NaNo-What-o? No, NaNoWriMo!
That time of year has come upon us again. No, I'm not talking about Halloween, or Thanksgiving, or any of the holidays. No, no, I'm talking about something much more important - NaNoWriMo!
What exactly is NaNoWriMo, you ask?
Well, I'm so glad you asked.
Here let me tell you...
NAtional NOvel WRIting MOnth
NaNoWriMo, get it? Okay, according to the site, that is pronounced: NAN-no WRY-Mo. Most authors I know who are participating have come to just call it NaNo. It comes in the month of November, every year since 1999.
Every year in October, http://www.nanowrimo.org opens up for new subscriptions for eager novel writers to challenge themselves by writing a novel of at least 50,000 words during the month of November. There's a catch though - you can't start writing the actual novel until 12:01 your local time, November 1, and you must be finished with the novel by the end of the month. Now, the novel is not limited to 50K words, but to 'win' the NaNoWriMo Challenge, you must not only write at least 50K words, but you must also finish the novel.
There is a list of author's who have actually had their NaNoWriMo novel published, and many people who wrote novels for NaNo and went on to self publish.
So what's the point to it all?
Well, for someone who has never published an novel, NaNoWriMo provides a great motivation, in a fun environment, with lots of other aspiring authors to support an encourage one another and finally tap out that novel that we all think we have dwelling inside of us. For the experienced or published author, NaNoWriMo really gives the author a nice challenge, by adding a deadline environment, accountability and a means for checking progress. This can help an author who has been tossing around ideas for their next book really dig in and push the creativity out of them.
The first thing you do is visit the website at nanowrimo.org and register for an account and create your profile. This is completely and totally free. NaNo is supported mostly by donations. After you have created your account and profile you can join the user forums and discussion groups, also free, and get to meet other authors taking the challenge this year. Last year, NaNo boasted an impressive 59,000 participants, which means you potentially have 59,000 other writers all there to cheer you on.
In addition to the website, many areas in the US have local NaNo meetings with other participants in close physical proximity. The group in my area met regularly during October and November at the local Starbucks.
Now, after you have created your profile, have added all your writing buddies, joined a local group to track progress by your area, you are now ready to prepare to write your novel. Now, remember, the rules say you can't start until November 1, on the actual writing, but there are many things you can do to prepare.
Below is my self-help list for preparing for NaNoWriMo (btw, I was a NaNo 'winner' last year too):
1. Buy lots of coffee.
If coffee is not your caffeine of choice, then buy lots of whatever is. Fifty thousand words is much more than most realize. Think about this, most articles on sites like Associated Content are only about 600-1000 words long. That means you will be writing, on the upper end, the equivalent of about 84 articles in one month's time, but with a plot and story line, hopefully, that should be consistent and flow together well. That might just mean some late nights, and coffee is a staple!
2. Buy a plastic shower cap.
When it is 2am, two days before Thanksgiving, your entire family coming to visit, and you are only 30,000 word into your NaNo novel, you will need to place this shower cap on your head in order to remind you not to pull your hair out.
3. Lock up all firearms.
The temptation will be too great at 5am after no sleep, when one of your novel's character decides to take the storyline in a whole new direction, NOT to shoot your computer monitor. Be sure all firearms and baseball bats are securely locked away during the month of November.
4. Buy headphones.
This is not to listen to music. No, these will be what you put on your head to block out all the sounds of people in your house whining, "You're at the computer writing again?" Be sure not to buy headphones with a cord though. The temptation to strangle yourself or them will simply be too great.
5. At 11:59pm, October 31 - promptly disregard and temporarily forget anything and everything you have ever been taught about writing.
This is important. NaNo isn't about writing the perfect novel or the great American novel. NaNo is about writing A novel, crappy, good, in between... the point isn't to make it perfect, but to challenge yourself to do something different that you normally would not do if you were not participating in NaNoWriMo. In order to finish a novel in 30 days, you will have to let go of your preconceived notions about writing novels and just let your writing flow. Honestly, you may be surprised when you let go of all the 'rules' of writing just how easily writing can flow.
