This Page

has moved to a new address:


Sorry for the inconvenience…

Redirection provided by Blogger to WordPress Migration Service
----------------------------------------------------- Blogger Template Style Sheet Name: Scribe Designer: Todd Dominey URL: domineydesign.com / whatdoiknow.org Date: 27 Feb 2004 ------------------------------------------------------ */ /* Defaults ----------------------------------------------- */ body { margin:0; padding:0; font-family: Georgia, Times, Times New Roman, sans-serif; font-size: small; text-align:center; color:#29303B; line-height:1.3; background:#483521 url("http://www.blogblog.com/scribe/bg.gif") repeat; } blockquote { font-style:italic; padding:0 32px; line-height:1.6; margin:0 0 .6em 0; } p {margin:0;padding:0}; abbr, acronym { cursor:help; font-style:normal; } code {font:12px monospace;white-space:normal;color:#666;} hr {display:none;} img {border:0;} /* Link styles */ a:link {color:#473624;text-decoration:underline;} a:visited {color:#716E6C;text-decoration:underline;} a:hover {color:#956839;text-decoration:underline;} a:active {color:#956839;} /* Layout ----------------------------------------------- */ @media all { #wrap { background-color:#473624; border-left:1px solid #332A24; border-right:1px solid #332A24; width:700px; margin:0 auto; padding:8px; text-align:center; } #main-top { width:700px; height:49px; background:#FFF3DB url("http://www.blogblog.com/scribe/bg_paper_top.jpg") no-repeat top left; margin:0;padding:0; display:block; } #main-bot { width:700px; height:81px; background:#FFF3DB url("http://www.blogblog.com/scribe/bg_paper_bot.jpg") no-repeat top left; margin:0; padding:0; display:block; } #main-content { width:700px; background:#FFF3DB url("http://www.blogblog.com/scribe/bg_paper_mid.jpg") repeat-y; margin:0; text-align:left; display:block; } } @media handheld { #wrap { width:90%; } #main-top { width:100%; background:#FFF3DB; } #main-bot { width:100%; background:#FFF3DB; } #main-content { width:100%; background:#FFF3DB; } } #inner-wrap { padding:0 50px; } #blog-header { margin-bottom:12px; } #blog-header h1 { margin:0; padding:0 0 6px 0; font-size:225%; font-weight:normal; color:#612E00; } #blog-header h1 a:link { text-decoration:none; } #blog-header h1 a:visited { text-decoration:none; } #blog-header h1 a:hover { border:0; text-decoration:none; } #blog-header p { margin:0; padding:0; font-style:italic; font-size:94%; line-height:1.5em; } div.clearer { clear:left; line-height:0; height:10px; margin-bottom:12px; _margin-top:-4px; /* IE Windows target */ background:url("http://www.blogblog.com/scribe/divider.gif") no-repeat bottom left; } @media all { #main { width:430px; float:right; padding:8px 0; margin:0; } #sidebar { width:150px; float:left; padding:8px 0; margin:0; } } @media handheld { #main { width:100%; float:none; } #sidebar { width:100%; float:none; } } #footer { clear:both; background:url("http://www.blogblog.com/scribe/divider.gif") no-repeat top left; padding-top:10px; _padding-top:6px; /* IE Windows target */ } #footer p { line-height:1.5em; font-family:Verdana, sans-serif; font-size:75%; } /* Typography :: Main entry ----------------------------------------------- */ h2.date-header { font-weight:normal; text-transform:uppercase; letter-spacing:.1em; font-size:90%; margin:0; padding:0; } .post { margin:8px 0 24px 0; line-height:1.5em; } h3.post-title { font-weight:normal; font-size:140%; color:#1B0431; margin:0; padding:0; } .post-body p { margin:0 0 .6em 0; } .post-footer { font-family:Verdana, sans-serif; color:#211104; font-size:74%; border-top:1px solid #BFB186; padding-top:6px; } .post ul { margin:0; padding:0; } .post li { line-height:1.5em; list-style:none; background:url("http://www.blogblog.com/scribe/list_icon.gif") no-repeat 0px .3em; vertical-align:top; padding: 0 0 .6em 17px; margin:0; } /* Typography :: Sidebar ----------------------------------------------- */ h2.sidebar-title { font-weight:normal; font-size:120%; margin:0; padding:0; color:#211104; } h2.sidebar-title img { margin-bottom:-4px; } #sidebar ul { font-family:Verdana, sans-serif; font-size:86%; margin:6px 0 12px 0; padding:0; } #sidebar ul li { list-style: none; padding-bottom:6px; margin:0; } #sidebar p { font-family:Verdana,sans-serif; font-size:86%; margin:0 0 .6em 0; } /* Comments ----------------------------------------------- */ #comments {} #comments h4 { font-weight:normal; font-size:120%; color:#29303B; margin:0; padding:0; } #comments-block { line-height:1.5em; } .comment-poster { background:url("http://www.blogblog.com/scribe/list_icon.gif") no-repeat 2px .35em; margin:.5em 0 0; padding:0 0 0 20px; font-weight:bold; } .comment-body { margin:0; padding:0 0 0 20px; } .comment-body p { font-size:100%; margin:0 0 .2em 0; } .comment-timestamp { font-family:Verdana, sans-serif; color:#29303B; font-size:74%; margin:0 0 10px; padding:0 0 .75em 20px; } .comment-timestamp a:link { color:#473624; text-decoration:underline; } .comment-timestamp a:visited { color:#716E6C; text-decoration:underline; } .comment-timestamp a:hover { color:#956839; text-decoration:underline; } .comment-timestamp a:active { color:#956839; text-decoration:none; } .deleted-comment { font-style:italic; color:gray; } .paging-control-container { float: right; margin: 0px 6px 0px 0px; font-size: 80%; } .unneeded-paging-control { visibility: hidden; } /* Profile ----------------------------------------------- */ #profile-container { margin-top:12px; padding-top:12px; height:auto; background:url("http://www.blogblog.com/scribe/divider.gif") no-repeat top left; } .profile-datablock { margin:0 0 4px 0; } .profile-data { display:inline; margin:0; padding:0 8px 0 0; text-transform:uppercase; letter-spacing:.1em; font-size:90%; color:#211104; } .profile-img {display:inline;} .profile-img img { float:left; margin:0 8px 0 0; border:1px solid #A2907D; padding:2px; } .profile-textblock { font-family:Verdana, sans-serif;font-size:86%;margin:0;padding:0; } .profile-link { margin-top:5px; font-family:Verdana,sans-serif; font-size:86%; } /* Post photos ----------------------------------------------- */ img.post-photo { border:1px solid #A2907D; padding:4px; } /* Feeds ----------------------------------------------- */ #blogfeeds { } #postfeeds { padding:0 0 12px 20px; }

