Category Archives: Nanci Pattenden

Working on the words

I’m trying to get the first draft finished for my New Adult paranormal book.I’m a little under 34,ooo words to far.

I managed just over 700 words Thursday night while I was waiting for the Sisters in Crime meeting to get started, and hit the library this afternoon to do some more. Got a total of 1748 words yesterday and today, which is well below my target. Oh well, at least  got something written.


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Amazon Campaign

Decided to give the Amazon Marketing Service a try and see what happens. My campaign is set to run from the 5th to the 8th. I’ve set my budget at a whopping $5 per day. Wonder if it will be worth it?  LOL I’m running it on book 2. Fingers crossed someone bites. One per day will at least cover the budget. 😀

duchess cover sm


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Early 2017 goal setting

The other day I was at a York Region open house for some proposed road widenings. The reason I went was to check out how close it will be to a pioneer cemetery. Turns out it’s not going to impact it, but there will be a proposal in about a year to widen another road that runs parallel to the cemetery. Will have to keep an eye on that one.

Anyway, while I was there I picked up their new trail guide. I was flipping through it this morning and decided that come spring I’m going to try to hit as many as possible as least once in 2017. Some are a bit of a drive so I may only go once, unless it’s a super trail. A few are very short so they might not be worth the trip. I wonder how many I’ll manage to get to?


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Mini NaNo

The writers group I belong to is holding a mini-NaNo event for the first time. Rather than doing 50,000, we can set out own goals. The only criteria is it has to be at least 10,000 words. I’ve decided to work on short stories and have wcyr_nanoset a goal of 25,000. It’s now day 2. So far I’ve written absolutely nothing. LOL

We have several write-ins scheduled this month, the first one being tonight. I think I’ll go over so I won’t have any distractions. If I can get 2,000 down tonight, I’ll be all caught up.




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The writing group I belong to is going to run a mini NaNo this year. I was trying to come up with a few tips for people who have never done it before. These would also apply to anyone doing full NaNo or just writing in general.

Are you thinking about participating, but are a little scared of the thought? It is a lot to commit to in such a short period of time.  With a mini version that task is less daunting. You set your goal. Take the time to think about what you believe you can commit to time-wise, make a rough guess at what you normally can do in that time, and stretch yourself a bit. Maybe add 5-10% to your estimated word count. If you think you can do 20,000, stretch it to 22,000. This is supposed to be a challenge after all. Here are a few tips to get you going.

Try to prepare in advance. Even if you’re a pantser like me, try to come up with some sort of outline so you aren’t staring into space trying to figure out where to start. That’s my biggest challenge. Keep in mind you don’t have to write just one story. It can be a collection of short stories or poems. Maybe write a chunk of your novel. Do whatever you feel moved to do and if you can come up with a general idea of the flow before you start, you have a much better chance at meeting your goal.

Don’t stop writing to do edits. The goal is NOT to end up with a ready-to-publish piece of work at the end of the month. The goal is to get the words on the paper. Don’t re-read what you’ve written. Don’t run spell check every 5 minutes. Just write. I realize it’s difficult for some people not to edit as they go, but that just slows you down.

Two phrases come to mind. (1) Bum in chair: you need to commit to write every day if possible. If you miss your daily word count, then you have to write twice as much the next day, and the daily count goes up every day you don’t write. (2) Puke on the Page:  you must get the words on paper (or computer screen). If you don’t then you won’t accomplish what you set out to do. They don’t have to be good, they just have to exist.

Remember, once December arrives you can edit to your hearts content. Flesh out your characters. Set your scenes. Do whatever you need to polish your work (or complete it if you started a novel). November is the time for getting the words out. You have 11 more months to make it shine.

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Waiting for retirement

Just a little over a month left before my semi-retirement starts. Day one I’ll be taking my car in for a little body work, so I’ll have a rental for three days. broken carI’m going to miss the purple and black duct tape on the driver’s side mirror. I still don’t know what’s happening with me going part-time at my current place of employment, but the plan is to work Tues, Wed & Thurs. I’ll have lots to keep me busy over my 4 day weekends.

I haKids-writing-clipart-2ve two books in progress and another ready to come off the shelf after a few years of collecting computer dust. Also have a couple of adventure short stories in my head (maybe novellas). Still mulling over how to handle them. And yes, I write before typing.

Then there’s the magazine that the writing group I belong to is planning on starting once we get the ‘official’ go-ahead. First issue February 2017 – online and a few print copies.

Maybe I’ll find time to get back into my genealogy and relax and do some cross-stitching. I used to stitch pretty much constantly several years ago, before I got into stitch-clipart-crossstitchgenealogy, then writing.

I still have two more courses to take at the U of T, one of which I might be starting in September. It’s either then or January, and since that one is on campus, I think I’d rather travel in the fall then the first few months of the year as the weather is geneschoolrally worse then. The last course is the ‘final project’ which I’m thinking will be that book that’s been gathering computer dust. It’s based on a story I dug up doing some genealogy.


Oh, I forgot that I have notes for yet another one. I have about 12k words typed up I believe.

Hurry up October!



Filed under Genealogy, Historical Fiction, Mystery, Nanci Pattenden, Writing

Ontario Writers Conference 2015

Another writers conference has come and gone. With the exception of the first one (don’t think I was writing then) I’ve been to them all. Once again Dorothea Helms was the emcee, and she was great – of course.

