Tag Archive | write your novel in 30 days

MIA? Not anymore (Plus New Challenge & Giveaway of Sorts)

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Really sorry for my absence. I hadn’t realized it had been almost two months since my last post. I do have book reviews to share, just haven’t had the time to edit them and post them up. I have been quite busy with life and my drawing. I also attend conventions and sell my art there.

The conventions have dimmed out and I have a bit more time to devote to this wonderful blog, which I missed very much. But no worries, I do have a great new challenge going on that you will all like.

NANOWRIMO has started and though this year I won’t be taking part in the writing aspect of it I will be continuing my writing tips from last year’s challenge. I will also be taking part in the 30 Days 30 Covers Challenge that runs along side NANOWRIMO. I am doing my own version of it since I can’t seem to figure out how the signing up for the offical challenge takes place. The best part of doing my own is that I can finally reveal my big surprise I have had in the works, at the end of the month one lucky reader/writer/commentor will get a FREE Book Cover.

Yup, you read right. I will be giving away one premade cover from my ever growing collection over at PremadeCovers4U. Please keep in mind that it will be one of my covers and not one created by one of the other artists. My covers are sold one time only, so don’t try to grab dibs on a cover that is currently up until the last day of the cover challenge because the cover might not be available then. This way you also don’t miss out on one of the wonderful new covers I design.

There is a catch. You have to of taken part in this year’s NANOWRIMO challenge and finished. The winner will need to send me the link to their NANOWRIMO page showing me the book they will be wanting the cover for. It is only fair. 🙂 This is meant as an extra incentive to finish that novel, without worrying about the cover. I will be posting a new blog entry with more info on it as the time approaches.

If you like this, go ahead and check out my Cover Challenge being posted over at my cover blog. Day 1-3 are already up and will be posted on the PremadeCovers4U shop later today.

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If you are hesitant to check out my other blog here is Day Three’s Cover:

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See you all tomorrow. I have a great online convention to share with you all, it has a great amount of writers, illustrators, and bloggers taking part, so make sure to check back Nov. 4th and check it out.

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Why one should get (hire) an Editor

 

BookEditing

November has started to become a distant memory and your completed manuscript has been sitting in your computer file awaiting those final touches. You’ve already read it two, three, maybe four times. You’ve powered through the feedback from your beta readers (if you decided to use them) and made your own set of yet another round of revisions and edits. What now?

Now comes the next step–getting an editor.

Beta readers are more per choice, but getting an editor should be a given, no buts or ifs about it. If you majored in English, maybe it’s your second major, or have a family member who is an editor then you might get lucky and not have to hire an editor. Though keep in mind that some recommend or prefer that you hire someone outside of the family and friend circles, this mainly falls into the same conclusion that those who know you could be biased of your work. If you edit your manuscript you still could miss things, best be safe outsource.

With that said, lets go over the various types of editors. In our last After NANOWRIMO Step we provided a link to Devil in the Details Editing Services’ Am I the right editor for you? section where she explains each type of editing/editor. If you haven’t checked it out we recommend that you do, very informative.

Let’s recap for those who haven’t read it.

Content editor– think big picture, overlooks plot, characterization, voice and setting.

Line editor – think of a fine-tooth comb, they check everything from grammar, spelling, consistency, to word usage. They edit line by line, word by word.

Copy Editor – think entire picture, they work on the formatting, style and fact-checking to ensure clarity and easy flow of the story. Line and Copy Editing tend to be approached as one type of editing and thus their definitions mix and blend together.

Can’t afford one? Or don’t know where to start looking?

I already mentioned one many times over, Devil in the Details Editing Service, and then there is my indie publisher, BigWorldNetwork. BWN pretty much does it all for you, editing, cover design, formatting. Think you can present your work as a serial first and then a finished book? Try them out!

How about searching on Facebook or other social media networks? Just be careful and make sure they check out.

Here are a few that were recommended (keep in mind I have not used any of them as of yet): Hearts on Fire Editing, Keene-Eye Editing, Wide Eyed Editing, Kate’s Ye Olde Booke Cover Shoppe and author Heather Kirchhoff also edits.

All in all, an editor improves your story and helps present it at a more professional level.

And there you have it, this step is the scariest but the easiest to overcome when you find the editor that works for you. Don’t forget to come back to tackle our next step, cover design, and thus when we finally reveal our big surprise. Hint: the step tells all. 🙂

The NaNoWriMo Aftermath by Michael Young

Three more days! Oh my!

