Friday, November 27, 2009

NaNoWrimo Week 4- The Home Stretch

Wow, NaNoWrimo went fast this year! I can't believe it is the last weekend of November. I hope all of our US readers had a safe and fabulous Thanksgiving yesterday. I know I did. :)

Week 4 is a breeze, regardless of where you are in your word count. You know where you stand and you know what is ahead of you. Your word count is staring you in the face, challenging you to find a way to get to the end with 50,000 words. It's all about buckling down, opening up Write or Die and cranking the rest out. I know that's what I have to do this weekend.

Speaking of my story, I've come to realize I have just that, a story. It may not be written great and there might be slow moving points that need to see the chopping block before they make it into another draft, but it's nice to have something. So far, I have 42,180 words and probably only a few thousand are worth anything. That's okay, it's not like I thought I would have a beautifully crafted novel after 30 days of writing like a madwoman. Instead, I have learned so much about my plot and characters. It was nice to have a synopsis to fall back on, but I let my characters lead the way, regardless if it was in my original plot breakdown. It's freeing, yet nice to have that crutch.

I must now buckle down with the rest of you and write my heart out. I have a little less than 8,000 words to write in the remaining 4 days. Easy, right?

Good luck to everyone out there! I know you can all do it. For those of you who won't be hitting 50,000 no matter how hard you try, don't worry. If NaNoWrimo got you to put you butt in the seat and write even a few words, it was worth it!

Next week, I'll wrap up November with NaNoWrimo. Can't wait to hear all of your journeys this month.

Don't forget, we give a YA book to a random follower once we hit 30 followers to the blog. Just click the follow button in the side bar for your chance to win!

Monday, November 23, 2009

The Wild World of Author Visits

With my book launching in a few months I’ll all keen to get out in the world and do some presentations as a debut YA author. Earlier this year I did a few low key school visits, a public library teen book club visit and an online chat with teen readers at TeenRC. Those first dips in the author circuit pool will hopefully come in handy. But the thing is – I don’t want to be one of those authors.

If you’ve ever sat in on an author visit that’s going south – you know the ones I’m talking about - the author who never quite connects with his/her audience (however small or large). There’s a distance, a pretension that comes through loud and clear and no amount of high wattage smiles or scripted jokes can mask it.

Working in school and public libraries, I’ve been on the organizational side of an author visit – I know the value of a grounded author, one who is approachable, stays generally on topic and can put the crowd at ease with the appropriate level of goofiness or dramatic intensity as the occasion warrants.

I’ve seen authors choke at school visits (not physically, but you know what I mean) – they’re just too afraid to be silly, to be kid-friendly, to make mistakes. And then I’ve witnessed a whole gym full of kids from kindergarten to grade six absolutely enthralled at the retelling of childhood foibles that later became the basis of a writer's work. (I’m speaking here of Canadian author, Sigmund Brouwer, who wowed students and staff during an hour-long presentation we’ll not soon forget - if you ever get the chance to hear him speak....jump on it!).

So here’s to a debut year of author bookings, a year of goofing around, accidentally offending people (I tend to do that), of getting a few things right and a whole bunch of stuff wrong. If any of you have tips for the newbie, I’m all ears.