Tag Archives: nanowrimo

NaNoWriMo Me by J Monkeys

Hiddey Ho there Scribblers!  J Monkeys here.  So I know there are both fans and pans of Nanowrimo out there.  If you aren’t familiar with Nano, click here for more detail.  Where do you fall?  I’m a fan.  I’ve learned a very important lesson over the last year.  I hate writing first drafts.  It’s my least favorite part of the writing process.  It turns out, I’ll do just about anything to avoid it.  And hey, guess what?  You aren’t a writer if you can’t write a first draft.  You know that beautifully sculpted final product?  It starts with the first draft. 

Nanowrimo is a tool that helps me staple my butt to the chair and get that torturous first draft written.  In fact, I could use two or three Nanowrimo’s a year.

So, since it’s November, I’m keeping the blog posts short and sweet.  If you are a writer, get writing.  If you are a Wrimo – quit goofing off and get back at that word count!

I Need a Knitted Laptop Hood by J Monkeys

Hiddey Ho Scribblers!  J Monkeys here.  November is coming and with it NaNoWrimo.  If you aren’t familiar with National Novel Writing Month, click here.  I will finish the first draft of my WIP this year or else!  Part of a successful Nano month is being prepared and having the right gear to get you through.  Next week, I’ll be cleaning my office and reading the new Julia Quinn book to get the temptation out of the way.  And, I ordered a new battery for my laptop today – I’ve needed one for a VERY long time.

Now my office is cold and I have many distractions from writing, including my twin boys.  I’m thinking of making one of these.

knitted laptop hood

What do you think?

The knitting instruction can be found here.  Maybe….

I’m Baaaaaaack! by J Monkeys

Hello Scribblers – J Monkeys here from a summer away from writing.  Have you missed me?  Nah, I’m sure Vivienne kept you so entertained, you didn’t even notice that I was gone.  I hope you had a spectacular summer and are settling down into fall.  It might be a rough winter here in New England.  Mr Monkeys says the squirrels have been hiding acorns at a prodigious rate.  Couple that with the crazy hot summer and I’m gonna spend the next month ensuring that our emergency supplies are in order.

And of course, Emergency Supply Season at Monkey Manor is also NaNoWriMo season.  Are you noveling this November?  Not only will I be noveling, but I’m also leading a group of 3rd to 5th graders in their first NaNoWriMo adventure.  This ties in with a lot of school-related work I’ve been doing lately. 

I have author visits set up for several local schools this year, and I’m doing a few different writing projects with students.  For example, Monday will be my third session with a group of Kindergarten to Second Graders in a collaborative writing project.  It’s been wicked fun so far.  These kids are so creative!  We brainstormed a bunch of ideas to weave into our story and then spent some time writing a general outline.  They had so many ideas, that we’re ending up with a chapter book.  I’ll share more as it unfolds.

In the world of writing for little kids, the e-book phenomenon isn’t making gazillionaires out of us yet.  Unlike YA readers, MG-ers and emerging readers don’t have purchasing authority.  No Kindle with Amazon gift cards from Grandpa and Great Aunt Susie.  For Indies to sell MG and picture books, you’ve got to connect with both the audience (kids) and the buyer (adults).  Getting into schools is a great way to do that.  But it’s tough.  Lots of competition out there.

For those of you out there writing for the younger set, how are you doing?  Outside of being published by Scholastic, what sales venues have you found that work?

Nanowrimo-ing Monkey Blog #1

Hello there Blog-land!  J Monkeys here.  Do you Nanowrimo?  I’m Nanowrimo-ing this year – hard core!  Aren’t familiar with Nano – check out their site.  Or check out PJ’s blog from last week.  Nano is a great (FREE!) program.  I’ve been a Wrimo since 2008 and a winner at least twice.  Of course, since doing the challenge has resulted in words on the page, I’m really a winner every time, but you know, they have rules…

So, for Nano 2012, I’m going to get all of my Saturday blog posts for the month of November done in advance.  I’m trying to set myself up for success, that kind of thing.  But before I get to the meat of Nanowrimo-ing Monkey Blog #1, let me tell you all my goal now, because like PJ, I’m often motivated by the fear of public humiliation.  Between Nov 1 and November 30, I shall write 50,000 words in my current WIP.  In fact, I’m hoping to hit closer to 60k.  So that’s my goal.  By the time this post goes live, it will be the 3rd of November.    At a rate of 2000 words a day, I should have 4,000 words under my belt.  Here’s what I’ve got: 4,587.  Every Saturday for the month, I’ll let you know how far along I am and how things compare to the goal.

