Tuesday

NaNoWriMo 2011 - Winner!

51912 was the official NaNoWriMo tally today.  Done!  For now at least, giving myself a week off.  So glad we had the great community here.  On my way out the door so more later. :)

Thursday

The Home Stretch - A Thanksgiving NaNoWriMo

Here we go!  We are in the home stretch of NaNoWriMo 2011 and I have been pleasantly surprised.  My progress has been steady and I have no doubt I'll be a winner this year (this being my second, I didn't fare as well last year). If you are a little behind remember to just sit and write, no distractions, no editing, no excuses!

Though we still have a week left I wanted to thank everyone that has participated in the great writer communities on Google+ and Twitter.  The writer hangouts and NaNoSprints really were a lifesaver. Someone was always there when I needed to be challenged or spurred to write more. I am thankful for each and every one of you. Here's hoping everyone else is doing well with their projects (and in the U.S. have great Thanksgiving)!

Monday

NaNoWriMo 2011 - Day 14

Sorry for the lack of daily updates.  I was hoping to keep up the same format for each day.  I find though that I am so busy some days I can't even write.  Then when I can write I am playing catch up and have no time to update here.  I don't even think I've updated on Google+ or Twitter recently lol.

Anyways NaNoWriMo is going well, very well in fact.  I am just happy to be on target and actually getting more writing done than I ever have before.  I hope everyone else's month is going great!  I'll try to use my previous format for some posts when I can.

Wednesday

NaNoWriMo 2011 - Day 9


  • Today's Word Count: 4351
  • Current Word Count: 17615
  • Words to Go: 32385
  • Cups of Coffee: 2
  • Hours Spent Writing Today: 4
  • Number of Breaks Taken: 3
  • Number of Characters Killed: 0
  • Number of Times Writers’ Block Occurred: 0
  • Number of Times I Almost Gave Up: 0 

Think I just about caught up to where I should be, maybe even surpassed it.  Now I am hoping to get back onto a regular writing schedule.  Playing Catch up is hard work.

Tuesday

NaNoWriMo 2011 - Day 8


  • Today's Word Count: 3866
  • Current Word Count: 13264
  • Words to Go: 36736
  • Cups of Coffee: 3
  • Hours Spent Writing Today: 3
  • Number of Breaks Taken: 2
  • Number of Characters Killed: 1
  • Number of Times Writers’ Block Occurred: 0
  • Number of Times I Almost Gave Up: 0 

Trying to play catch up after a busy weekend is not fun!  All in all a good day of writing though, now if I can just do this again tomorrow. I'll keep my fingers crossed.

Friday

NaNoWriMo 2011 - Day 4


  •  Today's Word Count: 2973
  • Current Word Count: 9398 
  • Words to Go: 40602
  • Cups of Coffee: 1
  • Hours Spent Writing Today: 2
  • Number of Breaks Taken: 2
  • Number of Characters Killed: 0
  • Number of Times Writers’ Block Occurred: 0
  • Number of Times I Almost Gave Up: 0 

Thursday

NaNoWriMo 2011 - Day 3


Day 3 continued as a good day. So far NaNoWriMo has been good fun with loads of support and camaraderie from the NaNoWrimo, Google+ and Twitter communities.  The writing is till flowing smoothly, no lack of material...yet.  Also managed a 3 mile run this morning and a 2 mile walk after dinner with the wife. I can see the need to flesh out the story a bit when I get far enough ahead in the word count.  Right now I feel as if I am writing well, but a lot of the scenes are random and out of order.  They are all needed, but I am writing them as I am in the mood to see how they turn out.  I'm not sure if that's a good thing or not.  Though as long as I am not hitting a wall yet I'm happy.  I hope everyone else is having success too.


  • Today's Word Count: 1996
  • Current Word Count: 6425 
  • Words to Go: 43575
  • Cups of Coffee: 1
  • Hours Spent Writing Today: 1.5
  • Number of Breaks Taken: 2
  • Number of Characters Killed: 1 (Minor character, needed a writing boost.  May reappear in later drafts)
  • Number of Times Writers’ Block Occurred: 0
  • Number of Times I Almost Gave Up: 0 
Very happy with today's progress. How did everyone else do?

