Tag: nanowrimo


Posted on by Steven Savage

(With NaNoWriMo coming up, let me give you a bit of a boost)

So you wrote a book. You self-published it or may self-publish it. It’s just that, down deep, you think it’s kind of crappy. Guess what, I don’t care if it’s crappy – it may indeed be crappy. I want you to know why this is great.

First, let me note that it’s probably not as bad as you think. The ability to see our work as awful is a blessing and a curse to writers, but I oft find writers suffer from low self-esteem over egomania. We just notice the egomaniacs who think their crap is brilliant as they stand out.

So, now that you have this manuscript you’re vaguely disappointed in, perhaps even published, let’s talk about what’s great about it.

What’s Generally Awesome:

  • It’s done. You can move on to your next project.
  • You managed to actually write a book – kudos. That alone shows a level of strength, talent, commitment, obsession, or lack of self-control that’s commendable. Many people couldn’t do this – you could.
  • You learned you care enough to get a book done. If you have that passion that puts you ahead of people who never try.
  • You can always publish under a pseudonym. In some cases this is the best idea depending on subject matter.
  • At least the book is committed to history. You are a historical snapshot and people may learn from your experiences.
  • You learned more about self-publishing in general, and perhaps the publishing industry from your research. You can use that later or in other projects.

Technical Skills:

  • You learned how to better use writing tools like word processors to get this far. That can help you in your next book or other projects.
  • You learned how to use formatting options and/or self-publishing tools to get the book ready for publishing. You can use that for other projects or in everyday life.
  • You learned how to use publishing services like CreateSpace or Lulu. You can use it again or teach others.
  • You learned how to make a cover for your book, or buy one.  Sure the cover may be bad, but it’s something.

Writing Skills

  • You learned a lot about writing. Yes, the book may not be good, but it is at least coherent enough for people to understand. You managed to figure out how to make that happen.
  • You developed some kind of writing system and tested it – even if it was randomly flailing. You can build on that (or if your method was bad, discard it).
  • You (hopefully) get some feedback. Be it from pre-readers or editors or readers, you’ve got feedback or have the chance to get some. It may not be good, but it’s a chance to grow.
  • You learned just how publishing works, from issues of ISBNs to royalty-free photos. That’s knowledge you can use in future books and elsewhere.
  • You learned about genres from writing within one, from comparing yourself to others, from researching. This can inform your next book, your sequel, your rewrite, or just provide helpful tips for others.

Personality And Habits

  • You developed enough courage to finish and perhaps publish it. It might not be under your name, it may be flawed, but it takes a certain level of character to complete a work. You have it or developed it.
  • You learned a lot about your hopes, fears, abilities, and personality doing this. It might not have been pleasant, but you learned it
  • You learned how you write as you completed the book; do you write well alone, at a coffee shop, etc. You can use this for your next project.


  • You meet people along the way. It may be an editor, a cover artist, a fellow author, someone thank thinks your work is awful. Some of these folks are people you can grow with, who can help you grow – and whom you can help grow.
  • You (hopefully) discovered writer communities along the way, or at least hard more about them. Those are people who can help you next time, be supportive, be friends, or point you at interesting work to read.
  • It may not be good, but how many of us were inspired by not-good things that had some good stuff? Your work might be a stepping stone for others.

The Future:

  • You can at some point rewrite the book and do it right. What if it’s really a glorified rough draft you can revisit when you’re more talented.
  • At some point you can take your book off of your website or out of bookstores or whatever (if self-published). If you’re truly worried, there are options there (and you still enjoy many benefits)
  • You can do a sequel to address the flaws of your work and improve as an author. I’m sure we all know series where the first (or second) book was not the best of all of them.
  • You could always decide the book should be free and let others build on it.
  • Maybe the book would be better as something else – a game, a comic, etc. Now that it’s done perhaps it can be reborn in a better form.

So your book sucks.  But you have a book, and that’s awesome!

(Remember I do all sorts of books on creativity to help you out!)

– Steve


Posted on by Steven Savage

And with NaNoWriMo now kicking into gear, I’ve got another sale to help out my fellow creatives!

