Posts Tagged ‘nano’

Write on Nano Writers!

Kudos to you writers who are participating in Nano (National Novel Writing Month). You are half way there…days wise anyway.  Are you half way through your novel?

Nano is a challenge to writers to write a 50,000 word novel in one month.  Rather than just meeting the challenge, some write a 100,000 word novel or three 20,000 word short stories to win the challenge. I on the other hand never made it to 50,000 words. I told my story in half that amount. But by joining Nano I learned how to approach writing a novel.

I am happy to say the short novel I wrote in Nano 2007 will be published in March 2011 by Muse It Up PublishingSunshine Boulevard, a mystery/horror ebook, is my debut. Needless to say I am geeked up about that! It was so much fun to develop this genre for readers.

The story takes place in Florida at a retirement community. Someone or something is killing the seniors on Sunshine Boulevard. Check out my author website for more info on the book.

I know this time of the month the going gets tough for Nano participants.  Just keep at it. Perseverance. Determination. Lots of coffee and chocolate and you will be a winner!

Publisher Out of Business?

I have spent two years writing a small novella. I began the book as a project for National Novel Writing Month. Nano challenges a writer to produce a 50,000 word novel in the month of November. I didn’t make it to 50,000 because I told the story in about 25,000 words and I just didn’t feel it is fair to a reader to pad the books with 25,000 words of nonsense just to make the number. For the past couple of years I have occasionally taken out the book which languishes in a Word file in my laptop and revised the story.

It is a fun story to write and one genre that I never write in–horror. But since horror stories are so popular, I thought I’d give it a go. I had a riot with it..the plot, the setting, the characters all fell into place. I shared it with my writers group last summer, and we cackled over the possibilities of situations in the story.

I decided to look for a home for the ms.. a publisher. So I sent the ms to my First Readers for feedback and suggestions. After receiving excellent ideas for improvement and encouragement when they said they couldn’t put it down, I worked more hours on editing and revising.

I found a pub who wants novellas. Believe me, most pubs are not requesting novellas or short stories. They seem to prefer 60,000 words and no way was this gal gonna add that many words to this book.

So I queried a pub and the editor immediately emailed me back asking for the ms, cover letter, and marketing plan. I emailed the documents back in less than two weeks from her contact. Lo and behold, the offices are closed, but will re-open in February. Hello? This is March.

I checked the website and it was a blank page…not that it didn’t exist anymore. Today I checked and the page is up, but with a note they are having problems with their site.

Sooooooo—-now what? I guess I’ll give them a couple of weeks and then email to see if they are still in business. I know that there are more possible publishers out there, but I really like this one, so I hope they are doing fine and will be in touch with me very soon. Oh, and yeah, I hope they like the story so they will publishe it!

Ah, the life of a writer…….

A little girl was diligently pounding away on her grandfather’s word processor. She told him she was
    writing a story. “What’s it about?” he asked. “I don’t know,” she replied. “I can’t read.”

This joke is oh so true of me and my writing some days.  Oh, yes I can read after I have pounded out the story, but it doesn’t always make sense!  I can start a story and it will take off willy-nilly in another direction.  The beginning has nothing to do with the end or the end of a scene.  I forge madly on oblivious of the story I want to tell, only filling up the screen with words.

Hold on here.  Isn’t that okay to just write with abandon?  A whole practice of writing has grown up around this after the establishment of NaNo….a challenge for writers to put down 50,000 words in the one month of November.  They don’t care what the words are or if they make sense or are spelled correctly or if there is punctuation or if there are run-on sentences… The word count is the thing!

To my thinking, this complete freedom of writing is okay, at the time.  It is when December rolls around and I actually read all the mumbo jumbo I have written and try to cull out a story from the mess.  Now that is difficult and sometimes overwhelming.  But, with perseverance, I re-work and workagain (is that redundant?) the story.  In fact the 2007 Nano effort is now being revised for the final time and ready for my writing group to read it and give me feedback.  Oh yes, then another revision, then I may be brave enough to send it off to a few publishers and cross my fingers, turn around three times, sprinkle pixie dust, and wish on a star that someone will like this quirky mystery. 

Have I ever mentioned that I have never written a mystery??  That makes this Nano project even more challenging–trying out new genres and new voices.

Whether you write with your story outline or whether you write by the seat of your pants, a “pantser”, just do it.  It is amazing.  Write on!

Celebrating 15 Years as a Freelance Writer

Can it be possible that I have been working at my computer as a freelance writer for 15 years?  Right after we sold our flower shop and garden center business, I screwed up my courage to walk in to our local newspaper office and ask to talk to the editor.  I asked him if he could use some stories for the paper.  I gave him some of the ideas which I thought would be of interest to the community.  And he said okay.  It was just that easy.  My first story was an interview with a family I knew well, so I was comfortable with them.  When it was published in the newspaper with a photo, my heart soared when I saw my byline.  What a thrill.  My editor gave me a chance to write a news story and many more followed that first one.  Oh yes, he had to do editing and revising, and I learned something every time I put the story together, then read his polished version in the paper.

I queried several magazines with article ideas and received many rejections.  But I persevered and was accepted to write several articles through the years.  Unfortunately the main magazine dealing with camping closed its doors this year, a result of the downturn in RVing and camping in this economy.

I tackled writing for an online magazine too, now known as e-zines.  This was completely foreign writing to me as there had to be a certain standard of get in and tell the story and get out.  No extras, just the information.  The format was different but also the new idea of including keywords and SEO was a daunting task until I understood the necessity of that if I wanted to have anyone find and read the articles in this vast cyberspace of information.

Some of my short stories are floating around the Internet, but I have not pursued them because they don’t earn much money. They are fun to write.  I guess that’s why I have begun writing fiction novels.  It is exciting to create a world and characters and play with them.  I would never have tried a novel except that I was spurred on by the challenge of Nano—the 50,000 word novel written in a month known as the annual National Novel Writing Month.

I have written a non-fiction book for middle school girls that is now under consideration at a publisher.  Keep your fingers crossed that it will be contracted for publication this year.

Fifteen years ago, the Internet was in its infancy, no social networking sites, no Messengers.  There was no demand for information like there is now.  I don’t remember laptop computers that a writer could take anywhere to compose a story in a library or coffee shop.

So much has changed except that a writer always needs a good story to tell.  It is still true that to get the work published,  follow the rules of good grammar and punctuation, as well as be vigilant for accurate spelling. Don’t rely completely on spell checker.  (Remember their, there, and they’re.)  

Now go out there and write the best story you can.  You can do it.  Perhaps not in one month or one year, but you will be a writer if you keep working toward that goal.