Monday, December 5, 2011

NANOWRIMO--is this something Mork made famous??

I thought this might be a good day to talk about Nano.

For the innocent, Nano is really Nanowrimo, National Novel Writing Month. November is designated as National Novel Writing Month.

Here is a partial description of Nano from the nano website.

National Novel Writing Month is a fun, seat-of-your-pants approach to novel writing. Participants begin writing on November 1. The goal is to write a 50,000 word, (approximately 175 page) novel by 11:59:59, November 30.

Click to buy for 99 cents
Valuing enthusiasm and perseverance over painstaking craft, NaNoWriMo is a novel-writing program for everyone who has thought fleetingly about writing a novel but has been scared away by the time and effort involved.

Because of the limited writing window, the ONLY thing that matters in NaNoWriMo is output. It’s all about quantity, not quality. This approach forces you to lower your expectations, take risks, and write on the fly.

I’ve never done Nano, though one year I did SHADOW Nano (my own term). I didn’t get online, get an ID, find accountability partners. (cuz I’m a slacker who doesn’t want to do what she doesn’t want to do) But I decided to just set the bar really high for myself for that November. As a rule my daily writing goal is 1000 words. I can write more but I try to never write less. I am also mercifully, well acquainted with the Christian concept of FORGIVENESS. So when I fail, I forgive myself and move on.

Add caption
My Shadow Nano goal (that has a nice poetic ring to it, don’t you think?) was 2500 words a day. I did it. I accomplished my goal (well, awfully close anyway).

What’s 2500 x 30? (computer calculator to the rescue) 75,000 words.

I didn’t exactly do Nano. I couldn’t stand to just let the words pour out. I had to do some editing. HAD TO!!!

That heartbreaking work of staggering genius turned out to be Cowboy Christmas. It’s 90,000 words and I finished it up in December. Cowboy Christmas ended up winning the Carol Award so I think we’ve all learned an important lesson here. Speed is better the skill. (that can NOT be the right lesson!)
Click to Buy
No, what we’ve learned is…well…what have we learned?

I’d like to hear from you who’ve done Nano, either this year of other years. Or anyone who’s got questions.

Did you accomplish your goal?
How many words did you write?
Did you find friends there or did you go in with friends to begin with?
Did you like what you created or is it now a fright that you have no idea what to do with?

Let’s talk Nano.
I do love all you folks who hang around Seekerville. And I love Harry and David's, so what a natural combination?


  1. Connealy apparently had an oops moment. So I will serve up Einstein bagels and hot coffee and tea to all you poor souls who stayed awake all night waiting for this post to go up.

    Additionally, if you were here last night and the post was not, raise your hand. Your name goes into the hat for a copy of any Mary Connealy book available on Amazon.

    Just because you lost sleep.

  2. And Mary doesn't do Nano because she hasn't got time. She writes a book a day.

  3. Two comments and they're both The Teenster (our version of "The Donald") because Connealy messed up...

    And we're giving ONE BOOK AWAY???? As if that's punishment enough???

    Oh. No.

    I think not. Let me take you back to when I MESSED UP....

    We gave away critiques... books... sponge candy... (hey, making that for holidays next week, do not think I forgot you two!)...

    Sweeten the pot, Connealy. Make this right. You cost people valuable sleep. And you know how important that is at this time of year when MOST OF US are decking halls....

    Or grabbing trees out of bags.

    Something like that.

    Come on, Connealy.

    Cough it up.

  4. I've never done Nano, Mary. Can't make myself stop editing. Perhaps my brain is wired wrong. Or maybe old habits don't just die hard, they don't die. I stand in awe of those who can.

    Thanks for the coffee and bagels, Tina! Mary's book a day keeps the boogeyman away. LOL


  5. I've never officially done NaNo, as in registered etc BUT I have set a daily word count goal and wrote until I made it.

    Mostly I did it to get a draft of a manuscript finished so I had something to work with.

  6. I've won NaNo for 5 years now. Every year I've tried, though there's been a couple years where it's been a miracle [or rather, a gracious DH who let me spend a whole day at Panera] that made it happen. With this year's total at 50050, that 10K was vital!

    So what have I learned?

    That I write best when "warring" with people. 15 minute spurts work best for me - 10 isn't long enough to get in the groove. 20 minutes is long enough to encourage me to slack off because I have plenty of time to 'catch up' at the end. If a girl does enough of those 15 minute rounds, she can write 8500 words in just over 4 hours.

    Ask me how I know :p.

    And whether they're words worth reading or not is another question.


    This is how I write naturally. That's not to say I don't do ANY editing as I go, but I spew out a first draft and make MAJOR revisions later. My first, real, completed MS was 'finished' at about 53K at the end of NaNo 2 years ago. It sits about 85K today.

    After making a new 'outline' last night [you can see it on my Carol Moncado Books page - it's quite impressive], I've figured out that I only need about 15-18K before getting to 'the end' because I have at least 20K of specific stuff to go in the middle [though I'm going to try to get most of it done before I call the rough draft finished].

    So NaNo style writing is how I normally write. Not quite as bad as this year's NaNo, but along those same lines. This year, I had them meeting on a train on their way to Flagstaff, AZ. Then I backed up and had them meet a couple times at a monthly meeting before driving together to Nashville. While in Nashville, they were magically transported to Indianapolis... /sigh/ So much for the research trip to Nashville ;). The edits are going to be a nightmare but if I'd stopped to do them as I went along, I would have cried :D. And never gone any further. Now, I'll have an end I [hopefully] love to work towards.

