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Viewing: Blog Posts Tagged with: NaNoWriMo, Most Recent at Top [Help]
Results 1 - 25 of 504
1. Writer Wednesday: Why NaNo Isn't Really For Me


My participation in NaNoWriMo this month has taught me something. NaNo isn't designed for people like me. I fast draft—sometimes writing crazy amounts of words in a single day. I finished my 50,000 words on November 7th, but NaNo won't let me verify my word count and ultimately win because I achieved that word count too soon. What?!?!?!? I can't wrap my head around that.

So now, I can't earn all my badges, like writing every day this month. I almost feel like I'm being penalized for writing too quickly. And that's crazy! I wrote the entire book in seven days! Of course I won! But yet, I didn't according to NaNo. So I've decided to cheat. Yup. I'm cheating and working on another novel and adding that to my word count. This book is one I started last year and had to put aside. I'm editing for clients right now and so far I've only been writing about 1,500-2,500 words a day on this book. But still, even if I continue to write until November 30 (though I highly doubt the book will take that long to finish) I won't get my badge for writing every day this month. I guess I should have read up on NaNo before I decided to join in on the fun, because I'm going to have two completed novels by the end of the month and I still don't feel good about it.

I most likely won't participate in NaNo again. It's just not designed for me. It's making me feel like a failure even though I've already won, and let's face it. This industry is hard enough on our egos. I don't need this on top of it.

Anyone else find that NaNo makes you feel bad instead of encouraging you to write more? 

*If you have a question you'd like me to answer from the other side of the editor's desk, feel free to leave it in the comments and I'll schedule it for a future post.

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2. #InkTober Round-Up


I made it: All 31 days of InkTober 2016. Some days were easier than others, some days were total disasters, and every day presented a new challenge, mainly: how to use ink in an effective and interesting way. I learned much more than I expected to, and in spite of wanting to give up more than once, I think I've come to appreciate ink and the artists who use it more than I ever have before.

The best part of the challenge though, was the set time frame of an entire month. I've always enjoyed taking on creative projects with some kind of pre-set deadline in mind, even if I only give myself a few days, a topic I covered in "The Value of a  5-Day Challenge." Concentrating on ink for a month was an entertaining, and educational, road trip and one I'm glad I followed.

Another benefit I derived from my ink-splattered journey was the chance to learn more about ink--what it is, how it's used, and why. For a writer, ink is as necessary, and as natural, as breathing and eating, but I don't think I'm alone in being in constant pursuit of the "perfect pen." Over the years I've gone through fountain pens, felt-tip models, roller-balls, gel pens, purple ballpoints--you name it, I've tried it! Thanks to InkTober, though, I've fallen in love all over again with Pilot Precise V-5 and V-7 pens, and was also able to discover Tikky Rotring pens. Along with these I added my favorite Akashiya Sai brush pens as well as my perennial go-to combination of bottled sumi ink and a sharpened bamboo stick. (Nothing like the basics.)

So . . . some random thoughts about the month and what I got from it:
  • Prior to the challenge, my daily drawings were solely for practice, nothing fancy, just simple sketches no one but me would see. However, InkTober required that I post my drawings every day on social media--eek. I therefore had to explore subjects that could be drawn up in 30 minutes or less yet still appear finished. My most successful efforts turned out to be small sketches of Taiwan based on my photos from my trip last year, and studies of trees drawn with a distinct Asian influence. In other words, I found a voice and method I liked.
  • Sticking to ink-only was a challenge in itself. I craved variety. Even though I often added color from other mediums to my drawings (mainly watercolor background washes) it was difficult to stay so rigidly adhered to one type of drawing tool. The day the challenge was over I threw myself into oil pastels, charcoal, graphite--anything but ink! Consequently, I learned I am for sure a "mixed-media" artist, a good piece of knowledge if I ever need to describe my artist-self in a professional manner.
  • One of the more trivial things encouraging me to take up the challenge in the first place was that I wanted to use up a sketchbook I didn't like. (Out of the negative, find the positive!) There really was nothing wrong with this particular book--it was filled with cold-press watercolor pages and quite expensive--but I just never jelled with it. It order to get it out of my life and stick with my daily plan, I decided to just draw on those expensive pages and the heck with results. This approach turned out to be a lot of fun--especially as I could never truly control the lines my pen made due to all the natural irregularities common to watercolor paper. So rather than waste the book or leave it to molder over the years, I used it, enjoyed it--and now have a good record of my InkTober experience.
  • Finally, as much as I often resisted using that particular sketchbook (some days I just had to go back to my old favorites) the "bad sketchbook" allowed for two new drawing styles to emerge. The first contained a child-like whimsical quality, with the second being a loose and easy "just get the idea down" style. Both of these could be great for illustrating children's picture books, and I definitely plan to explore them further.
Now that it's November I'm immersed in--you guessed it--NaNoWriMo, or National Novel Writing Month, but I'm still taking a daily 30 minutes+ to work on my drawing skills. It's amazing to me what can be accomplished in such a short amount of time, but just like sitting down for half an hour to freewrite, you can only get the work done if you take the time to do it. It's that simple! Whatever length of time you choose, five days or five months, keep in mind that the whole point is to give yourself a unique opportunity, one that will help you achieve your goals, especially those you've been too afraid to start (or finish).
Good luck and stay creative every day!

