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1. Now what?

It’s over. The annual November writing marathon is a thing of the past. We’re done. 

Almost, at least for me. 

I hit 50K words but I’m not yet done. It was more of a Na3/4NoWriMo thing for me, with a quarter more to go. The final few chapters are done. To muddle through the murky middle melancholy, I jumped ahead, knowing how it was to end, and wrote the ending. Then I doubled back, filling in the story with short summary chapters that helped march the story toward the end. Once the general direction had been established, I went back and expanded on the individual chapter summaries. I’ve still got about ten or so chapters to flesh out.

The question is what to do with it now, other than to finish it? Once it’s complete, then what? 

I suppose there are varying strategies. These imaginary characters have been a major part of my life for the last five weeks. They and their issues are on the brain and I’m very aware of what kind of things need to be resolved. I’m in a groove, the keyboard is tapping, the story is flowing and I’m not sure I want to let that go. Plus, I want to workshop it this summer at WIFYR and it’s not ready for that.

On the other hand, forgetting about the whole thing for a few months is not a bad option, either. Hide it away on a flash drive and let it stew in the subconscious and view it later with fresh eyes and a refreshed head.

I’ve ignored the story somewhat this week. I was steady with it and dedicated up through November 30. Once December hit, the urge to keep up with it wasn’t as strong, and other obligations have been ignored for a while. I’ve been more sociable with loved ones this last week. And reading. I didn’t get much of that done in November and have been enjoying that again. 

So, what is your strategy? Make December NaNoRevMo - National Novel Revision Month, or give yourself a break?


(This article also posted at http://writetimeluck.blogspot.com)

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2. NaNoWriMo Reflections

With the buzz of National Novel Writing Month over, it’s now a time for reflection and introspection. Take a step back from your work before examining it. Did you meet your goal? Did your writing meet your standards?

Will it ultimately meet your standards? Will you make something of what you’ve written this NaNoWriMo? Share your experiences with us in the comments! And thanks for tagging along with us on this writing adventure.

Below, our experts share their reflections on their NaNoWriMo experiences, looking to the future of their writing and what they’ve learned, while offering advice to those who also won this year, did not participate, gave up, or are thinking of participating in the future.

Did you miss any of our other posts in our NaNoWriMo blogging series? Be sure to check the others out:


Natania Barron: So here’s the thing. If you’re being technical, Jonathan and I didn’t win NaNoWriMo. Neither of us hit 50,000 words.

But I’m not upset in the least.

Why? Because NaNoWriMo isn’t just about “winning” really. Sure, you get a nice little badge and you can share an icon on your blog and social media. But at the end of the day sometimes (and this has happened to me) what you end up with is more work than what you started with.

From the outset, Jonathan and I wanted to use NaNoWriMo as a tool. Not an event. The focus, for us, was kindling a fire, carving out some time in our equally hectic lives to do a project that neither of us could manage alone. Did we do that? Hell yes we did. To the tune of around 70,000 words, we’re more than halfway through the book, and getting into the nitty gritty now. The deep collaboration. We had no way of knowing, starting out, where that would take us, where we’d end up. But once I hit about 35,000 words on my part of the story it became clear that we had to work more closelyand more slowlyto get the rest of the book right.

The most amazing part of the whole process has been sharing a brain. Well, not exactly. A space. That’s why we called our blog Two Brain Spaceinstead of going it alone, Jonathan and I have been able to bandy about when we’re stuck for ideas. And going back and reading what he’s written always inspires me to tweak and improve, and sometimes figure out entire sections of the book. It’s a thrilling, wonderful process to share an imagined world with someone who isn’t you. Like playing pretend all over again. But, in our case, with more spiders.

Defining your own success is a totally hackneyed concept, sure. But if you lost NaNoWriMo this year, don’t despair. You’ve started something amazing. Something no one else could do the way you’ve done it. You’re not a loser.

Stephen King’s On Writing was a big influence on my process early on as a writer. And he’s the one that’s forever lodged the concept of excavation to methat we’re not so much writing books as we are excavating them, like archaeologists. Not every writer has the same experience or the same tools. And NaNoWriMo is just one of those tools. What matters is that you become familiar with the habit of writing. That even when November is over, you’re finding those whispers at the back of your mind telling you to dig a little more. You’re out there finding new tools to help you dig out that dragon skeleton. Or maybe it’s a cavern to another world. Or an old spaceship. But you’re the only one that can do it, the only one that can find it.

So NaNo losers, let’s celebrate! So long as you’ve honed your skills and fine-tuned your approach, you’ve won.


Rachael Herron: It was a quiet win this year. I was at work on a break, four-thirty in the morning. I slid over the finish line with six words to spare, and when I went home later that morning, I got in bed and slept the sleep of the just. I’ve still got another 50k to go to see the end of this first draft, so I’m doing a repeat NaNoWriMo in December. I’ve learned the Reverse NaNo is for me—a week or two of hard work followed by smug backsliding. What’s not to love about that kind of system? Add some holiday chocolate, and Bob’s your wordy uncle. 


Regina Kammer: You know what? My story is a mess. There are inconsistencies, plot holes, and I have no idea where my hero’s sister went after page 3, but she suddenly became an important plot device at the end of the novel.

If I handed the manuscript to an editor right now, it would come back to me slashed with red and flagged with comments like “what does that even mean?”

Well, I know what I meant to write, my characters know what they meant to say, but you know what? No one else knows any of this right now.

That is the beauty of NaNoWriMo. You’re writing for the sake of writing, forming all those ideas and images into words. They may be the most clunky words ever, but they are words. And words can be reformed into better words. That process is called editing.

To quote Chuck Wendig: “Writing is when we make the words, editing is when we make them not shitty.”

To quote Nora Roberts: “You can’t edit a blank page.”

November is not National Novel Editing Month. Nope. (Apparently that is officially in March.) November is writing quantity month. 50,000 words of quantity.

What did I get out of writing quantity not quality? I got a few plot twists and details that I had not considered when I started working on the outline. I also cut some fat out of my story. I had a whole plot line involving the hero’s sister that just didn’t add anything to the story, and, I discovered while frantically typing, I wasn’t interested in that plot line anyway. However, as noted in the first paragraph of this essay, the sister still needs to play some part. I’m just not quite sure what that part is.

If you’ve ever wanted to write a novel, NaNoWriMo is the way to do it. The great thing is that 1,667 words a day is a big chunk of words and yet, at the same time, a manageable chunk of words. I actually pace myself accordingly (although I tend to write in scenes rather than word chunks). I’m not a fast writer, I’m not the best writer (initially; I pretty much rock after edits), so if I can do this, so can you.


 

November/December 2014 Writer's Digest

 The November/December 2014 issue of Writer’s Digest
is loaded with advice, tips, and strategies
to help you survive—and thrive—during NaNoWriMo.


Kathy Kitts: This is my twelfth win in a row, but even if I hadn’t won this year, NaNoWriMo provides a confidence that extends beyond writing. No matter the type of challenge I may face, I can succeed by applying the rules of NaNo: set a goal, tell others, get a support group, and plug away each day. The recipe for success might not be easy, but it sure is nice to know what it is.


