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Camp NaNoWriMo

Camp Nanowrimo

IT’S ALMOST HERE!! Camp Nanowrimo starts in 6.5 hours (for those of us on eastern standard time at least). I have my story mostly planned out, though there are quite a few holes. Check out my two posts about my story to be here and here. It’s a young adult fantasy novel about teens with super powers. But not in a big, us against the world type of story. I’m focusing much smaller, on an incredibly powerful teenage girl and her battle with PTSD, as told through the eyes of the guy who falls in love with her.

Wish me luck. I’ve never written a story told entirely from the guy’s perspective. Should be interesting!

I’m also using Scrivener to write this manuscript and so far I am really liking it, as far as outlining and research goes. I’ll write up a review for it once the month is over.

If you’re also participating in Camp Nanowrimo, comment below and let me know what your goal is and what your story is about. And good luck to all!

NaNoWriMo is OVER!!!

And I did it!!! And it’s not even midnight yet. I’m so proud of myself (you know, for not writing the 50,000th word at 11:55). I completed 50,264 of The Funeral Ghoul and…well…21,590 of Believing in Magic. So not quite what I wanted to accomplish, but hey, I’ll take it! I’m hoping to complete them both before the end of the year.

I think one big difference this year from last year is that The Funeral Ghoul is actually moving along very well. There aren’t any huge plot changes needed (yet) and I know mostly where it’s headed (and as I warned Mez, it’s going to be heartbreaking) though the details are a little fuzzy. Can’t wait until I get there!

As for Believing in Magic, it’s harder for me simply because it’s not really moving. It will, I think, in a scene or two. The main problem is that I’m trying to convey how hard it would be for someone with social anxiety to be whisked of to a completely new world with new rules and new ways of doing things. Which means that I find myself describing how hard it is for her to find her new classroom by herself and how she hides in her room instead of having to face the horror of the mess hall…and so the story itself creeps by.

So there’s how my NaNoWriMo went! Let me know if you participated and how you did and what your plans are now! Happy December, everyone.

Novel in November Update: Day 15!

Greetings, Friends!

I don’t know about where you are, but here in West Berkshire, it is most definitely mid-November! The sky is Charlie Brown grey (if you’re a Peanuts aficionado, you know what I mean), my garden grass has disappeared beneath a blanket of brown leaves, and it’s proper chai-tea-sipping cold out!

But what’s more, we are HALFWAY through National Novel Writing Month!!

Are you finding your groove? Feeling stressed? We’re here to celebrate with you and to commiserate with your stress, so leave a comment & exult or vent all you like. Either way, I promise you, you’re not alone.

And that brings me to business: My own NaNoWriMo update (drum roll…..)

Learning curves + new publishing tools

In case you’re not up-to-speed with these updates, I (Mez) decided to use this November not to write a brand new manuscript, but to launch the novel I wrote last year for N in N.

It’s been a bumpy road with many a sharp learning curve, but…

I’m loving it!

Here’s where I’ve got up to so far this month:

  1. Completed developmental edit to smooth out story glitches
  2. Have been (& still am) working with a cover designer, & I’m SO excited about his concept drawings. One this is certain, this is going to be a beautiful book!
  3. Am just finishing up formatting the ebook & print versions to send them off to my Proofreader (last polish!!)
  4. I’ve gathered an awesome launch team & polled them on potential title options. The winner? Katie Watson and the Painter’s Plot. 

What I still need to do:

  1. Create an audiobook version (any tips? Please share below!!)
  2. ORDER print copies from IngramSpark
  3. Market, market & market some more!

**I’m always on the lookout for willing & able reviewers. Do you review Middle-Grade books? Please get in touch– I’d love to send you a copy!

Like I said, indie publishing is a new world for me, and I’m learning tons at a crash-course pace as I race to Launch Day (10 December). I couldn’t have got this far without a few tricks of the trade, so of course I’m going to let you in on these little secrets…

Trade secrets/ tools that have been game-changers for publishing your book:

Scrivener is my new best friend — how did I ever write without it?! If you’ve not tried it out, you can trial the software for FREE. But honestly, it’s the best $40 I’ve spent this year!

Reedsy.com is an awesome online publishing market where you can link up with vetted professionals (these people work for the big time publishing houses!) & hire them for your book — editors, cover designers, formatters, you name it!

Vellum is a book formatting software, and my goodness, it’s amazing! Formatting has been the one thing I’ve most dreaded. I’m not super techy, and I’ve heard this can take even experienced authors days upon days. But Vellum does all the hard work for you! It’s actually fun to use! Not exactly cheap, but definitely a good investment if you plan on publishing in ebook or print!

So there you have it! My November journey has been an exciting one. Watch this space — I’ll be sharing links to get your FREE ebook copy of my novel very very soon!

