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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!
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.
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!
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. ↩
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!
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.
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!
Here’s the thing, y’all: NaNoWriMo is great for getting words on the page, but also remember to be kind to yourself.
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.
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.
We’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.
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.
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!"
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.
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.
I’m also a big fan of McGraw-Hill’s Dictionary of American Slang and Colloquial Expressions.
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!
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.
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.
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.