Pep Talk Week 2: 4 Tips to Succeed this June

Robert Chazz Chute offers his tips on how to succeed this June!

So, you’ve decided to commit to writing 50,000 words or more this month. Blood oaths have been sworn. You promised yourself, as God is your witness, you shall be a novelist! Heroes will sing your praises in Valhalla this night. As it was foretold in the prophecy, you shall write and you will finish to great acclaim. Beer, Cherry Cokes and champagne for everybody!

Good. Now that we’ve got the drama, grand pronouncements and the first flush of enthusiasm out of the way, let’s settle some priorities and expectations so you, too, can win JuNoWriMo and the love of your cold, aloof parents.

  1. You have made your writing a high priority this month. You matter and what you want is of value. We’re talking hopes and dreams here! No shame in such selfishness.

That affirmed, know that you will have to tell someone no this month. You’ll probably have to defend your writing time against the onslaught of several someones repeatedly. Fine. Do so. Your family, friends and enemies will still be around to suck the life out of you when you’re done your word count for the day. Put your writing session on your calendar just like you would an appointment for a colonoscopy. You probably wouldn’t look forward to a such a procedure, but you definitely would not miss such an important appointment.

Yes, your writing is just as important as meeting a doctor with a startlingly long air hose, a camera and a penchant for proctology.

  1. You are here for the writing and this will be fun. Not always, of course. If scratching out words were an easy  and endless gigglefest, everyone would be a novelist. There is a trick that will help you through the rough spots: just as with a bad movie, you can always fix your manuscript in post.

Write confidently. Write swiftly. Don’t look back. Push through to the end. Editing and worry is for later. The key to a great book is to start with a crappy one. There will be plot holes. You can fill those in another time. Too often, writers compare the wretchedness of their first draft to some genius’s finished work. Trust me, that so-called genius looks like half an idiot in his or her first draft, just like you and me. Relax into the inevitability of disappointment with your first attempt.

This isn’t baseball. In writing, you can take as many swings as you like until you hit a home run. Writing is a sport for cheaters. We keep our lousy attempts in locked drawers and the fans only see our triumphs in highlight reels.

  1. I guarantee you will have a ton of fun with this challenge if you resolve to stop being so precious about writing. We fetishize the act like some dudes dig the smell of leather when they’re naked. We talk instead of write. We develop elaborate rituals, light candles and demand everything be perfect before we can begin. We think too much about how hard writing can be. But wait! Remember physical labor? Remember that sunburnt summer you got a job as a roofer pouring hot tar and day after airless day was a heatwave full shimmering punishment? Or what about that summer retail job that was so bad you studied harder in September so you would never have to work that counter at the mall again?

The quiet solitude of writing combined with the social support of JuNoWriMo is heaven compared to those mundane horrors. Writing is play. Look around. Writing is everywhere. You can already write so don’t make too big deal of it. If you want to be a novelist, be a novelist and be grateful. Storytelling looks just like typing at first. After we learn more craft, we call it writing. Eventually, we call ourselves writers and it doesn’t even sound weird when spoken aloud. Your parents will remain fretful and unsupportive, sure. But hey, you knew Mom and Dad weren’t going to change.

  1. I know you probably think writing should be hard. I had a lot of false starts thinking that way. When I got into traditional publishing, I had a romantic view of the profession. Then I drove authors to signings where no customers showed up and the author blamed me. I attended literary parties hoping for witty repartee with great minds. Sadly, the number of geniuses in the publishing industry is no more nor less than what you’ll find among any random clutch of accountants, plumbers or dentists. Elite publishing parties are more about bon bons than bon mots. You’ll find ego, avarice and envy at those cocktail soirees, but surprisingly little material for your next book.

Freedom came when I let go of all those trappings and got to the core of what you and I do. We write. Creative writing is a meditative, hopeful act of faith. When the words are coming fast, a neural engine chugs along that changes the way you think and feel. You won’t know where the ideas are coming from but it feels magical. Writing is the only magic I believe in.

