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Will you NaNoWriMo?

pumpkinAs the world turns with the once-yearly visits of Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, and the Great Pumpkin, so does the writer’s year turn on National Novel Writing Month, when each must decide if she is ready, willing, and able to write 50,000 words in 30 days.  Perhaps NaNoWriMo does not bring us coal or marshmallow peeps, but, as with the Great Pumpkin, it does ask us to believe.
NaNoWriMo has its fans – and it most certainly has its naysayers.  Whichever camp you find yourself in, most would agree that no one can – or should – write a novel in a month.  Certainly, no one should hope to whip out her 50,000 words from 1 – 30 November and send it to agents on 1 December, hoping for gold.
What you can do is write a fast and dirty draft.  What you can do is let yourself write faster than your fear.  What you can do is get the words down so that – after the marathon is over – you have the raw materials to begin the rewrite, where the gold might actually be.
Want to know how to get started?  The NaNoWriMo website has all you need to know, and I’ve also written a blog post about how it all works, over on a NaNo site for the Creative Writing department at Canterbury Christ Church University:
Still unconvinced?  Why not read these 38 Tips for Kicking NaNoWriMo in the Butt?  And why not try?  Why not make a pact with yourself to write harder – and faster – than you believe possible and see what you can do?  I’ll be doing NaNoWriMo this year – and if you are, I’ll see you there!

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Spine & Story: the Power of Structure

img_1205If “plot is the route you take” and “story is the journey you make”, as Paul Ashton says at the BBC Writers’ Room, then what is structure?  The map?  The road?  And how can structure help us to build narrative drive when we’re writing – rewriting ?
Posted here is the Power Point for today’s workshop on structure the  with Save As Writers, “Canterbury’s Liveliest Writing Group”.   Please click through for a crash course in story structure:  how it can work, what (some of) the options are, and how the options can help writers – and readers.  There’s also a rather splendid video of Kurt Vonnegut and talk of wolves. What’s not to like?  Here’s the link to open and/or download the Power Point:  spine-and-story
Many thanks to today’s workshop writers:  it was a pleasure to meet you, however fleetingly!

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