TCIO Party for Guelph #NaNoWriMo

nanowrimocrestOn Friday evening, I joined five other NaNoWriMo winners at Fionn MacCool’s in south Guelph for our TCIO (Thank Chuck It’s Over) party. Of the seventy-three members in the Guelph region, twenty of us completed 50K or more words during the month-long marathon.

Congrats to our top achiever–Hennessey “Henn” Wick wrote 124,155 words during NaNoWriMo 2017!

Thanks to our M.L. Cindy Carroll for organizing and motivating us throughout the month.


My final stats…54,873 words with an average of 1,829 words per day.



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More #NaNoWriMo Success Stories

Last week, I shared four spectacular NaNoWriMo successes on the Sisterhood of Suspense blog. With only three days left in the challenge, I thought I would boost everyone’s morale with these additional success stories. I was inspired and motivated by the advice and takeaways from their NaNoWriMo journeys.




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Alan Averill wrote the first chapter of The Beautiful Land several months before NaNoWriMo and then put aside the manuscript. When he learned that his friends were planning to participate in NaNoWriMo, he decided to join them. He wrote 60 percent of the novel and finished the rest in January. He credits the experience with helping him create a fast-paced book: “One of the great things about NaNo is that you don’t have time to think about what you’re doing. You’re basically a Writer Shark, and if you don’t keep swimming forward at all times, you’re going to die.”

In 2008, Marissa Meyer (author of Cinder) heard about a contest in which the Seattle-based writer who clocked in the most words during November would win a walk-on role in an upcoming episode of Star Trek. A chronic overachiever, Marissa took on the challenge and ended up writing three novels: Cinder (70,000), Scarlet (50,000), and Cress (30,000). Unfortunately, she didn’t place first but finished three novels that she polished over a two-year period. While much of the original material was scrapped, Marissa has no regrets: “I may not produce anything of quality during NaNoWriMo, but I always come away with a great road map.” She had offers of representation from three agents, and when the series went to auction, Macmillan’s Feiwel & Friends placed the winning bid.

Carrie Ryan started writing The Forest of Hands and Teeth during NaNo 2006. During that month, Carrie wrote between 20,000 and 30,000 words and then kept on writing afterward, finishing the first draft in April 2007. Later in 2007, Carrie sold the rights. The first of a trilogy, the book became a New York Times best-seller, and the film rights have been optioned by Seven Star Pictures. Carrie’s advice: “If you want to sell a book, you have to write a book. And if NaNo is what it takes to motivate you, then jump in with both feet. If you fail, the key is not to give up—the key is to keep writing.”

Stephanie Stuve-Bodeen wrote the first draft of The Compound during NaNo 2005. It then took six months to edit and polish the manuscript. The book sold to Feiwel and Friends in July 2006 and then went through another fourteen months of editorial revisions before final publication in late 2007. A long journey, filled with ups and downs, but definitely worth the wait. Seven more Young Adult books followed. Stephanie’s take-away: “This book is a symbol of how never giving up helped me realize a dream.”

ONWARD ♦ AVANTI ♦ EN AVANT ♦ WEITER ♦ ADELANTE


Sharing #NaNoWriMo Success Stories

Completing 50,000 words in thirty days is a major achievement, one that hundreds of thousands of NaNoWriMo participants have set as their November goal for the past eighteen years.

While the end result will be part unreadable, part unfinished, and more than likely, error-ridden, the process often continues well beyond November. Many published books–including some very successful ones–started off as NaNoWriMo projects.

Continue reading on the Sisterhood of Suspense blog.


At Fair November

On Thursday, I reached 30K words on my NaNoWriMo manuscript, No More Secrets. To reward myself, I visited the 43rd Annual Fair November Craft Show at the University of Guelph.

Seventy-five artisans share traditional and modern crafts, among them kiln fired glass, porcelain and stoneware pottery, recycled vintage silver, wood inlayed products, upcycled ecohandbags, wheel-thrown pottery, beeswax candles, yoga accessories, and gourmet food products.

I was pleasantly surprised to discover whiskey infused maple syrup, hand-tooled purses, and a vintage merman print that once belonged to the Lobster Queen of Canada.



More #NaNoWriMo Tips

On Wednesdays, I share posts, fables, songs, poems, quotations, TEDx Talks, cartoons, and books that have inspired and motivated me on my writing journey. I hope these posts will give writers, artists, and other creatives a mid-week boost.

In last Wednesday’s post, I shared five tips that helped me survive and thrive during NaNoWriMo 2016.

Here are five more tips:

1. Relax and TELL. For years, I’ve heard editors and workshop facilitators repeat the mantra: SHOW DON’T TELL. What a relief to focus on getting the scene on paper in any form and then prettying it up later.

2. Leave notes in the text. Plot and dialogue are my strengths while descriptive detail is one of my weaknesses. Instead of belaboring the setting and other details, leave notes about what’s missing. i.e. Description of waterfront or restaurant. Don’t stop to check the internet for anything.

3. Journal when stuck. Author and course facilitator, Catherine Chant recommends journaling about our character’s feelings to elicit more details and move the storyline along. The character could write her response stream-of-conscious style or write a letter describing a problem. Even if the journal entry is edited out of the story, the words still count.

4. Stop before the ideas run out. At the end of each day’s stint, write a sentence or two about what happens next. This will provide a starting point for the following day.

5. Turn off the internal editor. I need to keep in mind Anne Lamott’s advice and “write a crappy first draft.” Forget about spelling, punctuation, and grammar. Don’t delete anything. In short, give myself permission to write badly.


Starting #NaNoWriMo

On Wednesdays, I share posts, fables, songs, poems, quotations, TEDx Talks, cartoons, and books that have inspired and motivated me on my writing journey. I hope these posts will give writers, artists, and other creatives a mid-week boost.

One year ago, I began my first NaNoWriMo journey. At first apprehensive, I slowly built up confidence and achieved a final goal of 50,940 words. During the winter and spring months, I edited and polished the manuscript that was later accepted for publication. In the spring of 2018, The Wild Rose Press will release A Different Kind of Reunion.

Today, I’m starting my second NaNoWriMo journey. Still apprehensive but much more confident. Here are five tips that helped me survive and thrive during NaNoWriMo 2016.

1. Announce your plans. At first, I wanted to keep my involvement secret, but after reading about the positive reinforcement that a support group can provide, I decided to share the news with everyone in my circle. In addition to other writers—online and offline—I also told the non-writers. I was looking for encouragement, not advice. Simply asking: “How’s that novel coming along?” will help keep me on track.

2.Write at peak times. To find a routine that works consistently, I need to write when the muse strikes. I have discovered that the following times yield the most creative results: 9:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. and 7:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m.

3. Work ahead. Sneaking in an extra 300 words (or more) early in the month can build up word counts and compensate for missed days when illness and other commitments affect the quality and quantity of the writing.

4. Turn off the television and all electronic gadgets during peak creative times to ensure there are no distractions.

5. Embrace both linear and non-linear paths. While I prefer to write linearly—one chapter at a time—skipping over to a more interesting scene can help stimulate right-brain thinking.