Write a Novel This November! NaNoWriMo 2015: What Is It, and How Do I Do It?
You probably want to write a novel. Most people do. For some people, it’s something to check off the bucket list. For others, it’s a life-long dream. Some people aspire to be a published novelist, while others simply want to write a book, even if it’s just for themselves. Regardless of what your specific dream entails, writing a novel is an incredibly daunting task. Fortunately, Chris Baty founded NaNoWriMo in 1999, thereby turning this impossible fantasy into an achievable task.
NaNoWriMo, or National Novel Writing Month, is an annual, month-long event that takes place every November, and it is the catalyst that generates full-length novels from both new and experienced authors each year. The goal is to write 50,000 words in November. You open your blank document and begin on November 1, and on the thirtieth by 11:59pm, you are a novelist. To participate, all you have to do is set up a free account at nanowrimo.org, and then announce your new novel! NaNo prep is already happening on the website: pep talks, forums, advice, etc. The NaNo community is preparing for the upcoming month-long writing extravaganza. To win NaNoWriMo, all you have to do is write 50,000 words. Everyone who does this is declared a winner, and you get a fancy virtual badge!
Think you can’t possibly write 50,000 words in thirty days? Don’t worry! Several tools exist to help you conquer this seemingly impossible-to-climb mountain. The first is the website itself. It has a handy tracker that tells you where your word count should be each day in order to stay on track. You enter your current word count, and you get to see the graph reflect the work you’ve done and the progress you’ve made, which is extremely encouraging and satisfying. There are forums on the website in which you can talk with other writers and inspire each other and cheer each other on. Need help figuring out the perfect surname for your protagonist? Feeling overwhelmed? Need help with some research? Running out of steam? The people on the forums are happy to help with all of this and more. It’s an extremely supportive and motivating community of writers, and it’s an invaluable source for your NaNo experience.
If 50,000 words still seems out of reach to you, keep in mind that it translates to only 1,667 words a day. That is totally manageable! You can do that, I promise! Here are some sources that can get you pumping out those words:
I have participated in NaNoWriMo three times, and I won each time. Here is the best piece of advice I can give: don’t think; just write. NaNoWriMo is not about producing a polished and perfect work of literature. It’s about writing the damn book. The goal is to get the first draft done, and the first draft is the hardest part. As Terry Pratchett said, “The first draft is just you telling yourself the story.” You don’t have a story until you write it. Now is your chance to write it. Do not waste time trying to make it as beautiful and perfect as possible. You should not do a single revision during this month. Do not go back to the words you’ve already written at all. Only move forward. If you do this, you’ll have a first draft of your book by the end of the month, and a first draft is a physical thing with which you can work. After November, you can begin your revisions. At this point, you’ll have achieved an amazing accomplishment, and you’ll be well on your way to completed manuscript.
Good luck, and happy writing!
Christmas was always filled with happy elves and a fat, jolly man spreading Christmas cheer across the globe. Presents came from the bloodied hands of naughty boys and girls. There wasn't a Naught or Nice list -- there was crime followed by swift punishment.
A Christmas Croc stalked little boys and girls who misbehaved. These little children saw the true nature of gift-making. The throes of hell -- only, not even demons would want to visit the North Pole.
John P. Bourgeois's The Christmas Croc is a haunting holiday tale fit for any reader -- just be warned, it isn't for children who can't handle monsters.
September is a big month for Unsolicited Press. Four books come out this month! Yes, I said it, four of them. And it wasn't easy. It was pretty stinking difficult. But, hey, we did it to ourselves. This September, we happily welcome Mick Bennett, William Alton, Nicholas Kriefall and John P. Bourgeois into our little family.
These men are brilliant. They have been darling to work with at all levels -- each with their own quirks. And the beauty is that they each put out a different genre. Bennett with a novel, Alton with a short story collection, Kriefall with poetry, and Bourgeois with an illustrated satire.
To learn more about these fellas, scroll down. Maybe you'll buy a copy.
Attic Pieces is a short volume of poetry by artist Nicholas Kriefall. We here at Unsolicited Press do not like to summarize poetry. Each poems has invaluable distinction.
Kriefall writes beyond the image and provokes the subconscious to wake up -- to join you on a level on complete presence.
But if we have to tell you something, then we'd say:
Attic Pieces is a debut collection of narrative poems covering a variety of themes set in rural towns as well as big cities, as seen through the eyes of the old and young alike. To a veteran astronaut unsure of home, to a soldier afraid to leave his, to a fishing town and farmer in their last days; each poem invites the reader into an intimate corner of everyday life.