Wednesday

NaNoWriMo 2011 - Day 2


Day 2 went well and a little bit quicker than yesterday.  Still thinking I may lose steam a little once I run out of outline and have to start connecting the dots.  As a whole though I am very happy with my progress.  I hope everyone else is off to a good start too!







  • Today's Word Count: 1945
  • Current Word Count: 4429 
  • Words to Go: 45571
  • Cups of Coffee: 1
  • Hours Spent Writing Today: 1.5
  • Number of Breaks Taken: 2
  • Number of Characters Killed: 0
  • Number of Times Writers’ Block Occurred: 0
  • Number of Times I Almost Gave Up: 0 
Very happy with today's progress. How did everyone else do?

Tuesday

NaNoWriMo 2011 - Day 1


So excited now that NaNoWriMo has started.  I was able to get off to a good start today, though I am intimidated by some of your Day 1 totals!  I felt like I was writing out of order a bit. I decided to write three of my scenes that really don't come in sequence, but I wanted to see where each led.  I now have some good ideas for tomorrows writing.  I hope you all had a good day too, here's my stats for Day 1.  I know the progress bar to the right doesn't match, but I did a quick second writing session in the afternoon.  Now the site where I get the progress meter is down and I can't update it.  I may have to look at something else to track it here.


Edit: Well the site where I get my progress trackers is back up.  If anyone needs one you can find them at Language is a Virus.

  • Today's word count: 2484 
  • Current Word Count: 2484
  • Words to Go: 47516
  • Cups of Coffee: 1
  • Hours Spent Writing Today: 2
  • Number of Breaks Taken: 1
  • Number of Characters Killed: 1( minor character whose job was always to die, lol)
  • Number of Times Writers’ Block Occurred: 0
  • Number of Times I Almost Gave Up: 0 (It's Day 1 - no giving up yet)

Very happy with today's progress. How did everyone else do?

Your Ideal Reader

When a publishing house considers your novel, one of the first things they ask themselves is, "Who's going to buy this book?"

One answer they won't even consider is, "Everybody."

Every book has a natural audience. When a publisher tries to market your book, they're going to target that natural audience.




This is true, even when a story has extraordinarily broad appeal. The Harry Potter series was massively
popular, but even so, plenty of people didn't read it. I know lots of readers who heard about it and just
shrugged and said, "So what?" I know others who read the first chapter and didn't get it and stopped. I know others who read the first book and then quit.

I'm going to bet that very few of them were 11-year-old boys. The ideal reader for the first Harry Potter book was an 11-year-old boy.

True, lots of other people liked the book. Zillions of adults. Zillions of females. But we're talking here
about which group loved it best. That group was the set of boys Harry's age.

Why think about these "ideal readers" when they obviously aren't the only readers for a book?
Simple. Every publisher has a limited marketing budget. Their game plan is to market your book

Monday

Curiosity Quills Kindle Giveaway


For those of you who love free stuff, here's a great contest from Curiosity Quills.  Visit their site for more details, but here is their post with the details.

"In case you haven’t heard, Amazon has recently announced their new Amazon Kindle Fire - a 7″, color, Android-powered successor to the respected and ubiquitous Kindle family.
As someone who bought two third-generation Kindles for my family, two more as gifts, and use the Android Kindle application extensively, I can safely say that the electronic reading experience is getting better and better with every iteration.
Needless to say, the whole Curiosity Quills Press team is excited. And to celebrate, we’re throwing a GIVEAWAY! Yes, one lucky winner will be receiving their very own bundle of fiery book-loving joy. Drawing will take place on December 1, 2011, so hurry and get your entries in! We hope you’ll participate and win!"
Why not take a chance.  Enter and win!