Kristen Rudd: I’ve got the post-NaNoWriMo blues. While I’m super happy that I’ve got 50,000 words on my project to work with now, I’m restless and don’t know what to do with my time. Really? No write-ins to attend? No word counts to procrastinate over? No forums to check? What happens now?

This is a common refrain. What happens now is that I must keep going, despite the mush-like state my brain is currently in. I must keep writing and not lose my momentum. A lot of people take a break this first week of Decemberthey step back from what they’ve done with the promise to edit or finish it after the holidays. Maybe they didn’t win and think their novel’s not worth continuing. I have done all of this, too.

This is a mistake. Editing, surestep away, but start something else immediately. But if you’re not finished, you cannot stop now because the next thing you know, the holidays will come and go, and you will have lost that habit. I don’t want to lose the habit. It’s easy to let life get in the way of developing your craft. So I will press on and keep writing.


EJ Runyon: They tell you: “Write. Don’t stop. Don’t over think it. Just write. Get it down. All of it. Don’t go back to bits for polishing. Get to the end as you now know it to be. That’s the goal – the end.”

But once the month is overstart talking to yourself about what to do with your NaNo effort:

Tell yourself,
Finish it.
Let it sit.
Re-read it. Make notes. Don’t dive into edits yet.
Re-read your notes.
Re-write it.
Proofread it yourself.
Don’t rush.
Don’t know how to proof your own work? Learn.
Show it to other writers, not to readers yet.
Take on what critiques matter, leave those that don’t sound right to you.
Re-write it off the notes you will take on.
Finish all the re-writes.
Let it sit.
Proofread it yourself. Then send it off to a story or content editor.
Work the story edits you two agree on.
Proofread it yourself.
Don’t rush.
Send it to a professional proofreader. Not your cousin, sister, or friend unless they do that for a living.
Re-read it. You reading your own galleys is an author’s job. Don’t skip this bit.

After all that, then say, “NOW is the time to work on the blurb, synopsis and cover art.”


Jessica Schley: The big thing I always have to hold in my mind after a NaNo is that what I’ve produced is probably a zero draft. I wish I could remember who first coined that term, but it’s pretty easily googleable and in common parlance in the writing world now. My NaNo novels often need a complete re-write by the end—if for no other reason than that it seems my method of winning NaNo is to crank out thousands of words over Thanksgiving. So, you know, I need to go back and say, use contractions! There’s a tendency to feel like, “Wow, I have a mess here.” And truth is, you probably do. But within that mess is an awesome story that maybe needs some of the excess marble chipped away so that it can become a clearer sculpture. So if you’re feeling like your novel is maybe not what you wanted, put it away for a little while (I’ll be doing that—I’m revising two other pieces right now and those get top billing!) and come back to it with fresh eyes sometime in 2015. Chances are, you’ll see the book inside it that just needs a little coaxing to come out. Congratulations on making it through November, no matter what your word count is. 


Brian Schwarz: NaNo is a trip.

It seems like I develop some kind of amnesia when thinking of NaNo, because each year that I choose to participate I try to forget the previous years (or I look back on them and think about the great moments).

The honest truth about NaNoWriMo is that it is one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. Each year I think I won’t make it. Each year I give myself a list of excuses a mile long. Each year I fight to play catch-up, get caught up at some point, and spend the rest of the month behind because I got too comfortable.

My wife has a good piece of advice that she preaches to me. She tells it to me over and over again:

“You get out what you put in,” she says.

Now for those of you who are considering doing NaNo for the first time next year, or for those of you who did it and failed, or even those who succeeded, I want you to ponder these words.

You get out what you put in.

To me, NaNo isn’t “a trip” because you write a lot of words, or because you spend a lot of time on a computer, or because its wrought with all sorts of roller coaster up and downs. NaNo is crazy because it makes you realize exactly how much time in a month you really have.

This month, I wrote 53,000 words. I did this by sacrificing all manner of things. Some of these I cannot continue to sacrifice, such as time with my wife or generic sleep. But some of these I can absolutely continue to give up.

Whether you wrote 50 words or 50,000 words, you learned this lesson too. You learned that you get out what you put in. Because being a writer is as simple as sacrificing time that could be used for other things, and using it instead to write.

So quit reading this and go write something. Or better yet, make a commitment to revise what you wrote and start that instead. :)

*     *     *     *     *

Blue Ash PublishingPrint Your Book!
Need more book writing inspiration for NaNoWriMo? Blue Ash Publishing, the book publishing arm of Writer’s Digest, is running a limited time offer for all NaNoWriMo authors. Get $100 off 100 or more custom printed books by using the coupon code NANO100 at checkout. Get your own book in print today! But hurry—this offer ends 12/31/14.

Cris Freese is the associate editor of Writer’s Digest Books.

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3. Riverdale Ave Books to Host 2nd Annual NaNoWriMo Contest

Riverdale Ave. BooksRiverdale Avenue Books will be hosting its second annual National Novel Writing Month contest. The publisher invites NaNoWriMo participants to send in 50,000 to 80,000-word manuscripts to submissions@riverdaleavebooks.com.

The books can come in a wide variety of genres: erotica, erotic romance, horror, science fiction, fantasy, and LGBT fiction. The submissions should sent as word documents; contestants should also include a short author biography and a book synopsis. The deadline has been set for February 15, 2015.

Here’s more from the press release: “Later this month, the winner of Riverdale Avenue Book’s National Novel Writing Month contest book, Untrustworthy by Janet Gershen-Siegel will be published on Riverdale’ Avenue Book’s HSF and Magnus imprint…Winners will be notified by email by March 15, 2015. Each book chosen will be eligible for standard contract terms, including publication as both print and ebook. The winning books will be published in 2015.”

New Career Opportunities Daily: The best jobs in media.

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4. Follow-Up NaNoWriMo By Playing the ‘Hot to Be a Writer’ Board Game

latimesDid you take on the National Novel Writing Month challenge? Whether or not you finished your 50,000-word manuscript, we suspect that some of you may be curious about the career path to becoming a successful author.

Earlier this year, journalists Joy Press and Carolyn Kellogg conducted an informal survey and collected more than 200 responses at the The Los Angeles Times Festival of Books. This data, illustrations from artist Paul Duginski, and programming from graphic designer Jon Schleuss were used to create the “how to be a writer” digital board game.

Some of the steps that aspiring writers can take include starting a diary, going to the Yaddo writer’s retreat, revising, signing up for a writing class with James Franco, and winning a National Book Award. What do you think?

New Career Opportunities Daily: The best jobs in media.

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5. Day #1 -- Blog Tour for PlotWriMo: Revise Your Novel in a Month

When: Starting today and running daily through Friday, Dec. 5th

What: Blog Tour for PlotWriMo: Revise Your Novel in a Month offers tips and ideas for revising your story. Visit new blogs and meet new writers (we'd love you to tweet about your experience on the tour and use the hashtag #PlotWriMo).

Who: All writers interested in or needing help revising your stories, including writers word-drunk from NaNoWriMo.

