NaNoWriMo is over. Now what? Opportunity.

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Flickr by Vicki Clark

Breathe

Celebrate

And perhaps set aside the shiny new words for a few days… or for a lot of days.

But make note of opportunities…

Several pitchfests are on the horizon for authors with completed manuscripts.

PitchMad   PitchMAS   Pit2Pub   SonofaPitch!

These online events vary in requirements, but share similar goals… one being to help authors make connections with agents, publishers, and other authors. Really, it’s a win : win.

But showing up for these contests without a polished pitch, first chapter (or completed ms) is akin to showing up to a swim party without a suit. (This post does not address optional clothing parties.)

Before joining the festivities, bounce ideas off your CP’s. (Wait, what are CP’s? Need a resource for finding Critique Partners? The Write Life )

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Flickr by Hans Splinter

Hone your pitch – Does your 140 character spiel grab attention? Do you reveal your genre and audience? Want help with this? Try these resources: Carly Watters,  Ava Jae, and Gina Denny.

And don’t forget to edit your work. You know – slay the passive verbs, remove vague references to the word it, offer more showing than telling, and use adverbs sparingly  🙂

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Flickr by Nick McPhee

Don’t be pressured to dive in if your work is not ready, but stay informed. Visit the posts / feeds to see what worked for other authors, build your network, and perfect your approach.

Opportunity dances with those who are ready on the dance floor. – H. Jackson Brown, Jr.

(Check out Carissa Taylor’s informative post for more events.)

Want a challenge? NaNoWriMo is almost here!

crest-bda7b7a6e1b57bb9fb8ce9772b8faafbNational Novel Writing Month is quickly approaching. This is the super fun and terribly taxing challenge to write 50,000 words of a new novel which will begin on November 1st.  Folks all around the world will sign up for the task… many will succeed.

 

This year I’ve decided to pass on the opportunity (and I call it an opportunity because it truly is. Writers from all over the world ban together and offer each other support during the 30 days of madness). While I threw my hat in the ring last year for the first time, life has been throwing too much at me now to even consider making a 2014 run. (We are less than 3 weeks away from moving to a new house and I can barely find my socks much less coherent thoughts that I can stream together. More about this madness later.)

 

But for those of you on the fence about giving it a try, I say “go for it!” At the end of the month you will have more writerly contacts and even if you don’t hit the magical milestone of 50k words, you’ll certainly have more words than you started with month with. And who knows, you may be the next Rainbow Roswell.

 

Want another challenge with a different spin? Take a stab at the Reuts version of NaNoWriMo challenge called Project REUTSway. The official rules are here.

 

Remember: stay focused and write… as much and often as you can.

Photo Credit: AgenciaAndes

Photo Credit: Flickr by AgenciaAndes

Here are a few resources to help you prepare:

Writer’s Digest – Need an Outline? Maybe … Maybe not

Scrivener – Try out their trial edition for NaNoWriMo-ers

Curiosity Quills – Check out Clare Dugmore’s Tips for Success

Good luck, NaNoWriMo-ers!!! May the force and everything else be with you!

Want to sign up for the NaNoWriMo challenge? Click here.

Being a writer makes me give thanks

Photo Credit: Mr.T in DC

With Thanksgiving upon us, I wanted to share why being a writer makes me give thanks.

I am thankful for artistic license. I am thankful that while waiting in the grocery store line I can assign character flaws to people in line ahead of me and plan their role in future books. I am thankful that a trip to the doctor makes me wonder about the undiscovered germs I stepped in that I will track out into the street  and accidentally start the next epidemic. I am thankful for the reenactment I feel obligated to create in my head when I pass someone pulled over and getting a ticket.

I am thankful that I can log on to Twitter, hop around other blogs or visit Facebook and see several articles written by writers about writing. I am thankful that the writing community can be as big or as small as you want to make it. (Nanowrimo, AgentQuery Connect and Writeoncon are three fabulous examples.) I am thankful that other writers are willing to stop and answer questions along the way.

I am thankful that I found the most amazing and talented critique partners in Abby J. Reed and J.M. Ledwell. I am thankful that Katie Teller found me on PitMad. I am thankful that my first book will be published by the wonderful folks at Curiosity Quills. I am thankful I follow generous and sagacious people in twitter and I am thankful I found #nanobuds and #writingbuds there are well.

It’s not easy being a writer with the rejections, the editing, and the self-doubt. But writing provides an opportunity to create, to let your voice be heard and to allow your imagination to run wild. Not to mention, mingle with a lot of interesting characters.

And for that, I’m thankful.

Challenge Accepted

With a personal and public NaNoWriMo commitment of completing 50K words in one month hanging over my head, why would I sign up for ProjectREUTSway Bloody Ever After Challenge?  ProjectREUTSway is a NaNoWriMo contest sponsored by REUTS Publications. But they’re not hosting a create-50K-words-kind-of-contest. They’re looking for warped and creative renditions of the fairy tales in the Hans Christian Andersen and Grimm collections. Oh yeah, and they want gore, paranormal, and more over a four-week period… all in a short story format. 2 K to 5K range.

So why do it? Writing 5K takes significantly less time than 80K, but it still relies on the same type of creativity and planning. It’s like painting the Sistine Chapel on a piece of notebook paper. No, not really, but that seemed like such a super analogy. Writing a short story is not only a challenge, it’s great practice.

I accepted the awesome challenge ProjectREUTSway extended by writing a less than 5K story about a fairy tale I knew from childhood. I tried to include plot, tension, and character development using a fraction of the words I usually throw around.  And how did I do? We’ll find out if I hit or missed the mark when they reveal “Top Looks” this weekend. But regardless of how my story fares, I came out a winner because this offered me another chance to practice my craft. And at the end of the day, that’s what matters. And it will make me stronger for round two.

Are you up for the challenge? Check out REUTS.com or follow them on twitter @ProjectREUTSway to find out more.

NaNoWriMo, Really?

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National Novel Writing Month. It’s insane, really, if you think about it. Writing a 50 K rough draft in thirty days.

So, why have I signed up?

Well, first of all, I’m a deadline fiend. Deadlines, whether instituted by outside forces or self-imposed, hold me accountable.  And I’m a feet-to-the-fire kind of person.

Second, I like challenges. Whoa, wait. That sounds too broad. Let me be specific. I like mental challenges. In my case, my brain is truly better than my brawn. And NaNoWriMo will certainly challenge my talent, my time and perhaps my family.

Thirdly, I’m chomping at the bit to get words on the page. I’m ready to write the story I’ve been tinkering with in my head and on Scrivener. It’s a Fairy Tale retelling called Ryder and Wolfe.

And finally, just like misery loves company, I think writers need solidarity. NaNoWriMo connects writers of every level through a common goal of pushing themselves and their creativity.

I’m ready to do this. Are you?

Tons of veterans have posted their helpful hints. Check out the tweets and blogs of @PenandMuse, @ginad129, @CSLakin, @ElizabethMoss1 and @WriteDivas.