[TSS] BBAW Giveaways, and NaNoWriMo, Anyone?

I was just over at BBAW and there’s a massive list of Book Blogger Giveaways there – many of them are still open, so rather than re-invent the wheel this week, I thought it would be smarter to just point everyone over there to take part in BBAW giveaway fun.

Okay, yes, I was also feeling a bit lazy. It’s been quite the busy week around here, and I’ve been having fun with the BBAW daily writing prompts and visiting as many new-to-me bloggers as I could. Anyway, I should be back to normal by next week’s Sunday Salon, so if you’re holding a book giveaway, let me know and I’ll include your giveaway in my next giveaways round-up post.

NaNoWriMo, Anyone?

We’re nearly into October already, so I’ve decided to start getting ready for NaNoWriMo over the next several weeks. I also decided to create a new user account, since my last one was affiliated with my personal blog and I never did much with it other than update my daily word count.

This year, I’m hoping that a lot of the bloggers I know now because of MsBookish will be participating in NaNoWriMo; I’d love to have some writing buddies. Here is my profile page – if you’ve joined, or are joining, log-in, cruise over to my link and add me as a writing buddy!

If NaNoWriMo is new to you, here’s more information:

National Novel Writing Month is a fun, seat-of-your-pants approach to novel writing. Participants begin writing November 1. The goal is to write a 175-page (50,000-word) novel by midnight, November 30.

Valuing enthusiasm and perseverance over painstaking craft, NaNoWriMo is a novel-writing program for everyone who has thought fleetingly about writing a novel but has been scared away by the time and effort involved.

Because of the limited writing window, the ONLY thing that matters in NaNoWriMo is output. It’s all about quantity, not quality. The kamikaze approach forces you to lower your expectations, take risks, and write on the fly.

Make no mistake: You will be writing a lot of crap. And that’s a good thing. By forcing yourself to write so intensely, you are giving yourself permission to make mistakes. To forgo the endless tweaking and editing and just create. To build without tearing down.

So, what am I planning to do to get prepared for NaNoWriMo before November 1? As some of you know, I’ve been working on finishing up the few final scenes for my current work-in-progress, NANTUCKET (or maybe, not-working is a better phrase, since I’ve been procrastinating finishing up my first draft ever since the end first came into sight three weeks ago).

I am aiming to finish NANTUCKET this coming week – I’m going to go back to my “half an hour of writing a day” goal which worked so well to get me started and kept me writing. And once I’ve finished, I want to keep the writing habit, so I’ll be starting a new novel right away.

My timing, though, isn’t so great. The novel you work on for NaNoWriMo is supposed to be a totally new project, something you’re starting just for NaNoWriMo. So in addition to starting my next novel, I’ve decided to start working on character sketches for my NaNoWriMo novel, too. The book idea I’ll be working on in November is a children’s book; it’s an idea that I’ve had for several years now, but while I have the concept, and the two main characters, I need to flesh things out a bit more before I can sit down and write.

I won’t be doing any outlining – I’m more of a pantser, rather than a plotter. But my idea for the book involves chapters that deal with separate stories about different characters, all linked together by the two central characters and the main concept. I’m not going to try and come up with each of these separate stories, but I’d like to try a somewhat different approach than I normally take, and discover first the characters who will be populating my fictional village before I start writing.

My hope is that I’ll have a nice batch of characters to draw from, and from there, I’ll be able to sit down on November 1 to that blank page, and find out whose stories I’ll be telling, and how they’ll all be related.

If you’re a writer, or have been thinking about writing a novel, I hope you’ll sign up for NaNoWriMo, too – I think it’s going to be so much fun this year, and even better, we’ll all have a first draft, or most of a first draft, when we’re done!

38 thoughts on “[TSS] BBAW Giveaways, and NaNoWriMo, Anyone?

    1. Belle

      It’s a lot of fun, Amanda. I hope you sign up! I’ve also found that having words down on a page being my goal, regardless of how great those words are, is a really freeing thing, and even though I’ve thought some parts were just awful, re-reading them after putting them away for a while showed me that I couldn’t pinpoint the parts that I had thought were terrible!

      Reply
    1. Belle

      That’s great, Melissa! November is busy around here, too, so I’m going to stick with that “it’s only half an hour” mind trick I’ve used so successfully. Any progress is so much better than no progress, so yes, write! 😉

      Reply
  1. molly

    Oh my — this sounds like something that I should do. I have yet to put the pencil to paper since I returned from my writing course this summer. I must admit, however, that the thought of writing a 175 page story in one month’s time is more than a little intimidating. I will give it some serious, though.