Anne R. Allen's Blog


My Photo

Anne writes funny mysteries and how-to-books for writers. She also writes poetry and short stories on occasion. Oh, yes, and she blogs. She's a contributor to Writer's Digest and the Novel and Short Story Writer's Market for 2016. 

Her bestselling Camilla Randall Mystery Series features perennially down-on-her-luck former socialite Camilla Randall—who is a magnet for murder, mayhem and Mr. Wrong, but always solves the mystery in her quirky, but oh-so-polite way.

Anne lives on the Central Coast of California, near San Luis Obispo, the town Oprah called "The Happiest City in America."

Anne blogs at Anne R. Allen's Blog...with Ruth Harris 
and at Anne R. Allen's Books

Sunday, October 7, 2012

NaNoWriMo—Should You Join in the Silliness? 9 Reasons to Consider it.

First: full disclosure—I've never NaNo'ed. I'm a slo-o-o-w writer. My editor despairs. I've got a new Camilla Randall mystery due in November (No Place Like Home) which I've been working on for a year and haven't finished yet. (Yes, I've been writing, editing and launching six other books and two anthologies during the same year, but it's still not a great record. I write slow. I also read slow and blog slow. I even live in a place called SLO-town. )

But the world rewards fast writers. Look at Nora Roberts and James Patterson, who seem to turn out books at the rate Mrs. Smith produces pies.