    Speaking of NaNo, I need to get an 'interview' done with my daughter about her NaNo experience for a blog today... Of course, first she has to wake up...

    I have Cowboy Christmas, but if something else pops up, I'm in ;).

    carolmoncado at gmail dot com

  7. I'm RARELY among the first to post in Seekerville because I'm so old, I go to bed when the sun sets. So, am I to assume Mary didn't schedule this post and only when our dear, bleary-eyed Tina dragged herself to the computer waaaaay too early this morning was this oversight discovered??

    Ha! Sounds like something I'd do!!
    Thanks for catching the oo-boo, Tina.

    I reeaaallly loved Nano the year I cleared my calendar and my mind for it. It's amazing how the brain gets used to just dumping words onto the page. It was kind like the morning pages some folks do to kick start their day.

    I outlined the writing I'd do that evening in my head while I was at day job. And really, that wasn't much either. I'd come up with a concrete starting point, determine who's POV I'd be in, and off I went.

    I made my goal that year and had a great rough draft to shape up after Christmas.

    Personally, I think NANO should be moved to February. It's a nice, low-key month with little but my favorite holiday of all time happening. But if you can complete those 50,000 in November with all the holiday distractions closing in around you...well, you've just demonstrated you can do it no matter what gets thrown at you!!

  8. Carol, you've got this Nano thing down to a science! LOL. Good for you!

  9. I've never done NaNo. In fact, I didn't even know there was an official register or any of that. But this year on October 1 I started a story and the characters just would not stop talking, so by November 25 I had 80,000 words and wrote, The End. It's also my favorite story to date and my favorite characters. Although, I don't know what tornado type damage I left in my wake, or who got hurt with my fingers flying like that. :o)


  10. I sort of did Nano...kind my own little way. Nothing official, mind you but it did give me the umph to get back into writing. In September I changed jobs equaling a horrendously long commute and absolutely no time for writing (or so I thought). So I did Nano and my poor pathetic goal was to at least sit down and write something every day. Which I did though I will admit to falling asleep after a sentence or two on more than one occasion.

    Hey Tina, I stopped by this morning at 5:30, does that count? (she says wildly waving her hand.) But don't put me in the draw because I have all of Mary's books...except X Plagues, but it should be hitting the bookstore shelves soon since I've nagged the owners enough. :-)

  11. Audra, I agree. I'd pick a month other than November for NAMO. Maybe February (but it's kind of short) or March.

    I've never done NANO before. I suspect I wouldn't do really well because I'm a slow writer, but I'd like to try. Maybe next year. I wish I could write as fast as Mary or Ruthy!

  12. As usual, Seekerville plasters a big smile all over my face. (Better than egg, right?)

    Never have done Nano. I admire those who do!

    MAYbe I'll give it a whirl but November? Really???

    Thx for b'fast - I'm off to a writers workshop today. Our keynote speaker is I've met him before. The smile this morning is good practice for the day. He's so much fun!

    Have a wonderful week, y'all!

    (Pepper and Melanie D - don't know if my post "took" yesterday, but O Come Emmanuel is one of my very very fave Christmas Carols also!)

  13. I'm with Audra, Let's do NaNo in February or March.

    Actually we need to do it all year if we want to publish more than one book a year.l

    Congrats on all who accomplished it.

    And Mary, its interesting that your NaNo book won awards. I think that when you just turn off the left brain and crank out those words, the right brain has more freedom to create.

  14. Haha, Mary! Congrats on reaching your self-made goal! That IS something!

    I wanted to do NaNo this year, but it wasn't feasible with two classes and a full time job. Props to people who can do it, though, especially with the holidays looming! Better have gotten your Christmas shopping done in October. ; )


  15. For those of you in ACFW, there's always NovelTrack. It only officially runs some months of the year, but there's always people using loop every month. You set your own goal [mine for Nov was a 75K rough draft... missed that but was okay with 'only' my 50K...]. I remember reading why Chris Baty and his 10-15 friends chose November [I think they were talking about it in October?] and it stuck. That was in the late 90s and it's grown into what it is now.

    This past summer, they introduced 'Camp NaNo' which was a summer version of NaNo but I wasn't in a spot to participate so I'm not sure how it worked - I think it was basically NaNo in July and/or August but don't hold me to that.

  16. And, ha! Thanks, Audra!

    I have an Audra in this WIP. She's the wise, slightly older, but not nearly old, friend of my main character ;).

    And I do have lots of support - mostly that I've brought into NaNo rather than finding support through the site. Either friends or other message boards where people are doing it, etc. Or by posting on my books page on FB or my blog this year - the fabulous Keli Gwin was a wonderful encouragement on there this year!

    One of the keys with that kind of support though is to be honest and not just disappear. I disappeared of the NT loop because I didn't feel I had enough to mention [though I did stay accountable in other areas]. But when I went through day by day, I had only 3 days with a 0 total. Several under 100 but only 3 0s and that's a win!

    Gotta take the kiddo to preschool and spew out several K while he's gone but I need some of those bagels and some caffeine. Is there a place in the new Seekervillage where a girl can get that through an IV?

