45,000-word Milestone with NaNoWriMo

NOVELmberYesterday I passed the 45,000-word milestone while writing for NaNoWriMo. With six days left to write until the November 30th deadline, I don’t believe I’ll have a problem reaching 50,000 within 30 days.

What I Learned Since My Last Post

Every adventure in writing has its ups and downs, its fast times and its slow times. It’s exactly like reading a novel: there are exciting, fast-paced scenes, and there are slow, plot and character-building and transition scenes.

I’ve rediscovered that I enjoy writing scenes of conflict. This could be a sword fight (which doesn’t happen in this particular story) or an interesting argument between husband and wife (which does happen). I find it very difficult to close the file for the day when I’m in the middle of a conflict. It’s like taking a commercial break in the middle of a fist fight, saying, “I’ll be back after I make popcorn, and we’ll pick up where we left off.”

Ideas for quick comebacks and quirky lines are filling my head, and I just have to get them down. These great ideas won’t return tomorrow when I sit down to continue writing.

This is the reason my word count is so high.

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The Farmer and His Animals Ranked #62

CoverFront_CreateSpace02 JPEGDuring the school year of 2012 and 2013, my son Charlie and his classmate Ben worked on creating a children’s picture book. Ben had started writing the story and asked Charlie—who liked to sketch—if he’d illustrate it for him.

Their teacher Mrs. Curry encouraged the boys to work on their book during recess and class time when their regular work was completed. As a result, the boys spent many hours in the ‘office’ just off the classroom. Being grade four students, boys on top of that, one might think they wouldn’t be able to pull off a completed book with pictures.

Since I do what I do, I offered to print the book professionally if they finished it. Sometime in April, they had all the material ready. I scanned the images, formatted it with the text, and a book was born.

The book was published on May 29, 2013. I bought several copies for each of the boys, then continue on with life.

Recently, when I checked my CreateSpace account, I saw someone had bought a copy of the book. The next day, another copy was sold, then another. In fact, since November 16th six books have been sold (including one this morning).

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Over Half Way in NaNoWriMo

NOVELmberIt’s been a long sixteen days in November, but I’m on schedule in the NaNoWriMo challenge. As of today, I’ve written 28,003 words. Although the intended day’s word count is supposed to be only 1,667, I’ve managed to write 1,750 words a day on average.

It hasn’t been easy.

There were days when I wrote those words in an hour. Then there were days I had to break up the writing into two or more sessions because I was forced to be involved in life outside of writing. There was one day I wrote only about 300 words.

So it’s been a challenge. But I’m a little over half way there. Yeah!

The story—The Salvation of Mary Lola Barnes—is progressing well. I’m on chapter twelve. My main character has had small growth spurts and a few minor setbacks. I’m setting her up for a horrible turn of events and a vacation. At the end of the book, she’ll still be standing. I can’t say that for all the characters.
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You’re Not Illiterate; You’re Blind

A few days ago, I received the manuscript for Twistmas – The Season for Love back from my editor. Once again, I was reminded why editors are vital to making you not look illiterate. Or more accurately: why someone other than the author of the story must edit the manuscript.

I do a lot of editing for writers. I’m not familiar with the stories they’ve written; I’ve not read them dozens of times for years on end, tweaking the characters’ personalities, rearranging scenes and ensuring the plot runs in a logical manner. So when I first read a sentence in their story, if something is missing, I can immediately see it isn’t there. That’s right, what isn’t there.

Sometimes what isn’t there is a word, a complete, obvious, full-blown word, such as ‘you’. My editor noticed it wasn’t there in this sentence and added it for me.

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The Power of Three

Diane Tibert:

Laura Best is a Nova Scotia author. Her two books, “Bitter, Sweet” and “Flying with a Broken Wing”, can be enjoyed by both youth and adults.

Originally posted on Laura Best:

You know how they say that good things come in threes, well it was certainly true for me last week. Three new books in as many days, three totally delightful books that I just have to tell you about. Am I lucky or what?

1.The first book came via Joss Burnel, a poet/blogger I met through WordPress a few years backDSC06655 when she showed up at a craft fair in the Annapolis Valley to meet me with a copy of her book of poetry, If God Was a Woman. I’m truly looking forward to reading this as I’m sure Joss (the Crowing Crone) has many insights to share. She has such a warm, friendly spirit I believe we could have talked all afternoon and not run out of words to say. What a thrill to meet a blogging buddy. I might be a little partial, as well, since…

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First Milestone in NaNoWriMo

NOVELmberAt 10:45 (Nova Scotia time) tonight, after six days of writing, I reached a 10,000-word marker in National November Writing Month. So far, the going has been fairly easy. There was only one night I had to stay up until midnight to get my 1,667 words down for the day.

Regardless of what happens during the day or what crazy schedule I have, I promised myself I would not go to bed until my word count was done. With 24 days left to write, only time will tell if I can keep my promise.

