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Viewing: Blog Posts Tagged with: NaNoWriMo, Most Recent at Top [Help]
Results 1 - 25 of 492
1. 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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2. DinoWriMo: Great Ladies

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

Zena Sutherland

Zena Sutherland

Xenotarsosaurus Sutherland.



For more terrible puns, click the tag DinoWriMo.

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

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3. DinoWriMo: Imprints

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


ROARing Brook Press.


For more terrible puns, click the tag DinoWriMo.

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

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4. 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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5. 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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6. #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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7. DinoWriMo: Awards

How did the dinosaur get to the award ceremony?


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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8. 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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9. 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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10. DinoWriMo: Literary classics

What classic novel do dinosaurs love?


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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11. 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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12. #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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13. DinoWriMo: Theme parks

What’s a dinosaur-publisher’s favorite theme park?



Scholastic Park.


For more terrible puns, click the tag DinoWriMo.

The post DinoWriMo: Theme parks appeared first on The Horn Book.

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14. Seven ways to start and keep your writing going

Beginnings are tough. But if we’d only get started, our marks and words on the page can bootstrap our next moves. Marks and words out there, on the page, feed what in neuroscience is called our brain’s “perception-action” cycle. Through this built-in and biologically fundamental mechanism, we repeatedly act on the world, and then look to see what our actions have wrought in the world.

The post Seven ways to start and keep your writing going appeared first on OUPblog.

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15. DinoWriMo: Picture book heroines

What’s a dinosaur’s favorite literary grandma?


Stega Nona

Strega Nona by Tomie dePaola

For more terrible puns, click the tag DinoWriMo.

The post DinoWriMo: Picture book heroines appeared first on The Horn Book.

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16. 3 terrible truths about NaNoWriMo (that prove you should absolutely do it)

nanowrimoWe’re a little over a week into National Novel Writing Month, and it seems an excellent time to let a few terrible secrets out of the box. For those curious outsiders, NaNoWriMo is a thirty-day writing challenge to produce a 50,000-word novel by 11:59 pm on November 30th. But when you’re writing, as those who are already knee-deep in their word counts can attest, NaNoWriMo feels more akin to a delicate balancing act undertaken while riding a rollercoaster during an earthquake. Which brings us to the secrets about this wonderfully ludicrous tradition:

1. November is maybe the worst month for this.

Hey! You know that month when you spend weeks preparing to make, to help make, or to coordinate and eat a huge family dinner with several relatives you don’t see any other time of year (and with good reason)? That month when, if you’re in school, your life is reduced to weeks of studying, class reading, and paper-writing, punctuated by moments of sheer panic that you have no idea what you’re doing? That month when the midwinter holidays leer at you from the other side of a calendar-flip as if they know just how unready you are? What do they call that month?

That’s right: NaNoWriMo!

November is packed with end-of-year obligations, distractions, and, frankly, totally legitimate excuses for giving up on trying to writing a whole novel in thirty days. And that, oddly enough, is something like the point. Any month in any year in any stage of your life will be full of distractions and excuses, and waiting for the perfect downtime to start writing will only make you extremely good at waiting. Writing when it is inconvenient, disruptive, and downright impossible is something all writers must do, and November is as good a time as any to learn how.

2. Be prepared to hate everything.

And I mean everything.

  • The friends, loved ones, strangers, and Google searches that informed you of NaNoWriMo’s existence.
  • The friends, loved ones, strangers, and Google searches that keep distracting you as you try to hit your daily word count.
  • The word count! (a.k.a. “your new measure of self-worth”)
  • The English language, which utterly abandons you by Day 10.
  • Your computer and its terrifying game of “Do you want to save those changes you don’t remember making?”
  • The need to eat or to sleep.
  • And of course, almost every word of your NaNo novel. (Except for those one or two perfect sentences — you know the ones I mean.)

