Tag Archives: NANO

O. M. G.

received this in my inbox last night…

“Have you seen the countdown clock on NaNoWriMo lately? The 2011 noveling extravaganza begins in just 13 days!…”

When did that happen?! Fear, panic, regret, excitement, nausea, giddiness, exhaustion, elation…

What are you feeling 13 days out from the BIGGEST. CHALLENGE. You’ll .ever. face?????

*frantically searching for plots, characters, settings, themes, titles – anything, people! Give me something!!*



Wanna follow my wild NaNoWriMo carpet ride for the FOURTH year? Subscribe! I’ll be ranting and raving all month long


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OK, don’t freak out

I’ve been hearing from writer friends and e-friends who have decided to take the 50,000 word challenge (a.k.a. NaNoWriMo) and they’re freakin out already.

“Don’t concern yourself too much with how you are going to achieve your goal – leave that completely to a power greater than yourself. All you have to do is know where you’re going. The answers will come to you of their own accord, and at the right time.”

Earl Nightingale, 1921-1989, Syndicated Radio Announcer and Author

The whole theme of NaNo is to be free. Create. Go wild. Write without ceasing. Did I forget to mention the most important aspect of NaNo? NO EDITING IS ALLOWED.  I’m not kidding, we have people watching you and they will find out if you hit backspace, delete or cut – and the punishment is hefty fines and could lead to imprisonment.

Don’t worry, the words will come…



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Filed under emotion, goals, NaNoWriMo

The Kindness of Strangers: Guest Post by Grace Tierney

The Kindness of Strangers – Becoming an Ambassador for NaNoWriMo

by: Grace Tierney

Ever since I first stumbled upon the online writing community in 2001, I have been amazed by the kindness of most writers. Nowhere is this more evident than in the annual crazy ambition of more than 170,000 writers to write a 50,000 word novel in just 30 days at www.nanowrimo.org. Nano, as it’s known to its friends, attracts all ages and all stories.

This year, failing the 50,000 word finish-line in 2007 and 2008, I decided to become a Municipal Liaison for Nano. I’d found many wonderful online writing friends overseas but I’d never chatted to a writer in person and it bugged me. I’d set myself a challenge in 2009 to change that. I signed up for writing workshops and courses (cancelled due to the recession) and tried a local writing group (we weren’t compatible). I’d have to organize something myself. Why not become an ambassador for Nano?

Thankfully they were desperate for organizers in Ireland (usually they require MLs to be past Nano winners). I landed a region with a population of 394,000 (Census 2006). But, how many of them had heard of Nano? I spent October sending press releases to every local paper, event listing, writing group, library, and radio station I could locate. Each time I spoke to active writers they said “Nano? What’s that?”. I realized I might end up with zero participants in my region. Thankfully Nano mentors new MLs with experienced ones and they advised me to relax. I might have a small region this year, but it would grow by word of mouth. I got us a listing in a national newspaper and other coverage but I still only had a handful of writers registered on October 29th.

I prepped goodie bags from my own limited funds and headed to a centrally located hotel lobby on Halloween morning wondering if I was in for a trick or treat? I arrived twenty minutes early to help my own nerves. Two seconds later my first writer arrived. Hurrah! I wasn’t going to be the only one there!! Six writers gathered at that kick-off meeting. It was a general chat about our books which flowed easily and inspired us all so much that four of us are likely to win Nano this year, including two complete novel novices.

Attending the in-person meetings made writing pep-emails weekly and keeping the forum posts flowing for my region (Europe:Ireland NorthEast) easy. Knowing the faces and the questions they’d raised gave me something to talk about. One of the more experienced MLs ran a word war between the seven regions in Ireland. The healthy banter and competition from that egged us all on to greater word counts too. I definitely wrote more because I knew I was contributing to my team as well as my novel. Apparently being an ML or attending meetings raises your chances of winning from 18% to over 50%. That sounded good to me.

By the halfway point, despite ML duties, I was ahead on my word count. Then I found the Word Count Scoreboard. My tiny region of ten active writers was running in 6th place out of nearly 500 worldwide regions. You should have seen the grin on my face. I am so proud of my writers, I didn’t expect that. I didn’t expect the flow of sympathy for my daugher’s chest infection when I posted that I’d have to stop writing for a few days due to her illness (if you think anyone gets through November without losing a few days to Real Life, you can think again). I didn’t expect the rush of goodwill, even from rivals in the word war, when I crossed the 50k finish line on day 25, or the invitation to attend the Thank Goodness It’s Over Party at my adjacent region just because they know me on the forums.

