NaNoWriMo

NaNoWriMo Writing Preparation

Posted by on Oct 13, 2014 in NaNoWriMo, Writing | 1 comment

NaNoWriMo Writing Preparation

Nineteen. Days, that is. Until NaNoWriMo.   That’s plenty of time. At least that’s what I tell myself to keep from going crazy over my procrastination. The fact of the matter is, 19 days really isn’t a very long time to plan out the novel that you will be writing during November. Though it may feel super far away, as a seasoned NaNo veteran, I advise all pansters and plotters to prepare now. Prepare now while you still have your wits about you. Prepare now while you’re not awake at midnight wondering whether you should just light your laptop on fire or stick it out just a few more days. NaNoWriMo victory can be yours. Preparation     Do Your Stretches All sports players warm up before they play, right? Writing isn’t any different. One of the biggest hurtles I have to overcome during NaNoWriMo is writing around 2,000 words a day if I am not used to it. So start now. Start writing 2,000 words a day. If you’re not able to now, after a few weeks of practice (or warm-up) 2K will feel normal. Get your fingers and your brain sprint-ready with writing warm ups. If you’re not sure what to write about, use any one of our Pen & Muse Monday Blues Away writing prompts or if you’re into horror, The Midnight Society often posts writing prompts with pictures on their Twitter account. There are a billion more if you’re interested under the hashtag #writeprompt on Twitter. Plan Your Route As a regular panster on just about everything in my life, it can feel weird to plan. Believe me, I get it. But even I don’t go on a roadtrip without at least packing a map. So take your time now and map out your book. If you’re a plotter, break out your Post-Its now and start story-boarding (or if you’re KJ this means you will be making lists). If you’re a panster like me, plan loosely. Nail down characters, genre, basic subject matter, and if you dare, start to map out your story. For me, this will involve selecting pieces of my story like cities on a map. I may not know how I’m going to get there, but I know a few places that I want to head to. I’m writing a Blovel called NIGHT DARES (blovel = novel written on your blog. Post about that what that is here AND a freebie)  and though I don’t know all the things that will happen, I’ll give you a sample of how I planned. I chose a title, pitch, and general idea of a few things that will happen. This is what my planning doc looked like. Title: Night Dares <- Chose a title Pitch: A group of kids sneak out at night and dare each other to do stupid and dangerous things. <- Chose a quick elevator pitch to use for when I need to describe my blovel or if people ask about it. I prefer to let my story tell itself so I didn’t map out everything that would happen. But I did jot down the following note in my phone when I decided to write it: First installment: Someone gets dared. They don’t want to. Elements of love. Creepy. Group is diverse. Just by jotting down sentence fragments, I was able to come up with my chapter one or first installment that you can read here. I didn’t exactly plan. There’s not really a beginning middle or end that I planned out. It was more like I had a few ideas that I let simmer....

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Freebie Friday: Camp NaNoWriMo

Posted by on Apr 4, 2014 in NaNoWriMo, Writing | 1 comment

Freebie Friday: Camp NaNoWriMo

A few days ago Muse KJ did a post about Camp NaNoWriMo. She explained why you should NaNo and how it can help you with future writing. What is Camp NaNoWriMo? It’s just like regular NaNoWriMo (where you try to write a whole novel in a month), but it’s not in November. There are two sessions. I’m actually participating in the April session, with a brand new idea about a roadtrip. In case you want to add me, you can find me here. There are some awesome NaNoWriMo freebies out there, so I wanted to share some of them with you in case you need a little help! Freebie Friday: Camp NaNoWriMo Freebies Camp NaNoWriMo Calendar (40K words) – Download it here Use this to make sure that you are right on track with your wordcount!   Pen & Muse Novel Planning Worksheet – Download it here If you’re having a little trouble figuring out exactly what is going to happen in your novel, use our free novel planning worksheet!   Camp NaNoWriMo list of resources and encouragement – Check it out here There are some amazing writing resources and fantastic pep talks to keep you writing all month long!   Camp NaNoWriMo free badges for participants – Get your bling here! What are you waiting for? Slap those puppies on anything you can!   Are you doing Camp NaNoWriMo? Which freebies will you be using? Let me know in the comment below. Oh, and if you want to meet up at Camp, let me know where I can find you in the comments...