NaNoWriMo Synopsis

I am excited to get started on NaNoWriMo tomorrow!  I have nailed down the synopsis and done a rough (very, very rough) outline.  Hopefully that will be enough to get me through the next 30 days.  Here is the story synopsis as I have posted on the NaNoWriMo site.
When magic wanes, technology flourishes; when technology fails, magic flows back into the world. It is only in balance that both can truly coexist. But now the Alkai, users of magic, are being hunted and destroyed in the name of technological progress. Jor Craven, dedicated to killing the Alkai for his masters, instead finds himself tricked into honoring an age old oath which binds him to the protection of a young Alkai. A boy whose potential for magic may rival that of any Alkai of the last hundred years. A young woman, whose duty it is to protect the balance between magic and technology, becomes entwined in their fate. Together they must make the long journey to find the last Alkai haven. Now they are hunted by Jor’s brethren who would kill the boy because of his gift, as well as charlatan Alkai who wish to take the boy’s power as their own.
Well that's the rough synopsis right now. It is definitely Fantasy with flavors of Steampunk, I guess we'll just stick with Speculative as the genre until I figure it out. :)  I know I am the worst procrastinator, but if anyone is still looking for writing buddies to commiserate with on the bad days and to cheer each other on the good days hit me up on my NaNoWriMo profile.  I'll take whoever will have me.

Friday

Tools For NaNoWriMo

With NaNoWriMo approaching I seem to be receiving a large amount of traffic and downloads for all the writer's tools I've covered.  To make it easier to find I decided to post a list of the tools with the appropriate links.  If there are any others you love or would like to see listed just leave me a comment and I'll add it as soon as I can.







Thursday

How to Write Cliffhangers

The secret to writing novels that readers can't put
down is simple -- in theory.

All you have to do is making the ending of each chapter
so exciting that your reader can't help but turn the
page.

That's a nice theory. How do you do it in practice?
The answer depends on the kind of novel you're writing.
The purpose of a novel is to give your reader a
Powerful Emotional Experience.



Each category of fiction creates its own mix of emotional experiences. Each category makes a promise to
deliver a certain kind of emotion at the end of the novel. A romance promises to deliver love. A suspense
novel promises to deliver safety. A mystery promises to deliver justice.As your story progresses, your reader tracks how close you are to delivering the final emotional payoff for your story. If the payoff looks like it's getting closer, your reader's tension eases. If it looks like the payoff is getting further away, your reader's tension tightens.

When something happens at the very end of a chapter to make the payoff suddenly look dramatically less likely, that's a cliffhanger.

Lee Child is a master of writing cliffhangers. Child is the author of a series of thrillers starring Jack
Reacher, a drifter who left the Army after 13 years as a military cop. Now Reacher hitchhikes around the
country, running into one set of bad guys after another and reluctantly puttings right.

Reacher is a skilled street fighter who knows every dirty fighting trick in the book

Wednesday

Novel Writing Tool

Cameron Matthews, intrigued by the amazing plot breakdown in a recent article, decided to make a "play with your wordcount" spreadsheet to see just how much you should theoretically be writing in each section of your novel.  You pick a "target word count" and then tell the spreadsheet how much of your novel (in a percentage) is waste material that will get slashed by editing, and voila!  It figures out how much you should target for each of the four traditional "acts" of the story.  Useful also as a diagnostic tool when editing and you realize your denouement is nine words long, or your intro fails to answer needed questions.  You'll have to pop over to his site for the download.  Check out his other great tools while you're there.

Tuesday

Character Profile Tool


Looking for a way to scetch out your characters for your story.  Here is a basic character profile sheet you can use to jot down your ideas.  It's important to know where our characters come from and what they stand for.  Strengths and weaknesses, age, physical traits, family, friends, profession, wealth and their stance on various matters are all important to know.  It allows us to better understand their journey through our story.  Here's the download link. Feel free to add more detail to this sheet or simply add notes to the bottom.


Cameron's Character Profile (Cameron Mathews) / CC BY-SA 3.0

Thursday

Will you post daily updates on your NaNoWriMo progress?


How many of you will keep us updated daily as to your NaNoWriMo progress?  This is the format I used last year.  Any ideas of other things to include?  Do you plan on posting daily updates to your blog, G+, twitter, ect?