This is a great thing you are attempting. If you hold on to that, you’ll persevere. Congratulations on getting started. I hope you discover a great story along the way and end up with something you’ll love. Remember, you don’t have to love it all the time. Sometimes the only virtue in the exercise is that you made your daily word count so you don’t have to write more today. Fix it in post. Tomorrow, find the fun again. Repeat until complete. Write so much and so freely that you stumble upon the magic.

Throwing down words to build stories is addictive. Let’s get high on this wonderful drug. Once you crush this goal, you’ll probably find that 50,000 words was a great start. Most serious writers I know write at least 50,000 words every month. That’s how you know you must be victorious in JuNoWriMo. If mere mortals can complete this task or something like it twelve times a year, surely you can do it once. As your confidence grows, what once seemed difficult will become easier. This might even turn out to be your new day job.

But you don’t have time to read this. Write now right now.

Robert Chazz ChuteA former journalist full of self-loathing, Robert Chazz Chute is now an award winning suspense novelist (still full of self-loathing.) He writes assorted apocalyptic epics, SFF and crime thrillers that would make your momma pee the bed. Learn more at AllThatChazz.com and love him, dammit! Since you’re climbing JuNoWriMo, you might especially like Crack the Indie Author Code.

#JuNoWriMo Featured Author: RF Kacy

Meet some of your fellow June WriMo’s in our Featured Author series each Saturday and Thursday through June.

I have a confession to make. I am a creative writer.

There, I said it. It isn’t an easy thing for me to do. We of Eastern European descent don’t Art, we Work. When I was younger there was a cousin who was a musician, but he earned a pass because he played at family weddings for free.

Now, decades later and post retirement, I haunt corners of our modern-day salons, pen in hand, steeped in caffeine and sugary confections. I create worlds from dreams, solve problems of my own making, and spark the most unlikely of romances. I don’t consider what the market will support, nor what readers want to consume. Though I spent many years as a professional economist, now I write what I like and pass it on to whoever wants to share in my joy.

I have too many tales that I want to tell, and they rarely fit into any recognizable category. So, I try to amuse myself and the small circle of friends who stumble across my work. As a journeyman writer I write every day because the doing of the thing is what is important. But, I will try to explain my plans if you don’t expect too much.  Once I embark on a writing journey I refuse to follow even the most basic of navigational charts. In short, I pants for as long as I can get away with it.

So what connection do my ramblings have with JuNoWriMo?

This—my project for June:  Fatal Bequest is the second book in “The Megan Lark Mysteries” series where Megan and her maybe-could-be-sometimes-boyfriend, Neal Parker, pursue truth, beauty, and justice on a college campus. Oh yes, and they solve murders, or at least find themselves in the thick of the action. Think Nancy Drew meets Alfred Hitchcock at a party thrown by David Lynch, and you won’t be too far off… well, perhaps except for the David Lynch part. I put that in for you art film lovers.

Where did the inspiration for the stories come from? Maybe from decades of observing the study habits and mating rituals of college students. Maybe from forgetting to put on my tinfoil hat in the morning. Both the NSA and aliens have some explaining to do.

This will be my first JuNoWriMo, and I look forward to contributing to the group and helping to encourage others. Or I might decide to lob grenades filled with brownies and red wine, which I guess is encouragement for some, although my internist would disagree. Regardless, I plan to hold my head high and claim victory by the end of the month, even if I have to lie about my progress. Did I mention I am now a full-time creative? Or perhaps a full-time liar. It depends on your perspective.KacyCedarKey

I’m often found at RF Kacy (include the space) on the Book of Face and @RFKacy on the Chirping Bird platform. I pop up here and there in all kinds of forums, so say hello if you see me. Be sure to do it before the moderators realize I am there.

Good luck on all your projects, and until we meet at the great gathering (you know, in a real physical place), peace out!

