5 Ways to Succeed at NaNoWriMo

Before I begin I must be forthright. I’ve never attempted NaNoWriMo. But that does not disqualify me from sharing advice about a literary sprint such as this. How? I’ve done the 3 Day Novel Contest. Yes. NaNoWriMo – in three days.

That contest produced a 25,000 word novella with a wide cast of characters, weaving plot, and horrendous grammar, just like your NaNoWriMo project will.

Know you can do it! Super cliché right? Removing this mental hurdle is key. How do you know you can do it? Break it down. 2,500 words a day = a 75,000 word novel. This is more than adequate for any market.

Remove distractions. Turn off the wifi connector on your writing device. barricade yourself in your room or garage. Whatever you need to do to ensure you have absolute focus. One of my friends listens to music. Another requires silence. Do whatever it is that makes you dial in.

Be healthy. Take breaks. Get proper sleep. Go on walks. Spend time not writing. Spend time reading. Maybe choose one day a week where you don’t write. Don’t avoid it but don’t let your creative well run dry. This is paramount. Write 1,000 words and then go stretch your legs.

Don’t edit. This might be hard or not. But consider this – have you ever tried to have a conversation with someone who interrupts you all of the time? Annoying yes? Let your inner artist out. This is not the final draft anyway. If you were a sculptor, your finished draft would be like finding the precise stone to chisel. Believe me, this is an essential ingredient to ensure you do not fall behind and win the competition.

Have your ending in mind. Plot all you want or not at all but have a solid ending. This will keep you going and make sure it will not be a chore to finish, because it can be. And also having your destination in mind will ensure you do not spend 30 hours and 30,000 words on something that does not work or does not interest even you.

I hope you are prepared mentally, physically, and emotionally.

If you have ideas for how you are going to get through this, share them below.

Cheers,

Bob

Advertisements

100 Word Challenge – Emerald

It’s been a while since I participated in the 100 Word Challenge from Julia’s place. I was inspired by my friend Josh’s short story. Read that HERE.

If you100wcgu-73 want to stretch your writing muscles or are considering working on a large piece of fiction, I’d start here (click on the logo). Confining your words is one of the best ways to develop your language. Limiting your words means you have to pick the right words, or at least the best words you can manage.

This is titled, The Dragon Rider. Enjoy.

Alden Nash touched the Emerald. There was a flash, and he vanished.

Dr. Bulgakov looked around. He heard a faint squeak and saw his friend, a half inch tall now,  screaming up at him.

“……!!….!!!!”

“I’m sorry my friend. I can’t understand you.” Dr. Bulgakov replied knowing it was some form of eloquent profanity.

“… said… dragon…rider.” Alden screamed, throwing his fedora down and jumping on it.Dragonfly

“I didn’t. The runes did.” Dr. Bugakov put his on glasses and read the stone tablet again.

“Oh, no.” He looked down. “It says dragon fly rider.”

“…!!!…!!!…!!!”

“Yes, well, I’m sorry Alden.”

Hope you enjoyed it.

Cheers,

Bob

100 Challenge Julia’s Place – Grey – After the Storm

For more 100 word stories, click on this icon

It’s been a while since I participated in the 100 word challenge from Julia’s place. It feels nice to get back into the swing of things. I hope you enjoy the post eruption mini below.

Title: After the Storm

“Gary, how long will this last?” Clara asked staring out the window.

“No idea. The radio’s gone silent again. This time I think it’s for good,” her brother replied slapping the device again.

“Do you think we should leave?” Clara watched a car race down the road. Outside, it was growing cold.

“No, I think it’s best if we stay inside. In time, things will clear up. We’re outside the blast radius. I don’t think we’ll be affected.” Clara nodded, but did not believe a word he said.

As the grey ashes fell, Clara knew her world had changed forever.

Julia’s Place – 100 Word Challenge – And Winter Will Bring

Happy Friday everyone. Today is my post for Julia’s Place. If you have not visited it already and want a place to hone your writing skills, click on the icon. This entry is titled Ragnarok.

Olaf swung his axe.  Tree after tree fell before him. His red shaggy beard grew heavier in the misty rain.

“Father, why do we work like this? Why do we work so hard?” Sigrid asked looking at the next farm over. “They don’t.”

“We need to be ready,” he breathed between swings.

“For what?”

“You are young and don’t remember. Upon the fortieth cycle of the sun, winter comes with the darkness.”

“Winter?” Sigrid said bewildered.

“Yes winter. And winter will bring ice, cold, snow, and death for those who are not ready. Grab an axe daughter. Today we work.”

Cheers,

Bob

Julia’s Place – 100 Word Challenge – It Can’t Be That Time

Good day. Every week I participate in the 100 word challenge at Julia’s place. This week the words that must be used are “it can’t be that time”.

Happy writing.

It was the best night of her life. The pure extravagance was breathtaking. The ceilings stretched so high she thought they touched the stars and the way he danced…

She was sure that this must be a dream and would shortly wake in her dingy old bed. Thus, she pinched herself, bumped her elbow on a wall and stomped on her own foot- but was real. Then, as it had countless times time her life, a clock chimed midnight –spoiling the moment.  

“It can’t be that time!” she thought. She raced for the stairs, making for the carriage, dropping a slipper along the way.

