Mark My Words

Writing, flying and yawning my way through motherhood

Accentuate Writers: Yay!, NaNoWriMo: Fail. November 11, 2008

Filed under: Uncategorized — H. M. @ 7:41 pm
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The semi-finalists of the last Accentuate Writers Anthology Contest of the year were announced today. I, as I expected, was not one of them. Admittedly, I am a hideous short story writer, so I wasn’t expecting any recognition at all.

Congratulations are in order for one of my favorite writing moms. Lindsay M. was selected as one of the semi-finalists. I remember her posts on the Accentuate Writers Forum remarking on how drained she was during the writing process. Congrats, Lindsay, you earned it! I encourage everyone to check out her blog Silly Mom Thoughts.

Also on a writing note, I think I’m going to abandon my NaNoWriMo novel for 2008. I’m really disappointed, I was looking forward to it so much this year. My story just isn’t capturing my imagination like 2007’s novel. I’m struggling to find time wth a 3 month old at home and I really need to focus all my energy on paid writing gigs. Someone at Accentuate recently observed that we can’t always do our best, we must simply do what we can. So NaNoWriMo will just have to take a back seat for now while I do what I can for my family.


The NaNoWriMo Train November 3, 2008

I’m moving along well with my NaNoWriMo project. I’m over 4,000 words now putting me right on track to hit 5,000 before the end of the day today. But I’m having a major lack of motivation day today. I just don’t want to do it. But I can’t get behind, especially if I’m going to be away from the computer for the next few days.

So anyway, here we are. Me and Hamster writing our novel together. I’m teaching him everything I know. He seems to find it boring, I hope he gets through this phase before we send him to college.


Why Didn’t I Ever Edit Last Year’s NaNoWriMo Novel? October 24, 2008

Oh yeah… because I got pregnant. Then I planned a wedding. Then I had a baby. That’s why.

Anyway, Chris Baty, Director of NaNoWriMo, just sent out an amazingly awesome e mail. It reads,

Dear NaNoWriMo 2007 Winner,

Last November, you and those typing fingers of yours did something amazing. And while you were busy bashing out your novel, we were frantically trying to line up a prize worthy of your feat.

Our goal was to find a self publishing company who would give every NaNo winner a free copy of his or her winning manuscript in paperback book form. It’s taken us until now, but we’ve finally found them.

CreateSpace, an Inc. owned company, is generously offering every NaNoWriMo 2007 winner a “free proof copy” of their 2007 manuscript. What this means: A free proof copy of your manuscript in paperback book form–just by following the instructions below. They’ll even cover the costs of basic shipping to you.

I LOVE this organization. I love NaNo. I feel that I won’t be a winner this year with Henry on my hip all the time. But sure as you’re born, I’m gonna try!


Using the Snowflake Method for NaNoWriMo October 14, 2008

Filed under: NaNoWriMo,Novel Writing — H. M. @ 8:48 am
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Last year I had the luxury of writing my NaNoWriMo novel by the seat of my pants. I sort of had to because I didn’t hear about it until November 3 so there was no time for planning. I had lots of time on empty flights and lonely hotel overnights to piece the story together. Even though I’m now on a leave of absence from work, having a new baby to take care of occupies about 18 hours of my day. (I’m lucky if I get to use the other six for sleeping.

The snowflake fractal.

The snowflake fractal.

I’ll have to be much more calculating in my preparation this year. I’m going to try to do an abbreviated Snowflake Method approach to this year’s NaNoWriMo. The Snowflake Method is something I read about on the NaNoWriMo forums last year. This guy Randy Ingermanson calls himself “America’s Mad Professor of Fiction Writing” (who doesn’t love a mad professor?) and he’s created a novel writing formula called The Snowflake Method.

The Snowflake Method is a 10 step program for organizing and preparing to write a novel. It would typically take 4-6 weeks to complete steps 1-8 but I aim to get them done in 16 days. And that’s only if I start today. But anyone participating in NaNoWriMo is probably insane anyway so if they can write a novel in a month, why not do the planning in 16 days?

Read my Snowflake Method article on Associated Content.


No Plot? No Problem. It’s NaNoWriMo time again! October 9, 2008

Who wants to write 50,000 words in a month? I do, and so do over 100,000 other people. NaNoWriMo stands for National Novel Writing Month and the whole point is to put 50k words down on paper. It’s not about winning a Pulitzer Prize, it’s about pushing yourself to get the skeleton of the story out. Participants aren’t allowed to edit until December.

