#WMPitch- Writers get those pitches out!

This is another exciting competition on twitter! 8am to 8pm. So all my middle grade and Young Adult authors get on twitter and get your pitch out!

Goodnight Moon - Wikipedia

So what makes this different from Pitch Wars or PitMad? This is a competition for people interested in publishing picture books, middle grade fiction, and young adult stories ONLY. No adult or New Adult (NA) fiction should apply. This is for the stories that we loved in elementary school or those wonderful books we enjoy sharing with our babies. That picture book you’ve shelved, bring it out and clear off the dust! That sweet short story about flying magic carpets for six year olds, start tweeting!

Berenstain Bears Go To School - (Berenstain Bears First Time Books) By Stan  Berenstain & Jan Berenstain (Paperback) : Target

If you’re not an author for young kids or middle school, you can show support to fellow authors by retweeting (not liking! Agents are the only one to like tweets!) stories you think are super cool. And there is some really neat stories out there.

GOOD LUCK #WMPitch competitors! Leave your twitter handle in the comments below if you are taking part, and I will reblog your story.

The Antagonist

Some men just want to watch the world burn.

Coriolanus Snow | The Hunger Games Wiki | Fandom
The Boys: [SPOILER] Has the Potential to Be Stronger Than Homelander

Whether you are a dictator just trying to keep a tyrannical rule going by killing kids for sport, a false superhero who is completely psychotic, or an evil dick out to traumatize children trying to get through the school year-you have one job. Beat the protagonist into a bloody broken pulp and make your wildest dreams come true.

You are the antagonist. You are the chill in the air when the protagonist enters the room, the shadow they jump at, the nightmare that haunts their dreams. And the hero to your own story.

The difference between a protagonist and an antagonist is very clear and defined. The two approach one situation, a conundrum of sorts, that requires the sacrifice of others and possibly their friend’s lives. The hero would bulk and try to find another way. The villain, our dear antagonist, would not. What’s the cost of a few hundred lives to the acquisition of their goals. It’s not even their life and they get everything if a few thousand people died? What’s the problem with that?

And that dear readers is what drives us to despise the ever loving hell out of these selfish people.

But what makes a good antagonist? Charm? Wealth? Ruthless blood thirst? A catchy theme song? Easily recognizable body armor?

What You Might Not Know About Darth Vader - YouTube
Hey remember when this guy was Hayden Christensen? Good times.

I dare say they are people that take it too far.

Anakin Skywalker wanted to protect his growing family and did all the terrible things he did in the name of love. This back fired spectacularly when the people who loved him could no longer do so when they found out all his evil deeds and went against him (also the kid killing was the last straw for me, any sympathy I had for poor Annie died with the padawans). President Snow didn’t even know who the hell Katniss was until she openly defied him and after that he sat back on his throne to make her life misery- and he succeeded getting in one last parting shot that would wound Katniss for the rest of her life. Miranda Priestly tortured Andy with just the slight chill in her voice and a cocked eyebrow. Driving the girl insane with her perfectionist attitude. She may have pulled through and awarded Andy with a lovely letter of recommendation at the end but make no mistake Miranda was the villain start to finish.

Here’s the thing, I like a reason, no matter absurd, to know why are they being such cosmic level sized jerks? Did the hero spit in your tea because you are a demanding boss? Did they rob you of your estate by accident when your sister was named the heir? Did they marry your husband when you were committed to the insane asylum? What’s the beef dude?

Without a clear objective villains can end up being empty characters that only oppose the hero and once they are disposed, there’s no real victory. Like this guy:

JOFFREY BARATHEON | Jack Gleeson | Game of Thrones | Joffrey baratheon, King  joffrey, Baratheon
You were evil, so damn evil, oh my god were you EEEVVIIIILLLLLL

We should want to see them disposed, shot out of a cannon, ripped to shreds, humiliated, by the end of the novel or what’s the point? A good villain brings out a sense of satisfaction when they reap what they sow. A conflicted villain should bring out your sympathy but still relief that they are gone. You should never, ever, root for the villain. Ever. If you do that means the protagonist failed to get you on their side and you sympathize with the villain. Which is really, really bad.

