Are you one of those crazy people who attempts National Novel Writing Month each year? Or are you thinking about trying it for the first time this year? Well, this is the place for you!
In November we post helpful tips and suggestions, as well as provide a place for you to get support and encouragement from other WriMos on Tumblr. We want to help make sure that your writing process goes as smoothly as possible!
The rest of the year we will do our best to inspire you with quotes and activities to keep you writing! We will also be featuring support for Camp NaNo in the summer and ScriptFrenzy in the spring. As well as teaching you some prep tips in the early fall for the next NaNoWriMo.
Feel free to Ask us any questions you have regarding this site, NaNo or any other writing advice! Also if you're looking for online writing buddies please check out our list of community members and/or send us your contact info using This Form and we'll add you to the list!
For me as a writer and a reader, characters are the heart of a good story. So as we are preparing for November, I thought it would be a good idea to start with characters as we think about our stories. Once we have characters in place, we can move on to our plot. (It will make sense after Friday’s post.)
So here’s an exercise you can do over and over without taking too much time. You don’t even have to use every character you create. The creation will be a good experience for you.
OK, now you have a character, but what do they want? Everyone in the world wants something. That something changes from moment to moment, but we always want something. (For example, 10 minutes ago, I wanted cake, but now that I’ve eaten it, not so much so.)
Now that you have that all together, create a second character. Imagine those two characters interacting. How do they move towards their goal? There is a chance that this will bring you to the point where you are ready to create a plot, perhaps not though.
Keep creating characters. Who knows where they will take you.
It’s that time of year again. The leaves have started changing colors, the weather is cooling down, and many writers around the world are scrambling to put together a story to be written. With the arrival of autumn, it also means that National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) is just around the corner. Many writers will put together the first draft of their novel during the month of November, but what happens after that? Far too many drafts will hide in the dark recesses of a writer’s computer for years, but then there are the bright few that demand attention to be polished and published and that is exactly what William D. Dickerson did with his NaNoWriMo 2012 project.
Young Mutants in Love
"When there is danger, heroes often arise from the masses."
One night while stargazing, Cacy and Gavin witness an astronomical phenomenon that changes their lives. Their bodies change, and they discover that they can access super human abilities, but only when they switch bodies. Shortly after this, they move to New York City to fight crime only to discover a threat from another world who is armed with monsters, robots, and other diabolical creations at his disposal.
Karis - It’s always nice to be able to fly and be invulnerable, but Gavin still isn’t sure it’s worth the price of being in Cacy’s body
Diz - It’s hard to take the world seriously when you’re so much faster than life. That doesn’t keep him from using his incredible speed to protect the world.
Mornigan - His people used to conquer worlds and Mornigan has decided that Earth is the perfect place to return his people to their past.
Young Mutants in Love is William D. Dickerson’s second published novel. Dickerson is a teacher and a writer who wants to write a variety of stories that catch his attention. He is a self published author rather than chase after a publisher. When he isn’t writing or teaching, he likes long walks rather than wait for the bus, spending time with family, and reading other books to see what other authors are doing.
Dickerson sat down and answered a few questions about his upcoming novel that may hopefully intrigue possible readers even more towards his book.
What would you like to tell readers about the book before they delve into it?
Young Mutants in Loveis an exciting story filled with super heroes, monsters, aliens, robots and more, but there’s more to the story than just action. Like all good stories, it has a human element to it that will engage you more than the action.
What is one thing you want the reader to get out of your story?
I want readers of Young Mutants in Loveto realize that heroes have stories beyond the fight against the bad guy.
Can you tell us a little bit about the characters without giving too much away?
Of course I can. At the start of the story you have Cacy and Gavin. Cacy is a grad student for Physics and Gavin is a grad student for Astronomy. Something happens between the two of them, and they gain access to super powers, but only when they switch bodies. When that happens, Gavin becomes Karis, a woman with the power of flight and invulnerability, and Cacy becomes Diz a man with super speed.
You also get to know Mornigan, who is the main protagonist. He is an alien who has come to Earth to conquer our world. Something he did may have been responsible for the heroes becoming heroes.
What was your inspiration for this story?
The idea for my story came from the title. I don’t remember where I discovered the title, but it was during National Novel Writing Month, so I couldn’t do anything with it at the time, but I was able to develop the story and characters over the next year.
How long did it take you to finish this novel?
Just under a year as far as actually writing. This started as my 2012 National Novel Writing Month project (2 years when you consider planning time.)
What are some major themes that you tried to express throughout the story?
In this story, I wanted to consider the idea of good vs. evil, but because Gavin and Cacy have to switch bodies in order to be a part of that fight, the story naturally has to look at gender and gender roles. Karis’ first costume is skimpy and impractical, and is given to her because “isn’t that what people are expecting from a female super hero?”
As the author, what is your personal favorite part of the novel?
I can’t tell you that, since it happens at the end of the story, but I will tell you about another part that I love. Early on in their adventures, Karis and Diz encounter a sky scraper that is on fire after an explosion. Because of her invulnerability, Karis takes charge of saving people from the fire. The last person in the building is a small girl named Burgundy. When she sees Karis, she asks the hero if she is an angel. This is an interesting moment because Gavin is still new to being a woman part of the time.