Just bear in mind that NaNoWriMo is thirty days of the creative writing process hurtling towards the ground at terminal velocity while on fire — feelings (negative and positive) are inevitable. Happily, with NaNoWriMo, you have a supportive, national community of other writers going through the same process. The other good news? A little (or a lot) of emotional turmoil is a sign that you’re invested in your narrative. And investment is the difference between writing it and giving it up.

3. You may not hit 50K words.

But…then what was the point?

You can take it from me, a reasonably together human being who has battled this beast on four different occasions and never won — sometimes you don’t make it to 50,000 words. And that is a beautiful thing.

NaNoWriMo is like sprinting through a marathon — a marathon where your goal is not just to reach a finish line, but to shape something interesting with your footprints as you run. It is a thirty-day challenge to put words and narrative events in some semblance of order, to turn off (or to at least dial down) the internal editor that wants you to keep looking backwards, and perhaps most importantly, to shove past the paralyzing fear of the blank page in front of you. The finish line — that 50,000 word count — is a lovely thing, but you’ll find that reaching it or not reaching it has very little effect on the story that you’ll have actually created.

Remember, remember that in the month of November, NaNoWriMo is exhausting, thrilling, terrifying, entertaining, ridiculous, and amazing. If you’re thinking about participating, try taking a test run during Camp NaNoWriMo in April and July before officially participating in November. And if you’re already participating this year, remember that you’re writing because you want to, which is one of the coolest things you can do with any thirty days.

Now, stop procrastinating, and good luck!

For more NaNoWriMo, look for write-ins and workshops on our events calendar, then check out our silly series of #DinoWriMo puns.

The post 3 terrible truths about NaNoWriMo (that prove you should absolutely do it) appeared first on The Horn Book.

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17. #NaNoWriMo2015 - Week #1 Update

I've been doing NaNoWriMo since 2008. Some years I've been more successful than others. Last year was a struggle but I made it. This year I wasn't sure if it work since I've been on a bit of a major writing dry spell for a year and a half.

I am happy to say that as my first week (Nov 1-8) draws to a close, I've managed to not only write consecutively (Nov, 6-8) but I've been productive, too. I managed at least 1,000 words or more each time that I've written.

My grand total for week 1 is 6,831.

That means I only have 43,169 to go.

Time to make it happen!

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18. Adventures in Portugal, Part II

From my Portugal sketchbook: Roman Temple of Diana 
ruins in Évora!

Hello, everyone. Anybody signed up for National Novel Writing Month 2015? Me! (Much against my better judgment.) So far, so good--I'm actually enjoying myself, making me wonder what's wrong, LOL. The title of my WIP is The Calling, and I have no idea what it's about, which is fine--writing for the sheer pleasure of writing is really what #Nanowrimo is all about, don't you think?

But before I get back to today's word quota I wanted to take some time to continue sharing my Portugal journey, so here goes:

I ended my last post in the seaside town of Quarteira. From there we headed north and inland to our chosen destination of Évora, billed in our guidebook as a walled medieval World Heritage City and the home to an ancient university. Driving there we went through what our guidebook described as "the golden plains of the Alentejo" (very golden, very desolate, and very beautiful):

passing more castles on our way:

By the time we reached Évora, I couldn't wait to start exploring, the only problem being where to put the car. Spaces were practically non-existent, and nowhere near any hotels. At this point of the trip we didn't even know where the hotels were or where we would stay as we hadn't booked anything in advance. However, after creeping up and down the minuscule winding lanes (never designed for cars) we at last found an approximately 6-inch slot in which to park. Best of all it was right next to the vending machine where you put in lots of money and got a little slip of paper verifying your parking space. Wonderful! 

Next step was lugging our suitcases toward the local posada, a lovely old former convent now turned into a state-run luxury hotel with, naturally, luxury prices. Like, um, really, really expensive. We weren't sure we wanted to spend so much money, so suitcases still in tow, we headed down the cobbled lanes to where we thought there might be some place to stay, and found this adorable little family-run inn:

I loved the old-world charm (as well as the old-world pricing). After unpacking and freshening up (listening to our neighbors' rooster while they worked in the kitchen and watched a Portuguese soap opera--noisy. but homey and real) we went to see the sights and have a late lunch in the square:

(A shot of our outdoor restaurant under the umbrellas. As usual, I don't know who these people are in the foreground--I tend to just take photos without thinking too much about where I am,  and end up with all kinds of strangers tagging along.)