Plus, even if you're fundamentally a slowpoke like me, NaNo is a great way to push through your blocks and self-doubt and get that novel out of your head and onto the page.

For the uninitiated: NaNoWriMo is the National Novel Writing Month project. Started in 1999 by a young San Franciscan named Chris Baty—and 21 of his verbally ambitious friends—it challenges you to write a complete novel in a month. That month is November. Last year over 250,000 writers—called “WriMos”—joined in the merriment.

Entering the contest—now run by Mr. Baty’s non-profit outfit, the Office of Letters and Light—is free. Anybody who finishes 50,000 words by midnight November 30th is a winner. No prize but a badge for your blog--and I think there are Tee-shirts you can buy this year--but completion of your novel is its own reward.

To enter, you register at NaNoWriMo's site so you can have your word count verified at the end of the month, and on November 1, start writing. It doesn't cost a thing.

But…don’t they write a lot of crapola?

Yup. And that’s the point.

It’s all about creating that awful first draft.

As Anne LaMotte wrote in her classic book for writers, Bird by Bird, “the only way [most writers] can get anything done at all is to write really, really, really shitty first drafts.”

NaNoWriMo forces you to get that dung onto the page.

Here are some benefits.

1) No time to agonize over your first chapter.
You’ve read endless carping on blogs like this one about how the first chapter has to hook the reader, introduce all the major themes and plot elements, begin with the world’s most exciting sentence, etc. But when you’re writing your first draft, none of that matters. You’re introducing yourself to your characters and their world. You can worry about your reader when you start editing next January.

2) No frittering away time on research. If you’re one of those writers who has procrastinated for years, piling up reams of historical and biographical detail, this is your chance to actually write the *&%! book.

The truth is most of those details would bore the reader silly if you actually put them in your novel, anyway. You’re better off writing the book first and figuring out later whether your reader needs to know what they used for toilet paper in 13th century Scotland or what kind of underpants to put on Genghis Khan.

3) No time to censor yourself. You can’t afford to agonize over whether your brother–in-law/former teacher/ex-girlfriend will recognize him/herself. Or if your mom will find out you weren’t really at band camp that summer when you and your buddies took the road trip to Cabo. Besides you’ll be amazed how characters/situations inspired by real life take off on their own and create an alternate reality. And excuse me, when did your brother-in-law ever read a book anyway?

4) You won’t be tempted to save your best ideas for later. New writers are often terrified they’ll run out of ideas. But it’s amazing how many more will show up once you’re in the zone.

I recently read some great advice for writers in an article in Glimmer Train from author Josh Swiller: "Kitchen sink that first draft. Throw every damn thing in there. If you aren't sure something belongs, if you aren't even remotely clear what the point of a certain tangent is—in it goes. It can help to do this draft with pen and paper, in poor handwriting, so you can't be eying and judging what you've put down as you go along."

5) You’ll give up trying to control the process. If the story goes somewhere you didn’t expect it to go, or you can’t stick to your outline, you’ll have to run with it. When your muse is talking, you can’t take the chance of pissing her off for even a couple of days.

6) You’ll have a great excuse for skipping the family Thanksgiving
with all those relatives whose politics make you despair for the future of the human race.

7) It’s fun—and a great way to meet other writers all over the world. Look in the NaNo website forums for online and in-person discussions and groups. More than 650 regional volunteers in more than 60 countries will hold write-ins, hosting writers in coffee shops,bookstores, and libraries. Write-ins offer a supportive environment, turning the usually solitary act of writing into a community experience.

8) Lots of very good writers do it. This week GalleyCat reported that 90+Books began as NaNoWriMo projects including Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen, The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern, and Cinder by Marissa Meyer: all #1 NYT Best Sellers.

9) You'll get pep talks from famous writers Not only will successful WriMos like Marissa Meyer be standing by to cheer you on, but this year they've enlisted the likes of Nick Hornby and Lemony Snicket to give you helpful tips to keep you on track and pounding out those words.