Okay, okay I know. Cinderella? But hey my daughter June is three and loves the story.

Cheers,

Bob

100 Word Challenge at Julia’s Place – Stubborn John

Click on the icon for other flash fiction entries

Here is my post for this week’s challenge at Julia’s place.

The prompt this time is I woke with another headache

It’s titled Stubborn John.

Enjoy.

“We should have known the signs. We should have known,” Margaret sobbed.

“Look, I know it’s difficult to understand. There is nothing we could have done. You didn’t know John was sick and he was certainly too stubborn to tell anyone.”

Margaret held up a hand interrupting him. She reached down and pulled a journal from her purse.

“Read October fifteen’s entry,” she said. Dr Alden took it and read.

I woke with another headache…

“Flip to October fourteen,”

I woke with another headache…

“And thirteenth,”

I woke with another headache…

Dr Alden gasped. Each entry, the past three weeks, began with that very sentence.

Cheers,

Bob

100 Word Challenge for Julia’s Place – Those Putrid Sunny Days

Here is my entry for the 100 word challenge for Julia’s place to titled: Those Putrid Sunny Days.

Enjoy.

Malcolm Belfore was a child of study and thus hated summers. While all his classmates celebrated the newly won summer, Malcolm pulled out his calendar and crossed off the first day of summer.

“humph!” he growled when a joyful student rushed past shouting jubilantly.

“Bah!” he barked when he saw two high five.

“Malcolm, are you alright?” Mrs. Appleton asked while eyeing him over her glasses.

“I hate summers,” he muttered.

“But Malcolm, children love summer,” she returned.

“Not all of them.” He said pouting. He lamented every single putrid sunny day until the children began returning to the routine.

Submit your entry HERE.

Cheers,

Bob

 

Remembering the 3-Day Novel Contest

The Weaklings – Our Photo For The Grand Rapids Press

It started out as the most outrageous statement I had ever heard. “So we need to try this sometime. Can you imagine writing a novel in three days?” thus said Matthew Landrum as he discovered the annual 3-Day novel contest over Labor Day Weekend. I took it as a sort of joke at first. After all I had been working on a novel for three stinking years. There was no way I could do that, I thought. Could I?

Then I was creating an outline. My writer’s group The Weaklings (a play on C.S Lewis’s and Tolkien’s Inkings) began to discuss logistics. Where would this take place? What would we eat? How long would we have to write to complete it? What would we write? Slowly but surely each member looked at this Mount Everest of novel writing contests and began to believe that it was something we could finish.

The three day novel contest is exactly that: Start at 12:01am on Saturday and write until 11:59 on Monday evening. You cannot type a single word before or after that time frame and a person must sign and date a form saying you have not. Outlines are okay, but other than that, its just dreaming up as much of the novel in your mind ahead of time before you begin.

Obviously the novels composed during this weekend are not your average novels. No eight hundred page tomes are penned, but eighty to 100 pages are within reach if you are prepared.

The 3-Day Novel is a juggernaut. Once you are in it there is no stopping. And after that brief moment of despair or trying something new you cannot allow yourself to think twice about it, you must highlight, delete, then begin a new sentence in one continuous action.

Through the contest we went on walks, shared the occasional meal, and for motivation I called my wife, talked with a fellow Weakling for a moment or read the article that made it into the Grand Rapids Press and on the Mlive website.

During the two years I did compete, I wrote two novels. The first is titled For the Glory of Nequam. It is my attempt at exploring the evil in my world and how it began. It is the story of a promised young boy who seeks fame, fails and then attempts to restore the glory of his city no matter the cost. 

The second novel is titled Dacia. It’s about a language expert who is commissioned to travel to Romania to help sway them to join England’s cause during WWI. He falls in love with Katia, a native Romanian and after she goes missing while hiking, discovers a society of werewolves that have lived in the Balkans for centuries.

The contest was so much fun that I am getting filled with the thrill of competing in it once more. Not this year though, but perhaps next. Now I am focused on getting published.

Please enjoy other 3 Day Novel memories below:

If you are participating this year, good luck!

Cheers,

Bob

A Helpful Writing Contest

Yesterday I posted my 100 word challenge. It comes from the site Julia’s Place (here) and I’d like to mention it to my readers. I believe her contests are tremendously helpful for the writer trying to hone their skill and if you are a writer trying to reach the next level of the craft, sign up and try next week’s prompt.

The 100 word challenge makes you be selective and confines your writing, forcing you to exercise your writing muscles. The premise is, you are given a few words and they need to be included in the 100 words you write. Then follow the instructions to post your link on her site.

See yesterday’s post for an example.

Special thanks to Josh Mosey for bringing them to my attention.

I apologize for the short post, but I have something I am working on.

I will inform you all next week.

Keep Writing – 1000 words this weekend? You can do it!

Cheers,

Bob

Guest Posts Wanted!

As some of you may know my family and I are moving to a new house! This means that my life will be up in the air and there may be some gaps in internet coverage. I am looking for posts to fill in the periods where I will not be able to follow through to my weekly audience.

This is where you come in, guest blogger.

I am not looking for works of fiction or poetry, but more or less tips on writing, tips for getting published, or anything relating to the life of a wanna-be published author. These will be used on May 24th, 25th, and 28th.

Please post your ideas/links in the form below.

Cheers,

Bob