After traipsing down more hidden lanes and admiring the architecture, we thought it was time to go check on our car and possibly put more money in the machine. The parking was free at night, but we wanted to be sure we'd paid enough until the cut-off time. We got to our car, and lo and behold, a parking ticket! Bummer! We couldn't read what it said, but I was able to decipher something about the price being 300-500 Euros which made me want to faint on the spot. The police station was right around the corner so we went there with our paper showing we had paid, the time hadn't run out, so why? What? How could they do this to us?

The police officer we approached was very nice but he didn't speak English and couldn't explain anything other than saying we hadn't paid. But we did! Honestly, officer, we have the proof! He smiled, shrugged, and told us as best he could we'd have to go to the traffic department in the morning. Ugh. 

We then spent the rest of the afternoon trying to find where that building would be so we could be there nice and early. We walked, and walked, and walked . . .

No, this wasn't it . . . 

Nor these places either . . .

Nope. Couldn't find it. Eventually we decided to just go back to our hotel and collapse. But after about five minutes inside our room my husband got all antsy and said he wanted to move the car to outside the city walls. On his own. He then promptly disappeared, leaving me to fret and invent terrible scenarios of ending up in the Évora dungeons for non-payment of parking fines. Eventually I got so carried away imagining horrible outcomes I think we were being burned at the stake by the time my husband returned and said the car was safely in a public zone outside the city walls. He thought. 

Doing our best to put it all behind us, I concentrated on the beauty of the evening:

The cathedral view from our window:

Followed by one of our best meals at the luxury hotel for dinner. If we couldn't stay there, we could at least have a wonderful meal:

The chef prepared a special vegetarian leek, cheese, and potato dish for us, complete with a huge selection of breads and olives, Portuguese wine, and of course, a sampling of Port to finish the meal with dessert. Delish! We were the last people to leave, hence the empty tables.

Stepping outside, we came right to this amazing sight: the ruined temple floodlit against the dark sky.

The next day after chocolate croissants, fresh orange juice and lattes for breakfast, we set out to deal with THE TICKET. Within minutes we found the traffic department offices set within a gorgeous eighteenth-century building that could easily have doubled as a museum (probably why we had walked past it a dozen times without realizing what it was), and showed the receptionist our ticket. She didn't speak English, so she sent us to a colleague, and guess what: he laughed and said, "Oh, this is only a warning. You were in a government parking spot. It's okay. Just don't park there in the future. Have a nice day!" Whew. No wonder the police department had been so easy to find--we'd poached one of their own spaces. On that high note we decided to leave town while we could. My husband went to get the car, leaving me to wait with our suitcases and to people-watch outside the cathedral.

The horses were nice, but I was glad when my husband finally drove up and we loaded the car, ready to leave for the next stops: the towns of Santerem and Arraiolos--but I'll save those for my next post. In the meantime, Happy Nanowrimo-ing, and "Have a nice day!"

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19. NaNoWriMo Tip #1: Read 130 Tips From Previous Years

National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) launched over the weekend! During November, writers around the globe attempt to write a draft for a 50,000-word novel in a 30-day period.

To help GalleyCat readers who are taking this challenge, we will be offering advice throughout the month. Last year, 325,142 NaNoWriMo participants wrote a book in 30 days. This year published authors including: Gene Luen Yang,N.K. Jemisin, Charlaine Harris and Diana Gabaldon will offer advice through weekly pep talks.

Every year, we collect and publish links to writing tools and tips to lend a helping hand. For today, we’ve rounded up five years’ worth of advice in a single post for GalleyCat writers. We hope these 130 writing tools will aid those who have signed up to tackle this daunting task.

