Friday, September 23, 2011

NaNoWriMo Helpful Stuff

National Novel Writing Month is less than six weeks away!!! Here's some helpful NaNo preparation information:


To write 50,000 words of fiction* during the 30 days of November


Sign up! Visit:

“Friend” Nita a.k.a. willwrite4chocolate


No Plot? No Problem! by Chris Baty (founder of NaNoWriMo)

NaNo for the New and Insane by Lazette Gifford – (free e-book)

Writing the Breakout Novel by Donald Maass

Workbook by the same title

The Marshall Plan for Novel Writing by Evan Marshall

First Draft in 30 Days by Karen Wiesner

Story Engineering by Larry Brooks


yWriter - (works best on PCs) Free!!!

Scrivener - (works best on MACS) $45

The Snowflake Method -

*Members of the NaNoWriMo group known as the NaNo Rebels write nonfiction and poetry. Willwrite4chocolate is a two-time NaNo Rebel and overall four-time NaNo winner.

Thursday, September 01, 2011

Success through Sitting and Staring

“If you want to write and can’t figure out how to do it, try this: Pick an amount of time to sit at your desk every day. Start with twenty minutes, say, and work up as quickly as possible to as much time as you can spare. Do you really want to write? Sit for two hours a day.” ~ Ann Patchett


That whooping and hollering you heard Sunday, August 28th? It was me. It was my 50th birthday, but that's not what I was celebrating.

As I mentioned in a previous newsletter, I've been suffering from the dread "two documents with the same name" disease. For several months, I had unknowingly been alternately editing two documents in two different software programs thinking they were the same. Since that newsletter essay, I discovered a third document with the same name. One was an RTF file I had saved to email to a friend, another was a Word document, and a third was in Open Office. All three documents were titled, "Memorial 11.3." All three had various chapters recently edited. All three were different.

Last weekend a few other writing friends and I rented a space where we could write without family, friend, Facebook or other f-word interruptions. The facility was none of our homes. We shut off our phones. And, we did not have Wi-Fi. This was crucial. These conditions forced me to stare at those expletive deleted documents for 12 hours on Saturday and 12 hours on Sunday until I figured it out. That was the celebrating you heard. I FIGURED IT OUT!!! I went through all three documents chapter by chapter using Word's document compare function (don't even get me started on how much I miss WordPerfect) and cobbled together a new, clean document, "Memorial 11.4," containing the correct bits and pieces from all prior versions.

I'm telling you this tale because this problem seemed insurmountable. I was ready to give up. I had sort of given up in August when I went on sabbatical to celebrate my birthday for the entire month, but I knew I'd get back to it. And I did! So I wanted to share my success.

I bet I'm not the only one who's overcome a seemingly impossible writing problem. I'd love to hear your biggest battle and how you worked it through.