I hit the NaNoWriMo target on 25th November – I had planned to write 2,000 words per day and, amazingly, I managed to stick to it.
Now the not so good bit. As soon as I hit 50,000 words I abandoned my routine. I had planned to keep going all the way to November 30th and thus amass 60,000 words. But once I knew I’d done enough to be a NaNo winner, I could no longer drag myself out of bed at 6:15 am to write 1,000 words before breakfast.
So now I’m gearing myself up to write the last little bit of the story, and then it’s the scary part – reading back through it all and discovering it’s all mumbo jumbo!
And if you’re looking for a new project now that NaNo is over:
Nottingham Writers’ Club are holding their first National Short Story Competition. The winner gets £200 and there are 15 prizes in total. ‘Emotion’ is the theme of the competition and the word limit is 2,000.
Entries can only be submitted between 1st and 31st January 2014 and, “All entrants must be non-professional writers. For the purpose of this competition, we define ‘non-professional’ as a writer who has earned less than £500 from short story writing during 2013″.
Request an entry form and further details here.
Finally, a quick shout out for Alison May. Alison is a fellow member of the Birmingham Chapter of the Romantic Novelists’ Association and has just had her debut novel published via Choc Lit Lite.
It’s titled ‘Much Ado About Sweet Nothing’ and is available initially in e-book format.
Calling all Winnie the Pooh fans!
Disney are looking for five regional winners across the UK and Ireland to be crowned ‘Winnie the Pooh Laureate’ and read their story in their local Disney store.
Entrants are asked to take Winnie the Pooh and his friends outside of 100 Acre Wood and into their own locality for an adventure. The story should feature landmarks unique to the writer’s home region. Maximum number of words is 500.
The winner from each region will also see their story printed in a special book and win a goodie bag of Winnie the Pooh merchandise.
Entry is free and is via the competition’s Facebook Page. Closing date is December 17th 2013.
Click on the Terms and Conditions tab on the Facebook Page before you enter to read full details of the judging process – the final three in each region are asked to read their story on the phone in order to judge their performance ability.
There’s no doubt that doing NaNoWriMo is a slog and sometimes you need a break from fighting through all those words by yourself.
So, the other Saturday I went along to a NaNoWriMo ‘Write In’ in Birmingham city centre. The organisers had reserved several tables in a café and, apart from the expectation that each participant would purchase refreshments from the café, the event was free.
When I arrived it was easy to spot the novelists – they all had laptops and their fingers were dancing over the keyboards. It was at this point that I realised I hadn’t fully thought through what a NaNoWriMo event might entail. I’d come armed with a notebook because I wanted a break from the computer screen and time to think about some additional plot twists and/or characters. I hadn’t expected to see such industry.
Nevertheless I was made welcome.
As well as offering the time and space to write, chat or do whatever else NaNo related you fancied, there were some organised activities during the afternoon.
We were given the word of the day to incorporate into our stories. It was ‘pyknic’, meaning ‘short and fat’.
Then it was time for the first ‘Word Wars’ session. The aim was to write as many words as possible in a timed 45 minute session. Without a laptop it was difficult to join in but the silence and atmosphere of work during that time was fantastic and I found myself scribbling outlines for several possible scenes to act as triggers over the forthcoming days. It was definitely time well spent.
There was an interlude to catch our breath and discuss general NaNo stuff. Also at this point the origami bunnies were brought around. For every 10k words completed, a bunny was awarded. I got one because at that point I had around 17,000 words done.
Coffee cups re-filled and cake bought it was time for another ‘Word War’.
As I was leaving a ‘Word Sprint’ was getting under way. Each individual picked a lolly stick at random. The stick contained a number of words and a time limit in which those words should be written.
So, for those lacking motivation or those just needing/wanting to get through a whole pile of words – get yourself along to a NaNoWriMo ‘Write In’. But don’t forget your laptop!
Here’s something for those of you who are not neck deep in NaNoWriMo.
Emma Wright from the Emma Press has been in touch to tell me that they are currently looking for poetry submissions.
They would like poems on the following subjects:
- Best friends (female) – closing date 16th December 2013
- Motherhood/Fatherhood – closing date 16th December 2013
- Homesickness and exile – closing 5th January 2014
For those who are successful, there is a one-off payment of £20 per poet.
The website contains a lot more information about the type of poem that is required and how to submit. It’s well worth a look – it might trigger those writing juices. Full details can be found here.
Last weekend I went on a Relax and Write course at Weetwood Hall in Leeds.
I went to learn ‘How to Write the Mystery Novel’ with Eileen Robertson. We did character sketches of our heroes and villains, we thought about their motivations and what had brought these characters to where they were at the start of the novel. We gave brief descriptions of how our plots might develop and everyone chipped in with their own suggestions for each other’s storylines – something I found useful.
The accommodation and food for the weekend were excellent (although the bar prices were rather high!).
But it was the other course participants who made the weekend particularly enjoyable. We all got along and, as most writers seem to be, everyone was very generous sharing their experiences and advice.
Several of us are intent on doing NaNoWriMo during November (National Novel Writing Month). So you might notice this blog go rather quiet as I try to churn out 50,000 words. I did it about four years ago, so I know how tough it is. I’m hoping the challenge will kill off procrastination and give me the skeleton of a novel that might be worth spending more time on.
Finally, I am pleased to announce that Chris Sullivan is the winner of the Book Review Competition that I ran a couple of weeks ago. Chris has a book review blog at The Voyage Out - do go over and have a look at it if you enjoy reading.
Many thanks to everybody who took the time to download, read and review Karen’s Story and any of my other books. It was much appreciated and I’ve taken all your comments on board.
Many thanks to my friend Nick for bringing this competition to my attention.
Earlier this year the Cremona Hotel in Bournemouth held a crime writing short story competition (I entered but never heard a thing, so I guess I didn’t win …). It must have been a success because now they are holding a romance writing short story competition.
Entry is FREE and you must write a romantic story of up to 1,200 words with a seaside background.
First prize is a weekend for two at the Cremona and there are runners up prizes of £25 and £15.
Closing date is 14th Feb 2014. Full details can be found here.
Talking of competitions – has anyone discovered where, on the Best magazine website, the weekly ‘stories’ are, one of which contains the name of a famous writer? Entrants to the Best short story competition need to include this writer’s name as part of their entry. All I’ve found are three interviews with writers – any of which could be classed as ‘famous’.
Finally, as you read this, I am up in Leeds on a ‘How to Write the Mystery Novel’ weekend, run by ‘Relax and Write’. I’ll let you know how I got on next week, along with announcing the winner of the Book Review Competition (you’ve got until midnight Sat 26th to enter).