Preptober for NaNoWriMo

24 September 2021

Old books on a shelf

Hi y’all,

I know this is a wee bit early before October but I wanted to go ahead and share some resources to help you prepare for National Novel Writing Month (November). If you have problems finishing a manuscript NaNoWriMo might help you finish. It teaches you how to muffle/choke your inner editor. Bribery works for my inner editor.

What if you aren’t writing fiction and still want to participate in this frenzied event? You can be a NaNo Rebel. A NaNo Rebel is a NaNoWriMo participant who chooses to write something besides a novel of at least 50,000 words in November. Some rebels choose to revise and edit their novels, while others wander into the worlds of nonfiction, video games, scripts, and academic writing.

Back to the topic of novel writing. It’s easy for a nonwriter or someone who only writes short stories to say, “writing a novel can’t be that hard.” It can be. Many people wistfully say they want to write a novel one day. I’ll bet they started to really think about it, then broke out into an icy sweat while slowly backing away from that idea.

Writing a novel can be a daunting task. I’ve found that breaking such a large project into smaller pieces makes the process less overwhelming and easier to organize. I write my stories in Word but keep them organized in Scrivener.

To have an idea of where I’m going, I write out what I know about the major plot points and/or the pinch points in my story. This is a good start but I also need a way to keep myself on track without interfering my flow of creativity. Using the Hero’s Journey and the 3-Act Structure, along with the plot points I’ve written out give me a road map to follow. BUT, this method also gives me the room I need if I come up with ideas that are better than my initial effort. A Google search brings up lots of resources to help you prepare for NaNo.

Reedsy has an article that explains the Three Act Structure if you’re unfamiliar with this story structure. https://blog.reedsy.com/guide/story-structure/three-act-structure/

Here’s a link for the Hero’s Journey if you’d like to know more. https://blog.reedsy.com/guide/story-structure/heros-journey/

Author, Eva Deverell has plethora of writing worksheets to help get your Preptober off to a great start! https://www.eadeverell.com/preptober-schedule/

The NaNo website has helpful information, too. https://nanowrimo.org/nano-prep-101

Here’s the word count breakdown to reach the 50,000 word goal: 1,667 words per day or 7 pages. If you can’t sit down and write that number of pages in a single sitting you can write 556 words in three sessions which will keep you at the daily goal.

Do you have a child or teen who’s a writer? NaNoWriMo has a Young Writer’s Program.

I hope the links provide a good starting place for your novel preparation. If you’ve always wanted to write a novel, don’t put it off. Take the plunge! Don’t worry if you don’t reach the 200 pages goal what’s important is that you learned more about writing, yourself, and maybe made some new writing friends.

Keep writing and creating!

Tambra

P.S. Don’t forget my Essentials of Characterization and Plotting workshop starts October 6. Here’s the link to register! https://www.heartsthroughhistory.com/event/the-essentials-of-characterization-and-plotting/

My October Workshop

September 10, 2021

Hi everyone,

cartoon cat writing at a desk.

I hope y’all are doing well!

I wanted to let you know I’ll be teaching my Essentials of Characterization and Plotting workshop. It begins October 6, 2021 and ends November 1, 2021. The cost for Hearts Through History members is $15, non-members $25. This is the only time this year I’ll be teaching it.

The length of the course is four weeks. I post lessons every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. If you’d like to read testimonials from people who’ve taken the course you can find it on my website: https://tambrakendall.com

Here’s a list of the lessons. I’ve tried to organise the material so the lessons build on each other making the material as cohesive as possible.

  • Lesson One: Brainstorming
  • Lesson Two: Backstory, Plot Sketches, Show, Don’t Tell and Effective Description
  • Lesson Three: Character is Action, Plot is Action
  • Lesson Four: GMC – Goal, Motivation and Conflict Goal, Urgency, Motivation
  • Lesson Five: Writing Strong Characters and Viewpoint, Deep Point of View, Stimulus and Response
  • Lesson Six: Sagging Middles
  • Lesson Seven: Scene and Sequel Structure
  • Lesson Eight: Plotting Methods
  • Lesson Nine: Creating Dimensional Characters
  • Lesson Ten: Adding Tension and Danger
  • Lesson Eleven: Writing Sexual Tension
  • Lesson Twelve: Basic Worldbuilding

As you can see, most of the lessons can be applied to other genres of fiction besides romance. I hope to see you in October!

Here’s the link to register for the workshop: https://www.heartsthroughhistory.com/event/the-essentials-of-characterization-and-plotting/

If you’re at my website, please consider signing up for my newsletter. In exchange for signing up, I offer a mini-journal. The schedule is approximately every quarter, unless something special is occurring. I’m passionate about using essential oils/natural healing, recycling/upcycling, Celtic mythology, the Templars and Arthurian history.

Have a great weekend!

Tambra

Basics of Writing a Short Story

Basic of Writing a Short Story

January 25, 2021 by Tambra Nicole Kendall

Quill pen, ink well, books, and paper

When I began writing I started out with articles and studying children’s literature. Gaining a bit of confidence, I submitted one of my articles to a local writing group’s contest. It was the first time I’d entered my writing in a contest before and I was nervous.

I won third place!  One of judges contacted me about publishing my article in his magazine. He was active in Toastmasters International and he had a dynamic presence. A few years later I joined Toastmasters International and it gave me the confidence to speak to an audience about writing and teaching. What does this have to do with writing short stories, you’re asking. Well, writing a speech uses the same skills. You need to be focused, making every word count, have a beginning, middle and end, leading to a satisfying conclusion.

On my bookshelves I have several writing craft books by Jack M. Bickham, a former Creative Writing Professor at the University of Oklahoma. Mr. Bickham was a protégé of the late Dwight Swain.