And just to prove I did my homework, here's some samples from my InkTober sketchbooks:

Jiufen Tea House, Taiwan

I was supposed to be practicing drawing horses, but zebras were more fun.

Taipei residential neighborhood.

Dreaming on a Sunday.

Portugal seaside. Fun to travel by pen!

Tip of the Day: Similar in spirit to National Novel Writing Month, InkTober is a chance to be part of a world-wide creative support group: one that wants you to succeed and meet your goals. Over the last few years all kinds of equivalent challenges have sprung up: Picture Book Writing Month, Poetry Month . . . even A-Z Blogging Month. Now is the perfect time of year to decide which one (or two or three) you'd like to try in 2017. Google some topics you might be interested in, find a group challenge, and then block out a schedule on your calendar for next year--it's never too early to prepare.

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3. Monday Mishmash 11/14/16


Happy Monday! Monday Mishmash is a weekly meme dedicated to sharing what's on your mind. Feel free to grab the button and post your own Mishmash.

Here's what's on my mind today:
  1. NaNoWriMo  So I won NaNo a week ago today, but they won't let me validate and confirm my win. On Wednesday I'll be sharing what I've learned from NaNo and why it's not geared toward writers like me.
  2. Editing  I'm editing for a newish client this week. I did a one-chapter edit over the summer for her, and now I'm editing her full book.
  3. Thank You  I want to thank everyone who visited my daughter's blog. She was so excited to see your comments. Since she has books by several of you, it was even more exciting for her to recognize your names. If you haven't checked out her blog, you can find it here.
  4. Parent-Teacher Conferences  My daughter is home today and tomorrow because it's conference time at her school. My conference is tomorrow morning.
  5. Continuing to Draft  Even though my NaNo book is finished, I'm going to keep this momentum and finish a book I started last year and had to put aside to meet other deadlines.
That's it for me. What's on your mind today?

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4. Monday Mishmash 11/7/16


Happy Monday! Monday Mishmash is a weekly meme dedicated to sharing what's on your mind. Feel free to grab the button and post your own Mishmash.

Here's what's on my mind today:
  1. NaNoWriMo  According to NaNo, I'm supposed to finish today. Last week, I wrote way more than I thought I would. Of course, winning NaNo doesn't mean the book is finished, so I'll still be writing after today.
  2. Editing  I have two edits on my plate after finishing one this weekend. One is my backward read, which is the slow read to catch those pesky grammar and punctuation issues. The other is a short story, so I'll be doing a content read and the backward read on that one this week.
  3. See numbers one and two  I don't have time to tackle anything else this week! LOL
That's it for me. What's on your mind today?

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5. November Is For Writing


November is all about writing for me—partly because of NaNoWriMo (that’s National Novel Writing Month, in case you’re unfamiliar). I normally don’t join, because writing 50,000 words in one month is a bit much for me, especially since November includes Thanksgiving.
This year, I decided to unofficially quasi-join: I’m aiming to finish the first draft of a crime novel for adults I’ve been working on, plus a few chapters of a middle-grade, and maybe a short story or two. So not quite following the rules, but then I rarely do. I think I’ll get about half of that 50k in words—not bad for this writer.

Also, this November I’m hoping to start a new format for the blog. I considered packing up for a little while; blogging is sort of on the way out, and I sometimes feel like I’ve said everything I wanted to say.
But for now, I still like blogging. So I thought I might try posting the first Thursday (or so) of each month, and talk about more about mysteries in general—books, TV, movies—and about writing and other stuff. And maybe I’ll share a recipe or two. I hope you’ll stick around, guys!