6. Learn how not to edit.
NaNoWriMo is about writing a novel in 30 days, not editing one. In fact, NaNo has March set aside, or maybe it's February, but nonetheless, there is a month set aside by NaNo to edit your crappy November novel. November is National Novel WRITING Month, and your goal is only to write it, not to edit it yet. Also, it's not National Novel RE-writing month, so save the rewrites for after you have actually WRITTEN the novel.
Now, let's get a bit more serious about NaNo. While you cannot start writing the actual novel until November 1, you can indeed start writing a plot outline and developing your characters right now. If you get a good outline prepared and learn and know your characters well, you will be able to really just sit down and pound out the story.
There's a couple of weeks left before the actual kick off, so you should have plenty of time to register on the site, set up your profile, and start working on your outline and character development so that you are ready to begin writing, writing, writing, during the month of November.
I have found this challenge to be a lot of fun, a little bit crazy, and highly motivating for me as a novelist. I completed a novel through NaNoWriMo last year called, "In Her Own Back Yard" and this year, my novel is titled, "Another Lifetime."
Don't forget to read the FAQs, because not only are they informative, but they are hilarious to read too. And be sure to sign up for the weekly prompts from Chris. He's funny, motivating, and a total hoot to read.
Feel free to add me as a writing buddy (michelleldevon) and let me know your NaNo name so I can add you and together, we'll see if we can't each crank out a crappy novel in the month of November.
Best of luck to all who participate.
By Michelle L Devon | Submitted On October 20, 2006
Michelle L Devon is a freelance writer and an editor, providing write for hire and editing services through her company, Accentuate Services. For more information, or if you need someone to edit your NaNoWriMo novel, please visit her website at http://www.accentuateservices.com
For help with your writing or to find paying writing gigs, you can join her free writer's forum at http://www.writersforum.info or http://www.accentuateservices.com/forum
Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/expert/Michelle_L_Devon/36496
Whether fiction or non-fiction, books with strong dialog are more interesting and engaging to the reader. Dialog is a fantastic and necessary device to move a story and reveal character. As a writer, you are probably accustomed to using your internal VISION to describe a scene, event, or make a point. You see it in your mind and describe what you SEE. Dialog must be handled differently. Dialog is primarily a task for your AUDITORY processing. You must hear it internally and write what you HEAR. Most people process information visually, so this may be a significant shift for you.
Whether you are recalling an actual conversation or devising one from your imagination, you can try these practices to refine your 'ear' for dialog and add richness to your writing.
1) Eavesdrop: Next time you are sitting at a coffee shop, waiting in line, or dining solo at a restaurant, prick up your ears and listen in on nearby conversations. For this exercise to be most effective, take notes and try to record exactly what is said. Of course, be subtle.
2) Take notes while you are talking on the phone: Again, try to write down exactly what the other person says. I got a lot of practice at this when I was a journalist. You will start to notice subtleties in the way people speak; that we don't all sound alike, even if we are saying basically the same thing.
3) Know your 'characters': The better you 'know' your characters, the easier it will be to write outstanding dialog. For non-fiction, this is fairly easy. You are writing about real people, and, in most cases, you can talk to them and get a feel for who they are. In fiction, this is more of a challenge, but I promise you, the more deeply you 'know' your characters, the better your overall story will be.
4) Get inside the speaker: When you sit down to write dialog, get inside the speaker's skin. Do your best to 'become' that person while you are writing their part. What matters to them? What does it FEEL like to BE them? Move back and forth between speakers as the 'conversation' evolves.
5) Go for realism: People typically don't talk the same way they write. They utter incomplete thoughts, they hesitate; they interrupt. Dialog is affected by region, social standing, self-esteem, education, emotion, agenda, and the relationship between the characters. For a dialog to sound authentic, you must account for these idiosyncrasies and variables.
