October 31st, 2007

Advice from the NaNoWriMo Team

 Before you head off to begin training those typing fingers, we wanted to offer a few bits of advice. You'll find many great tips in the forums, and we'll be sending pep talks directly to your inbox during November. But for now, here's a quick overview of the three-and-a-half things we wish we had known for our first NaNoWriMo.

1) It's okay to not know what you're doing. Really. You've read a lot of novels, so you're completely up to the challenge of writing one. No plot? No problem! If you feel more comfortable outlining your story ahead of time, absolutely do so. But it's also fine to just wing it. Write everyday, and a book-worthy story will appear, even if you're not sure what that story might be right now.

2) Do not edit as you go. Editing is for December. Think of November as an experiment in pure output. Even if it's hard at first, leave ugly prose and poorly written passages on the page to be cleaned up later. Your inner editor will be very grumpy about this, but your inner editor is a nitpicky jerk who foolishly believes that it is possible to write a brilliant first draft if you write it slowly enough. It isn't. Every book you've ever loved started out as a beautifully flawed first draft. In November, embrace imperfection and see where it takes you.

3) Tell everyone you know that you're writing a novel in November. This will pay big dividends in Week Two, when the only thing keeping you from quitting is the fear of looking pathetic in front of all the people who've had to hear about your novel for the past month. Seriously. Email them now about your awesome new book. The looming specter of personal humiliation is a very reliable muse.

3.5) There will be times you'll want to quit during November. This is okay. Everyone who wins NaNoWriMo wanted to quit at some point in November. Stick it out. See it through. Week Two can be hard. Week Three is much better. Week Four will make you want to hug the world.

With great well wishes on the noveling month ahead,

The NaNoWriMo Team

Halloween Safety

 As we all prepare for the upcoming Halloween season, please take a few minutes to read these simple rules to help keep everyone safe. (from: Evilgrin http://evilgrins. livejournal. com/profile )

1. Don't assume the telephone calls are coming from another house.

2. When it appears that you have killed the monster, NEVER check to see if it's really dead.

3. Never read a book of demon-summoning aloud.

4. Don't go into the basement to check the power when the lights go out.

5. If your children speak to you in Latin or any other language which they should not know, shoot them immediately. It will save you a lot of grief in the long run. However, it will probably take several rounds to kill them, so be prepared. This also applies to kids who speak with somebody else's voice.

6. When you have the benefit of numbers, NEVER split up and go it alone.

7. Don't have sex. Especially if you've noticed a few of your friends are missing!

8. As a general rule, don't solve puzzles that open a portal to Hell.

9. Never stand in, on, or above a grave, tomb, or crypt. This would apply to any other house of the dead as well.

10. If you're searching for something which caused a loud noise and find out that it's just the cat, don't stand their sighing with relief, GET THE HELL OUT!

11. If appliances start operating by themselves, don't check for short circuits; JUST GET OUT!

12. Do not take ANYTHING from the dead.

13. If you find a town which looks deserted, there's probably a good reason for it. Don't stop and look around.

14. If at any time the house or place you're staying in asks you to get out - DON'T argue.

15. If you're running from the monster, expect to trip or fall down at least twice, more if you are of the female persuasion. Also note that, despite the fact that you are running and the monster is merely ambling along, it's still moving fast enough to catch up with you.

16. If your companions suddenly begin to exhibit uncharacteristic behavior such as hissing, fascination for blood, glowing eyes, increasing hairiness, and so on, kill them immediately.

17. Stay away from certain geographical locations, some of which are listed here: Amityville, Elm Street, Transylvania, Nilbog (you're in trouble if you recognize this one), the Bermuda Triangle, or any small town in Maine.

18. If your car runs out of gas at night on a lonely road, do not go to the nearby deserted-looking house to phone for help. If you think that it is strange because you thought you had 3/4 of a tank, shoot yourself instead. You are going to die anyway, and will most likely be eaten.

19. Beware of strangers bearing strange tools. For example: chainsaws, staple guns, hedge
trimmers, electric carving knives, combines, lawnmowers, butane torches, soldering irons, band saws, or any devices made from deceased companions.

20. If you find that your house is built upon a cemetery, now is the time to move in with the in-laws. This also applies to houses that had previous inhabitants who went mad or committed suicide or died in some horrible fashion, or had inhabitants who performed satanic practices in
your living room.

21. Don't run upstairs when being followed by someone with a knife.

22. Do not walk outside whenever you hear something knock over trashcans.

23. When the monster falls in the hole and you turn your back on the hole, don't JUST SIT THERE.

NOW HAVE A HAPPY AND SAFE HALLOWEEN!!