Tag Archives: NaNoWriMo

NaNoWriMo: Building Good Habits by Andrea Dunlop

Posted by November 9th, 2015

Nano cloudsLast week we posted about the awesome sweepstakes Girl Friday Productions is running for NaNoWriMo participants. As we kick off week 2 of Nano, we check in with Book Country member Andrea Dunlop (social media and marketing director at GFP and author of LOSING THE LIGHT, coming from Atria Books in February 2016) for tips on making the writing habit sustainable over time.

What do you need to make it as a writer? Talent? Ambition? Discipline? An enormous trust fund that allows you to quit your day job?

Sure, you need those things (okay, not the last one, but it couldn’t hurt). But whether your version of “making it” is getting through your 50,000 words for NaNoWriMo this year, getting a six-figure book deal, or anything in between, you definitely need good habits, because without them, none of the rest of these things will matter.

What I love about NaNoWriMo is that its very concept dispenses with any precious notions of what it means to write a book. NaNo does not concern itself with airy-fairy visions of the muse alighting on your shoulder and inspiring greatness; the only goal is to reach the word count. Technically this means that you could write the sentence “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy” five thousand times in a row and complete the NaNoWriMo challenge, though we all know that doesn’t end well for the author. (On a related note, if you ever find yourself saying, “You know, if only I could get somewhere really isolated and quiet where I didn’t have any other responsibilities, I could definitely get my novel done,” you should probably watch The Shining.) Continue reading

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Character-Based Doodling Prompts By Lisa Currie

Posted by November 17th, 2014

Lisa Currie

Midway into NaNoWriMo 2014? Or, stuck on your novel-in-progress or novel-to-be and feeling like your characters need a little more oomph? Today we offer another set of fun doodling prompts for character development from author and master doodler Lisa Currie, whose new book ME, YOU, US is just out from Perigee Books. You can download and print these exclusive prompts by clicking on the hyperlinked words in the text below. Share yours with us on social media! 

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Welcome to the fourth installment of doodling prompts for writers, adapted from my books, ME, YOU, US and THE SCRIBBLE DIARY. And as the holidays get closer, a little hint: the books make great gifts for writer and non-writer friends alike! In the first doodle prompt installment post, we established how doodling can help develop your book. If you click on the link, you’ll be able to download four doodle prompts that you can use to start fleshing out your character(s). The second installment was an in-depth online profile prompt. The last doodle prompt focused on plot points and obstacles in the way of your protagonist’s goal(s). Continue reading

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Book Country Editor’s Picks for November

Posted by November 6th, 2014

Book Country Editor's Picks for November 2014

We’ve selected 10 new manuscripts to be featured in the Editor’s Picks section on the Read and Review page. This November, we especially wanted to highlight the great selection of mystery, thriller, and NaNoWriMo titles on Book Country. We hope reading and leaving feedback will help you in your writing journey! Continue reading

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Doodling Prompts for NaNoWriMo! By Lisa Currie

Posted by November 5th, 2014

ME, YOU, US by Lisa CurrieReady to start NaNoWriMo 2014Fleshing out characters for your novel-in-progress or novel-to-be? Today we offer another set of fun doodling prompts for character development from author and master doodler Lisa Currie, whose new book ME, YOU, US is just out from Perigee Books. You can download and print these exclusive prompts by clicking on the hyperlinked words in the text below. Share yours with us on social media! 

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In the first post, we established the power and popularity of doodling, identifying famous politicians, businessmen, and creative types who doodled, from George Washington to Bill Gates, Michelangelo to Larry David.  More relevant to you, well-regarded authors throughout history have turned to doodling and scribble-thoughts to better imagine characters and give them more depth, outline story arc, and visualize settings and context. Continue reading

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NaNoWriMo: 5 Tips for Overcoming Writer’s Block

Posted by October 29th, 2014

Preparing for NaNoWriMo: 5 Tips for Overcoming Writer's Block

What happens when you’re in the middle of completing your daily word count for NaNoWriMo, and you hit a wall? Writer’s block is never fun, but it’s especially panic-inducing when you’re trying to write 50,000 words in one month. Waiting around for “inspiration” to come can be both time-consuming and frustrating. Here are 5 tips on how to get through writer’s block:

Do a Ten Minute Free Write Session

When trying to find the perfect words, you can get stuck and lose momentum in your writing. Remember, the purpose of NaNoWriMo is to just write the first draft. Doing a free write session, where you write non-stop for a set period of time, can help keep the words moving. Even if you end up writing something entirely different from your story during the free write, at least you’re still writing! You might even come up with a phrase or idea that you can use in your story later on.
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Preparing for NaNoWriMo – The Five-Line Outline by Julie Artz

Posted by October 21st, 2014

Preparing for NaNoWriMoNaNoWriMo doesn’t leave much room for preparation. Try the following five-line outline method to help you survive the insanity that is NaNoWriMo without completely flying by the seat of your pants. 
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Step One: Create your logline

The first line of the outline is the logline. It covers the main character, what s/he wants (goal), what stands in his or her way (obstacles), and what will happen if s/he doesn’t reach her goal (stakes). Two great articles to guide you are Writing a Killer Logline and Writing Killer Loglines.

