Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Author Becky Black talks NaNoWriMo

8 reasons why you should do NaNoWriMo

It’s that time of year. Lots of people are talking about doing NaNoWriMo. You’ve never done it before, but you’re open to persuasion. Here’s why you should.

  1. You can tick “Write a novel” off your bucket list. The world is full of “one day” novelists. People who are going to write a novel “one day”. Do NaNoWriMo and you break free of those ranks.
  2. You’re allowed to do NaNoWriMo and then never touch the novel again. Because it’s an event and it has a finish date. Write a novel any other time and people expect things of you, that you’ll edit it, submit it, publish it. NaNoWriMo only asks you for that month. If you don’t want to do anything beyond that, you just say “I was doing NaNoWriMo, it’s over. End of.”
  3. If you read novels and think “I could do better than this, if only I had the time.” Now is the time to put your money where your mouth is.
  4. You learn a lot about time management and discipline. These then apply to any large project you take on. You learn about how to break a project down into smaller tasks and how to make the time to get them done for a deadline. And discipline, oh boy, does it teach you about discipline. The discipline of NaNoWriMo is not “writing 1667 words in a day”. It’s writing those words day after day after day until the job is done.
  5. Cure your perfectionism. Most people won’t have time to edit their work during NaNoWriMo. The time pressure forces you onward. There is no time for the “I’ll move on to chapter 2 when chapter 1 is perfect (perfection being an illusion in art anyway.) Quantity is the primary goal. Quality is gravy – added afterwards. But there’s got to be something to add it to. You don’t add gravy to an empty plate. But you’ll probably be surprised by how much gravy is there already. Now I want some gravy…
  6. Nobody else is telling the stories you want to read. There’s only one solution to that.
  7. You’ll learn what your priorities are. I assume you don’t have a couple of hours spare every day that you are looking to fill. So you’ll have to make time to get this writing done, which means stopping doing some other things. TV, gaming, time-sucking websites, social stuff, housework… whatever won’t get you fired/expelled/evicted/arrested. The real magic happens at the end of the month when you realise how much you didn’t miss some of those things. You were doing them out of habit. You can cut them out permanently and have time to do the things you truly care about.
  8. It’s just fun. There are no bad consequences to trying it. You might fail to get 50,000. So what? Your draft might be rubbish. Big deal. Will you be arrested? Do it because it’s fun. It’s friendly competition. There’s an energy about the event, a focus on stories and writing and the thrill of telling a long story maybe for the first time.

This is my 8th NaNoWriMo. I still do it mostly for reason 7 above. It’s like a fresh start every year to cut out time-wasting and bad habits and refocus on writing. And reason 8. It’s very definitely fun. Okay, 2009’s was not much fun. I got very stabby. But I made it to the 50k. And the last three NaNoWriMo novels I wrote all sold – after plenty of editing. But that’s another post...

If you’re registered on the NaNoWriMo site you can add me as a Writing Buddy:

I’ve blogged about NaNoWriMo before. Check out these posts on my blog.

Patient Z by Becky Black

M/M fantasy/paranormal romance from Loose Id
ISBN: 978-1-62300-446-0


Two years ago the zombie apocalypse wiped out the world police officer Mitch Kennedy had a role in. But he's found a way to continue doing his duty, serving as guardian of a small community of survivors, living in the safest place they can find. When the group takes in Cal Richardson Mitch can't help but be attracted to the first available—and incidentally, gorgeous—man to cross his path in months.

Mitch and Cal can't resist each other physically, but each man tries to hold back his emotions. Though he's strong on the outside, Mitch is too badly hurt inside to risk more pain. Cal's very sure he won't stay for long. He's been a drifter all his life and it came naturally to him to survive alone after civilization fell. He's sure this is a temporary stopover for him. He has no intention of becoming emotionally involved with a cop who is certain to despise Cal when he learns the truth about him.

The longer Cal stays the stronger his urge to run, but the harder it becomes to give up the safety of the community and his new friends. The harder it becomes to give up Mitch.

Excerpt from Chapter 1

Dizzy and sick and hurting everywhere, Cal struggled toward the light. If he made it to the light, he wouldn't be pulled back into a body that had become an abomination. People claimed the zombies didn't have anything of the living person they'd once been left in them anymore, but how could they know for sure? Cal feared being trapped inside his body, his mind driven by the compulsions of the parasites, but intact. Mourning his body as it decayed with him still inside it, like wearing clothes as they rotted off his frame.

The light grew brighter, glaring enough to make him lift his arm to shield his eyes. The metallic clank this produced and the weight of the manacle on his wrist brought him awake fast, and he sat up, gasping. The room spun around him. Manacles on both his wrists, and fetters on his ankles. Shit. This sure as hell was not heaven.

"Don't move around too fast. You're...weak."

A man's voice, with plenty of authority in it, except for the hesitation on the last word. Cal squinted, eyes still unfocused, adapting to the light. A dark shape resolved itself into a man. A big guy—big shoulders and broad chest. He had a strong, square-jawed face. Not a man to be messed with. A woman, barely more than a girl, stood beside him.

"Bring the doctor, please," the man said to the girl. "Tell her the patient is awake."

"Patient?" Cal stood and raised his manacled hands as the girl hurried away. "You meant another word there, right? Also starting with P." The chains were bolted to the wall, and he could move no more than a few yards from the cot he'd woken up on. Mr. Square Jaw was standing beyond reach.

"I'm sorry," the man said. "We can't take a chance."

"On what?"

"How did you get the bite on your leg?"

 About the Author

A long time science fiction fan, Becky thinks there are few story ideas that can’t be improved by the addition of the words “in space”. If the story also includes two gorgeous men unable to keep their hands off each other then so much the better. She’d happily go into space herself, but being English would insist on there being a reliable supply of tea available.

She likes nothing more than trapping her characters in tricky no-win situations and watching them figure a way out. When not chasing her characters up trees and throwing rocks at them Becky can be found working in an office – where she’s usually thinking about the next rock to throw.

Ways and places to find me



Teresa F Morgan said...

I think I may have been your very first recruit, way back in 2006 and every year I have intentions of joining you again, but real life does get in the way.

I will do it again one day. It taught me so much about writing.

Just write... edit later :)

And hey, I'm now a published writer :)

Good luck! :)

Becky Black said...

Thanks, Teresa. We were NaNo newbies together back then! :D

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