NaNo Crash Course

So, it turns out that school and NaNo don’t really mix this year, so I haven’t gotten time to get all my ducks in a row, but I will be participating this year. So let’s do a crash course NaNo prep!

Make a plan!

To reach 50,000 words, you must write 1,667 words everyday for all 30 days. If you’re a student like me that sounds impossible. I can type pretty fast, but all of the projects and meetings can sometimes get in the way. That’s why you need a backup plan. If you know there are some days that you just can’t get it done. Make Saturday or Sunday (or both) your catch up day to get to where you’re supposed to be.

Don’t get frustrated!

I know it gets frustrating sometimes when you get blocked and can’t bust out that chapter, but don’t fret. Take a break, have a meal, read a chapter. Just do something that takes the stress away.

Break up your word goal for the day

Since I’m always on the go, I’ve found it helpful to break up my daily writing goal. I write for 20 minutes four times a day. Each time I write about 400 words. That means by the end of the day, I end up with 1,600 words. I’ll find a way to add on an extra 67 each day or just wait until Saturday or Sunday and finish off the words then.


If I’ve learned one thing from NaNo, it’s that it’s easier when you love what you’re writing. It’s okay if you don’t know what your writing, just keep writing.

If you have any questions or you need a writing buddy, leave your comments with your NaNo Username tags and/or questions below

Are you Ready for NaNoWriMo?

25 Days. Let the games begin.

25 Days. Let the games begin.

In 25 or so days, writers all over the world will suffer from lack of sleep, caffiene addiction and…writer’s block.

But Jordan, that sounds like NaNoWriMo!

You bet your 50,000 words it’s NaNoWriMo!

I’m not prepared! What am I going to do?!

Don’t worry, I’m not prepared either and for most of us writing isn’t our entire lives. We have work, school, kids, so we a battle plan going in. That’s where I come in. We are going to plan these novels down to a T over the next 25 days. Think of us as pre-NaNo buddies!.

What if I haven’t done NaNo before, Jordan? 

Not to worry just go sign up at You’ll be fine I promise. This is only my second one and I’m going to be prepared this time.

I know writers all over the world are ordering their coffee in bulk right about now, (I probably should too) but there are plots to be finalized, character to be made, wars to be planned!

Ask yourself: Is my story ready for NaNoWriMo?

If yes, great! Sit back and drink that coffee, you deserve that coffee! If your answer is no then you’re on the struggle bus with me and a million other writers. Not to worry, we’re driving to preparation station where everyone exits the struggle bus…and boards the struggle train to NaNo Town! At least you’ll be prepared when you get there!

Now that the rant is over, let’s get down to business. Since I usually start with characters we’ll start there.

Do you have a main character?

Do you have all of the characters you need at the moment? (Your answer is no if you have less than 15)

Have you established which characters are primary and secondary?

Have you established each characters role in the story?

All of these components help you determine how your story is going to go. Your characters, their motivations, their hopes and dreams need to be flushed out before you start writing. Otherwise, you’ll be banging you head against the table before you know it. I’d suggest looking into character profiles. Click here to read my post on character profiles.  It’s one less thing to worry about when you need to reach 50,000 words.

If your looking for inspiration I go to Pinterest and search “character inspiration”. I’ll be talking more about characters and next week we move on to….PLOTS! At the end of the next two or three weeks, I’ll have a check list put together so people can keep track their progress. Let’s whip our characters into shape!

The Confessions of a Writer TAG

First let me thank Nicole for tagging me in this. I meant to do this a couple of days ago, but school had its claws in me. If you want to go visit you can click on her name above or the highlighted text in the rules section.

Rules of the tag:

  • Please link back to A Little Bookish, A Little Writerly’s post, so that the original rules are always accessible to anyone who is curious and wants to participate!
  • Acknowledge the person who tagged you in your post.
  • Tag your friends and fellow writers – it’s up to you how many!

When did you first start writing? Was being a writer something you always aspired to be?