If you decide to jump into the craziness, here are the NaNoWriMo rules:

Register at NaNoWriMo.Org before November 1
  • Write a novel (in any language) 50,000+ words long between November 1 and November 30. “Novel” is loosely defined. They say “If you consider the book you're writing a novel, we consider it a novel too!”
  • Start from scratch. Previously written outlines & character sketches are OK—and highly recommended—but this can’t be a work already in progress to be an official NaNo novel
  • Be the sole author. Although you can use the occasional quotation, you can't use other people's words, even if they're out of copyright. No collaborations allowed.
  • Write more than one word. No repeating the same one 50,000 times.
  • Upload your novel for word-count validation to the site between November 25 and November 30.

Chances are pretty good you aren’t going to write a polished, publishable novel in four weeks (although Charles Dickens is said to have written A Christmas Carol in six, four of which were in November, so there’s some precedent.)

But PLEASE don’t start querying agents or throw that puppy up on Amazon or Smashwords until you do a serious, in-depth revision. You’ll just add to the "tsunami of crap" self-pub-haters rant about, and/or you'll make agents and editors and their overburdened interns extremely cranky.

Oh, and if you are going the traditional publishing route, it’s not wise to reveal that the book began at NaNo—at least not in your initial query. Unfortunately, a lot of participants send off the unedited crapola.

Also, most publishers won’t look at a novel of less than 70,000 words, so even the Chuck Dickenses among you will have further work to do.

NaNoWriMo is now entering its 14th year and has become a respected institution in the writing community. GalleyCat is promoting it with a fun pre-NaNoWriMo contest.

There's also now a NaNo for kids and a Camp NaNoWriMo for people who have more writing time in the summer, and a super-posh one-nightwriting-marathon party in San Francisco and all manner of tee shirts, mugs, and other fun NaNo paraphernalia.

Last year 36,843 writers crossed the 50K finish line by midnight on November 30th, thus "entering into the annals of NaNoWriMo superstardom forever."

So if you have a book in your head, some spare time (and a very understanding family) you just might become one of those superstars this year!

For some tips on overcoming your blocks and getting that book out no matter what, you might want read this helpful and funny post by Delilah S. Dawson on how to barf a book.

So how about you, scriveners? Are you NaNo-ing this year? How much prep will you do? Have you ever "won" at NaNo? Have you tried and failed miserably, as I'd be sure to do? Did you fail miserably but still manage to get some good writing out of it? Do you think the whole thing is a bunch of batty San Francisco nonsense? (Sorry. I had to do the Baty/Batty thing somewhere. Old puns never die.)

Next week we're going to have a great post by Lila Moore from the watchdog site PopularSoda.com. She's going to tell us about "Seven Deadly Scams" being perpetrated on writers in this new publishing era. She's written about writing scams on Duolit and the Passive Voice, and provides warnings that all writers need to read. 

Labels: , , , , , , , , , ,


Blogger Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

I will be getting my third book back from my critique partners by the end of the month, so November will be all about revisions for me.
However I did participate in 2010. That's when I wrote CassaFire.
And yes, I am a very slow writer!

October 7, 2012 at 9:58 AM  
Blogger Clare C. Greenstreet said...

I did NaNoWriMo last year and didn't manage to finish. This year I hope I'll be better prepared and finish this time.

October 7, 2012 at 10:19 AM  
Blogger Ruth Harris said...

Write a novel in a month? They're kidding, right?

How about three days? The English writer Michael Moorcock takes you through his process: http://www.ghostwoods.com/2010/05/how-to-write-a-book-in-three-days-1210/

October 7, 2012 at 10:27 AM  
Blogger Anne Gallagher said...

I tried NaNo once and failed miserably. I can't write under pressure (although I have on three occassions managed to bang out 14K words in a day. But the muse was willing and I had a babysitter.)

Kudo's to those who can keep up.

October 7, 2012 at 10:30 AM  
Blogger Stacy McKitrick said...

NaNo always comes at the wrong time for me. I'm usually finishing up a novel, not starting one. And this year is no different.

I can't imagine writing 50,000 in four weeks. I'm lucky to get that much written in four months!

October 7, 2012 at 11:03 AM  
Blogger Chihuahua Zero said...