  • Current Word Count: Words to Go: 

  • Cups of Coffee: Hours Spent Writing Today: 

  • Number of Breaks Taken:

  • Number of Characters Killed: 

  • Number of Times Writers’ Block Occurred: 

  • Number of Times I Almost Gave Up:

  • Number of Chapters:

  • Favorite Character of the Day: 

  • My Morality Level:

Sunday

Writer's Rooms

Where do you write?  Do you have an office, den, writer's cave that you call your own?  Most of us have our favorite place we like to write, or maybe a couple of favorite places.  I have a small office (and by small I mean maybe 8x9, the size of many walk in closets).  Most of the furniture is other family members leftovers that were destined to be thrown out. Almost half the books on the bookcase are research from one story or another.  Most of the fiction is on the living room bookcases.  When not writing in the office I have a laptop I use when outside on the deck.  I would love to see where you all write.  If anyone wants to send me a pic or two I will post a new writer's space every Wednesday.  You can send them to seanmworth at gmail dot com.  Enjoy the pictures of my tiny writing space below.





                                           

Thursday

NaNoWriMo Comics


I figured that we'd warm up for a NaNoWriMo with some of last years comics for writers by Debbie Ridpath Ohi.  You can find her great artwork and writing here.  Watch the NaNoWriMo site for the 2011 comics.

Wednesday

NaNoWriMo 2011 Calendar Wallpaper

Here are three NaNoWriMo Wallpapers from paperpages.  Follow this link to many more of her creations for NaNoWriMo. Enjoy!




NaNoWriMo 2011 Calendar Wallpaper


imaginepageant posted 9 great wallpapers over on her Livejournal.  She did ask that they not be reposted so you'll have to follow the link to take a look at them all and grab a copy. The colors are listed below. Enjoy!









Colors

  • Red
  • Orange
  • Gold
  • Green
  • Teal
  • Blue
  • Purple
  • Pink
  • Brown

















This spooky forest wallpaper is by EchoLynnetteB


NaNoWriMo 2011 Calendar Wallpaper

Here's a new entry from .Ali.  You can find the links for 50k, 75, 100k, and 150k words depending on how ambitious you are!

NaNoWriMo 2011 Calendar Wallpaper

Here's a new one from Kiriska.  The original can be found at DeviantArt.

NaNoWriMo 2011 Calendar Wallpaper

All of the wallpapers in this post were created by lastglitter.  The originals can be found on DeviantArt. Enjoy!







Tuesday

Book Giveaway at Reading Fairy Tales


I just won the first book, Flesh and Fire, in Laura Anne Gilman's Vineart series.  Looking forward to getting my copy and giving it a read through.  Here's the book blurb:


From acclaimed bestselling author Laura Anne Gilman comes a unique and enthralling new story of fantasy and adventure, wine and magic, danger and hope....
Once, all power in the Vin Lands was held by the prince-mages, who alone could craft spellwines, and selfishly used them to increase their own wealth and influence. But their abuse of power caused a demigod to break the Vine, shattering the power of the mages. Now, fourteen centuries later, it is the humble Vinearts who hold the secret of crafting spells from wines, the source of magic, and they are prohibited from holding power.
But now rumors come of a new darkness rising in the vineyards. Strange, terrifying creatures, sudden plagues, and mysterious disappearances threaten the land. Only one Vineart senses the danger, and he has only one weapon to use against it: a young slave. His name is Jerzy, and his origins are unknown, even to him. Yet his uncanny sense of the Vinearts' craft offers a hint of greater magics within — magics that his Master, the Vineart Malech, must cultivate and grow. But time is running out. If Malech cannot teach his new apprentice the secrets of the spellwines, and if Jerzy cannot master his own untapped powers, the Vin Lands shall surely be destroyed.
In Flesh and Fire, first in a spellbinding new trilogy, Laura Anne Gilman conjures a story as powerful as magic itself, as intoxicating as the finest of wines, and as timeless as the greatest legends ever told.

I have enjoyed Gilman's short works, one of which I linked here, and I see no reason her novels won't be just as enjoyable.  Make sure you shoot on over to Reading Fairy Tales for a chance to win the second book in the series.


Friday

Curiosity Quills Now Open For Submissions


Curiosity Quills is now accepting submissions.  The following announcement is taken from their website:

Curiosity Quills Press is the publishing arm of Curiosity Quills, a boutique publisher of hard-hitting dark sci-fi, speculative fiction, and paranormal works aimed at adults, young adults, and new adults. We are also a purveyor of anthologies thereof. We provide our authors with a flexible array of quality premium services, marketing support, and technical know-how, while ensuring that these literary marauders are truly the cream of the crop through a highly selective acquisition process.