I can only think of one instance where I was all for the villain taking the hero out and that was Colony the 2016 tv show. Apologies to fans of the show but I’m about to drag it through the mud. The show had several protagonists but this “protagonist” right here failed across the board to make me like her and everything was in her favor for me to root for her.

Colony' & 'Walking Dead' Star Sarah Wayne Callies on Her Preference for  'Really Extreme' Stories - TV Insider
Can we beam this sad sack up Scotty so I no longer have to endure her

She had physically lost (he wasn’t dead) son during the occupation of earth from an invading alien horde. Leaving her with only two kids left and her husband. Here’s the thing, she’s a mother who by the end of season one put the cause above her family making her the least likeable or sympathetic person on the show. She had no idea what her other children were up too because who gives a damn about them, right Katie? That and she was pitted against her husband for the resistance force that she worked for. Compelling right? Nope, that makes you the enemy dear- this is not complex character motivation-she is now the enemy (some might dare say a secondary antagonist) Nothing, no excuse you could give me, could redeem this special stupid snowflake. The villains were absent alien beings and yet they had my full support if they took her out. That’s how bad the writing for this show was. I was rooting for the villains! And they weren’t there!

I should have wanted Katie to succeed against the aliens. I should have yearned for her to find her son and be reunited. I should have hungered for justice and wanted the humans to take back the earth. But because I had no villain to work with, I was left with the humans and they were slim pickings.

Needless to say I dropped Colony like a bag of week old compost into the green bin and never thought about it again- until now, when I was trying to explain what a bad villain is.

Absent. They are not there and the protagonist is boring, or in this case moronic, without them to create conflict and drive the story forward.

So what do you think is a good antagonist? Who did you absolutely abhor? Who made you feel so happy to see taken out and left with nothing? Let me know in the comments below.

Writers Supporting Writers

You have a Friend in Me… Not! | Blinds, Free stock photos, Public relations
You gotta a friend in me

This is not really about fiction, query tips or writing. This is just a general discussion about support and how the lack of will work against you. I know this seems like common sense but bear with me.

Writers are the worst people to have as friends when you are a writer. The general attitude of the writing group I was apart of was “well I’m not here to be your cheerleader, I’m here to proof read your work.” That mentality that worked against my morale. I wanted people to enjoy my work or at least think some of it was interesting. Any work I touched, even if the ideas or characters or story didn’t resonate with me on a personal level I still loved it. This was someone’s hard work and everyone I came across had talent.

My writing was not worse then another writer, it was not better either, it was different. Not one of us was the same. Some of us were good at characters, some of us were good at exposition and some of us were stellar at setting the mood. I was never bored, or thought “well I could do this better” because I couldn’t. I could do it different. This will tie into feedback when I post on that, but for now I’m focusing on the idea of supporting your fellow writer.

We are all striving for the goal of publishing, I will leave it up to my editor to rip my writing into shreds without pause, I will leave it to a publisher to decide if my writing is worthy. A fellow writer’s opinion of the work should have some encouragement along with constructive criticism. You are not expected to be a cheerleader but you are expected to be empathetic and reasonable.

The one writer I’m close to, who tosses me ideas, who I bounce ideas off of, and trust, is an amazing fellow writer. Unfortunately he’s also a bloody unicorn in the wild that I stumbled over and we formed a good support network by chance. I supported several other writers in the group, followed their stories eagerly and besides him and another person, I didn’t find support at all. Very few people were as encouraging or supportive with their feedback. Which made me not want to write and our professional relationship very one sided. With me on one end encouraging them to go for it and my own feedback more technical without the support I was showing others. Sometimes I swore some of them thought they were better writers then me.