@Ruth Harris: Wow! That's an extreme, yet cool, method. I'm bookmarking it (even though my bookmarks are spiraling out of control).

I had some thoughts a few months back about being able to get on a 20-hour flight, and with little interruption except for food and the bathroom (from personal experience, sleep is hard), write an entire draft before the plane touches down. Ambitious, but I bet at least one person have done it.

October 7, 2012 at 11:21 AM  
Blogger Deb said...

I know several writers who used this to begin a manuacript they had wanted to start. I think most finished the 50k words, but the point was more to have a fixed period of time in which they could consistently work on one project. For some it worked great, but of course there was more writing and lots of editing afterward.

If I could use this as an excuse to avoid T-day I would in a heartbeat.

October 7, 2012 at 11:23 AM  
Blogger Chihuahua Zero said...

First of all, congrats on you two winning the "Top 50 Writing Blogs" award! I can say without hesitation that you two deserve it.

Second of all, this post reminds me of the ebook I just finished: When Every Month is NaNoWriMo: http://www.amazon.com/When-Every-Month-NaNoWriMo-ebook/dp/B0064IE896

Basically, the premise of this book is that "winning NaNoWriMo doesn't just mean writing 50k words, but writing a draft close to finishing". The method it describes is basically planning beforehand, so you can write a basic draft when November comes.

Interesting thought, right?

October 7, 2012 at 11:28 AM  
Blogger Anne R. Allen said...

Alex--I didn't know CassaFire was a NaNo book! That should be added to the list of successful, trad. published NaNo books.

Clare--They do say preparation is key. Good luck!

Ruth--That link to the "write a novel in 3 days" guy is full of great tips. A must read. Thanks!

Anne--14 thousand words in a day? That's amazing. Congrats.

Stacy--I'm like you. And I'm going to be finishing up a book next month too. (I hope.)

Chihuahua--I love the idea of writing a complete ms. on an airplane flight. Even if it was just a short story, it would make the flight a little more bearable. And I'll check out that link. Thanks.

Deb--I think using NaNo to start a project is a great idea. Also to let yourself focus on one thing. It's probably best if you set out to get a good start and don't let yourself feel like a failure because you don't get to the end.

October 7, 2012 at 11:40 AM  
Blogger Charley Robson said...

Huzzah! NaNoWriMo is one of my favourite yearly events - not in the least for the reasons you listed above, but also because it actually makes me write something without getting distracted, as I am so wont to do.

Fabulous post. And well done on that award too! :D

October 7, 2012 at 11:45 AM  
Blogger Charley Robson said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

October 7, 2012 at 11:45 AM  
Blogger Jan Christensen said...

It's very tempting, but the time of year is just awful, so I've never tried. I think it could be done with good planning and sticking to a schedule. Probably 1,000 words in the morning with coffee, and 1,000 words after dinner every night. And having at least a great idea for a plot going forward. Maybe next year, I'll give it a go. Congrats on the award. You know you're doing something right when you get it more than once!

October 7, 2012 at 3:28 PM  
Blogger Melissa said...

I'm already in the middle of a project so I won't be able to participate this year. Plus, I'm a slow writer and don't know how I would fair under pressure.

October 7, 2012 at 5:45 PM  
Blogger Amy Jarecki said...

I'm be finishing up a manuscript in November, and not a good time to start another...So I'll probably be out, but I like the part about missing Thanksgiving :-)

October 7, 2012 at 7:03 PM  
Blogger Anne R. Allen said...

Charley--Thanks. And have fun with it!

Jan--You can tell the month was chosen by young men without families. It is the toughest time for people with family obligations to check out of the mainstream, that's for sure.

Melissa--Welcome to the Slow Lane. We do get their eventually :-)

Amy--Anything that gives an excuse not to travel in horrible conditions to visit with a lot of people who are going to be fighting with each other is good in my book. (Why do we celebrate those two big travel holidays so close together at the worst time of year? It's one of the silliest things about American culture.)

October 7, 2012 at 7:18 PM  
Anonymous Char Newcomb said...