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Camp Nanowrimo

Posted by on Mar 31, 2014 in NaNoWriMo, Writing | 0 comments

Camp Nanowrimo

Camp Nano wri what? So, you love Nanowrimo but want to do it in the Spring? You’re in luck! We (or at least Muse KJ + Book Muse Riki) have our bags packed to head off to camp – Camp Nanowrimo! Camp Nano is more relaxed than the November round of Nanowrimo. Think of it as your virtual writing retreat. You get paired up with cabin mates that fit your age or interests for encouragement. My own cabin is filled with mostly twenty something year olds writing a variety of genres.  Choose your own word count. Choose whether you’re writing a novel,  script, short stories, nonfiction, poetry, or even revising. Then choose your genre. I was planning on starting a YA paranormal…but I may use this time to finish a NA/Adult contemporary piece instead. Which is entirely allowed. (Although, I’d be the rebel camper with blue streaks in my hair.)   Why should you try Camp Nanowrimo? It’s entirely open. Maybe you have reasons why traditional Nano doesn’t work for you. Maybe you don’t have time to write 50K this month. (I do not.) But the great thing about Camp Nano is that you pick your own goals. You choose what’s feasible for you at this time in your life. Think you can only write 200 words a day? Make your goal 6,000.   Learn your limits. Curious how much writing you can do in your normal schedule? This is the perfect way to find out.  My schedule is dramatically changing this month, so I really want to see how much writing/revising I can fit into this new plan without changing things too much.   Prep for November Nanowrimo. All excited about Nanowrimo already? Prep yourself now. Consider this practice.  Start building those skills you need to rock out 50K in a month!   Need some help along the way? Feel free to tweet us with questions, and follow along with our sprints! You can follow along at @Nanowrimo for tips, and @NanoWordSprints for even more sprints (those two accounts not run by us, obviously).   Need some last minute inspiration before starting Camp Nanowrimo? Peek at our Nano prep course! We add to it with each Nano session!  ...

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Life After Nanowrimo: What Do I Do Now?

Posted by on Dec 4, 2013 in NaNoWriMo, Writing | 2 comments

Life After Nanowrimo: What Do I Do Now?

  So, Nanowrimo is over. Maybe you wrote 50K in five days. Maybe you only wrote 10K. Did you write more than you usually achieve in a month? If so, we the Muses gleefully knight you a winner.   If you won: 1. Do a happy dance. 2. Give yourself 2-7 days off. You might not want to rest, but your brain might need it. Give yourself a few small moments to recover – and maybe to make sure you didn’t miss anything too exciting in your life last month. 3. Find another project to entertain you for at least two months. It’s tempting to want to edit your manuscript immediately, but fresh eyes really do make a difference. You know how a word can suddenly look spelled wrong if you type it over and over and over again? This is what happens with your manuscript – because you’re still so involved with it, your brain will automatically fix errors as you read, not allowing you to correct things which are truly there. After all, your brain knows how it should read. 4. Plan editing time no sooner than February, 2014.  Just as you made time for Nano, make time to edit this book baby in a few months.   If you didn’t reach the 50K mark: Pssh, you’re still a winner, honey. In fact, repeat after me: I am a winner. And you are. Because you wrote more than you usually accomplish. You now know what’s feasible for you in a month. Maybe that’s not a feasible goal for you every month, but it still gives you an idea of how many words you can get to paper. I bet it’s more than you thought you could. Now that we’ve got that out of the way, decide if you need a few days for a break. Maybe to pull together life things you may have neglected during Nano? What now? You finish that book. No extra plotting. No extra plot mapping. No character building. Just write it. Think of this as an extension of Nanowrimo. You wouldn’t stop then to fix plotting for days, so don’t do it now. Stay in the go-go-go frame of mind! Getting the words to the page is the most important goal right now – you can edit everything else later. You can’t do anything if the words aren’t on the paper though. What is allowed? Any maps or charts you can make in ten minutes or less. Not sure if there’s enough variance between dark scenes and lighter catch-your-breath scenes? Quickly scribble down a title for each scene, and rate them 0-10 (or by color white-black). This works if you’re looking to see if there’s enough tension throughout the manuscript, enough action, or even if you want to know how much you’re torturing your characters. I’ll be restarting my Nano-project this week. I’m a little over 41K, with six scenes/chapters that need partially developing (because I don’t write in chronological order unless I’m writing my hand).  And I’m entirely pleased with my success – as you should be your own. Keep in mind that life gets in the way. For me, I remember that November has holidays (including the birthday weekend which I wasn’t home!), increased work due to the impending December holidays, and brought a chronic pain week for me. Part of being a writer is learning to adapt to the free time you have – and nearly completing a book in a month is success to me! If you’re still writing on your Nanowrimo project, feel free to give me...