The kindness of other writers. Strange writers, writers of strange things. They have a heart of gold and if you never go to a meeting or read a forum post on your Nano quest, you will not encounter it. Please take twenty minutes to look around the next time you’re updating your word count and prepare to be amazed.

Bio: Grace Tierney is currently writing her 2009 Nano novel in Ireland NorthEast (“Hamster Stew and Other Family Meals”). She’s had publisher interest in her 2007 Nano novel (“The Morning After Service”). When it’s not November she can be found freelance writing fiction and non-fiction for anthologies, glossy magazines, and ezines all around the world – check out her writing tips at www.gracetierney.com. She blogs on unusual words at www.wordfoolery.wordpress.com.

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Filed under Advice, NaNoWriMo, Novels

Prompts to beef up your NaNo word count

Are you as behind as I am in your NaNo word count?


Try one of these techniques to add more words to that fledgling novel:

  • add a dream or nightmare sequence
  • your protagonist finds an unmailed letter in a library book
  • your character lets a phone call go to voicemail and the result is tragic
  • add a childhood flashback
  • listening to a song brings back a hurtful memory: use songs lyrics here, too!
  • truth about a minor character is unveiled, shifts tone of a relationship
  • spring cleaning in any season: character rummages through a car glove box, items under a bed, a junk drawer in the kitchen, an hierloom chest or an inherited house

What are your ideas for adding more meat to your novel?


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Filed under Advice, NaNoWriMo, Novels

Are you Ready for NaNo?

NaNo badge

22 days and counting…

Is it too soon to begin plotting out your novel for November’s Novel Writing Month? Hell no!

Here are some tips to help you prepare for what may be the craziest, heart-pounding, gut-wrenching, pride filling month of your writing life:

So, NaNoWriMo, huh?  I loved it.  Why? Forced me to write everyday and write big chunks at a time. Used methods of writing I hadn’t used before, such as flashbacks, dream sequences, story-within-story and lots of scenery/setting.  I started with almost no preparation, which I strongly advise against. It’s much more difficult to write 1500 words a day when you have no idea what your story is about.  I used a novel outlining software which really helped along the way.
It was also FRUSTRATING: the highs and lows of writing like a madwoman and not being able to stop and revise along the way. I’m a perfectionist, so this was my cross to bear. SATISFACTION: Being able to say I wrote a novel, though I really just say I participated in NaNo (it doesn’t “feel” like a novel at its feeble state of a rough draft.) But having that satisfaction of completing something so challenging and knowing writers across the globe were doing it too, was amazing. I’ll definitely be at the starting line on Nov. 1 – what about you?

Things to consider: Browse around the NaNo site for chat rooms, discussions, and lots of tips. You can also find a local municipal liaison, who sets up regular meetings and “write-ins” throughout November for extra encouragement.

TELL EVERYONE you are doing this. Why? So they don’t bug you when you’re tapping away at the keyboard at 1am, or gulping down vast amounts of coffee. And, they can be your support system – a sounding board when you announce your growing word count.

PLAN. Plan your plot, plan your characters, most importantly: plan your daily routine: change deadlines if necessary or finish up early; don’t over commit in November; plan dinners (make and freeze or wing it, but don’t plan to cook 3-course meals every night – it’s not gonna happen.)

GO WITH THE FLOW: Go into it knowing you’ll be writing lots of crap, it’s the quantity of words you write that is the spirit of NaNo: sitting down to write a novel from start to finish. They say “December is for Revising!”

So, are you Ready? Share your tips with us! (and request me as your writing buddy once you do sign up!)


Filed under Believe, contests, Fiction, Novels

An Ode to NaNoWriMo Mamas!

An ode to the NaNoWriMo Mamas:
Sleepless nights, we’ve been there
Tantrum toddlers, we don’t fear
Take out dinners, gulping caffeine
Give me a second while I finish this scene!