Today I’m going to tell you a little bit about my preparation for Nano.  Bear in mind that I’m a plotter, not a pantser.  Many people welcome Nov 1 with nothing more than a keyboard and a smile.  That doesn’t work for me.  I’d find myself on Nov 30 with about 10,000 words if I was lucky.

I’ve been working on a plot for 10 months or so and I’ve got my plot grid finished.  I know the overview of the story.  I know how it starts, what the turning points are and how I think it will end.  Of course all of that is subject to change as things go along, but at least I have a plan. 

I have a set of characters – protagonists and antagonists.  I know a lot about them and what makes them tick.  I know how the relationships between these folks are supposed to develop and the kind of personal growth I want for each of them.  I know what they look like and I have little cards about each of them pinned to the corkboard in my office.

I know the setting for the story – I know when and where it takes place.  I also know why it takes place there.

And finally, I understand the conflicts in the story.  This one has a main conflict of Man vs Man and a Man vs Nature sub-conflict. With a little bit of Man vs Self for good measure.  Nothing like covering all the bases, eh?

All that’s left is to write the story and believe it or not, for me, that’s the hard part.  All of this earlier work is really my favorite part of the writing process – creating the people and building the essence of their story in my mind is what I really like.  Pulling the sentences out of my brain, thinking as each character in turn, reacting the way she would – those are the hard parts.  And that’s why Nanowrimo is so great for me.  Lot’s of support and inspiration to get those sentences out.

Today’s secret: Nanowrimo – it’s not much of a secret, 300,000 people participated world-wide last year.  But of 7 billion, that’s less than 5 hundredths of a percent of the population.

Today’s question: What have you found that helps you get your writing done?

Happy November 1!

Hello all, Suze here. Happy November!

By now, I’m sure you know that today is the first day of National Novel Writing Month. (Really? There’s someone out there who doesn’t? Okay, then, click here for a link) There are going to be more Scribe posts about NaNo throughout the month, so stay tuned. But I thought I’d tell you about a few other reasons that November 1 is significant, courtesy of Wikipedia. Today’s Scorpio-licious Birthdays include:

  • Peter Ostrum, 1957. Who the heck is Peter Ostrum, you ask? Well, he’s the actor who played Charlie in the original Charlie and the Chocolate Factory movie. Factoid: the grown-up Peter Ostrum is a large animal veterinarian (edited to add: please see my comment below regarding the importance of punctuation in a sentence such as this!)who owns a vet clinic in Lowville (pronounce that “low” to rhyme with cow, brow, etc.), New York, right near the AMF bowling pin factory and the Kraft cheese plant. Let’s all hoist a fizzy lifting drink!
  • Louis the Stammerer, 846. Poor Louis, King of Aquitaine and Francia. Not only did he apparently have a stammer, but he did not rule for long, died at the age of 33, and gave his daughter the unfortunate name of Ermentrude. She had a daughter with the even more unfortunate name of Cunigunde. I guess it’s not always good to be the king.
  • Marcia Wallace, 1942. You might not recognize the name, but Marcia played Carol the receptionist on the Bob Newhart Show and still voices Mrs. Krabappel on The Simpsons. Love you, Marcia! Ha!
  • Jim Steinman, 1947. You also might not know this name, but you know the music. This songwriter will forever have a special place in my heart as the man who gave me such classics as Paradise by the Dashboard Light, Two Out of Three Ain’t Bad, and You Took the Words Right Out of My Mouth. Jim and Meat Loaf, I thank you. Whether my son and husband thank you, I don’t know. Because they seem to run screaming from the room when I crank up your music as I’m dancing with the vacuum cleaner.

Have a lovely day, and if you’re participating in NaNo, quit reading and get back to work! Even if you’re not NaNo-ing, I’ll bet you’ve got other projects you’d like to finish before the end of the year. Why not use the communal energy NaNo generates (well, maybe that’s just the coffee and Red Bull!), pick a project, and take some steps to get it done? Can you share? 

What do I know?

Happy Friday everyone! Casey Wyatt here.

I’ve heard that writers are a terrible judge of their own work. That we lack the perspectiveto know what’s good and what isn’t. And I believe it!

Here’s why:

Some of you may recall waaaaay back in July, Suze challenged us to a double dog dare – a summer NaNanoWrimo style “write-off”. I remember commenting that I wasn’t “officially” entering but I’d try and follow along.

I had a novel outlined and ready to go so I figured – what the heck – I’ll start writing it.  The plot was a totally crazy idea – a vampire stripper forced to flee to Mars.  Who’d want to read that?

