NaNoWriMo Season

Fall is here and ’tis the season for NaNoWriMo. NaNoWriMo is National Novel Writing Month.  A group of insane authors set a goal of writing a 50,000 word rough draft in the month on November. This is a worldwide event with guest speakers, prizes, a store, and camaraderie.

Established in 1999, last year the event had over 400,000  worldwide participants. No one is required to write in English. Participants from Africa, Europe, Asia, Australia, and of course all 50 States and the provinces of the USA.  I have participated three years and won the last two. I learned that you don’t have to start working on your novel on Nov 1st, that is just when you start writing it.

Preparation and Determination equals Creation.

Image courtesy of National Novel Writing Month


Tips for NaNo -ing:

  • Have your outline ready before November.
  • Have your characters fleshed out.
  • If you are using Scrivener, Have it laid out before November. Build your index cards with your scene summaries and your folders.
  • Try to get any research done in advance – otherwise make a note in your story you need to look it up and keep writing research for second draft. I use *** then list what I want to look up or spellcheck, so I know to search for *** to find my research spots.
  • Instead of being intimidated by writing 1500 words a day — break it up into two bites of 750 words or three bites of 500 words. I learned that trick from Leigh Perry at a workshop.
  • Try not to get behind. It is possible to catch up, but can be brutal in the last week of the month.
  • Remember this is a rough draft. Just get the word on paper.  There is an editing event in January.
  • Take care of you – get up and walk around once an hour. Healthy for body and re-energizes your brain.
  • Join a Region community in Nanowrimo – get encouragement.
  • Need a buddy; look for me in Nanowrimo as Claire Count.

Key thing to remember is this is a rough draft. Be kind to yourself. Everyone’s first draft is very rough. Polish that crude lump of wordsmithing until you make it a diamond after November.

NaNoWriMo is a  501c charity and will ask for donations. In the first or second week , they run a special where you get a badge or a prize bump up. Wait to donate.  They run an event where donating in a certain hour gets you into a drawing for book covers , editors, free software, etc.

Winners get badges and bragging rights. The sponsors give freebies and discounts. You have the right to wear proudly the NaNoWriMo winners T-shirt and drink form the victory mug (which you have to buy for yourself). Display your certificate of completion prominently.  And Literature and Latte gives winners a 50% off transferable coupon for Scrivener, a robust writing program built by a novelist for novelists.  You can test it with a 30 day free trial during NaNo if you like, but I would not advise it if you are not already familiar with the program. You will loose some valuable writing time learning the program.

So join me at for a massive explosion of creativity. 

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As President of the Atlanta chapter of Sisters in Crime, I have been very busy this year and had many surprises. I have been caught off guard by some of them.  I have been asked to be a  panelist and a moderator for two upcoming events. I am delighted to have this opportunity as I always feel like I learn more when I go out and share with others.  Teaching is the best way to be certain you know a subject.

I was not surprised to be asked to participate in the Atlanta Sisters in Crime panels for the Atlanta Journal Constitution Decatur Book fair.  It is the largest independent book fair in the country and draws a crowd of over 70,000.   Saturday September 1st, I will be moderating a panel about Sisters in Crime, what it is, who we are, and what it can do for mystery lovers.  On Sunday September 2nd, I will be moderating another panel.  We can be found in a large quad booth at spot 402. 

DBF Poster

2018 AJC Decatur Book Festival poster by Caldecott Honoree, R. Gregory Christie.

Palmetto Sisters in Crime is hosting their first workshop called Mystery in the Midlands in Columbia, SC on Saturday, July 28th.

Join us for a full day of author panels, writer’s craft workshops, and an author luncheon! Stick around for a signing at the end of the day. Headlined by Elaine Viets, this day-long mystery conference includes over 20 mystery writers from all over the country! Lunch included.

I have been invited to participate in a panel on short stories with Paula Benson and others.  I am thrilled because I attended a panel led by Paula Benson several years ago which pushed me into trying  that style of fiction. Since then I have had 6 short stories published ( some under a nom de plum).

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Filed under Author events in the Southeast, Georgia Writing Events, Literary Events, Literary World, Short Stories, South Carolina