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NaNoWriMo: A little Editing Inspiration

Posted by on Nov 27, 2013 in NaNoWriMo, Writing | 0 comments

NaNoWriMo: A little Editing Inspiration

NaNoWriMo is almost over. If you participated, you’re going to have 50,000 words (maybe more) that need a lot of love. Have no fear! It doesn’t matter if you wrote your novel in a year or in a month, everyone has to edit! Which is why I love the following quote so much:   It says, “It is perfectly okay to write garbage as long as you edit brilliantly.” This comes from author C.J. Cherryh, who is an award winning novelist best known for her works in fantasy and science fiction. I’d say I agree. One of the biggest reasons people don’t finish their novels, is because of self doubt and constant editing. Try to limit yourself on the editing while you write. The most important thing you can do is write. Not happy with it? That’s fine. That is what editing is for. I believe we’ve shared this with you before, but just in case you’re unfamiliar, below is an infographic from Winepress of Words that explains the different types of editing out there. These are all the different types of edits that should happen to a manuscript in order to ensure it’s ready to be submitted and / or published.     What do you think? Do you think that it’s okay to write garbage as long as you edit brilliantly? Let me know in the comments below!  ...

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Nanowrimo: Just Keep Swimming

Posted by on Nov 25, 2013 in NaNoWriMo, Writing | 0 comments

Nanowrimo: Just Keep Swimming

We’re nearing the end of Nanowrimo. How did that happen? I certainly couldn’t tell you. There’s one week left to make this happen. Maybe you’re right on schedule. Maybe you’ve already hit the 50K mark. Or…maybe you’re like Muse KJ and you’re a little behind. Either way, it’s okay. There’s only one thing left to do. Finish that novel. In the words of a very wise fish, you just keep swimming.   You persevere.  The beauty of Nanowrimo is that no matter how many times you do it, you discover something new about your writing process. You discover new things about your own capabilities.   What have you learned about yourself during this month? Maybe you’ve learned that you can write more than you ever thought possibly in just a few short days. Maybe you know now that you can fit writing at least 1500 words into your daily schedule without disrupting your entire life. Or maybe you’ve learned that by making a few small changes, your normal life can support a writing life too. Perhaps the art of writing without editing has gotten drilled into your head. Or the joy of simply letting the words flow, knowing you can fix things later. The point of Nanowrimo hasn’t ever been to create a flawless piece of art – it’s to create a foundation to build upon with future edits. You can’t build a house without a foundation, and you can’t create a great story without the base of a first draft. This is all exactly why you keep swimming.   How do you keep moving forward? You just write. You ignore all problems, keep asking questions, and forge on. Even if you’ve discovered you don’t like your protagonist as much as you originally thought you did. Even if your plot has entirely jumped your outline and has become a different story. These things happen. And when’s a better time than Nanowrimo to learn how to deal with these challenges? In the words of a very wise piano playing musician, “You gotta swim, and swim when it hurts…You haven’t come this far to fall off the earth…Just keep your head above.” (Points to anyone who knows that lyrical reference, ps.) It’s time for me to go back to my Nano project and the little girl with a gun. Let’s all keep swimming. Because regardless of our word count, we’re all winners here.  ...

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