Mystery books and TV

This month, TV and books intersect for me. I’m reading Michael Connelly’s latest novel, The Wrong Side Of Goodbye, and I’m also watching Bosch, the series based on his books. I’m a big fan of the books, so I was reluctant to watch the series. The old cliché is usually true: the books are always better than the movie.
But in this case, I was pleasantly surprised. The Bosch series is doing the character and the books justice, with a solid mystery and good attention given to police procedure accuracy (most of the time anyway).
I’m just starting season two; I’ll keep you posted.

One of my favorite crime writers, Greg Bardsley, has a new book out this month called The Bob Watson.
He told me about the concept of it a few years ago, and I've been awaiting the publication of this novel ever since. Go buy this book now!
Greg Bardsley is a brilliant writer; if you haven't read his first novel, Cash Out, you can start there if you like. Funny, sharp, and great. One of those writers whose books should all be made into movies...


For writers

I picked up a copy of Matt Bird The Secrets of Story, just in time for November’s go-go writing activities. So far, I’m loving it: he focuses on character, and gives lots of clear, practical and down-to earth advice.

I recommend you get yourself a copy if you’re looking for inspiration. 

On the web

I’ve been off the grid a little bit, since we’re remodeling the house and I’m still trying to keep the writing going. But I did find some newsworthy tidbits to share:

For you writer folk attempting NaNoWriMo, here are ten tips over at International Business Times. Hang in there…
Favorite kid author R.L. Stine is writing the story for a Marvel comic; get the story here at GalleyCat
Jessica Haight and Stephanie Robinson, the authors of the great middle-grade mystery The Secret Files of Ms. Fairday Morrow, ran a drawing contest where kids sent in some amazing artwork. Check out these drawings and their great blog over here; they always have something fun going on.
And for you artistic types, Dan Blank of WeGrowMedia has a brilliant post on creating the best environment to be creative, right here. Some great advice for darn near everything in life, I think.

Tip from me this November: unsubscribe from all unwanted emails, especially ones trying to get you to buy stuff (especially as the holiday season nears...). I did that just this week, and my inbox is already much quieter. Less (stuff) is more (time to write).
In the meantime, I hope you have a great November, full of writing, hot cocoa, and a little fall weather!

What are you up to this month..?

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6. Writer Wednesday: How Do You NaNo?


We are officially two days into NaNoWriMo, so I thought I'd share how it's going and why I decided to finally participate. I wanted to try NaNo as a way to convince myself that I don't have to fast draft like a crazy person in between client edits and do nothing but edit when I have editing jobs on my schedule. I guess I take things to extremes, doing one or the other like a mad woman. I need to stop this. I know it, and I keep saying I'm going to, but it hasn't happened yet. So NaNo is about forcing myself to split my days between editing in the morning and writing in the afternoons. So far, I'm doing it.

The odd thing is that most people do NaNo to get a book drafted quicker than they normally would. For me, it's the opposite. When I draft, I usually hit anywhere between 10,000 and 18,000 words a day. (Yes, you read that correctly!) But splitting my days and committing to NaNo while I have edits on my plate, means I have to aim much lower, like 3,000 to 5,000 words a day. So I feel like NaNo is very different for me than most people. It's forcing me to slow down. Will I like this? It's too soon to tell.

How about you? Are you NaNoing? How do you approach it? (And feel free to buddy me. I'm khashway.)

*If you have a question you'd like me to answer from the other side of the editor's desk, feel free to leave it in the comments and I'll schedule it for a future post.

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7. Monday Mishmash 10/31/16


Happy Monday! Monday Mishmash is a weekly meme dedicated to sharing what's on your mind. Feel free to grab the button and post your own Mishmash.

