Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Writer's Wednesday - Jenna Bayley-Burke talks Nano

This Wednesday at The Pink Heart Society, new Modern Extra writer Jenna Bayley-Burke is back with us again - this time to talk about NaNoWriMo, which is just about to hit us in November....

Is this thing on?

What no mike? Thank goodness. I always stand too close to those things. I get so excited when I talk about NaNoWriMo I always wind up with that annoying reverb sound. I think it’s the mike anyway, not the amount of caffeine emanating from me as I attempt another NaNoWriMo.

What is NaNoWriMo? National Novel Writing Month comes every November. All around the world, writers vow to collect words until they hit 50,000, throwing aside all notions that tell them that they can’t. It is the brainchild of No Plot No Problem author Chris Baty. Each year the NaNoWriMo website and forum teem with writers hopeful to turn someday into today. Last year 59,000 writers joined the ruckus, 9,769 finished.

Anyone with an inkling they want to write a novel can join the NaNoWriMo brigade. It’s free, it’s fast, and it even has perks like a laptop loaner program, a free copy of your NaNo novel from LuLu if you finish, and a great reason to head out to your local community NaNo meeting and find likeminded writers in your area. If you’d prefer an online writing group, Romance Divas and eHarlequin both host specialized groups in their forums during November.

For years I found something wrong with the stories I wrote, usually right around chapter four. I’d drop it like a hot potato, chasing after the next idea so I’d soon forget I meant to go back and finish. Until I signed up for National Novel Writers Month in 2004, and forced myself to muddle through that fourth chapter, following it with more chapters until Just One Spark had a beginning, middle and an end.

Drafting a novel in thirty days isn’t for everyone, but for those who’ve never finished a novel, the magic of a deadline does pull you across the finish line. And those writers who hope to write category can benefit from the discipline. The draft that you have at the end of the month isn’t publishable, but it is fixable. As a great romance writer once said, you can’t fix a blank page.

What are you waiting for? Don’t write a novel someday, write it this November.

You can join the NaNoWriMo experience in several places this November - for more information visit the official site for National Novel Writing Month or the related boards at Romance Divas or Eharlequin.... Come on and write with friends!!!

Jenna's first book, Just One Spark, written through the NaNoWriMo experience is still available. And her second book, Cooking Up A storm is out next month!

You can visit Jenna at her Website or at her Blog.

Thanks Jenna!!!


  1. I have often thought how nice it would be to finish a book in a month. Great inspiration. NaNoWriMo is fun for the cameraderie and the push that it gives. And the year I tried (but didn't manage) to write it, I still got a great T-shirt! Wear it all the time. And it's true what it says, "No Plot? No Problem!"

    There are lots of ways to finish a book. NaNoWriMo certainly can work! Maybe this year I can start one and actually get a whole draft done by the end of November! My editor wouldn't believe it!

    Looking forward to reading your books, Jenna!

  2. Hi Jenna,
    I'm very interested in giving NaNoWriMo a try this year, but I'm already in the middle of a manuscript - although I'm currently planning a major rewrite of it. I might write alongside everyone in an 'unofficial' capacity and see if it works.

    Many congratulations on your Just One Spark 2004 success!!

    Sue :-)

  3. Hi Jenna,
    I had a great time with NANO last year...

  4. NaNo is fun for me. It's been a blast every time. I'm 42K into a mss right now, and hoping to bang out the rest before November 1 so I can start on something new.

    NaNoWriMo mandates you start fresh, but the Divas and eHQ groups don't...though I did put down a ST to NaNo in was the first time I ever wrote two books at once. I tried to avoid the ST, and did until a scene would hit me full force and I had to get it down or worked for both books, I think. :)

  5. Wow, thank for all the great information, Jenna :-)

  6. IMHO I think it's best to start with a fresh story - you'll be amazed at what comes out. I did Nano once last year, hit my 50k (just) and have my MS out to agents.

  7. Starting fresh is part of the fun...says the girl with NO CLUE what she is writing next month...