Category Archives: NaNoWriMo

Hitting the wall

Hello. I’m Gerald, and I write. I write lots. In my Works In Progress spreadsheet, I have 36 titles. Yes, 36. Over 1.1 million words. But out of all those words and titles, I have only 4 finished first drafts containing just over 200,000 words.

Really? Are you kidding me? What’s going on?

You may well ask. A lot of those unfinished titles were written as part of NaNoWriMo.

So, the big question is: why do I have so much trouble actually finishing off my novels? And the truth is: I don’t know.

However …

I’m not alone.

I watched an hour-long programme on TV about Ian Rankin (he writes crime novels, and one of his main characters is John Rebus, just for information). He’s very famous. Very prolific. And Scottish. But that’s nothin’ to do with nothin’.

There was this one little bit, where he shouted down from upstairs when he was writing. He was fed up, depressed. His wife said: “It’s page 163.” It might have not been 163. It might have been 263. I don’t know. But it was about 3/4 of the way through the novel. “This happens every time,” she said.

Cut to closeup of Ian Rankin. Looking very depressed. “I hate this book,” he said. Again, I might have paraphrased.

But the key thing here is: even a prolific author like Ian Rankin suffers from Three-Quarter Syndrome. Or TQS. There. I named it.

And during this NaNoWriMo, there was a guest post from Neil Gaiman. He’s a writer, too. Here it is:

http://nanowrimo.org/pep-talks/neil-gaiman

The key extract here:

The last novel I wrote (it was ANANSI BOYS, in case you were wondering) when I got three-quarters of the way through I called my agent. I told her how stupid I felt writing something no-one would ever want to read, how thin the characters were, how pointless the plot. I strongly suggested that I was ready to abandon this book and write something else instead, or perhaps I could abandon the book and take up a new life as a landscape gardener, bank-robber, short-order cook or marine biologist. And instead of sympathising or agreeing with me, or blasting me forward with a wave of enthusiasm—or even arguing with me—she simply said, suspiciously cheerfully, “Oh, you’re at that part of the book, are you?”

I was shocked. “You mean I’ve done this before?”

“You don’t remember?”

“Not really.”

“Oh yes,” she said. “You do this every time you write a novel. But so do all my other clients.”

So there you have it. That feeling you’re having just now? Ian Rankin and Neil Gaiman have it, as do scores of other writers. The feeling is that your novel is poor, pointless, not worth completing.

And I’ve been there, too. Lots of times. But the difference this year? I knew about it beforehand. I was expecting it. Goddamn it, I even gave it a TLA (Three Letter Acronym).

So, we’re all sitting in this cess pool of writing. We’re about 3/4 of the way through. HOW THE HELL DO I FINISH THIS THING?

First thing – there is no magic bullet, alas. I’m sorry. No one is going to come and sprinkle fairy dust on your laptop keyboard, making the words appear magically on your screen.

So, you have to write. You have to grit your teeth. You have to have an idea of where your story is going. But you really have to sit down, and type words. Not just random, fairy dust words, but words that move your story on, scene by scene, line by line. Find out what you like writing. Is it long and rambling descriptions of landscapes? Do it. Is it fractious and tetchy conversations between two characters? Do it. Is it an account of a journey in a 2,000 horse-power Einstein machine? Do it. As long as it moves the story towards that ending. You can even write the ending now. No, seriously, you can. Write that final scene, the one everything’s been leading up to. I’ve done this, and then worked backwards. That worked for me. But you have to write. No one’s going to write it for you.

Because it gets easier. Honestly. I have found this many, many times. Break through this stupid wall, this word-desert, because this is where typists give up, and writers carry on. You want to tell this story. You NEED to tell this story. It’s in your head, and if you don’t get it out, it’s going to make your brain explode. No, really. See if it doesn’t.

SO WRITE THE DAMNED STORY.

Post NaNoWriMo – an update

It’s now the 10th of December, and I’m still writing.

You might have noticed a stream of little bits of writing in a “Small Stones Dec 2014” category. It’s from the River of Small Stones idea which started a few years ago. I wrote about it then. It’s a great idea to get / keep your creative juices flowing in the post-NaNo slump. I know they’re not very good. I’m no poet, and I don’t have the breadth of symbolism required to make them really good, but I like them. I have forgotten to upload them each day, which is why there’s a slew of them uploaded just now. But I do write them every day, otherwise I’d forget what I had been doing.

