Wednesday, November 30, 2011

NaNo Debreifing

Remember at the beginning of the month when I asked for a brief description of what you thought you were going to write about? (Do you still have enough brain cells to remember the beginning of the month, when you were so full of hope, energy, and time?) Tell me where your novel ended up! Did you scrap it? Did it turn into something else? Is the plot and characters so awesomely awesome that you have a new one line pitch for me? Also, what you do you plan to do with your NaNo novel now? Going to revise (and revise and revise) before you query it? Or shelf it and get going on another?

Happy writing! (go take a nap!)

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Feeling Yammy?

Let's have some fun today! I have no idea where this is going to go, so let's jump on board the crazy wagon and hold on tight!

What one Thanksgiving dish best describes your writing/reading style? This can pertain to the sort of things you write or read, or the manner in which you write or read.

For example, I would be an upside down turkey (I cook my turkey upside down so the breast cooks in the yummy juices; makes for a really juicy turkey): the staple of the meal, very traditional, but with a twist no one saw coming. I suppose this describes the sort of things I like to read: good writing, solid structure, but a twist on the norm that makes everything that much better.

Happy eating!

Monday, November 21, 2011

'Tis the Season

We're heading into cold weather (some of you have already had it), which brings up images of roaring fires and thick blankets. Tell me, what's your ideal writing and/or reading environment? Personally, I prefer sunshine and a bottle of suntan lotion, but I'm getting pretty partial to a fire and hot tea. Now it's time for snow to seal the deal--as long as the power stays on.

Happy writing!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

NaNo Halfway Point

Has anyone given up yet? Haha. Just a few things on the agenda today:

1) BACK UP YOUR FILES. If you haven't already, back up your files. Last year when I did NaNo (the first and only time), I didn't. I had them on a thumb drive because I was worried my computer was about to crash. Instead, the files on the thumb drive got corrupted. I did manage to save the 60K words, but it didn't have punctuation, format, quotation marks, nothing. Needless to say, it was a nightmare to fix, which I finally did a few months later.

2) What's the craziest thing you've done yet this NaNo? Forget your child? Scream EUREKA!! in the middle of the grocery store because you just realized how to overcome a plot hiccup? Go two days without eating? Manage to write 1K words on your grocery list? Start over with a new idea?

3) And just in case you need it:

Happy (safe) writing!

Friday, November 11, 2011

#freeadvice Day 5

Last day of free advice!! But keep it coming! And find me (and all the other #freeadvice participants) on Twitter to share even more! For our last day, I couldn't just put one piece of advice up.

Master the art of B.I.C... Butt in Chair.
---Em Musing, blog here

Our next piece of advice comes from three different sources; all connected and all valuable... and can help you master B.I.C.

Read. Read. Read!!
If you want to write in a particular genre, you should probably, you know, read in it, too.---Krista V.
It will help you be aware of what's in the market, and make you a better writer.---Angela Cothran
Expose yourself to enough, and cliches will be that much easier to avoid.---David King

Happy writing!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

#freeadvice Day 4

There are three Ts to writing:


The first will come from perfecting the other two.
---Elissa blogs at Awesome/Fearsome

What a great way to say "never give up," advice we hear all the time. And it can be applied to any aspect of your life!

Keep the #freeadvice coming!

Happy writing!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

#freeadvice Day 3

Mind control is cheating and has already been thoroughly explored by Star Trek. Find another way to move your plot along.---Janice Sperry blogs at Come Out When You're Happy
In other words, don't fall back on overused standbys and cliches to make your story interesting. We can actually make this a really fun game. Replace a cliche for "mind control" (say reading minds), and replace a title for "Star Trek" (say Twilight or True Blood). Give me your best twists on Janice's advice!

And keep your own #freeadvice coming!

Happy writing!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

#freeadvice Day 2

Twists aren't just for the end of a story. Use them from the beginning so readers never know what to expect.

Today's #freeadvice comes from Angela. Check out her blog at Live to Write... Edit when Necessary (its own great advice). I picked her advice to feature today because it's something that's such a duh sort of thing, but no one ever puts it in such simple terms. And some writers really need to live by it. Put it on a sticky note above your computer, right next to Life is a Box of Chocolates...