I didn’t care. The story had been in my mind since the summer of 2010 and it was high time to get it on paper. And I did. I tracked my progress on my Casey Wyatt blog site thoughout the month of July. At one point, I even typed 5,000 words in one day (I had vacation that week!).

By month’s end – I had completed the first draft at 79,000 words. I finished the book, polished it up and then decided – no one would want to buy the book. And I couldn’t asnwer that all important question – What genre did it belong in?

Urban Fantasy? The story is in first person and the heroine is a vampire.

Paranormal Romance?  There is a love story and hot, steamy love scenes.

Sci- Fi? The book takes place mostly on Mars.

Genre confusion aside – I sent the book to my fabulous beta readers and critique partners. The overall feedback was positive. So full steam ahead, right?

No. Not exactly. I stalled on making changes, hestitated to edit, and dragged my feet. The same thought drummed through my head – no one will buy this story. It’s too weird.  

So I let it sit. Occasionally, I’d make half-hearted attempts to edit and clean the book up. Until November, when I saw a call for submissions on Twitter. I went to the publisher’s Facebook page and took the plunge.

Within an hour I had a request for a partial. Yikes! Now I had to clean up the book. After a panicked e-mail to the ever patient Suze (my wonderful critique partner), I was on my way!

Two weeks later, I had a request for the full manuscript. Two days later – an offer!

The Undead Space Initiative has been sold to Pink Petal Books. (See, I promised to share good news sooner).

The moral to this story – write the book, no matter how weird or strange the story is!! Because, you never know who will want to read it. Just write what you love or enjoy and good things will follow.

Tell me – how do you feel about your finished works? And for the readers out there – have you ever mis-judged a story, either good or bad?

Why I joined a writing group or three

Hi there.  J here.  Welcome to our very first Scribe Theme Week!  Have you been enjoying it?  We have more of them in the works…just you wait.  So I want to tell you why I joined a few different professional writing organizations and community groups over the last few years and what I got out of them.

I began working on my first novel way back in the dark ages of 1996.  I never finished that book and I think in part it was because I loved Little Women as a kid.  I imagined myself as the modern-day Jo March, scribbling away, alone in my cold garret room, my fingers black with ink.  What female writer didn’t have this picture in her head at some point?  What I didn’t know was that I needed a community to get the job done.  Perhaps that isn’t the case for everyone, but it was, and is, for me.

In 2003 I began writing The Cordovan Vault.  I was lazy and wrote in fits and starts, oh so busy with my 50 hour a week job.  This was during my life pre-kids when 50 hours was about the extent that I worked.  I actually can’t imagine how I wasted so much time!  But by January 2006, I decided to take this dream more seriously and I joined the writing group at my local library.  I can honestly say that I am where I am today for taking that first step.

The writing group led me to my first Writer’s Conference, CAPA – U held each May.  I did my first Editor Pitching and learned many important things, especially that I wasn’t going to get anywhere until I finished writing the book.  I also met a woman there who told me about NanoWrimo.

If you don’t know about NanoWrimo, they you need to follow the link and check it out!  This is an online writing contest designed to spark creativity and get words on the page.  I participated the first time in 2007.  The weekly pep talks from published writers were invaluable to me.  Even well-known writers had been stuck, as I was.  They said the only thing to do was push through.  Rewrite later.  I took that advice and made it more than 2/3 of the way through the manuscript before hitting the next milestone.

I met Susannah Hardy in January of 2008, again at my local library’s writing group.  Susannah’s encouragement was critical to me finishing The Cordovan Vault.  She pushed me to finish the first draft, and then to revise it, making it a much better story.  And she’s the one who pushed me to get it published.  THANK YOU, Susannah!  :)  Now we all need to push her, because I’ve read some of her stuff (and you can too!) and her finished novel is wonderful.  You will want to read it.  I guarantee it. 

In late 2009 ish, I met Casey Wyatt (the soon to be published Casey Wyatt, that is!  Congrats!) at my library’s group too.  Casey and Susannah met PJ Sharon, who introduced us to the CTRWA, where we met Katy Lee and Jamie Pope, among a bunch of other kind, encouraging and fun writers. 

Today’s secret: While joining one of the larger professional organizations like CAPA or CT RWA is great (I get tons of support, marketing help, and other opportunities that I desperately need) I have to say that taking the first step and joining the writing group at my local library has been invaluable to me.  If you aren’t ready for a big professional organization yet, maybe a small group is the write (get it?!) one for you.

Today’s question:  Did you ever have a Jo March moment?  Is being a writer what you expected it to be or is it something different?