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Preparation in Pictures!

Here’s what I’ve been doing to prepare for NaNoWriMo:

1. Laying in bed staring at the yellow leaves on the tree outside.

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They are slowly falling and I told my husband that when the last leaf falls . . . well . . .

For a more dramatic version, go here. 

NaNoWriMo Prep: Turn everything i see into a horrible story.

2. Making bottles of grape juice that we may never drink because I want them to be bottles of jelly but two of our burners don’t work and I’ve never made jelly so it will probably just be mushy juice but I’m still making juice in hopes of jelly and then when I’m done I am going to say a small prayer that we don’t waste them and somehow find a way. Somehow . . .

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NaNoWriMo Prep: Do it even if I don’t have any idea how I’m going to make it work–no idea how it will end, if it’s any good, or if it’s worth my time and effort. Because if I don’t try at all, all I’ll have is rotten grapes and sad feelings of knowing what could have been. A winter without jelly is a melancholy winter indeed.

3. Feeling good about myself because I planned and worked out an amazing project I was going to do at a craft night (MODGE PODGE!!!!!) for church. Cam was my coach as I prepared for the two hours of intense crafting (which I am the worst at and try to avoid at all costs). He even found me some excellent websites to read up on and study. Here and here. 

And then I actually made the light (with the help of about fifty awesome ladies) and I was feeling pretty proud of the results:

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See how gorgeous that big fat ball is? Just like Pinterest!

But then today:

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Collapsed. Awful. Big huge glue ball with some string on it.

NaNoWriMo Prep: Don’t be sad if what I think is awesome is actually not so awesome. I went through the process. I know how to do it now. I have ideas of what I need to do next time to make it better. Some writers write the entire first draft and then CLICK delete the whole thing and start over. It’s not a failure! It’s a beginning.

And finally

4. Watching this belly grow:

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This is maybe my best selfie ever. And I take thousands. THOUSANDS I say. I am very far along with this baby (I won’t tell you how far because I have watched Lifetime Network movies many many times). Needless to say, I am gigantic. HUGE. In the best possible way (I keep telling myself).

NaNoWriMo Prep: No research or planning or computer programs beat life itself. Live now and use it later for your books.

That’s all I got! Happy Tuesday.

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Pushing Ahead

by Lisa Sledge

NaNoWriMo is fast approaching. I don’t think I’ll be joining the chaos this year—too much of that in my life already! Instead I’m focusing on finishing the rewrite of my WIP and making sure it’s submission ready. I’ve never queried a novel before.

And that’s scary enough.

Speaking of scary, there’s been a lot of discussion here about our writerly fears. I think deep down we’re all a bunch of chicken-livered scaredy-pants. But we’re also freaking awesome because we put our writing out there for the world to see anyway. Doing something in spite of how bad it scares you is the definition of bravery.

What do you do when you’re afraid? When you feel tempted to listen to the nagging voice in the back of your mind telling you your writing stinks worse than the leftovers molding in your refrigerator?

Here’s a brief list of ideas on how to distract yourself from your fears:

Call a writing friend and go out for ice cream.
Watch a really bad movie and laugh at it. Ever seen the movie Troll 2? It’s one of the greatest low budget scary movies of all time. Watch it with friends and lots of chocolate. Your sides will hurt from laughing.
Reread all the best parts of your favorite book.
Get dressed up to write. Do your hair, your make-up, and put on your best outfit. Then get to work. Writing in pjs is great, but sometimes it feels good to mix things up.
Go on a walk or a jog before writing. Visit the gym. Do something to get your blood pumping.
Turn up the volume to your favorite song and sing along.
Take a deep breath, sit your butt down, and get the job done. Remind yourself that you’ll have all the time you need to go back and fix it up later.

What are your favorite tricks for pushing ahead?

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Three Things Thursday

Brenda
I’ve been studying SAVE THE CAT by Blake Snyder.  It’s supposed to be “the Last Book on Screenwriting that you’ll ever need.” So, I’m going to write a screenplay for NaNoWriMo in November?  Not at all.  But a lot of novelists are giving Snyder’s work a good look because so much of it applies to novel writing as well.
His first suggestion is that, BEFORE you write your script (think novel), you write a good “logline” (think elevator pitch).  A short, pithy something that really explains “What is it?”  Snyder suggests it should contain 4 major elements:  1) irony, 2)a compelling mental picture, 3) an idea of the target audience (and cost of production for a movie), and 4) a “killer title.”
He gives plenty of examples from movies you’d probably know, or at least know OF.  For one: LEGALLY BLONDE.  In just those 2 words, Snyder shows the irony of the blonde ditz going to an upscale university, an immediate reaction to the mental picture of such a woman being in this position which would obviously appeal to a lot of women of  “a certain age” — especially those just younger, the same, or just older than the main character — and the Killer Title, which says so much more than others like “Barbie Goes To Harvard,” “Totally Law School,” or “Airhead Apparent.”
Write a “logline” or SHORT elevator pitch for your current WIP!  How could that help focus your story?
Carol
I’d like to second Brenda’s suggestion above. I always say you should be able to tell what your book is about in 25 words or less. I could do that easily with THE CHOSEN ONE–a 13 yr old girl must decide if she will marry her polygamist uncle or escape the life she knows. That’s 20-ish words. However, when I was working on THE HAVEN, for a long time I couldn’t say what my book was about in 25 words or less. I rambled. It’s this girl. She lives in this place. There’s a secret. And a boy. She has a best friend . . . Made no sense because, for a few years, I didn’t know what I was writing about. And guess what? I couldn’t write it, either. Know what your book is about! It will save you lots of grief!
PS THIS IS THE MOST IMPORTANT ADVICE YOU’LL EVER GET HERE ON TUP: I use this 25 word rule with people I am talking to, too. Got a long-winded friend and no time to listen? When they start a story say, “Tell it in 25 words or less.” Got someone who has to tell you about his book and you can see it’ll take ten minutes for him to get it done? Say, “Tell it in 25 words or less.” Maybe DON’T say it to a cop who’s pulled you over. But maybe yes to a cop who’s your pal. Use it with Sunbeams, Laurels, and next door neighbors. Best of all, use it on yourself.
Cheryl

