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Faced with the prospect of editing five NANO novel drafts, all written in Word, all in various states of chaos, I found myself pushed towards adopting a better, more organised approach this year, using Scrivener. This time, the planner in me was determined to have an outline in place before I started. And she did. But the pantser in me, who lets my characters have free rein, has been having fun,...

Where does the time go? Two weeks have flown by and tomorrow is the halfway mark for NaNoWriMo: 25K words! If you are struggling, I recommend you visit the NANO site and watch a pep talk. I particularly liked Neil Gaiman's which dates back to 2007, gave me inspiration then and still does the job now. Plus, you could attend one of my free MIDWAY webinars tomorrow, Sunday 15 November. There are three-time...

Day 1 and the waiting is over. I kicked off at midnight and wrote my first 882 words in a word war with some of my buddies, the Devon Wrimos, in the NanoDevon chat room - and then needed some sleep. What's a word war? Scroll down! What's a buddy? Scroll down even further! Now that NANO has officially started, a new feature has appeared to the right of my Inbox icon at...

The secret of winning NANO - going through that 50K barrier before time runs out on day 30 - boils down to setting goals and meeting targets. On the NANO site, each time you enter your word-count-to-date, a bar chart tells you how you're progressing. If you're on schedule, writing your 1666 words per day,  it's good to see today's column above the target line. If you're slipping behind, it can...

NaNoWriMo fast approaches and it's crucial, before I start writing for real at midnight on 31 October, that I make some decision on tense and voice. First question: which tense to use? Past or present? Past tense would be the easy option. It's the natural way of telling a story - something that happened in the past, recounted now. Using the present tense can create a sense of immediacy. It can...

Before I write - and also during the writing process - I make notes to myself about any research I need to do, and additional information I'll need. I  create a list of questions I'll need to answer. For Safari Supper, one such question is: 'How will the murderer kill the victim?' For now, I am assuming it's going to be by poisoning but, to arrive at a plausible method, I...

September has gone and it won't be long before NaNoWriMo opens its doors for this year's participants. This weekend I'm gearing up to taking the next step in the planning of my Safari Supper novel. My story arc offers me an outline of the chapters - assuming I decide to present my story in chronological order. I'll certainly aim to write it in that order - and decide later precisely how it...