Here's what's on my mind today:
  1. Happy Halloween!  I hope everyone has a happy and safe Halloween. 
  2. NaNoWriMo Starts Tomorrow!  If you're taking part in NaNo, buddy me. My name is khashway on the site. And good luck! 
  3. Editing  Even though I'm drafting a new book, I have client edits to tackle this month. Eek! NaNo is pretty much my way of showing myself I can find balance between doing work for others and doing work for myself.
  4. Field Trip  I'm chaperoning my daughter's field trip on Friday. Um, when am I supposed to write for NaNo? I'm not panicking. Nope. Not at all. Okay, maybe a little. I guess I'll be writing in the evening on Friday. Send coffee please.
  5. Fading Into the Shadows  Fading Into the Shadows is fully edited, proofed, and ready to go over two months early! I'm so excited for this book. E-ARCs are in, so if you have time to read the book before January 16, 2017 and would like an ARC in exchange for an honest review, sign up here. The cover reveal will take place November 16th-18th. If you're interested in sharing the cover on any social media site, you can sign up for that here.  
That's it for me. What's on your mind today?

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8. Monday Mishmash 10/24/16


Happy Monday! Monday Mishmash is a weekly meme dedicated to sharing what's on your mind. Feel free to grab the button and post your own Mishmash.

Here's what's on my mind today:
  1. NaNoWriMo  I have decided to officially participate in NaNoWriMo next month. I've unofficially participated in the past, writing a novel in the month of November, but since I have an adult mystery that needs to be written, I'm committing to doing this. Who else will be participating?
  2. Editing  I'm finishing up another client edit this week.
  3. Plotting  I have the research done for my adult mystery, but I need to flesh out my plot before NaNo begins.
  4. Fading Into the Shadows e-ARCs  e-ARCS for my YA paranormal (releasing January 16, 2017) Fading Into the Shadows are being formatted tomorrow! I'm so excited for this book. If you'd like to sign up for an e-ARC, you can do so here.
  5. Cover Reveal Signups  If you're interested in signing up to help me reveal the cover of Fading Into the Shadows on November 16th-18th, you can find the form here. This is a social media cover reveal, so you don't need a blog to participate.
That's it for me. What's on your mind today?

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9. Autumn Creative Harvest

I love Autumn. Absolutely love it! Every day there seems to be so much incentive to create, explore, start new projects--and the holidays are some of the best. This month I'm trying #InkTober (haven't skipped a day yet!), and next month will see me celebrating NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) again. I've lost count of how many years I've participated in NaNo, but win or lose it's always been a productive experience.

So besides the chance to try out new pens, journals, sketchbooks and unfamiliar materials, some of my other reasons for being crazy for Autumn include:
  1. The weather is near-perfect, quite a bit cooler than summer, but here in New Mexico we can still wear T-shirts in the afternoon. As far as I'm concerned, there's no better time of year for sitting outside to read, write, or paint--especially as all the bugs have magically disappeared.
  2. Along with the more comfortable temperatures, the autumn scenery is magnificent. Talk about inspiration! The colors are at their absolute best: amethyst, pomegranate, yellow gold, black plum, pumpkin orange, and every shade in between.
  3. The stores are full of "back to school" sales; the discounts on stationery and other supplies are massive. Buy those gel pens! Grab those glue sticks!
  4. Some of the best new movies and books are released in the fall. (Which can also be something of a distraction when you're trying to fill pages with your own work.) But giving yourself a few hours to read or watch a new movie makes a good reward for meeting your daily word count.
  5. The flavors of autumn are so conducive to story-telling: spicy warm drinks, buttery cakes and cookies. Just don't forget to go for a nice long autumn walk to burn off the calories!
  6. Misty, foggy, rainy, nippy: my favorite books and stories have always contained a Gothic ambience that I like to include in my own writing. I can't think of a better time to write than when you're cocooned inside against the elements.
  7. Shorter days mean less time to be outside playing or lounging in the yard, which means I have a little extra time to write or draw every night before dinner or before going to bed.
  8. Although the weather can be a bit colder in the morning, it's not too cold to get up and still write my morning pages in relative comfort.
  9. There's a sweet sense of harvest in the air, making this a great season to examine and appreciate what you've accomplished in the previous months. If you find there are still some items on your goal-list, the good news is we all still have time to catch up before the New Year.
  10. I don't know about you, but I always think sweaters and socks are just cozier to wear while writing. (Especially my cat ones.)
  11. Bonfires. The other day at my writing group I tried to explain my memories of Guy Fawkes and the 5th of November, but I guess you have to be from a British background to understand "A penny for the Guy" and why English and Commonwealth children commemorate a centuries-old attempt to blow up the Houses of Parliament. No matter; fire pits, barbecues, and Homecoming and Halloween bonfires are good American traditions, too, and there's nothing nicer than toasting marshmallows or tofu-dogs on a moonlit autumn night.
  12. Travel--consider taking your WIP or sketchbook to a new and/or foreign setting. The fares are lower, hotels have more rooms available, and most tourists are back at work or back in school. The only problem is choosing where to go!
Whatever season you prefer, each one, or all four, can become the cornerstone of your creativity: painting a single scene in four versions of summer, fall, spring, winter; or using seasonal transitions when you're trying to invoke a sense of time, place and character in your manuscript. Even jewelry and ceramic work can reflect the changing seasons: blues and greens for summer, reds and oranges for fall. Each time of year has its own associations, many of them unique to our own memories and tastes. For me, it will always be autumn, hence my new Autumn Pinterest board. Enjoy the scenery!

