Words of wisdom from Nanowrimo veteran Bethlyn Bechtel

Inspirational, Nanowrimo, Novels, Writing
Hi! My name is Bethlyn and this will be my second year participating in NaNoWriMo. My friend has asked me to “impart wisdom” upon her readers by sharing my tips, experiences, encouragement and anything else I can think of. This task has proven more difficult then I imagined and I have been sitting here, thinking, trying to come up with a good message for days. I haven’t done much Nanoing before, and although I did win my first attempt, I failed miserably at Camp Nano. What ideas could I share to encourage any newbies? My first thought was to share with you how I plan out my story ideas. I have a strange way of corralling those plot bunnies, however. I call it “dream writing.” When I have an idea…
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Diving into your character’s mind

Nanowrimo, Workshops, Writing
Hopefully by now you have a fairly solid main character to work with if nothing else. You want to know that character as well as you possibly can before you start writing your actual novel. This is particularly important if all you have is a character, because an entire novel can spring up naturally around a good character you know well. Their family, friends and lovers can become characters and their lives can become plots. You can either discover a period of their life worth writing about, or you can learn how they react to things and throw them an entirely new challenge that will test their strengths. Every writer uses different techniques to get into their character's minds. Some use character interviews, others create detailed character charts. Some even…
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5 Important considerations when planning your Nanowrimo novel

Goal setting, Nanowrimo, Writing
If you, like me, are currently working with only the most basic novel concept, there are some important things to consider as you flesh out your story. These are important things to consider before diving into your novel, whether it's for Nanowrimo or not. Asking yourself these questions can really save you a world of pain during November and beyond it. 1. How exciting is this story? You need to be excited about your story. A novel is a commitment. You're going to devote at least a significant chunk of next month to writing this thing, and if you plan to someday publish you're going to have to spend months, possibly years editing it. Frankly, you won't get all the way through November with a story that doesn't excite you,…
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Meet Published Nanowrimo Author, Robin Burks

Inspirational, Nanowrimo, Writing
Robin Burks is one of my favourite authors to work with, and a former novel participant. I quite enjoyed her debut fantasy novel, Zeus Inc., which I reviewed last year. She also had some quite interesting thoughts on character development which might be useful to you when planning your novel. This year she's returned to discuss her Nanowrimo experience and promote the re-release of her novel through Biting Dog Publications, which she's currently celebrating with a book tour. Please give her a warm welcome. 1. Why did you originally choose to do Nanowrimo? A friend of mine told me about NaNoWriMo when I mentioned I was struggling with a novel idea I was working on (which later became Zeus, Inc.). I looked at the website and thought it could help…
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Finding a novel idea where none exists

Novels, Writing: The Process
"It's all well and good that Nanowrimo is next month," you say, "but how does that help me if I have no idea what to write?" In spite of what you might think about arduous novel planning, many people start Nanowrimo each year with literally no idea what they're going to write, and others start with only the most basic concept. While this isn't the approach I'd recommend, it works for some and even the most basic—or non-existent—concept can be the foundation of a winning 50, 000 word novel. What I'd recommend is to devote every spare moment of this month figuring out exactly what you're going to write in November. If you can choose a genre you'd like to write in, that makes your life a whole lot easier…
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What to know before you start your novel

Some writers approach every book with characters first. Other books flourish from a plot or a world the writer has been inspired to create. I personally approach every book differently. The first Nano novel I ever wrote started with a race of fairies that lived on the moon and grew from there. A couple of my novels have been inspired by role playing games and began with the interesting characters I created. One even came to me fully formed in a dream. No matter what you've got to start with, there are some things you should make an effort to know before you start your novel. Some of these are necessary, some aren't, but all will make your life easier. This is what I make an effort to know before…
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Calling all Nanowrimo veterans!

Blog Stuff
I've done Nanowrimo--National Novel Writing Month--every year since 2004 and won every year except 2005. For the last few years I've also blogged extensively about the writing challenge, offering writing exercises, pep talks and tips for Nanowrimo participants both new and experienced. Every year I've attempted to expand the Nanowrimo extravaganza here, and this year I'd like to make it even bigger. Have you participated in Nanowrimo before? Have you written 50, 000, 100, 000 or even more words in the month of November? Then I want to hear from you! My goal is to make The Dabbler the comprehensive resource for anyone trying to complete Nanowrimo. I've got an extensive list of posts that I've already started writing that will share a mix of tips, tricks and stories from…
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What have you accomplished this summer?

Blog Stuff, Inspirational, Writing
Summer is drawing to a close and it can be easy to look at all the things you planned to do that didn't happen this summer--let's be honest here, everyone has something--and get depressed about your lack of success. However, if you take the time to think about it you'll often discover that you've accomplished quite a lot, just not the things you originally planned to accomplish.  For example, this summer I didn't get much freelance work, frankly because I didn't put that much effort into it. Instead, I finished editing Moonshadow's Guardian, edited one short story and am almost finished editing a second, put one non-fiction ebook together and started on a second one, and outlined a second draft of my 2011 Nano that I plan to start working on…
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Focus in on what really matters

Blog Stuff, Novels, Short Fiction, Writing
As a writer with a limitless imagination and an interesting life, it's easy to get caught up in too many projects at once and to end up abandoning things you really want to work on. It's something I do all the time, and this summer I've done it yet again, and realized that I need to change course to truly create the future I want. When you know exactly what you want, it's tempting to try to force it all at once, but life doesn't work like that. You need to choose two or three projects to focus on at a time, no more. You might even want to try focusing on one project at a time depending on your schedule and the kind of person you are. I don't…
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Send your novel into the world in the right way

When it comes to writing a novel, you're not expected to do it right. Doing it at all is the important thing. First drafts are expected to be terrible. When it comes to publishing a book, however, you've got to do it right. It's key to check out a publisher's books before you submit, both so you know what they like and what quality their books are, but it's even more important to keep an eye on quality if you plan to self publish. As a self publisher, you are already being judged on a much harsher scale than anyone who's made it past the gates of a traditional or even an ebook publisher. You need to be twice as sure that you're producing a professional product nobody can laugh…
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