Here’s the logline from my 2013 NaNoWriMo project:

When lightning fries the village well pumps, Elías must redeem himself in the eyes of both Elders and family by journeying through the ruins of Andalucía to find help before their water supply runs out.

Writing this summary of your story before you begin will help focus your idea enough to get started. Don’t worry if you tweak it as you work—this logline has been through multiple revisions in the past year! Continue reading

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How to Use the Snowflake Method to Prepare for NaNoWriMo

Posted by October 1st, 2014

DJ Lutz

NaNoWriMo is only one month away! October is the perfect time to start outlining your novel before the mad rush of writing begins in November. Book Country member D.J. Lutz shares how using the Snowflake Method can help you make NaNoWriMo a success!

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Hi, my name is DJ, and I am a recovering pants’er.

What do I mean by pants’er? Well, in late October, 2008 I discovered NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) and decided I could scribble out a 50,000 word first draft by the end of November. No prep, no editing, just flat out stream of consciousness clacking on the keyboard. Fueled by venti Americanos with extra shots of espresso, I would go on to write my first ever novel PECOS BILL AND THE CURSED GOLD by the seat of my pants.

I finished well over the requisite 50k word count. Of course, the novel had no discernable structure other than “ramble,” which I don’t think counts. It was, however, fun to write and the experience taught me about the time management and discipline professional writers need to be successful. But as a coherent novel it lacked. Everything. It was time to research the craft of writing. Continue reading

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Beyond NaNoWriMo: Literary Agent Sara Megibow on Top Publishing Trends

Posted by December 4th, 2013

NaNoWriMo has come to an end, and I’m sure many of you are itching to share your work: publish it or place it into the hand of a literary agent. Finishing a novel is incredibly exciting, but make sure it’s as ready as it can be, first, before sharing it with your readers! Do your research. Edit. Strategize. 

Today we have the third part of our interview with agent Sara Megibow–a special treat for those of you who are gearing up to query agents in the next months. Be sure to check out the first part of our interview, in which she shared specific query advice and the second part, where she talked about what’s behind a good author-agent relationship

Here, we discuss publishing trends, erotic romance, and sci/fi submissions. ~NG

NG: As an agent, you have a birds-eye view of the publishing industry. Are there any trends you see growing or contracting in terms of genre or writing style?

SM: That’s a great question and thanks again for having me here at Book Country! I’ve followed the Book Country website and Twitter feed for a long time now. Thanks for all the hard work your team does to support authors!

Now, on to trends—you asked about genre and writing style. Let’s tackle genre first. I’ve worked in publishing for 8 years and have been a literary agent for 4 years and can honestly say (from an agent’s perspective) brilliant writing has been the “hot” thing all along. It’s easy to point to certain genres that have gone “boom” and been hot over the years—vampire romance, young adult dystopian, erotic romance, etc. but when I’m reading submissions for potential representation I put these biases aside and read solely for quality of writing. I want a book that grabs my attention and draws me in so much that when the cat meows, the kid screams and the doorbell rings, I miss it all because I’m so engrossed in the characters and their lives.

9780778313533_smp.inddAs an agent, I represent debut authors in science fiction, fantasy, romance, erotica, new adult, young adult and middle grade fiction. I do want submissions that match a certain formula based on genre (word count, happy-ever-after ending, etc), but I don’t reject submissions because of the genre itself. I’ve seen a lot of submissions recently set in the dream world or in Heaven or Hell and I’ve also seen a lot of submissions in which the hero or heroine is recovering from a coma or from amnesia. That doesn’t mean I wouldn’t represent a book with these elements—it just means a book with these elements will have to display superior mastery of craft in order to stand out among the competition.

Here’s another example—I’ve heard whispered around the internets that historical romance is on a downswing. Well, I disagree. I agree that contemporary romance is trending up right now, but not at the expense of historical as people might say. I represent debut author Ashlyn Macnamara who has two Regency historicals out this year and they are selling like hotcakes. So, genre being what it is—we have to take these trends with a grain of salt.

Now, let’s talk about writing style for a moment. In terms of trends, writing style has a much more concrete answer than genre. For example, here are some quantifiable success stories from the past two years:

The eBook tie-in novella. Think about SUBMIT TO DESIRE by Tiffany Reisz—a novella-length story set in her ORIGINAL SINNERS world but sold at a lower price and as an ebook only. SUBMIT TO DESIRE sells well and readers seem to love the occasional quickie read, especially when they get to see some of their favorite heroes and heroines again. Also, the lower price point works well in convincing new readers to try an author she/he might not have read before. We recently inked an ebook novella tie-in deal for Michael Underwood’s GEEKOMANCY series too. The novella will be called ATTACK THE GEEK, will feature Ree Reyes in a new adventure and will be available as an ebook in early 2014. Will this trend continue? Yes, I think it will.

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