Tag Archives: writing community

Signed Up, Bought the T-Shirt… Now What?

Hm, now what…

junowrimo facebook picThat’s a good question.  Since this is a writing challenge, based mostly on the classic NaNoWriMo, you probably can guess the first thing to do would be write… and you’d be correct.  But we have so much more to offer our members beyond a dramatically increased word count and super-cool t-shirts.

JuNo volunteers offer sprints all through the month to get you inspired.  We’ll mostly be sprinting via Twitter @JuNoWriMo, but we have a dynamic Facebook group too for ideas, prompts, and even the occasional coffee clutch discussions we all need between bouts of word-frenzy.  If you want, there is a word count tracker here and here (older format for people without the latest Office).

We are a community that shares successes and failures and keeps going.

And we write.

So now that you’re here, what do you say?  Think it’s time?  Then…

Just write button

Writing a Premise

At some point, someone is going to ask you, “What’s your novel about?” If not in those exact words, you’re sure to field the question in some form. Do you have an answer? Sure, your novel is complex, full of characters, intricacies, histories, motivations, breakups, and makeups, but what would you write on the back cover of your published novel? What could you say in under 60 seconds to sell your story?

You need a premise. It’s key to staying on task, reminding yourself what you’re doing all month long, and letting others know what’s got you so focused/frazzled/frenzied.

What is a premise?

A premise is a one or two sentence (25-35 word) introduction to your character, his/her conflict, and the hook. It’s the foundation of your story. It works double time. You can use it to keep you on track, or as an elevator pitch to sell your completed novel.

Two ways to write your premise:

1. A present-tense statement. <— Best for planners

2. A “what-if”question. <— Best for pantsers

Whether you use the first or the second is completely up to you. The first option gives a much clearer guideline to follow while the second raises a question, but offers no answers. How open-ended would you like it to be? How much wiggle room would you like to have as you work on your novel? That will determine the best premise style for you.

What are the benefits of writing a premise?

1. A clear idea of what your novel is about. It forces you to break your idea down to its basic components, and ensures that you have the ever-important element that sets your novel apart from any other – the hook.
2. A guideline to refer to at any time during your novel writing process. As you write, many scenes will come to mind, and you will probably fall in love with most of them. Are they all relevant? Probably not. How will you know which ones are worth using? Your premise will make it painfully (or delightfully) obvious which scenes are necessary and which scenes can hit the road.
3. Takes less time and knowledge of the details than writing a summary. To write a summary, you need to know exactly what happens in your story. For a premise, you only need the bones. No meat necessary.
4. Less strict than a summary, leaving lots of room to move around. If you write your novel based on a summary, you will probably feel locked into some ideas and scenes that are present in the summary. There are specific occurrences that you’ll allude to in a summary. In a premise, again, it’s just the bones. You can dress it up however you want.
5. Having an elevator pitch ready. There’s no faster way to say what your novel is about. This is what agents, publishers, and readers are interested in. What is the purpose of your story?

Here are examples of premises using The Hunger Games:

1. Katniss takes her younger sister’s place as tribute in a fight-to-the-death reality television show. She not only fights her competitors, but herself, to win sponsor support, and stay alive.

2. What if 24 children are forced to leave their families to participate in a fight-to-the-death reality television show, only one coming out alive, to entertain the people of their world?

With a few planning days left before the 30 days of writing begin, it’s a great time to write your premise. Remember, you only need to know three things to do it. They are:
1. Your main character
2. Your character’s conflict.
3. The hook – What makes it different.

If you’re not quite ready to write your own premise, I highly recommend writing premises for your favourite books and movies. This will give you great practice in breaking hundred of pages or 2 hours down to their bare bones. For each premise your write, include the character, conflict, and hook, and stay between 25 and 35 words. Once you’ve done this for four or five books/movies, you should be ready to do it for your JuNoWriMo novel.

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Pep Talk Week 4: Brain Drain? Take a Hike by Rayne Hall

When you’ve worked on your novel intensely for three weeks, your brain may feel like it’s been boil-washed and tumble-dried. However hard you wring it, you can’t squeeze another drop of creative juice from the shrunken, crumpled rag.