By Robin Hoffman | Submitted On January 01, 2010
Robin Hoffman, MA, The Author Alchemist, is a publishing strategist, book editor and writer's coach who helps aspiring authors transform their dreams into reality. Find out more at http://www.robin-hoffman.com Article Source: https://EzineArticles.com/expert/Robin_Hoffman/465096
Is your writing as good as it possibly could be?
Would you like to make your writing easier, more efficient, and take it to the next level? Well, perhaps it's time to consider graduating from Microsoft Word, to software just for authors: Scrivener.So, have you heard of Scrivener? If you haven't, here's a very quick introduction: Scrivener is a writing, idea management, note management, research management, and text organization tool specifically designed for writers.
Here are the particular strengths of Scrivener, when it comes to your writing:
Here's a Crash Course Into Scrivener...
So now that you're convinced that Scrivener is a much more suitable (and productive) solution for you than Word, especially for longer documents, let's dive into some of its easier functionality that you can start benefiting from immediately... Let's run through some key features...
Organization of Chapters
Whatever you're writing, it will be broken up into chapters of course, or at the very least, sections.
Scrivener allows you to create an outline of all your chapters, and the sections that make up those chapters, and easily rearrange them however you choose and whenever you choose.
Now, at this point we're still at a level of functionality that's also available in Microsoft Word. But, that will very shortly start to change, as you'll see...
So not only do you get a clear outline of your book/document and can re-arrange it very easily, it allows you to set "flags" for your chapters/sections so you can clearly mark the current status of each.
For example, once you've written your first very rough draft, you may choose to change its color to yellow. Then once you've created the second draft that's ready to be sent to an editor (or for finalization if you're doing it all yourself), you may flag it as green.
As mentioned, a chapter can be made up of any number of sections. A section could be as big, or small, as you like, depending on you like to write and organize your content. And since each of those sections can be set up with flags too, with a simple glance you know the exact status of whatever it is you're working on.
Notes and Other References
Your research has its own section in Scrivener. Here you can write notes to yourself, include links to resources, or even copy and paste straight off the internet and into Scrivener, so you have the contents of a web page right there for you to refer back to at any time without having to click out of the application (since there lies the danger of being distracted).
Plus, just like every part of Scrivener, your notes section can be organized into categories, so however you like to structure and refer to your notes, the software will quite happily accommodate that.
And importantly you can have the research section of Scrivener and your writing window open at the same time. So no need to constantly click from one part of the software to another, you have your research directly in your eye line as you write, which makes referencing a lot easier and quicker.
When writing fiction, you need to have a very clear idea of your characters - their characteristics, their look, their history, and anything else you need to know to fully flesh them out in your writing.
Well, Scrivener offers a section for this too, so that as you write, you can have a reference right in front of you about who you're writing about. It helps you avoid getting details mixed up between characters! Plus, you can include photos (even just of celebrities who look like who you have in mind), so that you can see them clearly, which will help guide your writing.
The Main Export Formats
Scrivener offers many export formats including even Microsoft Word format, if you decide you'd prefer to temporarily work on your manuscript in Word for whatever reason.
The two formats that will save you a ton of effort, be used again and again (if you're a prolific writer), and that you'll find absolutely indispensable are exporting to ePub and also Kindle format.
Further Benefits of Scrivener
Let's dive a little further into some of the more advanced functionality Scrivener offers and how it helps you be a more productive and efficient writer, whatever type of content you may be creating...
Distraction Free Writing
It's so easy when writing at a computer to get distracted. Emails coming in, Skype messages appearing, and Facebook just needs to be checked that second, right?
Well, what if you could hide all that, and only have the text you're writing visible on the screen? Scrivener offers exactly that. Everything disappears except what you're working on, until you're ready to return back to your regular working environment.
Now, this doesn't guarantee that you won't be tempted to check your email and see what's happening on Facebook, but it certainly helps hide all that away from you, to help minimize distractions as much as possible. Speaking of which...
Setting and Meeting Project Targets
Do you have an idea of how long your book is going to be?
Well, let's say 50,000 words, give or take.
When must the first (rough) draft of your book be written? Well, let's say April 29th, and let's imagine that's 20 days away from now.
