• Blog,  The Writing Process

    Nanowrimo Book Recommendations

    Howdy all, and welcome Nanowrimo writers!

    GIPHY  – Actual footage of me walking into this conversation like I haven’t been gone for months.

    It’s been a minute since I last posted, but I wanted to share some Nanowrimo book recommendations to get you started on your nano journey. If you’re like me, this pandemic has hit you hard in terms of energy levels (I work in the travel industry so. . .yeah.)

    But Nanowrimo gives us the chance to dive into the exciting world of storytelling. It’s a much needed break from these stressful times. So, with that in mind, here are a few craft books to ease you into the 30-day challenge.

    The recs:

    The Magic Words: Writing Great Books for Children and Young Adults by Cheryl B. Klein

    • Why I like it: It’s a very nuanced look at writing a book. It really helps you unpack the “why” of your novel and the impact you hope it has on your readers. I know the title says children and YA, but I really believe every writer can find a takeaway from this book.
    • Favorite sections: Promise and Premise, Structure and Sensibility, Obstacles and Negotiations, Clarity and Connection

    Save the Cat! Writes A Novel by Jessica Brody

    • Why I Like It: This book takes you through the novel-writing process from start to finish. By the time you’re done reading, you’ll know precisely where you story fits into the larger canon. Even if you skip the beat sheet (don’t!), check out the genre sections. The author breaks down each genre with concrete examples for a truly eye-opening experience.
    • Favorite sections: The Save the Cat Beat Sheet, Pitch it to Me, Not Your Mother’s Genres

    Additional Nanowrimo book recommendations:

    Well, that’s it for my Nanowrimo book recommendations. Let’s be thankful that this year’s Nanowrimo falls outside of Mercury Retrograde, shall we?

    Until next time!


  • Blog,  The Writing Process

    A Novel Outline: An Exercise in Plotting (Part I)

    Howdy!* In my last post, I spoke briefly about two categories of writers: pantsers and plotters. I didn’t go into much detail, but I did drop a link to Jane Friedman’s wonderful blog. To be brief: a plotter tends to enjoy structure (i.e. writes a novel outline) while a pantser tends to enjoy discovery (i.e. writes what comes to mind). As with most things, there will be overlap, so these definitions aren’t all encompassing.

    Pantser (usually doesn't have a novel outline)
    Plotter (usually has a novel outline).

    Despite being the most Virgo of Virgos in almost every other way (from my love of spreadsheets/lists to my love of order), I’m 70% a pantser. I’ve always written out of order, jotting down scenes and sections as they come. Don’t get me wrong. I always know the general plot, and I spend a lot of time getting to know the characters/researching before I begin writing scenes. But I’ve never been one to know scene by scene what’s coming.

    When I started my most recent project, I made a promise to write freely and openly in July and August. In fact, the goal was to avoid plotting wherever possible (in favor of getting words/ideas on the page). But it’s September now and, in the spirit of doing something both anti- and pro-Virgo**, I’ve decided to set a different goal for myself: write a novel outline.