No NaNo for me. I cannot write that fast. The most I've written in 1 month was 29K and that's when I wasn't working 5 days a week. I have been following the 'spill your guts first draft method' on my current novella. That netted me about 31K in 6 weeks (while working fulltime). It's grown during revisions as I've fleshed out the storyline. My critique group is enjoying it, so that keeps me going.
Good luck to all NaNo participants.

October 7, 2012 at 8:04 PM  
Blogger T.L. Bodine said...

I've officially done Nano twice. The first time was the very first draft of Tagestraum (which, several years later, is making the rounds with agents). I got to 50k but hadn't finished the book by that point, then lost several chapters of it in a harddrive crash, so it took a while to recover.

The second time I did "win" with the completed rough draft of Nezumi's Children, which I set aside for a year and am editing now. It's in shockingly good shape for a nano-novel.

I'm not sure if I want to do it this year or not. I have an old trunk novel that I want to completely strip down and rewrite -- same characters, totally new premise and plot. I might do that if I finish the short story anthology I'm working on first.

October 7, 2012 at 8:14 PM  
Blogger Susan Flett Swiderski said...

I'm a horribly slow writer who can spend a full day agonizing over a single scene, so writing an entire book in a month's time sounds beyond me. On the other hand, making the effort to write under that kind of word count deadline could be a very helpful exercise. I'll have to give it some thought.

October 7, 2012 at 8:51 PM  
Blogger Deborah White said...

"You’ll have a great excuse for skipping the family Thanksgiving with all those relatives whose politics make you despair for the future of the human race." So I'm not the only woman with wacky, opinionated family?

I am a fast writer, but wallow, wallow, wallow in research. You've encouraged me, Anne. Thank you kindly for such heartfelt, personal advice.

October 7, 2012 at 11:00 PM  
Blogger Jeremy Bates said...

Have you ever tried Slo-Mo? lol If you didn't know, that's the fictitious drug in the new Judge Dredd movie. Bad stuff.

Hey, you write how you have to, what makes you comfortable is what works best. Don't sweat it, let it.


October 8, 2012 at 3:26 AM  
Blogger Chemist Ken said...

I am also a sloooow writer (who's still working on his first story after 3 years), so I've never bothered with NaNoWriMo before. I didn't have the time and I assumed about 95% of it would be crap that would be tossed anyway. But it turns out I'm going to have lots of free time this November and I'm in the process of outlining my second book, so I may just go for it this year. I may not reach the 50K mark, but I'm sure it'll give me a good headstart on a story I'm going to be writing anyway.

Thanks for the encouragement.

October 8, 2012 at 6:30 AM  
Blogger Emily Cross said...

I'm a slow writer too (when it comes to fiction) - as I just get obsessive with trying to make it perfect so NaNo would be perfect for me. Alas I'll be trying to write 50,000+ words of a different sort from November on lol. . .

Great post as always :)

October 8, 2012 at 7:38 AM  
Blogger Anne R. Allen said...

Char—31K words in 6 weeks, while working a full time job is a pretty big achievement. They should give tee-shirts for that, too. :-)

T.L.—My condolences on the loss of those chapters to a hard drive crash. That is the definition of tragedy for a writer. But congrats on doing NaNo twice and living to tell the tale. I have one of those—a book I worked on for ten years. I love those characters like family, but the story was too episodic and didn't have an overall story arc. I'd have to rewrite from scratch. I hope to do it someday.

Susan—I hope to do it someday too—just to see if I can increase my writing speed. But I might have to do the NaNo "Summer camp" version. November is always a bear for me.

Deborah—I spent years on research—literally—before I realized the novel's premise didn't work and all that time was wasted. I finally learned to write first and do the research for the second draft. Then you know what you really need.

Jeremy—These days fictitious drugs are the only kind I take :-) You may be right. Some of us have muses that work slower than others.

Ken—It sounds as if the Universe is lining up for you, so why not go for it?

Emily—NaNo is definitely not for people with other writing obligations, like a doctoral thesis. :-)

October 8, 2012 at 9:35 AM  
Blogger fOIS In The City said...