  17. I did NaNo this year. My third attempt, my first win. The difference? Preparation and commitment. This year, I had a full synopsis that I was writing from so I didn't have to think where my story was going. It was a matter of putting words to a preplanned direction. I did veer off, but I pulled myself back into line too, and kept moving forward.

    Second, I was committed. Period. And my family accommodated that. Mostly, I did what I needed to do and they stayed out of my way. :) In the past, it was more of a "this would be nice and let's see what happens" kind of attitude. This year, it was determination. I wrote on my laptop, but I also wrote on Evernote on my smartphone while sitting at basketball practices, art lessons and whatever else was on the schedule. I wrote in the evenings mostly and stayed up to get the words done. When I was close to a nice round number for the day, like 2500, even though I'd already surpassed my daily goal, I'd push myself and surprise myself with maybe another 800 or 1k. And that daily goal? 2k, well over the 1,667 minimum needed for making 50k in 30 days. In fact, I finished on Day 19. (Then, I alternated writing with slacking off for the remainder of the month.)

    I would do it again in a minute.

    I think NaNo is in November because it's kind of mirrors what we do to our protagonists. We throw them in an impossible situation, then we turn up the heat and make things worse, as the Thanksgiving holiday does for so many NaNo writers. If our characters can take it, so can we!

  18. Four words came to this tortoise writer's mind upon learning that Mary Connealy wrote 75,000 words in one month: "Thou shalt not covet." LOL

    Seriously, though, I think that's pretty amazing. No wonder Mary can publish umpteen books a year. But my question is this: Does she ever sleep? Yeah, she probably does, but I have a hunch she can write in her sleep. =)

  19. Hi Mary,

    I did Nano for the first time this year and ended up with over 66,000 words and three-quarters of a book done!

    I learned so much - I learned that it doesn't take super-human effort to do 1,667 words a day - as long as you know where your story is going! That's the key I think. I had a whole story outlined before I started.

    The fact that I wasn't already in the middle of another book and that I actually had an idea for a book at the right time - that's what made it work for me.

    And I did edit. Editing was my reward for getting the word count done for the day. So maybe that's cheating just a little!

    I would encourage any writer to try this. You'd be amazed at what you find out about yourself.

    Now on a sad note, I'm home today because one of my poor cats is very sick. Had to take him in to the vets on an emergency basis and I'm home (cleaning up the mess - enough said) and waiting for the diagnosis. But my gut tells me it's not going to be good. Please say a prayer for my daughter who will be more than heartbroken to lose this most wonderful of pets. His name is Riley and he is so affectionate. Usually sleeps at my feet all night.



  20. Raises hand. I was here!

    After a loooong day of doing report cards, I checked into Seekerville to lift my spirits. Alas, there was no post (or joy) in Seekerville, so mighty Mary did strike out (I meant me, but I guess it works for both Marys).

    There, was that good enough as guilt trips go, Tina?

    (With apologies to to the author of Casey at the Bat.)

  21. I for one was here in the wee morning hrs - could not sleep after awakening at 2:30am so checked out my sites on the puter.
    I am proud of Mary for the book she did last november without going trough the regular writing deal. sounds like a wonderful book that she wrote and she accomplished a self-imposed goal. "Great Work Mary".
    I like all the goodies that are served on this site and esp because they dont make me gain an ounce.
    I would love to be in the drawing for one of Mary's books.
    Paula O

  22. God bless you, Tina.

    And, I'm pretty sure this is BLOGGER'S fault.

    Not that I refuse to accept responsibility for my actions or nuthin'.

    Mary "Is it morning yet?" Connealy

  23. No Nano for me...yet...

    This year was the first year I haven't been knee-deep in homeschooling, but revisions have been taking my time the last couple months.

    I've been taking advantage of ACFW's Novel Track, though. I've learned tons about myself and my writing style by setting goals and being accountable to the other participants.

    Maybe I'll set a Mary-type goal for January - a whole book by the end of the month? It's worth a try!

  24. So Carol, speak to me as if I were a young child found wandering in the woods, bearing a basket of goodies, wearing a red hood.

    What do you mean that you won Nano?

    And btw, what big eyes you have, Grandma Carol.

  25. I wasn't up late so I missed the show. Or lack of one.

    This was my first time to do NaNo and I my own way.

    I tend to be a lone writer and an electronically challenged, so I didn't have writing buddies or join any loops. But I kept up with my word count and read their articles.

    I didn't start w/a new ms, but worked one I started years ago. I loved the story, but had changed the story line several times and became frustrated, and never completed it. Also, I had lost over 20K words of it when my computer crashed. So this NaNo, I started w/18K, then retyped 23K more words that I had lost, then wrote over 12K new words to complete a very rough draft.

    Since I have too many wip, I say I won by getting the ms on paper.
    NaNo helped because I concentrated on getting the words on paper which led me to get into the story more.

    It worked for me!

  26. Maybe Seekerville ought to do a Nano in February.

    It's a thought worth considering.

    We could update goals somehow...maybe not on the blog, that could get complicated.

    Okay, I'm thinking too much.

    Oh, and those pears are real, not virtual, like all RUTHY's food.

    AND...wait, better I should start a new comment....

  27. Now I forgot what I was going to say.

  28. Keli, it was really cool to me to learn I could write consistantly 2500 words a day. But the nagging question became, if I did write 2500 words a day every day, then that's a 90,000 words book every six weeks. What am I supposed to do with all those books, huh?

