Creating My Own NaNoWriMo

Last year 310,095 people participated in NaNoWriMo. “Only about 33,000 people actually finished the challenge and put 50,000 words to paper—that’s just 14 out of 100 people!” Brian Kelms said in his Writers Digest article. I was probably one of the 100. I love the Nano premise, building a novel in a month. They have a great support group, starting with a meet and greet party on October 31st. Then they have Write-Ins with locals and Nano coaches on twitter. I love meeting new writers, but I knew I couldn’t dedicate myself in the month of November. I had too much going on.

Nano helps writers get a novel down on paper. It doesn’t have to be a masterpiece, but a challenge. I didn’t think I could make 1667 words a day, roughly five and a half pages for a whole month. I signed up once and immediately felt like “Oh my, what did I just do?” I knew if I pressured myself to do it against my wishes I wouldn’t do it. I’m stubborn like that.

I had already established a Young Adult novel with twenty-five thousand words, which I couldn’t let go. I wanted to get it all done. I had my beginning middle and end. I needed the beef. I found being on a religious time schedule for the month of November was just too much for me personally. I had a writer friend tell me she wrote through her Thanksgiving meal. Those are the diehards.

So in February of last year, I decided to give myself my own Nano. I wasn’t going to write a new novel, even though I was supposed to. See my stubbornness? I wanted to finish the Young Adult. I gave myself the goal of writing a thousand words a day. In the end, I’d have at least a total of 55,000 words. I started in the morning and take a lunch break. I’d tweet about my numbers throughout the day just for validation. My followers helped in pushing me toward my daily goal. By midday, I’d be almost there. I’d make dinner and eat with the family. Then if I hadn’t met my goal it was back to my desk. If it took me to midnight to come up with a thousand words I did it. I had to meet my mark. I wasn’t giving up. I knew where the story was going so I just had to get it down on paper. Every night, I’d announce to my husband and twitter followers that I did it. And I’d give my word count total. It made me responsible.

I met my goal every day. My story grew and grew. I never went back to revisions. That would come later. It took me about five weeks to complete my young adult novel. Yes, it was a bit past my timeline, but as long as I continued my word count for the day and met my make of 30,000 words in the end, I didn’t care.

I’m impressed with what I had come up with so far. I have to say, I am in love with this novel aimed at high school boys with a little something, something for girls. I’m in the midst of my revisions and can’t wait until it’s truly done.

NaNoWriMo has to suit your personality and if you have the time. Any which way you choose, to gather with a world or for your own person satisfaction, it’s your choice. It’s about finishing and not creating the next New York Times Bestseller. But one could hope, right?

Don’t over think it. Don’t pressure yourself. Do it if you like deadlines. Do it if you like a challenge. Do it because you want to.

Nano on!

Tiny Talk Tuesday with Angela Sunde

G’day Mate. I’m talking down under today!

My tiny talk this morning is with Angela Sunde. I read about this Aussie author from another blog site. She loves to inspire the imaginations of children by showing them how to uncover magic and humour in daily life. Her light-hearted fantasy novel, SNAP MAGIC, caught my attention. It’s a bewitchingly funny coming-­of-age story about secrets, bullies and pumpkin soup. What 9-12 year olds wouldn’t want to read about that? The story idea came from Angela’s own recollections as a tween. This book is being released at the end of this month. I’m sure my niece will love it.

It was a pleasure interviewing my new Aussie friend. I wish her much success with this novel.

Angela Sunde

ME: Tell us something that has been in the vault. Something hardly anyone knows about you.

ANGELA: I’m bilingual from birth (English and Croatian) and learnt three more languages at school (German, French, Spanish), going on to study them at university. I ended up speaking five and have spent most of my working life as a teacher of German in secondary and elementary schools. Becoming a children’s author and illustrator has been a change of direction in my life. I’m loving it!

ME: Finish this sentence. A perfect day would involve . . . 

ANGELA: . . .sleeping in till I am ‘all slept out’; followed by a breakfast of smoked salmon and poached eggs hollandaise at my favourite beach cafe ‘The Beach Shack’ at Currumbin, Gold Coast; a walk with my husband along the esplanade watching the surfers at The Alley; and then curled up with a book on the veranda in the hammock.