Here’s an instant fix: go for a walk.

I find walking does miracles – and I’m not alone. Many writers observe that the steady rhythmic movement clears stress from the brain and makes room for creative ideas.

After twenty minutes, ideas pour into my mind: solutions to plot problems, insights about my characters, and little details to flesh out the current scene.

The thoughts flow faster and faster, and after forty-five minutes of walking I need to pause and write them down lest I forget. For this, I always carry a hardback notebook and a supply of pens (and sometimes an Alphasmart) in my backpack. Then I sit on a park bench, on the sandy beach or in a coffeeshop, and write for a while until it’s time to walk again.

On sunny days, I walk and write for hours. My favourite routes are through fields and meadows from the village of Newenden to Bodiam Castle along the meandering River Rother, and from Hastings to Bexhill along the seafront – the latter has the advantage of several nice cafés along the way, and in summer the chance to swim and sunbathe on the beach.

When it rains – which happens often here in England – my walks tend to be shorter, though I still walk half an hour at least.

If you’ve reached a point where the creativity has dried up, where the fun has evaporated, when you’re bored with your writing or you’re stuck with a plot problem, put on comfortable shoes and the right clothes for the weather, and just walk.  Don’t think consciously about your novel at first, and don’t torment your brain with demands. Wait for the dam to burst naturally, which for you may be earlier or later than the twenty-minute mark.

Once it happens, direct your creativity to the book. Don’t waste it on designing the quilt you may make next year, or mentally redecorating your bathroom. A gentle prod in the direction of your story is all your subconscious needs, and the creative thoughts will come gushing.

The rhythmic exercise of walking also eases the tightness in your shoulders and the stiffness in your neck, and at the same time, it burns up calories.

The only time it doesn’t work so well is immediately after a meal, because the digestive process reduces the brain’s activity. However, walking can help with the digestion, so if you plan to write after dinner, consider going for a short walk first.

If the weather is too awful to go out, or if you simply don’t fancy walking, try some other steady rhythmic exercise instead: aerobics with music, spinning, a spell on the climber or the cross-trainer, or low-intensity cardio. Your brain will reward you with refreshed creativity.

Try it and see how it works for you. I’d love to hear about your experiences, and also if you have other techniques to share. Leave a comment, and I’ll reply.

Rayne Hall

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RayneHall - Fantasy Horror Author - Portrait by Fawnheart

Rayne Hall has published more than forty books under different pen names with different publishers in different genres, mostly fantasy, horror and non-fiction. Recent books include Storm Dancer (dark epic fantasy novel), 13 British Horror Stories, Six Scary Tales Vol 1, 2, 3, 4 (creepy horror stories), Six Historical Tales (short stories), Six Quirky Tales (humorous fantasy stories), Writing Fight Scenes, The World-Loss Diet, Writing About Villains, Writing About Magic and Writing Scary Scenes (instructions for authors).
She holds a college degree in publishing management and a masters degree in creative writing. Currently, she edits the Ten Tales series of multi-author short story anthologies: Bites: Ten Tales of Vampires, Haunted: Ten Tales of Ghosts, Scared: Ten Tales of Horror, Cutlass: Ten Tales of Pirates, Beltane: Ten Tales of Witchcraft, Spells: Ten Tales of Magic, Undead: Ten Tales of Zombies and more.
Find her at: Rayne Hall’s Dark Fantasy Fiction

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JuNoWriMo Featured Author: Linda Hamonou

Meet some of your fellow JuNo WriMos in our Featured Author series each Monday and Wednesday during June.

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Background

Linda Hamonou

I started to write as soon as I could hold a pen and pestered everyone around to have them read my stories. After high school I entered university and stopped writing as much as I used to, it seemed that I couldn’t find the inspiration anymore. It’s only when a friend told my about NaNoWriMo in 2009 at the end of my PhD that I decided to start writing again. I won NaNoWriMo that year in 20 days and started to accumulate the experience with that sort of contest until now. I wrote 6 finished novel drafts, two of them have been self-published and one vampire story still unfinished. I participated to script frenzy as well, I have a finished script but I’m not much of a script writer.