In our last blog we learned what author Paula Flumerfelt did after she finished NaNoWriMo and pushed ourselves to keep going. With today’s blog we take another glimpse past Novemver 30th, that dreaded day we realize just how far we have come. Check out author Michael Young’s reasons as to why NaNoWriMo really shouldn’t be a one month thing.

 

Michael130x180The NaNoWriMo Aftermath

It has been five years since I started doing National Novel Writing Month, and it’s an opportunity I’ll never pass up. The exhilaration of doing so much writing in such a short time never gets old. I put aside other things and focus completely on my writing. It’s like a writing roller coast, barreling along at such speed that once it is done, it seems to have gone by quickly.

The question is, what then?

After NaNo is over, you hit December, with all of its holidays, parties, shopping, travel and other events. All things not terribly suited for writing. You get out of the habit, and then when the doldrums of January hit, old routines have returned. Wouldn’t it be nice to keep some of that November momentum going?

It isn’t going to happen if you don’t plan for it. Think about the things you do during NaNo that make it a success:

  1. You set a goal, and set it high. You make a goal that will likely make you stretch. You can’t just coast by with this one. It gives you a prize to look forward to, and helps motivate you to keep going a few more sentences, even when you are tired.

 

  1. You minimize distractions. In order to hit your writing goals, you probably spent less time on Facebook, fewer minutes with your phone, and might have even changed your sleeping habits. This extra effort likely went a long way to letting you cross the finish line.

 

  1. You take the time to plan out your path. Before setting out on your NaNo journey, many people take the time to make plans for how they will go forward. The truth is, planning is a great way to prevent writer’s block, and to help you write as quickly as you can. If you know what is going to happen next, at least generally, you can forge ahead with confidence.

 

My point today is that you do not need to leave these habits behind once the calendar reads December 1st. Sure, heave a large sigh of relief, pat yourself on the back, and share your accomplishment with your friends and family. Then, sit down and get to work. Figure out how your are going to do things going forward. What about your NaNo experience worked for you? What did not?

Which of the habits that you formed can you continue over the long run? Perhaps you need to set your goal not at 50,000, but at 20,000 words a month. Even keeping up that pace, that’s 220,000 words for the other eleven months of the year for a grand total of 270,000 words a year. That’s enough for several novels! (Unless you are an aspiring Robert Jordan or Brandon Sanderson.)

Good luck getting the finish line, my friends. But don’t make it the end, but rather the starting line for what the rest of your writing year is going to be.

 

Bio

Michael Young is the author of the fantasy, supernatural series Age of Archangels and co-author of the action, sci-fi collaboration Cardinal Directions. Other works include The Canticle Prelude and its sequel The Frozen Globe.

Both are available for sale through Amazon (eBook and paperback) and BigWorldNetwork (audio).

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Thanks for stopping by. I hope you enjoyed Michael’s pep talk and got pumped to stay–well pumped. 🙂 Don’t forget: Finish strong and keep going strong. See you all at the end of the race. 🙂

Pep Talk by Paula Flumerfelt

Happy Thanksgiving everyone! Gobble down that turkey, potato salad, and stuffing, the end of the race is right around the corner. What will await you? Here is one author’s story of what happened after she hit that 50,000 word mark.


A Pep Talk by Paula Flumerfelt

All success starts somewhere. It stems from a seed of confidence that gets planted and nurtured through some act. As a writer, I think that it often comes with finishing your first manuscript. You sit down and write until your fingers are going to fall off, and when you are done, you have something you created with your own two hands. NaNoWriMo is a great way to start that process.

National Novel Writing Month is a challenge to write 50,000 words in one month. That’s over two thousand words a day. It requires making a plan…and being willing to let it all go. You have to write with abandon, finding that inspiration and making it soar. It’s the best way to get yourself started, because even if you don’t finish the whole fifty thousand words, you still have something. And as we all know, starting is the hardest.

But the bigger story is after you finish NaNoWriMo, or maybe even your whole manuscript, what do you do now? We all dream of being a publish author, of making it big and never working a day job again. The problem is that usually it doesn’t work out that way. Usually you edit your manuscript yourself and then you submit it here and there and everywhere. Then you wait. But what if no one responds?