20 National Novel Writing Month Tips from 2014

NaNoWriMo Tip #1: 110 Writing Tools in a Single Post

NaNoWriMo Tip #2: Get Some Pep

NaNoWriMo Tip #3: Plant Some Greenery On Your Desk

NaNoWriMo Tip #4: 3 Methods to Trigger Story Ideas

NaNoWriMo Tip #5: Start With a Memorable Introduction

NaNoWriMo Tip #6: Get Comfortable With Telling Lies

NaNoWriMo Tip #7: Always Carry a Notepad

NaNoWriMo Tip #8: Follow The Hero’s Journey

NaNoWriMo Tip #9: Banish Away Self-Doubt

NaNoWriMo Tip #10: 3 Ways to Tackle Writer’s Blockw`

NaNoWriMo Tip #11: 3 Ways to Use Dramatic Irony

NaNoWriMo Tip #12: Harness the Power of Simple Words

NaNoWriMo Tip #13: Practice Positive Psychology

NaNoWriMo Tip #14: Pare Down the Distractions

NaNoWriMo Tip #15: Consult Cheat Sheets

NaNoWriMo Tip #16: Write What You Don’t Know

NaNoWriMo Tip #17: 3 Skills to Help With Writing Dialogue

NaNoWriMo Tip #18: Use Strong Metaphors

NaNoWriMo Tip #19: Keep The Reader’s Perspective in Mind

NaNoWriMo Tip #20: Learn From 5 Established Authors

20 National Novel Writing Month Tips from 2013

NaNoWriMo Tip #1: Establish a Writing Schedule

NaNoWriMo Writing Tip #2: Create an Outline

NaNoWriMo Tip #3: Create a Character Outline

NaNoWriMo Tip #4: Establish a Setting

NaNoWriMo Tip #5: Develop Your Novel’s Plot

NaNoWriMo Tip #6: Don’t Think Like an Editor (Yet)