On NaNoWriMo, I wrote an end of month update here: http://gerald-hornsby.com/blog/2014/11/30/nanowrimo-2014-its-all-over-almost/ And since then?  I’ve continued to write the City in Flames story and, as of this moment, I’m at 62,714 words, and nearing the end. I’m pleased with how it’s been going, averaging nearly 1,400 words per day during December.

I’ve also been on Twitter a bit more, under the handle @AuthorGerald if you want to follow me.

And that’s about it for the moment. Time to write!

NaNoWriMo 2014 – it’s all over (almost)

So, NaNoWriMo is all but over for another year. I validated my word count (and downloaded my certificate and winners’ badges) at around 3.30pm today (30th November). But it wasn’t really that close. I had started a #50k5days project (yes, writing 50,000 words in 5 days) which I wasn’t able to successfully complete, and I had over 27k words on that for the month, too. But I wanted to finish the NaNo with a ‘proper’ 50k words.

wordcount2014-100k100-30NovRegarding NaNoWriMo itself, I wrote a first half or so of a novel City in Flames, another apocalyptic ‘The world in going to end’ novel which will fit quite nicely into the, as yet, unpublished End Of Civilisation series. My writing pace was a bit all over the place (see graph to the side): the blue line is my daily word count, the red line the average over the month, and the greeny line is words ahead of / behind target. But it’s done, and this is my 10th ‘win’ in 11 attempts. And, for the first time, I don’t hate my story. Previous NaNo ‘things’ have been despised by me, and grinding out the words has been a trial. But not this time. I had a good story, I had reasonable characters, and an active timeline which makes the story work well as a thriller. At least, I think so. I’ll be continuing to write this.

City In flames1-smallOh, and thanks to a very kind offer, I have a cover done for me by Rivka Kawano over at http://www.authorsensei.com/cover-design–illustration.html

Social activities? I went to the Essex NaNo group Kickoff party, and it was great to see some existing friends and meet new ones. Well done @em_biddulph for taking on the role of Essex ML once again, and for organising so many events. The NaNoEssex Facebook page was lively and interesting, too.

This year saw the official introduction of a Suffolk region, and as I’m almost literally a stone’s throw from Suffolk (well, a very hard throw of a very small stone), I joined that group, too, under the watchful eye of their ML, Sarah. I went to a few of their write-ins, and they had a very active Facebook page, too. I was happy to join a group of word sprinters on there to push my word count along. So the social aspects of NaNoWriMo were very enjoyable again.

Regarding #50k5days, I began the month trying to find 5 consecutive days where I could dedicate my time to writing ten thousand words each day, but that was difficult. So I announced I would be doing it piecemeal during the month. And then, I left it to the last minute, so I was using the last 5 (consecutive) days for writing this. I started day 1 with over 8k, then 10k on day 2, then a disappointing 7.4k for day 3, when real life got in the way. Day 4 was an almost complete bust at 2k, and at that point, I abandoned. But here again, I have what I think will make a good story, and the writing I’ve done is as near as a good edit / rewrite from a finished draft as I’ve ever done. So double positive.

And what now?

I’ve started a “Write.A.Page.A.Day” group on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/groups/write.a.page.a.day/ if you’re interested), with the intention of encouraging authors (me, mainly) to keep writing during the days and weeks after the end of NaNo.

I have my Writer-Chat shows http://writer-chat.com/ where I will spread my chatty net wider, beyond my NaNo buddies, haranguing published authors onto the ‘air’ with me. I’ve invested some money in audio equipment, so I’m intending to increase the professionalism of the show as we continue. I want to provide podcasts of them in the future, too.

“What about publishing”, I hear you cry? (I hear stuff all the time, it’s okay). I was hoping to publish three things this year. So far, I’ve published … nothing. Another target missed. My collaborative slasher horror is in second edit. I have three completed first drafts, waiting for me to return to them – one is crime, which might get my attention first, and t’others are apocalyptic thrillers, which need a bit more work. So it’s all there, or thereabouts.

And sleep. I need better sleep. I had too many late nights attempting to meet wordcount targets. I watched with interest as the quality of my writing curved downwards as the month progressed. My vocabulary disintegrated until words of even a single syllable were tricky.

