Tag: NaNoWriMo

Week of Geek: YA Books that started in NaNoWriMo

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Hi again Geeklings!  How we doing?  Experiencing the November blah’s yet?  I may have something that’ll distract you…

As I mentioned on this site before, I’ve been trying something new this month.  Yay, new things!  I’m giving NaNoWriMo a shot.  For those who aren’t familiar yet, it’s a challenge to write 50 000 words of a novel in one month.  I’ve just passed the halfway point, both in November and in word count, so I like to think I’m giving it a solid effort.

To clarify, no one is expecting the participant to have a completely edited, polished and ready to publish novel in a month.  And you don’t have to write the entirety of it all in November either; if you had some things written before it all counts as long as it’s the same project.  It’s all on the honor system and it’s all for the personal challenge.  NaNoWriMo just wants you to get the words out, just to get them finally written down in a first or second draft, and then in January and February they host online help for editing and publishing.  It’s a great system.

So far I’ve found it interesting, challenging, stressful and so rewarding all at the same time.  This is the most I’ve written on a single project, and I’m a little worried at how the next 24 000-ish words are going to go.  Will I think of enough to write about?  Will all the placeholders I’ve put in the work so far have to be fleshed out?  So many ‘what if’s, but I’m determined.

And one of the best things about it is that they have a Young Writer’s Program.  Busy?  Overloaded with school and extracurriculars?  Wanna give this a try but feel like 50 000 words is WAY too much?  The Young Writer’s Program let’s you set your own word count and helps you through it.

If you’re looking for some inspiration, we’ve got some YA novels that started as NaNoWriMo projects.

CinderCinder, Scarlet and Cress by Marissa Meyer

From Cinder: “Humans and androids crowd the raucous streets of New Beijing. A deadly plague ravages the population. From space, a ruthless lunar people watch, waiting to make their move. No one knows that Earth’s fate hinges on one girl. . . .

Cinder, a gifted mechanic, is a cyborg. She’s a second-class citizen with a mysterious past, reviled by her stepmother and blamed for her stepsister’s illness. But when her life becomes intertwined with the handsome Prince Kai’s, she suddenly finds herself at the center of an intergalactic struggle, and a forbidden attraction. Caught between duty and freedom, loyalty and betrayal, she must uncover secrets about her past in order to protect her world’s future.”

The Lunar Chronicles feature a mix of fairy tale characters and a lot of sci fi.  Creating the first book during NaNoWriMo worked well enough for Meyer that she used the challenge to create some of the follow-ups.  That’s commitment.

Anna and the French KissAnna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins

“Anna is looking forward to her senior year in Atlanta, where she has a great job, a loyal best friend, and a crush on the verge of becoming more. Which is why she is less than thrilled about being shipped off to boarding school in Paris–until she meets Étienne St. Clair. Smart, charming, beautiful, Étienne has it all…including a serious girlfriend.

But in the City of Light, wishes have a way of coming true. Will a year of romantic near-misses end with their long-awaited French kiss?”

For those looking for a little romance in an exotic locale, give this one a try.

RampantRampant by Diana Peterfreund

“Forget everything you ever knew about unicorns…

Real unicorns are venomous, man-eating monsters with huge fangs and razor-sharp horns. Fortunately, they’ve been extinct for a hundred and fifty years.

Or not.

Astrid had always scoffed at her eccentric mother’s stories about killer unicorns. But when one of the monsters attacks her boyfriend—thereby ruining any chance of him taking her to the prom—Astrid finds herself headed to Rome to train as a unicorn hunter at the ancient cloisters the hunters have used for centuries.

However, at the cloisters all is not what it seems. Outside, the unicorns wait to attack. And within, Astrid faces other, unexpected threats: from the crumbling, bone-covered walls that vibrate with a terrible power to the hidden agendas of her fellow hunters to—perhaps most dangerously of all—her growing attraction to a handsome art student … an attraction that could jeopardize everything.”

Deadly unicorns.  What more could you ask for?

CrewelCrewel by Gennifer Albin

“Incapable. Awkward. Artless. That’s what the other girls whisper behind her back. But sixteen-year-old Adelice Lewys has a secret: She wants to fail. Gifted with the ability to weave time with matter, she’s exactly what the Guild is looking for, and in the world of Arras, being chosen to work the looms is everything a girl could want. It means privilege, eternal beauty, and being something other than a secretary. It also means the power to manipulate the very fabric of reality. But if controlling what people eat, wherethey live, and how many children they have is the price of having it all, Adelice isn’t interested.

Not that her feelings matter, because she slipped and used her hidden talent for a moment. Now she has one hour to eat her mom’s overcooked pot roast. One hour to listen to her sister’s academy gossip and laugh at her dad’s jokes. One hour to pretend everything’s okay. And one hour to escape.

Because tonight, they’ll come for her.”