I participated for the first time last year mostly because I’m a lousy creative writer and I wanted to force my story out. I did it. It was an amazing experience. Each day I required myself to put down 2,000 words in my compositon notebooks.

My NaNo 2007

My NaNo 2007

I got a lot of writing done at work because November is notoriously quiet. The flights are empty until the first few days before Thanksgiving, getting my word count in was easier than I expected. I went to a couple of local write-ins, where other “WriMos” got together to participate in writing exercises and caffeination. I was featured on the NaNo homepage in their writer Q&A section. This year will probably be tougher with the new baby. I have a hard time updating a blog, sheesh 🙂

Learning about my characters as I went along was surprising. I learned things about them, I learned about their families and their jobs, I also learned that the story I wrote had already been done in 1939. Halfway through I had to change things, reorganize, regroup. I thought my NaNo was over, but I made changes and completed the challenge. At the end of November I was able to say I wrote a novel.

Despite my good intentions, I haven’t touched my manuscript since then. It was just a few weeks after NaNo I found out I was pregnant. I suddenly had to reschedule my wedding and plan for a baby. Even though I haven’t followed through on editing it (or titling it), I plan on writing another one this year.

Why don’t you join up with me? Go to and sign up. I’ll share my buddies with you.

Read about what others are saying

Michy’s Forum

Associated Content Forum

And here are some of the novels that were written during NaNoWriMo that went on to publication and for some, bestseller lists.

  • Jon F. Merz—NaNoWriMo novel: The Destructor (Pinnacle Books, 2003)
  • Lani Diane Rich—NaNoWriMo novels: Time Off for Good Behavior (Warner Books, 2004) and Maybe Baby (Warner Books, 2005)
  • Sara Gruen—NaNoWriMo novels: Flying Changes (HarperCollins, 2005) and Water for Elephants (Algonquin, 2007)
  • Rebecca Agiewich—NaNoWriMo novel: BreakupBabe (Ballantine Books, 2006)
  • Francesca Segre—NaNoWriMo novel: Daughter of the Bride (Berkeley Books, 2006)
  • David Niall Wilson—NaNoWriMo novels: Vintage Soul (Five Star/Gale, 2007) and The Mote in Andrea’s Eye (Five Star/Gale, 2006)
  • Gayle Brandeis—NaNoWriMo novel: Self Storage (Ballantine Books, 2007)
  • Kimberly Llewellyn—NaNoWriMo novel: Cashmere Boulevard (Berkley Books, 2007)
  • Geonn Cannon—NaNoWriMo novel: On the Air (P.D. Publishing, 2007)
  • Lisa Daily—NaNoWriMo novel: The Dreamgirl Academy (Plume/Penguin Putnam, 2008)
  • Jacob and Diane Anderson-Minshall—NaNoWriMo novel: Blind Curves (Bold Strokes Books, 2007)
  • James R. Strickland—NaNoWriMo novel: Looking Glass (Flying Pen Press, 2007)
  • Kathy Cano-Murillo—NaNoWriMo novel: Love Shine (Grand Central Publishing, 2007)
  • Ann Gonzalez—NaNoWriMo novel: Running for My Life (WestSide Books, 2008)
  • Stephanie Stuve-Bodeen—NaNoWriMo novel: The Compound (Feiwel and Friends, 2008)
  • Jessica Burkhart—NaNoWriMo novel: High Jumps at Collins Academy (Simon & Schuster, 2007).
  • Jenna Bayley-Burke—NaNoWriMo novel: Just One Spark (Mills & Boon, 2006)
  • Teryl Cartwright—NaNoWriMo novel: A Sensible Match (Vintage Romance, 2007)
  • Dave Casler—NaNoWriMo novel: The Story of the Great American Flying Broomstick, Book 1: Genesis (Mt. Sneffels Press, 2007)
  • Liz Hegarty—NaNoWriMo novel: Salt River (Scholastic New Zealand, April 2009)
  • C.J. Lines—NaNoWriMo novel: Filth Kiss (Hadesgate Publishing , 2007)
  • Moondancer Drake—NaNoWriMo novel: Worlds Collide (PD Publishing)
  • Simon Haynes—NaNoWriMo novel: Hal Spacejock No Free Lunch (Fremantle Press, June 2008)
  • Farhan Devji—NaNoWriMo novel: The Hockey Farmer (Cacoethes Publishing, June 2008).
  • Kalayna-Nicole Price—NaNoWriMo novel: Once Bitten (Bell Bridge Books)