If you are interested in blogging or want to promote your book, please contact E. B. Davis at writerswhokill@gmail.com.

Check out our February author interviews: 2/7-debut author Keenan Powell (Alaskan lawyer), 2/14-Leslie Wheeler (Rattlesnake Hill), 2/21-bestselling author Krista Davis, who unveils a new series, 2/28-Diane Vallere answers my questions about Pajama Frame. Please join us in welcoming these authors to WWK.

Our February Saturday Guest Blogger Schedule: 2/3-Saralyn Richard, 2/10-Kathryn Lane. WWK's Margaret H. Hamilton will blog on 2/17, and Kait Carson on 2/24.

Congratulations to our writers for the following publications:

Shari Randall's "Pets" will be included in Chesapeake Crimes: Fur, Feathers, and Felonies anthology, which will be published in 2018. In the same anthology "Rasputin," KM Rockwood's short story, will also be published. Her short story "Goldie" will be published in the Busted anthology, which will be released by Level Best Books on April 25th.

In addition, our prolific KM has had the following shorts published as well: "Making Tracks" in Passport to Murder, Bouchercon anthology, October 2017 and "Turkey Underfoot," appears in the anthology The Killer Wore Cranberry: a Fifth Course of Chaos.


Tuesday, November 8, 2016


It’s gimmicky, it’s quirky, it’s artificial, but it’s fun.

November is National Novel Writing Month, often called Nanowrimo. The participants are called Wrimos.
People all over the world sign up to face the challenge of writing a novel of 50,000 words in one month.

The goal is to end the month with a rough draft, or at least a substantial portion of a rough draft.

Why November? I’m not sure. But with 30 days, to meet the goal, a person has to write 1,666.6 words a day.

That’s not really much. On a good day, I can churn out 5,000 words, especially if I tune down the internal editor who wants me to stop every few words and see if there’s not a better way to say that.

Some years I have signed up for Nanowrimo. Writing is often a very solitary activity. The organization provides a lot of support and the opportunity to meet other people who like to write. After I first signed up for it ten years ago, I met several other people who were interested in forming a critique group. We did so, and the core group is still together, still supporting one another.

Various regional groups schedule activities and write-ins. One person serves as the Municipal Liaison (ML) and coordinates an area’s activities, both in person and on-line.

This certainly isn’t for everyone. Many people are sufficiently self-disciplined to do their writing without such an artificial framework, or don’t want to have arbitrary perimeters set by an outside entity.

At a certain stage in my writing, I find the structure to be helpful and fun. I have a basic idea of what I want to write, how it begins and how it ends, and when I aim at 2,000 words a day (to give me a little wiggle room for days like Thanksgiving, when I’m unlikely to write at all) I have to keep plowing ahead instead of stopping to rework what I have.

I fear that, if I let myself do it, I could be one of those writers who come up with fifty versions of chapter one, and never get beyond that. Or even page one.

Last year I didn’t participate, and this year I’m finding I have all kinds of trouble with the website. I acknowledge that I’m a “technofeeb,” i.e. someone who has an inordinate amount of difficulty using modern technology. Most of today’s writers seem to instinctively know how to navigate the website, etc, but I’m still at the point where anytime I manage to find something on the website is coincidental, and I can’t remember how I managed to find it, so I can never find it again. At the present time, I haven’t yet figured out how to contact the people in my region, including a few who live very close by (but I can’t find that page anymore!) or how to post my word count. I’ll keep looking. And if I can find a write-in that is scheduled reasonably nearby at a convenient time, I will go meet some people in the area who are also interested in writing, which is, to me, the major advantage.

At this point, I feel like I’ve spent as much time fumbling around on the website as I have writing.

Of course anyone can set their own guidelines, any time, and many people achieve their results with no such external framework. And some people don’t want to share their writing experience in this way. We all have different ways of expressing ourselves.

I hope to come out of the month with 50,000 words toward a new novel. It will be 50,000 words dreadfully in need of editing, but it will be a good start.

Here’s a link to the website: http://nanowrimo.org

Have you ever participated in Nanowrimo, or considered doing it? 


Jim Jackson said...

I participated last year and succeeded in reaching my 50,000-word goal with words to spare, but am not doing it this year. I’m doing the rewrite on last year's NANOWRIMO novel and also on a novella. What with transitioning from northern residence to southern, this is not the year to also try writing a lot of new words.

~ Jim

Margaret Turkevich said...

I did the Nanowrimo summer camp in July 2015. I joined one of the three "cabins" of Sisters in Crime Guppies. Because I was enrolled in an on-line short story class and revising two short stories for upcoming deadlines, I used the month for revision. I enjoyed checking in with my bunk mates around five every afternoon.

After I completed Nanowrimo, I gave myself a six week deadline to write the first draft of what will be my debut novel. And succeeded. The model works, but for me, November is a month filled with garden chores and family obligations.

I'd like to do Camp Nanowrimo again.

Grace Topping said...

I am definitely an outliner. So I would have to use the month to sit and contemplate, so I wouldn't get many words written. If I could start the month with my outline, then the goal would be obtainable. Unfortunately, I'm not armed with an outline when November comes around. I'll have to create a month to spend creating and outlining so I could be ready for November.

Warren Bull said...

I haven't done it yet. Although I've thought about it, this year I'm getting close to finishing a new novel and that is my priority.

Gloria Alden said...

I haven't done it, and would find it difficult to commit to that many words a day when not
every day am I free to write.

Shari Randall said...

I'm doing my own version - I need that many words to finish up my first draft of a novel before going to the UK for my daughter's graduation. I'd love to do the camp someday. Does camp also require 50,000 words?

KM Rockwood said...

Jim. like you, some years I'm not at a point where I want to start a rough draft, so I've skipped those years.

Margaret, the timing doesn't work for everyone. I certainly could not have managed it when I was working.

Grace, a lot of people do their outlining, character development, etc, before Nov. 1 and are in a great position to start writing that day.

Warren, it can be a great incentive to get some serious work done, but you have to be at the right place in your writing.

Gloria, you make great strides when you have the time, so I don't know if the artificial structure would do you any good anyhow. You really don't need it, and you might find it more frustrating than encouraging.

Kait said...

I wrote Death by Blue Water during Nano. I'm supposed to be participating this year, but I'm in edits and should finish tonight (so, you might ask, what am I doing here?). Then I'm off to Nano. I took a course this year about how to get ready to Nano and I have my next book, not outlined, but firmly set in my mind. I'm hoping that even with my late start (probably Thursday) I'll be able to make my 50K. Fingers crossed!

KM Rockwood said...

I'm sure you'll catch up, Kait! I'm not familiar with a course that helps prepare you for Nanowrimo. Is it given locally, or is it on line?