ME: Australia is on my bucket list. I hope ‘The Beach Shack’ will still be there, sounds yummy.

ME: Are you a Pantser or a Plotter when you write a story?

ANGELA: I do both. I write a skeleton plot after mind-mapping ideas, then begin to write the first draft. When I get stuck, as I inevitably do, I stop and plan in more detail, writing scene summaries. I find these keep me on track, without hindering my creativity. Perhaps that makes me a plotter.

ME: If you can spend a day with one of your book characters who would it be, and why?

ANGELA: It would be Mrs. Swan, the old witch who lives next door to my main character Lily (12 years). Mrs. Swan is sprightly for her age, very wise and old school. She likes to potter in her magical permaculture garden, though her magic skills can be a bit rusty at times. You just know that if Mrs. Swan’s involved, something will invariably go wrong for Lily. And it does.

ME: She sounds like an interesting character. Someone I’d like to meet.

ME: What genre have you not written in, but would love to try?

ANGELA: Perhaps Young Adult, though it might be difficult for me to return to this time in my life, to find my young adult voice and dig up memories. My father died when I was 18 and my optimism and joy for life was buried with him for many years. I have written some YA short stories recently and hope to write more.

ME: Well, I’m sure if you wrote one it’d be wonderful. Thanks so much for being part of my blog. Maybe someday you can come back and we can chat some more. Good luck!

Sherlock Holmes~Literary Starbucks

Sherlock Holmes goes up to the counter, accompanied by an aged doctor. Holmes orders two grande Earl Grey teas with room for cream and sugar. He makes eye contact with the barista and says, “Yes, my dear, I know it was you.” The barista flees the scene, with Holmes in hot pursuit. Dogs howl in the distance. Holmes continues drinking his tea. ~Literary Starbucks


I’m not a nail biter, but I was a wee bit nervous making my first post that will hit the writing world, friends and family.

When I decided to create “Tiny Talk Tuesdays” I wanted to make it simple, lighthearted and fun. I hope you enjoy my interview with Tara. Please don’t hesitate to post.

I stumbled on Tara through Facebook. My first connection-she’s a writer. Secondly, she’s an east coast native like me. Through social media, I got to know Tara and her successes as a writer and about her handsome family. Tara and I have never formally met (hopefully, one day). She’s one of those people, like me, that see no person is too small to talk to. I try not to burden her with my writing questions, but even with her busy schedule, she somehow finds the time.

Tara created PiBoIdMo (Picture Book Idea Month) as the picture book writer’s answer to NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month). She’s a member of SCBWI and speaks at conferences and events regarding picture books, brainstorming techniques and social media for authors. She also teaches for The Writer’s Circle Workshops.

Tara writes quirky, humorous picture books featuring magical places that only kids can create. Her adorable debut picture book, THE MONSTORE, will handful more in the next two years. Publisher’s Weekly Children’s Bookshelf has an post today about her newest book announcement.

Tara is represented by Ammi-Joan Paquette of the Erin Murphy Literary Agency. She writes her way to success in New Jersey.

To get to know her a smidge more, I asked Tara a few simple questions.


ME: Tell us something hardly anyone knows about you.

TARA: I remember details from my first birthday party. I have a very keen memory. That’s probably why I’m a children’s writer. My mind still lives in the past.

ME: Do you have a nickname?

TARA: No. because Tara is short enough. But I wanted a nickname as a teen because many friends were known as something other than their given first name, something cool. A friend called “Loop” came up with “Merit” for little-known reasons, but that (thankfully) did not stick. Then a friend in college invented “Tarot-card Dawn-of-the-Dead Mahonaise”, a nickname for my first, middle and last names. He was the only person who called me that, so I don’t think that qualifies as a real nickname. Plus, it’s too darn long.

ME: What is your greatest fear?

TARA: Sharks! My grandmother took me to see “Jaws” when I was five years old. That should explain it.

ME: What motivates you in life?

TARA:  The people I love, the things I love, and making others happy in any way I can.

ME: If you could have lunch with any book character, who would it be and why?

TARA: Willy Wonka. I want to know all his sweet secrets.

I want to thank Tara for taking the time out of her day to be part of my blog.