Nanowrimo Winner 2014!

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Was thrilled last night to reach 50,000 words and become a Nanowrimo winner! I decided to do a little video on my experience with Nano over the last five years since I first discovered it. You can watch the video below. High fives to everyone who took part this year, you are amazing!

I’m a pantser, and very proud of it too!

For those who are unfamiliar with the term, here is the Urban Dictionary definition:

Pantser : A NaNoWriMo term that means that you ‘fly by the seat of your pants’ when you are writing your novel. You have nothing but the absolute basics planned out for your novel.

The alternative to this is the plotter. The definition:

A person who plots.
A person who plots on a regular basis.
A person who has indeed plotted before.
A person who is currently plotting.

I do not plot. When I write, I do not need to know what’s going to happen next, I do not need to develop characters or arcs or twists. In fact, it is completely detrimental to my writing to know any of these things in advance.

Which is why I am still working on my new book. I started it with a very rigid plot and structure, and it has been a case of just filling in the blanks. I understand that many writers work in this way, but I personally find it irritating, boring and incredibly difficult.

Once this book is finished, I vow to never work with a plot ever again. I will forevermore fly by the seat of my pants.

Rant over.

If you are planning on writing a novel this year, sign up to Nanowrimo.org, and get yourself a copy of the awesome ‘No Plot? No Problem!’. Just don’t read it in public, you will get funny looks.

No plot

 

The last six months – January

Okay, it’s taken me a little time, but here is the first column that I wrote for the Newbie Writers Newsletter, about my self-publishing journey. Hope you enjoy!

I’ve wanted to be an author since I was about eight years old, and I’m finally now taking the necessary steps to make that dream a reality. Though I’ve been writing for years, it was only in 2009 that I finally wrote a full-length novel, using the technique devised by Chris Baty, founder of Nanowrimo and author of “No Plot? No Problem!”. Since then I have written another two and a half novels, all in various stages of progress. Despite wanting to be an author more than anything, I’ve found it difficult to motivate myself to actually get my book edited to perfection (or something near) and published, so I decided that in 2011 I would make myself accountable to someone, in order to make it happen. This is where you come in.

I started a blog, called “Confessions of a Self-Published Author”, where I have been writing about my progress with getting my novel out there into the world. There’s nothing like having all of your friends and relatives (not to mention plenty of strangers) read your blog and hassle you every now and then to “just get on with it”. So far, it’s working well, I am currently in the midst of another massive edit of the novel, and am finding that I need to make not only a few spelling and grammar edits, but also change entire scenes that don’t actually work!

I suppose it may well be a good thing that I have waited until now to properly pursue my dream of being an author, it is certainly a whole different ballgame these days. In the past, self-publishing had a stigma attached to it, as it was usually associated with ‘vanity publishing’ whereby you paid hundreds or even thousands to print your book, then you would end up with a garage-full of boxes of your novel that you would then have to sell. You can still publish in that way today, but why would you go to the expense now that Print on Demand exists? It’s the perfect way to publish, especially if, like me, you are not a particularly well-off writer. For no initial outlay, you can usually print a very professional copy of your book for just a few pounds, and it will be available to buy online, and the price that you set not only covers manufacturing costs and fees, but could even give you a nice little royalty. So, self-publishing using POD, certainly to me, seems like the way to go. I also like that fact that you can easily upload your novel to be available on the Kindle, which is something else that I will be looking into once my novel is ready for publication.

Which brings me to my plan of action, which has also been a bit of a work in progress, seeing as I started this journey with no plan at all. The list of things that need to be done stand as follows:

  1. Finish the final edit of the novel.
  2. Design the cover
  3. Get reviews for the back copy.
  4. Write the back copy.
  5. Write the Acknowledgements and dedications
  6. Compile a bibliography of any books I have found inspiring of helpful, and also for any quotes used in the novel.
  7. Use social networking sites and websites related to the subject matter of my novel to drum up some interest in it before it is published.
  8. Build a website for the novel.

The other thing I have been considering doing is a trailer for my novel. It seems to be quite a popular thing to do these days, having a book trailer, and I would really enjoy the challenge of putting one together. The main problem will be finding the time to do it! As well as having a challenging full time job, writing books and self-publishing, I also have many hobbies which I’m trying to fit in, all the while still doing everyday things like food shopping! It does seem that the busier I get, the more I get done, but my mind still boggles when I try to figure out exactly how to get everything organised and completed.

