NaNoWriMo starts tomorrow, are you ready?

NaNoWriMo, the month of novel writing, starts tomorrow. Are you ready?

Me? Not at all. I have the barest of bare-bones plans. That could have something to do with all the DIY that has been going on in my home. The current phase culminates today with a Writer’s Tea and chat (and food) to which everyone is invited.

All I can tell you about my NaNoWriMo is that it will feature the characters from this story. I called it Dimensions and Parallel Universes with Jack. My writing group call it “that story with the cat in it”. I am working on an RPG set in this universe. (Well, I am a geek).

Not my first WriMo.

I have been doing NaNoWriMo for a long while now. And, aside from one bad year, have always met my target. Apparently, my “best” NaNoWriMo day ever was 19,717 words written on 29th of November, 2012. I don’t remember it but I clearly doing some hard-core writing.

If you are thinking about writing a novel, NaNoWriMo is the perfect time to get started. Add me as a writing buddy; my profile is right here.

Do you WriMo?

  • What do you think about NaNoWriMo?
  • Are you taking part? (Are you ready)
  • Have you tried before? (Tell us about it)

Do you NaNoWriMo?

Who else has heard of NaNoWriMo? If you have yet to encounter it, this is your introduction to something that will take you nought to novel author in just 30 days.

NaNoWriMo, or the National Novel Writing Month is a challenge to write a novel in just one month. Impossible you say, that’s what I thought and yet, all these years later, I have a growing collection of first drafts and an increased confidence that each one is better than the one from the year before.

NaNoWriMo is not just for amateurs. Many authors who stared in NaNoWriMo went on to be traditionally published. About 449 traditionally published books started in NaNoWriMo. And that’s just the ones they know about.

This year, participants will be inspired by weekly “pep talks” penned by published authors, including Roxane Gay, Kevin Kwan, Julie Murphy, and Grant Faulkner. NaNoWriMo will also provide participants access to mentorship from authors including Emily X. R. Pan, Mur Lafferty, and Jasmine Guillory.

A novel in a month?

A novel in a month. That does not seem possible. How do the NaNoWriMo folks do it?

The secret is not worrying and just getting stuff down on paper. The fact is that it is hundreds of times easier to fix an imperfect manuscript than it is to write a perfect one.

After that, it is just a case of doing a little math (or letting me do it for you). The target word count is 50,000 words. This is 1,667 words a day. Or about three to five typed pages. Which amounts to a page in the morning, one at lunch, another before tea and two more in the evening.

That’s not so hard right?

How to make NaNoWriMo even easier

There are many secrets, tips, and hacks to make NaNoWriMo even easier but here are three quick tips that will turn anyone into a novelist in just one month.

1. Tell everyone what you are doing

I cannot tell you how much more motivated I feel when I know that everyone is going to ask how my novel is going. That part of my brain that works very hard to avoid embarrassing me (the part that gets trumped by own idiot missteps) can work for you too. I find that I work very hard to keep on target when failure means everyone knowing about my failure.

As motivation hacks go, this one is huge.

2. Come up with a few ideas ahead of time

Nothing takes the pressure off like having a handle on the characters and settings for your story. You can find some tools to help build characters in our Facebook group. You can also get support in the forums, particularly the QnA for aspiring authors. There is a long-running thread with questions to ask in a mock interview with your main protagonist (lead character).

3. Break your story into 30 little chunks

Break your story up into 30 bite-sized chunks. Each of those, oh I don’t know but let’s call them chapters, can tell one part of the story.

This takes the pressure off because you will not need to ask yourself “what do I write today?” because you already have a plan.

Are you going to be doing NaNoWriMo?

Thanet Creative are planning to make Thanet much more NaNoWriMo freindly by holding write ins and supporting WriMos (participants) in our regular writing group events.

What’s stopping you becoming a novelist?

September’s Winner and Sunday’s challenge.

The Winner of the September story challenge is Jess Joy.

I thought I would get that out there right from the offset. This is a zero mystery post, today. On the other hand, there is a lot of really good mystery in the winning post. Don’t forget to read it next.

readingIn a few days, I will be posting the October Challenge. Were I to think about this stuff in advance I could have them posted on the first of each month. If I was that super organised I’d probably be all wrong for writing so…

Anyway, before that avenue of pleasure, I thought I would share the Sunday Writers challenge of the week. This should really be posted by Vicky but, well, that thing we said about being organised and writing… Yeah, that some more.

Right, the challenge. Are you ready?

The challenge is to write a story.

(Big surprise).

However, this story must be:

  1. In the second person
  2. In present tense
  3. Ready on Sunday

Here is a quick overview of writing in the second person. It is about the craziest type of story to try and write. Made crazier by being present tense.

If you come along on Sunday and fancy joining in, bring your attempt. If not post it as a submission here or on your blog (and ping us).

Let’s see what you got.

The prize, at Sunday Writers, is that the winner will be published on the site. Please don’t let me be the only one who brings something.

EditThe closing date will be the week of bonfire night (end of roughly). Vicky will explain properly soon. (I’ve made aright dog’s dinner of it).

Having fun at a writer’s group

Ball Pit

There is something magical about finding a fun writer’s group.

At last weekend’s Sunday Writers group we tried out a new activity – Word Bingo. Now, before you groan here me out – this was a far more fun than it had any right to be. That might be because I am hugely competitive and I happened to win. Who is to say. Winning the prize for that week certainly was nice. I can tell you that.

You play word bingo like normal bingo. You each have a sheet of writer-related words and the speaker says that word, you tick it off. The speaker, in our case, is whoever is presenting something or asking a question, or whatever – it depends on what we are doing at the time.

The benefits of a fun writer’s group

We noticed an unintended and beneficial side effect of the game. While we were playing, every one of us paid rapt attention to what was being said. Our listening skills were turned up to 11.

The point is that creativity and working together does not need to be boring or overly serious. A lot of studies show that if you can have fun doing something, your focus is greatly improved.

Which is why I spent a lot of the day, yesterday, writing a generator script to make Writer’s Group Word Bing cards. There is a post on the Author Buzz Dev blog explaining how it works under the hood. If you have a geeky side and want to take a look then check it out.

Writers’ Word Bingo

How do you have fun at your writer’s group?

This got me thinking. How do other writers groups make their weekly (or monthly) events maximally fun?

Let me know in the comments about the fun activities that take place at your local writers’ group. After all, everyone loves a fun writer’s group, right?

September Writing Competition

A new site, a new competition! Are you ready, writers?

Explain the series of events that ties these images together

How to enter

Unlike our last competition which ran week to week, this one will run month to month. Also unlike the last one entering is as simple as submitting an article. So grab a free account and join us in Thanet’s best writing competition.

To enter simply submit an original story to us before the end of Septemeber. But don’t hang around. There is a definite advantage to being early.

The winner will be determined by the story with the most on-blog likes. As I said, getting in early helps.

You can enter more than once but second and subsequent entries may be delayed by the arrival of first entries from other people.

How to set out your entry

You are free to choose any appropriate title and opening that you wish. However, at the end you should state that story is a competition entry (and link to this page). The editors can help with that if you get stuck.

I suggest you make a heading that says something like “about this story”. You could use that opportunity to slip in an author bio if you wish.

Closing date for submissions is Saturday the 30th of September. The winners will be announced five days after the last entry is posted or the first of October if all the entries are in and posted by then.