Tag Archives: nanowrimo

Links for Writers v1.1

This is so much fun. This post was inspired by Cory Richardson, an aspiring writer related to my husband, Tim. She lives in a very small town and is eager to learn about writing resources on the internet.

With so much available, a Google search can be daunting. So I’m listing some links as a starting point. The cool thing about having a few resources is using them as a springboard to even more good stuff.

First of all, take a look at my posts in the “Writing Craft” category, especially Links for Writers v1.0 in which I refer to posts on character development and pacing, and Writing the Perfect Scene.

Get the juices flowing with writing prompts, for example the 365 Creative Writing Prompts from ThinkWritten.  

Since Cory wants to write science fiction, I Googled “science fiction writing prompts” which turned up several, including “58 Science Fiction Writing Prompts” from the blog of Mandy Wallace.

For plot development, I like Randy Ingermanson’s Snowflake Method. 

Readers, can you help? Getting feedback on your writing is so important. My writing education has come mainly from the critique group Novel in Progress Austin. But I know now everyone has the luxury of a live group, and there are online groups and places online where you can find a reading buddy to exchange material with. I just don’t know where they are.

It’s almost time for NaNoWriMo.  Join the nearly half a million people who will take the challenge to write a 50,000-word novel between November 1st to the 30th. I’ve never done it, but I know people who have, and it’s a great immersion experience. One reason I like the concept is that in order to write about 1,00 words per day, you have to allow yourself to write crap. And really, that’s what a first draft is and should be. It’s the time to let the creative juices flow and turn off the editing Nazi. And there’s help and camaraderie as you and others bounce off ideas in the interactive NaNoWriMo Forums, such as the Character Cafe and Worldbuilding.

There you have it for starters, Rory. Have fun.


I do not over-intellectualize the production process. I try to keep it simple. Tell the damned story.

–Tom Clancy





Writers Stretching

comfortable-couple-1464737_1280This post is about two very different ways writers stretch.

A Simple Stretch

The following excerpt is from the short story “Fable,” by Charles Yu, published in The New Yorker, May 30, 2016.

Excerpt: Together they shared a quiet existence that was defined by well-managed expectations. Perhaps not the stuff of legends. Not quite deserving of “once upon a time.” But it was comfortable and honest.

My take-away: I can picture this couple. More than that, this seemingly simple passage reminds me not to short-change characters who, on the surface, are bland. It’s easy (if anything writers do is easy) to portray the tumultuous or ill-starred relationship, which invites  dynamic language and disturbing encounters. It stretches a writer to describe a relationship that’s “comfortable and honest” without losing readers’ interest.

Image courtesy of National Novel Writing Month

NaNoWriMo: A Speedwriting Stretch

It’s October, which means National Novel Writing Month, better known as NaNoWriMo, is upon us.  If you’re unfamiliar with NaNoWriMo, it’s a promotion that encourages people to write a 50,000-word novel between Nov. 1 and Nov. 30. That’s almost 1,700 words a day.

I’m not the least bit tempted to try it, but I understand the appeal. Get moving on that first draft & write it so fast you don’t care if it sucks. It has worked for some best-selling authors, including Sara Gruen, whose novel Water for Elephants began as a NaNoWriMo ordeal. I can imagine, as rich as her Depression-era story world is, that she had done extensive research into circus life of that period prior to putting words on paper.

I’d like to know your thoughts on the idea of speedwriting a novel. Have you tried it? Would you?