    Trust me, no one wants that many Connealy books.

  29. PATRICIA so you're saying Nano is, at heart, a sadistic thing then?

    As are authors?

    That seems kinda harsh.

    Now excuse me while I go drown a family of pioneers.

  30. Win = 50K in November

    To OFFICIALLY win, it must be a new manuscript [oodles of notes, outlines, etc don't count; all prose must be new], one work of fiction, with at least 50K written during November, by a single author.

    Not that the NaNoBots will hunt you down and publicly ostracize you if you 'cheat' by not starting something new or doing nonfiction or a series of not really related short stories [the Barbour 3- or 4-in-1s by one author would count because they're related and would be in one book].

    So yes, I've officially 'won' 5xs. 3 manuscripts out of the those are ones that could, theoretically, be publishable one day [though last years rom suspense is very questionable].

    Now... fire is blazing, music is playing through the TV [though I still can't find my blasted wireless mouse so I can fast forward through dumb songs like this one], and the 4yo is GONE. Time to get to work...

  31. I'll take the Connealy books. As long as a handsome cowboy comes along and rescues the pioneers and marries the oldest daughter...

  32. "Thou shalt not covet." Oh, Keli!!! With you on that one!!! Mary is totally amazing. (I'm not even sure she's human. She might be a writing robot.)

    I've never had the guts (or time) to commit to NANO, but I did write, edit, and revise an entire book in two months, thanks to a surprise deadline. At least I already had the premise fairly well thought out before I started. But as a SOTP-er, lots of things just kind of showed up and took over during the writing process.

    And honestly, that's what makes writing SOOOOOO fun!

  33. Sue!!! So sorry about your kitty! Praying for Riley and all those who love him.

  34. TINA SAID: "And Mary doesn't do Nano because she hasn't got time. She writes a book a day."

    LOL ... WAY more true than it should be!!! And I'm with Keli -- thou shalt not covet, although when it comes to Mary, this is a MOST difficult commandment to keep!! What saves her is she's just so darn cute and funny and just plain nice, that it's real hard to hate her, you know? Sigh.


  35. I didn't and haven't done NaNo ever, but I am so pushed and encouraged by those who do!

    I do have a goal and stick to it when it comes to my writing. I want to have my novel finished by the end of this month to turn it into the "The End" ACFW program. That is about 32K words away--which I believe is totally doable for me. And today I'm babysitting twin 1 year olds, but I'm taking the laptop and editing to see how much I get done during their naps. ;-)

    Great post Mary and congratulations on that AWESOME NaNo. :D

  36. I'm committing right now to push myself in the next two weeks to finish a novella I'm working on.

    You've all inspired me.

    It's 20-25,000 words. So if I'd do 2500 words a day I could do it in ten days, right?
    I'll give myself two full weeks and report back here in Monday Dec. 19th.

    Unless I see a shiny object and forget I wrote this comment.

  37. Twin one year olds, Casey???

    You've got the number for 911 memorized, right?

  38. Sue, I'm so sorry your cat is sick.
    I can feel the warmth of your cat on your feet. It's a wonderful image.

  39. I've been saying "next year" I'll do NaNo for something like five years. It sounded WAAAAYYYY to scary to me. But this year, I decided I was insane, so I signed up. And I promptly freaked out about seven days in (it may not have TECHNICALLY been a nervous breakdown, but it was awful close). I wriggled out of the straighhtjacket a couple days later (after prayer and all that), and got back to business.

    I ended up managing 30,397, and I learned a TON (did a blog post on it if you're interested -

    Like Carol, I do better "warring" as well - though 20-minute ones seem best for me. I started out with several friends as support, and quite a few more were added. That helped SOOOO much!

    And I'm ALWAYS up for a giveaway :) joanne(at)joannesher(dot)com

  40. Mary is cute, funny and nice?

    Let's get serious.

    I hang around Mary because at any given time you don't know what bizzare thing is going to come out of her mouth and she delivers it all with a straight face, eyes slightly wide with innocence.

    I have no choice, I am mesmerized by her ability to do this.

    Tina Radcliffe

  41. I think that's a great idea. Let's do a NANO-another Seekerville BIAM (book in a month). We did one a few years back in November. But November is just plain sadistic.

    How about during March?

    March is after all a terminally depressing month of overcast skies and and snow with no spring in sight.

    The entire month is spent jumping when the phone rings, waiting for the results of GH and RITA.

    Raise your hands if you want to do a BIAM (Book in a Month) in March.

    Keep em up there..we need to count.

    Tina Radcliffe

  42. Hey, Mary! I have come to the conclusion that I can't do Nano. I think it partly has to do with the fact that I hate to write and not edit as I go, at least a little bit, and because I have this fear that if I write too fast I'll make some kind of grave plot error that I can't fix.

    Although, that really makes no sense. Anything can be fixed, can't it?

    I don't know, but I don't do Nano. It makes me nervous just thinking about it.

    But I do need to write faster. really fast. I'm talking faster than I've ever written before. But I can't tell you why. Not yet, anyway.

    And I can't seem to get well! I'm SO TIRED OF BEING SICK!!! I need to get well. Don't have time to be this sick.

