Tag Archive: NaNoWriMo


Anyone else want free e-books?

Cover of "Kindle Wireless Reading Device,...

Cover via Amazon

I recently joined a group called Story Cartel. It was set up by Jeff Goins and Joe Bunting as a way of ensuring reviews for new e-books.

The idea is that they send you notice of new e-books, and you can download them for free. In return, all they ask is that you write a review on Amazon.

Seems like a good deal to me – who doesn’t want free books? And they say one of the best ways to improve your writing is to read. Plus I’m hoping that one day I can put out an e-book and get reviews in the same way. Its all win, win win!

While I was downloading today’s free book, Roxy by PJ Reece, I checked out the authors blog and saw that he has another book out about writing stories – Story Structure to Die For. I had a look on Amazon uk and it was £1.50 (!!!) so I thought what the hell, lets see what he has to say. I really like his ideas about heroes and tragedies, and how to draw your readers in. I’m going to try his ideas with the re-write of my nano book.

Incidentally, just in case you didn’t know (because I didn’t until fairly recently), you don’t actually need a Kindle to read free books – you can download an e-book reader on your laptop or your phone, and voila!

Ok, that’s enough plugging stuff today I think. I’ll post another story next, I promise!

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Writing

Writing (Photo credit: jjpacres)

This post is WELL overdue. I haven’t been in here for so long.

So how did I do in Nanowrimo?

Well, I DIDN’T write 50,000.

I wrote 31,634 words, which is more than I have written for anything ever. AND I wrote a whole story from start to finish. So, I am really proud of myself!

I learned lots of things during the month. I learnt that I COULD write every single day, and I always wanted to. Some days I didn’t know what to write, but I never felt like I didn’t want to write at all. I found I had to force myself to write the first few words, and usually something would follow it. Some days I only wrote a few hundred words, other days I wrote a couple of thousand. The ‘pep talks’ in the Nanowrimo web site, and on other writers blogs, kept me going even on the worst days.

I also learnt that however prepared you think you are, when you come to write it doesn’t always work the way you think it’s going to. I had many days where my characters would turn to me and say “You want me to do WHAT?” – and I had to figure out something else for them to do, or find some motivation to get them to dance to my tune.

I also found a million plot holes. Well, maybe not a million, but a lot anyway. But in the spirit of nanowrimo, I just kept going – I will go back later and fill them all in.

And I learnt that I definitely want to keep writing. I want to get a book published, in PRINT, in a real book, on the shelves of Waterstones.

That is what I am working towards.

So now to take a month off, decorate the house, write greetings cards, wrap presents and enjoy Christmas with my friends and family. And then it’s back to the grind stone to re-write my novel.

 

Postcard from the edge #nanowrimo

It must seem like I have deserted my blog entirely. I have been lost in the crazy world of nanowrimo, desperately trying to up my word count day by day whilst holding down my job, bringing up the kids, etc.

We are on day 13, and though I haven’t done a recent word-count check, I would say I have written about 16,000 – not bad, huh? I’m not on target, but I keep telling myself that its ok.

Whether or not I reach 50,000, my story WILL be finished by the end of November. Honestly.

And then it’s going to need a SERIOUS re-write – at the minute my writing SUCKS.

Badly.

Worse than a toothless old man with facial weakness trying to eat a lollipop.

And most days I am not even enjoying telling my tale. Most days I have to FORCE myself to sit down and type SOMETHING on the page. I keep telling myself the fun will be in the re-write, when I try to SHOW my story rather than TELL it; when I spend time concentrating on sculpting beautiful sentences and meaningful dialogue; when I have time to  reshape it and make it more colourful.

Untill then I am a slave to my tale, and finish it I must.

Thank heavens for these wise words from the irrepressible Chuck Wendig. (click on the link. You’re welcome.)

NaNoWriMo, dude!

(I love the way Americans call each other ‘dude’…I’d say it all the time, if it wasn’t for the fact I am British and it would make me look pretentious. And somewhat ridiculous. I might adopt it at work amongst my co-workers, whilst wearing the new reading glasses no-one thinks I should have bought, and see what the reaction is.)

BLEAURGH!!! I’ve left way too long a gap between my last post and this one. Unfortunately no-one is paying me to write yet, so I still have to go to work. I live in hope.

So.

Next month is National Novel Writing Month, otherwise known as NaNoWriMo (the name always makes me think of the Judoon from Dr Who… “RO HO MO HO JO”, or something like that…). Originating in San Francisco in 1999, it now has around 300,000 participants.

National Novel Writing Month Web Badge

National Novel Writing Month Web Badge (Photo credit: ajsundby)

The idea is you write a 50,000 word novel starting on the 1st of November and aim to have it finished by the 30th. That’s 1000-2000 words a day, or 1666 per day according to Chuck Wendig (if you fancy a laugh, enjoy really good writing and don’t mind a bit of swearing, I can recommend this guys website. Here is his take on NaNoWriMo).

You are not supposed to come out with a shiny, well edited perfect piece of writing – the idea is you just WRITE, with a devil-may-care, sod-the-housework (because it’s so often on my mind…ahem….), throw caution to the wind, fly by the seat of your pants approach and just get the thing written.

THEN you can go back in December, once you have caught your breath, had some sleep and repaired all the damage wreaked on your house by your family while your back was turned, and turn the bones of your story into something beautiful. Add flesh, paint it up a bit, bring the wobbly bits into line, and then maybe you will have a knicker-gripping, earth-shattering, mind-changing story worthy of publication. Most publishers apparently look for something of around 300,000-500,000 words, and are not interested in a tiny 50,000 unedited piece that was fueled by caffeine and desperation.

There seem to be lots of pros and cons to this approach. For me, the appeal is having a goal; a finish line; light at the end of the tunnel.

I’m not very disciplined  Or very organised. I almost always forget everyone’s birthdays, for example. I lose things on a regular basis (my purse, my keys, my phone, my children and the dog). I am still working on strategies to help me with these every day occurrences  and enjoy the occasional success (I still have my kids and the dog. In case you were wondering.)

I’d really LOVE to get something published, and I know it takes time. The word on the internet ‘street’ is that it takes 6-10 years for the average writer to get their work published. Which is why, I keep reminding myself, I am starting NOW – so that in 10 years time I don’t look back and wish I had started 10 years ago.

But as my husband reminded me recently, if I don’t actually WRITE anything, I will never get anything published EVER.

So I’m giving the old NaNoWriMo thing a go, and I am using October (or whats left of it) to plan. Wish me luck.

 

Here are some other articles I read on NaNoWriMo, if you need more motivation:

Twelve Reasons to ignore the nay-sayers

Why winning isn’t the main reason

Five Good reasons to do NaNoWriMo

and this one again, just in case you missed the link – this one is my favourite:

25 things you should know about NaNoWriMo

 

 

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