Where: Today's 2 participating blogs, please visit and comment to enter to win an observation spot in an upcoming Office Hours.

Writing Classes for Kids and Adults
Ink and Angst Writers of Nefarious Plots

Why: Revising a novel, memoir, screenplay can be a daunting prospect. PlotWriMo: Revise Your Novel in a Month offers tried and true methods that have worked for hundreds of writers (for more about PlotWriMo AND "ah ha" moments from writers who have or are currently viewing the video series, click HERE).

For plot help and resources throughout the year

1)  The Plot Whisperer Workbook: Step-by-step Exercises to Help You Create Compelling Stories
2)  The Plot Whisperer: Secrets of Story Structure Any Writer Can Master
3)  The Plot Whisperer Book of Writing Prompts: Easy Exercises to Get You Writing.
  ~~~~~~~~
For as little as $10 a month, watch the videos as often as you wish for an entire year (and, lots of writers are finding PlotWriMo the exact right resource to help pre-plot for a powerful first draft. Knowing what to look for in a revision helps create a tighter first draft):


 ~~ View your story in an entirely new light. Recharge your energy and enthusiasm for your writing. 8 videos (5.5 hours)+ 30 exercises

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6. 3 Reasons I Failed NaNoWriMo – and Why It’s OK


30 Days to a Stronger Novel Online Video Course: ON DEMAND



I am a failure.
I signed up for NaNoWriMo–again. And again–I failed to make 50,000 words.

But I have good reasons.

World Building. I did massive work this month on world building. Since I’m writing a science fiction novel, I needed to invent technology, figure out where to locate installations, design the installations to meet the needs of my sff characters and the needs of the story, create scientifically accurate details throughout, along with the usual backstory.

I used Google Earth to investigate Mt. Rainier and the surrounding area, worked on backstory and characterization, and dug into the details of scenes. Many scenes that are still to be written have been written about; that is, I’ve written notes about who, what, when, where, why and with what emotion. When I do sit down to write the scene, it should go quickly.

November is Hard. I’ve never understood the decision to make November the NaNoWriMo month; it’s one of the busiest months for me. Arkansas has a major reading conference, besides the Thanksgiving holiday. All together there were 7-8 days I simply could not write because I was busy all day with other activities. For me, burning the midnight oil does no good, but at that hour, all I can write is crap. Still, I wrote steadily on the days that I could and made progress.

Writing Style. Fashion swings wildly. Many editors believe that writing should take a long, long time. The fad in the Indie world these days is very rapid writing. In the end–I write as fast as I can and still turn out something that pleases me. I must please myself, not an editor or a contest like NaNoWriMo or anyone else. I can only write as fast as I can write.

My Speed is OK

BlueOKIt’s really OK that I didn’t write 50,000 words this month.

  • I had a great time at the Arkansas Reading Association conference.
  • I had a great time with my family.
  • I wrote about 32,500 words, which is 32,500 words more than I started the month with. More than that, I know my characters better and know that it was a very good month of work.

That’s all I can say.

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7. NaNoWriMo Tip #20: Learn From 5 Established Authors

the guardianNaNoWriMo participants have less than 24 hours to complete their project. For our final tip, we’re sharing some of our favorite lessons from five established authors who contributed to The Guardian’sTen Rules For Writing Fiction” piece.

01. “Try to leave out the part that readers tend to skip.” — Elmore Leonard

02. “Have regrets. They are fuel. On the page they flare into desire.” — Geoff Dyer

03. “Do back exercises. Pain is distracting.” — Margaret Atwood

04. “Remember you love writing. It wouldn’t be worth it if you didn’t. If the love fades, do what you need to and get it back.” — A.L. Kennedy

05. “Finish what you’re writing. Whatever you have to do to finish it, finish it.” — Neil Gaiman

This is our twentieth 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.

New Career Opportunities Daily: The best jobs in media.

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8. How best to Use the Final hours of NaNoWriMo

Resist the temptation to rush through writing the end just to finish your story. Use wisely the few days that are left to you this month (keep in mind you can continue writing in December to finish your fast draft all the way to the end while at the same time taking part in PlotWriMo).

The beginning quarter of your story informs the end and the end informs the beginning. Forget all you've written of the middle for now. Focus on the how the beginning and the end thematically support  each other, how the beginning foreshadows the end and how the end satisfy the intent you established when writing the beginning of your story.

Examine who the character is portrayed to be in the beginning. What could she not do then and what she must do now at the end? How has who she presented herself to be in the beginning changed or transformed and into what?

See you December 1st and the beginning of PlotWriMo blog tour to re-vision your story.

For plot help and resources throughout the year

1)  The Plot Whisperer Workbook: Step-by-step Exercises to Help You Create Compelling Stories
2)  The Plot Whisperer: Secrets of Story Structure Any Writer Can Master
3)  The Plot Whisperer Book of Writing Prompts: Easy Exercises to Get You Writing.
  ~~~~~~~~
To continue writing and revising (and, lots of writers are finding PlotWriMo the exact right resource to help pre-plot for a powerful first draft. Knowing what to look for in a revision helps create a tighter first draft):
 ~~ View your story in an entirely new light. Recharge your energy and enthusiasm for your writing. 8 videos (5.5 hours)+ 30 exercises

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

Some writers feel that they must create the story that they themselves want to read. Does that mean you should disregard your potential audience?

In the video embedded above, The Fault in Our Stars novelist John Green advises that one should remember the reader’s perspective while writing. By putting yourself in the reader’s shoes, you will be able to figure out what are the most interesting parts about your story.

This is our nineteenth 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.

New Career Opportunities Daily: The best jobs in media.

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10. Get It Done!

It’s the last few days of the National Novel Writing Month challenge. Many of you have already gotten to 50,000 words already (or blown right past it). But I haven’t. I’m still chipping away word by word. Yesterday I filled my belly with turkey and in my current state of post-food bliss I’m thinking about throwing in the towel. Who was the crazy person who decided NaNoWriMo should be in November?

But I shouldn’t give up. The fact that Thanksgiving is part of NaNoWriMo month is a lesson. I should write every day, even with a turkey coma, even when it’s a holiday.

I’m almost there. If you’re in the same boat as me and pushing these last few days to get your word count — let’s do it together! Let’s keep writing.

Here are some words of encouragement for you (and me!).

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first-draft

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comfort-zone

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FinishLine

You’re almost there! Let’s do it together. I’ll see you on the other side of the finish line!


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11. NaNoWriMo Tip #18: Use Strong Metaphors

Writers are often advised to “show, not tell.” That’s why metaphors can be so very helpful.

The animated video above features a TED-Ed lesson called “The Art of The Metaphor.” When it comes to crafting a strong metaphor, keep in mind that “a metaphor isn’t true or untrue in any ordinary sense; metaphors are art, not science.”

This is our eighteenth 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.

New Career Opportunities Daily: The best jobs in media.

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12. My NaNoWriMo Must-Have List


Here we are--the last few days of NaNoWriMo: time to face the music, finish or else, or maybe just be Thanksgiving-Thankful for whatever words we did manage to get on paper. I've still got a few thousand words to go before Sunday, but I'll get there (I can! I can!).