    And Mary, I'm a little mad at you for writing 75,000 words in one month. And it was a great book, too. So not fair that you can do that and I can't.

  43. I'm in Tina. And we've done this before?

    Maybe that's where I got the idea...from us.

    It's only 10 am and already I need a nap.

  44. Truly amazing, Mary! 75K in a month. This newbie writer is impressed. :) Maybe one day I'll aspire to that lofty goal. :)

    I did a revised NaNo this month. I have been ebbing and flowing with my wip for a year. I had what I hope is a pretty solid first chapter, and lots of notes in various programs and notebooks.

    Knowing myself, I decided to compile all my notes in a single document, like a VERY long synopsis and then write from that.

    I made it my goal to write 2500 words a day for five days a week. I got up early (Waaaaay before sunrise) and gave myself an hour before I had to shower and put on the mommy-cap. I had days where I wrote more, some where I wrote fewer and two "zero count" days.

    All said and done, I wrote about 60,191 toward my WIP. I was nervous about doing this because I am such a planner, but I LOVED this! I plan to do my own personal NaNo each time I'm ready to begin a new story. :) For me what worked was having dedicated time in the mornings, having my pre-planned synopsis to direct my writing each day and a very supportive husband and kids. Oh, and as difficult as it was, I did not edit. My fingers and mind ached too, though! I also loved writing a couple of my scenes from two different POV's, to give me ideas for what will work best when I go back to the re-writes and whatnot.

    My characters also introduced new facets of their personalities to me. I loved getting to know them better through the process.

    I learned that I like writing this way, as long as I have a plan. :)

    Congrats to all who attempted NaNo and saw forward progress on their works!

  45. Wah! I only scored 30K this past month!

    Mary, 75K in a month???

    I'm in awe.

  46. Wow, a NaNo post. I've done NaNo a few years. Succeeded two, the first year I hit 50k and stopped. The second year I did the 50k but the story wasn't complete so I went on to finish it at 65k.

    I had planned on NaNo this year but other things took priority.

    Question for you, Mary- You say you try to write 1000 a day. Does that include editing? Do you have multiple books going at one time? I'm finding I can't write a new story while I'm editing.

  47. Raising my hand! I'm just glad everybody is okay. You know that Seekerville usually runs without a hitch when you start worrying that someone is stranded in a ditch somewhere!!

    A friend of ours have two neices who work at Harry and Davis. I love these people. Especially around Christmas. My extra butt pudge can attest to all the goodies they give us.

  48. I think NaNo is an awesome idea, if only for the fact that, as someone says, (who now won't get any credit because it's too early for my brain to recall their name) 'You don't wait for inspiration to strike. You start writing and inspiration will strike.'

    But sometimes, like last night at 2AM, I hang my head in my hands because I just don't know where these characters are going... besides in circles.

  49. So fun to read all the comments. I, too, have never done Nano...

    Although I do love my Alpha Smart and create my first draft in 25-page files on the Alpha. Each file is downloaded into my computer and then reworked. Often the middle needs a big push, and I'll write two or three 25-page files before I download and review.

    Even though things can get a bit messy if the free-flow is too wild, pushing forward provides words on the page. Rewriting is easier when the pages have words.

    Now off to my cave where I'm doing revisions...

  50. Hahahaha, Keli! That's what I was feeling when I was reading about Carol's Panera (what IS that? A coffee shop?) word counts!

    Patricia, Susan, that's SO awesome! Can you send all that work my way?? :D I'll just sign my name at the bottom and PRETEND.

  51. MELANIE! You're killing me!! That sounds like something is coming down the pike for us, your fan club!

    Please get well. For no selfish reasons. It really stinks to be sick all the time. I had a cold for two weeks in Novemeber and nearly whined myself to death. I can't imagine more than two weeks.

  52. Virginia - Panera's is...oh, my...a bakery with the best bagels available at a chain, a lunch shop with to-die-for sandwiches and soups, and they make the best shortbread cookies ever.

    Oh, I guess they have coffee, too (this from the non coffee drinker)

    But best of all? They have free wi-fi and encourage you to bring your computer and spend the day snarfing goodies.

    We don't have a Panera's in our new town...but several of us have suggested it to the company!

  53. Ha! I was here last night, because it is one of my things to do procrastinating, and kinda wondered if you'd decided not to post on Sundays, since it shows up at 11 pm on my feed, then I realized it would technically be a monday post, no lost sleep though, I did that anyway, but not because I was refreshing my blog aggragator :)

  54. Mary,
    I love your comment about seeing something shiny, as that's how my brain is today. I need horse blinders today, or maybe I could use the my little dog's muzzle to somehow block out all the distractions. (Muzzles are used to protect this groomer's fingers when trimming toenails on ungrateful pups with very accurate teeth).

    I have never nano'ed, but I like the concept and have thought about it each year. Does that count? Nov is a horrible month for me as I'm usually in the middle of my WIPs, trying to wrap up before the end of the year.

    That said, I think March would be a great month to try it. My hand is raised for a March event.


  55. Hey, Mary!

    I've never done Nano. Reason being, November is an extremely busy month for me. But. One year I did my own kind of "nano shadow." I was determined to finish Finding Beth by the end of the year. Knowing how busy November and December get, I chose to do the majority of my writing in October. I did write about 50,000 works that month and finished the first draft (somewhat edited) by December 15th. :D

  56. I'll raise my hand for a March BIAM, I think I could do that by then.

    I didn't do Nano this year because I'm in the middle of a rewrite, but I "won" it last year.(Wanted to write a book before the baby got here, and he was nice and cooperative and waited until Dec. 1 to be born)

    And it's a book that I semi-finaled in the Genesis for.