    It sounds like you have a great plan – and are never at a loss of ideas :)
    .-= molly´s last blog ..TSS 9.20.09 – Busy Week =-.

    Reply
    1. Belle

      Molly, I do hope you’ll sign up! It will be a lot of fun, and there is no failing in this. Sure, the holy grail is to “win” by writing 50K words during November, but it’s the actual fact of sitting down and just doing it that makes you a winner, no matter what your output.

      And I’ve found that saying to myself, “I’m only going to write for 20 minutes” (or half an hour, or whatever feels doable), really works, because my problem is not really the time, but just starting. And once I’ve started, I keep going. And if I really only do sit there for 20 minutes, still, I’ve got a handful of words to call mine, which is really all that counts in the writing game.

      Ideas! I have so many, and I really need to start writing them down somewhere. I did try, but I still haven’t gotten in to the habit of jotting every one of them down. I just find that when I let two disparate things or concepts come together in my mind, they usually end up giving birth to something new. :)

      Reply
  2. Lynn

    I’m really hoping to do it. I tried writing some character sketches last month, mainly to see if I still enjoyed fiction writing. My trouble will be deciding on a story/set of characters and sticking with it. But I’m thinking that even if I can’t do that properly, I should just WRITE anyway. That’s the point of NanoWriMo, right? I can try to find something usable in the 50,000 words later, or just chalk it all up to a fun exercise and move on afterwards. I’m an “obsessive hobbier,” so that’s what appeals to me most about NanoWriMo. And the community. One look at the NanoWriMo message boards and I was hooked. Some of the threads are a riot.
    .-= Lynn´s last blog ..Happy Talk Like a Pirate Day =-.

    Reply
    1. Belle

      The other thing that I find helpful is that I only have to stick with a particular idea for a month. It’s even a short month, isn’t it? :) And yes, at the end of it all, you’ve got 50,000 words and can do something with it – I love that idea! I haven’t even looked at the NaNoWriMo message boards yet – thanks for pointing me there, Lynn!

      Reply
  3. Lynn

    They’re so funny! I’ll post a few thread titles here, for your other readers, because I think you have to have registered at NanoWriMo to access the boards:
    “GIRLS: what exactly do you talk about with each other?”
    “How much Jell-O do you think it would take to completely fill the White House?”
    “What do women smell like?”
    “Can you cream two men into the trunk of a 1988 Dodge Dynasty?”

    They go on and on for pages.
    .-= Lynn´s last blog ..Happy Talk Like a Pirate Day =-.

    Reply
    1. Belle

      Those are the funniest titles I’ve ever read. I wonder how much Jell-o you’d need – and I wonder why anyone would want to know!

      Reply
  4. Dorte H

    50,000 words in a month?
    Well, perhaps if I included work notes and working questions – and then I would be certain it did not make sense 😉

    No, this challenge is not for me, but though I have been rather busy recently, I have had several ideas for flash fiction stories. They seem to be what is possible for me now so they are what I write.
    .-= Dorte H´s last blog ..DJ´s Flash Fiction Workshop =-.

    Reply
    1. Belle

      Oh, Dorte, I’d been hoping you’d be participating! Maybe you could make it be all about flash fiction – writing one a day or something.

      Reply
      1. Dorte H

        Well, it is not really possible for me during the school year. I don´t remember if I have told you that I suffer from Chronic Fatigue Syndrome? I am unable to work for more than a few hours a day, and too much stress will just give me a major headache. So for the time being, a short piece a week is what is realistic for me.
        .-= Dorte H´s last blog ..DJ´s Flash Fiction Workshop =-.

        Reply
        1. Belle

          I didn’t know that, Dorte. The short piece a week goal sounds fantastic, then. And writing should never be stressful. I think you’ve got a great writing goal there.

          Reply
    1. Belle

      I need to check out the giveaways more thoroughly myself.

      I know I can always use cheerleading when it comes to getting myself to sit down and write.

      Reply
    1. Belle

      I normally average between 800 to 1000 words every half an hour, depending on how well the story’s flowing that day. But the real beauty of the 30 minute a day commitment is that I hardly ever stop after 30 minutes – nearly always, I find myself writing for longer. So it’s kind of like tricking the procrastinating part of myself into actually doing the writing. I tell myself, it’s only for 30 minutes, and then when I’m actually writing, I find I keep writing.

      Reply
    1. Belle

      It will be fun, Carrie! Last year I kind of did it in a vacuum, because I didn’t know anyone else who was doing it. This year, I find I’m really looking forward to it!

      Reply
  5. Ruth

    Ooh, writing buddies! I’ll add you, too. :) I love and hate NaNoWriMo.