NaNoWriMo Tip #7: Develop Your Protagonist

NaNoWriMo Tip #8: Don’t Check Your Email

NaNoWriMo Tip #9: Make a Soundtrack For Your Book

NaNoWriMo Tip #10: Work on Point of View

NaNoWriMo Tip # 11: Assign Yourself a Word Count

NaNoWriMo Tip #12: Take a Walk

NaNoWriMo Tip #13: Save Your Work

NaNoWriMo Tip #14: Read a Chapter of Your Favorite Author’s Book

NaNoWriMo Tip #15: Listen to the Advice of the National Book Awards Nominees

NaNoWriMo Tip #16: Invent Names For Your Characters

NaNoWriMo Tip #17: Listen to the Advice of Great Authors

NaNoWriMo Tip #18: Drink Some Coffee

NaNoWriMo Tip #19: Power Write Through The Holiday Weekend

NaNoWriMo Tip # 20: Don’t Be Self-Critical

30 National Novel Writing Month Tips from 2012

How Stephen King Writes Imagery: NaNoWriMo Tip #1

Use Free Google Docs Tools: NaNoWriMo Tip #2

Write Like Hilary Mantel: NaNoWriMo Tip #3

NaNoWriMo Tip #4: Get Off The Internet

Submit Your NaNoWriMo Novel to Avon Impulse: NaNoWriMo Tip #5

25 Writing Prompts to Inspire Twitter Fiction: NaNoWriMo Tip #6

Check Your Grammar Online: NaNoWriMo Tip #7

NaNoWriMo Tip #8: Why You Should Write By Hand

Tools to Outline Your Novel: NaNoWriMo Tip #9

NaNoWriMo Tip #10: Use deviantART for Inspiration

NaNoWriMo Tip #11: Read Two Years’ Worth of Advice in a Single Post

NaNoWriMo Tip #12: Use WriteChain to Track Your Progress

Get Figment Writing Prompts: NaNoWriMo Tip #13

NaNoWriMo Tip #14: Turn Your Browser into a Typewriter

Fake Name Generator for Writers: NaNoWriMo Tip #15

NaNoWriMo Tip #16: Get Writer’s Digest Giveaways

NaNoWriMo Tip # 17: Answer Twitter Questions

Write with the 1,000 Most Common Words NaNoWriMo Tip #18

NaNoWriMo Tip #19: Visit Your Genre Lounge

Best Writing Music of 2012: NaNoWriMo Tip #20

NaNoWriMo Tip #21: How To Find a Writing Partner

Try the Cut-Up Machine: NaNoWriMo Tip #22

NaNoWriMo Tip #23: Dial 911 for Writer’s Block

Explore a Genre Mind Map: NaNoWriMo Tip # 24

NaNoWriMo Tip #25: Try the Random Line Generator

How To Create an Anti-Hero: NaNoWriMo Tip #26

NaNoWriMo Tip #27: Have a Literary Drink

Get Some Exercise: NaNoWriMo Tip #28

NaNoWriMo Tip # 29: Plot Bank for Writers

Don’t Forget To Edit: NaNoWriMo Tip #30

30 National Novel Writing Month Tips from 2011

1. Take the Random Cliche Test 

2. Use the Reference Desk

3. Type a Poem

4. Make a Mind Map

5. Reward Yourself

6. Seek Figment Support

7. Download Seven Free Writing eBooks

8. Get a Literary Butt-Kicking

9. Write What You DON’T Know

10. Fight a Word War

11. Write in the Same Place

12. Download the Free Writing Cheatsheet

13. “Obvious to you. Amazing to others.”

14. Listen to Spotify: NaNoWriMo Tip #14

15. Read 30 Tips from Last Year

16. Consult a Plot Doctor

17. Fix Your Computer Screen Color

18. Join the Typewriter Brigade

19. Fill Out a Character Chart

20. Meet Your Deadline with Kittens

21. Use the Symbolitron

22. Make a Spreadsheet

23. Explore the World with Globe Genie

24. Write with Your Neighbors

25. Try Communal World Building

26. Write by Hand

27. Adopt an Idea

28. Explore the Onomatopoeia Dictionary

29. Swap Your Novel

30. Keep Writing Every Day

30 National Novel Writing Month Tips from 2010

1. Write in the Cloud

2. ‘Don’t Finish.’

3. Cliche Finder Stops Cliches Before They Start

4. Take the Fantasy Novelist’s Exam

5. Use a Name Generator

6. Seek Library Write-In Support

7. Consult Role Playing Game Plots

8. Best Pandora Stations for Writing

9. Use the Brainstormer App

10. Dictate Your Novel Draft

11. Use Foursquare for Inspiration

12. ‘Failure Instructs the Writer’

13: Use the Online Graphical Dictionary

14. Write ‘TK’ for Missing Facts

15. ‘Everyone Has a Certain Amount of Bad Writing to Get Out of Their System’

16. Use a Plot Diagram Tool

17. Test Your Characters

18. Use the Reverse Dictionary

19. Use Correct Writing Posture

20. Start a Writing Bible

21. ‘It’s Not a Sprint, It’s a Marathon’

22. Use Your Smartphone for Novel Writing & Editing

23. Turn Your Computer Into a Typewriter

24. Use Write or Die for Motivation

25. Relax with a Literary Drink

26. Browse BibliOdyssey for Inspiration

27. World of Warcraft Procrastinator Support

28. Request a Free Book Cover

29. Lulu Titlescorer Tests Your Title

30. Share Your Final Sentence

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20. #DinoWriMo

dinowrimo“It’s National Novel Writing Month!

“It’s Dinovember!

Stop! You’re both right! #DinoWriMo

More to come from The Horn Book @HornBook

(Spoiler alert: there will be puns. Terrible ones.)

The post #DinoWriMo appeared first on The Horn Book.

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21. Bringing The Fun Back Into Writing

Hey, All! Stephanie here, with my good friend and fellow pub-crawler, Stacey Lee. Today, we are so excited to talk about two of our favorite things: writing and fun!

Stephanie: It’s the beginning of November, which means NaNoWriMo has just begun!

