NaNoWriMo and How to Win-Tips to Succeed.

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Hi Writers!!!

So it’s that time of year again and NaNoWriMo is upon us. I have done it every year since 2006 because it’s such a great way to get out a first draft.

I aim for 70,000 words because it pushes me more and I always finish. I currently write YA and when I started I was writing adult novels which generally have longer word counts. Here are my tips to make it FUN for you and so you can finish.

Me? I’m a bit crazy when it comes to writing, but I always try to finish by Thanksgiving. I divide up the word count by days. So yes, MATH.

This year Thanksgiving is on November 23rd so for me to hit 70,000 words I have to write 3043 words a day, every day. See how that works?

You GOT THIS. I know you can do it. The 3rd or fourth year I did it I was also working 50 hours a week and was in the running for a TV writing fellowship where they actually asked me to fly out a spec episode over a week. It’s about breaking up your day into units of time.

Yes, just like Will in About A Boy. Everything you do can be broken down and therefore making it seem less daunting.

Example: Gym-1 hour (1 unit), walking my dog 1/2 unit, cooking and eating dinner 2 units. Writing 3,000 words 3 units, work 6 to 8 units. Yes, your day will be longer, but that’s what it takes to be a writer–you know this, right?

Okay here is a simple list that I hope helps.

  1. Forget outlining and planning. I know there are people and places who start the NaNoWriMo outlining in Sept. Don’t do it, really it makes it much harder to hit a word count when you are constrained to an outline. You can do that in revisions. Just have a story idea, character and be FREE, you’ll love it.
  2. Don’t compare yourself to other writers. You are you and what you are writing is perfect for you.
  3. Make a word count daily plan and then hit it every day.
  4. Tell your family and friends that you are doing this and ask for the space you need to write.
  5. Don’t beat yourself up if you miss a day. You can always make it up, but try to stick it because it’s easier to do smaller amounts daily.
  6. Do NOT edit-this is the biggest one. Do NOT edit as you write or you could get stuck in chapter one forever.
  7. Be confident in your story.
  8. Buddy up with people on NaNo and use them as accountability buddies
  9. Be positive about you and your work even if you have those bad writing days–you can fix all of it in revisions
  10. Lastly, have fun!!!

“If you put your mind to it, you can accomplish anything!” ~ George McFly, Back to the Future tumblr_m8cibu9Ypc1rzz8vno1_500

 

https://nanowrimo.org/

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To Those Who Are Against the Netflix Show Thirteen Reasons Why, please read.

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I don’t agree with you on your feelings. You have the right to them of course, but I disagree. I do a lot of volunteer work for suicide organizations and have for the last 14 years so this is something I know a lot about. 16195286_859398437496079_2963832611971480462_n-768x438

I think on a show that aired once a week then yes there needed to be phone numbers and warnings in every episode, but since Netflix chose to show it all at once-meaning you could binge it-I think to have that pop up ever 40-50 minutes would have been worse. I have attended more than 10 workshops about TRW since it’s release through mental health & suicide prevention organizations, on both sides, so I know the arguments and they are valid. But I still disagree.

I know it’s uncomfortable for parents, but the show was real and raw. The book and the show were exactly like my high school in the 80s. Now it’s 2017, kids are having sex, kids are bullying, kids are struggling and I loved how it showed all the kids and why they were the way they were.

It’s important to understand that just because a parent blames the show, that doesn’t make it the show’s fault. I personally know TWO TEENS who didn’t commit suicide because of the show. And there have been others who I have heard about in my volunteer work with suicide.

The press against this show is only talking about a rise, but the truth is the rise was happening anyhow.

And unfortunately, any story about suicide is going to have people, even experts on both sides saying it helps and or hurts people. I know that Jay Asher (author of the book) and the producers talked about this at length.

I hope you understand why I am responding finally. I think having an open dialogue is important, but I have been really afraid to say anything about this subject publicly.  But I have seen good come out of it too.

I think the mistake that Netflix made was allowing it to be streamed all at once. I think because of the content, they should have released it slower, once a week or once every two weeks. I think they should have had mental health and suicide disclaimers after each show IF they did that, but since they allowed it to be watched in one sitting, I think they did the right thing with the extra episode and the warnings.

These are just my thoughts about this very important show.

I’d love to hear yours even if they are different than mine, but no bashing of any kind about the show, anyone who is suicidal or has committed suicide, negative talk about suicide/mental illness, or bashing of the author or producers will be tolerated. If you are on the other side of this that’s fine. I’m simply posting my thoughts about it.

Call 1-800-273-8255
Available 24 hours everyday.

I Wrote Picture Books Awhile Back..

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Today is talk like a pirate day and it reminded me of this book I wrote for the mobile app #Farfaria in 2013. I wrote a few for them in the two years that I worked from SoCal for them when they first got started. They have over 1000 titles. This is one of 16 that I wrote for them.

Now, I’m mostly concentrating on my YA books, but since I’m also an illustrator, I may swing back around to picture books someday.

The truth is that I love storytelling in all mediums!!

I hope you are all doing fabulous and I promise in 2018 I’m launching a lot of new things for writers, including Vlogs, blogs, tips, freebies and more!!

https://www.farfaria.com/how-to-talk-like-a-pirate

Judges Award Sue Alexander Grant, SCBWI-L.A.’s Top Writing Prize

Congrats to the winners!!

Kite Tales

By Marcelle Greene, SCBWI-L.A. Contest Coordinator

Our anonymous judges were unanimous in their opinion that awarding this year’s Sue Alexander Grant was one tough decision. But after three rounds of whittling more than one hundred entries, there emerged this clear winner:

I do my best thinking in my underwear. Mamma always understood that about me.