WThe Way With Worlds 1 ebook is on sale until November 7th!  It’s a chance to get a little boost in your work and think over the world’s you’re building!

Like I said I’m not doing NaNo this year, so it’s my contribution.  Still, let’s see about next year . . .

– Steve

Posted on by Steven Savage

I may not have time to participate in NaNoWriMo this year (I am writing, but not up for the challenge), but I figure I can make this contribution – my book “The Power Of Creative Paths” is on sale for this week!  Hope that makes everyone’s life a bit easier.

Hope it helps out.  Maybe I’ll participate next year.

To be honest, I sort of am envious people can participate.  I usually have my book plans set out months or even a year in advance so I’d have to plan that.  On top of it, NaNoWriMo seems more FUN when it’s fiction.

. . . or I could make a generator next NaNoWriMo.  Hmmmm.

– Steve

Posted on by Scott Delahunt

First, please accept my apologies for not producing anything for over a month. Life got away from me and needed to be netted. Okay, there were butterfly nets involved. That’s what they told me.

As I mentioned before, I particpated in the National Novel Writing Month. To add to the challenge of writing a novel of at least 50 000 words, I decided to create a story that took in the lessons of Lost in Translation. That is, I wanted to write something that could be easily adapted without worrying too much that there would be much to be altered. Those who want to read Beaver Flight can download it from Google Drive. It is currently unfinished, unpolished, and low on my writing priority list, but will work as an example here.

My first consideration was cast size. While a novel can have a huge cast consisting of main, supporting, and incidental characters, often for adaptations they will get combined and even cut to save on the costs of hiring actors. Thus, my core cast was kept to four characters; Darcy, Renée, Victoria, and Dominique. The story had a Canadian slant to it, in part because I am Canadian and in part to make it easier for the adaptation to get grants from the Canadian government. Cynical, but funding needs to be a concern, especially with an adaptation that requires special effects.

Next, setting. The core idea is a gender-flipping of the classic B-movie trope of Mars Needs Women! However, I wanted to keep the fighting away from Earth itself and possibly the populace kept in the dark. This builds off the limited cast idea above. With an isolated base, replacement characters would take time to arrive. The pilot episode (if Beaver Flight was a TV series) could show the difficulties of getting to the lunar base with its higher budget with later episodes helping to ameliorate the cost of the setting. The moon’s low-gravity is still an issue, though, even in the unfinished manuscript.

Props are going to be an interesting element. Each of the main characters pilots powered armour; something larger than Iron Man‘s suit but far smaller than the traditional Japanese mecha as seen in the various Gundam series or Patlabor. Each suit will be distinctive; Dominique’s needs to be taller since she herself is the tallest character in the story. However, and only implied in the story, the base design of the powered armour is common to all suits, with only the paint and the markings by nation and pilot being the main visual differences.*

Key sets are minimized. The main ones on the lunar base includes the mecha hangar bay, the pilots’ briefing room, Beaver Flight’s shared bedroom, and the cafeteria. Other locations can come up, but aren’t as key. The area outside the hangar bay doors needs to be created, as will lunar landscapes. Fortunately, reuse of graphics and settings will be common.

As mentioned, I’m placing Beaver Flight low on my priority list. I feel that the story doesn’t really fit a novel format. The original concept, I feel, would work better in a more serialized manner, whether it’s a webcomic, TV series, or even a series of short stories. As I neared the 50 000th word of the story, I started adding elements that were meant to appear later, such as the breaking of the secrecy and the appearance of the alien invaders. However, with the manuscript, I can go back, turn the work into something that fits it better, and then polish it up.

In the end, getting the story to a point where it can be adapted without too many problems is extra work. Consideration has to be taken for the more expensive budget elements to try to keep costs in hand. Casts need to be limited; few movies and TV series have a core cast larger than seven. However, getting these elements worked in should make adapting the work easier, keeping the adaptation closer to the original.

Next week, urban fantasy renewal.

* Not used in the manuscript but completely acceptable by my standards – cutie marks on each suit of powered armour to add to the distinctions.

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