Case in point on my twitter timeline I posted that I wrote 500 words. I was feeling low and thought I could post humorously about my dismal word count to commiserate with others who felt they were lacking progress. Another person from the group jumped in and posted they wrote 2500 and how proud they were. No encouragement to me, no “don’t worry you’ll get back in the groove” nothing but flaunting how hard they were working and how well they were doing while I was struggling to put words to paper. Which just made things worse and I never posted about word counts again.

What makes my writing friend the golden ticket is that he doesn’t think he’s better then me. When we talk about ideas it’s a conversation. Not a lecture. We support each other. I’m jazzed he’s in the thick of getting published and I hope he goes all the way with his book. I will buy it just to read it to my son when he is of age. There is no jealousy or envy. He has talent and I have talent. And when it is my moment when I will be published, I know he will be excited.

This is the highlight of my feedback process. When we review each others work I can suggest an improvement here and he can say: “Nope keeping it,” and I just shrug “all right”

On the flip side he can suggest something and I can say: “no,” and he’ll be “all right” No hurt feelings, no but I’m right your wrong. Neither one of us treats the other as if we could do better. We’re just here to support and provide feedback. His opinion is one I will put above others at all times. I’m lucky that he’s willing to talk about our WIP (Work In Progress) and the little ideas that are going on in our heads.

Writing is a one person journey, feedback might take several people, editing is torture and usually involves another set of people but a good writing buddy is like winning the lottery. Treasure the people who will lift you up and provide you with encouragement. Discard those that think they could do it better then you because they can’t. It’s your world, your characters, your plot line and it’s your story. And one day you will realize that you can write despite others trying to convince you otherwise.

Writing for a Rainy Day

Even though it’s bright and sunny I’m going to write a short story for a rainy day. Romance will always be and forever my go to. It’s what I look for when I watch movies, read books and think about when I listen to music. So I hope you enjoy my short little story.

11 Super Fun Things To Do In Toronto When It's Raining And Gross - Narcity

I wish I didn’t love you anymore.

As the rain pelted her umbrella, Hannah hugged it close to her chest, mind in disarray as she tried to ignore the constant pinging in her trench coat pocket.

She knew what who was.

:PING: where are you?

:PING: everyone is here, is the train down again? Do you need me to pick you up?

Ping, Ping, Ping. She wanted to take the stupid phone out of her pocket and smash it under her heel. A part of her longed for it and the relief that would follow should she sever all ties to the person sending her message after message. She hated how much he made her heart beat fast, the warm feeling spreading through her whole body until the damp rain fell away. There was a sacred special connection between them. Even though she knew she wasn’t special to him. She was his gal pal, his bestie, the one he texted when he was troubled. She was everything to him but she was not his.

Finally the red wood shop came into view, the words “Fine Dining” were scrawled across the glass in gold writing. She wanted to turn around, crawl home with her tail tucked between her legs. Turn on some Jane Austen movie, ignore him and let this precious feeling wither to die. But he was waiting, hoping she would be there and she would never disappoint him.

So she shoved the guilt, the hope, the disappointment away forcefully as she closed her umbrella to pushed the glass door open. Out of the gloomy damp world she crossed into a comforting place of red velvet walls, hanging crystal chandeliers that cast a soft yellow glow over the crowded table at the center. Hannah noticed that they had pushed all the other chairs and tables to the side.

This was a private party.

Her stomach knotted as cold dread rose up. Oh no, no, no. She thought almost shaking her head back and forth in denial. Hard reality slapped her soundly in the face when she saw him. Standing beside his golden girl.

He was wearing washed out jeans, a dark brown dress shirt. A slight chill still lingered in the air but he rolled his sleeves up. When his dark brown eyes landed on her, that smile, the one that melted her heart, appeared on his lips. Before she could escape he was making his way over, hand clasped with a woman that beamed at her. On her hand was a large glittering engagement ring.