Girls is a short story collection. William Alton embodies Raymond Carver and Bukowski all in one collection.
Meet Jimmy Hanlon. It’s summer, 1987. Jimmy’s a closeted bisexual in his late forties, nine months removed from a laryngectomy, and in this first part of a trilogy, he’s anxious to find a new identity in his Jersey Shore hometown. He hitches his hopes to a 33 year old lifeguard. The two cruise into summer with an assortment of boardwalk denizens and bar hounds. When they both fall for the same pretty nurse, the ride starts to get bumpy. In Jimmy’s story of redemption, dreams, familial and romantic love, misogamy and prejudice, accommodation and empathy, he discovers that the real victories occur in the small, courageous moments of our lives that overcome societal and personal prejudice.
Catch a glimpse at Mick Bennett's latest publication Missing You in Belmar, NJ this October as he reads popular excerpts from the book.
October 3rd, 2014:
Where: Ragged Edge Coffee House, 110 Chambersburg St., Gettysburg, PA
Time: 4-5 p.m.
October 12th, 2014
Where: Belmar Arts Council, 608 River Rd., Belmar, NJ,
When: 1-3 p.m.
Although we would love for you to buy a book from our website, if you plan on attending the readings, Mick has books he'd like to sell to you! And guess what, he is so nice that he'll probably sign it for you! So please, save your dollars for Mick.
If you are not going to the reading, you can purchase a copy of the book in our store. His book is available in paperback, PDF, and soon, you can purchase it on Nook and Kindle. Amazon and BN.com have copies too.
At Unsolicited Press we value our books. We value our authors and the material that they put out into the world. But we value something else even more: reference and written craft books. Books that help us do our job better. Books that help our writers do an even better job writing fascinating stories.
Last week, we polled the office, our editors, writers, production team, IT folks...everybody...to see which books were the most important to them in editing, writing, and reference. Here were the three MOST popular books:
Submit your work to our email address and in the subject heading let us know that it is for the contest. A button to pay your entry fee will be coming by May 1st ,2014.
Last year we did a small contest and the winners were put into our lit journal, but this year we are joining the big guys. We are offering publication to three lucky contest winners. Yeah, it's that kind of big. Three winners in any genre will be published under UP with the full marketing ploy. The winners will receive 10 copies of their book. This contest will only work if we receive enough entries. We have to have a solid set of manuscripts to choose from. Authors interested in submitting should have a complete, edited manuscript. We will do one edit cycle for each winner.
Submission deadline: 5/15/14
Winner notification: 6/1/14
Publication date: 6/25/14; 7/5/14; 7/15/14
Entry fee: $25
Fiction: 100-200 pages
We will do this quick n dirty, but professionally. Every book will go under our professional editorial and production plans before publication. We have installed a set of editors to run the contest and run the editorial process for each book. Rubie, Eric, and Esme are the lea editors.
Did we mention that should you win, you would be nominated for a Push Cart? And that you'll receive a little bit of flow? We can't guarantee the amount until we see the entry results.
Cool flyer to come.
Does your work, whether large or small keep getting rejected? Sometimes it is the sheer fact that editors or their assistants aren't reading your work.
As a former freelance editor for (can't be named) a big-name publisher, I know this happens. Editors are "too busy" to read them all. And if you are a little-known writer, you can pretty much guarantee that your envelope never even got opened by anybody because it didn't have enough shiny money potential on the flap...
Honestly, we think that this discrepancy is bullshit. As though they are too big or too funded to actually care. Tangent complete.
With that out of the way, many authors/writers get rejected by all sorts of publishers for reasons that could have been avoided....outside of shitty writing. From experience as editors, as readers, and as interns of previous houses, here are seven reasons you may be getting rejected from publishers big and small:
Emily Kiernan, native east-coaster and current California resident will release her debut novel, "Great Divide" on April 11th, 2014. Kiernan's book wrestles with memory and escape.
Emily is a graduate of the MFA writing program at the California Institute of the Arts and resides in Berkeley, CA. Her stories have been published in White Whale Review, JMWW, Dark Sky, and many other journals. Kiernan has pressed through years of hard work and literary bureaucracy to bring you "Great Divide" in its purest form.
Readers and fans can purchase "Great Divide" at major retailers, online stores, and through Unsolicited Press.
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