Want Help With Your Novel for National Novel Writing Month? Check Out These Ideas

It’s November, which for many of us means it’s … National Novel Writing Month.

Exactly what is National Novel Writing Month? “It’s a fun, seat-of-your-pants approach to novel writing. Participants begin writing at the start of November with the goal of writing a 175-page (50,000-word) novel by midnight, Nov. 30.” That’s roughly 1, 667 words daily, about 6 to 7 pages a day.

Writing that many words is challenging, even exhilarating, but, at the same time, for people like me, daunting.

There are lots of reasons not to attempt National Novel Writing Month. I play them in my head even as I type my manuscript, but I also have solutions.

Maybe you’re of the same mind and that little voice of doubt nags in your head. With some helpful advice from Chris Baty’s book No Plot, No Problem let’s tackle those concerns.

Chris, incidentally, is the founder of National Novel Writing Month.

  1. I don’t know how to begin. I don’t have it all planned out.That’s OK. Sit down at the keyboard and type. “It’s fine just to start.” Footnote: “Making it up as you go along does NOT require you to be a gifted novelist.”


  1. I don’t know what I need to start.“What you need to write a novel, of course, is a deadline.”


  1. How will a deadline help?“In the artistic realms, deadlines do much more than just get projects finished. They serve as creative midwives, as enthusiastic shepherds adept at plucking the timid inspirations that lurk in the wings of our imaginations and flinging them bodily into the bright light of day.”


  1. Is the arduous journey worth the time and effort?“In the 30 or 31 days you spend under (the deadline’s “taskmastering”  thumb, “you’ll discover wild, wonderful parts of yourself and tap into exciting realms of aptitude and achievement you didn’t know existed.”


  1. How will people react?“You’ll fly and soar and laugh and sing, and [yes] the people who love you will likely worry you’ve gone crazy.”


  1. Oh, no!“Well, actually, that’s OK. The insanity only lasts a month, just long enough to get ‘Write a Novel’ checked off your to-do list.”


  1. But I’m not sure I can write all that well, especially when I’m just getting my ideas down.“There is no pressure on you to write a brilliant first draft. No one ever writes a brilliant first draft.”


  1. What are the special perils?“The first law of exuberant imperfection is essentially this: The quickest, easiest way to produce something beautiful and lasting is to risk making something horribly crappy.”


  1. One reason NOT to try National Novel Writing Month is I’m busy and writing a novel takes a lot of time.It does, but what I’m planning is to discover what 1-2 hours a day for a month [can produce]. If I look at my daily routine, I probably can find activities I can forego for a while. And Chris Baty adds, “When I’m writing a novel, I stop Internet surfing entirely, limit my leisure reading, and spend much less weeknight time with (non-noveling) friends. Other writers use the opportunity to pare back conversations with their in-laws and stop doing yard work.” The point: These suggestions should work for you, too.


  1. But what about the people I live with?Will they be able to do without me while I’m off creating this masterpiece? “It’s not so much that you’ll be totally absent for one month as it is that you’ll be exceptionally present for the other 11.”


  1. But I like to be around others and I want to have some fun even if I’m working on a novel.Answer: If you’re feeling alone, try writing with buddies. “Writing with a partner (or three or four) helps all parties tap into the pool of competitive energy that forms when several people are working toward the same goal.”


  1. Does the ‘team approach’ really work?Yes, indeed. “When ‘noveling’ with someone else, you have a pacer, a motivator and a sympathetic ear for sharing the triumphs and tragedies of your novel. It’s more productive and a lot more fun.”


  1. But what if I don’t have a plot for my novel?“If you spend enough time with your characters, plot simply happens. This makes your novel writing, in essence, a literary trapeze act, one where you have to blindly trust that your imagination and intuition will catch you and fling you onward at each stage of your high-flying journey.”


Chris’ advice helps me keep turning out pages. It has me thinking about all the others who are taking the 50K challenge. How about you? What thoughts inspire you to keep writing, blogging or taking part in National Novel Writing Month? Please share with us.



I’ve published this post before, but I thought these idea might help readers, so I hope you’ll forgive me for reposting.

A Study in Scarlet Women-A Goodreads Review

A Study in Scarlet Women (Lady Sherlock, #1)A Study in Scarlet Women by Sherry Thomas
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
I loved, loved, loved the characters of Charlotte Holmes and Mrs. Watson. They haven’t just undergone a sex change. Their personalities and backgrounds are complex and intriguing. Charlotte has sisters, is addicted to food and in love with a married Lord Ingram Ashburton and, of course, she’s as brilliant and as observant as the famous detective she’s based on whereas Mrs. Watson is an actress, a former mistress and a member of the demimonde; she’s funny and fascinating. Both women cope with and rise above the restrictions of Sherlock’s Victorian England.

Oh, and yeah, there are murders and crimes to investigate, too. A Study in Scarlet Women has everything I look for in an enchanting read. If you like fun characters and Sherlock Holmes type mysteries, this is a read for you.

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Pen Names and more with Connie Bretes

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A Halloween Invite–

Hey, if you’re looking for some Halloween fun, come join us!

I Am Princess X- A Goodreads Review

I Am Princess X by Cherie Priest
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

May and Libby have been best friends since fifth grade, but it seems like forever to them. Together they create an anime adventure called Princess X. May writes the stories and Libby brings them to life with her drawings. Neither May nor Libby have any other friends. They don’t need anyone else. Then Libby’s mom falls asleep at the wheel and drives off a bridge. Libby drowns, and May is left alone. She doesn’t even have Princess X because in his grief, Libby’s dad has the house and everything in it, including boxes of Princess X tales, given away.