One of the ways I've kept myself energized these last weeks has been by ensuring I always have ready access to my favorite writing "must-have's." These include:
  1. Fountain Pen. I couldn't write (or live) without a great fountain pen. Over the years I've gone through all different sorts, from disposable (a mistake I won't repeat) to pricey and too precious to use (another bad idea). Right now I'm very comfortable with a black-barreled Retro 1951 Tornado model. It's a good weight and size for my hand and so far (about a year) has been problem-free, i.e. no ink leakage, etc.
  2. Colorful ink. Right now I'm alternating between violet and ebony brown.
  3. Uniball BLX gel pens. A great back-up to my fountain pen. I always keep a few of these gems in my purse, on my desk, clipped to my manuscript . . . I love them. The secret is the ink: the usual blue, violet, brown, etc. is infused with black, giving the various colors a mysterious, gothic appearance that fits my storyline perfectly.
  4. White legal pads. I can't get enough of these. I admit to stockpiling them in the dozens, just in case, you know, Office Max closes or it's the end of the world or something . . .
  5. Alphasmart. My trusty little portable word processor. Oh, how I love my Alphasmart!
  6. Plot Journal. Every manuscript I work on has an accompanying journal filled with notes, character sketches, and plot-lines all based on my:
  7. Magazine cut-outs. I don't think I could write without my very extensive visual references. The weirder, more obscure the photo, the happier I am. I keep my cut-outs in plastic sleeves inside my journals and play with them like paper dolls whenever I need some extra inspiration.
  8. A Writer's Book of Days, by Judy Reeves. This is my favorite book of writing prompts. There's a prompt for each day of the year plus a few extras tacked on to the end of each month just for fun. The prompts can be used over and over and over and never become stale. The book also has tons of super writing advice.
  9. The Voice of the Muse, by Mark David Gerson. I bought this book over the summer and saved it especially for NaNoWriMo. I'm so glad I did. I like to read a paragraph or two before starting my day's work and the message stays with me every step of the way. Reading it before my writing sessions gives me a gentle reminder to trust, to breathe, to stay grateful for the process, and enjoy my writing without judgment.
  10. Padfolio. Another new addition to my writing life. I bought this as a reward for exceeding my daily word goal last week. It's red and shiny and makes me feel very productive. It's the perfect way to carry around my beloved legal pads. Not sure how I ever managed without one.
  11. Salty snacks. I like to eat while I write--which can be a very bad habit. This year I've discovered popcorn chips--virtually calorie-free, with just enough snap, crackle, and pop to make me feel like I'm getting a real treat. They also keep me from roaming the kitchen in search of more food and distraction.
  12. Cuppa. Lattes when I'm at a bookstore cafe, Earl Grey or Jasmine Green tea when I'm at home or in my office. In fact, I could use one right now. Catch you later!
Tip of the Day: Writing can be a lonely, frustrating process, one that can make you wish you were anywhere but plonked in front of your laptop or Alphasmart. So why not make it fun with small (or big) rewards? Start planning today what you're going to give yourself for finishing NaNoWriMo '14 or any other creative project completed by the end of the year. After all, you deserve it! Happy Thanksgiving!

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

    What helps to bring characters to life? Dialogue!

    The animated video above features a TED-Ed lesson called “Three Anti-Social Skills to Improve Your Writing.” Educator Nadia Kalman prescribes the following skills:

    (1) Eavesdropping.

    (2) Treat fake people (a.k.a. your characters) as though they were real human beings.

    (3) Mutter to yourself.

    This is our seventeenth 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.

    New Career Opportunities Daily: The best jobs in media.

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

    Do you want to take your NaNoWriMo story in an unfamiliar direction? Back in 2013, Toni Morrison and Junot Díaz headlined a “Live From the NYPL” event.

    The video embedded above features the entire conversation. During the discussion, Morrison shared this thought:

    “I tell my students; I tell everybody this. When I begin a creative writing class I say, I know you’ve heard all your life, ‘Write what you know.’ Well I am here to tell you, You don’t know nothing. So do not write what you know. Think up something else. Write about a young Mexican woman working in a restaurant and can’t speak English. Or write about a famous mistress in Paris who’s down on her luck.”

    This is our sixteenth 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.

    New Career Opportunities Daily: The best jobs in media.

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    15. One More Week: Staying Motivated at the End of NaNoWriMo

    Let’s face it, writing is hard. Trying to focus and write a novel in a month? It sounds impossible. And exhausting. Here’s the good news, though: If you’ve stuck with your schedule during National Novel Writing Month, you’ve only got a week left.

    Hitting the word count at this point should just be a formality. You’ve come this far, you can’t quit now. The hardest part over this final week is fighting the exhaustion (and the post-Turkey food coma you might hit on Thursday).

    So what is keeping you motivated to finish? Is it how close you are to word count goal? Is it finishing NaNoWriMo for the first time? The excitement of turning to editing your work? Share how you are making it through this final week in the comments below!

    Have you missed any of the other posts in our NaNoWriMo blogging series? Be sure to check the others out:

    Question: What are you doing to not pass out from writing exhaustion this week? What’s keeping you motivated for the final push?


    Natania Barron: Scheduling. Planning. Understanding that this isn’t about barfing out words on the page. It’s about re-igniting passion for a project, getting into the mindset where the book becomes everything. It’s sort of like falling in love. Except NaNo is a formula for falling in love—if you do it right.


    Rachael Herron: Keeping me motivated for the final push is the knowledge that I know exactly how awesome it is making that blue bar change to a brilliant purple. I’m about 7k away from winning, and the thing that feels great is the knowledge that I could write all those words and finish today. But I don’t have to. To win, I can still amble forward and get there, and it’s going to taste sweet to do so. 


    Nikki Hyson: Closing my eyes when I have to. Being so far behind has forced me into several marathon sessions which is really hard on my eyes, shoulders and writing hand. It’s tempting to turn a break into an internet surfing session that sucks away an hour of precious time. Getting burned out? I close my eyes for half hour, then put on a couple high tempo songs and dance around the living room. Follow it up with a big glass of juice (dehydration from all that coffee is an energy killer), pop a couple B vitamins (lasts longer than a caffeine pill), put on the tea kettle, and get back to it. What’s keeping me motivated? I pre-ordered the NaNo Winner Tee in October and just got the email that it is on its way. Yikes! Gotta keep going. Can’t wear it if I don’t earn it (and it really is a wicked cool tee).


    Regina Kammer: Well, my ballet classes are on hiatus for Thanksgiving week, so there’s an extra 5 hours…to sleep. LOL.

    Other than that? Well, I do have some outlined points I have to cover and I have to remind myself I still have story yet to writei.e., I’m not without plot or motivation or conclusion. The biggest writing motivation comes from my character Charles who has yet to find his Happily-Ever-After. I really need to get him to that satisfying conclusion. Right now, he’s still in the midst of evaluating the options set before him, and I’m in the midst of discovering who he really is.