Currently I have 10,227 words written. That’s an average of 1,704.5 words a day. My word count is recorded each day on this page at the top of the right-hand margin.

The working title for the novel is The Salvation of Mary Lola Barnes. It’s about a woman who turns fifty and wonders what life holds for her in the second half of her century. She’s led an uneventful life up until this point, but things are about to change because she goes looking for change.

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Revised: Five Types of Book Publishers

While attending a recent event, I realised there is some misconception about the types of publishing available for writers. I reread my post on The Four Types of Book Publishing and decided it was time to revise the information. In this ever-changing world of publishing, things like this will happen.

Although there may only be a thin line separating some of these types, and at times, one might overlap with another, the core of each type has its own tone and/or structure.

I also feel it’s time for self-published authors (indies, independent publishers) to define themselves in the true spirit of being independent. Being independent and self-creating means not paying someone else to take control of your project. It means doing it yourself.

Perhaps the distinction will dispel the myth of what self-publishing truly is, and perhaps it will save unsuspecting authors from falling into the pitfalls of many who have paid thousands of dollars to ‘self-publish’ and who have had horrible experiences, and some who spent the money and didn’t even receive their published books.

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2015 HalCon Review

As I mentioned in my previous blog HalCon History, I attended HalCon for the first time on the weekend. Although the event runs three days, I could attend only one, so I chose Saturday. This is typically their busiest day.

We showed up early (8:30 am) on the advice of my nephew who had attended past HalCon weekends. Since we hadn’t attended on Friday, we had to register and trade our ticket for a bracelet. For anyone going for the first time, this might be a little confusing. I mean, when you attend a concert at the Metro Centre, the attendant at the door scans your ticket and you’re in.

At HalCon, you first have to register, which means show your ticket to the clerk along with a piece of ID, preferably with a picture. She matches up the name on the ticket with your ID, and you get your bracelet. Since the doors didn’t officially open until 9:30, we had to then go in another line, one that would get us officially in.

This line didn’t take long, and shortly after 9:30, we were walking into the vendor area where many things related to fantasy, science fiction and games could be found. It took a few minutes to get our bearings, but eventually the two people I came with, went off to seek the things that interested them, and I went to a presentation I thought was interesting.

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Fall into Books this Saturday

A wonderful first-time event is taking place in Musquodoboit Harbour this Saturday November 7th. Twenty authors are coming together for a book fair. The fair itself from 1:00 pm to 4:00 pm is free. Anyone can browse through the fair, chat with authors and buy their books.

Later in the evening at 7:00 pm, several authors will read. This event costs $5.00. The money will help cover the costs of the event and perhaps go towards similar future events.

If you can make it, even for a drop-in to see what’s going on, please do. Come out and support your local authors and writers.

Fall for Books new

HalCon History

Dubbed the “biggest, geekiest sci-fi convention in Atlantic Canada”, HalCon doesn’t disappoint in size or in science fiction and fantasy. Thankfully, it takes place less than an hour’s drive from home in downtown Halifax.

HalCon began in 2010, and since then, it has grown by leaps and bounds. Last year, they had so many people arrive on Saturday, the fire marshal closed the doors and wouldn’t let anyone else in until someone left. This is a problem most events would love to have.

From HalCon’s About page, we learn Nova Scotia has a history of conventions. They existed from the 1970s to the 1990s but eventually disappeared. In 2008, the idea to revive such an event took root. Two years of planning and fundraising created the first HalCon which took place at the Lord Nelson Hotel in Halifax. It turned out to be such a success, that it moved to the World Trade & Conventional Centre in 2011.

What started out as a 1,500-fan attendance in 2010, transformed into 6,400 attendees in 2014. This year, it included floor space at the World Trade & Conventional Centre and the attached Scotia Centre (the Mero Centre for the locals who have known it as that for decades).

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The Salvation of Mary Lola Barnes

Ready. Set. Go…

Today writers around the world begin one of the biggest challenges of their writing career: write 50,000 words in 30 days.

This week I decided on the main character’s name. I also decided it would serve as the working title: The Salvation of Mary Lola Barnes.

The novel will open in a scene a few days after Mary’s birthday when she ponders over the last piece of her birthday cake.

I’ll post daily updates on my word count in the right margin. Each time I reach an increment of 10,000, I’ll make a blog post.

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Food for Thought

As I mentioned in a previous post, my son is writing his first novel. He’s working on the first draft and is almost 5,000 words in. This is the most he’s ever written. It’s a little choppy and filled with action scenes. I contribute most of this to being a boy; he’s all about the doing.

At this point, we would call the folks in his story cut-out characters. They don’t have a lot of depth. They’re quick to react, and we don’t know why they are reacting like they are. But they are moving forward and they are doing things. The story is getting written.

The first draft is like this for many writers. It’s supposed to be imperfect. It’s supposed to be a little choppy. It’s supposed to be messy like a three-year-old eating chocolate pudding.