The conference has workshops/lectures that you sign up for at registration. The line of up speakers was stupendous. I attended the workshops with Andrew Borkowski (Delicious Dialogue), Gwynn Scheltema (Does Size Matter?), and Larry Krotz (The Story Telling Animal). I’ve attended workshops run by Gwynn before, and I’ve heard Andrew speak as well. Always a treat. Don’t recall if it was at one of his workshops at a past conference, or if he was just speaking. Other speakers this year included Sam Hiyate, who is an agent and also teaches at the University of Toronto. Terry Fallis – I’ve heard him speak before too. Always entertaining. Linden MacIntyre, co-host of the fifth estate turned author was a key note speaker and our dinner speaker was Paula Todd. She is the journalist who found Karla Homolka. And we can’t forget Wayson Choy, the honorary patron – author and teacher. All in all, a wonderful group of people.

This year I saw several familiar faces in the crowd. Some I actually know, others I only recognized from other conferences. The place where they hold the conference is beautiful – Deer Creek Golf & Banquet Facility in Ajax. The grub ain’t bad either. 🙂  Yes, for the price of the conference you get a hot lunch, water and coffee during the day, and cookies and cake at afternoon break.

Blue Heron Books had a table set up. They frequent the events that are put on by Writers’ Community of Durham Region, as well as the Writers’ Community of York Region (which I belong to). They can be seen quite often at local writing events.

Next year’s conference is scheduled for April 30/May 1.  The Friday evening before is the Festival of Authors. That’s something I have yet to attend.  Mark your calendars if you are in the area. It’s a great place to network and hear from a great bunch of speakers.


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Extra time to kill – sorta literally

For the past couple of weeks I’ve actually been in a position where I’ve been able to write quite a bit. Generally, I write in the evening or weekend in front of the TV. And not every day. Shameful, I know. I’ve managed to go from about 30% to over 60% the way through the second Detective Hodgins book. I actually started this one last year as part of an assignment for the writing courses I was taking. That 30% (less actually) sat for a long time. I’ve added to it a bit over the past couple of months, but in just two weeks I’ve doubled it. Part of that time has been spent doing research, not just putting ink to paper.

index No, I don’t outline and do all my research before writing. I’m one of those people, as I’ve mentioned before. I have a general idea of where I’m going, but that’s about all. It was only late last month that I decided who the killer was and why. You’d think I’d know that before starting, but no. I had one person in mind, but thought it was too obvious.

And in reference to the earlier comment about putting ink to paper, yes that’s what I do. I have a small notebook from Dollarama. It’s got a cute little kitten on it. I write, then type, write, then type. I’m doing my best not to edit as I go. That’s what I did for the first book, and it really slowed me down. I’m printing out the typed pages (double spaced of course), and putting them in a cheap binder. Just love Dollarama! I’ll admit to having a few marks on the pages, but not from editing. Just things I thought of to fix or add. I’ve even got a few things highlighted on the actual Word document that need a big re-think due mainly to being awkward.

OK, I guess my little break is over. I need to get the last 11k or so written so my wonderful editor can add her comments.

author at work

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Death on Duchess Street

Been having some down-time at work lately. It’s rather boring, but the good thing is it gave me time to write. I’ve managed to get almost half way through the first draft of book two in the Detective Hodgins Murder Mystery series. A couple of weeks ago I had an epiphany and figured out who the killer is. It’s always nice for the author to know that.

Unlike other writers, I don’t outline to death (no pun intended). I have a general idea and go with it. I figure things out along the way. That makes me a ‘pantser’. Sometimes my research leads me on a specific path. Other times I have to determine which path to take. I hope the route this one is going satisfies my readers.

I need to get the first draft done and go over it at least once, (or twice) then send it off to my editor. I’ll be at Word on the Street in Toronto on September 27, 2015. I’d like to be able to have two books to sell instead of just the one. With any luck I’ll build my readership at that event. That means having it written, edited, revised and off to the printers by the middle of August at the latest.

Now all I have to do is get through the first draft.

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OK, did I get your attention with a weird word?  Paraskevidekatriaphobics  is a morbid, irrational fear of Friday the 13th. I rather like Friday the 13th myself – the day, not the movie. But I do have most of the movies. 😀

What are some of the urban myths?  Well, legend has it . . .  If 13 people sit down to dinner together, one will die within the year. The Turks so disliked the number 13 that it was practically expunged from their vocabulary (Brewer, 1894). Many cities do not have a 13th Street or a 13th Avenue. If you have 13 letters in your name, you will have the devil’s luck. Many buildings don’t have a 13th floor.  I used to live on the 14th floor of my old condo.  I knew it was really the 13th and didn’t mind one bit.  I don’t believe any of the floors had a unit 13 come to think of it.

While most believe the number to be unlucky, the Chinese and the Egyptians of pharaoh times consider it to be lucky. The Egyptians had twelve stages of life, stage thirteen was beyond, thought to be the eternal afterlife.

So, do you think today is a lucky day, or one to fear? If you are living in fear, here’s a thought.  There are two more this year. Friday, March 13 and Friday, November 13.  You might want to book those days off so you can hide under your blankie.

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