JuNoWriMo Plans

I haven’t decided yet on my JuNo novel. I’m still pondering between three possibilities: The first one is to start working again on “Vampire Heart” and to finish it. My recent blog post about it has been well received. The second possibility would be a sequel of my demon novels which would be called “Blue Angel” or “The rise of the angels”. This one doesn’t have a plan yet, only ideas flying around and waiting to be caught. The third one is called the “Bayard’s house”, I already have one or two parts for it but nothing consequent. I would use secondary wizard characters from the demon novels and from “Attic Mirror” as main characters. I seems to be lighter and more fun than the two others at least for the moment but it requires a lot of planning as well. All those are fantasy novels for young readers.

Backstory and Behind the Scenes

Map of Europe which should evolve with Viorel's progression

Map of Europe which should evolve with Viorel’s progression. Starting point: Sighişoara

I’m interested in Magick and supernatural characters who are not human or are humans with powers. I like to scientifically analyze the possibilities. I also like to travel and my characters tend to travel a lot. In “Vampire Heart”, Viorel is taking an odyssey from Transylvania to western Europe (he is in Praha so far) and he should arrive in Russia and China.

My demon novels started with a love story and is continuing with mysterious ancient gods being reborn in the Demon World and people trying to stop them by all dirty means possible. The “Bayard’s house” is inspired of course by Harry Potter I want to follow a long line of Wizards and see how they evolve in the magical world I created. As all my worlds are linked together through a special place, the magic involved is different for every kind of characters which makes it more complex and enjoyable to write and I hope to read.

If I work on Vampire Heart, I hope to at least finish one volume (currently at 53235 words), as I am hoping to make it a trilogy. If I work on any other not yet started novels, I hope to pass half way through the first draft.

Find Linda:

Twitter | Facebook | Blog | Goodreads

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Enjoying JuNoWriMo? Help us make it bigger and better for next year! Donate, and you’ll receive personal fanfare from our Facebook page.

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JuNoWriMo Featured Author: Christen Krumm

Meet some of your fellow JuNo WriMos in our Featured Author series each Monday and Wednesday during June.

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Christen Krumm

Christen Krumm

My name is Christen, and I’m a dreamer. I’ve always been a dreamer, and I could never decide what I wanted to be when I “grew-up”. For a while it was a doctor, then an actress (which is funny since I can’t act, or preform in front of crowds), and there was a short stint I wanted to be a tornado chaser. All the while I was writing. I remember at six years old writing my first book about a dollhouse and the dolls that lived in it.  Eventually everything else faded away, but writing stayed—that and being a mommy and I figured I could do both.

My current project, working title The Black Knight, is a YA Fiction semi-dystopian? I’m not quite sure how to categorize it, but it’s set in the not too far future. The United States has been fracture between New America (the majority of the East coast) and Southern Republic (Oklahoma, Arkansas, Texas, Louisiana). There are car chases, damsels in distress, and romance.

The Black Knight was originally going to be one book, adult fiction, and somehow it was based off of the movie Speed (but is nothing like Speed, so I’m not sure what Speed has to do with it — maybe I was just watching it while I came up with the story line), but I quickly realized I’m not cut out to write adult fiction and my story somehow morphed into a trilogy.

I’ve been working on this story in some way or another since I was about thirteen. Now, being twenty-seven and with a goal of having something, anything, finished by the time I’m thirty, I’m really feeling the fire under me. It’s currently about half written—I’ve been writing on it seriously since January/February of this year and I’m hoping to finish it up during JuNo.

I blog about writing and life at ChristenKrumm.com, Tweet at @ChristenKrumm, and Instagram under KrummCake. I love meeting new people and would be thrilled if you stopped by and said hello!

Bio: Christen is a  book lover by default. She solemnly swears to always have a pile of books or two (or four) around her  house for you to trip over. She graduated from the University of Arkansas Fort Smith with a BA in English in 2007. She’s a coffee drinking, stay-at-home mom and Nester at Litfuse Publicity Group by day and a writer by night. She currently resides in a semi-small Arkansas town, with her rock star, super-hero husband, daughter E and son D.

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Enjoying JuNoWriMo? Help us make it bigger and better for next year! Donate, and you’ll receive personal fanfare from our Facebook page.

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