“Hannah! We’re so happy you could be here, we were worried you wouldn’t make it.” He said as he dropped his fiancee’s hand to enfold her against his chest. She could smell the husky cologne he used, feel the solid strength of his chest. It was cruel what he did and he did it so effortlessly.

“I had trouble with the train again.” Hannah muttered as the world shattered around her. He was never truly hers and now he would never be.

“Are you all right? You look pale.” His fiancee reached out to grasp her hand and it took everything in Hannah not to recoil from her touch. It was a touch of a woman who was gentle and kind. Hannah wanted to slap it off, guilt gnawing at her for the way he made her feel when his true love was just a foot away. Instead she stepped back and gave the happy couple room.

“I’m fine! So what’s going on? You didn’t mention why we were going to dinner in your text.” Hannah’s smile was so wide it was manic but if she didn’t force her lips into the tight grin, her smile would fall and the tears would fall with it. She endured as he slid an arm around his fiancee.

“Peter, everyone’s here, should we make our announcement?” His fiancee asked him. He nodded his head turning his future bride towards the table.

“You’re right, come on Katie. Hannah pick a seat and make yourself comfortable.” Peter tossed over his shoulder, thoughtlessly, in her direction. Hannah was a grown woman. She could take this. On shaky legs she managed to find the nearest seat and sit before she gave into the urge to run away. Firmly planted, the other guests took their seats around her, beaming from ear to ear. They saw the ring, they knew and how Hannah envied their happiness.

Peter clapped his hands together, standing at center of the table catching the attention of their guests. “Well everyone, we thank you for coming out on this god forsaken night to celebrate with us.”

She could only watch, from the outside, when he caught the eye of his fiancee. A look crossed his face as he held Katie’s hand. He gazed at her as if she held the world, and all it’s wonders, in her grasp. Hannah could barely stand to see it. She wanted to hang her head but she kept it up, out of respect to this moment that belonged to them. For they were a them now.

“I asked Katie to marry me and, as you’ve all seen,” he hoisted her hand as Katie laughed, “she said yes.”

The small enclosed space erupted in cheers and cries of congratulations, friends and family applauding as everyone rose to their feet to rush the happy couple. Hannah let the dagger sink further into her chest. She didn’t stay for the drinks, she didn’t hug them close and wish them well for they would be lies. Instead she gathered her umbrella and when they were distracted by his Uncle Morris, slipped out into the rain. When her phone pinged, she ignored it.

It pinged once and finally fell silent. Slogging through the rivets of water running over the cobblestone Hannah knew it was the end. No more lazy afternoons on a patio with a shared plate of food between them. No more early morning calls to make sure they grab coffee before work. No more Peter. In her heart she repeated the words into the rain.

I wish I didn’t love you anymore.

Query Tip: No Agent Feedback

Photo Of Attractive Business Lady Short Hairstyle Not Smiling Serious  Reliable Person Arms Crossed Wear Casual Green Stock Image - Image of  girlish, financier: 172562717
I’m waaiiiitttttiiinnnggg

Holly’s hot query tip of the day: literary agents rarely provide feedback. I nearly laughed out loud when someone thought that their query would receive feedback once they start the process. Maybe people do receive feedback from agents interested in their work but the reality is you will receive a yes or a no in standard letter format. No other hint why the submission was rejected, no glimmer of “oh I noticed this chapter was lacking this and that”. Just no or yes.

No agent has the time to sit you down and tell you what to work on for the next time. They have what is a “slush pile” or a submission pile of maybe 50-200 submissions to go through. Their job is to find a marketable book. They reject hundreds of submissions and unless you are born under a lucky star you are looking at a polite “this unfortunately was not for me.”

If it’s a no, you are lucky to receive a rejection letter. Most of the time, in the case of the most popular literary houses, they have a blurb on their submission page to inform the writer that “if you don’t hear from us from six months from now, we have passed on the submission.”

The only place you’ll find feedback is in writing groups, fellow writers or family members.