 “We Rockfort women are at our best when we’re wearing the least,” she’d say. But Lordin Heaven, I don’t think she had in mind that I’d be wearing a man’s jockey shorts, standardArmy issue, second-hand no less. And I’ll say it plain, as much time as men have spent gettinginto my drawers, I can’t quite get right with walking around in theirs.

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SCBWI Summer Conference Time!

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#La17SCBWI

Hello readers, first of all, I want to apologize for not writing as much as I used to on this blog. The reason? I’m putting everything into my new YA novel. For my followers, and readers, who don’t know what that is, it’s young adult or teen fiction. I loved writing for TV and hope to go back to it someday. I also hope and plan on screenwriting again, but novels will always be my first love. In 2012 I re-joined the Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators (SCBWI) and have been really active since 2013-as 2012 sucked for me with two huge losses and being out of work.

The annual SCBWI summer conference is here and I’m so excited to go back this year. It will be my 4th year in a row. I attended a long time ago when a friend paid for my entry, but I only went one day and was so clueless that it was a waste of my time. Now that I’m serious and more grown-up I make the best of it. This is the Oscars for children’s book peeps–not about awards, but the social event of the season and I love it.

Some tips and things I like to share with newbies to this or any writing conference. These are my personal feelings & thoughts, others probably have more official things, but this is how I approach any huge event.

  1. Have fun!!! This is really important to enjoy your time there. Do what makes you happy and don’t feel bad if you want to sit out a workshop or need some alone time, it’s overwhelming even for extroverts like myself.
  2. Be KIND TO EVERYONE-this doesn’t need explaining, or maybe it does. Be nice always, even if someone is acting catty, jealous, bitchy or just rude, even to the valets and front desk.
  3. Smile-when you smile it just makes people feel at ease and you’ll see will put you in a good mood. 🙂
  4. Be yourself-don’t poster and or lie about your experience or be ashamed that you still have a minimum wage job or whatever.
  5. Avoid religion and politics if you can.
  6. Be CONFIDENT in yourself and your work no matter what stage of the game you are in.
  7. Always ask questions.
  8. Be open to feedback, listen, take notes and do your best not to defend your work. It’s okay to ask questions so you understand, but only AFTER every person critiquing is finished speaking.
  9. Take breaks, wear comfortable shoes, drink lots of water, eat healthily and stretch.
  10. Pick up and hand out business cards.

Those are my top 10 suggestions for a successful conference. I have a whole list of what not to do, but a lot of that is covered in my previous blog. LOL

Okay peeps, I will start blogging at least once a week and add more content on queries, character, voice, social media and things like that as I’m planning to do more talks again like I did from 2008-2012 when I was concentrating on TV & film writing. Most of the principals are the same. Story is story no matter what the genre. Characters drive their stories.

Happy writing!

Cheers

Writing Residencies, Workshops & Retreat Etiquette

As a lot of you who follow me know that I go to a lot of writing events away from home. Here is some advice to writers of all levels to help the experience be good for yourself and others around you.

  1. Don’t stalk other writers for any reason.
  2. Understand that people are there working.
  3. Be respectful of common areas as all writers may not have the option to write in their room.
  4. Don’t pitch your work to other writers, unless asked.
  5. Don’t insist that a fellow writer connect you to their agent.
  6. Always be polite.
  7. Don’t brag or lie about your experience.
  8. Listen to feedback.
  9. Be open.
  10. Respect personal boundaries.

I’m writing this because while these things seem like common sense there are writers who attend these types of events in hopes to sign with an agent and or to make connections and they don’t act professionally, which makes the experience miserable for the others.

Most of the ones I have been to the writers all follow these things, but recently I went to one where I was terrified of one of the attendees and was sure that I would end up like Meredith Kercher. As well she made it uncomfortable for many of us to do our work. When I spoke to the director about it I was told that she was just socially awkward and was coming to find those friendships that happen at these things. I just wanted to finish my novel and relax.

This advice I’m giving also goes for conferences and any writing event. Please always be respectful of others. If you really just are looking to make close friendships and don’t care about the work, please join a support group and or a Meetup.

 

Writing for the 21st Century

This is spot on!

Glass Cases

I represent Adult fiction and YA & MG fiction, but I talk more about the latter. I know I do this, and it’s not because I don’t have a lot to say about Adult fiction. It’s that YA, and especially MG, are still new. They are still evolving. Adult genres get redefined every once in a while, and audiences grow, but mostly, adults are adults and their writers know who they’re writing for.

I talk more about YA because the category itself is known for jumping from trend to trend, being super enthusiastic and supportive, yet misunderstood (and often disrespected) by mainstream literary culture. Its target audience can relate, and they aren’t known for standing still either. Adults age at a much slower pace. The difference between a 32 year old and a 36 year old is barely a blip compared to that of a 13 year old and a…

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Social Media for Writers & Artists

This is an article I wrote for the SCBWI Los Angeles regional newsletter Kite Tales. I love social media, as most of you know and I’m quite good with it. Hope you like the article.

Kite Tales

socialmedia1At conferences, one of the things I hear many writers and artists talk about is that their biggest fear/worry/stumbling block/insecurity (besides their craft – because hey, we all know how that is), is how to use social media. I’m writing this quick article with some tips because while I’m not officially a paid social media person, I’m really good at it. Really.

First of all, breathe. Don’t be scared. It’s okay. We were all beginners and didn’t know how to do any of it until we did. Please don’t feel insecure about the things you haven’t done yet. It seems daunting, but it’s not. Really. Please trust me.

7910370882_39d180fb66_zHere are my tips:

  1. Don’t be nervous about it.
  2. Treat social media like any other social interaction (meaning, be kind and respectful).
  3. Start with the one or ones you are comfortable with. It’s okay not to be on all of them, and…

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