    What I learned is I like the competition of making sure my word count is above where it needs to be to make a goal that would shame me if I didn't make it. I didn't want to fail at Nano, not that anyone was watching me, so that arbitrary "I got to win nano and I need my numbers to be above the line provided in a chart by Nano" was good for my productivity, plus you know, the newborn coming my way that I thought would have killed my writing ability, but unlike my first baby, he slept a lot, so I was still able to write, and then, I guess I'm a crazy enough writer that I just went along with the sleep deprivation thing and kept staying up til 2 am to work despite the night time feedings--but I did nap when the baby napped! Still do.

  57. WAIT.

    Am I the only one demanding more prizes???

    This is so.... I'm going to GROSSLY UNFAIR.....


    See, at least I'm over-the-top apologetic when I mess up. Catholic guilt goes a looooong way.

    All right, now I'm chided because the lot o'youse are in a FORGIVING mood.

    Merry Christmas.



    Make her pay, I say!

  58. Mary,
    Loved this post.
    And I 'shadowed nano' this year too. I knew it'd be close to impossible for me to make 50K (and still have a job, family, and - so I shot for 40K.
    I didn't make my goal, but not for lack of trying. I wrote 37K - and was really proud of myself for that.
    I loved the process, because it forced me to find more inventive ways to write.
    And though I have to slack the pace a little in december, I hope (big hope) to finish this book by my b-day on Dec 31.

    Okay...instead of lunch break, i think I'm going to have to go to Lifeway and see if they have In Too Deep!!! YAY!

  59. My hand's up for BIAM in March!

    And Christmas cookies today. With frosting and sprinkles.

    Help yourselves, villagers!

  60. Mmm... sounds yummy, Mary. Count me in! :D I have a handful of your books, but I don't think Cowboy Christmas is one of them. Sooo.... :D

  61. Cara Lynn

    I think March would be a perfect month for Nano!!! Maybe we should start our own. :D

  62. Carol, summers are to crazy for me, too. I honestly think March and maybe October are the only months I could do a Nano. Maybe April, but spring break is usually that month. February could work other than its such a short month.

  63. Tina!

    I have my hand up for BIAM in March!

  64. Melanie! I totally get what you're saying about editing along the way and fear of major plot errors, etc! I so get that! But I am willing to try a Seekerville BIAM in March.

  65. No, Ruthy.

    I'm demanding more prizes, too. Pretty please with sugar on top?

  66. I was in the process of writing 1k per day this year, so I guess I shadowed Nano. :) I met my goal, which feels great and am now finishing up the end of this novel before I start editing. I'll always take editing over a blank page so for me I like to write it all out and then go back over it all. And writing everyday keeps the story and the characters alive - well most of them anyway ;) A writer's gotta do what a writer's gotta do! :)

    Eva Maria Hamilton at gmail dot com

  67. Hi Mary,
    Yes, I did do NaNoWriMo this year for the first time and WON.

    Thanks for asking!

    Jan K.

    P.S. Yes I was here last night I wondered where everybody was?!
    And I would love another of Mary's books.

  68. A hand up here.

    Didn't need Mary's post last night, though. I curled up by the fireplace and read a Mary Connealy book ALL THE WAY THROUGH. Finished Calico Canyon at 4 a.m. A fun read, although those boys made me tired. :)

    I've never done Nano. Like Christina, I can't write a new story while I'm editing. And I'm always in the midst of a project, whether it's editing or writing a new story, when Nano comes along. I have tunnel vision and have to stay with the wip.


  69. Prologue:

    The central idea of NaNo is to have everyone in the world who ever dreamed of writing a novel one day to just do it. And do it all together at one time. NaNo is the Boston Marathon of writing marathons. You can’t move it to another city on a different date!

    I did NaNo this year. I’m four for ten in NaNos. The four times I won were when I had the whole story worked out in my mind. The six times I lost were all pantser fiascoes. (If you know where you are going, writer’s block or transient writer’s block, won’t slow you down. If you know your ending is of the ‘stand up and cheer’ variety, then you’ll rush to get to the finish line. It’s like having a booster rocket to propel you along. You’ll also know how any deviations in the beginning of the story effect the outcome. This makes making changes a lot safer. You don’t want to paint yourself in a corner at 35K.

    Stage Instructions

    This year I included ‘stage instructions’ in red type as I wrote. For example: the hero has a Harley. I wrote: find model, HP, top speed, weight, and cost and paste picture here. Also: heroine went to Marymount College – find out which Marymount she went to. (Palos Verdes).

    Find temperature for time of year and what kind of vegetation is in the area of the cabin.

    My novel is not only written but much of the layering instructions are in place to work on at any time I have a few minutes.

    I wrote 20,500 words and then the computer ate the words. I lost them all. The file was still there so I could do nothing to recover the file; it wasn’t lost!

    I went through all the grief stages and started NaNo again on Novembeer 11 at zero words. I finished two days early at 50,500K – which is really 71,000 words.