Ann, a day late, but never short of awe at your timely posts. Okay, I don't, I won't ... but did a small sample of the same type with my RWA on line WF's chapter last month ... Write-a-Thin ... a typo that took on a life of its own :)

I think writing challenges are a great way for the terminally shy to overcome their resistance ... to practice writing under a deadline ... and to puch their skills beyond what they thought they could do !!

October 8, 2012 at 9:56 AM  
Blogger Cathryn Leigh said...

The first time I did NaNo was a year after I’d heard about it. I got roped in with a friend by another friend and had something of a luke warm response to it, even though I did win. Yet, the very next year I was at it again and came out glowing. So of course I’m going back for a third year.

I agree it seems impossible to find the time, or to write that fast, but amazingly it happens. I juggle a full time job, two young kids a husband, and Thanksgiving with family (though I might be the only one without the whole opinionated things going on...). And still, thanks to the support of my family and my regional WriMos, it happens.

If I didn’t have NaNo I would be a slow writer (as it is I’m a slow editor). It’s the time when I say – okay other responsibilities, move over I’m writing this month! It’s also a great strategy for building up a ‘back log’ so that when I have more free time for editing, I’ll never run out of stuff to edit. And eventually I’ll start putting some of it through the publication process. (and then I won’t run out of final drafts to circulate...)

At least that’s my plan.

Besides, I’ve fallen into a wonderfully awesome regional group here in Maryland. Typing with them during a write-in is like taking one of those imaginary drugs. :}

October 8, 2012 at 10:37 AM  
Blogger Casey McCormick said...

Anne, great post on NaNo. I've tried it a few times with mixed results. The key thing, for me, is that I always write more than I would have if I didn't participate.

I didn't realize you live in SLO. I'm in Santa Maria!!

October 8, 2012 at 11:07 AM  
Blogger Anne R. Allen said...

Florence "Write-a-Thin?" That has hilarious implications. You're right that writing challenges of any kind force you to push out of your comfort zone and learn to be a better writer. I like the concept of a writer being "shy" of the page.

Cathryn--I think the NaNo support groups are one of the best reasons to join. Great to have a bunch of people as crazy as you to hang with.

Everybody--I do want to emphasize that you should finish work that's been previously promised before you think of doing NaNo. It's not an excuse to procrastinate other obligations. This is true no matter what business you're in. I'm not a fan of doing NaNo if it means letting people down who are counting on you professionally. These days, our professional selves are tied to our private selves via social media, and you want your "brand" to be reliable.

Casey--You live on the Central Coast? This is awesome! You're one of my favorite bloggers. Danielle Smith, of "There's a Book" is in SLO too. I was blown away when I found out because I thought she was in Ireland. We should start a Central Coast Book Blogger Club and meet up in Pismo Beach or someplace fun sometime.

October 8, 2012 at 3:50 PM  
Blogger Tracy Campbell said...

You've definitely given me something to think about. If my schedule clears, I'll give it a whirl.
Thanks for the 9 tips as well.

October 8, 2012 at 7:05 PM  
Anonymous Rinelle Grey said...

I love NaNo, and will definatly be participating again this year. Not sure what I'll be writing yet, but I'm sure it will be fun.

NaNo got me back into writing, and I love the format of writing as much as you can as quickly as you can, helps me silence my inner editor.

October 9, 2012 at 3:06 AM  
Blogger Anne R. Allen said...

Tracy--Scheduling is key, and sometimes you can't reasonably work it in. Janice Hardy says we need a February NaNo--post holidays--and I think that's a great idea.

Rinelle--I love to hear NaNo success stories. And yes, it's all about getting that inner critic to shut up until you're ready to revise.

October 10, 2012 at 11:58 AM  
Anonymous Kelly The Red said...

I have "won" NaNo several times, including the summer Camp Nanowrimo. I use the month to try out odd ideas or different genre. Although I usually write YA fantasy, my Nano projects have included chick lit, sci fi, political satire and this November, I think I will try Mystery. Some of my first drafts have been truly and unsalvagably awful, filed in my I-can't-believe-I-wrote-this-crap folder. Others have been pretty good and only needed a few months of revising and editing. If you are doing Nano, Feel free to add me as a Writing Buddy.

