Thursday, October 30, 2008

Director Chris Baty

from my email:-

Dear National Novel Writing Month Author,

Hi there! NaNoWriMo Program Director Chris Baty here. Before we get rolling, I wanted to give you a quick guide to our upcoming five weeks of literary domination.

Here's the plan:

Today: Make a tax-deductible donation to help us pay for National Novel Writing Month. So far, we've received donations from 3.4% of our participants, putting us 6.6% away from our goal. Chip in! Even $10 makes a big difference, and pays huge dividends in halos and noveling karma. We're a nonprofit, and we've spent hundreds of thousands of dollars readying this swashbuckling adventure for 110,000 adults and 15,000 kids and teens around the world. We need your support!

Tomorrow: Make sure you've set your time zone correctly (it's under User Settings). Some word-count features appear and disappear at midnight on November 1 and November 30, so dialing those in now will save you stress later. Join a local region, and find out when and where the first novel-writing get-togethers (called "write-ins") for your city or town will be held. Tune in to WrimoRadio, NaNoWriMo's podcast, and learn how you can be on the November 3 episode.

October 31: Get the first pep talk email. You'll receive about three of these a week—one from me and two from our panel of esteemed celebrity pep talkers—throughout November. Note: If you donate $50 or more today, you will receive six years of pep talks from me in a beautiful 80-page PDF, constituting about as much week-by-week NaNoWriMo advice and encouragement as any human being can handle without falling over.

November 1: At midnight, local time, start writing your book. You need to log 1667 words per day to stay on par. The site will be very slow for the first few days of the event, but with patience you can update your soaring word count in the box at the top of our site or on the "Edit Novel Info" page of your profile. Watch your stats graph fill. Send a link to your author profile to your friends so they can follow your progress. Revel in the majesty of your unfolding story. It's November 1! You are an unstoppable novel-writing machine!

November 2: Stop writing. Wonder if you should start over. Keep going. Feel better.

November 3: The first November episode of WrimoRadio goes up on the site, beaming out overcaffeinated messages of hope from Wrimos worldwide. We'll be podcasting every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday from here until December.

November 8: As the first full week of writing comes to a close, you will be at 11,666 words. This is more fiction than most people write in their lifetimes, and you did it in a week. Go, you! This is also Municipal Liaison Appreciation Day, a raucous international holiday that celebrates NaNoWriMo's volunteer chapter-heads (the folks who organized the write-in you went to last week). Chocolate, flowers, and gifts of expensive electronics are appreciated.

November 13: Nothing really happens on November 13.

November 15: After the second week of writing, you will be at 25,000 words. This is the approximate length of such legendary works of fiction as Animal Farm, Death in Venice, and Gossip Girl: I Like it Like That. You're halfway to winning! Attend a Midway Party in your town, or come to San Francisco, where the Night of Writing Dangerously Write-a-thon will set records for group noveling and candy consumption.

November 16: The second half of NaNoWriMo dawns. Writerly confidence builds. Your book comes to life, and characters start doing interesting, unexpected things. Nice. Weird.

November 22: After the third full week of writing, you stand at 35,000 words, the NaNoWriMo milestone universally recognized as The Place Where Everything Gets Much, Much Easier.

November 25: Novel validation and winning begins, and Word-Count Progress Bars turn from blue to green (over 50K) to purple (over 50k and a verified winner!). Check our FAQs for details on uploading your manuscript and winning. For the first time ever, a very limited number of 2008 Winner t-shirts will appear in the store. These will make you smile.

November 27: American Wrimos celebrate the true meaning of Thanksgiving by gathering together with friends and family, wolfing down a huge meal as quickly as possible, and then ditching those friends and family to hide in the bathroom with a laptop.

November 30: By midnight, local time, we will all be the proud owners of 50,000-word novels that we could barely imagine on October 31. Plan to attend your local NaNoWriMo Thank God It's Over Party, where grins will abound, champagne will flow, fives will be highed, and wrists will be iced.

You did it. We all did it.

December 1: Sleep will fall heavily across NaNoLand, as 125,000 writers close the book on one crazy, oversized dream, and go off in search of the next.

We begin very soon, brave writer! I can't wait to get started!


Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Birmingham NANOWRIMO meet at 12:00 pm saturday 25 July 2008

Coffee Lounge: "Coffee lounge
10/11 Navigation Street
B2 4BS"

Friday, October 17, 2008

Reason for Writing? NANOWIMO

Reason for Writing? | National Novel Writing Month:

"1. Because when I was 12 I decided that I would be a great novelist. I'm not, but I am at least a novelist every November.

2. Because I've written a novel every year for four years, and if I don't carry on doing it I'll feel like a failure.

3. Because my real job doesn't exercise my imagination.

4. Because I have a very slight and threadbare hope that I will still turn out to be a great novelist one day.
5. Because for one month a year I have an excuse to be unreasonably moody and artistic"

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Google Answers: The Seven Main Plots in All of Literature = ???