Tip of the Day: How about creating a seasonal sketchbook or journal to record your favorite memories? Try some collage, or use natural elements such as leaves or seashells for printing and stamping. Write or draw on toned paper with colored inks. Make each turn of the year a season to remember.

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10. Joy V. Smith interview

My latest interview appears in my alumni bulletin, UW Oshkosh Today, and it includes the highlights of my writing career from childhood, through college, NaNoWriMo, and more: http://www.uwosh.edu/today/42565/alumna-has-the-write-stuff/

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11. Steph and Stacey’s Critiquing Cheat Sheet

Hi all, Stephanie here, with my critique partner and fellow pub-crawler, Stacey Lee! Today we are talking about manuscript critiquing.

Stephanie: When I first started writing, I thought revising was proofreading. In fact, I knew so little about revisions I believed that if there were mistakes in my manuscript it was no big deal because that’s what editors are for. Thankfully I outgrew this delusion rather quickly. Unfortunately it took me a much longer time to find solid critique partners and figure out what it means to revise.

So, for any of you who might be in need of a little revision or critiquing guidance, Stacey Lee and I have put together a critique checklist.

We’ve geared this information toward critique partners, but it can also be used as a checklist, if you are revising your own work.

Steph & Stacey’s Critiquing Cheat Sheet

First, if you are working with a critique partner, before you dive into their work always make sure you know what they want help with.

  • Do they want you to point out every nit-picky detail?
  • Do they only want big picture help?
  • Do they actually just want a cheerleader? 

Are they looking for big picture help?

  • Plot (Do you get a sense of what is at stake, of what the MC wants, and what lies in their way?)
  • Pacing (Is the pacing too slow? Are there scenes that fail to move the story forward, or that feel episodic? Do scenes drag? Do you want to stop reading? Or does it move to fast? Do you feel as if a lot is happening but you don’t feel connected?)
  • Character (Are the characters flat or cliché? Are they relatable? Memorable? Is the MC a character you want to read about?)
  • Showing vs. Telling (Most early drafts tell when they should be showing)
  • Clarity (Mystery is good, confusing is bad)

If the big picture items are good to go, pay attention to:

  • Descriptions (Is too there much, too little)
  • Setting (Is there a sense of place? Could this be set in a better place?)
  • World building (Is the world too vague or confusing? Or are there too many details)
  • Dialogue (Is the dialogue stilted? Is it easy to read or does it read like an info dump? Does it read like actual conversation? Does it speak for itself or do they rely on adverbs?)
  • Inner Monologue (Did the writer rely too much on inner dialogue, which tends to be ‘telly,’ rather than showing the scene through dialogue or action?)
  • Tension/Conflict (Is there tension in every scene? Are there internal and external conflicts?)

If the pages you’re reading are fairly polished, pay attention to the details:

  • Details (Are there enough details? Too many details? Do their details show things about their main character, supporting characters or the world they’ve created?)
  • Sentence structure/variance (Are sentences clunky? Are they always the same length, same tone, same rhythm?)
  • Character voice (Do their characters have distinct voices? Is the voice of their work appropriate for the genre and category?)
  • Dialogue tags (Can they cut any dialogue tags? Do they need extra dialogue tags? Is it always clear who’s speaking?)
  • Word choices (Are there any unnecessary words? Are the words they’ve chosen appropriate? Do they have any pet words, or word echoes? Could they use stronger words? )
  • Passive voice (Can sentences be written in a more ‘active’ voice? Can they get rid of ‘fog bound’ phrases such as “There are,” or “It was,” and/or place weak verbs like ‘is’ or ‘get’ with stronger verbs?)