Well, then you are where I was. I have completed NaNoWriMo four years in a row, written two books, and am ready to start the third. But I didn’t get picked up by Penguin or Random House or anywhere else. I ended up self-publishing my first book on the Kindle, and then joining a writing website, BigWorldNetwork.com.

MathieuI finished Mathieu, my first book, just out of high school. And naturally when I finished the book (which I believed was the next Harry Potter), and couldn’t get it published, I was devastated. I wanted to give up writing at that point, to say ‘forget this’. It was a woman named Amanda who helped me move past it. I started reading one of her stories, Incubus, on BigWorldNetwork, which began to inspire me. It was emotional, well written, and for some reason I felt connected to it as a writer. So I started looking around the website her story was posted on weekly, and found an area to submit my writing.

I was still guarded about Mathieu, because after all, if no one wanted to publish it, how good could it have been? So I submitted another writing sample, and lo-and-behold, if Amanda wasn’t the person who replied to my email. I was immediately star-struck that an author I had begun to really love was reading my material, and talking to me about it. Telling me that the website wanted to take on my series.

lunargrim_cleanWriting Lunar Grim was very cathartic for me, as it was the first thing I had written since my flop, and it helped me be willing to eventually pass Mathieu into the trusting hands of the BigWorldNetwork team, who worked with me to edit the original manuscript and get it up on the website. Amanda, who had first inspired me to start writing again, was my editor and frequent hand-holder through the hard parts, which just meant the world to me. Moving forward with writing as my new hobby, which is has been for years now, really put some things in perspective. It showed me I was capable of writing something solid, that I didn’t have to be scared of something not coming out the way I wanted. There was plenty of writing and re-writing for my stories, but it only made me better. It helped me figure out my rookie mistakes and how to fix them. To avoid them.

There is a cosplayer (aka Costume Player, or someone who creates costumes by hand and wears them), Riki LeCotey, that said something to me about Cosplay, another of my hobbies, that I think rings true for writing as well. She said, “No matter how long or frequently you [cosplay], there will always be issues. Things you didn’t notice at first will later become issues, once you learn to deal with and navigate the beginner problems. You will always look back and think, ‘I could have fixed that, or made this better’. You will always find ways to improve”.

I guess the things I’m trying to say are these: finding your motivation is important, as is letting your imagination go wild. Just because maybe the first thing you write might never sell or make you a big shot, doesn’t mean it wasn’t a critical part of your life; it means you finished something difficult start to finish. You committed and followed through. And the other thing is that sometimes, you just need a hand-holder. Every writer has a guru, and every guru has their own. Always be open to learning and growing, take your writing seriously but don’t let it get you down if you’re having a hard time.

Sometimes you have to let go and realize there will always be problems to fix.

Success is what you make of it.

And while all year long is all easy to forget, on Thanksgiving, I am thankful to NaNoWriMo for getting me started, Amanda and the BigWorldNetwork team for inspiring and supporting me, Riki for giving me her words of wisdom, and everyone who stuck with me along the way.

Bio

Paula Flumerfelt is a four year NaNoWriMo participant and the author of fantasy, action series Mathieu and the sci-fi series Lunar Grim. Both series can be read for free on BigWorldNetwork. Her title Mathieu is also available for Kindle through Amazon.


Hope you enjoyed today’s pep talk brought to you by the wonderfully talented Paula Flumerfelt. Have your own after NaNoWriMo story? Share it with us, we would love to hear it. And don’t forget we have one more author guest blog scheduled for tomorrow.

Almost there, just 5 more days!

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NaNoWriMo is less than five days away. By now you might be tired of hearing and reading about writing a novel in 30 days. By now you might be certain that whoever came up with this idea was most likely drunk beyond the ability to think, fell on their head for the thousandth time and thus unable to think clearly, or just didn’t like you. Maybe it was all of them?

But whatever the reason November became the National Novel Writing Month, whatever the reason you decided to take part, keep going. Keep writing and when November 30th comes around you can burn the manuscript, stick it in a drawer to be forgotten for months, or you can actually revise, edit, and publish it.

Still unsure if you want to keep going? Here is a neat article on what really distracts people from writing. Find yours and keep it from holding you back, that 50,000th word is waiting for you.