The one thing I noticed my son’s story lacked was thoughts. Any and all type of thoughts. The characters never shared their thoughts with readers. They talked and they acted. I pointed this out to my son, and he began adding a thought here and there. I told him not to worry about it too much; this was the first draft and things like thoughts can be added later.

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Tips for NaNoWriMo

NOVELmberIn three days, pens will drop to begin the challenge of writing 50,000 words in 30 days. Are you prepared?

I recently read a post with a gazillion tips on how to survive and reach the 50,000-word goal. Several of them were ones I had planned to put into practice as I wrote my 1,667 words a day. They included:

Don’t Edit: This is not an editing exercise; it’s a writing marathon. If I stopped to edit, I might fall behind. I’m going with the philosophy of Don’t Look Back, which means once it is written, it won’t be read. I’m going to force myself to just write, not read. The most I’ll read is the last paragraph before I begin writing for the day to ensure I’m continuing the story correctly.

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Beware of Sneaky Publishers

What a tangled web they weave … In the past two months, I’ve worked with several private clients and fielded numerous phone calls/emails from authors who have issues with their “publishers.” In all cases, they’ve been duped. They’ve been lured, hooked and now are sinking. The cause: a publishing predator is in their midst.

Their publishers are really not “publishers,” at least in the sense that they have the infrastructure to create and support a quality book and its author or that they have their internal team—from editing to some semblance of book design and publishing marketing and publicity and that they are accountable in the critical accountability departments of actual book sales and responsibility.

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Men Writing Women

For some reason, women writers used to believe that they had to use a male pen name to make their books more saleable. George Eliot is a case in point, and only in my third year of varsity did I realise that Middlemarch was actually written by a woman.

But there is a new breed of man; the one who realises that women read woman’s fiction by the container load, and they would like to cash in on the insatiable thirst for bubbly pink romances and other types of women-only stories.

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One Week from NOVELmber

NOVELmberAre you ready? Is your calendar cleared for 30 days?

NOVELmber is one week away. Take a deep breath. You can do this. You’re not alone; there’s a whole cast of writers waiting to start their stories.

If you plan to participate in National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo), here are a few tips, things I plan to do to help improve my chance of success with the challenge of writing 50,000 words in 30 days.

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Smashwords Announces Distribution to Gardners Books

I received the following notification from Smashwords…

Smashwords today announced a comprehensive distribution agreement with Gardners, the UK’s largest book wholesaler.

The agreement significantly expands the global footprint of the Smashwords ebook distribution network, enabling Smashwords authors and publishers to reach hundreds of online retailers, public libraries and academic libraries.

On October 22 Smashwords will begin delivering 230,000 ebooks sourced from the over 100,000 indie authors and small independent presses to 400 ebook stores powered by Gardners operating in 32 countries and serving customers in 138 countries; 2,000 public libraries in the U.K.; and 400 academic libraries in the UK, Europe and Middle East.  The agreement excludes Smashwords erotica titles.

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Women Able to Vote for Almost 100 Years

I wrote the following genealogy column in 2013. Since a federal election is taking place in Canada today, I thought this was fitting. Did you know that many–but not all–women won the right to vote in Canada in 1918. That’s less than 100 years ago.

Could Your Ancestor Vote?

If someone had asked me, “Was your great-grandfather able to vote?” I would have said, “Yes.” As a Canadian citizen in the 1800s, there was no reason he’d be disqualified. He was a white male, and I assumed all white Canadian males—unless they were in prison—could vote. I was wrong.

It turns out my ancestors first had to own land or possess assets of a certain value to vote in municipal and provincial elections. If they didn’t, they could pay a poll tax and vote, but if they were too poor to own land, then they might not have been able to afford this tax.

My ancestors were more likely to have voted if they were Protestant. If they were Catholic or Jacobite, they couldn’t vote until 1829, and then they had to swear an allegiance to the King and his Protestant heirs. If they refused, they gave up their right to vote.

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Write a Novel in 30 Days

NOVELmberWe are two weeks away from NOVELmber. Are you taking the plunge? I have considered it many times, but not until this year did I actually make plans to do it.

Never heard of this month before? You’re probably not alone. Here are the basics:

Commit to writing 50,000 words in 30 days.

That’s it. That’s really all you have to do. If you want to take it a step further and be both held accountable to your commitment and share your success formerly with others, you’ll have to register with NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month).

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Cool Online Dictionary

I have about a dozen or more paperback and hard cover dictionaries. They sit on my shelf a few feet away. They contain thousands, possibly millions, of words that will help me write a story.

But sometimes I’m lazy, and I don’t want to get up. Sometimes I have my feet soaking in warm water and essential oils, so I can’t get up without making a mess. Sometimes I need to check on current changes to spelling and grammar use.

So sometimes, I use an online dictionary. There are many, and you don’t have to settle on one. Almost all are free.

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