Google Answers: The Seven Main Plots in All of Literature = ???

It may be worth noting that Christopher Booker in his "Seven Basic
Plots -- why we tell stories" has a different take -- and it took him
35 years to draw his conclusions, having started in 1969!!

The man vs xxxx plots above would all be summarised as "overcoming the monster".

He gives us, (fogive me for desperately oversimplifying his magnus opus):

1. Overcoming the monster -- defeating some force which threatens...
e.g. most Hollywood movies; Star Wars, James Bond.

2. The Quest -- typically a group setoff in search of something and
(usually) find it. e.g. Watership Down, Pilgrim's Progress.

3. Journey and Return -- the hero journeys away from home to somewhere
different and finally comes back having experienced something and
maybe changed for the better. e.g. Wizard of Oz, Gullivers Travels.

4. Comedy - not neccesarily a funny plot. Some kind of
misunderstanding or ignorance is created that keeps parties apart
which is resolved towards the end bringing them back together. e.g.
Bridget Jones Diary, War and Peace.

5. Tragedy - Someone is tempted in some way, vanity, greed etc and
becomes increasingly desperate or trapped by their actions until at a
climax they usually die. Unless it's a Hollywood movie, when they
escape to a happy ending. e.g. Devils' Advocate, Hamlet.

6. Rebirth - hero is captured or oppressed and seems to be in a state
of living death until it seems all is lost when miraculously they are
freed. e.g. Snow White.

7. Rags to Riches - self explanatory really. e.g. Cinderella &
derivatives (all 27,000 of them)!!!

Each of these plots goes through 4 or 5 main phases which are
universally recognisable and re-used. Some stories choose to jump in
at phase 3 or leave early and often leave us feeling unsatisfied.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Powell's Books - The Seven Basic Plots: Why We Tell Stories by

Powell's Books - The Seven Basic Plots: Why We Tell Stories by: "Underlying the stories he examines are Seven Basic Plots: rags to riches; the quest; voyage and return; the hero as monster; rebirth and so on."
basic plots novel -seven - Google Search

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Peter's Evil Overlord List

Peter's Evil Overlord List: "# I will be secure in my superiority. Therefore, I will feel no need to prove it by leaving clues in the form of riddles or leaving my weaker enemies alive to show they pose no threat."

Controversy Embroils Nobel Literature Prize : NPR

Controversy Embroils Nobel Literature Prize : NPR: "The 2008 Nobel Prize in Literature will be announced Thursday morning, and it's already drawing attention — for the wrong reasons. An official of the Swedish Academy — which awards the Nobel Prizes — caused a furor last week when he described American literature as isolated and insular, and therefore unqualified for literature's most prestigious award.

Playwright Edward Albee, whose credits include Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolfe and Zoo Story, has gained a sort of cranky perspective when it comes to awards. 'All prizes are peculiar,' he says. 'There's politics in everything, and some judges just don't know what they're doing.'

Albee points to a long list of great 20th century writers who were passed over by the Nobel judges: Leo Tolstoy, Marcel Proust, Jorge Luis Borges, James Joyce, Vladimir Nabokov and W.H. Auden. . . .

Still, Prose says that Engdahl had a point when he criticized U.S. publishers for not promoting more literature in translation. Novelist Junot Diaz — who won this year's Pulitzer Prize in literature — says something good could actually come out of this controversy.

"If this encourages the average American to read one more book in translation — if only to spite the kind of sneering Eurocentric elitism of this one individual — that's not a bad thing," he says.

Nor would it be so bad, Diaz says, if it incited U.S. publishers to translate more work from other parts of the world. He has a tip for them: the young Mexican writer Marteen Solares. His work, says Diaz, is brilliant, but mostly unavailable in English — or, in Swedish.


November Spawned: a Novel Writing Handout (2007)

Novel writing handout | National Novel Writing Month: "i got a little bored while waiting for the nano to start last year and made that.

November Spawned: a Novel Writing Handout (2007): "Here's a handout put together for those attending the kick-off meeting in Birmingham for NaNoWriMo 2007. It's part planning tool, part keepsake, and part something to let the MLs relax at the meet-ups, so we don't have to worry if we don't get through everything we'd like to say!

It's pretty much the same as last year's version, with just a few small tweaks after feedback we received last year (and our own experience of using it). For one thing, there are the correct number of notches in the word count axis of the graph! There are also changes to the character pages, timeline and the list of useful websites."

Tuesday, October 7, 2008


Macworld | Review: StoryMill 3.1: "StoryMill 3.1 provides an impressive workflow approach and toolset that can’t be replicated in your current word processor. For former Avenir users, the timeline feature alone is worth the cost of upgrade. If you’re willing to learn and make full use of Mariner Software’s nonlinear database-type approach to structuring and filtering your research, writing, and rewriting, your initial investment will pay big dividends. Of course, John Steinbeck and Kurt Vonnegut never needed specialized software to write the Great American Novel. But if you’re the sort who prefers plotting in a MacBook to jotting in a notebook, odds are StoryMill could prove a real asset in getting your 100,000-word opus onto the printed page."