Curiosity Quills is now taking submissions.  The following announcement is taken from their site:

We’re Looking For
Thought-provoking, mind-twisting rollercoasters – challenge our mind, turn our world upside down, and make us question. Those are the makings of a true literary marauder.
Serialization Potential - If your work was made with serialization in mind, we want to hear from you. If not – that’s okay! We still want to hear from you.
Agented submission are not required, but will receive precedence over unagented ones.
Length Guidelines: Keep in mind, these are just guidelines – we DO make exceptions.
Novellas: 15k-45k words
Young Adult: 45k to 75k words
New Adult / Upper YA Novels: 60k-100k words
Adult Novels: 70k-120k words

Instructions
To submit a manuscript for consideration, please send an email to editor@curiosityquills.com with the following:

A one-page query letter containing your genre, title, wordcount, and a brief blurb about the book.
The first five (5) double-spaced pages
For serialized works, please include information about update frequency, update length, and projected series duration.
Established authors are welcome to query with a standard proposal package of three chapters, a synopsis, and a query.
PLEASE DO NOT INCLUDE ANY PERSONAL WRITING CREDENTIALS, AWARDS, REVIEWS, OR PROMOTIONAL LINKS

Format Requirements
If your manuscript is requested, please make sure to format it according to the following:

RTF files only
12 pt Times New Roman font
double-spaced
.5″ indents
Note: Unless we request a revise and resubmit, full manuscript rejections are final.

Note: In addition to published works, we are also interested in blogger contributions to our literary portal.

Good Luck!
http://curiosityquills.com/submission-guidelines/author-submissions/

Tuesday

The Ultimate NaNoWriMo Checklist

National Novel Writing Month, NaNoWriMo, is closing in fast.  The thought of writing 50,000 words in 30 days is a great challenge to most of us. So, with fear and anticipation, I thought I’d create a checklist of things you may want to start thinking about.  Do you need all of these things?  No.  Hopefully, they will get you thinking so that you aren't caught by surprise when November 1st hits.