Before I sign off and get some very much needed sleep, I thought it would be a good idea to give an idea of what my novel is about, and then a short excerpt from the novel itself.

The title is: The Earth Angel Training Academy. It’s based on the other side, in an Academy for beings from all different realms. There are Angels, Old Souls, Faeries, Mermaids and Starpeople. They go to the Academy to learn how to become human, so they can go to Earth and help with the Awakening. The novel follows several of the characters as they experience the final term of the Earth Angel Training Academy. Anyone who has read any of Doreen Virtue’s books will understand the term Earth Angels, and maybe even know which realm they themselves are from!

Wow! It’s so beautiful!”

Amethyst and the little green Faerie gazed around their room in awe.

The spacious room was bright and airy. There were three huge beds dotted around,

 draped in beautiful linens. There was a notice board on the wall that had a large

sign on it.

Welcome new students! I hope your room is everything that you desire.

To change the décor, simply touch the item and state your desire.

To manifest anything, just speak your request out loud, three times.

 If there are any problems, questions or concerns, write them down on

this board and they will be dealt with. We will be reconvening in the

main hall later on today. See you there! Velvet.”

The Faerie’s eyes widened. “We just touch things, and they change?

I’ve gotta try this!” She flew over to the nearest bed and touched the

sheets. “Green!” Instantly, the sheets turned the colour of spring grass.

The Faerie squealed in delight, and started zooming around the room,

touching things and yelling out colours and patterns, until the room

looked like the inside of a kaleidoscope.

Amethyst looked around, amusement showing on her face. “Hmm,”

she said. “I may just change a few things around my bed, if that’s

okay with you?”

The Faerie was bouncing up and down on her bed. “Okay!”

The Angel went to the bed opposite and touched the sheets.

“Amethyst,” she said. Instantly the sheets turned a shimmering

 lilac colour. The Angel nodded happily. She touched the wall behind

 her and said: “A meadow on a breezy summer’s day.” The wall took

on the appearance of a meadow, with a bright blue sky, lazy clouds

 drifting along, wildflowers in bright colours and the long grass swaying

 in an unfelt breeze.

Ooh!” the Faerie said. “That’s so beautiful! I’m going to try!” She

 flew to her wall and touched it. “A lawn from a Faerie’s point of view.”

Giant blades of grass appeared, a huge ladybug crawled slowly up one

 of them, and a massive ant ambled past. The Faerie flew around in circles.

“It’s so life-like! It feels like I’m back home again!” She stroked the moving

image of the ladybug. “I wonder how Larry is,” she muttered to herself.

Michelle Gordon © 2011

Happy New Year!

It’s weird to look back at where I was six months ago, it seems like both five minutes ago and a lifetime ago. But apart from number three on my plan, I did actually achieve what I set out to do six months ago. Which is pretty amazing for me! I will post February’s column soon!

The Beginning…

Ah, the first post, always a tricky one! Well it’s not quite 2011 yet, but I thought it would be a good idea to begin now, with the journey up until now…

It all started on a train journey from New York City to Westchester, when I started to read Chris Baty’s book ‘No Plot? No Problem!’. The concept of writing 50,000 words in a month very much appealed to me, even though the longest piece I’d written up until then had been 18,000 words. It was only March at the time, and I decided that I couldn’t possibly wait until November, the official novelling month, and so set the challenge for April. After a week of planning, I began writing the novel in the airport and on the plane home to England on April 1st, 2009. After a month, I had 40,000 words, and was only half way through the story. I continued in the same vein through May and by the 2nd of July I had a 96,000 word novel.

I let it sit for a while, having got severe RSI in both hands! A couple of months later I did some editing, and also had a friend look through it for me. I then probably made the rookie mistake that many new writers have done – I started sending it out (via e-mail) to agents on publishers. I got a few replies, and though polite, were rejections. I left it for a few more months, then decided to get a few more opinions, having realised that only two people had read the entire thing from start to finish, not a great idea. So, armed with a new printer and cheap ink, I printed a few copies and sent them  out to some more friends, and they gave me feedback not only on grammatical errors but a few other points too. The overall response was very positive though, and they all asked to read the sequel, which then gave me my subject matter for the 2010 Nanowrimo.

Which is the subject of another post! The point I am at now, is of polishing the manuscript, writing the front pages, then setting it out ready to upload it to a self-publishing Print on Demand website.

Well, before this turns into a novel itself, I will end this post, and will update in the New Year. Merry Christmas!