Now this was just my experience. I would love to hear from someone who had an agent list feedback to them, or hear from people who had the same experience as me. Let me know in the comments what you have received back from submissions.

The Protagonist AKA The Hero!

Ok we are back with regular posting. Just a quick FYI my son is doing very well in school and I feel a whole lot better now that the week has passed and we have a routine. I did, in the end, make the right choice for us.

And now that we have that little announcement out of the way, on to today’s little discussion: The protagonist of your story.

Harry Potter | Harry Potter Wiki | Fandom
Sparhawk | David Eddings Wiki | Fandom
Emma. movie review & film summary (2020) | Roger Ebert

You know them, the person that effects the world around them. A Boy Who Lived, a knight on a quest to save his queen, and a girl with good intentions that doesn’t always have the best advice to give.

They are the people we root for. They may not be the reason we picked up the book, a good premise can reel me in, but a better protagonist keeps me reading. They are often flawed, can be selfish, passive and some times awful people, but at their heart they are trying to achieve their goals and we root for them.

But what makes a good protagonist?

Is it their antagonist? Is it the challenges they face? Is it the way they endure when everyone else has given up? Is it the friends that prop them up and make them better people?

A good protagonist, from my own opinion, is someone who can grow. I’ll cover character arcs later but for right now lets focus on our heroes. So what do I mean by growth? Let’s take an easy example. Emma from Jane Austen’s Emma. She starts the novel as an elite wealthy woman who befriends poor unfortunate Harriet and interferes with this girls love life to disastrous degree. Emma Woodhouse knows what’s best for everyone. It comes as a surprise how little she actually knows- even for her own heart. It’s only witnessing poor Harriet suffering from her influence, coming to terms that she should mind her own damn business and look at what is best for Harriet, does Emma truly grow as a character into someone we can all care for.

Now you’re mileage may vary with Emma. She starts off charming but completely overly opinionated but I loved her because she was trying to do what she thought was best for Harriet. I related to her. Her character arc was one that I was invested in, and when challenges came her way or her ugly wealthy elitism reared its awful head, I was hoping she would change from these experiences and she did. I was rooting for her the whole way through to stop and look at the world with a fresh perspective. Emma was very present in what was happening to her, what was shaping her into a better person and the consequences of her actions were ones she did not shy from.

Now let’s take a look at a protagonist I, in my opinion, was one that started on fire and fizzled out later. Now hate on me all you want but as much as I love Katniss Everdeen, by the end I was less invested in what was happening to her and more in what was happening around her.

Katniss made the choice to save her sister. Katniss made the choice (however unwillingly) to play up her romance with Peta for gifts from the audience. Katniss was about to swallow some damn berries and kill herself to make sure the capital was robbed of their winner. This is amazing! Not once did I feel like she was acting out of her motives, or that she wasn’t taking the reins of a bad situation. I was all FOR her (You go girl!) But by the end, when the war was truly going on, something bad happened to our dear protagonist. Katniss started being a supporting character in her own story.

She went from interesting character to puppet in the span of two books. By the end her motives were unclear, the people around her had more compelling reasons to do what they did then she did. Her ending was less BOOAY! And more “ok I guess that wraps everything up.” She stopped growing, stopped changing the world she lived in. When we left her at the end of the series, her world was better then it was when we were introduced to her. However, this was the product of someone else making it that way. Katniss was the flame to the forest fire but it did not burn brightly at the end. It whimpered out leaving behind only ashes and a sense of small closure to someone unable to change or unwilling to change anymore. She had a happy ending, as happy as it could be and that’s it.