Getting started
  • Register and familiarize yourself with the rules for NaNoWriMo.
  • Do you have notes on key elements of your story? (outline, plot, characters)
  • Have you told others in your house about what you’re doing?
  • Have you found a partner? You can get writing buddies on NaNoWriMo's site.  You can find a local friend to keep you honest and accountable for your progress. You could schedule Google+ hangouts to discuss problems and progress.
Supplies
  • Notebooks - The back to school rush is over.  Many stores are now selling off their surplus. Grab your favorite: One, three, or five subject, journal, legal pads, pocket sized, ect.  Find a small one for your pocket when on the go.
  • Pencils - I use these for outlining with a legal pad initially.  Beyond that I wouldn't use them, but having some handy won't hurt. 
  • Pens - I have a love of pens, especially when I find one I really like.  Ball point, felt tip, whatever your poison.  Black ink, blue ink, save red for when you actually have time to edit in December or January.
"This is my pen. There are many others like it, but this one is mine. My pen is my best friend. It is my life. I must master it as I must master my life. Without me, my pen is useless. Without my pen, I am useless. I must write true with my pen. I must write faster than my writing buddy, who is trying to beat me. I must reach my daily goal before they reach theirs.  I am the master of my WIP.  I will win NaNoWriMo!"
          Sorry I couldn't resist.
  • Highlighters (optional) - Highlighters are an valuable tool. I like to use them to remind me of something I may need to review later.  I also use them in editing, but NaNoWriMo isn't about editing, it's about writing.
  • Smart Phone (optional) - You must leave the house at some point in November, yes you will run out of coffee, peanut M&M's, and toilet paper...trust me.  Use your phone to jot down plot changes, snippets of dialogue or character ideas.  I know you have a good memory, but you will forget.
  • Timer - If you will be participating in any word wars, write-ins, or Google+ hangouts one of these will come in handy.  You can buy one, use a phone app, or use a computer program to keep time.
  • Your muse/totem - Come on you know you have one!  A stuffed animal, toy, token, mascot, stress ball, cape, lucky thinking cap, whatever!  Get one, name it, talk to it when you're stuck. Your new friend will be the only one in your house that will put up with you in November.
  • A writing space - Living room, office, bedroom, Starbucks, B&N, Panara..where will you write. Don't feel boxed into one.  Sometimes just a change of scenery can revitalize your creativity.
  • Music (optional) - I usually write in silence, but like anything else a change can be good.  So, if you use music while writing, make sure you have a month of it ready.  If you don't, have something you like handy just in case.
Food and drink
  • Drink - Make sure you have a good supply of your favorite soda, water, coffee, tea, alcohol or energy drink.  My downfall is coffee.  I always have a cup handy on the desk.
  • Food - Mostly snacks, try to still eat your meals with your family or friends - they miss you. So stock up on fruits, veggies, chips, crackers and cheese, candy, or whatever else will keep you in your chair while you write!
Computer stuff
  • Your Computer - I use a PC, both a laptop and a desktop.  I am not familiar with Macs, so feel free to chime in with your favorites.  I'll give you what I use (I like free).
  • Virus protection - Microsoft Security Essentials (free)
  • Spyware protection - For adware/spyware/malware I use Malwarebytes (free)
  • Firewall - I have the Windows default Firewall turned on (free)
  • Writing software - If you have a computer it came with something that will get you through NaNoWriMo without a problem.  Microsoft Word is just fine, even Notepad or Word Pad would work if it had to.  Beyond that there are a number of great alternatives.  Scrivener (Windows beta), yWriter, and Open Office are all free.  The trick is to write, not what program you are writing in.  Use something you are familiar and comfortable with.
  • Backups - I tend to back up too much (if there is such a thing).  First of all make sure your writing software is set to auto-save at regular intervals.  Set it to however much work you are comfortable with losing (5-10-15 minutes).  After that you have a couple options when you end your writing for the day.  You can back up to a second hard drive or thumb drive.  You can set up a Gmail account and email it as attachment. You could copy and paste into Google Docs, rename it every day as title - date. Or you can use a cloud service like DropBox or SugarSync (I've used both with no complaints).  The idea is to pick one and use it religiously.  There is nothing worse than writing for hours and then losing all your work.  Worse yet, having a computer crash with no backup of your manuscript that you've worked on for months.
Your sanity

Stay healthy.  Spend some time on yourself.  Take the time to go for a walk or a run.  Go to the gym.  Plan time with your family.  Many of your best ideas will come at random times and when you are being stimulated in other ways.  It will make you look forward to your writing time.  Sitting in a chair for hours on end isn't good for anyone.  Schedule some breaks so the world knows you're still alive.

What else is on your list?  What is your muse/totem? What is your must have item?  Or just tell me what I missed!

Saturday

Outline Like J.K. Rowlings

Old news, but with NaNoWriMo starting I thought I'd share this.  A copy of J.K. Rowlings handwritten outline for Order of the Phoenix has been floating around the net.  You can click the image for a full size version.  Anywho, so I played around with a spreadsheet and tried to mimic her method.  If you are interested you can download, use or alter the excel spreadsheet to your heart's content.

Click here to download

It seems to be a very rough outline, listing Chapter numbers, names, dates, plot, and numerous subplots.  Whether this method works for you, only you will know.  It will be here if you need it, enjoy.

Friday

NaNoWriMo Report Card



To keep with the NaNoWriMo theme, here is a simple spreadsheet for those of you that want a handy way to track your NaNoWriMo progress.

All you do is fill in the blanks of any yellow shaded areas and then the sheet will track your daily and monthly achievements for you!  Click the photo for a larger image.  You can download a copy of the NaNoWriMo Report Card here.

Don't forget to grab you're copy of Scrivener just in time for NaNoWriMo.  Use the Scrivener Coupon Code to get 20% off today and get those creative juices flowing.


You'll be able to track

  • Daily word count
  • Monthly word count
  • Number of scenes written
  • Number of writing sessions per day
  • Words per hour
  • Words left until goal
  • Average words per day
  • Tomorrow's goal
  • And much more!
I hope you can make use of it.  Feel free to change and alter as you wish.  Only one month to go.  Have fun and keep writing.



