Monday, November 26, 2012

Why I Love National Novel Writing Month

Here we are at the last week of National Novel Writing Month and the big question looms: how's your word count? If you're falling behind (like me), take heart. We still have a good five days to catch up, and I suggest we grab those pens and/or open those Word files right now, or at least as soon as you finish reading this post!

On the other hand (and there always is another side to every story), you may have reached the point in your manuscript where you're thinking it doesn't matter whether you make it to the required 50K or not. You've done your best to write when you could during the month; you've made a great start to your story; and you got what you came for: inspiration. That's a good result too. It would still be nice if you could cross the finishing line, but there's more to Nanowrimo than just printing out your winner's certificate on 11/30. Some of my reasons for participating regardless of whether or not I win include:
  • Nanowrimo is an excellent break and time-out away from my regular schedule of editing and rewriting my current WIP.
  • It's a chance to re-discover and reconnect with my writer's soul.
  • I get a new book out of it!
  • It reminds me of why I do any of this: I can't wait to find out what happens next. And if I want to know, I have to write it.
  • I can turn it into a writer's retreat during what is usually a very hectic month and time of year.
  • It's a meditation.
  • It's a chance to practice a new genre or style I might not ordinarily explore.
  • I get to do some artwork. Whether it's a collage with my magazine cut-outs grouped together for writing prompts, or a drawing of one of my character's homes or ball gowns, it's all creative expression.
  • Nanowrimo is community. All those other writers in the same boat; it's the one time of year when we can seriously discuss our progress, problems, plans and ideas.
  • It's an opportunity to throw "publishing" and all it entails out the window. Yay!
  • It renews my writer's license: I can make left-hand turns! Parallel park! Reverse! Easy-peasy. So take THAT, Inner Critic!
No matter where you are in your manuscript this week--and many of you may have already reached your goal (my hearty congratulations to you)--the main thing to keep in mind is, you're a creative genius. The fact you signed up for Nanowrimo is the proof in the pudding. Now all you have to do is choose whether you want chocolate, butterscotch, or pistachio. And ... keep writing.

Tip of the Day: Five days, people. You can do a lot with that. If you're feeling a little blah about everything, here's an idea:  make yourself a digital collage using a site such as or a royalty-free picture library that illustrates a scene in your story. I did that last week with the picture heading this post. The autumn leaves and violet earrings matched a section of Four Girls and Six Colleges perfectly and got my pen moving in the right direction--toward THE END.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

We Have Winners!

We have winners for my Big Blog Birthday Giveaway: (How many times can you say that fast?)

Congratulations, ladies, and thank you so much to everyone who contributed to making my blog giveaway a success. Even if you didn't manage to make it to the top three, I truly appreciate your questions and suggestions for blog posts, and will be using them over the coming weeks. Better still--your names will be going into my next blog giveaway sometime next year, whether you leave a comment then or not. So don't worry, I'm making a list and checking it twice! Congratulations again to my winners; be sure to watch the mail for your prize packages.

Tip of the Day: Winning any kind of contest or random drawing is always a cause for celebration--but first you have to enter! The Internet and blogosphere is full of great places to win prizes. From now until the end of the year, start looking for writing and art/creative blogs or websites calling for entries. With any luck you could be their next winner!

Thursday, November 1, 2012

My Altered Book and Nanowrimo 2012

This past week I've been obsessed with getting ready for National Novel Writing Month. Yes, I'm going for it again, but this time with a unique purpose: I want to write the text for my altered book.

I haven't blogged about the altered book project for a while, but that doesn't mean I've been ignoring it. To date, I've:
  • Gessoed all the pages.
  • Laid down layers of water color crayon on each page for my backgrounds.
  • Collaged each page with at least four images, sometimes more.
And there are a lot of pages--way too many and far more than I had bargained for. In hindsight, I now realize I should have gone through the book and gessoed several pages together to make a maximum of 24 thick pages instead of the dozens and dozens of thin ones it's taken me months to fill. Oh, well. Live and learn!

The stage I'm now at is I need to find--and write--my text, and here's where Nanowrimo comes in. My plan is to write a 50,000 word novella based on my altered book's title: Four Girls and Six Colleges, and then take random sections of text to paste or write out by hand onto my collaged pages. The hope is to end up with a completed altered book, as well as an illustrated novella, and maybe something more: I'm considering turning it all into a small animated film as well. Exciting!

Tip of the Day: Join me for Nanowrimo. Seriously. Although I've been planning my entry for a few months now, spontaneity can often be the key to success. And it's only 1650 words a day--you can do it.

P.S. Don't forget there's still time to enter my giveaway; the drawing will be at midnight tonight.  All you need to do is join the site and leave a comment. Super easy!