Monday, October 13, 2014

NaNoWriMo Tips

With NaNoWriMo looming in the very near future, I thought I'd share a few tips that have helped me. If you know me at all, you know I'm a huge NaNo fan. All of my published books are NaNo projects. When I NaNo, I'm in it to win it.

So this Monday and on my next post--on the 27th, I'll put some quick NaNo tips on the blog.

1) Make it work for you. Advice on how to succeed at NaNoWriMo is flooding the internet this time of year. Sift through it all and find what works for you. If you try to force yourself into a method that doesn't work for you, you will have a hard time succeeding.

2) Plan ahead - even if it's just getting to know your characters. If you're an outliner, great, outline as much as you can, even if most of it doesn't end up in the book. (During Nano you have to keep your mind open and not get stuck trying to stick to an outline that's not working.)

If you're not an outliner, at the very least, do some serious preparation in getting to know your characters. The better you know your characters, the faster you can write because you will know what they would do in every situation. You will know their desires and objectives. You will know how to raise conflict and create story by denying them those desire and objectives. It will help with character arc.

Get your research done ahead of time. Research is a great way to generate ideas for your story, so do as much ahead of time as possible.

3) Be accountable.  Tell everyone you are doing NaNoWriMo in November. That way they'll ask how it's going and you'll have to answer. Give them an opportunity to cheer you on. Join online or local groups of NaNoers that have places to post your word count. Do word sprints with friends online. Go to NaNo write-ins. Let your competitive nature give you a motivational edge.

4) Adopt a new mindset.  It's easy to spend years writing a novel, so for many, the thought of writing one in 30 days is an insuperable barrier. But not if you change your mindset. It's been said that writing a first draft is like shoveling sand into a sandbox that you will use later to build a sandcastle.

So it is with NaNoWriMo. Don't expect anything but a very rough, very detailed outline by the time it's over. But once you get your butt in the chair and write without any inhibition, you will be amazed at what you can do. It's easier to keep track of plot, easier to delve deep into your characters because you spend so much time with them. No editing. No fear.

5) Just do it. Excitement and passion will get you started, but you'll quickly find that it is discipline and determination that carry you to the end. Don't get behind. Try to get ahead in word count as quickly as possible. Have a cushion. Kick spelling, grammar, finding the perfect word or the perfect metaphor out the door. Dedicate yourself to getting the backbone plot out in those 50K words. Then look forward to January to start making it perfect.

Do you have any tips you'd like to share or questions about NaNoWriMo?

Monday, July 28, 2014

My Novel on Pintrest

The other day I had the most wonderful surprise. A reader read my book, Unraveled, and loved it so much she created a Pinterest board for it with a few pictures that sparked her imagination about certain elements of the story.

I can't believe I didn't think of that. What a great way to share fun visuals with readers. I started thinking how Pinterest could be used as a promotional tool, as a forum to draw readers together to share something they love, or as an idea generator while drafting.

Here is a link to her awesome Pinterest board. It's only got seven pictures, but it captures the novel perfectly.

I'm not always the best at using all the tools at hand when it comes to writing and promoting.

I'd love to hear ideas from all of you on ways you've seen Pinterest--or any of the social media platforms--used in any part of the writing process.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

My Dream Home Checklist

For some reason, I've been thinking a lot lately about what I want my dream home to have. Besides the basics--running water and a modern kitchen--I've compiled a list of things I really want in my next house.









If you know any realtors out there who can rustle me up a property that meets these criteria, send them my way.

If you think I'm kidding (especially about the graveyard) I'm not. Ask my husband.

What are the specifications of your dream home?


Monday, March 24, 2014

What Would You Re-read for the First Time?

I've been thinking recently about all the books I love. I re-read book a lot. A LOT. And there's something different I get out of each re-read. Some books never get old to me.

But at the same time, there are certain books I wish I could go back in time an re-read for the first time. If that makes sense.

Wouldn't it be wonderful to get sucked in to the world of Harry Potter all over again.

And what I wouldn't give to be able to experience The Road again for the first time.

To discover Jane Austen or Charlotte Brontë for the first time.

If you could go back in time, what books would you want to read again for the first time?

Monday, January 27, 2014

What Is the Inciting Incident?

As I've been doing various research for presentations on how to write a first chapter, I'm finding a lot of confusion about the term Inciting Incident.

So, because I want to, let's discuss terminology. I'm not saying that I'm the final source of truth in this--we've all heard it different ways--I'm just going to say what I've found in my research to be the most common use of the term.

Inciting Incident: This is the event that makes this day (where your story begins) different than any other day. The event that changes your MC's life, even though they may not know it yet.

Quick movie reference: Tangled, inciting incident is when Flynn Ryder shows up in Rapunzel's tower.

Key Event: This is when the MC begins to actively participate by making a choice that thrusts him/her into the action. When the MC becomes engaged in the story, usually because of the inciting incident.

The key event is often called the inciting incident, along with various other names. This is why there is so much confusion.

Quick movie reference: Tangled, key event is when Rapunzel decides to leave the tower and forces Flynn to help her.

Can the inciting incident and key event be the same? Yes, occasionally they can.

Does it really matter what term I use for them? No, but it's important to understand that both are an important part of story telling.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

UNRAVELED Cover Reveal!

Hooray for a new year and a new book!

Here is the awesome cover for UNRAVELED coming in February. I'm so excited.


When sickness swept through Bronwen’s family, it took the life of her father, brother, and sister, and left her permanently crippled. On the stormy eve of her sixteenth birthday, a faerie-witch gifts her a pair of enchanted shoes. Bronwen slips them on and is healed--but only when the shoes are on her feet. Her grace and beauty catches the eye of the king’s son--Urien, a handsome young man who prides himself on having everything perfect. 

When Rhys, an old acquaintance and Captain of the Guard, recognizes Bronwen, he threatens to tell Urien her secret. Desperate to keep her deformity hidden and not to lose the love of handsome Urien, Bronwen quickly finds herself tangled in a web of lies and deceit. But there's even a bigger problem--she can't wear the shoes forever.

Head on over to Goodreads and mark it to read. Thanks!!

Monday, November 11, 2013

The Effects of NaNoWriMo on the Brain

This is your brain:


This is your brain during NaNoWriMo:


These middle weeks of NaNo are the hardest. You've gotten off to a great start, but now you're bogged down in the middle, not sure what should happen next. Or maybe you've got it all outlined but suddenly the outline isn't working and you have to rethink the plot. Or maybe your fingers are just itching to go back and start revising that first chapter, but you must be strong and resist.

If you're behind, don't give up, there's plenty of time to catch up. If you're like my crazy friend Taffy and you've already written the full 50,000 words, just keep it to yourself. We don't want to hear about it. 

I've been reading some of the pep talks, and the one thing that really hit me--because I identified with it--was a something that James Patterson said.
 Think it’s hard to write every day during NaNo? Most professional writers keep this kind of pace all year round. Holidays, birthdays, vacations—you name it, we’re writing. The trick is making writing into a daily habit. Same time. Same place. Same hot beverage of choice. Every. Single. Day. Again. And. Again.
NaNo can seem like an impossible task, but the reality is, if you want to get published and succeed in the business, writing like this must become routine. And if it's not writing, it's editing, or revising, or plotting, or filling out forms for your publisher. It is like a full time job that you have to squeeze into the non-existent cracks of spare time between all your other responsibilities that you actually get paid for.

Now get off the web and get back to your novel. 

Go!