  • Author email — Kacy@KazDigital.com
  • Facebook — RF Kacy
  • Twitter— RFKacy

#JuNoWriMo Featured Author: MC Simon

Meet some of your fellow June WriMo’s in our Featured Author series each Saturday and Thursday through June.

The Writer’s Tao – MC Simon

Writer’s Tao

Two years ago, when I was told to consider the option of becoming a writer, all the cogwheels inside my brain started to turn rapidly.

Oh! Did I just say “rapidly”? Actually, a hurricane started up inside my brain. The storm met up with a volcano, and soon all my being was under fire.

“Why not?” asked my heart. “The man you love sees it inside you.”
“You should think more,” argued my brain. “You have a stable engineering career ; why should you bother?”
“But… what about the dream–my childhood dream? It was told that I was already a writer”, whispered my soul.

The soul’s victory came fast. The project manager residing inside my brain planned the details.
In a blink, the writer inside me was born.

After the first two published books, again my life turned to an interesting direction. Because of my passion for blogging, soon I started earning as a web content writer.

What’s next? Of course… quitting my engineering job to become a full-time writer.

But… there is one thing that was not mentioned above. My first published book is not the first book I started. My beloved unfinished novel, “Memories of an Arcturian” has been locked away, awaiting rediscovery.

But… I have great expectations now.

Because 2016’s JuNoWriMo starts.


“Memories of an Arcturian” is a blend of personal experiences in the corporeal life and the parallel dimensions of my dreams—dreams that started in my childhood. Do strict borders exist between these worlds? What are these boundaries?

What is true and what is fantasy will be up to YOU, the reader .

12-year-old girl has a revelation one day while at school and decides to run away from home. She wants to find her true family which she suddenly thinks it’s not from this planet. She takes a small luggage bag, writes a goodbye letter to her parents and leaves home. While walking the streets without having any direction she meets a mysterious beggar who finally convinces her to go back home. But they continue to meet almost daily. Until one day, he takes her on a trip.


M.C. Simon is an author, SEO content writer, blogger, reviewer, project manager, engineer, happy mother and a beloved wife.  Find her on social media at any of these sites:

How to Have a Successful JuNoWriMo, No Matter What!

Honorée Corder, author of twenty books (and counting!) kicks off our series of JuNoWriMo 2016 pep talks with a plan to make this month a successful one.

HonoreeCorderHeadshotCongratulations on your decision to embark on JuNoWriMo! Right now I am sure you are filled with the excitement that can only come with a shiny new project. Executed well, in 30 days you will be the proud owner of a completed manuscript. And right now, you might be feeling invincible… as though not a thing or person could possibly stand in your way or take you off course.

I do hope that is the case, but I know better than almost anyone that just about the moment I 100% commit to something, at almost exactly that same moment the universe conspires to test me. (How rude!)

I want to help you get from June 1 to June 30 with finesse, style, and ease. Let’s go ahead and set you up for super success so that no matter what happens you will crush it!

Number one: the goal. If you’re like me the goal isn’t just 50,000 words, you have a story or outline already percolating in the back of your mind that comes with a title or even an ending. But on the off-chance you don’t have a specific goal, go ahead and set one. Something like: Complete 50,000 words toward my manuscript by June 30th, or, Finish Game On! The Ultimate Guide to Getting All You Want from Your Life and Your Work (my current WIP).

Write your goal on a 3×5 card and look at it twice a day: right when you wake up, and right before you go to sleep.

#JuNoWriMo Featured Author: DJ Morand

Meet some of your fellow June WriMo’s in our Featured Author series each Saturday and Thursday through June.

My name is DJ Morand. I’ve been writing Fantasy short stories for going on 21 years now. I took my first stab at Science Fiction in 2014 for NaNoWriMo and published my first novel in November of 2015. After NaNoWriMo, I began writing a short story series titled The Legends of Vandor building up to my debut Fantasy novel sometime later this year.