Mariner Software Announces Contour Story Development App TotallyWrite Acquired and Redeveloped: "-Mariner Software, developers and publishers of professional and personal software, announced today an agreement made with LTW Productions Canada, Inc. to acquire and redevelop TotallyWrite, the popular story development software for Mac OS X. Newly-named Contour, will make its public debut under the Mariner brand with existing content and new features, before the end of 2008. Contour is the latest release in Mariner Software's award-winning line of personal creativity and writing software."

Mariner Software - Storymill: "StoryMill has been designed and developed solely for Mac OS X. As a long-time Apple developer (17 years), our commitment to Apple technology is reflected in our feature set. StoryMill is Intel-ready, Leopard-compatible, and fully supports Apple's high standards for an elegant user interface and intuitive functionality. Developing in Cocoa framework also lets us take advantage of Apple OS X functionality and take advantage of the world's most advanced operating system. StoryMill integrates with Apple Backup, Spotlight and more."
See your novel displayed across time.
Visually and interactively display your story across time with StoryMill's timeline view. An industry-first feature, timeline view allows you to visually arrange the scenes in your novel in chronological order. Why just page through your novel when you can get a 30,000 foot view?

See your novel displayed across time.

The Star Novel Writing Method For Writing Your Novel Or Screen Play

The Star Novel Writing Method For Writing Your Novel Or Screen Play: "Don't put in powerful or colorful events just to describe them as intense, beautiful, terrible, whatever. The context is not the story. The story may ride on the context but the context is not the story. The novelist Mitchner did tons of research for his novel settings, like Hawaii, but sometimes he included too much information about the place and his story lines were weak. Make your story stronger than your context."

How To Write A Novel Using The Snowflake Method

How To Write A Novel Using The Snowflake Method: "Writing a novel is easy. Writing a good novel is hard. That's just life. If it were easy, we'd all be writing best-selling, prize-winning fiction.

Randy Ingermanson is a theoretical physicist and the award-winning author of six novels. He has taught at numerous writing conferences over the years and publishes the free monthly Advanced Fiction Writing E-zine, the largest electronic magazine in the world on the craft of writing fiction, with over 13000 readers.

Randy is best known for his "Snowflake Method" of designing a novel. The "Snowflake" page on his web site has been viewed more than 640,000 times over the years.

Randy believes that prepublished novelists fall into four distinct stages, Freshmen, Sophomores, Juniors, and Seniors.

Good fiction doesn't just happen, it is designed. You can do the design work before or after you write your novel. I've done it both ways and I strongly believe that doing it first is quicker and leads to a better result. Design is hard work, so it's important to find a guiding principle early on. This article will give you a powerful metaphor to guide your design.

Our fundamental question is this: How do you design a novel?

For a number of years, I was a software architect designing large software projects. I write novels the same way I write software, using the "snowflake metaphor".

Cynthia Lanius' Lessons: A Fractals Lesson - Introduction: "They're everywhere, those bright, weird, beautiful shapes called fractals. But what are they, really?

Fractals are geometric figures, just like rectangles, circles and squares, but fractals have special properties that those figures do not have.

There's lots of information on the Web about fractals, but most of it is either just pretty pictures or very high-level mathematics. So this fractals site is for kids, to help them understand what the weird pictures are all about - that it's math - and that it's fun!"


Monday, October 6, 2008

celtx new version

celtx - #1 choice for media pre-production.: "Celtx is the world's first all-in-one media pre-production software. It has everything you need to take your story from concept to production. Celtx replaces 'paper, pen & binder' pre-production with a digital approach that's more complete, simpler to work with, and easier to share."

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Letters: Hugh Watkins - Salon

Letters: Hugh Watkins - Salon: "yes - you don't have the discipline to make a great sportsman - in the end art is a competitive sport, and you may be a one trick pony.

Start over on a new project - it is your only chance.

Feelings are irelevant only the job counts."

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Naming Characters

Author Jennifer Hudson Taylor: Naming Characters: "I can't write a story until I have the names of my characters situated in my head. This isn't as easy as it sounds. Most often, I start with The Character Naming Source Book. It's a great reference because it gives you surnames with the country they originated from and the meaning of the names. This is important to your characters' background, family origin, culture and beliefs. . . . . .

Other ways I like to choose names is through Genealogy research of known family surnames in the area of where my books are set. These are accurate and appropriate. Tombstones and census records will tell you who lived in the area and when they lived there. You can't get more accurate than that, although keep in mind some of the spelling variations were different from place to place and family branch to family branch. This is because of dialect in regions, illiteracy, and people changing their names to accommodate the new area where they are living. Some great genealogy resource sites are and These sites will get you started in the right direction."