NaNoWriMo-Keep On Writing

NaNoWriMo is now in full swing. Are you taking part? If so, how are you doing?

I’ve taken the NaNoWriMo challenge a couple of times and happy to say I reached my goal…well, sort of and here’s a tip for you.

Don’t feel compelled to write all 50,000 words for the same story. One year I wrote a good chunk of three stories in my Western trilogy, Big Sky Cowboys. When I got stuck and couldn’t figure out what I wanted to write next in the storyline, I switched to another book and so on and back and forth.
By the time December 1st rolled around I had almost three stories in various stages of completion. One was almost 100 percent done, one about 75 percent and the other about 25% completed.
No, it’s not technically cheating because the goal is to reach 50,000 words and to teach you about keeping to a writing schedule and hopefully writing every day.

Yes, bottom line is that’s the one and only way you’re ever going to get a book finished and published.
Published writers aren’t any better writers they just stuck with it and crossed the finish line and you can do the same.

I’d love to help you along during this NaNoWriMo so drop me a line or leave a comment with anything you’re struggling with. If it’s a common problem I’ll even write a post about it.

And shameless self promoting plug here…I have a class on the topic over at Skillshare so I hope you’ll check it out.

Happy writing…yes, you can do it!

Three Workshops for November

I can’t believe it’s almost November which means I’m about to teach the final workshops of the year.

If you’re thinking about writing a romance novel or just want to refresher course then this class if for you. A two week, how to write a romance novel offered through the Outreach Chapter of RWA.
http://www.oirwa.com/forum/campus/#NOV

Maybe you’d like to finish off the year with some new synopsis writing skills, if so then my Synopsis Boot Camp is perfect for you. It’s a two week course offered through Low Country Romance Writers
http://lowcountryrwa.com/workshops/2017-online-courses/#NOV

And finally if you’re thinking about becoming a short story writer in 2018 then learn the tricks of the trade with this month long workshop offered through Yosemite Romance writers-
https://www.yosemiteromancewriters.com/2017-class-descriptions

Hope to ‘see’ you in class.

A big thank you to all the chapters who have offered my classes this year and to all the wonderful students who have taken them. A virtual hug to you all and can’t wait to ‘see’ you again in 2018.

First Drafts Are No Place for Perfection

NaNoWriMo is fast approaching and many of us will be sitting down to attempt no small feat. We’ll be writing a first draft for a story that will eventually become a perfect manuscript.

And note I’ve placed the word eventually in italics.

First drafts are rough drafts, sometimes very rough drafts. Many of mine have no resemblance to the stories they became. Plots got changed, characters who didn’t have a POV got granted a voice, and locations even changed.

What can stop you from writing and meeting your writing goals is trying to write a perfect first draft. There’s no such thing (well only for the lucky few).

When you tackle NaNoWriMo or sit down to write any day of the year, don’t be a perfectionist, be a writer and accept the only way to get a story written, finished, and maybe even published, is to get those words on the screen or paper.

Don’t worry about finding the perfect names for your characters, coming up with natural sounding dialogue. Don’t obsess over your spelling or grammar.

Write your story and then use your second, third or even fourth draft to make it perfect and ready to submit.

Stinging Critiques…Don’t Panic and Certainly Don’t Give Up

I know lots of you enter contests so you can get critiques of your work and a few people have told me they’ve been crushed by the feedback they’ve received.

My response done that, had that happen to me. At one point it got so bad I thought about quitting.

If you feel that way, please don’t.

Not only is this just one or two people’s view of your story, remember fiction is very person specific. What one person loves another person might hate.

One other thing you should take into consideration is just who is the person doing the critiquing? Are they published? If so, in what genre? I know lots of contests let unpublished authors read and critique entries which I’m not saying is wrong but it’s something you should be aware of before you decide to send out your work. They judging you on something they haven’t been able to achieve themselves.

Also, what was the tone of the feedback? It’s one thing to tell a writer what’s wrong with their story or what they didn’t like, it’s another thing to show them how to correct the problems they’ve seen.
I had lots of judges tell me what I wasn’t wrong but no suggestions on how to put it right. Bottom line was the feedback from destructive and not constructive and it’s one of the reasons I decided to start my own critiquing and mentoring service.

So if you’ve recently received a stinging critique of your work, don’t cry, not give up, but be even more determined to get that story published because remember it’s just one person’s opinion.

Happy writing.