Be sure to check out Scrivener to make your life easier during NaNoWriMo Scrivener Coupon Code




Thursday

Fantasy or Science Fiction?

Looking for some fantasy or science fiction?  Here is a flow chart from SF Signal with the top 100 NPR Fantasy and Science Fiction Books.   If you’re new to genre, then now is the time to get familiar with it.  Last month, NPR polled readers to determine the top 100 sci-fi and fantasy books of all time. The creative minds at SF Signal have transformed the NPR list into a nifty flowchart that will help you choose the right novel for you. You can see a much larger version of the graphic if you click the photo. Where do you end up?  I got Michael Moorcock's, The Elric Saga. Have fun!

Monday

NaNoWriMo 2011 Wallpapers

Here is another great NaNoWriMo 2011 wallpaper for your computer.  I will continue to add more as I find them, so check back often.  This design is also by Julia Woodrow.  The original can be found here. Enjoy!

Crossroads by Laura Anne Gilman

I love when I find a great story by accident.  While mindlessly tramping around some sites today I found a short story by Laura Anne Gilman.  Gilman is an established author, with titles such as Flesh and Fire: Book One of The Vineart War and Weight of Stone: Book Two of the Vineart War. The story I found, Crossroads, seamlessly intertwines the western and fantasy genres, reminiscent or Stephen King's Dark Tower series.  I actually downloaded the podcast version so I could listen to it on my trip to Florida this December. It's a quick read at 2448 words, it's free, and it's a great story. What more do you want!  Now you have something constructive to do for your next writing break.






Updated October 4th
For those of you not familiar with Gilman here is a nice interview with her that I just found.

Thursday

NaNoWriMo 2011 Wallpapers


With NaNoWriMo 2011 fast approaching, I began looking for appropriate wallpapers for my computer.  So far my short search only produced one, but I am sure more will appear as we get closer.  I will try to link them here as I find them.  Enjoy!

Credit for this one goes to Julia Woodrow.  You can pick it up here.


Some of the word totals are transposed in this one, working on getting Julia to fix them.

Monday

Google+ cheat sheet



Google+ seems to be gaining a foothold in the ever changing game of social media.  The clean and tidy stream page is a needed contrast to facebook's ever growing clutter.  Add this to the many uses of huddles and hangouts, places you can set up to chat (video, voice, or text...or any combination of the three) and you have a dream site.  Writers should have no problems finding many uses for all these new toys.  I can already see the great fun of writing groups for this November and Nanowrimo.

Thursday

Ebooks and Self-Publishing - A Dialog Between Authors Barry Eisler and Joe Konrath

This is a live Google docs discussion. It examines the history and mechanics of the publishing industry as it exists today, analyzes the way the digital revolution reflects recent events in Egypt and the Maghreb, and considers a completely inappropriate YouTube video featuring a randy monkey and an unlucky frog. It clocks in at 13,000 words, and reveals some pretty startling things.


We encourage everyone reading the conversation to comment, and to tweet and otherwise link to it. You also have our permission to copy all or any part of it, provided you link back.


If you'd prefer to read this on your ereader, you can download various versions for free here. This zip file (you need WinZip to open it; a free trial is here) contains doc, pdf, epub, and mobi formats, so it can be uploaded to Kindles, Nooks, Sony Readers, Kobos, and pretty much any other device.


You can also go to Smashwords and get various formats for free, or to Amazon or B&N to get those formats for 99 cents (they wouldn't allow us to post for free.) It's also posted in full on Barry's blog.


Our goal is to get this information out there, because it benefits authors and could theoretically make legacy publishers smarter. Please help us spread the word. Thanks.

Joe: To the casual observer, you appear to be heavily invested in the legacy publishing system. They’ve been good to you, they helped you get onto the NYT bestseller list, made you wealthy with several large deals, and seem to have treated you fairly.

Wednesday

Zoe Winters Free Ebook - Kept

Greta is a werecat whose tribe plans to sacrifice her during the next full moon. Her only hope for survival is Dayne, a sorcerer who once massacred most of the tribe. What’s that thing they say about the enemy of your enemy?