Thanks to all my real-life and online friends for the support, the banter and the discussions. It was a brilliant month.

2014 – a look ahead

 

Colourful 2014 in fiery sparklers

 SUMMARY

I shall be aiming to participate in the usual #100kwords100days challenges (January and July, all things being equal) and also in NaNoWriMo 2014.

There is also a rather larger, tougher writing challenge – #milwordy. Those who are good at deciphering acronyms might realise that the challenge is to write 1,000,000 words during 2014. One. Million. Words. Two thousand, seven hundred and forty words a day. Every day.

I’m pretty sure I can do this. Typing isn’t a problem for me, and I have a stack of new project ideas ready to be lifted from obscurity. But my problem is one of producing stories which are good enough to go on to publish.

And that’s one of the downsides to rapid writing – the quality can, and sometimes does, suffer. Do I really need another million words of something-less-than-first-drafts, when I already have nearly 720,000 already sitting in Works In Progress? When doing my fast writing, I tell myself that I can add more character depth later, add a plot twist or a subplot later. And, I think, that leads me to be dissatisfied with my writing. It’s a conundrum. 

WRITING PROJECTS

Anyway, I’ve been thinking, and I know what my major project will be this year, and that is to write a series of apocalyptic fiction novels, with a common main character taking the reader from small, local, everyman issues, up to global and international issues, and perhaps beyond.

I’m not going to do this alone. Oh no. I have a small army of previously-written concepts, which I’m going to use as fleshed-out plans for my 2014 writing. I have a character who struggles with politics and business (key themes for my End Of Civilization series), but on a very basic, local level.

He then moves onto to the national stage, moving in circles with people he used to watch on TV, tackling big international issues.

Then, he moves onto a global stage, where the challenges are bigger and the stakes are higher.

The final piece of the series bring him full circle, back to a very local level, dealing with personal issues, because he’s failed to resolve the mighty issues that challenged him in Book 3.

 Added to that (which is a big enough project on its own, I know) I will be trying to complete my collection of crime series. For marketing reasons, that might be written under a pseudonym, but we’ll see. All in all, it’s going to be a busy year.

 Happy New Year!

2013 – a look back, but not in anger

2013

SUMMARY

It’s been a bit of a mixed year for me.

On the positive side, I had two successful #100kwords100days challenges (January and July), and a successful NaNoWriMo. At the time of writing (December 30th), I’ve written 409,575 new words this year. Not all were fiction – the ‘rules’ of #100kwords100days allow for blog posts and planning to be included in word counts. But that’s still a good total for one year.

On the negative side, I didn’t publish anything this year.

SHORT FICTION

One of my aims this year was to complete a selection of dark Christmas-related tales, and to publish them in time for the Christmas

But … I wasn’t pleased with them. Soseason. I did this – I created ten new short stories, at around 21,000 words in total, which I was going to bundle with three previously-released short pieces which had a Christmas theme. Some of them worked, but one or two didn’t – they weren’t strong enough stories, and my writing wasn’t the best. So I shelved the project. I didn’t delete it, and They Will Return, with tough rewrites to sharpen up the writing. Depending on the situation when next Christmas trundles alone, I will either publish them as a collection or release them for free as singles. Watch this space.

The bottom line is – I’m not going to release my writing unless I think it’s the best it can be. The quality of the writing is more important than any seasonal-related marketing strategy. I only wish that were the case with some other self-published writers.

LONG FICTION

I’ve completed 3 long works to “draft zero” status – a 65,000 word crime story, and two thrillers at 45k and 47k each.

But therein lies the problem. I love writing, I love the buzz I get from creating new characters and situations. But, before 2013, I was a terrible finisher. I never really completed anything but short fiction. So one of my goals for this year was to finish some long fiction, and I’m pleased I’ve been able to do that.

However, I’m still not completely happy with my stories. At the time of writing, I’m not sure whether they’re going to be edited, or put to one side. All is not lost, and I have good news in my “2014 – look ahead” post, coming soon, including a new life for a piece of writing that’s over ten years old. NaNoWriMo 2003, your time is up!

NaNoWriMo 2013 – roundup

2013-Winner-Square-ButtonAh, NaNoWriMo. It seems such a distant memory.

I ‘won’ (I always put that word inside quotation marks, as it’s a strange word to use in the circumstances), but I was fairly confident of doing so, having set out a good plan and knowing I had the time to write it.