If you could go back and do it over again, is there any aspect of your novel or getting it published that you would change?
I can’t think of anything.
What was the hardest part of writing this story?
Editing is very hard because I love this story, and it’s hard to say that a part of it isn’t what it needs to be, or needs to be completely removed. It does make the story better in the end, but that doesn’t make it easier when you are making the changes.
What advice do you give for other writers out there trying to finish their novels and publish them?
If you have an idea, and you believe that it is a story that needs to be told, then you are the one that needs to tell that tale. No one else can tell it as well as you can. You can tell them about the characters and the plot, but they will never be able to it the way that you can. Keep plugging away at it, and one day it will be ready to share with the world.
Young Mutants in Love will be released on October 19th of this year. Below are links to get connected with Dickerson and keep up to date with his works. As a reminder, NaNoWriMo begins on November first and is a perfect time for aspiring writers to get out that first draft of their novel so that one day they too may have their novel published for the world to read.
Yes, it is true that writing is a solitary activity, that doesn’t mean that you should lock yourself away and avoid everyone while you are doing NaNo. Sure interacting with others might hurt your daily word count, but it can also be a great help to you.
Let’s consider some ways that other writers can help you:
Work through problem areas
We know that you want to write your story yourself, but sometimes it helps to have a different perspective on things. When you are around other writers they can make suggestions or help you to understand that your idea might not work the way that you think that it will.
Challenge each other
Seeing other writers writing will encourage to get to work. I know that hearing all those keys clicking around me motives me to write along with everyone else.
Another great thing that happens at most write-ins is Word Wars where everyone writes for a set period of time, and the person with the most words at the end wins. (Hopefully your ML has a cool prize for you.)
Keep each other accountableWhen you share your goals with other people, and everyone has a similar goal when it comes to NaNo, then you can help each other stay on track. Don’t lose sight of that 50,000 word goal, but don’t miss out on getting to know some really great people.
That’s it for now. Keep planning for November, and get ready for an exciting ride, but make sure that you share it with somebody.
One of the biggest hurdles you are going to find for National Novel Writing Month is finding time to write. With 1,667 words to write every day (on average, of course) it takes a bit of time every day to reach that goal, and it can be very hard to find that time.
Tell everyone what you are going to be doing
You have to let people know your plans for the month so they know what you are going to be doing. If they don’t know, then they won’t understand why you have other obligations for your time. They will understand and be interested in your progress as you continue to work through the month. They might even be your best cheerleaders.
Have a set time to write
If you have a set time for writing, as a general rule, then your friends and family will know when you aren’t going to be available for them. Then it will be easier for them to give you the time that you need.
Do your best to keep on track
This isn’t easy, but the more on track you are with your writing the the easier it will be to keep to your schedule. Things come up, and you may get behind, but no one will put you down about that. My first year, my writing got interrupted because my niece being born.
So, don’t keep your project a secret or you will never get the support and help you need to get to your 50,000 word goal.
There are only 18 more days until National Novel Writing Month starts again. So what have you done to get ready so far? Things are getting exciting or all of us. Tuesdays and Fridays until the end of October, we’ll be having helpful articles to get you ready to go.
Hey everybody! October is slipping away, and that means that National Novel Writing Month will start very soon. I’ve arranged with four of my author friends to have encouraging posts during the month of November (once a week.)
I’ve also got a few topics ready to discuss as we get going.
Last year, we opened it up for you guys to write an article, and I’d like to make that opportunity available again. Here’s how it will work:
Go to submit and write up a proposal. Tell us who you are. What the basic idea of your article would be, and when you think it would be best to publish it.
We will look it over and send you any feedback we have on the topic, and give you the go ahead.
You write the article and submit it for final evaluation.
We post it, and people love you for helping them out.
So that’s the plan. Hopefully we will get some people involved again this year.
I have been on touch with Astrid, who will be sharing with us about being a writer with Aspbergers, and her article will be going on this Wednesday.
Then keep your eyes open as we will be seeing signs of Natasha Wetzel in September. Her latest book will be coming out on September 11th so we’ll have an interview with her and an assortment of quotes from her books leading up to that.
I’ll be posting something to coincide with my latest project, Young Mutants in Love in October. Then as we prepare for National Novel Writing Month, I’ll be working to get writers to share their wisdom with us starting the middle of October and going on a weekly basis through November. (I’m still working on getting commitments for those dates.
Don’t forget to look for the Mini Prompt on Monday!
So, you actually managed to write a book, and you don’t know what to do about it. That’s where I was.
I started my book, Cherry Wood, during NaNoWriMo of 2011. It was my second NaNo, and my first win. I’d written 50,000 words, but my story wasn’t finished. I still needed almost 13,000 more. I worked on it for the next year, and had the story finished around 11:00 pm on October 31, right before NaNo started again.