Which is why long standing series have a hard time keeping the audience engaged. A protagonist can only grow so much before it becomes highly suspicious for them to continue to evolve. An example of this was:

Don’t look at me like that, you know you’re no longer interesting

I lived for the Terry Goodkind’s Sword of Truth series. Oh my god the first three books were just swoon worthy high fantasy. The protagonists were interesting, their goals clear and I just loved Kahlan Amnell. Let me say I loved her in the first three books and then suddenly poor Kahlan has a lot to deal with. Let me boil it down to a few challenges: she has to marry someone other then her love interest, have sex with that man, feels guilty because she had an orgasm, gets beaten multiple times (mostly so Richard can feel bad about it) loses Richard or is parted from him for reasons. Is subjected to torture, nearly raped, miscarries a child by Richard, mind wiped and at one point erased from existence. Whoooo boy that’s a lot to take in and from what I remember she didn’t really grow from any of it.

What was once a promising character had been reduced to someone I couldn’t stand. My sympathy reduced to “oh crap, here we go again.” And she never recovered for me. It was a slog to get through the series because-even with the main character- I no longer related to them. I wasn’t invested in what was happening because so much had happened. Too much in fact. It was amazing no one had suffered a mental breakdown and killed themselves from everything that happened.

That’s not to say it can’t happen but it’s a tricky balance to strike. My protagonist for Paths of Ruin and Fire has to overcome addiction to power. Her growth is realizing what she thought was a gift is actually a big curse on her. The more she uses it, the less of a person she becomes. Her realizing that she was fine without it, and it never made her special, is what will drive her growth. Hopefully she ends up as a Emma and not a Kahlan.

So let’s hear what you think a good protagonist is? What’s one that really drew you in and why? I’m interested in hearing what you think. Or do you have a protagonist that goes through growth? How did they grow?

I Sent My Baby to School This Morning

Ok, completely unrelated to writing, I sent my little boy to school this morning and I’m….trying to internalize all that.

I know this is a writing blog but I just need a place to put out what I’m going through. I know a lot of parents are sending their kids to school this year but this is his first day of kindergarten and I’m hoping he has a good day. That it’s not confusing or he gets intimidated, or he needs his mama.

It was not the school year I was looking forward too. In fact I felt like I was standing in a horror movie al a 28 Days Later with people wearing masks (most of them), standing in line to have the kids processed. No parents beyond the fence separating the school yard from the parking lot. For a moment I was tempted to grab him back and go home. Watching him toddle off pass the fence where I couldn’t go, just really hit home.

My little boy is growing up.

I mean I knew that, I’ve been there 24/7 to raise and look after him alongside my husband. However watching him go, the staff with face shields and masks on greeting the kids, helping him out, I just thought am I doing the right thing? His doctor gave him the A-OK, the staff are making sure to take all precautions and I know he’s better off going then staying home and driving us crazy while we work. I feel awful to repeat the same line over and over. “I’m sorry baboon, mommy has to work, do you want me to set up your lego? Put out some play doh? No you can’t watch another hour of TV.” He’s better off stimulated at school then he is with us.

It doesn’t change the fact it’s a really big change for everyone. Add pandemic worries on top of that and it just brings me down a little.

I think if the pandemic wasn’t happening, I would be happier with him going to school. I have the school messenger open, and I’m checking it for updates. Just in case there’s any news. We also have a twitter account just for school.

sigh

After the first week it will be better. After this post I’ll get back on my writing jam. I just hope he comes home today super excited to go back.

How is everyone else handling this? Let me know.

Let’s Talk Story Structure

Writing is fun, writing is staying up well past your bedtime because the words are pouring out of you, and it’s taking the little details out of your head and putting them down on paper or (in my case) a Microsoft word doc.

The hard part is when you think to yourself “I should publish this.” Now before you have visions of book deals, and wealth beyond your dreams, you need to realize one important truth:

The story will need work.

You have to step back and look at it objectively. Speaking as someone who didn’t do that, no wonder I faced a world of rejection. Here’s what my problem was:

It’s all over the bloody place. Holy cow, when my editor told me I had the characters in a perpetual state of near constant death she wasn’t kidding. This is a perfect example of the first draft. This is the meat of the story. What I should have done was write the story, step back and let it sit for a month before sitting down to read it again. No line edits for spelling and grammar, that comes later. I should have looked at what was happening. Did it flow right? Was it interesting? What was the most important parts of this book? What could be cut to keep the writing tighter? What did the story structure look like?