*And next week, more from Bri! I can’t wait to read her TWO Novels. I know she’s behind in one, & a lot behind in the other, but still, she’s written a TON of words which are sure to be brilliant!

Happy writing (or publishing!) this week!

Mez

Announcing Novel in November 2017!

It’s that time. Can you believe it?

Camp NaNoWriMo is next month!

Which means that right now, all across the globe, tens of thousands of aspiring & already successful authors are getting in gear to write 50,000 word draft of their novels in the 30 days of November!

Bri & I absolutely Love this time of year. Like so many of you out there, we have become Camp NaNo junkies & true believers in the magic that happens when you have add a strict deadline & a sense of camaraderie to writing your novel. In fact, we love it SO much, we started our own spinoff called Novel in November last year.

This year, for Novel in November, our aim is to help you not only win at Camp NaNo (winning, by the way, simply means completing the challenge, not competing against other writers) but to wind up with 50,000 words you can be proud of… maybe even 50,000 words that you can brush up & send off to agents, publishers, or publish yourself in December!

But to do that, you’re going to need to do some preparation over the next 20 days…

Now is the time to GET READY!

To help you get yourself geared up & ready for success, we’ve put together a list of some of the best NaNo advice out there — from writers we admire & some from our own experience. Don’t get overwhelmed! It’s all about the baby steps. Aim to follow these, one step at a time, over the next week.

  1. Get intentional! Bri’s article Where Do You Start? will help you literally set yourself, your schedule & your space up for success.

2. Capture your idea & LOVE IT! Here are some exercises to help you with that.

3. Outline your story’s plot. Trust us on this. If you want to save yourself grief during NaNo and produce a coherent story you won’t spend months editing, a little planning goes a long way.

Not sure how to structure a story? Here are some great resources:

Joanna Penn at The Creative Penn shares 7 tips for writing your novel, including how to use classic story structure. She also explains the Snowflake Method of building your story’s structure scene-by-scene. And so many more goodies besides!

Nick Stephenson of Your First 10K Readers is co-hosting a webinar on story structure this Saturday. I highly recommend signing up to his email list for more details!

If it’s books you’re looking for, here are the two we recommend & why.

Finally, if you’d like to join us on this journey, you can sign up for Novel in November & get emails with our top tips & updates!

Happy Prepping, everybody!

Mez & Bri

 

 

 

 

 

So you want to be a writer? Here’s how.

I wonder if you ever thought about this: every great author had to start from scratch.

Every successful writer out there was once a wisher… someone who wished she could write that book she’d been carrying around inside her just waiting to come out… someone, perhaps, a lot like you.  

How did they make the massive leap from wanna-be writer to real writer?

Was it a lucky break?

Was it some lightening bolt of creative genius that struck them by chance & resulted in a master piece?

I’m confident if you asked your favourite author, he would laugh before answering with a definite “Not a chance!”

So what is the secret? How do you stop wishing you were a writer & become one? I’ll tell you. Here it is, ready?

 The first three baby steps to switching gears from wanna-be to real writer

1. Declare yourself a writer 

As writing-coach Jeff Goins puts it, this is not about faking it until you make it. Deciding and declaring your status as a writer and not a wanna-be is essential to making that step. It’s about making a mental shift & setting your intention in stone. So go on. No more excuses. Write it down. Pin it on the wall. Tell a close friend: I am a writer. But of course that’s just the start… 

2. Start writing… now.

I know, I know. This one sounds like a total no-brainer. But actually, this obvious step is where most people fail to move from wanna-be to writer. Writers are people who write. Sure, they do other things too–dreaming, planning, researching–but all those things can become just ways of procrastinating from the one essential job of the writer, which is (you guessed it) WRITING! So if you want to be a writer but your’e not currently writing anything, get yourself a journal or a notepad and write something: ideas, observations, thoughts about stories you love… remember, you don’t have to write Gone With the Wind on day one. Baby steps. But you must write

3. Learn the basic tricks of the trade 

I absolutely believe the best way to become a better writer is to write, and write, and write. But you don’t have to figure it all out on your own. Many have gone before you & picked up tricks– methods, processes, little secrets of the craft– that will make your new life as a writer a lot easier & a lot more fun. 

That’s where we come in! In June and July, we’re reposting our best writing-tips to walk you through the process & motivate you along the way. Writing a novel is an emotional roller-coaster, no matter how many times you’ve done it. There’s nothing like having a shoulder to cry on & a hand to guide you through each step. That’s what we’re here for!

So whether you’re gearing up for NaNoWriMo in July, writing your 100th novel, or giving this whole writing thing a go for the very first time, these tips are going to help you… I can guarantee it, because they’re the same tips that’ve helped us along the way! 