I started writing in the second or third grade, but I stopped somewhere along the way and started again in high school. I don’t think I actually wanted to be a writer until about a year and a half ago. I always assumed my sister would be the writer.

What genre do you write?

I like to write fantasy stories. I believe reality is just a string of controllable and uncontrollable events. Since I find my reality to be mostly uncontrolled, I write what I believe I can control. The weird thing is, if my story gets away from me I don’t freak out.

Can you tell us a little about your current work in progress? When did you start working on this project?

A lot of people think my work in progress involves my character, Remi, since I write about her the most, but her story is actually my side project. I’ve mentioned Ri before and her story is my work in progress. She’s a part of the lower class (of course) and it’s up to her to stop her nation from tearing itself apart

What was your first piece that you can remember writing? What was it about?

I remember writing a story in the second grade and it won my class contest. I got to attend a pizza party. I’m not sure what the story was about, but I’m pretty sure dinosaurs were involved.

What’s the best part about writing?

The best part about writing is that feeling you get when everything comes together. Whether if it’s you finishing your story or just when you have your WIP planned out, it feels good when it all works out.

What’s the worst part about writing?

The worst part is being stuck and you just just sit there staring at the blinking cursor, mocking you until you slump down in defeat…or just running out of snacks.

What’s the name of your favorite character and why? (This can be from a book by another author or from your own work. Book crushes are perfectly acceptable here as well.)

I don’t think I have a favorite character, but I have a thing for names. I love rare and exotic names when it comes to characters. If it hasn’t been used a lot, then I love it.

How much time a day/week do you get to write? When is the best time for you to write (morning or night)?

I don’t get to write as much since the semester started, but I still try to write on the weekends. The best time for me to write is probably late at night. If it’s too early in the morning then I’ll just want to lay in bed. If it’s midday then I’ll probably still want to lay in bed. Late at night is probably when I get tired of laying bed.

Did you go to college for writing? Or if you haven’t been to college yet, do you plan to?

I’m in college! Yay (stay in school kids)! I’m currently getting a minor in creative writing. I didn’t do a major because I wasn’t sure if it was really what I wanted to do, but I wouldn’t trade my current major for anything.

What bothers you more: spelling errors, punctuation errors, or grammar errors?

I think spelling errors because I’m pretty good at spelling. I don’t really follow the laws of punctuation as much as I should so I wouldn’t judge someone else on that. I pride myself on not being a hypocrite 🙂

What is the best writing advice that anyone has given you?

Write for you- my entire support system

What advice would you give to another writer?

You’re good enough. You’ve poured your heart and soul into your characters, your plot, your everything. That alone makes you good enough.

What are your favorite writing sites or blogs that you turn to for help, tips or encouragement?

I can’t remember any of the sites. I just search “writing tips” on Pinterest or Google. Sorry 😦

Besides writing, what else do you enjoy doing? What are your hobbies?

Besides writing…hmm…my life is a mess so I’m not sure what I do. Let’s just say I reading books and try not to flunk out of school. #lifegoals

What is the best book you’ve read this year?

I’m not sure if I read it this year, but I read this book called Graceling did a book review on it I thought it was amazing!

What is the best movie you’ve seen this year?

Avengers: Age of Ultron. Ask me again in February though.

What is your favorite book or series of all time?

It’s between the Maximum Ride Series by James Patterson or the Percy Jackson and the Olympians Series. I’m a sucker for flying kids and Greek mythology.

Who is your favorite author?

Veronica Roth because I can relate to her. I want to write a book before I graduate college and that’s what she did!

What are your plans for the rest of the year in terms of your writing?

Go through the fiery pit that is NaNoWriMo and come out with a ragged first draft. Then polish said rough draft into a semi (but barely) acceptable second draft.

Where else can we find you online?

I’m on Twitter @JordanHolman_ feel free to follow me and tweet me. We can commiserate together.

Update! I’m back!

