NaNoWriMo is coming up fast!

Want to try National Novel Writing Month for the first time? Dooooo it! I’m here for you! What is NaNoWriMo you ask? It’s a chance for writers around the globe to try and write 50,000 words in one month. And if you didn’t know it, Seattle’s NaNoWriMo mascot is the Rubber Duck! I may have way too many ducks, and not enough all at the same time, so you’ll find me at write-ins around the city giving out ducks and competing in word sprints for new ones!

yellow duckies in line on a concrete floor
Photo by Pixabay on

In an effort to help folks get set for the big months, here is a page I wrote ages ago with some pointers for world-building, plotting, and character creation. And if you want to connect with folks, here are some events I’m teaching/facilitating leading up to and during the big month!

  • I’m teaching a workshop called “A Scream is worth a 1,000 Words” with the Continuing Ed department at Shoreline Community College in person on the 29th. While it bills itself as horror, it is really focusing a lot on metaphors and usage of emotion and message in your stories, so it’s pretty useful across the board.
  • The Shoreline CC Library and I are doing a free “PrepTober” session in person on 10/28 from 5-6 to talk about how to NaNoWriMo!
  • Through November, we’ll be doing free in-person Write In Wednesdays at the library where you can come work on your NaNo story! (there will be rubber ducks)
  • I’ll also be hosting virtual write-ins through the Neverending Bookshop on Saturdays and Thursdays. You can follow them on facebook for the links!

As always, I’ll be keeping you updated on my progress. I’ve got two big projects in the works for this month, one in cooperation with SETI (yes, alien searching SETI) and a sci-fi novel based around a delightful ship’s mechanic and a ring of unusual properties. (No. Not that kind of ring.)

Happy writing!

You may begin…now!

NaNoWriMo has just begun and here are some helpful hints for those of you attempting this Quixotian enterprise:

1) Write everyday. Don’t take a break for your birthday, or hospital visits, or just because your hamster died. If you have a fever of 104, write! Look how well Tropic of Cancer sells and he wrote that entire thing when he was blasted out of his mind…

2) Don’t fool yourself into thinking you are writing the next best seller. You are not. If you are lucky, you’re going to produce something your mother will tell you is quite nice. Have realistic expectations for output and you will be much happier come December 1st.

3) Don’t write without a plan. Sit down first and figure out who your characters are, what they mean to each other, and kind of where you want the story to go. Otherwise you’re going to get to page 200 and realize that nothing has actually happened yet.

and 4) For the love of all that is holy, please, please, PLEASE go back and edit before you try and share your collection of sleep-deprived words with anyone else. A month to bang out around 80,000 words is enough time to get them out, but not enough time to make them good. If you think on December 1st that you’re going to be sending out your work to agents and publishers, be prepared for a lot of rejection, because that’s all you’re going to get. And if you self-publish? It is not going to sell. Take the next year to edit, then maybe it will be something that can stand up to actual scrutiny.

With that being said, start your engines, pick up your pencils, start the coffee, whatever it is that’ll get you going, and have fun. Don’t get hung up on the word count, the timeline, or anything. Just write because the words won’t stay down and they just have to come out.