This is what a basic story structure should look like. (Courtesy of the Nano-Prep-101-Handbook)

I wish I had this when I started.

In the simplest terms your story should have these basics.

-You have the setup (introduction to the world, characters)

-There’s something that happens (war breaks out, zombies attack, introduction to the main conflict)

-Rising tension (squeeze that main character until they can’t take it anymore- a good antagonist goes all out to make our hero squirm)

-Climax (big battles, exposing the villain, bear knuckle brawling, time to take the antagonist to task!)

-Falling action (the clean up of lose plot holes, catching up with the characters- time to relax and let the audience breathe)

-Resolution (the Happy Ever After AKA HEA or the Happy For Now AKA HFN) or the knife twist if you are into that.

See, it’s not that painful to think of your story with a critical eye.

ᐈ Cats stock photos, Royalty Free cat pics | download on Depositphotos®
Don’t you feel good? Be proud of your accomplishments!

Now I know what you’re going to say. “But you’re stifling my creativity!” you cry, “Unfair! I don’t want to plot my novel! It’s too rigid!” you say, “My writing is good enough to be published without doing this.” Touche my friend.

But as someone who made this mistake I can tell you, you won’t get very far. Story structure only applies to those wanting to publish their story. You can write an amazing novel and never publish it. You don’t have to go back and look at your book with a critical eye. You can leave it be. However if you want to publish, you may want to look at it in these terms. Now this is one way you can plot your novel. There are several others you can try if this doesn’t work for you.

What I’m attempting to do now with Paths of Fire and Ruin, is write it. I have a beginning, a middle and an end. I jot down the three basic parts that need to happen, freeing up the middle parts between to let my creativity flow. I’m not plotting this out to the nines because I’m just writing. When I am done however, that’s when the real work begins.

Maybe the next time I query I might get a pages request, maybe next time I might see my dream happen and an agent will sign me. Mistakes are only bad if you never learn from them and trust me I’ve learned my lesson.

NanoWriMo- Say what now?

I had my first pumpkin spice latte yesterday and with that September was truly ushered in.

Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Lattes: Real Pumpkin, No Caramel Coloring | Glamour
Feast your eyes on the glory of pumpkin coffee!

I freaking love fall. The days are growing shorter (yes!) and the mornings are starting later (people with young kids- double yes!) and the nights become cool from the hot days. You can now shower with hot water again. Pretty soon sweaters will be back in fashion, and the leaves will turn color- if they haven’t already.

This also means that October is around the corner and NanoWriMo is on the horizon yet again. The what who mo? NanoWriMo also known officially as:

A beginner's guide to entering NaNoWriMo - Prolifiko
Oh yeah. Time to master the insurmountable again!

Every November, people all over the world participate in writing a novel in a month. You need to write 50,000 words by the end of November to call yourself a winner.

It’s also time to connect with fellow writers, attend events (sadly closed due to the pandemic) and enjoy the writing process. There is absolutely no editing, there’s no revision, there’s nothing but typing or free hand writing and getting that idea on paper. Think you made a mistake- who cares! Want to revise that last part- don’t waste your time! Write. Which means you have your novel down but it’s a mess that needs heavy revision, once you reach your goal.

There’s also the social aspect of NanoWriMo where you can attend fun events like write ins. Or meet up at a pub for a drink and a writing session. As much as I enjoyed NanoWriMo it’s not anything more then what it is. It’s not a place where a career writer can network because most people are just writing. It’s not a place where I found a single person trying to break into publishing. The events sounded cool but as someone with no time, I couldn’t really attend them.

My NanoWriMo experience was me sneaking off to a meeting room to try and bust out 1200 words a day before lunch was up and I had to get back to my desk. The people I did connect with just fizzled out because once the month was over, we all went our separate ways. Which is the norm.