Okay, so how many days a week would you like to work? Monday through to Friday, or perhaps the weekend too?
So let's say in this instance you're going to go flat out with this and have decided on writing seven days a week. Okay, so what does that work out as? It's 2,500 words a day.
Or how about if you choose to take one day off a week?
That roughly increases your required daily word count to 3,000.
Scrivener helps you stay on track with your writing goals by keeping you accountable to meeting your daily writing target. This is called the Target Tracker.
And it's been said that Stephen King writes 2,000 words a day, day in, day out. And it works for him, right? So perhaps there's something to writing consistently rather than the feast or famine approach of waiting around for inspiration.
And remember, this is your first draft. You can't improve what doesn't exist, so get something written, and then your review, editing, and finalization cycles are where "okay" even "terrible" writing becomes great. But it has to exist in the first place, so don't get hung up on the first draft.
Scrivener Always Remembers Where You Are
Each time you open up Word, you're back at the top of the document, right? Well, Scrivener takes a different, and more helpful approach. Wherever you were when you closed the software last time is where it opens up next time. This makes carrying on where you left off, from one day to the next so much easier.
The corkboard in Scrivener is another way of viewing and affecting the outline of your document. Instead of just being presented with a long list of chapters and sections, you can see each chapter, and each section, as a (virtual) piece of paper pinned onto a corkboard.
Plus in this screen, you don't just see chapter/section titles but also brief overviews. This is great for planning, and great for rearranging your content visually.
Using Scrivener for Blogging... Too Much?
Scrivener doesn't just have to be for books and long documents, it can work for blog posts too.
Of course, if you tend to write and publish 500 word blog posts, using Scrivener might be like using a sledgehammer to pound in a nail. But if you tend to write in depth blog posts of 2,000 words and up, and you find you're not as productive or effective a writer as you believe you can be working in Word, then perhaps it's time to make the move to Scrivener.
You can in fact use the software to map out your writing for weeks ahead. For example, you could outline all of the blog posts you're planning to publish in April. Within Scrivener, each chapter can be a separate blog post, and then of course within each post there's multiple sections.
Then the same tips as above apply - it's easy to structure and re-arrange your posts, you can easily keep notes and research in front of you, and you can make clear at a glance the status of each post, or even of each section.
Or you could of course if you prefer create a new Scrivener project for each blog post, or for each batch of related projects. If you're working on a series of related blog posts, or blog posts all on a similar topic, then each of these batches of posts, even if they're not published in sequence, could be bundled together into a single project.
So since Scrivener does have a free trial, and if you're a prolific blogger (or would like to be), try out the software and see if it helps you write more effectively and productively.
Scrivener - Beyond the Basics
This article has been a quick dive into Scrivener and how you can start getting productive with it very quickly. However, really we've just touched the surface here, and once using the software becomes a habit that's working for you, you'll want to explore functionality beyond the basics to help really make your writing time as effective as possible.
Check out my blog for more publishing tips. Amy Harrop Blog
Article Source: By: Amy Harrop | Submitted On July 09, 2016
Have you ever created a character who was blah, maybe even boring? I mean obviously, at some point he or she must have served some purpose, or you wouldn’t have created them. Right? But now what do you do with them? Write them off? Some writers just love to kill off characters in their stories. Do you mention them in passing, back in chapter 3, and never see them again? Are they *Gasp* nameless, faceless, and homeless?
You passed an old man, with white hair, dressed in old baggy jeans and wearing a baseball cap and thought “Man, that person sure didn’t amount to much.” They may even have been driving an old beat up truck with a dog named “Old Roy,” riding in the back. If this happened in 1990, you might never have realized you passed a Billionaire named, “Sam Walton.”
Strangely enough, he did not have a heavenly aura around him, and he did not wear a neon sign on his back that said, “Owner and Founder of Wal-Mart, Inc.” He was not overly tall, he did not have big broad shoulders, in fact, it would be quite accurate to say he was average looking.
