NaNoWriMo

NaNoWriMo Pep Talk from Doyle Slen

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by Doyle Slen Well, here we are at the halfway point of another NaNoWriMo. This is my third – and it’s as nerve wracking, exhilarating and annoying as the first. Currently, I am at 41,000 words: close enough to my goal to taste it. This is the time when the writer’s elbow starts to kick in. The family begins to scowl at all the time you are ‘wasting’ at the keyboard, or scribbling on pads of paper that you have in every room. They may pass by you sniffing and ask something like, “When was the last time you showered?” and your response might be a mumbled, “What is the date?” or “We’re still in November, right?” or “What? Really, whatever you want to order is fine with me”. The last one kind of throws them off and is a favorite of mine. This is the time to dig in. Two weeks left. You may be looking at a word count that is below what you had hoped and ready to throw up your arms in defeat. Don’t. Every word is a word you didn’t have before. Even if you don’t hit the magic number you’ve still made a great accomplishment. I am a very opinionated person – if you’ve ever come to Dash at Milk Wood you would find that out – but I am a firm supporter of freedom of speech. Especially speech I disagree with. To me writing is as important as breathing. Expressing yourself in words or other art forms, while I may not agree with everything, is essential. It’s important that everyone gets a chance to speak. NaNo is a forum by which people are encouraged to write, tell a story, speak their mind. If everyone agrees, what a boring world this would be. It may sound cliché, but you owe us your story, poem, song or interpretive dance. It is part of the human experience. NaNo is a forum, a sharing exercise – success gets you a certificate, maybe a t-shirt, but you’re part of something bigger than yourself. Two weeks to go, Scribblers. You can do it. Look at that – with a simple rant I added to my total! Thanks to Harri for the home and the Dash/Snatch crew for musing it up for me....

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NaNoWriMo Pep Talk from Lizzie Gudkov

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by Lizzie Gudkov Stop and Smell the Roses Stop and smell the roses?! But, but, but… That’s exactly the opposite of what everyone has been telling you to do, right? Pep-talks, articles, blog posts, all push you to write on and on. Some of you breeze through the daily quota quite easily while others struggle to reach the goal. Whichever the case, “keep writing, keep writing” is all you hear. However, sometimes you reach a breaking point and that’s the most dangerous moment of your NaNoWriMo. That’s exactly when you feel tempted to simply give up. The daily word goal is challenging. Your schedule is merciless, and so are your responsibilities with the house, the job, the kids, doctor’s appointments, that volunteer work you committed to months ago and you completely forgot about… oh, and then it’s your turn to take the kids and their friends to the cinema, not to mention your concern about the cat who is strangely quiet and wise enough to keep a safe distance from you during the month of November. Panic sets in and flirting with the idea of giving up is somewhat reassuring. Well, stop it! We won’t let you give up that easily. So, here’s what you’re going to do. *Take a day off from writing (one day!); *Find a sim that fits your writing genre (no favorite sims landmarked? Second Life’s® Destination Guide might be a good place to start); *If you don’t feel like spending time looking for a place, explore Milk Wood (there are plenty of hidden gems waiting to be discovered); *Observe and listen; *Pay attention to details; *Ask “what if…” questions; *Imagine your character visiting the sim. Tell him to take an object from that location and include it in the story. Make it something totally out of the ordinary, something he would never choose. Push your character beyond the comfortable limits of his pre-designed existence; *Take plenty of notes for future reference. Then, go back to...

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NaNoWriMo 2016: Resources and Events at Milk Wood