October 11, 2012 at 3:19 AM  
Anonymous MJ Donnery said...

This will be my second year participating in Nanowrimo. I am also a "slow writer" and the best part of last year's Nano was in discovering a whole new side to myself as a writer. I finished at just over 55,000 words - yes, it was crap, but it was crap with potential.
Can't wait to do it again.

October 11, 2012 at 7:01 AM  
Blogger Mikki said...

Hi Anne,

A great and funny post that I'm going to recommend to fellow writer friends! I did NaNo in 2010,
and the novel that came out of it is now being sent out to publishers. It went through too many edits and revisions to count, but the story was an idea clomping around in my head for over a year, and NaNo gave me the excuse to write it. Finished 56,000 words by Nov.26th, and that included taking time for for Thanksgiving baking as well as Turkey Day. Haven't done it since, and can't this year as I'm in the big middle of a Paranormal/historical mystery, but I encourage everyone to do it at least once.

October 11, 2012 at 10:36 AM  
Blogger Anne R. Allen said...

Kelly--It sounds as if you've been really adventurous in your NaNo-ing. Trying a different genre is a great reason to do it. Interesting that you keep coming back to YA. This is probably a good way to find out what your "core" genre really is. Thanks for the offer. Unfortunately, I'll be doing revisions on my current WIP in November.

MJ--Congrats on winning NaNo and best of luck on producing more crap this year. :-)

Mikki--Congrats to you, too. And oh, my! You cooked a turkey dinner too? Amazing.

October 11, 2012 at 10:55 AM  
Blogger Heather Kelly said...

I LOVE the energy of NaNo. Even if I am not in the place to start a novel in November, I ALWAYS make use of the awesome excitement that permeates the contest. It's such a wonderful community!

October 12, 2012 at 3:54 AM  
Blogger Anne R. Allen said...

Heather--That's the way I feel. Even though I can't do it personally because I'll be madly doing edits, I'm so energized by all the people doing it--the enthusiasm is catching!

October 13, 2012 at 10:52 AM  
Anonymous Nina B said...

I actually want to do it, but don't have a compelling story idea. I've already written two 80,000 books with crap stories. I don't even want to spend a month writing something without a good plot in mind. Toying with this though!

October 16, 2012 at 1:28 PM  
Blogger Anne R. Allen said...

Nina--This is such a good point. I think many first novelists don't have a plot. I sure didn't for my first novel. (Which is how it got to be 1000 pages long. I should have called it "Characters in search of a Plot") An idea isn't the same as a plot. I'll bet a lot of WriMos will find this out. But how much better for them to find it out in a month instead of the decade or so I spent on my big, plotless mess!

October 16, 2012 at 1:56 PM  
Blogger Meghan Ward said...

I've never been a big NaNoWriMo fan. I did it in 2001 and really wrote 50,000 words of total crap. There were days that I was so pressed for time and writer-blocked, that I just wrote journal entries, things like, "I don't know what to write today" to make my word count. If I were at a writer's retreat for the month, I bet I could bang out a decent first draft of a novel, but combined with my already hectic lifestyle, I don't see much coming out of it. THAT SAID, people like me could modify it and say, "I'm going to write 500 words a day on whatever I'm working on." Or 200 words a day, or 300. It's a great time to set a writing goal and go for it.

October 17, 2012 at 9:08 AM  
Blogger Anne R. Allen said...

Meghan--NaNo definitly isn't for everybody. And if you're a professional who already has a good writing routine and regular access to your muse, it's probably not going to do anything but annoy you. But for beginning writers who have a book in their heads and can reserve the time, it's great for hacking through those blocks. But as Nina B says above, you have to have a plot firmly outlined in your brain, or you'll be wasting your time. Just writing X number of words a day can be pointless if your story isn't there.

BTW, I can't comment on your blog today. (Great post) A window comes up telling me I'm not logged in, but WordPress says I AM logged in. And I can't figure out how to get more logged-in-er.

October 17, 2012 at 9:44 AM  

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home