Let’s face it, not all characters are heroes, leading ladies, or supervillains. We don’t always pay as much attention to someone we consider to be a background character. (Unless your name happens to be Sir Author Conan Doyle.) Doyle had the gift to recognize that even the most boring, seemingly insignificant detail could solve the entire mystery. I would like to suggest you can do the same with your characters as well.
The key is not to give it all away at one time. Consider this example: Chapter one – girl does not like her father, Chapter ten – reader discovers girls father beat her, Chapter 18 – girl grows up to be martial arts instructor, Chapter 24 – girl finds father doing same to little sister, Chapter 30 – girl beats father within an inch of his life.
At the beginning of this story, a girl who does not like her father is nothing new. By itself, the reader might even think, “So?” When you discover the father beat her, you might think, “oh, that makes sense.” When you get to the part about her becoming a martial art instructor, you may find yourself wondering, “did that have anything to do with the father?” By the time you get to the section that shows he did it again, most would think, “Oh he’s evil, somebody needs to teach him a lesson.” Towards the end when she beats him, one might think, “YES, you go, girl!” or “I’m so glad she stood up to him.” Did you see what we did there? She went from victim to hero over the length of the story.
I once created a character who had this mental link with another character. I already had my main characters, and NONE of them had unusual gifts of any kind. At the time I was typing the description, I remember thinking, “Why am I doing this? She’s nobody. She’s not even important to the story.” Boy, was I wrong? She gradually became a main character and took me in a whole different direction.
If you’re a writer, there are no accidents (or there shouldn’t be.) If you get to a point in your mystery, romance, or crime novel that you need to introduce a new antagonist or protagonist; might I suggest, giving your nameless, faceless, homeless character another chance at fulfilling their destiny. Sometimes you might have to work backward and create scenes or even just lines here and there, to show the reader he was there all along. Help your reader discover nobody is as unimportant as others might think. Background characters won’t all become Billionaires that can change the world . . . But on the other hand, you never know.
This article was written by Tedric Garrison on 10-08-17. Tedric has been a writer and photographer for over 40 years. He is the author of the Time Travel University series now available on Amazon.com and is the creator of the website www.writephotos.weebly.com
Short stories and novels are similar in that they both tell stories. However, there are some fundamental differences between the two types of fiction writing.
The most obvious difference is the length or word count. Whilst novels can range from 80,000 words and upwards in length, the short story can be 500 words long although 800 to 1000 words is more common. There are also short stories that can be as brief as 200 words sometimes referred to as flash fiction.
Another way in which short stories and novels differ is the number of characters and background story you can include. For example, with short stories four characters is usually the maximum number that will be acceptable. More than this would make the story too involved and would probably make it more suitable for longer fiction, such as a novella.
On the other hand, a novel can have any number of characters starting with the main protagonist together with minor characters. With longer fiction you have the opportunity to tell an elaborate story that will feature the main components such as plot, subplot, setting and point of view. In a novel you can expand the story to include all five senses; sight, smell, hearing, taste and touch. Thus, engaging your readers in fiction that will be more descriptive and interesting.
In the short story none of this is possible. You have to gain the attention of your reader immediately and give your main protagonist a problem to overcome. This problem or obstacle will have to be resolved by the end of the story. It is important however to leave your readers feeling satisfied with the outcome. This can make short story writing seem more difficult than writing a novel and again highlights the difference between the two.
Point of view is another difference. In a short story the story is told through the eyes of the main character regardless of how many characters that are present. With a novel however there is more flexibility. The narration can be told in the first person which creates more intimacy, but it can be restrictive experiencing the entire story from the protagonist's point of view.
It is more common for novels to be written in the third person narration point of view. This is a very useful technique in novel writing as you are able to experience the story from the viewpoint of multiple characters, thus creating rich and diverse fiction.
By Sharon P Wilson | Submitted On January 12, 2017
Sharon Wilson has been studying and researching the art of creative writing for many years. She has a particular leaning towards novel and short story writing. Sharon is keen to help budding writers like herself develop their art and achieve their goals. For more information visit > https://sharonswriterstidbits.wordpress.com/
Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/expert/Sharon_P_Wilson/2111024