NaNoWriMo Progress Sheet

Social Media Information Overload, ©2012 Mark Smiciklas CC BY-NC 2.0

NaNoWriMo begins the day after tomorrow. To control my progress, I’ve created a spreadsheet that dynamically recomputes, each day, how many words I need to write in order to stay on track.

This is a method I’ve used before, based on principles used to manage software projects. Because software projects have a lot in common with writing projects. Most notably, they’re both creative endeavors, and you never know at the beginning how the project is going to look at the end. A write could use any of the widely available Agile software-development project tools out there. But this is a lighter weight tool, a simple spreadsheet, which doesn’t have as many features, but I’ve found it sufficient for a one-person writing project (like a NaNoWriMo novel).

Here’s a link to my NaNoWriMo Progress Sheet (OpenOffice Calc), or in MS Excel format. (Right-click on the link, and save the file to your hard drive.)

Here’s how it looks:
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Dear New Indie Author…

Doh! (© 2008 striatic CC BY 2.0)

This is a real note I just sent to a new author of a software-development book:

I’m an independent author and software developer. I saw your posting on G+, and it sounded potentially interesting. I signed up for the email to download the ebook, thinking I could review it on my SD blog.

However, by the time I opened the email, the embedded download links had expired, and now your system forbids me from downloading it at all.

The single, solitary thing a new author with a new book needs is attention. Your book needs reviews. It needs people writing about it and telling their friends about. I’ll be blunt: sending these people a download link that expires in 20 minutes is extremely stupid.

Now, instead of telling all my colleagues and readers about your book, I’m not going to tell them anything. You lose. Sorry. Better luck next time.

#CharacterStory Writing Prompts 2012/05/14

New York #flickrmeetup
Photo © 2012 Markus Spiering
Click here for original image.

Use one or more of the prompts below to inspire one or more character stories:

  1. Write a story with the scene depicted by the photo at top of this post, “New York #flickrmeetup – Come and meet us at the High Line!” (Click for a larger view.)

  2. Write a story with a character who periodically lapses into talking like a mobster (or in baby-talk, or in the voice of Sylvester the Cat, etc.)

  3. Write a story about loving your enemies.

  4. Write a story that involves mass transit.

Please comment below with a link to your story!

Keep writing!
-TimK

Writing Character Flaws

“Love Thyself,” © 2010 Kaili Williams CC BY-NC-SA 2.0
Click here for the original photo.

Inspired by the Pendragon Variety Podcast relaunch episode—in which the Pendragon ladies vamp on the topic: “Character Flaws – Balancing Your Character’s Awesome”—I decided to expound on… uh… character flaws.

First things first: We’re all told that our characters should have “flaws.” But what are these mythical creatures? What makes a flaw?

While many authors and commentators ask this question, I’m not sure many have given a good answer.
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Carnival of Storytelling – November 3, 2011

Welcome to the November 3, 2011 edition of Carnival of Storytelling.

Yes, it was actually posted a little later than November 3. And that’s my fault. It’s also a little skimpy, and that’s also my fault.

Even so, thanks to everyone who submitted a link at BlogCarnival.com. Please browse their blog posts, and share your own favorite posts from across the Internet for the next edition.

Enjoy!
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Carnival of Storytelling – October 20, 2011

Welcome to the October 20, 2011 edition of Carnival of Storytelling.

Thanks to everyone who submitted a link at BlogCarnival.com. And thanks to all the bloggers who posted wonderful articles that I have hand-picked for the following list. Please browse their blog posts, and share your own favorite posts from across the Internet for the next edition.

Enjoy!
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Carnival of Storytelling – September 22, October 18, 2011

Carnival of Storytelling – September 22, October 18, 2011

Welcome to the Carnival of Storytelling.

Now that the summer break is over, to launch a new season, I’m catching up on editions of the Carnival of Storytelling. A lot of great links posted. And more coming up tomorrow and Thursday!

(UPDATE Oct 19: I didn’t understand how blogcarnival.com worked. After I posted this edition, it recomputed all the outstanding submissions into Thursday’s. So the next edition is on Thursday, and then we’re all caught up.)

Thanks to everyone who submitted a link at BlogCarnival.com. And thanks to all the bloggers who posted wonderful articles, which I have hand-picked for the following list. Please browse their blog posts, and share your own favorite posts from across the Internet for the next edition.

Enjoy!
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Carnival of Storytelling – August 11, 2011

Welcome to the August 11, 2011 edition of Carnival of Storytelling.

Thanks to everyone who submitted a link at BlogCarnival.com. And thanks to all the bloggers who posted wonderful articles, which I have hand-picked for the following list. Please browse their blog posts, and share your own favorite posts from across the Internet for the next edition.

Enjoy!
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Carnival of Storytelling – July 28, 2011

Welcome to the July 28, 2011 edition of Carnival of Storytelling.

Thanks to everyone who submitted a link at BlogCarnival.com. And thanks to all the bloggers who posted wonderful articles, which I have hand-picked for the following list. Please browse their blog posts, and share your own favorite posts from across the Internet for the next edition.

Enjoy!
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Self-Publishing for Fun and Profit

Photo © 2008 Quinn Dombrowski CC BY-SA 2.0
Click here for the original image.

In yesterday’s post, I distinguished between the “indie author” and the “self-published author.” A reader named Wendy commented, with a question.

This is a distinction that I originally got from Bob Baker, author of 55 Ways to Promote & Sell Your Book on the Internet. Bob got his self-publishing start with a book about indie music marketing, back in the mid-90’s. He told the story in a recent interview about self-publishing:

In 1996, I self-published the first crude version of the Guerrilla Music Marketing Handbook… one of the first books to advocate self-reliance and taking your music career into your own hands (as opposed to “getting signed” to a record label, which most music business books were all about back then).

My DIY perspective came in handy when the traditional music biz began to crumble around 2001. Before long, going the “indie” route became the way to go…

Eh. So the book industry is 10 years late.
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