Sorry I’ve been MIA for the past few weeks, with school starting and moving places it’s been a pretty busy couple of months. As you know, I’m a college student and that has played a major factor in my absence. Between meetings, classes and homework it seems as though the time has just disappeared. However, I’m back in action now and I can’t wait to tell you all what I’ve been up to.

I moved back to my college town a week before school started and it took that time to get everything unpacked and put in place. I honestly never want to move again. After that it was just trying to get back into the groove of college life. I’ve settled into the groove of classes and I like it. There’s this one class that I’m not really feeling and it had to be the only English class I’m taking.

This is a class that helps you learn all about the fiction. However, I don’t feel like I’m actually learning. I feel like I’ve been downgraded to a middle school reading class. I know reading is a part of learning, but when you spend the first 8 weeks of class in silent reading time then you just feel like you need your money back. Also, we are confined to only writing proper literary fiction. No sci-fi, no fantasy, no nothin’. She tells us that there’s a way to do it, but isn’t really teach us how for the students (like myself) who haven’t really written literary fiction. Am I just a ranting student? Are my rants misplaced?

Anyway, all of my class problems aside, during my impromptu hiatus, I got to write a guest post for Writers Helping Writers. It was a really cool experience and I’m glad I took the chance to do it. It gave me the confidence to believe in myself and my ability to write. If you want to check out my article just click here.

If you want to guest post I highly recommend it.

Other than that I haven’t had too much going on. I’ve been on the job search and that’s pretty much it. How have you been?

Let me know how your summer went, or just whatever you want to share. Finished your novel? Entered a contest? Went to the beach? Let me know.

Writing Challenge Countdown: Day 147

So I’ve gotten a late start today due to appointments and whatnot which gives me enough time to write this post. I haven’t gotten to write today, (I will after work) but I’m super proud of my story so far. For a first draft, I love it.

So today, were going to focus on your character’s motivation. What or who do they love? Who or what do they fight for?

I know Remi fights for survival, but she also fights for her mom and little brother. I’m not sure what Ri fights for at the moment, but I’m getting close to what motivates her.

Motivations aren’t important to just main characters, but all characters. What drives your antagonist? Why is your secondary character going on the adventure with your main? These are things to think about when you’re creating characters. So, what’s your character’s motivation?

Today I challenge you to give your character the ultimate motivation. What that motivation is, is for you to decide. Don’t just make the antagonist jealous, make him vengeful and corruptive. Don’t make your protagonist a justice seeker. Get them personally invested in a conflict.

Here’s some more info on character motivation from

Keep on writing, the fruits of your labor will pay off.

Writing Challenge Countdown: Day 149 and 148

Sorry! I know I was supposed to write a post yesterday, but it was just a non-functional type of day. I’ve been keeping up with my writing though and I hope you have been too.

Current word count: 1,610

I couldn’t figure out what I wanted today’s challenge to be, but after some Pinterest searching, I figured it out. Today is all about the character’s journey. What makes your character special? What can they go through to make them stronger? I always like to ask myself “How can I throw my character into the abyss?”

So today I challenge you to challenge your character. Put them through hardship, let the odds stack up against them and see where it takes you. Here’s a coup;e ideas to get you started:

1. Torture them (mentally or physically)

2. Make them wanted fugitives

3. Make them get robbed

4. Have someone close to them die

5. Kidnap them

6. Make them just have a bad day

I think I’ve always had a problem with putting my characters through hell, but I’ve practiced and now I think the things they’ve gone through have help me make them and the story more interesting.

Have you put your character through something? Are you just struggling with your story? Let me know in the comments what your your problem is. Don’t worry you aren’t alone. We’re all on the struggle bus together.

Keep on writing!

Writing Challenge Countdown: Day 150

For those of you that have been following me for a little while, you know that I am working on my first novel. The entire task seemed daunting at first, but I found a way to make it work. I gave myself the deadline of December 31st to finish the first draft and started planning. I haven’t really given myself an end goal in terms of word count because I just wanted to write and see where I got.