Stacey: Finally, a good critique partner helps you identify the weak spots. A great one identifies the weak spots, and suggests fixes for them. One of things I appreciate about Stephanie is that she always tries to give me solutions, and even if I don’t ultimately use those solutions, they inevitable unlock other possibilities in my head. Or, we’ll go to our favorite pearl tea place and brainstorm. My brain is her brain and vice versa.

In the comments, let us know if we’ve missed anything in our critique partner checklist. And for those of you in need of a new critique partner, we’re planning on doing a critique partner connection soon, so stay tuned.

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12. Lessons from the NaNoWriMo Trenches

Hey PubCrawlers! So, you participated in NaNoWriMo. First, congratulations on what you accomplished, even if you didn’t (technically) finish. That takes a lot of work, a lot of guts, and a lot of stubbornness. So…what’s next? Let me start by telling you what I’ve learned over my years of participation (and also as a literary assistant).

  1. Sometimes the book you’ve written isn’t one you end up loving enough to keep.

It can hurt to write that many words, only to realize it’s not a story we want to show to the world. But it’s okay to feel this way – every word written is important, regardless of what happens after. Even if it stays in a drawer for years, you accomplished something that helped you grow and learn as a writer. Even the most prolific writers learn something new about themselves every time they write.

A lot of us have this tendency to believe that everything we write should be work-shopped and queried and edited and shaped. But I’ll be honest – I have at least two NaNo novels that have never seen the light of day. They’re not great – structure-wise, they fall apart halfway through. The characters are inconsistent. The story is so-so. And I love that I am the only one who has the privilege of reading them and seeing just how far I’ve come.

Getting to know who you are as a writer is never a bad thing – it’s one of my favorite aspects of this contest.

  1. Don’t query the book on December 1st (or even in December, period).

This one comes from the agency side of my experience. Agents get an influx of queries those first few days after NaNo and it’s usually a sign that a writer is querying his/her NaNo draft fresh out of the contest. I get it – finishing a novel is incredibly excited, and lots of us are guilty of querying too early, NaNoWriMo or no. But if you decide to revise the book and query later, querying too soon means rejections, which means you’ve crossed a handful of agents off your query-able list when it comes to that project.

  1. When revising, an outline works wonders, even (or especially, if you’re a pantser) when the draft is already on paper.

When you write 200 pages or more in a matter of weeks, plot lines can get crossed, characters can disappear, motivations can get muddied, and epiphanies can change the entire trajectory of your book. But what can you do? If you want to finish, you have to keep writing. That is, after all, what NaNo is about – disengaging the part of your writing brain that tells you to edit as you go, and getting the words on paper.

When you outline after the fact, you can see where the events you might have missed should go, where the characters who faded away might re-emerge (or that they aren’t needed, period), and where the dead-ends can be smoothed back into roads.

This tends to be the first thing I do with NaNo novels – it’s the easiest way for me to get on track with revision.

  1. Apply what you learned to future projects.

Before finishing my first NaNoWriMo years ago, I had a hard time finishing a novel. I constantly went back on passages I had just written and edited them, making them absolutely perfect. I felt like, if I could just make this chapter perfect, the rest would follow more easily than if I just wrote anything and everything on my mind.

I was…not entirely correct. Because I spent so much time smoothing and perfecting and correcting, I lost sight of the story itself. Writing another chapter became even harder, because suddenly nothing was as perfect as the chapter I’d spent all that time fixing. So I’d spend just as much time fixing the next one. And the next. And the next. Until finally, the process became boring and tedious and I’d give up.

NaNoWriMo gave me the freedom to simply do what I had to do to finish the race. To get the words out. To write “The End”. And I realized that editing and perfecting and smoothing is so much easier and so much more satisfying when you’re doing it to a finished product. Sometimes you end up rewriting half the book. Sometimes you don’t. But until you make that lump of clay, there’s really nothing to shape anyway.

  1. There are whole communities of people who want to write with you.

And you don’t have to stop when NaNo ends. If you have trouble finding beta readers, critique partners, or just other writers to commiserate with, NaNoWriMo is a wonderful place to meet people. In person, in forums, as buddies, whatever. Whatever you’re comfortable with – the set up is tailored for introverts and extroverts and extroverted introverts alike. Going to a write-in can be so helpful – not only do you got words into the draft, you have the opportunity to exchange information with other people looking to hang out with writers.

