Have you hit THE wall?

By Debby J.

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I know that every time week 2 rolls around I start to get down on myself. I hate the week 2 blues during NaNoWriMo. This is what I always find to be the most challenging week and I believe this is typically when you see a noticeable drop off in word count updates, participation, and enthusiasm. I know that personally, this is the week I see a marked decline in the number of people attending write-ins and I can’t help but wonder what I could do differently as your Municipal Liaison to support you during this week.

The problem is, I’m in the exact same boat as you. I find myself hating my plot. Or maybe I’ve written myself into a corner. Or I realize that all my carefully planned plans have been derailed and I can see the gaping caverns that are also called plot holes. It’s hard to see the finish line when you know you’ve got to hurdle the grand canyon of plot holes, right?

So, what can you do? What should you do? I know many people will throw in the towel. I’ve done it before. You’ll make the excuse of “the writing was bad” or “I don’t have time” or “I’m too far behind.” And that’s okay. The fact is, you’ve made it farther then most people. But what if you want to finish? What if you don’t want the excuses to be the reason you quit? I’m sure there are a lot of you reading this post, wondering what you can do to make it through? Continue reading »

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Kick Off Party Notes

By Debby J.

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Howdy, Fort Writerdale!

Just wanted to make sure I put a post up detailing what you missed out on by not attending the awesome party, part 1. Fortunately, there is a part 2 that you are all welcome to attend and I hope you will RSVP!

We had a wonderful guest speaker present. Barbara Levenson is a published author who writes fiction with a specific interest in mystery. She started by asking everyone their experiences with writing (specifically asking about our experiences with writing, publication, and workshops or critique groups). Here is a quick list of the things she spoke about:

  • “If you want to write, get your butt in the chair, sit and write.”
  • Many people will start to write, but will get stuck and quit and never go back. It is better to put the writing away for a few days when you are stuck and go back to it.
  • The more your write, the better you write.
  • Her experiences started when she was young and she would tell stories and write plays for her friends to act out. Into adulthood, she started writing more technical writing because of her career but after taking a class she realized she also really wanted to write fiction.
  • She said that any experience or course is very beneficial and will get you writing.
  • She encouraged everyone to join a writing group and attend seminars. Seminars are great because you can pitch ideas, but even better you can talk about writing with people who are also writers.
  • She talked about her experiences with publishing and said that no matter what, to make sure you protect your rights. The Author’s Guild has lawyers on retainer who can help with your contracts if you are member.
  • She actually bought back the rights to her novels because she was unhappy with what the publishers were doing (or not doing!).
  • Barbara also said that stories can be character-driven or plot-driven. She said that with NaNoWriMo it is likely the stories we write will be plot-driven since 50k words is not a good amount to really develop the characters.
  • She personally doesn’t outline because generally speaking she knows what major things have to happen (even if the how is vague) and knows the final outcome.
  • She knows these things because she spends a lot of time thinking (mostly when ironing and baking).
  • She said a complete work that is 50k words long is more like a novella than a novel.
  • There are no rules to writing. However, you still need to establish your point of view (POV).
  • Your POV should not change from one paragraph to another or even in the middle of a chapter.
  • She strongly encouraged we avoid the use of adjectives and adverbs.
  • We did a short writing activity. We wrote a paragraph without using adjectives or adverbs. The prompt was “He looked at the river and saw something he couldn’t explain.”
  • My paragraph: Juan looked at the river. A breeze caressed the river; ripples crossed the service as Juan stared. A fish leaped from the water and landed on the river bank. While he watched, another fish floundered out. And another. Juan looked to the sky filled with sunshine and clouds. A comet hung high beside the moon. Today was going to be something special.
  • She spent some time talking about showing and telling. It is better to show and you can use dialogue to show things. If you want to show with a scene, then use action words.
  • Dialogue makes your characters real.

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Keeping The Excitement

By Natasha R.

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The days leading up to NaNoWriMo are often filled with anticipation, excitement, and the undeniable desire to start typing. You brainstorm, you talk to your NaNo buddies, and may even secretly squee a little bit.

You know you do this.

Then November 1st arrives and you’re a writing machine. 

The muse is strong within you. The words pour from your fingers like syrup onto pancakes. It’s so smooth, sweet, and delectable. At three in the morning you’re loathe to stop, but know in four hours you have to get up for the dreaded day job.

The eloquent words that fall from your lips may be something like: “Stupid day job is stupid.” At three in the morning, who can blame you?

This is the pattern for the first few days. You keep up, or even surpass your word count goal. Everything is going according to the plan–or the pantser is enjoying winging it. Whichever.

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