How I Won NaNoWriMo

NaNoWriMo is a crazy month where hundreds of thousands of people works towards the goal of writing 50,000 words for their novels. Even though I try to make time to write every day, I love the community of writers that rise up in November to encourage one another forward towards their goal. The forums and the Facebook group are incredibly helpful and, without them, NaNoWriMo would feel much more lonely and long. In fact, it is a big reason why I love this month.

But if I’ve learned anything this month, it’s that one method doesn’t work for everyone. I have very specific things I do to keep myself motivated to keep writing, but those methods might not work for everyone. What’s important, is finding out what works for you and sticking with it! It’s been a year of trial and error, but now I have my settled routine, and I got into the groove just in time for November.

Here’s what I did:

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Relationships: Building Blocks

As I am editing The Varken, I am also eagerly preparing for The Blessed, the last and final Keeper book (for now). In fact, I’ve already written the Prologue and the first scene to set the tone for the novel, although I won’t start getting super serious about writing until NaNoWriMo starts in November and I’m done with my first round of edits for The Varken.

However, one thing that is different about my process for this novel, as opposed to what I have done before, is how I am developing the plot. I started with Signposts and my Three-Act-Structure that I love, but there was a lot to fill in. I knew where the story would start (10 years after The Varken, 15 years after The Keeper), and the basics of the direction I wanted the plot to head in with a vague idea for how things would end.

Rather than meticulously scrutinizing every aspect of how things COULD work out for the plot, I dove into developing my characters. I got the basics down: appearance, general personality, hopes, dreams, weaknesses, you know the drill. Knowing my characters better certainly helped me to understand what they would do in certain situations, but so much of The Blessed is based around characters reacting to other characters, rather than a position they are in or some situation out of their control. Everything is up for grabs.

So what I did, was I started a lovely folder for Relationships!Read More »

Hugh Howey’s Top 10 List of Counterintuitive Tips for Self-Publishers

I just stumbled across this thanks for another author on Facebook and HAD to share!

If you hadn’t read Howey’s amazing novel “Wool”, you are missing out!

Hugh Howey’s Top 10 List of Counterintuitive Tips for Self-Publishers

1. Asking people to buy your book doesn’t work. Instead, try to entertain or enlighten with your Facebook posts and tweets.

2. The people who sell your books are your existing readers. Concentrate on interacting with them and being accessible.1. Asking people to buy your book doesn’t work. Instead, try to entertain or enlighten with your Facebook posts and tweets.

3. There is no promotion as strong as writing the next book. None. That always comes first.

4. It doesn’t matter how quickly your book jumps out of the gate upon release. An undiscovered book remains fresh and new. You have the rest of your life to promote or gain sales, so keep writing!

5. Give your books away. You need to build up a fan base. That means free ebooks, sample chapters, and not worrying about piracy or DRM.

6. A good agent is your best friend. Even if you don’t want to sign with a publishing house, there are overseas markets and media rights that they can help you with.

7. An email list is more powerful than Twitter or Instagram (though not quite as powerful as Facebook). You want to reach out to those who are receptive, those who have signed up to hear from you. Build that newsletter email list as soon as possible.

8. Videos are worth a million words. Readers love connecting with and getting to know their favorite authors. Shoot a video rather than typing out a blog post. They are quick to watch and easy to share.

9. Be yourself. This shouldn’t be counterintuitive. I hope it isn’t. Don’t lose sight of who you are. Embrace the awkwardness, the glee, the dumbfoundedness.

10. Authors are not in competition with one another. We are in this together. A happy reader buys more books, so celebrate others doing well and help who you can. Remember those who helped you. Pass it along.