As it happens, I completed the 50k on the 12th of November, and by the 30th, I had written a total of 74,021 words. I forgot to update my onsite word count for the last day, so my count ‘over there’ shows 72,796. Pfft.

I completed one ‘novel’, “Meltdown”, at 47,290 words. I didn’t complete the second ‘novel’, “Shed No Tear”, but it currently stands at 20,938 words. I also began writing a Dark Christmas Collection, as yet unnamed, and at the time of writing (late on the 2nd of December), the word count for that collection is 10,334 words.

So, what have I learnt from NaNoWriMo2013? Not a lot, to be honest. This was my 10th NaNoWriMo, and my 9th ‘success’. I know I can write quickly enough to complete the challenge, and although the completed work is in a very rough, Draft Zero, form, it is a complete story. The second work is a tricky one, as it has a complicated time frame, which takes some time for my head to get around. But it’s getting there, and the two timelines are coming together nicely.

What else? I attended a few local Write-Ins, and met some of our local NaNoers. Very nice people they were, too. Our local Essex group on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/groups/nanoessex/ with its website http://nanoessex.wordpress.com/ was a busy place, with a lively mix of NaNo Newbies, experienced NaNoers, and doddery old hands – that’ll be me then. It was great to be able to share information and support. As a group, Essex wrote 8,345,822 words, which smashed our previous total. We had a large number of finishers in the group, which was fantastic. Some of us appeared on a local radio programme, http://www.saintfm.co.uk/ on Sarah Banham’s “Writers’ Block” show. That was great fun, albeit a bit nerve-wracking for radio virgins like myself. I think the vast majority of our group enjoyed the experience.

What next?

I, like many others, have unfinished business with our writing. Yet more words need to be written and edited. And there is a generally local group feeling that we want to continue to support each other, which is awesome. And so, we shall.

For me, although I’m still writing now, I do love a challenge.

In January 2014, the 3rd episode of #100kwords100days begins. Initiated by the prolific **SALLY QUILFORD**  (Amazon page: http://www.amazon.co.uk/SALLY-QUILFORD/e/B002BLQGBS ) it’s a challenge which requires writers to create one hundred thousand new words between January 1st and the 10th April. For those not quick at maths (or math), it’s 1,000 words per day. If you’ve been successful at NaNoWriMo, a smaller word count might seem easy. But over 100 days?

And, of course, there’s always the next challenge. A new thing hit my Facebook this week – “Milwordy”. A million words in a year. That sounds like a challenge. In a non-leap year, that’s nearly 2,740 words a day. During the winter, it’s doable. I’m not so sure about the summer, as there always seems more ‘active’ things to do in the summer – cycling, gardening, generally enjoying the outside.

But the wordcount is achievable, I think. On all but 5 days of NaNoWriMo, I wrote more than that. Is it possible to maintain that level of productivity over a while year, as well as edits and publishing some of the other things I have in the wings?

Do I want to produce another million words of first drafts? I already have 711,000 words of works in progress – 3 complete novels to first draft. Do I need any more?

So here’s my idea. I should take some of my earlier works, especially the NaNo stuff, and rewrite them. My writing back then was not as accomplished as it now is, I hope, and some of the stories deserve to see the light of day. I’ll use the existing stories as long plans, a bit like Karen Wiesner advocates in her “First Draft in 30 Days” http://www.angelfire.com/stars4/kswiesner/FD2.html

So that’s what I’ll plan. Whether I get there, I don’t know. But it must be worth a go, eh?

NaNoWriMo – week 1 update

So where are we? The bald facts – after 7 days’ writing, I have 35,467 words to my name this month, and after 2 days of #50K5DAYS, I have written 18,282 words.

Edit: (update) Only managed 3,040 on day 3 of #50K5DAYS, so I’ve abandoned this attempt. Should be ready to try again on Monday morning.

One thing that had occurred to me – some people might be put off by my posting large word counts. NaNoWriMo is all about personal challenges and achievements. I write fast; 2,000 words an hour is the norm for me. I am an experienced writer – I have 22 works in progress, comprising over 660,000 words (a work in progress is something I’ve written but not edited, or something half-written and incomplete). I have ‘won’ 8 NaNoWriMo’s so far in the 10 years I’ve been doing them.

