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“Ideas are cheap. It’s the execution that is all important.” — George R.R. Martin
Because I’m feeling particularly childish and free spirited today, I thought I’d write a post about Nanowrimo. I’m not participating this year, but am using the time my friends and fellow scribes are using to write a novel to instead work on achieving a few smaller goals, like work to improve this blog.
But, in that spirit, I’d like to at least serve as a cheerleader for everyone else. After all, the best thing about Nanowrimo, in my humble opinion, is that next month, there will be thousands upon thousands of new books either being self published or shopped to publishers. And, that’s good for readers everywhere because there will soon be more reading options. Not that my to be read pile needs any more encouragement to collapse under the weight of my great reading ambitions, but you get the gist.
When I first heard that National Novel Writing Month was even a thing, I was just a young thing myself. No wrinkles in my skin, no gray hairs. My kids were little then, too. I was just beginning to figure out what kind of person I wanted to be in the world. I always wanted to finish a novel in a November, but to tell the truth, I never did. I always started something. I always began with stars in my eyes and a powerful thirst for a story. The only novel I ever wrote in a month was The Bones Of Willow Lake (currently out of print) and it only took three weeks, but I wrote it in June (2012) instead of November.
Will I ever complete an entire novel in a month or less again? Who knows. Right now, I’m working on other things and gaining my happiness from other writers and their works. When a story whispers in my ear and pulls me by the fingertips again, I’ll write it. I’ll know. And, you’ll all know too because I’m a different person when I’m actively writing a novel. Inspiration just isn’t here right now. Who knows when that little devil will show up again. I’m satisfied to be writing short posts, reading great fiction, and testing out really cool cookbooks. Life is full of flavors, after all.
If any of you get into a slump through Nanowrimo, you should know that other writers are your best resource for information. Most folks I know would be more than happy to send you off in the right direction if you get stuck or give you information regarding resources online or in your area to research your subject matter. Or maybe the story itself is the problem and you’re having some stylistic, grammatical, or structural issues.
But, if you don’t want to reach out to a friend, there are other ways to figure things out on your own.
A Kindle Unlimited subscription could be of use if you need to research and don’t have time to wait around on books to arrive on your doorstep. I have this service and it comes in handy for all sorts of situations.
If you’re having trouble formatting your manuscript to submit, I would advise you to first use the William Shunn formatting example here. This example is widely accepted from most publishers, but you should ALWAYS read submission guidelines very thoroughly. Editors are fickle beasts sometimes and I know this because I’ve done my fair share and it’s not fun. I was well known for tossing manuscripts for using Comic Sans, because, yes, people like to do that to me for some reason.
Note- Do not send anyone a manuscript in comic sans, please. It is an annoyance and I view the act as a personal attack on my character and well being. Just kidding. Or am I?
If you’re stuck and you need to figure out where to take your story next because you didn’t plot something out exactly to a tee, no fear. You can always check Reddit, look for inspiration from Pinterest, and shoot ideas back and forth with a friend. Sometimes just talking it out is a help.
If you’re interested in books, Stephen King’s On Writing is highly recommended. It’s not just a how to, it’s quite the cozy read. But, if you’re not into King’s writing style and you’re looking for more of a guide, you can always check out The Elements of Style. I used to keep a copy close, but I lent it out and never got it back years ago. I didn’t repurchase it because I just didn’t like it and the important info in there can be found online with a quick search.
Until next time, folks. Happy writing and happy reading.
And, I hope you all had a Blessed Samhain and/or a Happy Halloween.