Friday, October 8, 2010

NaNoWrimo is on its Way!

I know that we're only a week into October, but don't forget, NaNoWrimo is right around the corner. Despite not taking part in it this year, YAedge is always a huge supporter. I've done five out of the last six, and each year that I don't, it makes me a little sad.

To me, NaNoWrimo is more than 1,667 words a day or 50,000 in a month. It's a lesson that every word doesn't need to be right, the first draft doesn't need to be perfect. It's a community of writers, online and in my hometown that I may not have met otherwise. It's motivation to prove to myself that I can work every day, and still have time for other things in my life that I love to do.

This next month, I won't be focusing on a new story, but continuing my work on Parlor, my NaNoWrimo book from last year. As I did the last 1k-a-day, I will be focusing on editing. This time, I'm not going to give myself a daily word or edit count, but a challenge to myself to work hard each day. It's easy to get distracted, even when I have the whole day to write, by other things.

For those of you participating in NaNoWrimo this year, be sure to start thinking about your story, plotting it out and developing your characters. I usually fly by the seat of my pants to some extent during NaNo, but you will thank yourself for any pre-NaNo work you can get done. On the days where you don't have much time, or are having a tough writing day, having a plan and really knowing your characters will take you far.

I'd love to hear how many of you plan to participate this November, and what you've done so far to prepare.

On an off topic note, for those of you keeping track, I've started reading Frankenstein for my One Classic a Month Challenge. So far, it's not what I was expecting, but I'm enjoying it. I plan to continue to read modern YA while enjoying the classics, so it will be a little slower than my normal pace. As long as I finish in October, I'll be set!

Did anyone decide to join us in reading a classic a month?

Monday, October 4, 2010

JOY READ: Author visits from the author's POV

As a library technician, I've booked many author visits and am used to the drama. Contacting the author or the booking agency, arranging transport / hotel / meals, following up with the author, getting students and staff pumped for their visit, setting up, the big day and ongoing promos long after the author has left.

But now I'm getting to experience the beasts known as author visits, from the author's POV. Suddenly I'm dealing with taking time off, arranging transport, confirming meals/hotel and because I'm one lucky lady - having my hubbie and my two crazy labs along for the ride.

As we reached our hotel yesterday (after a 6 hour drive), I flipped through the room service menu and found this bookmark tucked inside. How appropriate. Yes, folks, we are on a JOY READ. ;)

Packing for two adults and two crazy labs involves a ton of creative thinking - but not the writer kind. My husband managed to cram all my gear in (books, books, books, laptop, camera, not to mention hair product!), along with his stuff and dog supples: crate, "blankets", food dishes, toys, bones, leashes, etc. (We're worse than new parents, I swear.)

We have a nifty system for traveling with the dogs - we've made several long trips with them before (Salt Spring Island in BC was the best trip EVER). Higgins, our chocolate lab has the back of our SUV, and Willow, our yellow lab, is tucked in her crate. No fighting while we're on the road or playing - you have the window I want to look out of / do you want to look out this window? TOUGH!

Amidst the potty breaks and walks around road-side turnouts, I worked on my presentations, polishing documents on my laptop and getting my husband's (and high school teacher) opinion on what writing process themes would best keep grade 7-12 kids interested.

I had a great time presenting a session this morning: Author Visits to DIE for: Virtual Author Visits - talking about all things writers currently do to promote their books (booktrailers, playlists, SWAG and social media) and how library staff can tap into those readily available resources. Plus I talked up Skype author visits and the Skype An Author Network. Highly recommened for public and school libraries wanting to connect readers and authors on a budget. I hope my session sparked some ideas and would love to hear success stories...hint, hint.

From the Parkland Regional Library conference in Lacombe, Alberta, we travelled through a touristy, but tres cool town, Sylvan Lake. Talk about beautiful pseudo-sea side homes!

I could so move there in a heartbeat. Lots of funky shops along the marina, pubs and restaurants, mini-golf, waterslides, go-carts and more. Nice. Making this a true, JOY READ, we stopped in a larger city, Red Deer, and checked out the Chapters. Low and behold, Under My Skin was on their shelves! I signed the copies and left some UMS swag. A very cool moment and I snagged a Chai latte too. ;)

One stop at a farmer's field later and the dogs were in their element. Yes, they might have crushed some grass as they tromped through a section of field, but man, did they have energy to kill.

Tomorrow, I'll be presenting to students from Rocky Mountain House. A teacher has read all (or most of) UMS aloud to her grade 10 English class. I can't wait to see what kind of questions they ask....yikes! So that's it in a nutshell, lots of travel, fast food, dog walks, planning a la car, promoting reading and writing, and exploring the country. Author visits ROCK. Everyone should get to do at least one JOY READ. Right, Willow? Woof! ;)