I love the idea of NaNo. I love that it’s a race to write fast, and one that everyone can win. So instead of competing, people are rooting for one another. A wide array of authors give inspirational pep talks. Strangers write together in coffee shops. Friendships are formed as people participate in group writing sprints.

NaNo is fun! And I think this is a key reason why it is so enduring. I don’t know about all of you, but whenever I’m feeling particularly stuck, uninspired, or that everything I’m writing is really garbage-y, I think it’s because I’ve forgotten to have fun with it. And I believe it’s nearly impossible to write a story others will love if you’re not feeling any love as you write.

So Stacey and I have put together a list of, Seven Ways To Bring The Fun Back Into Your Writing:

1. Fall in love with words again.

Stephanie: When I was younger, being the super-cool kid that I was, I sat in my room a lot and read my thesaurus. I loved discovering new words. I’d highlight the ones that sounded most interesting then write little stories around them. Sadly, my teachers often informed me I was actually using many of these words incorrectly—but that’s another story.

The point of this story is, I made an effort to uncover new words as if they were treasures to be found. I’m not sure when I stopped (probably around the time I started making friends), but lately I’ve started hunting for words again, and listing all the lovely words that I’d been neglecting. It inspires me—like finding the perfect party dress and deciding to throw a party because of it. Now it’s even easier to re-discover words with awesome sites like thesaurus.com.

Some of my most recent favorites include:

Arsenic, Rancor, Lurid, Insidious, Velveteen, Ephemeral

I’m also a big fan of McGraw-Hill’s Dictionary of American Slang and Colloquial Expressions.

Slang Dictionary

This book also has a thematic index. For example, if you’re searching for a term to use in place of liquor store, you’d find: candy store, comfort station, filling station, guzzelry, happy shop, headache department, headache house, juice house, leeky store, LIQ, oasis, thirst-aid station.

2. Commandeer your setting.

Stacey: Stand up, and wiggle your shoulders. Roll out your neck. Now make fists and pump them toward the heavens and say, “I am Master of my domain!”

Now sit back down and examine the world you’ve created. How can you make it better? Don’t settle for what’s ordinary, or expected because when we do that, we put readers (and ourselves) to sleep. Make it more vivid, more memorable. How? By not just adding a crooked door to the cottage, but creating an emotional connection between the crooked door and your character. Maybe every time your character sees the door, she remembers how her dad kicked it down when her mom locked him out. Or maybe the door is always threatening to fall. You can create a lot of layers, and have even more fun with your writing, by commandeering your setting.

3. Let Your Imagination Leap Out Windows.

Stephanie: A couple weeks ago a former student of mine sent me this lovely quote:

Her imagination was by habit ridiculously active; if the door wasn’t opened to it, it jumped out the window. –Henry James, The Portrait of a Lady

When I read this I pictured a bored woman jumping out of a window. But I believe the author is really saying that writers should shrug off anything confining them and take bold daring risks that will bring them to frightening and dangerous places. This goes beyond breaking rules. It’s simple to say, “I don’t care  about what everyone says, I’m going to start my book with my character waking up.” But mining deep within yourself, to find a subject that will not only force your reader to see some facet of the world through a different lens but stretch you as a writer, that is something else entirely. This might not be ‘fun,’ but it’s definitely exciting.

4. Find Reasons To Celebrate:

Stacey: I think sometimes we’re running so fast, we forget to stop at the rehydrating stations. Celebrations are one of the ways we can rehydrate, along with eating and sleeping and laughing. I book a spa appointment every time I turn a draft in on time—my own private pat on the back for making my deadline. And speaking of celebrations, Stephanie and I are preparing a celebration for our one-year anniversary on Tumblr because it’s basically an excuse to be merry and giveaway an awesome stash of books.

5. Pick a Theme Song

Stephanie: I know a lot of people do playlists, which are also awesome, but playlists usually encompass a variety of emotions. A theme song should be your anchor to one distinct feeling, which you are excited about threading throughout your entire novel.

