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NANOWRIMO Begins in Two Days

NANOWRIMO Begins in Two Days



National Novel Writing Month begins on Tuesday, November 1, 2016 and runs through the end of the month. In case this is your first introduction to #NANOWRIMO, the goal is to write 50,000 words during the month. If you’re a math whiz, you’ll know that this equates to 1,666 words per day. Or, very long weekends!

Although I’ve written 30 books, all of them are non-fiction. However, I did my best to prepare by taking two online courses: J.F. Penn’s How to Write a Novel and Sara Rosett’s How to Outline a Cozy Mystery. I considered doing a time travel novel as that’s more where my heart is, but for now I’m going to try my hand at the cozy.

Honestly, though. I get so hung up in worrying about plotting that I make myself nuts. Right now I think the best thing I can do is just start writing and see where the stories leads. I guess that makes me a pantser, not a plotter. Ok.

I’m going to do my best to check in here every Friday with a word count and comment on the process. I invite you to join me. Let’s see what we can create.


How To Find the Heart of a Story

How To Find the Heart of a Story

If you’ve read my blog posts: Anatomy of an Article, Parts 1 and 2, you’ll know I’m a great one for note-taking.  Take a minute and read those two posts, then come back and read this .

I recently traveled to Aztec Ruins in northern New Mexico, which was once occupied by what we called Anasazi; today the term “ancestral Puebloans” is considered more appropriate. While there I took notes about the place including:

  • place with many houses
  • wetlands
  • navel of the earth
  • Chaco
  • migrations
  • AD 1100
  • 3 miles from stones
  • 50 miles from timber
  • butterfly dance
  • 5640 ft elevation

While my notes are probably gibberish to you, for me they’re the sign posts to the core of the story, regardless of whether I’m writing an essay or a scene in a novel. The list takes me to an ancient place where modern-day Hopi believe their ancestors still abide; a place that was just one of many on a great migration to the gems of the Southwest:  Chaco Canyon and Mesa Verde.

But a list is only a list. The harder part, for me, is to ask myself “What do I think about this? What makes this special to me?” Once I dig down into my own beliefs and thoughts, I begin understanding where to find the story. In this case, my story was why did the Hopi ancestors take the time to build the “many houses”, only to leave a short time later?

I’ve read stories about drought and heard tales of the great migration . . . but my own imagination wonders if there’s another – more hidden – reason behind the coming and the going. That’s the tale I’m looking to tell.

My invitation to you:  Pick a topic and make a list, then drill down and see what’s waiting. Let me know – I can’t wait to hear what you found.

#NaNoWriMo or #NancyNoNo?

#NaNoWriMo or #NancyNoNo?

I’ve been reading lots of posts this past week about gearing up for #nanowrimo (National Novel Writing Month). In case you’re never heard of it, #nanowrimo challenges writers to put their butt in a chair and write a 50,000 word novel over the course of 30 days. That’s about 1666 words a day, just in case you were wondering.

(A few of the articles:)

Nano Writing Tips
12 Thoughts about NaNoWriMo
Are You Ready for NaNoWriMo Madness?

The question I keep asking is: Do I really have time to do this? I’ve gone back and forth a dozen times and still haven’t made a commitment in my own head.

Right now I’m working on a Kindle book that I want to get off my desk in the next few weeks, and I’m doing close to 20 hours of consulting work for Client V. So, how do people who work a 9-5 job schedule this?

I’m trying to figure out if I can do #nanowrimo before I start my client work cause I know if I wait til nighttime I’ll be knackered. And, if I do it first thing, will I then be so into the novel that my client work goes to hell?

Ok you #nanowrimo peeps – leave a comment and let me know how you did it.