For JuNoWriMo, I am heading back to my science fiction series, a Trilogy titled Infinity Verge. I am finishing book number 3 this June while putting book 2 out for publication. Busy busy busy! Ursidae: Infinity Verge 3 is the final book in my trilogy and the end to a harrowing journey for my characters.

A Secret Kept.

An Alien Threat.

A Daring Rescue.

As a captive of the Vald, Captain Abel Cain is being forced to attack his former allies. Controlled by his nanites and a sinister ship designed by the Vald, Abel must find a way to escape or watch everyone he loves die. The Vald are close to getting the information they want from Abel, and their murderous machines still roam the galaxy.

Meanwhile, Echo Shade fights to circumvent the Automated Defense Matrix aboard the Atlas. If she can break the code, she can find Abel and bring him home. But what kind of home will he be coming back to? The newly formed Eden Defense Force is building a fleet to contend with the Vald and their EXOs.

Fleet Admiral, Andromeda Clark, feels that she has been betrayed and sets out to destroy the EDF. Caught up in the politics and perceived betrayals, Andromeda forgets that other threats in the galaxy still exist.

DJMA_logo_2My ideas for the Infinity Verge trilogy came from a number of sources, namely my love of science fiction shows like Firefly, Star Trek, Star Wars, and Battlestar Galactica. There is such an eclectic mix of ideas in these shows. The roguishness of Captain Mal in Firefly, the logical and yet emotional Spock, Luke Skywalker’s journey from farm boy to Jedi, and the overall galactic stage in BSG, are just some of the inspirations that birthed Infinity Verge.

I came up with the idea of Abel Cain, a roguish starship pilot who was at odds with himself, hence the name. Kodiak, the first book was an adventure from start to finish. By the time I finished Atlas (book 2), I knew just where I wanted to go with Ursidae (Book 3). This last book is something I want to get just write (pun intended), so I’ve been taking my time plotting it out and working on it a little at a time. I plan to have about 25k when I start JuNoWriMo and around 75-80k by the time I finish. 

Connect with DJ:

Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads | Amazon | Website

#JuNoWriMo Featured Author: Shawn Contant

Meet some of your fellow June WriMos in our Featured Author series each Saturday and Thursday through June. 

Hey there, everyone.  I’m Shawn.

I’ve been writing on and off since I was twelve. My first story ideas came from dreams I had. As I got older, books I read and things I learned became my inspirations. I typically write in the Christian, sci-fi, and young adult genres, sometimes mixing them together where I can.

I’m a life-long Trekkie so it’s probably no surprise my most major inspiration was Star Trek. The episode “MirI”, from the 1960s series, has fueled my imagination and muse for almost a decade. The episode features a world where adults have died off, leaving teens and children behind. I wondered what might happen if that happened in our world. That thought has led to what I call the After Adults series, which follows the lives of several young men and women after the death of all adults, and how their actions affect the reconstruction effort.

I use writing as a way to explore dilemmas of the heart and mind. To paraphrase William Faulkner, “The only thing worth writing about is the human heart in conflict with itself.” I’m also a fan of taking tropes and pushing them to their logical ends. Writing is a fun challenge and a personal journey. Words are really neat, not just in matters of etymology, but also the images and feelings they can evoke in the reader’s mind. Orson Scott Card is an inspiration because of his powerful characters and compelling plot in Ender’s Game. Another favorite of mine is George R.R. Martin because of the sheer detail and scope in the A Song of Ice and Fire series and the conflicted, morally grey characters he writes.

JuNoWriMo 2016

Tentatively titled A New Hero, my JuNoWriMo 2016 story is set in the same universe as my two NaNoWriMo novels The Red Eye Effect and The Ragged Platoon. However, it is set much earlier, just after the pandemic that wiped out everyone over the age of 18. Alex Caffey hides in the outskirts of his hometown as gang violence spikes. A group calling itself the Order of Friendship moves in, claiming to be interested in restoring order to the world. He agrees to work with them, first as a mechanic, then as a soldier in the Knights of Friends. For the next year, Alex travels with his fellow fighters defending those who can’t defend themselves, falling in love, and trying to figure out where he stands in the world. It’s an adventure for him externally and internally, one he never imagined taking.