Untucked child whining from bed;

Unruly characters refuse to be led

We panic, we cry, we procrastinate

Feeling a bit sick from the junk food we ate

Family support, cheering friends

Blast us through fears, give strength to the end

50K words not as tough as it sounds

A NaNo Mama leaps it in one single bound!

(Yeah, right!)

Congratulations to ALL NaNoWriMo participants, winners or not! We are novelists!


Filed under emotion, Fiction, NaNoWriMo, Novels, Uncategorized

NaNoWriMo: Final Push to 50k!

 nanobannerlogo_bigger1We are in the final 5 days to reach 50k. I don’t know about you, but I can use all the inspiration I can get!  Found this posted on Wow! (Women on Writing) Blog from Nov 22:

Tip for Screenplay Writers (and NaNoWriMo Writers Too)

“I’ve been doing something that I thought I’d invented myself and then I discovered in a conversation with Jim Cameron and then I read in an interview with George Lucas where he talked about the trick that Francis Ford Coppola taught him and it turns out everybody’s doing the same thing. We never read what we write. I know that sounds preposterous but the point is you don’t edit while you’re writing. We don’t even dare look at what we’re writing until it looks like there’s around a hundred pages. It sounds nuts but when you have a hundred pages and then you finally look at them, you have the aesthetic distance to edit yourself.”

-Steven Souza, screenwriter
So, I ask you:  what do you do to push through to the finish line?




Filed under Advice, Believe, NaNoWriMo, Novels, Perseverance, writing inspiration

NaNoWriMo: Day Six

nanobannerlogo_bigger1Sorry guys! I got over my pity party, hissy fit, whatever you want to call that sad display I posted earlier. It was my snooty editor coming out again. I told her to just go enjoy her sabbatical, but NO she keeps popping her head in, checking up on me, my word count, my lack luster prose.

So, I left her! I went searching for other NaNo blogs to see if I was in similar company. Turns out, I am, sort of. A lot of participants are behind, but understand why and are optimistic that the tides will turn in their favor.

I reread the endings of the last 2 chapters I wrote to get a handle on where the story was going and decided to hit “new page” and just write a scene I’ve been feeling from the main character’s POV. That was fun, inspiring and done on the sly. Sometimes being bad feels so good. I’m referring to writing “out of ” of the chronological order of the novel. But, be careful not to get too off base. That’s how my other “novel start” began collecting dust.

This is different, though. There is a deadline. And a community of writers to hold me to it!

Word count meter: 2,167 today; 10,655 total!!

mood meter: see above (and below) it’s a wild crazy ride – and I’m lovin’ every minute of it!


Filed under Advice, Believe, emotion, Fiction, NaNoWriMo, Novels, Perseverance

12 days until NaNo!

More questions answered from NaNoWriMo…
If I’m just writing 50,000 words of crap, why bother? Why not just write a real novel later, when I have more time? Art for art’s sake does wonderful things to you. It makes you laugh. It makes you cry. It makes you want to take naps and go places wearing funny pants. Doing something just for the hell of it is a wonderful antidote to all the chores and “must-dos” of daily life. Writing a novel in a month is both exhilarating and stupid, and we would all do well to invite a little more spontaneous stupidity into our lives.

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Filed under Fiction, Novels, writing inspiration

14 days until NaNoWriMo!

Some answers from NaNoWriMo
Why are you doing this? What do you get out of it?

NaNoWriMo is all about the magical power of deadlines. Give someone a goal and a goal-minded community and miracles are bound to happen. Pies will be eaten at amazing rates. Alfalfa will be harvested like never before. And novels will be written in a month.

Part of the reason we organize NaNoWriMo is just to get a book written. We love the fringe benefits accrued to novelists. For one month out of the year, we can stew and storm, and make a huge mess of our apartments and drink lots of coffee at odd hours. And we can do all of these things loudly, in front of people. As satisfying as it is to reach deep within yourself and pull out an unexpectedly passable work of art, it is equally (if not more) satisfying to be able to dramatize the process at social gatherings.

But that artsy drama window is woefully short. The other reason we do NaNoWriMo is because the glow from making big, messy art, and watching others make big, messy art, lasts for a long, long time. The act of sustained creation does bizarre, wonderful things to you. It changes the way you read. And changes, a little bit, your sense of self. We like that.

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Filed under Inspiration, Novels, Perseverance, writers, writing inspiration