Cats, Wives and Videotape: Survey Reveals What Really Distracts NaNoWriMo Participants

Want more tips on how to fight back distractions? Check out one of my previous NaNoWriMo blog posts on doing just that. How about saving one of the Supernatural meme’s I found online and making it your wallpaper? Or go look for one you like and get back to…yes you got it: writing.

Words so far (not counting today): 26,805

Behind: 14,860

Daily Word Count Needed to meet goal: 4,639

 

Harvesting Ideas by Doug Goodman

Seven more days and NaNoWriMo comes to an end. What a rush. Will you be a winner? Struggling to get those final ideas down? Searching for another doze of motivation to jump that final leap? Check out author Doug Goodman’s pep talk and get writing.

 

Harvesting Ideas

Here is one of my truths of writing:  ideas are like fruit.  They are planted, they are nourished, and they are harvested.  When properly harvested, ideas can be sweet and juicy and inspiring.  But left to over-ripen, they can die on the vine.  This is the problem I have as a writer.  A good idea gestates a proper length, then must be plucked.  The harvesting is the writing itself.

I have on more than one occasion written a beautiful beginning to a story, then let the story gestate until a new story idea absorbs me and I get busy working that idea, and then everything else in life tumbles along and a year later, I have forgotten to go back to the original idea.  When I finally returned to that beginning, I read it, and I am amazed at how beautiful it is worded, and I am enthralled with the setup.  What a great story, I wonder how the rest of it goes!  Then I remember that I wrote it; I am the one responsible for the rest of the story.  I wonder where I was going with what I wrote.  What was I thinking?  It sounded great, and I would love to read more, but the idea has wilted and died.

For NaNoWriMo, this process is sped up, but the same repercussions exist.  Stories can die.  They can lay there like half-eaten fruit devoured by finches and blue jays.  This is why it is so important to keep writing, keep pushing yourself, to finish the project.  Finish!  That alone is an accomplishment.  I used to compare it to running a marathon.  For most, it’s not about trying to break some record or place in a race, the simple act of finishing is an accomplishment.  You will have written a novel.  Few people can actually say that.  And think about it:  a finished project is much easier to adjust than an unfinished one.  You can always go back and cut off the final act of your story, which is what I did for a recent project of mine.  This is what the editing process is for, but ideas that are not fully developed are beyond difficult to renovate.  Again, you return to the problems of “where was I going with this?” and “what was I thinking?”

And this is the hardest time of NaNoWriMo.  Everybody knows this.  Sure, it was easy to dedicate yourself to a rough draft on November 1, but then you took off that weekend, and now you are starting to feel like you are behind.  And the holidays are beginning.  Thanksgiving requires attention (cooking, cleaning, football watching, holiday luncheons) as well as early Christmas duties (Black Fridays and shopping and decorations), but don’t disregard the writing project.  Get your numbers in.  Put your words together.  Don’t worry about refining yet.  You are a writer.  This is what writers do.  We sit in front of computer screens and try to squeeze blood from a stone.  You can make it happen.  Leave revising to you in three months.  For now, concentrate on the moment.

If you put it off, you may find that it is mid-January, and that great idea you had in November is now an autumn fruit that has died on your vine.

 

Bio:

Doug Goodman is a writer who lives on the Texas Gulf coast. He works at NASA and in his spare time when he is not writing about death and destruction, he trains human remains dogs. Dominion is his first book with Severed Press, and Warriors of Camlann is his first self-published book. His writing has also appeared in anthologies such as Twisted Boulevard, Horrors Beyond, Cthulhu Unbound, and State of Horror: Texas.

 

book2Where you can find his books:

Dominion (post-apocalyptic horror): http://www.amazon.com/Dominion-Apocalyptic-Thriller-Doug-Goodman-ebook/dp/B00NJ6T5GW/ref=asap_B00IHF1I8S_1_3?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1416675192&sr=1-3

Warriors of Camlann (bloody King Arthur): http://www.amazon.com/Warriors-Camlann-1-Doug-Goodman/dp/1484836863/ref=asap_B00IHF1I8S_1_5?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1416675195&sr=1-5


I hope you enjoyed today’s pep talk. I was thrilled to meet, Doug Goodman, one of the nicest and energetic writers I know, at South Texas Comic Con last month and just had to have him as a guest in our blog. Don’t forget to check out our previous pep talk by author Willow Wood.