Keep the great advice coming via Twitter and Blog!

Happy writing!

Monday, November 7, 2011


If you get stuck while writing a scene there are four things you can do to get moving again that never fail: kill a character, write a kissing scene, add zombies, or blow something up. --Stephanie Allen. Visit her blog at My Personal Fairytale (here) and follow her on Twitter (here).

Do you have some free advice? Tweet me (or leave it in the comments). If I like yours the best, I'll feature it on my blog along with your blog and twitter links! (If you leave it in the blog comments, include your blog and/or twitter links; if you tweet me, I'll follow up with you for links if you win.) Up to three winners this week (Tuesday, Thursday, Friday). If you enter, please visit the winner's sites to spread the lovin'. And visit with Stephanie, whose Tweet inspired the fun in the first place.

Happy writing!

Friday, November 4, 2011

NaNo break

Tap tap tapping away? If it's on your computer and you're actually getting word counts done, stop reading now. If your fingers are tapping your desk and your word count sits at a very tiny number... well read on. It might not help your word count or writer's block, but it's a good use of your time since you're not doing anything else.

(This would be termed a non-helpful blog post. Next week I'll see what I can do about being more inspirational.)

Go to the Google homepage. Type in "do a barrel roll" and press enter.

That is all.

What are your favorite internet time wasters when you're supposed to be typing or brainstorming?

Happy NaNoing!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Wednesday Reads: Save the Cat!

The month of NaNo brings us writing guides rather than novels for our weekly book review (I know how busy you all are, and I wouldn't want to tease you about all the books you're missing out on by writing all the time--like giving you chocolate but not letting you eat it). Save the Cat! by Blake Snyder has a subtitle of The Last Book on Screenwriting You'll Ever Need.

Screenwriting? you ask. Ah ha! Let's stop focusing so much on the minuties of writing shall we? It is, after all, NaNoWriMo, in which you furiously scribble as much as you can without thought of writing details. Instead, let's think about plot, character arch. Maybe you get a week in, couple 10K and suddenly you have no idea where to go. Browsing a book solely on plot and character (told in a witty voice that will hold your attention) might help you must through.

Brownie Points: Snyder offers us tips on how to plot before you even write, how to think about each scene and arch (character and plot) to keep you on track. With charts and worksheets! Blake's Beat Sheet might be one of the most useful tools you'll ever need as a writer.

Beefs: It is a book about screenwriting. It's not necessarily a bad thing. I found it fascinating to learn about the movie business, how movies are thought up and planned out--parallels the book business in many aspects. Some readers may find it tedious and want to scream, But I'm a Writer! You watch movies, don't you? It's great practice for when you don't have time to read. Watch movies in your genre (the equivalent of) and deconstruct their plot and character arches.

Recommendation: I believe everyone should at least take a look at this book (what can it hurt?). But those who often find themselves hitting writer's block or are told that their plots are slow or their characters need work, should read it. Take notes. Study. Apply.

Have you read Save the Cat!? Would you recommend it to other writers? Or, to you, is it a waste of time for writers?

What are your favorite writing guides to refer to others and revisit yourselves?

Happy reading!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

On your marks... Get set... NaNo!

NaNoWriMo begins today. Did you know?!
Let's have a little fun. Put down your pens... er... minimize your word document...

Do you have a set idea in mind for your NaNo novel? Think you know where it's going? This might work best if you're a panster rather than a plotter, but who knows?

Last year when I did NaNo, my light-hearted, rom-com-esque novel inspired by a friend turned into an emotional, dark journey into the past, and it did not have a happily ever after. Whoops. (and no, I'm not NaNoing this year--too intense for me, and too time consuming)

Tell me, in one or two sentences, what you think your NaNo novel is going to be about. Visit me again at the end of the month and give me another short blurb to see if or how much changed. Do you have any fun NaNo-changling stories from past years?

Happy (as in, don't go insane) writing!