There are hundreds of studies about why people love fairy tales, but the truth is, no one can really know. All we know is that some stories stay with us and are passed down to our children and our children’s children.

What’s important to us as writers is analyzing the aspects of fairy tales that we love most.

For me, I love the idea of falling in love with the person you were meant to be with all along. Disney’s version of Sleeping Beauty fits this, as does Shannon Hale’s GOOSE GIRL.

I don’t find it romantic when you have to fight the world to be together. I don’t want the people I love most to despise the person I’m with. I want to believe that my family and friends love me and know me well enough to be able to pick the man I love out of a line-up, without me telling them. That’s why the ending of ROMEO AND JULIET works for me, because when you have to fight everyone for your “true” love (and after a week, was it really love?) everyone ends up miserable.

What about you? Which fairy tales work for you? Which fall flat?

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Golden Hikes

Here are some things that will help your writing:

1. Writing.

2. Reading.

3. Friends who write.

4. Hiking (right now. on the timp trail. by yourself. with the possibility of getting eaten by bears. in the most glorious setting possible).

5. Writing.

6. Eating chocolate chips with peanut butter.

7. Reading this. 

8. Writing.

9. Giving yourself a break.

10. Trying different genres.

11. Writing a short story RIGHT NOW. Write one. Send it to us. Practice. Maybe we’ll post it.

12. Trying one of these. 

13. Coming to clean my house and/or taking me to Bombay House.

14. Planning for Nanowrimo.

15. Being brave.

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Let’s Indulge for A Moment

by Lisa Sledge

We all have it.
That fantasy about what we’re going to do when we:

-Sign with our dream agent
-Sign our first publishing contract
-See the cover art or maybe even a few inside illustrations
-Turn the pages of our printed book
-Find our name in a library catalog

When I see my book in print for the first time, there are two things I want to do. First of all, I’m going on a hot air balloon ride. I’ve always wanted to do that. It seems fitting to celebrate the accomplishment of one dream with another.

The next thing I’m going to do is a secret. But it will be fun. :)

I’m curious.

What do you dream about?

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Three Things Thursday

From  Ms. Brenda
What am I doing with my time?
One of our Utah writers, Johnny Worthen, is writing.  He debuted his BEATRYSEL which was released last year by Omnium Gatherum Media in L.A. Then his YA paranormal trilogy, THE UNSEEN, kicked off last July from Jolly Fish Press with the release of ELEANOR.  Next year the trilogy will continue in June with CELESTE, THE UNSEEN, followed later by DAVID, THE UNSEEN.  (He also said he would appreciate your looking for it, even though it’s “The Unseen Trilogy”!)
Additionally, he will “unleash upon the world” his “satirical neo-noire detective Tony Flaner in THE FINGER TRAP in the fall, and when I met him last mid-September he had just received notice from Cherokee McGhee publishers, VA, that his political mystery THE BRAND DEMAND (an Edward Abby-esque MONKEY WRENCH GANG) will come out in May.  Not to mention stories in anthologies, and a novella, DR. STUART’S HEART (companion piece to BEATRYSEL).
And what am I doing with all my spare time?  What are you doing with yours ? ? ?
From Ms. Cheryl
Challenge for this week: Write down twenty things about your character that your reader will never know.
This is a great way to prep for Nanowrimo if you’re planning on it. By doing this, you add depth to your character that naturally comes out in your writing without ever being said. Try it!
From Me
Cheryl has given us a NaNo exercise. I’ll add another.  (This is three exercises to get you ready for next month!)
We’ve talked about this a ton before.
The opening of a book. How it needs to grab the reader.
So–
Come up with as many first lines as you can in 20 minutes. Do that every day for one week.
After the 20 minutes, reread your lines.
What do you love most?
What does each line do for you?
Do you connect with any? All? None?
Write your emotions–and maybe a few lines of direction on your favorites.

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Kyra Leigh, Queen Bee

Alls I got to say today is….
MOM GOT A HOUSE!!! Wooooohoooooo

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