  1. It’s okay to not finish the race.

Seriously. This year, I ended November with 35,000 words, and I’m more than okay with that. The most important thing is that you’ve challenged yourself as a writer. Challenging yourself is the whole point of the contest – and for some people, that might mean finishing 10,000 words or 120,000 words (yes, I know some people who manage insane word counts and it boggles the mind). Whatever you’ve achieved, that’s exactly what it is – an achievement. Don’t ever worry that you’ve achieved less than someone else – one word written is still one word more than zero.

 

These are just a few of the things I’ve learned from participating in NaNoWriMo. I’m intrigued – are there any lessons you’ve learned or wisdom you’ve attained from participating? I know there are a lot more insights than the ones I’ve listed above, and I’d like to hear about them!

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13. #NaNoWriMo2015 - Week #4 Final Update

My NaNoWriMo 2015 has drawn to a close.

This year was definitely different from last year where I felt out of sorts and scatterbrained the whole month I tried to write. I feel that this year was better; much better.

I had to bust a move this last week and trust me, it wasn't easy. That's alright, I chose to prevail and prevail I did. Tenacity is such a great thing to have in reserve when you need it.

I've said it every week but I will say it again. My greatest thanks goes to my best friend, Angela Markham. I think we motivated and pushed each other and benefited from it.

Thanks to Lyn Ehley, my favorite editor, and also Allan Baker (another of my editors) who were game enough to work on editing Jewels 2 in "real time" as I wrote it.

Jewels #2 will be released in January 2016 so stay tuned for news on that front.

NaNoWrimo 2015 Final Stats Wrap-up

Words written week #4: 25,399

NaNo final grand total: 50,416

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14. PubCrawl Podcast: NaNoWriMo 2015 The Finish Line

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This is apparently the Korean drama recommendation episode! This week JJ and Kelly tackle the end of NaNoWriMo. Sort of. We hope. Oh, and Happy Thanksgiving! We will be on hiatus next week, but will pick up again in December! Gobble, gobble.

Subscribe to us on iTunes, or use this feed to subscribe through your podcast service of choice! If you like us, please leave a rating or review, as it helps other listeners find the podcast. Thanks in advance!

Show Notes

Have some tropes!

Remember, whether or not you “win” NaNoWriMo this year, be proud of everything you have accomplished! Success isn’t defined solely by word count, and hopefully you’ve taken away some tools and lessons from the experience.

What We’re Reading/Books Discussed

Off Menu Recommendations

It’s the holidays! Movies! Time! Netflix and chill!

That’s all for this week! We are returning to our old format, wherein we discuss a publishing topic in depth. Leave your suggestions in the comments or email us or ask us on Tumblr! The next episode will be a year end round-up, but 2016 (Already????) is a blank slate, y’all!

  1. This drama is directed by Yoon Sok Ho, who is my mother’s favorite director because he doesn’t resort to Kong-ji, Pat-ji storylines.

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15. DinoWriMo: Great Ladies

Who was dinosaurs’ favorite children’s book review journal editor? (sorry, Roger)

Zena Sutherland

Zena Sutherland

Xenotarsosaurus Sutherland.

Xenotarsosaurus

Xenotarsosaurus

For more terrible puns, click the tag DinoWriMo.

The post DinoWriMo: Great Ladies appeared first on The Horn Book.

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16. DinoWriMo: Imprints

You know some fossils are imprints. But did you know what a dinosaur’s favorite imprint is?

fossil_imprint

ROARing Brook Press.

roaring_brookroar_Dinosaur

For more terrible puns, click the tag DinoWriMo.

The post DinoWriMo: Imprints appeared first on The Horn Book.

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17. Keeping First Draft Creating separate from Editing

Our friends at grammarly.com have sent a helpful list of things to watch for when editing - whether it's your NaNoWriMo novel or anything else. However I've held back on sharing till the end of the month, because I think it's essential that while you're in that first draft and actively creating, you must NOT worry about spelling, commas, or anything else that blocks your flow.

The important thing in your first draft is just to keep writing. Even if you realise you've just used a stereotypical description - 'red as a beet', etc – unless you can come up with a better one immediately, just leave it there for now. If you're truly worried that you won't notice how bad it is, use an asterisk or footnote e.g. 'red as something unusual that fits into the store: ruby? traffic light? fresh blood?'

