Welcome to The Writer's Challenge

I'm updating weekly-ish and whenever something exciting happens, so please come back often, browse the archived information,
and use the search feature to find information!
Learn more about my books at ShoshannaEvers.com

Saturday, October 10, 2009

So Excited About NaNoWriMo!

Hello Fellow Writers!

Yesterday I actually got a lot done on my plotting for "Snowed in With a Millionaire". I would have kept going but we are renovating our bathroom and I had to go to Home Depot! So far it's looking like I will have more than the 40 pages of plot that I thought I would, because I have 26 pages so far and I am no where near my Happily Ever After. On the bright side, I'm feeling more like I will get this plot written in time to start writing the novel out for NaNoWriMo. I've wanted to do it before but the timing wasn't right. This year, I will be prepared so that at midnight on November 1st, 2009, I can start my journey of writing a whole first draft of a novel in one month. My husband is skeptical. I am really excited.

Here's what the NaNoWriMo website has to say:

What is NaNoWriMo?

National Novel Writing Month is a fun, seat-of-your-pants approach to novel writing. Participants begin writing November 1. The goal is to write a 175-page (50,000-word) novel by midnight, November 30.
Valuing enthusiasm and perseverance over painstaking craft, NaNoWriMo is a novel-writing program for everyone who has thought fleetingly about writing a novel but has been scared away by the time and effort involved.
Because of the limited writing window, the ONLY thing that matters in NaNoWriMo is output. It's all about quantity, not quality. The kamikaze approach forces you to lower your expectations, take risks, and write on the fly.
Make no mistake: You will be writing a lot of crap. And that's a good thing. By forcing yourself to write so intensely, you are giving yourself permission to make mistakes. To forgo the endless tweaking and editing and just create. To build without tearing down.
As you spend November writing, you can draw comfort from the fact that, all around the world, other National Novel Writing Month participants are going through the same joys and sorrows of producing the Great Frantic Novel. Wrimos meet throughout the month to offer encouragement, commiseration, and—when the thing is done—the kind of raucous celebrations that tend to frighten animals and small children.
In 2007, we had over 100,000 participants. More than 15,000 of them crossed the 50k finish line by the midnight deadline, entering into the annals of NaNoWriMo superstardom forever. They started the month as auto mechanics, out-of-work actors, and middle school English teachers. They walked away novelists.
So, to recap:
What: Writing one 50,000-word novel from scratch in a month's time.
Who: You! We can't do this unless we have some other people trying it as well. Let's write laughably awful yet lengthy prose together.
Why: The reasons are endless! To actively participate in one of our era's most enchanting art forms! To write without having to obsess over quality. To be able to make obscure references to passages from our novels at parties. To be able to mock real novelists who dawdle on and on, taking far longer than 30 days to produce their work.
When: You can sign up anytime to add your name to the roster and browse the forums. Writing begins November 1. To be added to the official list of winners, you must reach the 50,000-word mark by November 30 at midnight. Once your novel has been verified by our web-based team of robotic word counters, the partying begins.

Yay! I hope you'll join me on this journey. I'll be blogging about it here as well. Today I am going to get some more plotting done. I'm writing such a meticulously detailed plot outline that it's almost like a first draft in the sense that I can spot plot holes and fix them before I start actually writing.
Wish me luck and good luck to you too!
Yours Truly,
Shoshanna Evers


  1. I don't normally offer unsolicited advice -- in fact, I rarely offer solicited advice -- because I believe every writer has her own process and that it should be respected. However, I've been scrolling through your blog, and I notice you're actively reading books about writing, so here's my .02. I'm not JK Rowling, Stephenie Meyer or Stephen King, but I have sold five books to Harlequin (and that's who you're targeting) in the last 18mos.

    A 40-page synopsis!?! That's two chapters. 10k words. On a 50k book, that's a fifth of your novel. Are you writing it because *you* need to walk yourself through your novel or because someone told you that you should?

    If you need to do that, go ahead. There are lots of people who do detailed outlines. (I'm not one of them, and frankly the thought of investing that much time and that many words on my synopsis would kill my soul. But that's me. I'm a pantser.)