(I know you’re curious about the process I used, but I promise to write about that next week, OK?)
So, I’ve got my book, but I really don’t want to wait around for a publisher to decide that they want me. It’s expensive to get your book published. You have to send copies of your book (formatted just so) to each publisher you want to approach with cover letters and everything else that they want. That can get extremely expensive since you’ll probably have to send the book to a variety of publishers.
Fun fact: Madeleine L’Engle was rejected 26 times for her beloved book A Wrinkle in Time. She persisted and won a Newberry Medal for that book. You can learn two lessons from that story.
1. If you believe in your story, you need to persevere.
2. Why waste all that time with publishers that don’t know what they are doing?
I did some research and discovered that Amazon had some interesting looking programs available for self publishing.
Kindle Direct Publishing-KDP is a program that let’s you publish your book on Kindle without having to go through a publisher. You will end up being responsible for everything though. You take care of making sure your book is edited and arranging your cover art. You need to do all of your promoting. So why am I using KDP? Because I get to keep 70% of the profits from my book. Sure I have to wait 3 months to get paid, but if you go to a publisher, you make much less, and you typically need to wait 2 years before the book is actually published.
CreateSpace-Have you ever heard about Print-On-Demand? Basically, CreateSpace will only print your book if someone orders it. That saves you the trouble of having to order a huge pile of books to sell or trying to get a new batch on short notice. Book stores can also order this way, so that may work out for you too.
ACX (Audible Books)-Have you seen an ad for Audible books in your travels around the internet? I see them all the time. Through ACX, you can hire someone to read your book, and then it will be available through Audible (including on iTunes.) You can even record the book yourself.
After seeing all of this, I decided to go with self publishing. You may not make that choice, but that is fine. The publishing journey is your own, and you need to choose the path for yourself.
(When you self publish, you need to take every chance to promote yourself, she here’s a couple of links you can look at if you want the latest information about my book.)
Whether you managed to pack 50,000 word into the month of November, chances are that you have a story that still needs some work before it has been told. If you’re like me, you still have a big chunk of words to cross the finish line. In that case, I have some advice for you:
Read your book!
I know you think you know your story since you’ve spend thirty days cramming it onto the page, but I assure you that that you’ve forgotten something.
How do I know? I ran into the same problem last month when I was working on reaching 50k. I had started my story later in the story. I’m not sure if it was in the middle or not, but I had reached the part of the story I had jumped from, but I had to go back to see what I had done at that part.
It turns out I didn’t remember what I had done as well as I’d thought, so it was good for me to review it. At this point, going back will help you because it will help you remember what you’ve done, but more importantly, it might give you some ideas about the future of your story.
Don’t think about what is wrong, or needs correction. Just get the story back into your head.
A little over a year ago, Camille and I were talking about the upcoming NaNo. We lamented that there wasn’t a community on Tumblr (that we had seen at least) to support WriMos.
That was the start of Writrs (originally called NaNoWriMos) and we actually kicked things off on November 1st. (Nothing like waiting until the last minute.
As we approach 500 followers, we wanted to do something special for you.
So we decided to put together a GIVEAWAY! We discussed doing the typical reblog thing, but then Camille suggested that since we are a writing community, we really should make the contest more creative and center it around writing!
So here’s the plan:
You must be following this blog (or facebook page).
Write a message explaining why you are a writer (with or without the e)!
Wait for the deadline when we will look over all the entries carefully.
We will choose and winner and announce on the blog as well as via private message so we may get addresses to send your prize.
We are planning to have two prizes:
Autographed Copy of The NaNoLand Chronicles
From the NaNo Store, six fables by NaNoWriMo founder Chris Baty, designed to “warm the heart [and] embolden the noveling soul”. Illustrated by Lindy Groening.
Plot Generating Device
This is a plot generator I got at the Kick-Off Party here in Denver. There are two dice, a nice little hand-made bag for the dice, and a plot device list. Pick a character. Roll the dice. Use the plot you get.
The contest will end November 30th at the close of National Novel Writing Month, so you have two weeks to enter! We will choose a first and second place winner, first place will get first pick of the prizes. Get thinking and send us your messages!
Good Luck, -Billy and Camille
This is your last day to enter. We stop accepting submissions at midnight eastern time. Good luck with winning NaNa!
She’s at 37,000 words, but life has just gotten in the way of winning NaNo. She isn’t going to be able to finish since there are so many obstacles in her way. Do you know what I have to say about that?
So what? You were daring enough to take up the challenge, but it didn’t work out. That doesn’t mean that you aren’t working on a story that needs to be told. The first year that I tried NaNo, my sister had a beautiful baby girl right in the middle of the month. Everything that went with that birth kept me off track for the rest of the month.
Do I consider myself a failure for that year? No way! Even if you don’t make it to 50K words, you still accomplished a lot wherever you made it to. Don’t give up on the story or the characters. You can still finish that novel even if you don’t get it done during NaNo.
So, remember to take pride in whatever you managed to do, and come back next year stronger than ever.
Best of luck
PS. If you won or are going to win, then congratulations!