    The thing about the 20,500 lost words is that I didn’t remember the unmemorable stuff so it got left out and the second 20,500 words were much better than the original. I don’t recommend losing your words but rewriting them seems to have worked very well. The good stuff stands out.


    At the time I lost the 20,500 words, Mary was the one who encouraged me not to give up but to start over again because the rewrite would be even better. She was right. I think Mary should get a prize! I think Mary writes so many books, not because she does not sleep, but rather because she’s too darn smart! Be sure to read, “The Sweetest Gift”, to see how clever Mary was in giving a classic theme such a unique twist. It’s not just a story: it’s brilliant! Required reading for aspiring writers.


    P.S. for a review of “The Sweetest Gift” go here.

    Just in case you want an explanation of just how creative this story really is. : )

  70. Hi Mary!

    I kind of did Nano, from the standpoint that I tried to edit my current manuscript a little each day. I'm way too involved in this story to start a new one, although I've got lots of ideas...

    Then it got too hard to keep a word count, because I was cutting, and rewriting, and then cutting some more, and polishing a few the final county MIGHT be somewhere around 20,000. Rough guess.

    Congrats to all who "won" Nano!

  71. I don't do NANO. I am not a writer. I stop by for the entertainment.

  72. /snicker/

    There's plenty of that around here, isn't there, Runner?

  73. Mary,

    thanks for sharing that you don't do NaNo and relieving my mind about not doing myself.

    I don't do Nano either, I have too many naps to keep up with.

  74. Tina

    I'm raising my hand for the BIAM.
    I actually did do that last time.

  75. Vince! O. Henry to O! connealy was great! Loved that. That was one of the best reviews I've read in a while and I read a review a day from the powell's site. No spoilers, either. You have a clever, but accessible style.

  76. I signed up for NaNo and everything and wrote very little. I agree November is not a good month and it's a good thing I am also familiar with that Forgiveness thing.

  77. Oh, I didn't do the NaWriMO, but I tried to write more than usual in Nov. I actually ended up barely writing at all! But I'm planning on next year :)

  78. morning all, dont enter me as food doesn't travel to Aust!

    Wanted to stop by and let everyone know I have Camy Tang on my blog today

    Oh and I did love Cowboy Christmas.

  79. Carol - How cool for Maggie. Yay on her first official interview! And how fun that she's so into writing. Congrats to both of you.


  80. CHRISTINA I try to add 1000 words a day to my WIP.
    That's forward progress, making the book document 1000 words longer. So if I edit and cut 100 words doing that, I need to write 1100. But if I edit and lengthen an older section by 300 then I just need to write 700.

    If I've got revisions notes from my editor or a galley to read, those come first. So I miss lots of 1000 word days.

    I don't count other writing, like a blog post in the 1000.

  81. ERICA!! Don't you have like ... four books due in January? 37k ain't gonna do it, girl.

  82. VIRGINIA: The pears won't add to any pudge.

    And if I do break down and order the baklava included, please note that included in the prize is the understanding that you will mail the baklava on to me.

  83. LyndeeH, yes thinking about it counts. And the book you're thinking of is now an imaginary 50,000 words longer. Congrats.


  84. Ruthy? Honey?

    The pears are a fantastic prize.


  85. And Ruthy saying Bah Humbug is a joke.

    She's got six trees in her house.

    And a candy cane forest.

    And Santa on the chimney, which she no doubt build herself from toothpicks.

    While she's baking cookies and fruit cake.

    We've got a choke collar on her to keep her away from the nog.

  86. Where HAS Camy been?? She just disappeared from Seekerville!

    Carol, that's the best interview ever! So sweet! What a very smart little writer you've raised up.

  87. I used to love making baklava. It was a favorite treat around here. Now that I'm juicing, pears are one of my favorites.

  88. Oh, wow, Mary, I should be careful for what I wish for because now I'm going to have to edit! The imaginary 50,000 added to the already 58,000 makes this WIP way too long, LOL...


  89. PEPPER In Too Deep releases in FEBRUARY!!!!

    I doubt if it's showing up in stores yet (but let me know if you find it!)




  90. Start our own nano?

    what would we call it? All the cool names are taken. nano. biam.

    see-no (Seeker Novel)
    see-no-mo (Seeker Novel Month--although this one sounds like, "I can't see no more." So...blindness. Or maybe "I cain't see no mo..." Blindness in the Dixie.

    see-no-wri-mo (wow, seriously, try saying THAT three times fast.

    see-no-evil (gotta admit it's got a ring to it!)

    See-spee-no (Seeker-Speed-Novel)

    See-spee-no sounds kinda Spanish.

    Seespeeno, la vista, baby.

  91. The title of it is clearly a Work in Progress

  92. You know 1000 words a day really adds up fast. Even if you take weekends off you're talking 20,000 words a month. That's an LI in three months. My books take you 4 1/2, so that's two books a year. A NINE MONTH YEAR!!!

    Any of you getting 2 books a year finished?

    This reminds me of a joke about Government spending I heard years ago. A senator talking about cutting spending says, "You know, you cut a million here, a million there, pretty soon you're talking about real money.

    Note: This is an OLD joke, Now we'd have to use the word BILLION or even TRILLION.

  93. Melissa, honey, try and get some sleep. In my family we call those first six months after a new baby arrives as Baby Daze. It's wise to make no important decisions in that time.

    This is the way a family ends up owning a Smart Car...when they've got three kids.

