NanoWriMo 2016

I have mixed feelings about (Inter)National Writing Month. On one hand, I’m of the opinion that writing isn’t just something any one can pick up and do. It takes a lot of time to study the craft and the implication that all it takes is time is a little insulting. (We don’t have national Plumbers month, or National Doctors month, right?)

But on the other hand, having a month where you focus on writing over 1000 words a day is good. The key to finishing your work, I think, is not so much writing every day but wanting to write every day. And NanoWriMo does that, it helps you to want to write.

I doubt that I’ll get anywhere near the 50,000 words that I’d need to poop out to win. But hopefully I can get somewhere between 10-30 thousand words done. This is a project that has been mulling in my head since January and I keep putting it off. It will be good to put some time into it and see where it can go.

If you’re doing NaNoWriMo this year, click the mocked up cover to see my profile.

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2014 – Publish or Perish!

On one hand, 2014 was for me a year like any other.  Every new story I wrote this year was rejected, many multiple times. I racked up well over 50 rejections this year, and most of the stories I think are among my best. In fact, even though I love writing short stories, I think I’ll stop trying to write so many every year. It’s just a lot of work that mostly leads to rejections. Writing novels is probably a more fruitful way to go.

Furthermore, I tried to write another novel for Nanowrimo this year and did not finish it. So on that hand, it’s sort of a normal year.

That, however, is a very misleading hand.

It has unequivocally been the best year of my writing life.  I sold two travel articles early in the year, appearing in Wanderlust UK and CSTN Solo Travel.  The Tales to Terrify podcast agreed to adapt one of my first published stories. Two different anthologies (Dead Harvest and History and Horror) bought stories of mine, one a reprint and that found a home for the first time.

Best of’ all, as you have no doubt heard if you’ve been to this blog before, is that I sold my novel.  This is a book I started planning in 2005 and I finished in 2011 and then spent a while looking for agents and publishers.  Because the folks at Severed Press wisely pointed out that there’s not a lot of market for historical horror, they signed me to write two additional books.

I’m almost finished with my Journal to the Center of the Earth novella, the first one for them. I re-read Verne and Burroughs and Doyle and I hope to keep their fast-paced narratives even though obviously it will be a different story.

I’m excited to see what 2015 will bring.

Storytelling Assignment One: The Hobbit and Me

In addition to Nanowrimo, I am taking a free online class on storytelling.

The first assignment for the week is:

Please think about which story you have read, seen, listened to, played or experienced has impressed you most in your life. … Which story can you still very well remember? Write down both, the summary of this story (what you remember of the story, not what Wikipedia says.. 🙂 and – on the other hand: – what made it so special to you that you can still remember it.

I am not going to spend a lot of time re-hashing the plot, but here is my answer.

It’s hardly under the radar these days, but one of my earliest memories is of my mother’s battered Hobbit LP, which must have been released in accordance with the animated version of 1977.  The cover alone absorbed hours of my young life-I think I must have known that Gandalf was a wizard, even then, but the Rankin-Bass illustration of Bilbo looks frog-like, maybe even slightly monstrous.

The story of a consummate underdog, who set off into adventure and encountered menaces like goblins, spiders, woodelves, and dragons (the trolls weren’t in the much abridged album version) cast its spell on me.

I did not yet know how to read, but the background music and the stills from the film were utterly captivating.  It was the old style, where you turn the page every time the chime rings, and the entire story must have been condensed to about 15 minutes.

It didn’t matter.  As soon as I could, at 6, I read the Hobbit and re-read it.  At 8, in 3rd grade, I discovered the Lord of the Rings.  Actually, that’s not true.  I had always known about them, but disappointed that they weren’t about Bilbo I had turned my nose up at it.  At last though, after a dozen re-reads, I realized I had no choice.

By the end of high school, I had read Lord of the Rings over thirty times.  It’s still my favorite book, still the story that is closest to my heart.  And it all started with that funny little album.