Token of DarknessToken of Darkness by Amelia Atwater-Rhodes

“Cooper Blake has everything going for him–until he wakes from a car accident with his football career in ruins and a mysterious, attractive girl by his side. Cooper doesn’t know how Samantha got there or why he can see her; all he knows is that she’s a ghost, and the shadows that surround her seem intent on destroying her.

No one from Cooper’s old life would understand what he can barely grasp himself. . . . But Delilah, the captain of the cheerleading squad, has secrets of her own, like her ability to see beyond the physical world, and her tangled history with Brent, a loner from a neighboring school who can hear strangers’ most intimate thoughts. Delilah and Brent know that Cooper is in more trouble than he realizes, and that Samantha may not be as innocent as she has led Cooper to believe. But the only way to figure out where Samantha came from will put them all in more danger than they ever dreamed possible.”

The Forest of Hands and TeethThe Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan

“In Mary’s world there are simple truths.
   The Sisterhood always knows best.
   The Guardians will protect and serve.
   The Unconsecrated will never relent.
   And you must always mind the fence that surrounds the villa≥ the fence that protects the village from the Forest of Hands and Teeth.
   But, slowly, Mary’s truths are failing her. She’s learning things she never wanted to know about the Sisterhood and its secrets, and the Guardians and their power. And, when the fence is breached and her world is thrown into chaos, about the Unconsecrated and their relentlessness.
   Now, she must choose between her village and her future, between the one she loves and the one who loves her. And she must face the truth about the Forest of Hands and Teeth. Could there be life outside a world surrounded in so much death?”

Side Effects May VarySide Effects May Vary by Julie Murphy

“When sixteen-year-old Alice is diagnosed with leukemia, she vows to spend her final months righting wrongs. So she convinces her best friend, Harvey, to help her with a crazy bucket list that’s as much about revenge as it is about hope.

But just when Alice’s scores are settled, she goes into remission, and now she must face the consequences of all she’s said and done.”

Now THAT is a twist if ever I heard one.  What the heck do you do if you act like your actions won’t have any consequences and suddenly they do?  We’ll have to read to find out how Alice deals.

AlienatedAlienated by Melissa Landers

“Two years ago, the aliens made contact. Now Cara Sweeney is going to be sharing a bathroom with one of them.

Handpicked to host the first-ever L’eihr exchange student, Cara thinks her future is set. Not only does she get a free ride to her dream college, she’ll have inside information about the mysterious L’eihrs that every journalist would kill for. Cara’s blog following is about to skyrocket.

Still, Cara isn’t sure what to think when she meets Aelyx. Humans and L’eihrs have nearly identical DNA, but cold, infuriatingly brilliant Aelyx couldn’t seem more alien. She’s certain about one thing, though: no human boy is this good-looking.

But when Cara’s classmates get swept up by anti-L’eihr paranoia, Midtown High School suddenly isn’t safe anymore. Threatening notes appear in Cara’s locker, and a police officer has to escort her and Aelyx to class.

Cara finds support in the last person she expected. She realizes that Aelyx isn’t just her only friend; she’s fallen hard for him. But Aelyx has been hiding the truth about the purpose of his exchange, and its potentially deadly consequences. Soon Cara will be in for the fight of her life—not just for herself and the boy she loves, but for the future of her planet..”

The first book in a whole series.

Livvie Owen Lived HereLivvie Owen Lived Here by Sarah Dooley

“Olivia ‘Livvie’ Owen feels things differently than her parents and two sisters. Livvie is autistic. Her family has had to move repeatedly because of her outbursts. When they again face eviction, Livvie is convinced she has a way to get back to a house where they were all happy, once.

The problem is, Livvie burned down that house.

But she’s not giving up. Here is her story.”

Books featuring autistic characters are on the rise but still few and far between.  Author Sarah Dooley was a special education teacher who worked with autistic children, so she does come from a somewhat knowledgeable background on the subject.

And, gotta give a special shout out to one of my favorite books of all time…

FangirlFangirl by Rainbow Rowell

“Cath is a Simon Snow fan.

Okay, the whole world is a Simon Snow fan…

But for Cath, being a fan is her life—and she’s really good at it. She and her twin sister, Wren, ensconced themselves in the Simon Snow series when they were just kids; it’s what got them through their mother leaving. Reading. Rereading. Hanging out in Simon Snow forums, writing Simon Snow fan fiction, dressing up like the characters for every movie premiere.

Cath’s sister has mostly grown away from fandom, but Cath can’t let go. She doesn’t want to.

Now that they’re going to college, Wren has told Cath she doesn’t want to be roommates. Cath is on her own, completely outside of her comfort zone. She’s got a surly roommate with a charming, always-around boyfriend, a fiction-writing professor who thinks fan fiction is the end of the civilized world, a handsome classmate who only wants to talk about words… And she can’t stop worrying about her dad, who’s loving and fragile and has never really been alone.

For Cath, the question is: Can she do this? Can she make it without Wren holding her hand? Is she ready to start living her own life? Writing her own stories?

