Weekend Workout: Prepping fo NaNo (or not)

I still haven’t decided whether I’m participating in NaNoWriMo this year, which begins, according to the ticking clock on their website, in 19 days, 12 hours, and 42 minutes, and 30 seconds (29… 28… 27…) Regardless of whether you are going for NaNo 2012, starting a new project, or editing an old, I cannot stress enough the fabulousness of the Sequence and Beat Sheet. It is both inspirational and practical. I used to be much more of a “pantser” when it came to writing, but being organized beforehand has done wonders for my writing process AND saved heartache while editing. I posted about this last year before NaNo and wanted to do so again for those about to begin. So, pardon the repeat post, although it has been edited...

NaNo Hangover Episode 3.5

I realized that I may have been a bit hasty recommending you all go for your rewrite without checking to see how much of your story needed to be rewritten! If it’s going to be quite the overhaul, I recommend you go back to an outline or, what I use, a sequence and beat sheet. Don’t attempt one until you have done your This is a Story About exercise and can put your story into a logline. One or two sentences. If you can’t do that, you don’t know your story’s focus yet. I cannot stress enough how helpful a sequence and beat sheet is. As a matter of fact, I’m thinking of designing a novel prep class solely about creating one of these.  It’s your map, your guide, your blueprint. HERE IS MY POST ABOUT WRITING A SEQUENCE AND...

NaNo Hangover Episode 3

Okay, so you’ve printed your newborn, placed it in a lovely binder, hugged it, read it through (completely) with magic purple pen in hand . . . and had the following response: a) Wow! I love this! b) Wow! This is terrible! c) No one will ever publish/read/enjoy this. I’m a hack. d) I should not have quit my day job. e) All of the above Loving, hating, smiling, laughing, cringing, crying and especially combinations thereof are all natural responses to your new work. Heck, they are even natural responses three drafts into your work. But do know this – every day you sit down to work on your manuscript you make it a little bit better. But, how to start? What next? As I’ve said, unfortunately I can’t work on my NaNo story yet due to a...

NaNo Hangover: What to do between your first draft and second (Episode 2)

At the moment, I’m actually doing my final Ruins of Noe rewrite for my editor and can’t start rewriting my NaNo until my homework is done. Boo hoo. New projects are always more fun. The below may seem obvious to some of you, but perhaps there’s someone else out there going through their very first rewrite  and feeling overwhelmed. If you are a more experienced / published writer, be sure to add your 2 cents about how you approach your rewrite. First of all, rewrites are overwhelming. For all of us. You’re not alone. And you can do this. So, the rewrite . . . First, print out your entire manuscript. If you have an aversion to paper waste, use recycled, scratch, or scratch recycled paper. All my paper gets used twice (and then recycled). I don’t like waste...

NaNo Hangover: What to do between your first draft and second (part 1)

I don’t know if my NaNo is the best thing I’ve ever written, or the stupidest. It’s certainly the weirdest, and was definitely the most fun. I think one of the most helpful things you can do after you finish a first draft is write a query letter. DON’T SEND IT, for Pop’s sake, you manuscript is not ready. Not by a long shot. But writing the query letter does amazing things. First off, it’s fun and you can ride the energy of finishing your first draft. Second, it forces you to figure out what your story is really about because you have to summarize it on one page. Who is your story about? What are the stakes? What must she learn/do/experience in order to redeem herself? How is it resolved? When I teach this I always ask: what...

NaNo Blog Party! Put Your Hands in the Air. w00t! w00t!

Hello fellow NaNo writers and bloggers! The month is at a close and it’s time to celebrate. Some of you I haven’t “spoken” to in, uh, days while we all shut out the world and typed away. Whether you wrote 5,000 or 50,000 words you can celebrate, because it’s that many more words you have towards a finished novel than you did before. Not that a party should have any rules, let’s make it more like a game. You have to bring something to share and you have to bring something to eat. To share:  links to your favourite blog post you wrote during NaNo, your favourite line from your NaNo, a summary of your story, a link to a sample from your story, etc. To eat: you may only bring what food and drink that are actually in your kitchen...