To make the task less challenging, I’ve decided to write 500 words a day for the next 150 days. This will help me reach small goals while making it toward my big goal. 500 words doesn’t take me that long to write so I know it’s manageable.

So the reason I’m telling you this is because I want to invite you to join me on this little (actually pretty big) writing adventure. If you join me on this writing challenge, by Dec 31st you will have 75,000 words. If you want to write short stories, non-fiction, or fiction that’s fine. Honestly, you can write anything you want to this is just a way to help people to reach their goals.

As of today, I have 559 on my story. I have another 5,000 somewhere, but I need to find it. So I’ll do daily countdowns with tips, exercises and short stories and hopefully we’ll be able to help each other get through the next 150 days.

Happy writing!

Which Plotting Technique is Right for you?

I so desperately wanted to make the right/write pun in the title, but I resisted. I’ve seen a lot of different plotting techniques on Pinterest and I couldn’t decide what was right for me (again the pun…). I’ve seen everything from plot boards to book binders to idea webs, but my first mistake was trying to do them all. Don’t get me wrong, doing a bunch of different plotting techniques may work for some, but it tends to get really confusing for most. I try to use a couple in different stages of planning. Here’s a few different techniques to help with your plotting.

1. Outlining

The first technique I saw a lot of people suggesting was outlining. I think outlining didn’t grasp my attention at first was because I’d been forced to do outlines for school and I hated it. The more I started to outline for my stories, the more I actually found it helpful. Outlines tend to be for writer’s that are all about organization, but keep in mind that it’s not everyone’s cup of tea. It’s for those who need or want to add more detail and it will essentially make writing your story easier overall.

2. Plot Boarding

For those of you who aren’t familiar with plot boarding, it usually involves one of those tri-fold cardboard display boards and some sticky notes. Each section of the board represents either Act I,  II, or III. You stick the post it notes that have different parts of your story on them in their respective acts. I think plot boards are for the writers that work best with visuals. It gives you the space and the freedom to move scenes around. It can also help you keep track of characters and sub plots (different colored sticky notes).

3. Scene List

I use the scene list all the time even though I find it less structured than the outline. It’s for those writer, like me who can work with a bit of untidiness. This is better for those writers that just need to write things out sometimes. I typically use it as an extreme rough draft of an outline. I don’t always put it in order so I take what I write in my scene list and put it in an outline. I see scene lists as the gateway of plotting, it’s better for me to  write everything out before I put it in order.

4. Book Binder

The book binder is for the extreme planner and is basically the holy grail of your book. All of the information you need is in one place. Outline, character list, scene list and so much more. I’ve wanted to do a book binder for my novel, but I just haven’t gotten around to it yet. If want to have everything you need to know about your book all planned out then I’d definitely suggest the book binder. I’ll put some links below that will show how to make one.

5. Idea Map

Idea maps are definitely for the visual writer, if you like to see things before you write then this is for you. I used to idea maps in elementary school, but I don’t remember doing them anytime after.  I’m not that much of a visual person when it comes to writing so I don’t really do them, but I made a basic one just so you could see what it looked like.

Idea webIdea webs could be pretty helpful if you want to keep track of where your story is going, but you can’t easily switch it around like the plot board. However, if you use a computer, changing it shouldn’t be too hard.

I hope you enjoyed some of the techniques here. Some of them are pretty fun to try so if you have the time try a couple and see which ones work for you.


Plot Boarding:

Scene List:

Book Binder:


Randy Ribay

I spoke to a writers’ group the other day, and the most interesting question I received was about how my style/approach to writing has changed since going through the publication process with my first novel. Without hesitation, I answered that it was coming to understand that most of writing is revising. I told them that if I quantified all the hours I spent working on that book, less than a tenth would come from writing the first draft.

I used to equate “writing” with “composing a first draft.” Revising and editing were necessary evils that would be tacked onto the end of that process. But, to me, the meat of the process was just getting that story down. If I could put down a good enough story, then I could be a “writer.”

However, I now understand that that’s just the beginning. The meat of the process is revision. And…

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