    It's also wise to check what you're written adn see if any of it makes sense. Perhaps it's in ancient greek....

  94. Vince thank you so much for the nice comments about A Home for Christmas: The Sweetest Gift.

    And I'm so stinkin proud of you for starting over and STILL making your goal. Good for you.

    Is this the book we talked about in Tulsa? Because I still think about it. Such a fun premise. I hope you're getting it written and pitched!

  95. BTW Vince my wip has a rowdy group of friends backing each other, they met and bonded in Andersonville prison during the Civil War. One of my heros is named Vince.

    If he gets to unruly, I promise to change his name to Ruthy and save you for a more heroic character.

  96. STEPHANIE--It might not be winning but 20k is a good month, girl. Congratulations!!!!!!!!

    And to all of you who TRIED. Who advanced your stories. GOOD FOR YOU!!!




    It might get the book sticky!

  98. Yeesh, Lyndee, you don't have to edit imaginary work--surely you know that. It's already perfect. Make sure and inform your imaginary editor of that.

  99. Christina, you know how to make BAKLAVA?

    I need an address to your house girl.

    There is a baklava shortage in Nebraska.

  100. Teeheehee, oh Mary, I have so much to learn.


  101. Virginia and Mary -

    Thanks for your comments! You guys are sweet!

    Maggie said thank you!

    She's [rightfully] quite proud of herself!

  102. LOL - no wonder I didn't find it TODAY!!!
    I did go look ;-)

    So I'll be all the more ready when it comes out in February!

    See how eager I am?
    It must be the Christmas spirit ;-)

  103. And I haven't won anything in a long time. Hint, hint.

  104. LOL Mary! And I didn't even have to use it. ;) They were awesome and let me edit AND write 2,000 words. Maybe I'll name them in the acknowledgements when this peice of art hits the literary world.

    I WONDERED why there were only 35 comments this morning on a Mary post when I got here. Now I know why.... Blogger can be SUCH a pain!

    JULIE LESSMAN! I posted my comment one minute after you did!! ;D

  105. Seekerville Novel Writing Month -




    Novel in a Month -





  106. Never done Nano. It comes during the business time of year for me at the day job.

  107. I made my Nano goal this year, but Mary I've got a question for you. Do you write 1000 words everyday,no matter what? What about research days? Are you always juggling a project so you have something to write on? Or blog on?
    I've enjoyed everything I've read of yours, and am impressed with all you do!
    Thanks for sharing today!

  108. Oh, I'm laughing so hard already. Tina said: "Mary doesn't do nano because she hasn't got time. She writes a book a day."

    LOLOL!! So true!!! :)

  109. Hi Mary:

    Yes, my NaNo book is the one we talked about in Tulsa and the first draft is complete. It even has an epilogue. I enhanced the last chapter in which the hero’s sister and heroine are both up for the same RITA award and the hero is shown in uniform on the projection TV from Afghanistan talking about the award. He introduces the five nominees and then takes out a small ring box and says to the heroine: “Whether you win tonight or not, I’ve got a surprise for you when I get back to the states.”

    The spot light shines on the heroine’s table and she is shown on the big TV. The audience is applauding with enthusiasm because the hero is so romantic to essentially ask her to marry him at the RWA!

    Then the heroine stands up, clearly nine months pregnant, and says: “And I’ve got a big surprise for you, too.” (She didn’t tell him about the baby because it might distract him in a combat zone.)

    At this point the crowd really goes wild!

    The heroine thinks the hero is still in Afghanistan but he is really backstage as a final surprise.

    When the hero sees she is pregnant he runs out from behind the curtain and heads towards her table. When she sees him she screams and starts to deliver the baby.

    All this happens on awards night at the RWA convention. And all this is only a small part of the grand finale! There’s still the hospital scene and the epilogue.


    P.S. I like the idea of a character named Vince. Walt had a character named Vinnie in his book.

  110. I tried NaNo last year. I lasted for a week as I couldn't keep up and I ended up needing to finish edits on a requested submission.

  111. Well, Mary, I didn't do Nano. I didn't really learn about it until the last of October. I'm the type of person who has to 'plan' my actions and I knew that my November was so busy Nano wouldn't happen. But now that I know it starts November 1st, I am planning for next year.

    Smiles & Blessings,
    Cindy W.


  112. Have done NaNoWriMo three times. I also had to do some editing along the way but reached the 50,000 word count all three times. Ironically, I haven't written fiction at all outside of NaNoWriMo so I would say the event is definitely inspirational.

  113. No, I didn't do NaNo, because I was afraid of failing. I like your idea better. I thinkif I was to give myself a goal, then I would accomplish it much better. Thank you for sharing your experience with it.

  114. I did NaNo in 2007 and got a lovely novel out of it...problem was, it was too short at 50,000 words. I explain more about my experience in my blogpost:

    Regardless, I learned proper novel length after querying the life out of that one. I did love the idea of having a fixed goal every day, and I learned that a writer's determination knows no bounds. I also learned that I will never again write in the basement, where my three cats incessantly use the litter box.

    And I love the Mork reference! Na-noo, Na-noo...I used to love that show!

  115. I didn't do the NANO thing. I am trying to write a book proposal, finish my book five and I started a new book for book six. I just couldn't find the time. Loved the post though.
    Glenda Parker