    If you're 26 pages in and you know enough about your characters to know you're going to go way over 40 pages, why not go ahead and just write? (That's kind of the purpose of NaNo -- to let yourself write.) You never know; you might get started and find that you could take the book in a whole different direction. And you might like that direction better than what you planned. :-)

    I made the mistake of marrying myself to a plot point in book #4. I wanted X to happen and I knew it would be great when it did. I closed myself off to all other possibilities, and that book ended up going through two rounds of hellish revisions before I got it straightened out. Looking back, I wonder if I hadn't been so committed to that one plot point happening at that particular moment...

    Your teacher is right -- writers write. But pre-writing isn't exactly writing. Pre-writing is important (and it feels like writing!), but it can also be a trap. At some point, you gotta get those words on the page and tell the story to the reader.

    I offer this simply as an alternative viewpoint. Your mileage may vary, of course. Don't let me or anyone else tell you the process of how books *should* be written, because everyone's process is unique.

    Good luck with this book. I hope the words fly off your fingers and that you love the result!

  2. I love advice - especially from an author who is doing exactly what I want to be doing (writing for Harlequin)! Thank you for taking the time! I'm curious as to how you came across my blog (I'm so glad you did) :)

    The reason I'm plotting this next book out so much (I've actually got 36 pages so far) is because I am queen of writing the first three chapters of a book, getting stuck, and giving up. I must have twenty starts of novels in my desk drawer! So this time, going into NaNoWriMo, I want to make sure that I don't get stuck halfway through.

    I figure I can use my plot outline to keep me going - but I will definitely take your advice and if it feels too contrived or if my characters want to move in a different direction, then I will let them take the story where it needs to go.

    I have a technical question that maybe you can answer for me and my readers (all 6 of them, lol). Does Harlequin go by computer word count or 250 x page #? Silly I know but it's been bugging me because I can't find a definitive answer online!

    Also, do you think for series romance it's a good idea to get a literary agent first, or to submit straight to Harlequin?

    Thanks for taking the time to share your thoughts! I checked out your website and it's lovely :)


  3. I found your blog because I have Google alerts on my titles. I get an email with a link from Google whenever it finds a mention. It's always nice to find someone saying something nice about my book. It makes facing the current WIP much easier! :-)

    And I'm procrastinating tonight -- probably not a good idea since I have a deadline looming! I'm doing my own mini-NaNo right now to get the book done on time.

    Feel free to ignore my advice -- in fact, ignore any advice from anyone unless it really resonates with you. Getting words on a page is a mystery; no one thing will work for everyone. (Except BICHOK -- Butt In Chair, Hands On Keyboard. That works.) Do what feels right for *you* and don't let anyone tell you "that's not how to write a book." (But, yes, you must finish the book. :-))

    Technical questions: To the best of my knowledge, all Harlequin lines are now using computer word count. Yes, I know. It's very tough on those of us who write lots of dialog.

    You don't need an agent to submit to Harlequin, and I'm not sure an agent will get you read any faster or do much good with your contracts this early in the game. My .02. I don't have an agent, and, in fact, an agent from the Bookends Agency just blogged about not needing an agent to sell to Harlequin. I don't have the URL handy, but google Bookends blog and take a peek. It's a recent entry and will probably be better than anything I can offer.

    And, wow, writing with an infant at home? I'm impressed! Mine's eight and I don't get anything done unless she's at school or asleep. Good for you!

  4. BICHOK - I love it! May I use your post in my blog tomorrow? I'd love to share your insight with my readers (I'm not sure people read these comments as much as the daily blog).

    Coincidentally, I was just perusing the BookEnds blog since I was thinking of querying them.
    I found the blog entry you mentioned:

    It's cool that you've sold 5 books without an agent! Maybe it's a sign I should just try and go straight to Harlequin. It's a bit terrifying because then if it's rejected...

    Did you sell to HQ the first time you queried them, or did it take a while?

    It's midnight here in New York, way past my bedtime :) so I'm gonna hit the sack (one benefit of having an infant is I'm becoming accustomed to sleep deprivation).

    Thank you so much for taking the time to respond - I'm really glad that you found my blog and I hope you keep in touch!

  5. Sure you can use my comments. I don't claim to be an expert on anything, but if you think it's helpful, go ahead.

    And I have a large stack of rejections from Harlequin. ~shrugs~ But it only takes one "yes"...

  6. Wow - so you just kept writing romance novels and submitting them until one got accepted? That's awesome.

    And anyone who has sold five novels to Harlequin is definitely an expert!

    Thanks again and stop by The Writer's Challenge anytime!


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.