NaNoWriMo: Day 15 (100k and some change; book 2)
NaNoWriMo / November 15, 2016

Sorry for missing yesterday. After a huge day on Sunday, I didn’t feel like blogging. Or writing. Or moving. I’ve hit the 100k mark (double-NaNo) and finished up book 2, The Word Runner. I’ve also realized The Word Runner went horribly wrong (I didn’t write it with any sort of an outline, just a vague concept) and I’ll have to rewrite the entire thing from chapter two onward. Ah well. Live and learn. Today I will start book 3, Cheyna and the Doorway to Everland. I’m also prepping for Orycon in Portland, OR on Friday and gearing up to do a big attempt at marketing The Wicked Witch of Whatever. Yes. I am talking about marketing. But not until December. So, it’s halfway to the end of NaNo and I’ve only finished two books. Maybe six was asking too much of this non-Figment body– and that’s okay. I’ll keep writing through December 15th to get as far as I can on first drafts. Theoretically, I should be able to do all six by then. It doesn’t take into account my steadily growing hours at the day job (retail-associated), but I can work around that. I think. So, onward and upward….

How to Write a Book: Outlining

I am aware that I just lost a lot of pantsers. I’m going to ask you to come back and give me an opportunity to woo you. I’ll even hold your hand if you want, but I’m running at the first sign of a restraining order. Stick with me through this post. Let’s see what we can do about this outlining idea. There’s a reason we learn to outline in school: it’s a very useful skill to have, even if you’re not a writer. If you are a writer, it can be invaluable. But, Zan, I hate outlining. Here’s a thought: if you hate it, maybe you’re not doing it right. But I’m a pantser. I like to just let the story flow. There are people who can do this. If you’ve already finished books and published, ignore me. If, however, you either can’t finish a book or you get stuck in forever edits, let me try to help you. It might not work. The fun thing about anything artistic is that there is no real right way or wrong way; there’s only the way that works for you. So, how do you outline a novel? Start with the basics. Every…

How to Write a Book: Getting Ideas

  Everybody walks past a thousand story ideas every day. The good writers are the ones who see five or six of them. Most people don’t see any.” – Orson Scott Card I once belonged to a writing group. It was a mixed group, with experienced, published writers shuffled in with complete newbies. There was one thing that often made the newbies stand out. They’d come in, participate for a while, and then say, “I need help. Does anyone have a story idea I can use? I can’t come up with any.” This is a relatively safe place. I try to not mock much…. Wait. Who am I fooling? I write humor, parody and satire. Mocking is my middle name. So if you are a sensitive soul who doesn’t like being the butt of a good poking (but not a poking in the butt; that’s just rude), you may want to pull out your blankie. A good writer learns to see the millions of ideas out there. You cannot be a good writer unless you can come up with ideas. The good news is that fourth word: learns. This is something that can be learned. I’m here to help you…

How to Write a Book: Getting Ready

How do you write a book? There are as many answers to that as there are books, really, but I’m going to attempt over the course of however long it takes to walk you through the process of writing and publishing an independent book. Your mileage may vary and please do try this at home. NOTE: I believe everyone should write. I’m a huge fan of everyone writing. I do not believe everyone should publish a book, any more than I believe everyone should dance Swan Lake. The advice I’m giving here is for writers who want to publish, although parts can be used by anyone. So what is the very first step to writing a book? Writing, right? Wrong. It’s not even outlining (if you’re a planner) or getting an idea. The very first step to writing a book is learning how to write. This idea may make this my most unpopular blog post. “I’ve been through thirteen years of schooling, plus four years of college where they continued making me take English classes.” (Side note: if anyone had to make you take English classes, why do you want to put yourself through the hell of publishing a book,…