиша в Нанораймо

луда идея, понеже аз кратък разказ не мога да напиша, а какво остава за роман. Но пък мероприятието, така да се каже, няма задължителен характер. Да се водиш от необходим брой думи ми се струва добър мотив, тъй като не е нужно човек да се концентрира в жанр, герои или някакви рамки/правила.

На английски ще се пише, а за какво – още не знам. Дали ще ми хрумне по пътя, също не знам.