Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Wordcraft – NaNoWriMo is nigh: Ready, set, write!

Well, I did it, registered my pledge to write a novel (or at least 50,000 words of one) through NaNoWriMo starting November 1. The acronym is short for National Novel Writing Month, the annual, now international Internet-based writing event that takes place each November.

The goal is to foster creativity by turning off our inner editors and pounding out the words. Last year, 325,142 participants worldwide started the month as housewives, students, mechanics and actors and ended as – novelists. More 250 NaNoWriMo novels have been traditionally published, including Water for Elephants, The Night Circus, Wool, Fangirl and more. But this isn’t the time to worry about publication, not even about how well you write or whether you think you can write at all. It’s about putting words down. Nothing else can happen until the words are out of our heads and on the page.

This year’s NaNoWriMo page lets you decide whether you’re a “plotter” – the person who starts the month with outlines and character sketches – or a “pantser” (as in flying by the seat of yours) who starts with nada. I’m probably cheating by starting with a few thousand words from a short story that participants at this year’s FenCon Dallas-area writing workshop said didn’t tell them as much as they wanted to know. So here comes the rest of the story!

NaNoWriMo participants in North Texas (aka DFW Rhinos) are already preparing, with more than 60 public write-ins on their calendars for November, including the upcoming midnight write-in from 8 p.m. October 31 – 4 a.m. November 1.

Not in Texas? Check the NaNoWriMo site for activities in your part of the world, including a virtual write-in, live stream event tomorrow, October 28, beginning at 3 p.m. Pacific Daylight Time. Let me know how you’re doing. I won’t even hate you if you write way more than 50,000 words!


Maybe you think pounding out 50,000 words in November won’t leave you with time for anything else. But like saving room for a slice of pumpkin pie after Thanksgiving turkey, save a little time for some other literary events in North Texas. You never know when inspiration will strike.

October 27: Monthly scene readings sponsored by Dallas Screenwriters Association, Half Price Books, 5803 E. Northwest Highway, Dallas. Only DSA members may have work read, but the readings are free to the public. Pages must be submitted by 6 p.m., casting follows immediately, with readings usually started by 7 p.m.

Now through November 16: The Writers’ Guild of Texas first annual flash fiction contest. A thousand words maximum. Cash prizes. Submissions are limited to WGT members, but at only $25 for an annual membership, consider joining.

November 7: Texas Writes program on memoir writing, sponsored by the Writers’ League of Texas. Starting 1 p.m. at the Pottsboro Area Library, 104 North Main, Pottsboro, Texas (about 90 minutes north of Dallas on I-75). Free, but pre-registration suggested. Call (903)78607264.

November 14: The Writers’ Guild of Texas  also sponsors a fall workshop, 9 a.m. – noon, in the Richardson Civic Center, 411 W. Arapaho Road, Richardson, Texas. Bestselling author Taylor Stevens is this year’s instructor. Cost: $25 for members, $35 for nonmembers.

November 16: Pandora’s Box Poetry Showcase Dallas hosts readings by local and nationally-known poets. Margo Jones Theater in Dallas Fair Park, beginning at 8 p.m. Free.

November 20: First Annual 24-Minute Script Contest and Festival, sponsored by the Dallas Screenwriters Association. At Brown Lane Studios, 1499 Regal Row, Suite 505, Dallas, starting 8 p.m. The event is free to attend, but only DSA members may compete.

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