Tips from a NaNoWriMo Evangelist

Al card from the tarot deck of Jean Dodal of Lyon, c.1701-1715. Source: Wikipedia
A card from the tarot deck of Jean Dodal of Lyon, c.1701-1715. Source: Wikipedia

Once again, I have embarked on the journey of invention and self-discovery that is NaNoWriMo.

This will be my third National Novel Writing Month attempt. It also marks my first year as a Municipal Liaison (for the Austin/Central Texas region), a position I volunteered for because I love NaNoWriMo so very much.

Here are a few of the lessons I learned from my first two “wins” (successful NaNoWriMo challenges):

Read more…

Belatedly late update

I’ve been up to a lot lately, and sadly, blogging hasn’t been as high on my list as I’d like.

The important thing is that I’ve been writing a lot. Between my professional copywriting gigs and my novels, I generate a lot of extra vowels each day. I’ve also submitted two different short stories to contests, and I hope to do a few more of those in the next few months.

Read more…

You won’t believe what the US Trademark Office is doing

Bosnian land mine warning sign. Source : Wikipedia
Bosnian landmine warning sign. Source: Wikipedia

Imagine that words and phrases in the English language could be bought. A company could purchase words and become the only entity who could ever use them.

It would fill our language with landmines, forcing writers to navigate through a whole new kind of stylebook. If we used a forbidden word, we could be sued by the word’s owner. One day our use of words like “iced tea” or “notebook” might be completely fine; the next day, if we tried to use that turn of phrase, we could get our websites shut down.

Sounds like crazy science fiction, doesn’t it?

It’s not.

The US Trademark Office is allowing companies to trademark phrases in common and widespread use, such as the term “fire cider,” just because a company wants to have exclusive rights to using a phrase for a product.

Read more…

My journey to become a novelist

Although I didn’t know it at the time, I started my first novel as a senior in high school.

It began as a short story about two characters in a fantasy world, and as I recall was inspired by the 1980s Robin Hood television show. Before I began my novel, I had completed a beast of a project, a 20-page short story. It was for one of my classes, and until that point had been the longest thing I had ever written. After that challenge, I would have been scandalized if someone told me I could write an entire novel.

So I wasn’t writing a novel that day. I just had an image, a scene in my head that wouldn’t leave me alone.

Read more…

Judging a book by its cover

Novels are a collection of ideas and images and characters and philosophies and stories, all twisted up in a blender until all the bits come together into a coherent series of words that we recognize as a book.

These words then get wrapped up in their cover like a Christmas present, with shiny and colorful paper that includes the title and author.

Some books have fantastic covers, others… not so much.

Read more…

Author Platforms Turn Writing into a Business

Writing your novel or nonfiction book is only the beginning. If you want people to buy your book, you need to develop an author platform as part of your marketing efforts and to build a relationship with your readers.

Speaking to the Indie Publishing Austin meetup, Tom Corson-Knowles (the bestselling self-published author of 20+ books including The Kindle Publishing Bible series, founder of TCK Publishing, and host of The Publishing Profits Podcast), offered up excellent tips on how authors can build an online presence and an audience for their books.

As he defined it, the author platform is the combination of methods, tools, and resources that an author uses to connect to readers and build an audience.

Read more…

Just past the halfway mark…

It’s November 17th, and the month is a little more than half over. For a writer that can only mean one thing… NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month), also known as the month in which writers nearly go insane, is also half over. We have willingly accepted the challenge to craft a new novel of at least 50,000 words, and it’s all downhill from here. This is my second year participating in NaNo, and this time it should be a lot easier, right? No, it doesn’t get easier. Sure, you learn some techniques and tricks during your virgin NaNo experience that make the mechanics easier the second time around. The writing, though… the stringing together of words in some sort of (semi) logical fashion, and constantly moving forward with a story? That never really gets easier. There may be times when you can spit out 3000 words without breaking a sweat… and times when putting together a complete sentence almost is … Read more…