    I am also motivated to get to the end of the story, and I mean literally get to the end of the story, not just to the goal of 50,000 words. I’ve discovered over the years of doing NaNoWriMo that revising and editing is so much easier when there is a complete story to work with. Plus, I’d like to get this story published next year, so that’s pretty motivating!


     

    November/December 2014 Writer's Digest

     The November/December 2014 issue of Writer’s Digest
    is packed full of the kinds of expert advice you need to
    finish off NaNoWriMo strong.


    Kathy Kitts: I’m now in the homestretch. Breaking 40k is the moment when I know I can make it. I’ve been doing this for three weeks and have developed the habit of writing. I brush my teeth without a big production. I do the same with writing. I just sit down and do it.


    Kristen Rudd: Who says I haven’t passed out from exhaustion? Oh, it is hard to stay motivated right now. Fatigue has definitely set in. I didn’t write for three days during Week Three, and I’m grateful that I’ve managed to not fall behind. My husband started some new, seven-minute workout program this month, and he keeps asking me to join him. Ha. Ha. Ha. Right. Like I’m going to work out in November. I’m beginning to think I should write him in and kill him off.

    I had planned out over 20 scenes at the beginning of the month that I thought would be the daily scenes I would write, setting me up for most of the month. So far, I’ve written four of those 20. The rest of what I’ve written has been a complete surprise. Knowing I’ve still got stuff to get to, that I haven’t run out of things to write, and that I am going to win NaNo this year, dammit, are keeping me focused. And I have to say, knocking out these surprise scenes is kind of satisfying. Like Whack-A-Mole.


    EJ Runyon: It’s boring but, really All I Did  to not feel exhausted this week was to just come back. Every week of NaNoWriMo hits you with new emotions about your work. So really, coming back to a new week of writing is like a reboot, emotions-wise. Nothing exhausting about it. I feel like each week brings a new dimension of “writer” out of me. I kind of look forward to each one’s seven-day span.


    Jessica Schley: Spending more time with friends. I have a great NaNoWriMo community where I live, and I find the closer we get to the final push, the more I head off to write-ins and gatherings to stay motivated. It’s more fun to spend time with people that way rather than be locked up in front of my own computer trying to crank out the words.

    The other thing I do is spread my writing time out. Sometimes this is a necessity—I just can’t find two solid hours in the day. But other times, it’s just so that I get up and do something else in between sessions. So I’ll write for 30 minutes four times throughout the day rather than try to pack one long session into my day. 

    *     *     *     *     *

    First Draft in 30 DaysSay goodbye to writing and rewriting with no results. Starting—and finishing—your novel has never been easier! First Draft in 30 Days provides you with a sure-fire system to reduce time-intensive rewrites and avoid writing detours. Award-winning author Karen S. Wiesner’s 30-day method shows you how to create an outline so detailed and complete that it actually doubles as your first draft. Flexible and customizable, this revolutionary system can be modified to fit any writer’s approach and style. Plus, comprehensive and interactive worksheets make the process seem less like work and more like a game.


    Cris Freese is the associate editor of Writer’s Digest Books.

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    16. If you’re writing for #NaNoWriMo (or any time) keep going!

    writing-20141124_111949

    If you’re writing a novel, you have something you want–or maybe need–to say. Something that’s important to you. Keep going! Keep writing, listening to your heart and letting the words flow from your heart to your fingertips, and out into your pen or your keyboard.

    When you’re writing a first draft (or editing a second or fifth or tenth draft), there’s often a point about mid-way or three-quarters of the way through when you start to feel exhaustion from working so hard, or you may even start doubting your work. But don’t listen to that. You have something you need to say. Something that will matter to other people. So keep writing. Keep letting the words spill out onto the page. Someday, that novel may reach other people and change their lives for the better. Someday, your words may help others know that they’re not alone, or things can get better, or they may just help someone else escape from something painful in their life for a while and gain a little good feeling.

    So keep going. Don’t stop now. You can do it!

    Love from a fellow book lover and writer.

    PS

    This was my first year taking part in #NaNoWriMo (though I’ve written and published 6 books), and I LOVED it.

    I love writing quickly. I always write first drafts of my books quickly; I think it keeps me firmly in my writing mode, where I’m deeply connected to my creativity, inner voice, and what I need to say, rather than my editor mode, where I’m looking at the language and content and picking it apart to make it stronger and better. I think first drafts are meant to be written quickly, so we stay in the hearts and minds of our characters and the writing. At least, that’s what works best for me.

    So whether you normally write quickly or not, #NaNoWriMo may be the perfect time to jump into writing flat-out fast, getting all the words out on the page before the editor in your head chimes in. The perfect time to keep the words flowing forward.

    Write what you want, what you need. Enjoy it! And if you reach your 50,000-word goal for #NaNoWriMo this year, take heart in seeing “winner” pop up after you validate your manuscript, or watching the video of other writers cheering and clapping you on. Writing can be such a solitary endeavor; I wish we always had “winner” pop up and a cheering crowd for every new book and every new draft we completed. But we can imagine our own cheerleaders, or let our friends know and celebrate with them.

    Keep writing. Enjoy the process. You can do this!

    And then take a well-deserved break. I know I am. (smiling)

    0 Comments on If you’re writing for #NaNoWriMo (or any time) keep going! as of 1/1/1900
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    17. NaNoWriMo - Do You Love It Or Hate It?

    Those of you who follow my blog will know that this year has been a little patchy for me so I thought a good way of giving myself a kick up my creative backside was by taking part in NaNoWriMo - yes, I really thought that writing 50,000 words in one month would be a good idea... Emma from NaNoEssex asked me to write a post for her blog and I thought it would be nice to share with you.  So here we go - this is my NaNo blog, I hope you enjoy it!


    NANOWRIMO – DO YOU LOVE IT OR HATE IT?

    A couple of days ago an author friend of mine wrote this simple statement on Facebook: “I don’t understand NaNo”.  He just threw it out there and I read the comments first with interest and then with an open mouth because I couldn’t believe the ferocity of feeling it generated – it appears that you either love NaNo or you hate it, there’s no middle ground.  None at all.  Nada.  Nothing.  And there was me thinking authors were a balanced bunch who could see other people’s point of view.  Tsk.  Silly me.

    The comment which surprised me the most was this from an indie author:  “I always think if you can write that much, just do it all the time.  Plus a lot of people turn out garbage to keep up the word count. Just my opinion, but I think it’s ridiculous.”  Ridiculous?!  At least with Marmite if people say they don’t like it then the chances are they’ve tried it.  How can anyone say it’s ridiculous without ever having tried it?  My hackles were raised I have to say, so I feel I have to stand up and explain to the doubters why NaNo is not ridiculous and, in the process, also explain why it’s not always possible to ‘just do it all the time’.  In a balanced way of course.

