Friday, December 06, 2013

Winning NaNo (+ free story!)

It feels a bit bizarre to be blogging about NaNoWriMo on December 6th, but such is life.  I've blogged about NaNo many times before -- I'm a big fan of it because it's how I ended up writing The Forest of Hands and Teeth.  Did I "win" NaNo that year? Nope.  I think I reached about 20,000 words, so I wasn't even close (conversely, I hit 30k words this year and (a) I wasn't even participating in NaNo and (b) I stopped drafting mid-month).

For me it's not just about "winning" NaNo -- it's about indulging your inner writer.  Allowing yourself to focus on writing, to daydream about story, to put off the chores and find extra time to write.  To me, if you end NaNo energized, head spinning with ideas -- that's a win.

HOWEVER, if you did happen to hit that 50k word goal and "win" this year, there are some perks :)

 One of them is that Kobo Writing Life is giving away 10 Free ebooks to winners and my zombie collection, The Dead and Empty World, happens to be one of them :)  Here are the details:  I'm a big fan of Kobo because they've partnered with the American Booksellers Association (indie bookstores), so to be chosen as one of the books they're giving away is a huge honor!

Another prize this year is Scrivener and I can't tell you how much I LOVE Scrivener! Seriously, this is a tool that changed the way I write.  I keep meaning to write a post about it, but I've never really figured out how without lots of spoilerific screenshots.  Before Scrivener, I'd have about five Word windows open at any given time: one with an outline, one with notes, one tracking word count, one with cut words, and one with the actual WIP.  If I wanted to double check a fact, I had to scroll scroll scroll until I found the scene.  Even numbering chapters was arduous (I can't tell you how many times I skipped a number because I lost track!).

With Scrivener, all that's now in one place.  It's just like each Scrivener file is a big box holding EVERYTHING having to do with that book: all the notes, all the drafts, all the words, all the thoughts, all the images.  Plus, it's incredibly stable -- it autosaves every few seconds and to date I've never lost anything I've written (knock on wood!).

I know that for a lot of people, their first look at Scrivener can be overwhelming because there are SO many tools and options.  But really, the only thing you need to learn how to do is create a doc, and start typing.  All that other stuff is just there if you want to use it.  For example, it has a great notecard system -- I don't use it.  I'm not a notecarder, so I ignore it.  I have friends, however, who LOVE the notecards but hate the snapshot function (I'm not sure how JP and I could have co-written our MG without the snapshot function!).

Anyway, all of that is to say that if you "won" NaNo (or even if you didn't!), you should check out Scrivener.  I'm pretty sure they still offer a free trial if you want to test drive it.  And you don't actually have to start out with a new project.  I began using Scrivener in the middle of The Dead-Tossed Waves and I just imported that manuscript and separated it out by hand (took about 30 min).  Good thing, too, that program seriously saved my sanity when it came to editing that book - lol!

So, to all of you out there who drafted 50k words in November and "won" NaNo: Congrats! Go claim your prizes!  To everyone else who participated in NaNo but didn't hit that 50k goal, I still consider you a winner because you spent a month writing :)  So here's a prize for you: a free copy of my zombie short story Flotsam & Jetsam.

Now, just because November's over doesn't mean it's time to stop writing :)


Celeste said...

I (intentionally) only did 25k this year, but it was a really valuable experience, I think. Taught me a lot about my writing process.

Looking forward to reading that story! Except-- when I try to open it in any of my ebook readers, it doesn't show any text? Not sure if this is just me, or...

Haneen Ibrahim said...

Oh! it's alright, I won NaNo this year and I still haven't blogged bout it so..yeah..
NaNo is a wonderful experience, and you're right, whether you win or not still it's such a drive it gets you working no matter how stuck you were before, I intend on trying it again next year, because I'm loving it like that :) Good luck with your writing.

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