NaNoWriMo Prep: Testing the Waters
NaNoWriMo Prep / October 17, 2016

If you’re not flat-out pantsing NaNo this next year (and I’m a fan of not pantsing the first finish, but I know that everyone is different), how do you get the plot from point A (the beginning) to point Z (the end) without writing it all out? One way is linear. Use the old outlining method to just plug from beginning to the end with as much detail as you find necessary. It would look like this: I. Part I A. Chapter One 1. Kitty sees the mouse. 2. Mouse gets away. B. Chapter Two 1. Mouse taunts kitty 2. Kitty plots mouse’s death II. Part II Okay, yes, it sucks. Do you really think I’m going to waste my plotting powers on a blog post? I mean, I like you… no, that’s not true. I don’t know you. What are you doing on my site? I may need more sleep. The grump is gone. Back to plotting. Another way is notecards. Write each major plot point on a notecard and just move them around until they make sense to you. Another way is mind mapping. Now, I’m a Figment, so my mind is a bit of a nebulous construct in…

NaNoWriMo Prep: Step Two, Developing the Plot
Uncategorized / October 13, 2016

You can go into NaNoWriMo cold, with nothing. You can. I can’t. I break out in a cold sweat thinking about staring at that screen, knowing I have to write a minimum of 1,667 words that day, hoping something will come to me. No, thanks. I’m going into NaNo prepped. Those of you hardy souls who do not, I salute you. From far away. With a full CDC virus-protection suit on, just in case the insanity is contagious. Instead, I’ll be doing some exercises over the next few weeks to get my stories into a rough sort of shape. Note that I’m not a hardcore planner. I only get the map set up. I let the story determine where I travel on that map. Yesterday, if you did your homework, you came up with a number of potential plots. Now you need to spend some time developing them into a working thesis, so to speak. Or type. Or… whatever. Let’s move along. There are lots of ways to do this. One is just to take the general idea and plug it into various genres and see what it gives you. Idea: Husband and wife are traveling 2000 miles to get…

Publishing a NaNoWriMo Book: Saving All the Bits
NaNoWriMo Prep / October 9, 2015

I’ve heard it a million times: “I have this great idea. I can’t wait until it’s time to write.” “Did you write it down somewhere?” “Oh, no. I’ll remember this. It’s good.” Two days later… “I forgot what it was!” I have read that the great Stephanos Reyes (known in your world as Stephen King) does not write down his ideas. If they’re good enough, he’ll remember them when it’s time. While I respect his creative genius and his productivity, most of us need to write things down to remember them. Also, if you’re new to this, having little notes to jar your memory may be what gets you to two thousand words that day instead of petering out at fifty. When I wrote Veneri Verbum, I had little notes on everything everywhere. Okay, my notes were sometimes actual Figments I created, but we’ll work with your world. When you get a great idea, write it down. When you sit to write, put all your great ideas next to you. If you get stuck, pull one of the great ideas. If you have a lot of them, pick the one that works best. If you only have one, toss that…

Publishing a NaNoWriMo Book: Fleshing Out the Characters
NaNoWriMo Prep / October 7, 2015

She lay there, a formless mass of bones, muscles, and blood, not yet a real Character. It was his job, as a Writer, to flesh her out. Adding some flesh to cover up the gore would be a good start. It can be tricky business making the Figments from your imagination into real, flesh-and-blood Characters. There are a lot of ways to go about it, too. I recommend picking one to keep your Characters straight unless you want  to end up with  Tweedledee-Tweedledum confusion. Pantsing It– Completely If you think your memory is good enough, just put your Character out there and wing it. No notes. No planning. Don’t blame me if she turns out like Chris in Veneri Verbum and never quite solidifies into a solid Character. Also don’t blame me if she’s homicidal. It’s a lot of stress when you don’t have an Id. Pantsing It– With Style If you want to pants it, I recommend making notes. Use notecards, Scrivener, sticky notes, or tattoos, but make notes of every important feature about your Characters.  If he has brown hair in chapter one and red hair in chapter three, a Reader will eventually notice.  Don’t forget to add…

Publishing a NaNoWriMo Book: What About Publicity?
NaNoWriMo Prep / October 5, 2015

First, a disclaimer: this is not one of my stronger areas.  I’m a Figment. We don’t have social media. We once burned Writers at the stake (and, accidentally, at the steak). I’m so bad at this that I hired a social reality person.  (Which reminds me that I need to fire her and hire someone else, but that’s not part of this post.) A lot of first-time writers don’t start publicity for their books until after they’ve published. At the very least, they wait until release week and spam everyone with their excitement. Excitement-flavored potted meat is not nearly as tasty if you’re not the one who created it. You really need to start setting up your social media before you ever start writing. The real trick, you see, is that social media is about connection, not about potted meat. If you start connecting with people before you get excited about your book, they will get excited with you because you have a connection. If you toss it out there before they know you, you’re a telemarketer. Even telemarketers don’t like telemarketers. Now that you’re caught up on your homework (you are caught up, right?), here’s your next assignment: get…

Publishing a NaNoWriMo Book: Making a Schedule
NaNoWriMo Prep / October 2, 2015

  SUNDAY MONDAY TUESDAY WEDNESDAY THURSDAY FRIDAY SATURDAY 6AM 6:30AM 7AM 7:30AM DRIVE DRIVE DRIVE DRIVE DRIVE 8AM WORK WORK WORK WORK WORK 8:30AM 9AM 9:30AM 10AM 10:30AM 11AM 11:30AM NOON 12:30PM 1PM 1:30PM 2PM 2:30PM 3PM 3:30PM 4PM 4:30PM 5PM 5:30PM DRIVE DRIVE DRIVE DRIVE DRIVE 6PM 6:30PM I’ve been told many of you have lives outside of Writing. Apparently these involve things like Work, Family, and School. I have none of these things, but I’m going to help you plan for November as if I do. First, the big secret to winning NaNo is to know what you have to do to win. If you have a job and a family, you know that you need to write fast and hard (even if you don’t write erotica). If you have lots of free time, you may need motivation. My trick would be to plot your life the way you plot a book.  (Pantsers, this even means you.) 1. Figure out your life Find or make yourself a calendar. November starts on a Sunday this year, which is very helpful. Make four weekly calendars (like above) and one with just two days. You have November. Now, fill in the…

Publishing a NaNoWriMo Book: How to Prepare for November
NaNoWriMo Prep / October 1, 2015

Last year I wrote a novel during National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo). No big deal; according to the site, 325,142 other Writers finished a book in 2014.  However, I wrote in November, edited in December, and published in January. Most of you aren’t Figments. I believe you have to type or handwrite your words, rather than have them appear on the screen when you think them. But if you’re writing a book with the intention of publishing, there’s some NaNo prep you might want to do now that October is officially here. 1) Solidify your idea Every pantser, gardener, and booper just cried out in pain. “We don’t plan! We run by the seat of our pants!” (Sounds painful, by the way.) If you’re writing just for fun, yes, pants away. (Please don’t take them off. That’s a verb, not a noun.) However, my studies show that the majority of traditionally published novelists plot to one degree or another. (My studies may or may not be other people’s studies that I’m using as an example.)  J.K. Rowling? Plotter.  Tolkein? Plotter. Even Stephen King, who treats plotting like adjectives, does at least get a good concept of his story ahead of…