For the first book I wrote, Hoppípolla by Sigur Rós was my theme song. It was whimsical and beautiful, and it made me think of make-believe things come to life. Whenever I felt as if my writing was stale, I would put that song on and it reminded me of what I was attempting to achieve.

6. Get into a good story.

Stacey: Nothing helps me rediscover the joy of writing like reading a good book, watching an awesome film or play. When I’ve reached a roadblock, sometimes just reading the words of others inspires me to go back and kick some roadblock bootie. Great stories I’ve experienced recently:

  • Phantom of the Opera musical (made me want to write a tragic love story!)
  • The movie The Martian (plotting brilliance)
  • Tiny Pretty Things by Sona Charaipotra and Dhonielle Clayton (the evil scheming ballerinas!)

 7. Participate in NaNoWriMo.

We know the month has already started, but it’s not too late to join in the fun.

Now it’s your turn! We’d love to hear any tips you have that might help put the fun back into writing!

silly pick of s and s

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22. PubCrawl Podcast: NaNoWriMo 2015 Ideas

Podcast Logo

Kelly and JJ kick off NaNoWriMo month! This week they talk about how to find an idea to write into a novel, and some tips about how to start writing.

Subscribe to us on iTunes, or use this feed to subscribe through your podcast service of choice!


What a Gchat conversation between Kelly and JJ looks like.


JJ had to draw this, of course.

Show Notes

It’s all JJ, all the time this week!

Some Tips and Tricks

  1. Keep a journal to write down scraps of ideas, or Story Seeds
    • Character
    • Premise
    • Plot
    • Match any of the Story Seeds together for a novel–need at least 2 to start writing
  2. If Story Seeds aren’t coming:
    • Write a list of your favourite books
    • Identify which tropes are contained within them (visit TV Tropes as needed)
    • Divide the tropes into Character, Premise, and Plot
    • Pick 2, see if it sparks anything and start writing
  3. Start telling yourself the story—DON’T START WRITING YET—write a “long, shitty synopsis”
  4. Figure out the inflection/turning points of the first act
    • Inciting Incident: the thing that changes the status quo
    • The Point of No Return: the moment the protagonist takes action and becomes personally involved


  • Describe your character using three adjectives, without describing their sex/gender, ethnicity, looks, or profession/occupation.
  • Specificity helps. BE SPECIFIC.

Books Discussed

Apologies for some audio issues at the end of the episode.

Off-Menu Recommendations

That’s all for this week! Next week we’ll have another pep talk for you, plus answering your questions! Comment with any questions you have for us about writing, drafting, motivation, etc. or send us as ask through Tumblr.

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23. NaNoWriMo Tip #4: Be Your Own Assignment Editor

Sitting down to write an entire novel can feel like a pretty gargantuan task, so as you work on your NaNoWriMo give yourself daily assignments that are easier to tackle.

So our tip for today is to become your own assignment editor. Assign yourself little tasks that can serve as building blocks for your novel. For instance, assign yourself a 500-word profile of your heroine, a 1,000 word dialog exchange between your leading characters or a 700-word description of your main setting. This process should get help you create your world and you can use these building blocks to help build your narrative.

This is our fourth 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. NaNoWriMo Tip #5: Read a Chapter From Your Favorite Book

Congratulations, you have almost finished a full week of writing! As you work on your NaNoWriMo novel, don’t forget what got you into all of this: your love for reading.

Today’s tip is to read a chapter from your favorite book. While this month is about action and not research, it can still help to spend a little bit of time with some really good prose to get you going. Take 15 minutes or so to read a few pages from your favorite book. Listen to the language, think about how the characters are developed and examine how the plot unfolds. These insights can help inspire you as you plug away at your own novel.

This is our fifth 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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25. DinoWriMo: E-newsletter

What’s the dinosaurs’ favorite email newsletter?


Giganotesosaurus from the Horn Book.




For more terrible puns, click the tag DinoWriMo.

The post DinoWriMo: E-newsletter appeared first on The Horn Book.

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