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IWSG: Some Tips for Surviving (and Winning) NaNoWriMo

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Happy first Wednesday of the month fellow IWSGers, and happy National Novel Writing Month!

I’ve done NaNoWriMo several times at this point. I’ve won, I’ve lost, I’ve deleted all of my progress on day 15 and had to HUSTLE to get to 50k before the deadline.

As someone who has written ~120k in a February, 50k spread out over 30 days isn’t as daunting of a task for me as it may feel to other people.

The thing I, personally, struggle with when it comes to that 50k is having the focus to make sure they’re all from the same book.





1. Take it seriously… but not too seriously.

Writing fiction can be a special kind of torture. Writing on a deadline is it’s own beast. So the most important thing, when it comes to NaNo is that you take it seriously. There are some people who can throw out 50k on a whim. And there are others who get tangled up in their work and spend a lot of time staring at a blank page.

I will point out that staring at a blank page is a completely valid part of writing. Thinking…

7 Things Writers Should Do on Halloween

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Hand out Books instead of Candy There are a lot of allergies out there anymore so navigating the peanut infested candy bowls of Halloween can be downright scary for some kids and their parents. Make it easy for everyone, hand out books instead!

Dress up like your favorite character Emphasis on YOUR character. Make sure it’s someone you’ve created, that way, when anyone asks who you are, you get to tell them about your book. Bonus points if you dress up as your book. Put your crafting skills to use with cardboard, duct tape and high resolution print outs from your local office supply store!

Eat so much candy you get a massive sugar high (not so much you go into a coma) and write your magnum opus in one night I can’t guarantee that you won’t wake up to a notebook full of indecipherable scribbles in the morning, but it’s worth a try!

Bathe in the blood of your enemies or just add food coloring to your bath… I mean, there’s nothing wrong with being pink for the next few days or a week. I mea…

Why are we so obsessed with eyes?

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Can you tell me what color your coworkers’ eyes are? How about your cousin Andrew’s? What about Matt, the guy you went to high school with that you had a crush on?

Reading a book (that will go unnamed) a while back, I was struck--and not for the first time--by the many ways eyes were described. More so that the description almost always focused on color… and not much else.

I went back to my earliest manuscripts (those first, terrible drafts from when I was a baby author and which should be buried deep in tombs sealed with ancient, cursed glyphs) and found that I had done this too. Eyes like ice, eyes that inexplicably darkened from moss to emerald, eyes so chocolaty… I might have been hungry when I was writing that bit.

Eye color is one of the last things I pay attention to in real life interactions.

I know what color my husband’s eyes are, I know what color my own are. Those have some very specific descriptors (but I wouldn’t wax lyrical about them for a whole paragraph).

I know t…

Cover Reveal: The Boundary Zone

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It's finally here, a new book.
Feels like ages since I've had one of those.
(Over two years. Yikes!)

I won’t bore you with all the gritty details of what went on in those two years. Not in this post anyway.

Instead, let’s talk about the book!
Like almost all of my other books, this one takes place in another galaxy, long after Earth is gone and everyone's stopped talking about it except when they want to mis-remember how great it was at the end.
It is the first book that has used my day-job as the inspiration for my main character's job and daily interactions with technology inside the plot.

And, as always, it's got a dose of alien in there with the rest.
The Boundary Zone - Mackenzie Flack plays with live wires for a living--both on and off book. For the last six months, she’s spent her downtime stealing decommissioned parts from a space station in the midst of tear-down. There’s no quicker way to acquire an excess of cash. And cash is what she needs to get her h…

Sneak Peek at THE BOUNDARY ZONE

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~ A century and a half before I was born, a Kindiran woman warned her race of their coming doom. Her pleas for caution were met with ridicule.
She offered hope for salvation, but like all legends, interpretation of truth is often impossible until a foretelling comes to fruition. A two-headed chameleon, born of a false mother…. Those who listened thought her mad.
Electricity crackled through Kindiran veins, igniting a pride the likes of which the universe has never since seen. They bought her silence with a blade slicked in blood. And within a year, their less evolved cousins hunted them to extinction.
But that’s what humans have always been good at.


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Mackenzie Flack had been electrocuted more times than she’d been kissed. And she’d enjoyed more of the zaps. She slapped a magnetic light strip against the crumpled bulkhead. The cicada-like device glowed a steady yellow as it clicked to life and she peered into the compartment laid open like a cadaver’s chest cavity. Clotted with splintered wi…

Writing In Bars… And Other Ways To Shake Words Out Of Your Head

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There are days where writing is a sisyphean task.

Days where I wish I could split myself in twelve to get everything I want to get done completed.

Days where I wish I could plug a jack into the base on my skull and do a full cerebral dump… sort out the mess when it’s on a computer screen.

Days when that biting little voice tries to eat away at my confidence and tries to convince me I couldn’t possibly have done that thing past Amy did…. And I certainly can’t do it again, even if I did.

I’ve never met a writer who didn’t feel that way from time to time.

Writing is hard.

You spend so much time in your own head, the act walks that fine tightrope between art and trade, and the internet is full of people who seem like they’re doing so much better than you--and worse, people who want to tear you apart to see what color your insides are.

I do a decent amount of writing in bars.

Ninety percent of that writing is in the form of snippets pieced together on my phone. The other ten percent (for a ver…

If you write, you’re a writer.

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I hate when I hear people say they’re “an aspiring writer.”
Because invariably, they’re wrong. They don’t want to be, they already are.

If you write, you’re a writer.
If you’ve written a book (even just a spotty and fractured first draft), you’re an author.

The only way to be an aspiring writer is to never actually try. If you spend all your time thinking about it without ever putting pen to paper or fingers to keys… then you can say you’re aspiring and be completely truthful.

Aspirations are about not doing something. Once you’ve started doing it, you’re no longer aspiring, you’ve passed that bar!


There are two reasons I think people use this:

1- Most of the times I have heard this (when it wasn’t said directly to me) the statement was made to a traditionally published author, or someone on a convention panel. And I think it became the thing to say in this situation because it sounds better than “I want what you have.”

Maybe people think that sort of statement will come off as somethi…