 Much of the information in Bickhams books still apply today. Years ago, I had the honour of meeting him. He was a gracious and gentle man. If there had been a way for me to take his university courses I would have jumped at the chance. Jack Bickham wrote over eighty novels, and three books for Writer’s Digest Books. Mr. Bickham also wrote The Apple Dumpling Gang which was made into a movie in the 1970s-early 1980s, I think.

Study the masters of short story writing. What story situations do they tackle? How do they create characters you relate to?

Here’s what I’ve learned writing short stories and information from Mr. Bickham. I hope this will give you a place to start. Learning to write short can be a fun challenge.

Tambra’s Short Story Tips

Write out what you know about the characters and the story you want to tell. Go through it and edit out the parts that don’t push the story forward. In short stories you usually find two to three characters because you don’t have the room for more.

Remember this is a short story.  Traditional short story word lengths run from 1,500 (six pages) to 5,000 words (roughly 20 double spaced pages.)

Six pages is going to call for some concentrated, concise writing. Twenty pages still means you need a narrow focus and must making every word count. Some people find writing short easier than writing long. This will take some practice but don’t forget to have fun. I believe writing should be fun and exciting.

When writing a novel, you have the luxury of delving deeper into the GMC (goal, motivation, and conflict) of your main characters and villain, a complex plot with room for a bit of backstory. Flashbacks and backstory slow the pace of your story which is why they must be trickled in. If you’re unfamiliar with GMC I highly recommend Debra Dixon’s book, GMC. I can’t tell you how much it helped me. From her I learned to love plotting.

Drop your character into trouble as soon as you can. But make sure the situation can be resolved in a satisfying manner in allotted number of pages you have available. Rushing the ending will make the reader feel cheated and dissatisfied.

Remember you don’t have time for long passages of backstory so a few sentences to let the reader know. Example: Gina and Dee Dee met at college and Gina invites Dee Dee over for supper and a study session.

Gina opened the door holding her new puppy. “Come on in!”

Dee Dee white knuckle gripped her tote bag and licked her lips. “Can’t. Dog.” Her brain and body were frozen.

Gina frowned and walked back. “A bad experience with dogs?”

Dee Dee nodded.

“She’s asleep. Can you hear her snoring?”

Dee Dee stepped inside and closed the door. “A neighbor’s Chow Chow jumped the fence and bit me.I was three years old. I’ve been scared of dogs no matter the size since then.” She swallowed. “I have wanted to pet a puppy. It would nice to at least be able to do that.”

Gina sat on the sofa and Dee Dee followed. “If you want you try softly petting her with your index finger on her head.”

 Slowly Dee Dee reached out and stroked the Westie’s head. Her fur was so soft! The knots in her chest and stomach loosened making it easier to breathe. She did it. She actually pet a dog.

     In the example I didn’t do a long flashback on Dee Dee’s situation that led to her getting bit. The readers need to care about the characters. Everyone has been scared, so we understand how hard this must have been for Dee Dee.

     Your plot will probably be on specific event that can be handled within the limits of the genre. Give just enough information about the setting so the reader isn’t confused.

    The other elements of fiction writing apply. Adding in the senses, enough description so the reader is transported and can visualize it. Check the flow and pace of your story.

Every word, every sentence counts. Readers emotions, their hearts, must be pulled in and engaged in the story you are telling. Writing short will serve you well if you write longer pieces of fiction. Writing short it forces you to write tighter and more concise. You’ll find yourself getting to the heart of a scene much quicker.

I’ve never regretted started out writing short pieces of fiction and nonfiction.

I hope this post helps you understand the basics of writing short stories. It’s really fun! I hope you give it a try. You might like it.

Hugs to all, Tambra Nicole

Books, pen, pencil, and eraser

My Gift to You

December 23, 2020

Holiday Greetings to one and all!

I’ve been trying to figure out which of my books to offer as a gift to everyone. I don’t offer my books for free very often so if you’ve wanted a copy of my cookbook now’s the time. From December 24th to the 28th you will have the opportunity to download a digital copy of The Scottish-English Texan: 56 Teatime Recipes. So far, the response has been very positive and I’m grateful for all the 4 and 5 star reviews.

My cookbook has a few original recipes included with classic tea time favourites. Included are US and British equivalents for measurements, oven temperature conversion chart, and cooking terms for US and British. Included is a section on Spirited Beverages. There’s a difference between whiskey and whisky (and not just the spelling). There is also a bartender chart for standard and metric measurements for common and uncommon alcohol quantities. We can’t forget the children! There’s a section on cambric tea with cookies and sandwiches to delight kids of all ages.

Click on the title below the book cover to pick up your copy of the book, Thursday the 24th! https://www.amazon.com/Scottish-English-Texan-Teatime-Recipes-Heritage-ebook/dp/B00B76Y7SW

Hugs and blessings, my friends. I hope you find some recipes that will become family favourites.

Happy Holidays!

Tambra Nicole

Two Halloween Parties for Book Lovers

Tambra Nicole Kendall

11 October 2020

Hi y’all,

A short blog post to let you know I’ll be participating in two Halloween Parties on Facebook. The first event is one I’m hosting on the 24th. The second party is for the Gothic Romance Writers Chapter I’m president of. There will be prizes and the opportunity to meet and find new authors to read.

The prizes I’ll be offering: ebook of my cookbook, The Scottish-English Texan: 56 Teatime Recipes and the ebook, Wicked Temptations, a spicy, paranormal romance with magic and faeries. Don’t forget to mark your calendar!

I hope you can make it to these parties. I would love to chat with you!

Be kind to each other, take care and be safe!

Tambra Nicole xo