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Hark! What’s that we hear? Could it be the distant sound of pencil on paper? The tap, tap, tap of ideas dancing across keyboards?  With November just around the corner, it can only mean one thing: that crazy literary marathon known as National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo), where the sane lose their minds and attempt to pen a novel in 30 days. We’ll be offering an exciting calendar of writerly delights (naggings included) – word scrimmages, write-ins, as well as inspirational workshops, talks and articles from successful authors. Join our Second Life® group Milk Wood Wrimos for event reminders and follow us on Twitter for daily tips – you’ll find lots of great links under the hashtag #virtualwrimos. VIRTUAL WORKSHOPS We are excited to announce that we’ll be hosting a selection of online workshops again this year. Click on the link below to participate at the specific time. These workshops are held in Second Life®. For details on how you can participate check out the following article. NaNoWriMo Events at Milk Wood All scheduled events take place at the Milk Wood Writing Group area. Please be aware that the clocks go back in the US on 6th November and on 30th October in the UK, and we go by Pacific Time in Second Life®. __________________________________ NaNoWriMo Workshop with Huckleberry Hax Ten years of NaNoWriMo: what have I learned about writing stories? Saturday 22nd October, 2016 8am PT / 11am ET / 4pm GMT 2016 will be my eleventh attempt at NaNoWriMo and – hopefully – my tenth successful one. My first go in 2006 put an end to almost a decade of writer’s block and I’m still now processing why that was, over three quarters of a million words later. In this workshop I’ll share some of the insights I’ve had as to why writing a novel in this way can unlock your identity as a writer, and how everything we get taught about writing stories in school might just be completely wrong. __________________________________ NaNoWriMo Prep Session 1 (held in local chat) Saturday 22nd October, 2016 9am PT / 12 noon ET / 5pm GMT NaNoWriMo is a demanding challenge and preparedness is the key. Join us for the first of our prep sessions where we’ll share vital NaNoWriMo tips, as well as a number of storyboard and plot development resources. Then we’ll sit down together and begin to plot in a timed writing session. You will be given homework, so come prepared to work both during and after the meet. __________________________________ NaNoWriMo Prep Session 2 (held in local chat) Friday 28th October, 2016 8am PT / 11am ET / 4pm GMT Final preparation session before we start the 30-day challenge. Today we’ll provide you with a number of character profile worksheets and questionnaires, and we’ll use these resources to further plot our novel in a timed writing session. At the end of the workshop there will be a Q&A round for those with lingering questions. __________________________________ What a Character!!! Character...

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NaNoWriMo Locker Room Chat: Final Words from Doyle Slen

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Here we are in the closing hours of another NaNoWriMo. This is my second: I didn’t participate in last year’s, but I did make the one before. I still value that certificate, as simple as it is. A month of carpal tunnel, caffeine overdoses and disgusted looks from family when responding to them with, “Shhh, I’m writing”. This year was different on a few levels. I finished on the 15th instead of the waning hours of the 30th. The previous year, Merry Tricks and I struggled in the final week to pound out approximately 15k words, and crossed the finish line just a couple of hours before it all ended. We were drained and tired, but we won. This year I finished 15 days early. A lady going by the name of Solace finished on day 5, averaging a phenomenal 10k words a day. I used that inspiration to push myself. This year I spent a lot of time at the Milk Wood writer’s colony; nagging other writers and cheering them on as they entered their new word count. I have met many people at this year’s write-ins, dashes, word wars and gatherings. My previous NaNo was mostly a solo effort, but I have found this year’s group writing to be an immensely enjoyable experience. The work doesn’t end on the 30th of November. Come December there will be a lot of editing to the mess I have made in November. There are plenty of folks at Milk Wood, and our sister sim Book Island, who will be happy to provide guidance and inspiration to keep you rolling. The thrill of accomplishment hasn’t changed, though. I am going to grin like a fool when I print my certificate out again this year. If you lack a few words, keep at it. I use the hunt and peck method, but managed to pull off a few 5k word days. Everyone has a story in them that needs to be told. Tell your story and don’t be afraid of the critics. Break time is over – get back to work and win that certificate. Doyle Slen Dash Host…and general layabout Virtual Writers offers a veritable calendar of delights that includes word wars, write-ins and inspirational workshops from successful authors. Be sure to join our Second Life® groups Milk Wood Wrimos & Virtual Writers, Inc. for event reminders and follow us on Twitter for daily tips.   Visit our sim in Second Life®; you’ll find an incredibly diverse and active community of writers and the level of support is second to...

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NaNoWriMo Locker Room Chat: Day 23 with Lizzie Gudkov

