Here’s no frills NaNoWriMo calendar. After you print it out you can add stickers or washi tape. 🙂 I think there’s enough space for you to write your word count beneath the word count number to keep you on track. I hope you find inspiration from the forums, meeting writers from all over the world, and being inspired to write the story of your heart. NaNo is supposed to be fun, not a drudge. Should you persevere at the end you’ll have a draft of a manuscript, a big portion of editing, forward progress on whatever you’re writing.
NaNo is all about getting the story down. Editing comes later.
Smudge Alpin MacRuff wants to help writers with NaNo so here’s his POV on what happens when you undertake the month of November’s literary abandon.
The Essentials of Characterization and Plotting Instructor: Tambra Nicole Kendall Registration Deadline:October 10, 2021 Start Date:October 6, 2021 End Date:November 1, 2021Class Fee in USD:$15 for HHRW members / $25 for non-membersGoogleiCalendarREGISTER NOW
In this course, we will discuss how to plot, what keeps it moving, and how storytellers drag readers into a fictional world and keep them there. We’ll learn point of view, story structure, pacing, world building, how to connect the beginning, middle and end, and more.
Tamara is a friend and a very capable teacher who has written since forever. She has mastered the skills of engaging writing, which is evident on every page of her books. I highly recommend this author and her course.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Sarah Fitzpatrick, pianist extraordinaire, gave up on true love when her high school boyfriend, Nick Stephens, ran off to marry his pregnant ex-girlfriend.
Nick’s daughter shows up in her music class eleven years later. One look at the man, and old dreams come back to life. She must find a way to keep the little girl and Nick out of her heart. She won’t risk losing everything again.
Nick Stephens has other plans. Sarah is, and always has been, the love of his life and he’s back in Burton, TX to prove it. But there are secrets Nick must keep, from Sarah and his daughter. Secrets that could destroy everything he hopes to build. Can their second chance survive new secrets?
For years, I thought this was it, The Wallace Family trilogy. I read A Wrinkle in Time to my sixth graders every year during the 80s as I discovered it with them. Later, I read A Wind in the Door and reread it recently. I do not think I ever read A Swiftly Tilting Planet until now, as I began my Madeline L’Engle “project”–to read as much by and about her as I could. The…
The other news I wanted to share is I have a shop at Society6. If you’re looking for unique gift ideas, I just might have something to fill that need. Or, if you’d just like to see some of my photography you can do that, too. https://society6.com/tambranicole
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.
Writing is an intense, personal experience. To create characters we draw on people we know or have known in the past, relatives, experiences from our youth and those more recent.
Sometimes I deliberately choose a mannerism or attitude from someone in my past in character creation. Other times, the process is subtle. People watching (before COVID) was interesting and fun. I’d listen to the conversation and take notes on how the people acted with each other physically, verbally, and non verbally. All is fodder for characterization and a major component of making story magic. Once a character begins to come alive it sparkles with energy! In your mind’s eye they are becoming more than a cardboard character on the page.
If you’re starting out on your writing journey, please understand that you can’t create a character that is exactly like someone you know. Hard feelings and more trouble than you’d care to have is the result. Instead, you create a character that is a blend of good and not-so-good traits. No one is perfect and readers can’t relate to perfection. Some notable characters that are easily recognised are Sherlock Holmes, Poirot, the Mad Scientist, the lone cowboy/drifter.
As a writer we can use these characters but put our own spin on them. If we don’t write what we love it will appear within the pages of our stories. The reader is cheated and as the creator, we are also cheating ourselves. Explore other genres and study the characters within the pages. What is it about them that catches your attention?
Three dimensional characters touch our hearts. The Harry Potter series, The Worst Witch by Jill Murphy, and Louise Rennison’s The Confessions of Georgia Nicholson are just a few characters who’ve taken teens (and adults) on adventures reaching beloved status through the years.
I’m always striving to hone my skills as a writer. I want to give the reader the best story I can. I want my story magic to shine. Years from now, I want readers to say, “I loved Tambra’s characters. I reread her books because it’s like visiting old friends.”
Let me know if you would be interested in a short series on writing topics such as characterization, plotting, or world building.
Y’all know that I love dogs and this story has terrier pups. It also has a heroine who is dealing with a recent diagnosis of fibromyalgia. She doesn’t let it stop her, though. No one is perfect. We all deal with something. I think it’s all in your attitude and I try to create characters that are three dimensional and relatable to readers.
Still working on the Rafflecopter giveaway. Should be up in the next few days. Is anyone listening to Christmas music yet? One of our local radio stations started this month playing it and I’ve been listening. When I cook Thanksgiving dinner I’ll do my annual listening to Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker Suite and maybe some Trans-Siberian Orchestra, who put on an amazing show.
Ex-stewardess, now USA Today bestselling author of happy ever afters. This is where I chat about my books, writing and the writing life. My love of animals, nature, whimsy and magic, just about anything interesting. Cozy, not glam. Kindness always. If you'd rather look for cool stones than buy shoes, and love the smell of woods after rain, you'll feel at home here. Bonus points for cat lovers. Welcome aboard!