So here’s your homework: Declare yourself a writer today, & let’s get writing!
Sign up for our email alerts (in the right margin) so you don’t miss a single tip!

 

Mini Camp NaNo update

Alright, who’s been messing with my calendar… and apple clock… and Greenwich Mean Time? It can’t really have been two weeks since my last NaNo update, can it? This is all one big April Fools conspiracy…

… or not.

If you haven’t guessed from my stalling tactics, things have not progressed massively from my last NaNo update. In fact, here’s exactly what my progress looks like (no shame… *gulp):

Screen Shot 2017-04-25 at 12.20.38

This month of April has remained impossible to pin down for writing purposes. But I’m still not totally despondent about it. Why? Because there are some big positives to mention from the past two weeks:

  1. I’ve gone from 0 words to 7,350. That’s actually a fairly good chunk out of my goal of a meagre 25,000 words, and technically, finishing is still doable by the end of the month. But I’ve just about nearly come to the conclusion that using the remaining days to carefully plot out my novel so it’s spiffingly ready for May will ultimately prove more beneficial than just hashing out words now… though I’m still tempted.
  2. I’m going where I’ve never gone before as a writer & making a scene-by-scene SPREADSHEET!!!! I never thought the day would come! But I must say, throwing my tangled thoughts into a table to sort out is much easier than trying to rearrange them into some sort of order in my head, or even on multiple sheets of paper. So I’m trying it. Stay tuned for conclusions to this experiment.
  3. I got to meet up for a juice with THE Abi Elphinstone (authour of the Dreamsnatcher series). She was brilliantly encouraging, inspiring & just down right nice, & I came away from our meet-up with renewed determination to keep pressing forward with this crazy dream of mine. **If you are American or otherwise not British & are not yet familiar with Abi’s books, look her up here: http://www.abielphinstone.com & get ahold of them by any means possible (except piracy!)

So lots to be thankful for this month, even if things haven’t gone all to plan. And I’m still loving my baby dragon of a story as it grows, little by little each day. Now it’s back to plugging away into my spreadsheet! Any tips? I’d love to hear them!

 

Are you participating in Camp NaNo?
Good bits, hard bits? Any little victories along the way?

Camp NaNo Diaries: week 1

Happy April! It’s Mez, and I’m here to talk about what happens when – as a writer or just in life – your best-intentions go right of the rails, and there’s nothing you can do about it.

Officially 1 week into Camp NaNoWriMo, and de-railing has defined my experience of camp so far. Last year in preparation for our Novel in November campaign, Bri wrote an excellent post about making sacrifices for the sake of sticking to your novel-writing goals, things like saying “NO” to social invites, requests and perhaps even your ever-growing laundry pile.

I support her advice 100% – if you’re ever going to achieve those goals, you’ve got to take responsibility for them & carve out the time to let the magic (aka. countless hours of hard work) happen. 100% essential. 100% true.

plot bunny

BUT… (brace yourself. Important life lesson ahead!)

Sometimes things come up in life that you simply can’t, or shouldn’t, say ‘no’ to. When you weigh them up even to the importance of sticking to your goal, they win out in importance. I’m talking about REALLY big stuff, like when you lose someone close to you & you need to be there for the friends & family who are grieving… or when a close friend invites you to her wedding in a far-off destination… or when family in another continent suddenly surprise you with a visit… or when a family member is at wit’s end & really needs you to step in & lend a hand with her kids.

All of those examples & quite a few others have unexpectedly flown into my path this month of Camp NaNo. And do you know what, whilst I passionately want to finish my novel this month & it hurst to see my hopes melting away like cotton candy dropped into the pool, it’s actually O.K..

Writing books is what I want to do with my life. But it isn’t & never will be the end-all of what my life consists of. More important than my career & passions are the people who bless my life. While I may often have to say no & dissapoint them for the sake of meeting a deadline, I never want to sacrifice my relationships to my writing. This Camp NaNo has taught me to prioritise, to realise that I’ve got to work for your goals, but I’ve got to live for more than achieving them. Namely, when real needs arise, you’ve got to put the people in your life first. And ultimately, that’s living, and what do we write about if not life?

Camp-2017-Event-Banner.jpg

What now?

The other lesson I’ve learned (for the umteenth time) this NaNo is not to give up when you hit hurdles in the road. Having made peace with not achieving my original goal this month, we are yet only 1 week in! I can still re-caliber my expectations and work towards a new, trimmed-down goal (that’s one of the joys of Camp NaNo.. you can revise your goal up to the midpoint of the month!).  I’ll let you know how that’s going in a couple weeks’ time! Meanwhile, check in next Friday to hear about Bri’s Camp NaNo experience so far…

What about you?

Are you a NaNo Camper this month?

Have any unforeseen life events interrupted your writing goals?

What do you do to keep on going, even when you get derailed?

 

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