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“Why, sometimes I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.”  Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland You’ve made it this far! I bet you’re happy! You are also exhausted, perhaps even a bit cranky. The end of week 3 crept up on you. Deprived of sleep, over-caffeinated and inadequately fed, you now have serious doubts about your novel, because it resembles a perplexing turmoil of random ideas, hanging by a thread. You feel a major plot makeover coming and you dread the nightmare of reorganizing a story you put your heart and soul into. Plus, your characters decided to conspire against you and are now out in the streets, doing whatever they want, aren’t they? I think I hear some of mine chanting and laughing out there too. How about your word count? Are you ahead? Congratulations! You’re doing great. Are you keeping up? Good job! No one can ask you for more. Are you struggling to hold on? Well, if life decided to pull the rug from under you and you are tempted to drop this crazy idea of writing a book in a month, set your own goal and go for it. Whichever the case, don’t read what you have written so far. Oh, no. Don’t! Just push forward. We are about a week away from reaching the finish line. Now more than ever, it’s important to stick to a writing routine and to rely on the support of your fellow writers. Giving up is not an option. And believe me, impossible things do happen! Lizzie Virtual Writers offers a veritable calendar of delights that includes word wars, write-ins and inspirational workshops from successful authors. Be sure to join our Second Life® group Milk Wood Wrimos for event reminders and follow us on Twitter for daily tips – you’ll find lots of great links under the hashtag #virtualwrimos. If you haven’t had the opportunity to visit our sim in Second Life® then make some time this November. You’ll find an incredibly diverse and active community of writers and the level of support is second to none. Write-Ins Monday – Sunday (throughout November): 8-9am Pacific Time/11am-12 noon Eastern Time/4-5pm GMT – NaNoWriMo Write-In with Zoetrope Ocelot http://ow.ly/eVHO3 Saturday (throughout November): 1-2pm Pacific Time/4-5pm Eastern Time/9-10pm GMT – NaNoWriMo Write-in with Harriet Gausman http://ow.ly/eVHO3 Sunday (throughout November): 1-2pm Pacific Time/4-5pm Eastern Time/9-10pm GMT – NaNoWriMo Write-in with Harriet Gausman http://ow.ly/eVHO3 Writers’ Dash & 500 Word Snatch We also have a twice-daily Writers’ Dash running every Monday-Friday at 6am & 6pm (Pacific Time) with Doyle Slen, and a 500 Word Snatch with Lizzie Gudkov on Monday-Friday at 2am and Saturday at 12 noon (Pacific Time). These are often used by Wrimos to work on their novels....

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NaNoWriMo Locker Room Chat: Day 15 with Zoe Ocelot

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Use it In Our Art: A Pep Talk for Midway It’s Midway Day. Half of November is gone, half lies ahead. What do you say? Write on, or write it off? Maybe we should quit while we’re ahead? Be practical? Because in Week 2 all our car’s trouble lights came on at once, our kids came down with a severe health thing, and a previously-unmet skeleton danced rattlingly out of the family closet to leer into our nightmares, so our sleep is less, and the demands on us are more, than ever before. Yep, that was Week 2. Now we face the onslaught of Week 3 with urgent matters needing our attention. How important is NaNoWriMo, anyhow? If we’re really going to write a novel, we can do that in December. Now is simply not a good time. Good. So we’re going to write off NaNo. What a relief! Step away from that keyboard. Fix the car, heal the kids, put the skeleton to rest, and clear out time in our schedule to write, after November is over.  December 1st, when all is calm and all is bright, take a deep breath, open a fresh document, touch fingertips to keyboard and we know what will happen, right? Right. New trouble lights will flash to life on our car’s dash, our kids will be sick all over, and we’ll find out about that other time way back in the family closet.  That’s life. Life is going to happen every time we try to write, anyhow, so we might as well write on, right now. All those imperiled people and impossible situations from life? They are material for the characters and scenes in our novels. We’ll use it in our art. Write on, my friends, right on into the finish. Zoe Ocelot _______________   Virtual Writers offers a veritable calendar of delights that includes word wars, write-ins and inspirational workshops from successful authors. Be sure to join our Second Life® group Milk Wood Wrimos for event reminders and follow us on Twitter for daily tips – you’ll find lots of great links under the hashtag #virtualwrimos. If you haven’t had the opportunity to visit our sim in Second Life® then make some time this November. You’ll find an incredibly diverse and active community of writers and the level of support is second to none. Write-Ins Monday – Sunday (throughout November): 8-9am Pacific Time/11am-12 noon Eastern Time/4-5pm GMT – NaNoWriMo Write-In with Zoetrope Ocelot http://ow.ly/eVHO3 Saturday (throughout November): 1-2pm Pacific Time/4-5pm Eastern Time/9-10pm GMT – NaNoWriMo Write-in with Harriet Gausman http://ow.ly/eVHO3 Sunday (throughout November): 1-2pm Pacific Time/4-5pm Eastern Time/9-10pm GMT – NaNoWriMo Write-in with Harriet Gausman http://ow.ly/eVHO3 Writers’ Dash & 500 Word Snatch We also have a twice-daily Writers’ Dash running every Monday-Friday at 6am & 6pm (Pacific Time) with Doyle Slen, and a 500 Word Snatch with Lizzie Gudkov on Monday-Friday at 2am and Saturday at 12 noon (Pacific Time). These are often used by Wrimos to work on their novels. http://ow.ly/eVHO3  ...

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