Meeting Rooms in Frankfurt | Frankfurt Marriott Hotel
Gotta make this quick! I still need ten minutes to eat lunch!

It is, however, a great way to get your novel out. There are tons of tools available to writers for free. They have some great resources for plotting a novel if you’re having a hard time. Lots of discussion on the different ways to do it, and they have a great store full of merchandise you can purchase to brag once you hit your goal. And really, who doesn’t love merchandise?

NaNoWriMo "Deconstructed Logo" Tote Bag
Ohhh yeah- I’m awarding myself with this when I win.

Once NanoWriMo kicks off you have until the end of November to write 50,000 words. No small feat. The best thing you can do is prep for all September and October to make sure you get the most of the time you have. Then come October 31 midnight, you log in to the webpage (sign up is free), chose your project and off you go! Every time you write you update the word count.

What I love the most about NanoWriMo (besides getting an idea on paper) is the word counter. It tracks your progress, showing you how much you need to write daily, and awarding you badges as you go along. As writers, we need all the encouragement we can get. If you’re stagnant on getting an idea out, just write it. Write nonsense, write nothing, write 2000 words in one go. It’s all about getting that story out. Editing will come after November.

Now, there’s no need to feel bad if you come up short of the goal, you still put 5,000 or 10,000 words towards your novel and maybe made some friends along the way. Maybe next year will be your year. The point is you wrote and you started the journey of getting the words on paper.

And the word counter isn’t just available for November. Once you’ve signed up to the webpage you can access it year round.

In short if you are looking to just get your idea on paper, meet some regional writers in your area, purchase some sweet merch, access some free resources, NanoWriMo is for you. However if you want to build your novel, craft it and take your time, then this is an event you may want to skip.

This year I’ll be trying to get Julian’s Ghost down on paper. A novel I’ve been thinking about for the past three years. I’ll take a break from Paths of Fire and Ruin, flex my imagination and just write the damn thing.

For those interested my nano name is: Hollywoodcdn.

Here’s the link for NanoWriMo:

https://nanowrimo.org/

See you all in November!

PitMad- what is it? And how does it help you as a writer?

This is actually one of the best events for new writers to get involved in. Once I have Paths of Fire and Ruin finished, feedback received and then edited professionally, I will be taking part in this.

So just what is this event taking place, right now, on twitter that has everyone and their grandmother putting tweets out at the speed of light? It is a 280 character query letter. That’s right, get those summaries ready my writer friends because it’s your time to shine.

Heck Yes GIFs | Tenor
That’s right Rich Crazy Asian’s Actor!

How does it work? For one only AGENTS can heart (like) the tweet. Do not like someone’s PitMad tweet because they think an agent did it- that’s cruel. You can spread the word by re blogging like crazy. You see a story you like? Re Blog! Show the writer your support. Let them know you are on their side.

Through the use of Hash tags an agent can browse hundreds of entries, like the ones that look good and the follow up is on the writer. Say I put Paths of Fire and Ruin out, I would classify it as YA, F (Young Adult, Fantasy). IF I am lucky enough, and I get a like, I would follow up with an email to the agent explaining who I am and what story I pitched to jog their memory. They have a whole hash tag explanation on their website, click the link below for more information.

Now this is part and parcel with Pitch Wars, another cool writing event I will be taking part in. In fact the whole webpage has a lot to offer writers. Take a peek and weigh your options.

59,867 Wow Photos - Free & Royalty-Free Stock Photos from Dreamstime
There’s more! YES! There’s more- click the link!

Now don’t feel bad if the tweet isn’t liked or buried under so many other tweets of the same category. It takes time, just like everything else in publishing. The fact that it could happen, that’s there’s hope that someone will like my story, just lights a fire for me to finish this book and start getting it out there. So click the link and keep it in mind fellow writers. Good luck!

You Got This Lighted Signage · Free Stock Photo
And you lose nothing by trying!