Then move on. No matter how beautiful a sentence seems as you write it in that first draft - it's highly unlikely that it'll remain in that form in the finished book. So relax, write, and when your story is done and needs tidying and editing, be absolutely rigorous about these five tips.

Good luck to everyone doing not just NaNoWriMo, but taking that brave step of leaping into any new writing!



Five Mistakes To Avoid in Your NaNoWriMo Novel Infographic

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18. DinoWriMo: Authors

Who’s a dinosaur’s favorite children’s book creator?

Mac Barnett, Roger Sutton, Adam Rex

Mac Barnett, Roger Sutton, Adam Rex

Tyrannosaurus Rex’s kid-brother, Adam.

Adam Rex

For more terrible puns, click the tag DinoWriMo.

The post DinoWriMo: Authors appeared first on The Horn Book.

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19. #NaNoWriMo2015 - Week #2 Update

My second week (Nov 9-15) of writing is drawing to a close and I feel like I'm slowing. But I won't. I will maintain and increase my activities next week.

I've continued to write consecutively (Nov, 6-15) and my productivity along with the word wars with Angela Markham and other fellow writers has helped me to stay motivated as I chug along.

I think I can, I think I can. It's not that I think, I know I can.

Words written this week: 9,865

NaNo grand total at the end of  week 2: 16,696

Words left to go: 33,304

Words needed per day to hit goal: 2,250

Bring it on Week 3!

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20. NaNoWriMo Tip #11: Boost Your Confidence

Half of November has passed which means National Novel Writing Month participants have hit the halfway point with an incredibly daunting writing challenge. Today’s NaNoWriMo Tip comes from a TED-Ed lesson: be confident.

The animated video embedded above offers three tips on how to boost one’s confidence. Over at the TED-Ed website, viewers can access a quiz, a discussion board, and more resources.

This is our eleventh NaNoWriMo Tip of the Day. To help GalleyCat readers take on the challenge of writing a draft for a 50,000-word novel in 30 days, we will be offering advice throughout the entire month.

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21. DinoWriMo: Literary classics

What classic novel do dinosaurs love?

dino_bks

Allosaurus in Wonderland

tenniel alice in wonderland

For more terrible puns, click the tag DinoWriMo.

The post DinoWriMo: Literary classics appeared first on The Horn Book.

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22. PubCrawl Podcast: NaNoWriMo 2015 Digging Deep

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This week Kelly and JJ discuss digging deep and finding the will to continue with NaNoWriMo. Also, real talk: we talk about bipolar disorder and depression, and the difference between I Don’t Want To and I Can’t.

Subscribe to us on iTunes, or use this feed to subscribe through your podcast service of choice! If you like us, please leave a rating or review, as it helps other listeners find the podcast. Thanks in advance!

Show Notes

Here’s the thing, y’all: NaNoWriMo is great for getting words on the page, but also remember to be kind to yourself.

What We’re Reading/Books Discussed

Off Menu Recommendations

That’s all for this week! Next week: THE FINISH LINE. NaNoWriMo comes to an end!

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23. NaNoWriMo Tip #15: Write Your Ending

It’s Nov. 20 and you have ten days left of the NaNoWriMo novel writing challenge. If you are having trouble keeping up the momentum, then stop what you are doing and write your ending.

If you spend the weekend writing the end of your book, then you can spend the last week of the challenge connecting the pieces. By writing the ending first, you know where you have to get to and may have a refreshed perspective.

This is our 15th NaNoWriMo Tip of the Day. To help GalleyCat readers take on the challenge of writing a draft for a 50,000-word novel in 30 days, we will be offering advice throughout the entire month.

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24. DinoWriMo: Awards

How did the dinosaur get to the award ceremony?

footprints

By following the footPrintz.

nelson_i'll give you the sun

For more terrible puns, click the tag DinoWriMo.

The post DinoWriMo: Awards appeared first on The Horn Book.

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25. #NaNoWriMo2015 - Week #3 Update

My third week (Nov 16-22) of writing is drawing to a close and I feel

I've continued to write consecutively (Nov, 6-22) and my productivity level is doing great. Many thanks to Angela Markham who continues to be a source of motivation.

Strength comes from knowledge. I know I can win. Eight days to go.

Words written this week:

NaNo grand total at the end of  week 3:

Words left to go:

Words needed per day to hit goal:

One more week and a day to go!

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