    I happen to love Marmite and I love NaNo (although there are times when I’m struggling I could cheerfully smack the creator of NaNoWriMo with a large wooden spoon for having devised such a torturous event…).   My good friend Stuart Wakefield introduced me to NaNo in 2010.  From that one small initial NaNo meeting in Nero we met Brigit and Jane and the four of us started Writebulb, a writing group, in Chelmsford.  Our very first speaker was Penelope Fletcher, a young indie author, who spoke to us about self-publishing.  Heavens above, what a revelation that was!  As Penelope talked I just knew it was something I wanted to do and as soon as I left the meeting I started self-publishing – me, who barely knew what a Kindle was!  Here I am four years later – over 190,000 of my books have been downloaded and I’ve loved every step of the journey.  Yes, that meeting in Nero’s four years ago was a catalyst like no other!  Way to go Nano.

    There is another reason why I like NaNo so much, but it’s more personal. This year has been very been busy and sometimes difficult.  I’ve moved house, leaving the home I’d lived in for 24 years, into a house that needs a lot of work done to it.  In addition, my father’s Alzheimers has deteriorated rapidly; he still lives in his own home but I am responsible for him and most evenings after work (I commute to London) I go and check on him and see how he is.  I’ve tried to write, to keep up on social media but have failed miserably throughout the year – by the time I get home, unpack yet another box or paint (or even knock down) another wall, go to help my dad find whatever he’s lost, and then have some supper I’m usually too tired to do anything other than go to bed!  When Emma contacted me to see if I would contribute to the blog it was like a ray of light shining through the dark (thank you Emma!) but then I thought hold on, I’d better sign up to NaNo if I’m going to write about it and immediately I did that panic set in.  How would I cope?  When would I find the time?  Would stress finally overwhelm me?  Nuhuh.  Not one bit.  The only feeling that’s overwhelming me is that I’m finally back doing something I love.  I’m not stressed by trying to write 50,000 words because if I don’t make it the target, I don’t make it.  That feeling of creating something has made me feel happy.  Simple.  

    So – do you love NaNo or do you hate it?

    If you still think you hate it then I’d ask you read this blog again because what I’m saying in a nutshell is that NaNo will give you the opportunity to go on a journey, to meet interesting people, to find support and encouragement, to learn new things, to spark that creative fire inside you and to give you a sense of achievement.  It’s pretty damn good stuff.

    If you already love it then hold fast – you’re now just over half way through and we will all celebrate together when it’s over.  I’ll bring the toast and Marmite!  Good luck everyone J

    0 Comments on NaNoWriMo - Do You Love It Or Hate It? as of 11/23/2014 3:28:00 PM
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    18. Yay or nay

    By now you either have given up on NaNoWriMo or know you stand a good chance of “winning” ten days from now.

    If you’re in he first camp, I understand, I’ve been there before. For a number of reasons - lack of time, other commitments, stalling of story, loss of confidence, seemingly insurmountable odds of completing it - the wind has been taken out of your sails. You started November enthused and with a killer story idea, but the thing beat you down. That is the nature of this beast. 

    However, one not need feel like a failure. Take solace in knowing you’ve got the start of something great. Maybe not the complete first draft, ready to be fine-tuned, you had hoped for, but a beginning. That spark of an idea that once held such promise, though now stalled, still has potential. It had potential then, it holds it now. Give yourself a little time away from it, allow it to stew in the subconscious, then come back to it in January and try again. 

    If you’re in the second group, I’m pleased to finally be among you. At least I will have 50K words by then. It doesn’t feel like the story will have been completed. As this is different territory for me, I’m not sure what is required to receive that treasured prize of being allowed to print my own “I Did It” certificate, or a new car, or free trip to Disneyland, or whatever it is they do to reward winners. Again, I’m new here and am not sure the procedure for officially completing the marathon. Something from the NaNoWriMo site tells how to validate and “win.” I personally have promised myself a massage once “the end” is reached. 

    There still is a week and a weekend to go, so keep writing. And if NaNo got the best of you, go get your massage anyway. You’ve earned it, too.


    (This article also posted at http://writetimeluck.blogspot.com)

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    19. NaNoWriMo Tip #11: 3 Ways to Use Dramatic Irony

    Is your National Novel Writing Month plot stuck? Maybe you need to add in a little irony.

    The TED-Ed team partnered with educator Christopher Warner to create videos about both verbal irony and dramatic irony (embedded above). Below, we’ve rounded up three tips on how to incorporate dramatic irony into a story.

    (more…)

    New Career Opportunities Daily: The best jobs in media.

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    20. Interview with Webucator: Staying Motivated

    <!--[if gte mso 9]> Normal 0 false false false EN-US X-NONE X-NONE MicrosoftInternetExplorer4 <![endif]-->

    In honor of National Novel Writing Month, the folks at Webucator have asked me to respond to a few questions about writing. Although I don't participate in NaNoWriMo (November is a terrible month for me to try squeeze in extra writing time!), I thought it would be fun to answer their questions. You can read the interview below:

    What were your goals when you started writing? I can't remember not writing. From the time I was old enough to read, I wrote vignettes, observations about life, snippets of overheard dialogue that intrigued me, and short stories. I wrote plays with parts for all of my stuffed animals. In the beginning, I think my primary desire was to give voice to the ideas that captured my imagination. As I grew older, my goals shifted to writing something important that people would read and remember. In high school, I became aware that words matter, that a good writer could sway opinions and touch people's emotions.

    What are your goals now? My goals really changed when I became a young adult. As an undergraduate, I was an English major, and the work I read inspired me to think about writing short stories. I began submitting my work for publication in my early twenties, where I encountered a lot of rejection. But I did publish two pieces early on, an op-ed piece and a short story, and that motivated me to keep going. Later, I started work on a novel, which generated some interest from a publisher, but I never finished the book, and the project was dropped. After that, I concentrated on writing shorter pieces and have since published over 50 short stories, essays, and poems. My goals now are more evolved and complex. My debut novel, Blood of a Stone, is forthcoming from Tuscany Press in January 2015. Downloads of an Advanced Reading Copy of my novel are currently available to registered members of NetGalley for review. For years, my primary goal was to publish a novel. Now I'm working on a new novel, as well as a collection of short stories. I'm also actively pursuing awards and fellowships. 

    What pays the bills now? My writing has never paid the bills, but my income from writing has continued to grow and is a nice supplement to our household income. Alas, art is not highly valued in today's society, so few authors actually earn a living income from their writing. I'm fortunate to have a supportive partner who has paid the bulk of our bills while I pursued my passion. In addition to my writing, I also work part-time as a creative writing instructor and as a freelance editor. 

    Assuming writing doesn't pay the bills, what motivates you to keep writing? It's really about the writing, isn't it? Fame and fortune can be fleeting, but the joy of creating something imaginative and wonderful can carry you forever. I write because I love what I do. I love making the words dance on the page. I love creating interesting characters with complicated lives. My readers motivate me, too. Just last week, I received a lovely email from someone who had read my flash memoir, "My Mother's Hands," in Run to the Roundhouse, Nellie. I walked on a cloud for days. It's truly humbling to discover that your stories have touched someone and made a difference.