I already have some of the story written, but much of it remains to be developed. I am dedicating this June to completing the novel, then moving on to others in the same world that help tell the larger story of survival, power, and social order.

Connect with Shawn:

Facebook | Twitter | Website

 

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

Pep Talk Week 4: Do you ever get stuck?

Stacy Claflin, author of four book series, shares with us her advice on what to do when you get stuck in the midst of your novel–just the Pep Talk we need for the middle of JuNoWriMo!

InspirationDo you ever get stuck at some point when writing a novel? Sometimes that middle-ish point can be the most challenging. The beginning is fun because you come in with all these ideas, and it’s exciting. The end is full action, and the writing sometimes seems to happen by itself.

Really, though, any point of the story can give the writer problems.

Feeling stuck

When you’re in the thick of it and things slow down, a lot of different variables can leave you feeling stumped. Maybe the story has gone in a different direction than you planned. You’re not sure if you need to map out a different ending or maybe look for a new path to the end you have in mind.

Or it could be that the story is right where it should be, but doubt has crept in. You know what I mean. Do I have enough material to get to the end and have it long enough? Is this as good as it could be? What if it sucks and I just can’t see it? Or maybe you feel like it is horrible, and you don’t know whether to go on or not.

That valley between the exciting peaks can feel like a wasteland. 

The good news is that it doesn’t need to stay that way. There are a lot of things you can do to turn everything around and get excited about writing again. Continue reading “Pep Talk Week 4: Do you ever get stuck?”

Pep Talk Week 3: Breeze Through the Middle of Your Novel

Ruth Long addresses how to work through the middle of your book and how to tackle the rest of this challenge. 

My first attempts at novel length stories were exhilarating and demoralizing.

Exhilarating because I could so clearly envision the beginning and end of the story.

Demoralizing because I could never quite manage to bridge the gap between the two.

Why is it that middles so often become baffling, exhausting, and tedious to get through?

I’ve been actively seeking the answer to that question and here’s what I’ve come up with so far.

There are no hard and fast rules for writing a novel.

There are, however, a handful of techniques that make the process easier.

The first technique we’re going to reference is the Three Act Plot.

The general breakdown of the Three Act Plot looks like this:

Setup = 25% of story

Middle = 50% of story

Resolution = 25% of story

Whoa! No wonder the middle seems like a monkey on our backs. It’s half the story.

We need to cut that sucker down to size but where do we start?

By employing a middle-of-the-novel-tedium-busting technique I like to call “Lemony Snickett’s ‘A Series of Unfortunate Events.’”

This is the technique we’re going to focus on. Continue reading “Pep Talk Week 3: Breeze Through the Middle of Your Novel”

Pep Talk Week 2: Seven Things to Do When Your WIP is a Hot Mess

This week, Katharine Grubb offers advice on how to rescue your work in progress (WIP). Katharine’s blog is about the “Confessions of a Busy Mom Who Became an Independent Novelist.”

So it’s JuNoWriMo and you’ve hit the second week!

You’re like um, I have how many words to go?

You thought you could do this. You had ideas! You had characters! You had a plot! I mean you kind of have a plot but now it kind of feels like a plod. You had a vision for the perfect story in this genre! But then you realize that maybe this contemporary romance might do better on Mars? Maybe your heroine needs fangs? Maybe you could kill everyone off, call it a dystopian and be done with it?

What do you do?

1. Take a deep breath. Deep breathing can calm you down. They don’t tell you this in writing classes but breathing when you write is as important as the kind of mug you use for your hot beverage. Take another deep breath. No one ever died from JuNoWriMo. Continue reading “Pep Talk Week 2: Seven Things to Do When Your WIP is a Hot Mess”