Wednesday, October 30, 2013

NaNoWriMo Encouragement: Part 1

Hey, out there,

Maybe you're considering participating in National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) this November?

Maybe you think it doesn't help your path as a writer? You'd be wrong. It's a great exercise in discipline. After all, you don't know IF you can write a novel until you DO.

So here, have a little encouragement from my own writing in the trenches.

(includes novels, short stories and screenplays)

The Mists of Glencoe (1st screenplay. Set in Scotland and based on a true story. Very bad. Very, very bad)
Going Native (1st novel - college professor used lines from this piece to illustrate what NOT to do. Ouch! Also, this was about the time in my writing "career" when people were asking about "my little hobby." Annoying people.)
The Fuhrer's Barber (1st short story submission to a major journal)
Remnants (Honorable Mention; Hemingway Short Story Contest. Hey, a little progress!)
Last Free Exit (My fave failed, overly ambitious screenplay that calls me to write in prose form. Didn't have the skills to do it back then. Maybe now?)
Corporate Casualty
The Corporate Line
Corporella (Here, we conclude a trio of scripts about the hilarity of being a corporate speechwriter. Guess I REALLY believed in this idea. Corporella, my fave of the 3, is a corporate Cinderella tale. Who doesn't like that? Oh, wait, look at these rejection letters. I guess the answer is: many)
The Burgermeister's Daughter (what a mess)
Dysfunction Junction (hilarity at a funeral/laughter through tears. I loved writing this script! My hair stylist at the time inspired a lot of this.)
Telemarketer (screenplay that came very close to acceptance, then dropped. Fun fact: I wanted Colin Farrell for the role.)
No Teddy Bears (1st NaNoWriMo novel - I really liked this story. It was inspired by an investigative news report about the foster care system from journalist Brian Ross. Thanks, Mr. Ross. My daughter wants me to finish it.)
Prodigal Son (This is the story I still think is solid no matter what others say. So there.)
Fidelity for Beginners (a fantastic experiment in co-writing a novel with another writer just to see if we could do it and dream about being interviewed by Oprah. Hey, delusions of grandeur are a necessary writer trait.)
Mrs. Boyd (3rd NaNoWriMo novel - waiting to rewrite this one. Want to do it now!!)
There's A Dog In The Doorway
Princess Rufflecuffs (written for my tiny daughter, the original Princess Rufflecuffs)
Me Without You
60 Miles To Empty
Fool The Eye
Note To Self
Not Walter McShane (Man, this rejection stung! Learned a lot, though. Also, I wanted Colin Farrell to be main character. Does that jinx the work? Nope. It's the work itself. Darn!)

I have rejection notices for most of the above 22 works. Now let's see how many I've published.



Sure Signs of Crazy (2nd NaNoWriMo novel; received FOUR STARRED REVIEWS) 

Courage For Beginners (2014)
(first review received from my daughter)

Her: Mom, I don't want to hurt your feelings.
Me: (cringing because you never completely get over your insecurities, published or not)
Oh, it's okay, honey, I want to know what you think. Tell me.
Her: Well, um.....I think it's better than your first novel.
Me: Wait. What? (dancing on the inside)
Her: Yeah. It has a little mystery.
Me: You're very observant.
Her: I know.

25 works written and submitted. 3 published.

What have I learned from the millions of words I've written? Well, I love to write. That much is clear. This is no hobby for me. It's a passion.

But the most important thing is that all of it matters. Every word counts. Everything on the first list helped me get to the second list. If not for those first efforts, I wouldn't be where I am today.

May you go forth and create your own lists!


  1. Great post, Karen, and I especially love how you're so at ease with being completely transparent about your near-misses as well as your success. As readers, we don't see those manuscripts our favorite authors wrote before|during their road to publication. This is so encouraging.

  2. Thanks for the head up! Will keep this in mind
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