    And optionally, what advice would you give young authors hoping to make a career out of writing? Read. Read everything in the genre you like to write and read outside of your genre. Read the classics. Read National Book Award winners, the stories in Best American Short Stories, or the essays in Best American Essays. Immerse yourself in good writing and good literature. You will learn much via osmosis. And write, write, write. Keep a journal. Write short stories, essays, poems, novels. Experiment with form and craft. Study the writers you admire and take notes: How does this one write dialogue that sounds so natural? How does that writer use metaphor and description to bring the setting to life? If you have a passion for writing, nothing will stop you from continuing to write. If you want to make a career out of writing, you need to apply the theory of P's: Practice. Persistence. Patience. Professionalism. The career will follow.

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    21. NaNoWriMo Tip #13: Practice Positive Psychology

    How well one maintains a positive outlook could make or break a NaNoWriMo project. Shawn Achor, a positive psychology expert, gave a TED talk called “The Happy Secret to Better Work.”

    In the video embedded above, Achor recommends setting aside at least 20 minutes every day for the following five activities: identifying three reasons for gratitude, exercise, meditation, writing in a journal, and performing acts of kindness. What methods do you use to cultivate happiness?

    This is our thirteenth 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.

    New Career Opportunities Daily: The best jobs in media.

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    22. Toughest Part of NaNoWriMo… So Far

    You're beginning to falter. Tearing your hair out and your story apart. Looking for reasons to procrastinate rather than write. Sighing often. Telling yourself why bother.

    Don't worry. It's not you. You're at the Crisis point in the month-long quest to write a story with a plot from beginning to end. Nearly 3 weeks in makes for the 3/4 mark of the month and as you know, the 3/4 mark of anything, according to the Universal Story is the Dark Night -- a time of breakdown for a possible break through.

    You're being tested. Writing is not for the faint-hearted. Go for a walk. Meditate. Chant affirmations. Do whatever you need to keep your energy and spirit high. Slog through this time, knowing you're nearly there.

    You've heard about people who give up right before something amazing would have happened. Don't let this be you. Persevere! You can do this.

    This is also a time filled with great emotion and the need for courage to keep at your passion. Whether you have gathered together with other writers for NaNoWriMo or are persevering alone, the biggest test this month is staying passionately loyal to your goal and not giving up when challenged.

    Today I write!

    For plot prompts to move your writing everyday and reach each major turning point: The Plot Whisperer Book of Writing Prompts: Easy Exercises to Get You Writing. To complete write your story in a month, complete 4 prompts everyday. (As one writer proclaims: The PW Book of Prompts is my lighted path…)

    For plot help and resources during NaNoWriMo

    1)  The Plot Whisperer Workbook: Step-by-step Exercises to Help You Create Compelling Stories
    2)  The Plot Whisperer: Secrets of Story Structure Any Writer Can Master
    3)  The Plot Whisperer Book of Writing Prompts: Easy Exercises to Get You Writing.
      ~~~~~~~~
    To continue writing and revising (and, lots of writers are finding PlotWriMo the exact right resource to help pre-plot for a powerful first draft. Knowing what to look for in a revision helps create a tighter first draft):
    •  
    • PlotWriMo: Revise Your Novel in a Month
     ~~ View your story in an entirely new light. Recharge your energy and enthusiasm for your writing. 8 videos (5.5 hours)+ 30 exercises

    0 Comments on Toughest Part of NaNoWriMo… So Far as of 11/20/2014 10:18:00 AM
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    23. NaNoWriMo Tip #14: Pare Down the Districtions

    lifehackNaNoWriMo participants have 10 more days to complete their projects. To give writers that extra edge, we suggest paring down distractions.

    According to lifehack.org, some methods that can help with reducing distractions include: cleaning up one’s workspace, arranging some alone time, and setting a timer for both writing and breaks. Do you have any further suggestions to add?

    This is our fourteenth 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.

    New Career Opportunities Daily: The best jobs in media.

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    24. The NaNoWriMo Progress Report: How Are You Feeling?

    Just about three weeks of participating in National Novel Writing Month can leave even the best, consistently faithful writer sleep-deprived, ornery, and a little nonsensical. But if you’ve made it this far, that’s something worth celebrating.

    The question becomes, are you writing now just to hit your goal of 50,000 words? Are you simply trying to meet a word count to say you did it? Or are you trying to construct something meaningful and worthwhile, even if it’s something that you won’t let see the light of day for quite some time?

    In short, how do you feel about your writing right now? Are you satisfied with how NaNoWriMo forces you to work? Do you enjoy the quickened pace and constricted guidelines, forcing your inner-critic and inner-editor to take a backseat (until December)? Or do you wish you could plot along more, fine-tuning and tweaking?

    What’s your plan for the final stretch? Share it with us in the comments!

    Have you missed any of the other posts in our NaNoWriMo blogging series? Be sure to check the others out:

    Question: Have you been disappointed or pleased with your NaNo efforts thus far? What has made it so? How do you plan on improving or keeping it up over the final 2+ weeks?


    Natania Barron: I’ve honestly been really pleased. I don’t want to say it’s the easiest NaNo, but it’s a different kind of NaNo. Part of it is having a responsibility to another writer. Part of it is being in a different place, writing for a different reason. I had enough of a slow gain leading up to the weekend that I didn’t have to write much at all—it was my 10th anniversary—but I still wanted to, and I was still thinking about the story a great deal. It’s compressed creativity, but this time around it doesn’t feel like so much work.


    Rachel Herron: Oh, boy, I’m always disappointed by my NaNo words. I think it’s healthy and normal to be that way. We’re sprinting here, folks. Remember: the only goal is TO MAKE WORDS. Awful, terrible, furiously bad words are par for the course. Everything can be fixed, but we don’t do that in November. We write the worst things we’ve ever written in November, and then we brag about how badly we’re writing. Here’s an excellent example, straight out of my manuscript: “Fern was even paler now, if that was possible, but her eyes were twin blackened marks of heat WEARS A LOT OF EYELINER.” (I make myself notes in all caps, wherever the idea occurs to me. This keeps me from going backward.) And no, I’m not going to try to write better words. I’m just aiming for that 50,000 mark. Better words are what we make out of crappy words, later. I aim for quantity, not quality. And man, am I good at it. 


    Nikki Hyson: Until a couple days ago I was very disappointed. I didn’t feel like I’d taken care of my time management very well during the first week and my word count suffered in major ways (okay, so I was exhausted and sleeping through alarms, but still!) Then, this weekend, I hit my 2nd (or maybe my 3rd) wind and powered through 9,600 words in about 33 hours. I just crested the 20k on the evening of the 15th which is (kinda) close to the middle. To maintain momentum I think it’s time to take my novel on the road: to work, to doctor appointments, to the coffee shop, anywhere and everywhere. Just jotting words in whatever chunks of time I can find will keep me from needing a full-on marathon at the end. Although those are seriously a lot of fun.


     

    November/December 2014 Writer's Digest

     With resources, tips, and advice from a bevy of experts the
    November/December 2014 issue of Writer’s Digest is a surefire
    way to help you finish your goal of 50,000 words during November.


    Regina Kammer: I’m befuddled, really. Two of my characters are darker than I had originally intended. Another is surprisingly heroic for a minor character. So maybe this means I’m pleased because the magic of NaNoWriMo is happening.