    I’ve done it several times, so last year I decided to challenge myself and do 100,000 words instead of 50,000! (I over-write heaps, so by having a first draft of 100,000 words, by the time I prune it all back it gets to about 80-90,000 words, which is about right for a regular novel.) Problem is, now I *have* to write 100,000 words again this year! I can’t back down from the challenge now. *sigh*
    .-= Ruth´s last blog ..October: NZ Book Month =-.

    Reply
    1. Belle

      100,000 words! That is such an amazing goal. I’m like you – I over-write heaps, too. I think, though, this year I’ll settle for reaching 50K :) It’s one reason I’ve decided to work on one of my children’s book ideas – I’d really like to have a novel completed for NaNoWriMo this year.

      Reply
  6. Barbara

    I hadn’t been writing for a long time for various reasons and found that the longer you’re away from it, the harder it is to get going again. That’s why I started my blog and it worked. Now I’m in the habit of writing every day again and have restarted my novel. I’m sure just letting go and writing “whatever” would be a good exercise for me, but I’m determined to finish my novel so I’ll just stick to it. Although maybe I’ll try a day or two of just letting it all hang out to see what happens.

    Barbara
    .-= Barbara´s last blog ..Henry Gibson and his Flower are Gone =-.

    Reply
    1. Belle

      My blog started me writing regularly again, too. I’ve discovered this year that writing itself is more about a writing habit than anything else. Now I just have to sit myself down and finish up these final scenes, so I can start on the next novel.

      Reply
  7. Audrey

    I’ve just discovered your blog via BBAW, and so far I’m loving it!
    I’m also psyched to hear that I’m not the only one already preparing for NaNoWriMo over a month in advance.
    What preparing means for me, I’m not so sure. Given that I’m fairly certain my current work in progress will most likely NOT be finished. I guess it means I’ve been thinking about it a lot.
    Anyhow, good luck this year!
    .-= Audrey´s last blog ..We by Yevgeny Zamyatin =-.

    Reply
    1. Belle

      Thanks, Audrey! I know for certain that I won’t be finished my next WIP before November, so I’m planning on reversing things. During October I’ll write in my WIP and do character and location planning for the NaNoWriMo novel, and then in November, I’ll see where I’m at with the WIP and do any additional world-building that I need for it, while I write the NaNoWriMo novel. I’m just going to keep my fingers crossed and hope it will all work out!

      Reply
  8. Margot

    This was a very interesting post. The pantser vs plotter article was interesting too. I love to write but have never had the inclination to write a novel. I do like your idea of creating characters. I’m always doing that in my head for fun. Maybe I need to think about doing that in connection with stories. I’m going to think about it. In any event, sign me up as one of your cheerleaders. I’m looking forward to observing your creative process in November.
    .-= Margot´s last blog ..Book Review: American Food Writing =-.

    Reply
    1. Belle

      Characters are where I tend to fall short, Margot. I usually get a big idea and everything comes up out of that, including the characters. So I’m hoping that discovering my characters well-enough before I start to write will do my actual writing a lot of good. If you’re always creating characters in your head for fun, I think you could definitely do that in connection with stories.

      And thank you for being here to cheer me on!

      Reply
  9. Lu

    Every year I think about joining NaNoWriMo, but then I always think of the impending doom that is exams coming in the first week in December and I just don’t think I can participate! Maybe I will give it a shot, though, because if I don’t do it now, then I never will. I still have five years left of graduate school!
    .-= Lu´s last blog ..Review – We Have Always Lived in the Castle =-.

    Reply
    1. Belle

      I’m sort of in the same boat (although I’d love for that boat to be a graduate school boat!). October to February are my busiest months work-wise, and when you’re freelancing, it’s so hard not to say yes to all the assignments to hopefully make up for the times when you’re not so busy! I think I’ll be all right this year, though, because committing to half an hour a day really seems to work for me.

      I hope you give it a try – I think it will be so much fun! I didn’t “win” last year, but I did get the start of the novel that I am (hopefully) in the midst of completing right now!

      Reply
  10. Memory

    I just added you to by buddy list for NaNoWriMo. :) I haven’t wiped last year’s stats yet, but I’m looking forward to working on ARVORE’s sequel this November. (I’m also looking forward to seeing your big finish post for NANTUCKET! No pressure or anything…)
    .-= Memory´s last blog ..129. Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte =-.

    Reply
    1. Belle

      Oh, the pressure! Every day I say to myself, this is the day – and then it isn’t. I’ve decided though, that I might just write THE big scene, the one that wraps everything up, and call it done, since I already know I’ll be revising Nantucket like crazy anyway. I think that might do the trick for me …

      Reply

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