If you would like to receive a coupon code for the Zoe Winters book Kept, free in the ebook format of your choice, please subscribe to her newsletter by doing the following:

Send a blank email with the subject line: “Subscribe” to: FreeKept@gmail.com IMPORTANT NOTE: Do NOT use the contact form. You must send an actual blank email to FreeKept@gmail.com in order to get Kept free.

Zoe only sends out newsletters when she has a new release or something big (like a contest) to announce. If her work is not to your taste, you will have the option to unsubscribe from the newsletter when you receive one. Please use a valid email address or she won’t be able to send Kept to you.

Sunday

Self-Publishing Success Story

I may be late to the party for Amanda Hocking. Partly due to recently stumbling over her blog post from last August. While I have never been a proponent for self-publishing, her comments seem to lend some legitimacy to the trend. Her candor is refreshing as she describes how her success began and what she has learned during the process. Amanda shares her self-publishing success:
"Also on Monday, I released the fourth book in my vampire series. It peaked #25 in the entire Kindle store. If you're wondering how many sales it took the book to get that high: 150 in a two hour period. Also on Monday - in one 24-hour period - I made $1200. Working at my day job full time, the most I'd ever made in a month is $1000. I just made more in a day than I used to make in a month.

Things that should be noted: I just released a book people were excited for. That isn't my average sales. That fourth book is already about to slip out of the top #100 and it's only been in it for four days. So don't think that's usually how awesome my sales are. It's not. I know that. I don't expect days like that to happen very often. But it was still an awesome day."

While poking fun at her clich├ęd topics and characters, her self-publishing success is real. Yet, she tempers it with the knowledge that it isn't necessarily going to continue at the pace it has. Her use of Twitter, facebook, goodreads, Amazon and writer's blogs to spread the word of her e-books should read as book promotion 101.

Not bad when you consider she started with a love of writing, but her self-publishing success was spurred by the desire to earn a couple hundred dollars to go see the Jim Henson exhibit coming to Chicago.

Check out her article here, it is genuinely interesting and a good read.



Edit:  After reading more on Amanda, I found an informative article by Nathan Bransford (most of you should know him, if not bookmark his blog now!).  He talks about Amanda's success and the breakdown of traditional vs. agency e-book vs. self-published e-book.  You can read his appraisal here.

Thursday

Using One Note in Fiction Writing

I like to research my ideas, flesh things out until I feel they are ready.  Yes I outline, I plan, I brainstorm, all before I finally sit down to write.  My ideas come in snippets.  A piece of dialogue, an interesting creature, a location, a scene.  I need somewhere to throw this jumble of ideas.  Before One Note these ideas filled napkins, the backs of receipts, notebooks of all sizes, whatever I could grab at the time.  I actually remember writing a scene around and around my paper coffee cup.  Truth be told, if in a bind that is where they still end up, at least until I get home.  Now every idea has its place, and if it doesn't it gets one.  I organize stories into the following:

  • Ideas
  • Outline
  • Characters
  • Locations
  • Chapters
  • Research
Many of these are subdivided into pages.  Chapters each get their own page, as do characters and locations.  I also keep different sections for Mythology, lore, fairy tales, legends and such. You can click the image for a closer look. Yes, I know if you look closely Baba Yaga is incorrectly placed under Celtic Mythology, but that's where she's staying. And that is because you can use this as you wish.  Revel in the order or disorder, whichever you are more comfortable with.  This is merely the template I use.  It is useful for me.  You may find a different method of organizing your ideas, and if you do I'd love to here about yours.  Whether it be with One Note, Excel, Word, or some other non-Microsoft software; or are you still like I was, using paper scraps and notebooks?

The screen shot to the left is a sample of what I use.  It is an older picture, but I still use the general ideas presented.  Mine has just grown larger over the past year.  I hope you find this useful to help organize your ideas and research.

Sunday

Steampunk Video

This is the official video for Lovett's Eye of the Storm directed by Christopher Alender, from the soon to be released debut album, Highway Collection. It embodies the heart and soul of steampunk in its brief five minutes. The video lends itself to the imagination, leaving so many questions about the character and his actions. I could see him being the main character of a book or movie. Enjoy!





 
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