    On the other hand, I have a target publisher , so I’m spending way too much time ignoring my own advice of just writing and suppressing the inner-editor. I’m worried that the work might not be what they’re looking for. I need to stop that.

    All I can do for the final two weeks is keep writing. I still have the pivotal scene and the climax to write, so those are like proverbial carrots on a stick. I need to take my own advice and just write the parts of the story I’m sure about!


    Kathy Kitts: Here is a great anecdote that helps me get through the tough slog that is the 30 thousands. Ray Bradbury had just given a lecture and was taking questions. An undergraduate asked him how he could be so prolific. How he could write when he wasn’t in the mood? He replied that writing took care of those moods.


    Kristen Rudd: My novel took a turn that I was completely unprepared for, and I’ve spent the better part of several days trying to get it back on track. So, on the one hand, I’m pleased that it seems to be its own living, breathing beast. On the other hand, I’m bummed because it seems to be its own living, breathing beast. It all happened from what I thought was an innocuous line of dialogue. I followed it where it led, and I’m worried I may have written myself into a corner. When I vented, a friend asked me, “But is the corner defensible? Does it have a nice view?”

    I am determined to let the story lead me and hope that it knows what it’s doing. So, yes. We are in a committed relationship, my novel and I. I have plenty of originally planned scenes I can always switch over to if I need. I am all of the prepareds. I will just keep writing, trusting that writing will solve all of my problems.


    EJ Runyon: What’s pleased me is that I’m using excerpts from past NaNo’er for this book. That’s a great feeling, seeing work from a few years ago. And what’s disappointing is that it looks like 30K+ words will leave me with a finished How-to-Guide, and that leaves 20K +/- still to write on one of my WIP novels. Good thing this is a Rebel year. Maybe Ill turn that disappointment into a stab at more than one WIP, and touch three of them. Make the time count in a big way, instead of trying to just fill the time & word count


    Jessica Schley: I’m behind schedule, but I’m actually very pleased with how this NaNo is going. This has been one of the first where more days than not, I’m hitting the word count and pushing my story forward. It also is shaking out pretty close to my outline—one thing I’ve discovered in revising my NaNo novels is that the pacing is usually WAY off in my finished draft, because while the fun of NaNo is that secondary characters and plot twists tend to show up ad hoc, that often means that a lot of explaining goes into them and they come in at the wrong point, making my novels out of whack. So I was hoping that this time, I could write something that was more evenly paced if I outlined a slightly more rigid 3-act structure.  The Act I turn happened right where I wanted it to, and the midpoint of the novel is on track to hit when I hit that word count. I’m very pleased with that.

    How do I plan on improving? Just keeping on keeping on. I went to a great write-in this week with my NaNo community (we have a wonderful group here in the nation’s capital) and I’m going to hit up more of those to keep me going. Plus, I’ve won two NaNos with 10,000+ word counts on the final day (one was 20), and with half the month left to go, I still have a very reasonable daily word count to hit. So, I’ll just hit that. :) Easier said than done, I suppose, but as I said in the last post … it’s really hard not to finish once you cross 35K. Even if you cross 35K in the morning of the 30th of November!


    Brian Schwarz: I have been happy with my efforts. I had lofty goals prior to NaNo that included finishing the first book in my series prior to November (I had 3 months) and then the second book during Nano, but instead I ended up with 10k words on the first one in 3 months. Given that I’m at 18k more in 16 days, I have to be pretty satisfied with that. If NaNo ended tomorrow, I could accept my progress as is. But, being that I’m a driven over-achiever, I do not plan on relenting. I am going to increase my word count, trying to furiously catch up (one day last week i actually wrote 8k words in a day) and I’m going to be happy when I make it. I have a rhythm now, which isn’t exactly one I was hoping for. I spend my weekends pretty much forgetting about writing while I spend my work-week going into work an hour early and writing furiously to make up for the two days lost as well as the previous days missed. I won’t question my flow, and I’ll just try to be more productive in it. For some reason writing before bed or in the morning hasn’t been as productive or effective this time round (whereas last year I did a vast majority of my book at night before sleeping), but I don’t mind how it happens. I just know I will find a way to make it happen.

    *     *     *     *     *

    Question: What is one weird word to describe your novel so far?


    Natania Barron: Spiderpunk.


    Rachael Herron: Erratic.


    Writer's Market Deluxe Edition“The Writer’s Market book is an incredible resource on its own, just as the WritersMarket.com website is a wonderful resource. Combine the two, and a 60-mintue webinar on freelancing, and you get the power-packed combo of the Writer’s Market Deluxe Edition. It’s the same Writer’s Market print book, but it comes with an activation code good for a one-year subscription to WritersMarket.com, which houses more listings and more updates throughout the year.”

    -Robert Lee Brewer, Writer’s Market Content Editor


    Nikki Hyson: Unpredictable. At least while writing it. I don’t know. I may reread it in a month and realize you can see every plot twist a mile off. Right now my characters are toying with me.


    Regina Kammer: Compost.

    (Layers of rich well-developed material with a bunch of rough and green bits thrown in.)


    Kathy Kitts: Sidestepping.


    Kristen Rudd: Alive. My novel is like Frankenstein’s monster. It’s no longer under my control and is going wherever it damn well pleases, apparently. I’m just chasing after it at this point, trying to keep up.


    EJ Runyon: “Simple”—that’s it. I’m rebelling this month, and revising a How-to-Write book on Revisions. Like my Tell Me (How To Write) A Story, (NaNo 2008, published 2014) this one also shows simple ways of looking at your work. Novembers come to a close, and in the time that follows, something simple is needed to keep a writer going. Hopefully this “simple” guide will be one of those things.


    Jessica Schley: Convoluted. I don’t know if that’s a very weird word. But every scene I write introduces a new twist. So it is turning out very twisty. I hope I can bring all these threads together in Act III! 


    Brian Schwarz:  I’d go with “Barmicide”. Look it up! :) God knows I did.

    *     *     *     *     *

    Write-A-ThonFind the focus, energy, and drive you need to start—and finish—your book in a month. Write-A-Thon gives you the tools, advice, and inspiration you need to succeed before, during, and after your writing race. With solid instruction, positive psychology, and inspiration from marathon runners, you’ll get the momentum to take each step from here to the finish line. You’ll learn how to: train your attitude, writing, and life—and plan your novel or nonfiction book; maintain your pace; and find the best ways to recover and move forward once the writing marathon is finished and you have a completed manuscript in hand!


    Cris Freese is the associate editor of Writer’s Digest Books.

     

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    25. NaNoWriMo Tip #15: Consult Cheat Sheets

    blue color

    NaNoWriMo participants can use all the help they can get! That’s why we encourage consulting with cheat sheets—check out these three links:

    (1) Author’s Craft cheat sheet from the Hello Literacy blog (via Shannon Ford’s pinterest board)

    (2) The Hero’s Journey map from Storyboard That

    (3) Ingrid Sundberg’s Color Thesaurus

    This is our fifteenth 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.

    New Career Opportunities Daily: The best jobs in media.

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