Reading books? But I was planning on planning!

Okay, men (and women),
This is it. The big one, The one we’ve all been waiting for.

NaNoWriMo.org has been wiped and reset to 2017. You can log in and create your novel!

You can also Introduce yourself and begin hosting write ins (prep ins?). There’s already several Write Ins set down and on the calendar. And it’s only October 2nd!

Goodreads

So, did you know we have a Goodreads group? I know, reading books is not nearly as enjoyable as actually writing them, but hear us out. Last month, we read Not Your Sidekick by C.B. Lee, who, guess this, is a local wrimo, who wrote it for NaNoWriMo and got published. FYI, she may show up to an event to say ‘Hi!’.

This month we’re reading Switched by Amanda Hocking. Amanda started out as a self publisher with help from Pronoun, one of those sponsors from HQ (who also sponsored TGIO last year). These days she’s published by Macmillan and she’s coming to our TGIO party to give us some advice on self publishing.

If you haven’t been participating, or didn’t know, it’s not too late to read the books and start chatting about them in the group. It’s entirely possible active group members might get a little… something… at a later date.

9 Weeks until NaNoWriMo continues

Alexis’s NaNo Prep Facebook posts are continuing at high speed. It’s not too late to join her (and officially make the Prep group larger than the regular group…)

And now its really time to prep because before you know it it will be time for…

Events

Kick Off

El Cholo Pasadena
Sunday, October 29th 3-5pm

Per usual, we will have door prizes and a raffle. Hopefully we won’t over do it again (last year no one left empty handed)

The forum RSVP is open here and you can also see the Facebook event here.

Midnight Blast Off

Dupars Pasadena
Tuesday, October 31 (All Hallows Eve) 10pm – Wednesday, November 1st (All Saints Day), 2am

Julie is the one risking her soul to host on the most terrifying of nights (that entire week is actually a bit creepy). Battle your way through the ghouls and goblins to join the first write in of the month. Reward your endeavors with pie (or a burger. that works too).

The forum RSVP will open in about two weeks. The Facebook event is here.

Great Train Escape

The Escape to San Francisco for the Night of Writing Dangerously is still around. Now organized by syaffolee, but Betty will be getting on the train from LA.

Meanwhile Julie and Alexis are planning on bidding them farewell before taking the local trains around for a bit of a Ride in,. I mean write in. It’s listed on the calendar!

Thank God It’s Over (TGIO)

Geeky Teas, Burbank
Sunday, December 3rd, 3-5 pm

Finally, when it’s all over we’ll party in Burbank. There will be some sort of refreshment and there will be Amanda Hocking telling us about self publishing. And probably some prizes because what’s a NaNo LA event without prizes?

Geeky Teas is also the GeeKitties cat rescue, so there are cats on premise, basically on the opposite side of the building from us.

I think that’s everything currently happening. Save the Dates, read some books, prepare your families for your vanishing act next month.

-Xander

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Thus it begins…

September is upon us, Winter is Coming, and before that, NANOWRIMO.

I know, three whole months away, but that’s like a second to Nicholas Flamel. I’ve barely begun thinking about planning, but as I can attest, as the forum moderator for NaNo Prep, there are many who are starting to panic, I mean plan. Such as my lovely co-ML Alexis who has a plan for all of us this next few weeks. Continue Reading →

Who’s in charge?

I’m a planner. Sometimes I joke planster (I realize a chapter in my plan wasn’t detailed enough) but I”m a planner. Pantsers complain about the lack of excitement of planning, they forget that if you’re planning on being published, then you not only write the novel, you rewrite it, revise it, edit it, have someone else edit it, proof it again before the print it, etc. The excitement vanishes long before the end of the road.

So I plan. Another argument I get is ‘my characters want to do something else’. I don’t have this problem. Some people would say ‘you can’t just make the characters do something against their nature!’ but I’m not. I know my character’s nature, that’s why I planned the story this way.

This is the goal of those massive character questionnaires you see. Answer these questions and you will know your character. Your character no longer surprises you. One of my writing books even suggests that if a scene feels wrong, stop writing and return to the questions and figure out why the scene feels wrong.

New writers are convinced that when they make an outline they have to stick with it. They hit a blockage, the idea the outline will be ruined — which it rarely is, there’s always an alternate path to the goal — they don’t think about characterization. It wasn’t taken into account when the outline was written and it’s a surprise when it appears to derail the story.

Hypothetically,

Susan kills Mike. They hate each other and have a massive fight. Susan grabs the gun from the other room and shoots him.

But you never wrote them that way. They were always friendly, joking, there was no tension. The disagreement they have doesn’t seem major enough for Susan to grab a gun for.

So either you can rewrite the entire story to make the characters hate each other, a characterization that should have been thought of before, or you can change the scene to reflect the characters who are.

Susan and Mike are friends, but they have a heated argument while preparing dinner. Mike makes a threatening move; Susan reflexively stabs him with the carving knife.

There are a couple of nice things here. It’s an accident, so it doesn’t matter that they’re friends. The emotional toll is greater on Susan’s behalf because she’s just harmed a friend. If the attack was all that was needed, stab wounds are survivable, even more so than bullet wounds. If she’s lucky, Mike agrees it was an accident when questioned, and she doesn’t even go to court for it.

If he needs to die, then she happened to hit just the right part. Maybe she even made the mistake of removing the knife before the paramedics came. If this was always part of the plan and she hides the body, maybe the fact he was still alive and could have been saved becomes an important part of the story.

Ironically, I named this ‘who’s in charge’ but the answer isn’t you or them. They act as any person would act in their situation. That might make them ‘in charge’, but it doesn’t make them ‘in control’.