Pep Talk by Willow Wood

We have a wonderful line up of guest authors geared to motivate you to knock NaNoWriMo on its bum. Today’s pep talk is written by the wonderfully talented and charming Willow Wood, co-author of Bloodshot Buck.

A Pep Talk by Willow Wood

One of the best pieces of writing advice I’ve ever received is this: finish the damn thing. Write the first draft in all its shitty glory like a mashed up origami paper crane you tried to make once, but you made so many mistakes that when you finally folded the last corner, the thing looked it had survived twenty thousand storms at sea. Hey, you finished it. The next paper crane will be better now you know how to reach the end result.

Surviving NaNoWriMo can feel like your drowning in twenty thousand storms, that’s for sure. And your novel sometimes feels like the most crumpled paper crane you’ve ever had to suffer looking at. November is one of the busiest times of the year, who’s bright idea was it to write a novel on top of everything else? Did I sleep once? Did I hate people less? Does my room smell like energy drink and tightly-strung nerves?

It’s okay. Right now, you’re not trying to write an academy award winning novel. Right now, you’re trying to write your ideas, your main story. You’ve got to write it first to know what it’ll really look like. It’ll win you the Booker Prize after you’ve revised the entire thing for the hundredth time by next November. But first: you’ve got to finish writing the whole thing.

Aw shit, written yourself into a hole you can’t fix? Back-track. Bail out of that mission. Have your characters turn around and say: nope, we’re going to do something else because there’s no way forward. You might not even need to fix that scene when you revise it in January—your characters arguing and bailing on the initial idea might actually turn out to be better than you remember.

Are you stuck? Fresh out of inspiration? Hurt a character. Awful things happen out of the blue all the time. Have someone trip and break their hip, or throw wine over a newly revealed painting. More dramatic? Someone gets run over. A plane crashes. Or a side-character you were holding onto too tightly fails their mission and is severely injured, or even dies. Death and injury will always shake up the protagonist’s world and, hopefully, force them to act.

Aw double shit, does it feel like the story is going absolutely nowhere? Like nothing is adding up as it should, their motives aren’t genuine, and fuck it, this is stupid? No, no it’s not. Don’t let the crippling monster of self-doubt ruin you now. You don’t know if things are adding up until you reach the end, and the first draft of everything is shit. I stand by this always. I remind myself of it constantly when I’m writing so I can worry about making my novel not-shit during the rewrite/editing stage. You are a bold writer for agreeing to meet such a tight deadline, and goddammit, if we can take selfies on the moon then you can write 50,000 words in thirty days.

Read for FREE at BigWorldNetwork.com

Read for FREE at BigWorldNetwork.com

Thousands of people start writing a novel. Very few finish writing a novel. The more novels you start and finish writing, the easier the process becomes and the better your writing gets. It’s true. The process of writing a novel gets easier the more drafts you complete. Measuring your skill as a writer is harder than most other pursuits, but as with everything in life, it’s a skill you hone through practice. NaNoWriMo is one of the best times to throw your inhibitions out the window and pour words onto the page until you reach the end, because if anyone can write a brilliant first draft in thirty days…  Well, gold stars to them, I suppose. For the rest of us, for the majority of us, it’s an exhausting, emotional slog where we undulate between confidence and self-doubt.

Just keep going. Say it with me: the first draft of everything is shit. Your story, however? That is not shit. Your story will shine through all the broken sentences and dead-end scenes like a fractured geode, and later you will polish the heck out of it until the colours gleam.

Even if you write 50,000 words but don’t finish writing your story before the end of NaNoWriMo, keep going. Don’t let your momentum fade, don’t give up on your first draft. It needs you. It needs you to reach the end. Make notes on things you want to rewrite, but don’t fall into the trap of rewriting the opening chapters over and over again but never writing the ending even once.

Drink water now and then, have a friend cook you something decent, prioritise your time like a well-oiled military machine. Keep going whenever you can.

Look after yourself, but don’t give up on yourself. You can win NaNoWriMo.

Bio

Willow Wood is a voice actor and fantasy/science-fiction author. Her latest work is as co-author and narrator of Bloodshot Buck. She is also an editor for BigWorldNetwork, a freelance editor, and a journalist for MCM Buzz at London Comic Con.


Thanks for stopping by. Hope you enjoyed today’s guest post and don’t forget to check out Doug Goodman’s pep talk on the 23rd.