Without Libby, May lives on as a half-person for years until one day she spots a Princess X sticker, which leads her to finding a Princess X website. Could Libby still be alive? Is so, where is she? And why hasn’t she contacted May? May and a new-found computer hacker friend investigate using the clues in the web-published Princess X series, and of course, it puts them in the cross-hairs of a computer-savvy serial killer.

I love how the anima adventures blend into May’s real world and how Libby and May’s friendship transcends her death. The settings are unique and vividly described and the action kept me turning the pages.

If you like Princess stories or YA stories about plucky characters who will let nothing stand in the way of their friendship, I bet you’ll love this story. It’s a fast read that’s well worth your time.

Just so you know–I borrowed this book from the public library.

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Without Saying a Word -A Goodreads Review

Without Saying a Word: Master the Science of Body Language and Maximize Your SuccessWithout Saying a Word: Master the Science of Body Language and Maximize Your Success by Kasia Wezowski
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Whenever I see a new book on body language, I try to obtain a copy. They all have interesting insights and observations about how people communicate. This one does, too. In fact, it contains decades of research, but that research is clearly and simply explained. The actions and expressions talked about are also understandable and easy to picture.

The book does what it should do—it communicates. I loved straightforward descriptions as well as the recaps and short summaries at chapter ends.

Clearly, Without Saying a Word will be a go-to-reference for me. If you like people-watching and learning about how we, humans, communicate, I recommend you add this to your reading list.

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Good News From the 2018 Prism Contest

I’m honored to announce Other Than earned Third Place in the Steampunk and Historical category of the 2018 Prism Contest.

Thank you, readers!

Unforgettable Reads Blooming in Mary’s Garden

Unforgettable Reads Blooming in Mary’s Garden
Mary Martinez 

Mary is giving away 2 $20 Amazon GC’s and an ebook of Disappear during this tour. Mary’s Cover designer, is giving away one cover design for one lucky author. Please use the Rafflecopter below to enter. Remember there is a chance for you to enter the giveaway every day. So join us all through the tour for fun posts, interviews, and prizes. You may find the locations to all the tour stops here.
The Beckett Series:

The Beckett’s have a strong sense of family and honor.
When one of their own is threatened, their bond is as strong as a badge of steel.

The Beckett Series Trailer:
The Beckett Series Website:

The Beckett Series Book 1:

Genre: Romantic Suspense

Amazon Buy Link:

Genre: Women’s Fiction

Amazon Buy Link:


Four Sisters

It was the 60’s, she found love…
but started a war.

Genre: Women’s Fiction

Amazon Buy Link:

Mary’s new covers were designed by

~*~*~*~*~*~About the Author:

Mary and her husband love to travel, especially to the Caribbean for relaxing, and Italy for the wine. And most recently she discovered she was Irish and Scottish, of course they had to visit Ireland and Scotland. Mary fell in love with both, but the green hills of Ireland felt like home. With the experience from the exotic places she has visited, she is able to fill her books with colorful descriptions of cities, painting a colorful backdrop for her characters. One of her favorite US destinations is New York/Brooklyn, where her beloved Beckett’s live. When she visits, she can wander their neighborhoods, favorite parks, and visit their favorite pub, Putnum’s.

They are avid concert ‘Ho’s’! Yes, they pretty much want to do them all. They love outdoor amphitheaters the best and attend as many during the warmer months as possible.

Mary writes mostly romantic suspense, romance, women’s fiction, and she has just begun to dabble in young adult mystery. She is a member of Romance Writers of America (RWA). During her writing career she has been a conference coordinator, workshop presenter, and chapter president for the Utah Chapter of RWA. In 2007 she was presented with the Utah RWA service award in acknowledgment and appreciation for outstanding service. Mary has also participated in numerous library panels on writing and co-presented a workshop on writing a series at the League of Utah Writers conference.

Mary and her husband are also enthusiastic college football fans. They have season tickets to the UTES, University of Utah Football and they tailgate every game. They love tailgating so much, that they were married at a tailgating in 1999.

Mary’s Social Media Links:

Amazon Author Page:
Mary’s Garden Blog:
The After Work Cook:

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Julia Vanishes–A Goodreads Review

Julia Vanishes by Catherine Egan
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Julia and her brother are orphans and members of the Spira City thieves’ guild. Her brother’s a mechanical genius, but Julia’s gift is better. She can vanish at will. It’s not invisibility. She steps into another space where she can watch the area she left. To help the guild, Julia accepts a job as a housemaid in Mrs. Och’s strange household. She believes she’s to discover what’s happening behind its doors, and there’s a lot going on. For one thing, a convicted magic practitioner-turned-professor keeps magical tomes, when magic is outlawed, a crime the government drowns witches for. Julia puts this down to Mrs. Och and her associates running an underground railroad, but that doesn’t explain the cursed werewolf lurking in the basement or the witch, who may or may not be the target of a serial killer moving in with a toddler in tow. And, guess what—the toddler can see Julia when no one else can. Soon, Julia discovers a link between the mistress of the house and an ancient demi-god.

I like Julia’s take-no-prisoners spunk, and the relationships she has with her brother, ex-boyfriend and mentors. They’re all thieves, but they care for each other. In fact, it’s because she wants to protect her family that she does something dastardly she quickly regrets.
The world, which has Victorian and steampunk vibes, is interesting, but the magic system is even more intriguing. I don’t want to give too much away, so I’ll just say witches cast spells with the stroke of a pen.

If you’re like me and you search for new authors, feisty heroines and fascinating world building, this might be the read for you.

Just so you know, I borrowed this book from the library.
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#Camp Nanowritmo Winner

I’m pleased to announce I’ve met my Camp Nanowritmo goal. I love writing with buddies and cabinmates, and I love crossing the finish line.

Thank you, National Novel Writing Month staff, participants, and friends.