All this means that, for me, my personal targets go a bit beyond the ‘standard’ NaNo, but they’re no less challenging. Maybe part of this ‘experience’ is understanding how, when and why I write.

There is no doubt that, for some, NaNoWriMo is an invigorating, enlightening time. Some will discover that, yes, they can write a novel. Some will discover the love of writing, and of creating something from nothing but ideas and thoughts. Some will begin great friendships and discover writing camaraderie. But there are some for whom NaNo is a dispiriting, depressing time. The sight of new-found friends disappearing into the distance with ever-burgeoning wordcounts can be upsetting, I’m sure.

So I’m wondering if NaNoWriMo should change, and allow people to set their own personal word count goals. If someone has physical difficulty writing anywhere near 1,667 words per day for 30 days, maybe they should be ‘allowed’ to set their own challenging target?

Then, if they do this, are these people not writers? Of course they are. They may not have the high volume output of others, but they may still enjoy writing. They may not have the stamina, or the desire, even, to create a novel, but there’s probably no reason why they can’t create a 10-minute play script, a 20-line poem, an article for a local newspaper, or a post on their blog. People who do this are writers, just as much as someone who can crank out 5,000 words in a day.

Why this? I have tapped a lot of words into Scrivener this November, and I intend to tap in a lot more. As part of our local support group, we cheerfully present our daily / total word counts with pride. But I wonder if there are some who view these figures with some sadness; I have felt awkward posting mine, worried in case any members of the group approach the challenge as a competition, and feel that they have ‘lost’ if they aren’t near the top word count generators.

But my message is: if you want to be a writer, write. Write what pleases you, write when you want to, write in whatever format gives you the best feelings. We are all writers, and we don’t need a word count chart to prove that.

Stripped-down Scrivener

NaNoWriMo 2013 is upon us, and at the time of writing (28th October), over 157,000 writers have signed up for the challenge. One of the hottest topics (as ever) is the subject of computer software – specifically, what do you use to write your novel?

For me, it’s always been about simplicity and light weight. Microsoft Word has become bloated and heavy (from a software point of view). It takes ages to load up (more than 2 seconds is ages in my book), and slows my computer down because it hogs so much memory.

Before now, I’ve used a simple word processor called “Bean” http://www.bean-osx.com/Bean.html (I’m on Mac). The crucial things are that it’s free, it doesn’t take up memory and is quick to load, it has a live word count, and does first line indents on paragraphs. What more do you need of a word processor? I’m sure there are others, probably just as good.

I had been reading about Scrivener for years, had downloaded a trial version, and last year used my NaNoWriMo winner’s token to take advantage of a very generous offer, and bought it for half price.

Then April happened. Here’s the story: http://geraldhornsby.wordpress.com/2013/04/04/scrivener-now-im-a-believer/

So now, I use Scrivener a lot for longer writing.

But Scrivener is a beast of a programme. It is hugely clever, and has a mass of features. It can be overwhelming for a new user. It was for me, before I simplified things. I now have a stripped-down template which allows me to concentrate on my planning and writing.

This is what it looks like:

Screen shot 2013-10-24 at 20.56.53

There is no data in this Scrivener sheet yet. But you can see that I have 5 folders in my binder, each of which is completely empty.

1. Manuscript. This is where my actual writing will go. I tend to write in scenes – I’ll organise these into chapters later on, but for the moment, it’s easier for me to construct my story as a series of scenes, as in a film.

2. Characters. Here, I list each of my main characters, some short physical description, and character traits. Also, any relationships to other characters are listed here.

3. Places. Locations where my action takes place, with fictitious town and village names, and I list some of the buildings in these places, such as pub and shop names, with some brief descriptions.

4. Research. Any websites I have come across in my research, and reference material goes here.

5. Notes. This is where I put my initial story notes, and also any notes for future changes in the story. Often, I’ll have an idea for a change in the plot, or a new character, and instead of stopping my writing and changing it all around, I’ll just make a note and move on.

6. Trash. This is a Scrivener folder. When you delete any of your scenes, characters, or places, they are not absolutely deleted, but are sent instead to the trash folder within Scrivener. Just In Case!

Conclusions: I like starting a novel with Scrivener looking like this. It’s got the folders I need, and nothing more to get in the way.

NaNoWriMo – my Top Ten Tips. Part IV Tips 8-10b

TECHNIQUES

Here are some techniques I use when actually writing my NaNo piece.

8. DO NOT DELETE

Ha! Of course you wouldn’t delete some of your magic words. Would you?

Yes. I’ve seen it done (or at least, I’ve been told about it on the forums). Someone deleted several chapters because they didn’t fit in with how the book was developing. Err … hello? This challenge is all about writing words, and is all about the word count at the end of the month. By all means, delete stuff on December 1st. Delete the whole damned novel if you wish. But for now, leave all those nice, and not-so-nice words where they are. You wrote ‘em, you should have ‘em counted.

9. Interact, but not too much

There’s writing, and then there’s writing about writing.

Don’t spend too much time on the forums, or in Facebook groups. The NaNoWriMo forums are a great place to find inspiration, discover great software, ask and answer questions, or just shoot the breeze. It’s lovely to talk to other people who are going through exactly what you are. But do that after you’ve completed your word count for the day. Don’t start by checking the forums, because half an hour (500 words) disappears in a flash. Write first, chat later. This is also a RULE.

There is, as with most rules, an exception. Which is: sprints / word wars / call them what you will. These abound on the forums and in Facebook groups. What will happen is that a number of NaNos will agree to start writing at, say, 20 past the hour for 15 minutes. So, at the agreed time, someone types “go”, and everyone disappears off the forum for the 15 minutes, and comes back and tells everyone how many words they typed. There’s no prizes, there’s no shame, it’s fun. No, really it is. And it really does work to get words into your manuscript.

10. Turn off the internet

This is a bit drastic. But try just closing the browser window for an hour. The world won’t end, the government will still be in power, and the earth will continue to spin while you’re not surfing the web. But it’s amazing just how much difference that simple act can make. As I write this, I have my browser open behind the document, and I can see Facebook updates happening, which is a terrible distraction. Fortunately, I’m loving doing what I’m doing, and I’ve already completed my wordcount for the day.

There are a number of dark screen programmes around, which will make the rest of your desktop disappear whilst you’re typing. Scrivener has this facility too, which I do find actually works. I make it all disappear, write write write, and by the time I come up for air, there’s another 350 words in the document.

We can’t all have writing studios to shut ourselves away, but try and get used to writing with distractions – TV on, kids playing, wife / husband / partner moaning about the lack of food in the house. Try to get used to writing in non-ideal situations.

10a. Back up your data

Oh yes. This is a favourite of mine. And yes, I do know we’ve already had 10 tips. I planned to write 10 tips, but my plans changed as I wrote (see what I did there?)

Please, please, please back up your data. You are going to spend at least (I’m guessing) 50 hours of your valuable time writing. Are you going to trust this cargo of words to that collection of metal, plastic and magnetic whirring disc platters, without having a copy somewhere?

Of course you’re not, because you’re a sensible writer.

Copy your data to yourself in an email, use Dropbox (other online storage options are available), copy the files to a thumb / stick drive, or a USB hard drive. Just do something to make sure that if the worst happens (and don’t forget, it doesn’t have to be a catastrophic failure – some nefarious scroat could come and nick your computer, or someone could inadvertently spill beer / coffee / wine / champagne / perfume / nasty stuff all over it. Back your wonderful words up once a day. That’s right, once per day. Without fail. I shall be checking.

10b. Don’t be afraid to enjoy yourself 

And finally, my 10+2th tip (think of it like 20% extra for free), – enjoy yourself. This is supposed to be, at least a little bit, enjoyable. Write what you want to write. Write in first person, third person, second person, fifth person, whatever. Write in rhyming couplets, write without any punctuation, write stories about great fables and legends, about naughty nannies and creepy car mechanics, write about a writer who does this stupid writing challenge every November, write about the birds and the bees, the fruits and the trees, write about nice people, nasty people, friendly people, weird people, mad people, people who all look like Tim Jones, people who talk in stilted form and add a ‘hic’ to the end of every sentence, write about pilots, sailors, astronauts, drug dealers, cops, robbers, cowboys, lathe operators. WRITE WHAT THE HELL YOU LIKE. It’s your novel, it’s your NaNoWriMo, enjoy it 🙂

And that’s it! I hope you find these tips useful, and that they help propel you through November and come out at the end with a novel to show everyone!