And does she even want to move on if it means leaving Simon Snow behind?”

That’s really a small snippet of what this book is all about.  Cath is a fan.  Cath is an introvert.  Cath is a writer.  And Cath is going through a seismic life change.  As a fan, introvert and kind-of writer myself, Cath resonated with me in a way that few literary characters have, before or since.  It’s a great book.  Read!

So there you have it.  Quite an eclectic mix of subjects but all are proof that the system can work as long as you want it.

And if you’re looking for a place to write, or meet other writers, or get some ideas, we’ve got you covered too.

Good luck Geeklings!  Hope to see you at the club, and until next time, End of Line.

NaNoWriMo and the Teen Writer’s Club

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Hi Everyone!

It’s November, which means it’s NaNoWriMo month!

What’s that?  Well, it’s a program that was started almost 20 years ago in order to encourage writers to write.  How?  By challenging them to write 50 000 words, essentially a novel, in one month.  Yup, 50 000 words in 30 days.  It doesn’t have to be a completely finished, polished, ready to publish book in that time, and if you’d written a bit before November 1, then that counts too as long as it’s in the same project.  It’s just a way to encourage writers to sit down and finally crank the words out.

This is my first year participating.  I’ve had an idea for a book for a while now, and I have been sitting on it for ages.  Life, laziness and good old fashioned procrastination seem to keep getting in the way.  I’m hoping that having a solid deadline and a goal will give me the kick in the pants I need to finally get a first draft written.  So far I’m almost up to 13 000 words.  Here’s hoping!

But enough about me.  Did you guys know they have a Young Writer’s Program?  They do!  The program is geared towards kids, tweens and teens.  You can set your own word count goal and you can write right there on the site.  For new writers or writers who want to challenge themselves it’s a great tool.  Click here to see how it works.

How this all ties in with us is that we at VPL have the Teen Writer’s Club going on.

If you’re looking for the time, the space and the resources to get some serious writing done this month and beyond, we’ve got you covered.  You can participate at the Pierre Berton Library, the Civic Centre Library, or both if you’d like.

Now, a couple of things to help get you going.  NaNoWriMo has published some books over the years…

Title details for No Plot? No Problem! by Chris Baty - Wait list A guide to writing a novel in 30 days.  Which is convenient, because that’s how long NaNoWriMo gives you.  30 days.  Breaking it down week by week and supplying advice and inspiration from other writers, this is the book that’s designed to be ‘results oriented’ and a quick fix.  Perfect for NaNoWriMo newbies (yo!).  This one’s also available as an ebook.


Pep Talks for WritersSometimes you just need that extra boost.  That little bit of advice or encouragement from someone who’s been there and who knows just what to say.  Be it the dreaded writer’s block, or how to even get started, this book is filled with tips, tricks and cheers from other writers.  You can also find pep talks at NaNoWriMo’s website.



And here are some other books that have great advice too, in handy list form.

Hope to see you at our next meetings.  Keep writing!

NaNoWriMo: Write All The Things!!!

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NaNoWriMo! The National Novel Writing Month. The one month of the year where writers from all over the world come together online and spend thirty days writing their fingers off in a mad-dash attempt to write a 50,000 word first draft novel in the time span of four weeks. That is correct. Fifty. Thousand. Words. Do you have any idea how much coffee must be consumed to make that deadline? Answer: Enough to keep Starbucks in the black until 2017

NaNoWriMo! Impossible you say? It just cannot be done? That this is the very definition of writing insanity? No! Yes! Maybe? Well you never know if anything is possible unless you give it a try. So try I am this year. I swear on the saddle of John Wayne’s big chestnut stallion Dollor am I ever going to try.

NaNoWriMo! Where the unexpected will always happen. I had originally planned on writing the sequel to The Princess Bride in the form of an incredibly outrageous medieval Spanish-style soap opera (you know, as they do in medieval Spain where the Spanish Inquisition rules…I’m all about the fan fiction okay? Fic writer and proud since ’04!). But no. It was not meant to be. Weeks of planning, outlining, storyboarding, research, post-it-note awareness, character sketches and biographies are now all just out the window. Well, actually everything is stored away on a hard-drive in my desk until December when this writing bonanza is officially over.

NaNoWriMo! Surprises around every corner. I find my mind currently shanghaied by a posse of Dead Cowboys with impressive facial hair. Why? Because when a long-dead gunslinger who happens to resemble Sam Elliott shows up with a party of Wild West deputies, wrangles, con-artists, trackers, gamblers and their horses all you can do as a writer is hush up, sit down, and start taking notes.

NaNoWriMo! The writing muse will take you wherever it may so if there is one lesson to be learned from all this it is that you will never know where a story will go but you can be sure that it is going to be one heck of an adventure.

NaNoWriMo! When writing a first draft of a novel is more stressful than trying to complete your thesis paper the night before it is due.

NaNoWriMo! When no matter how weird your storyline progresses your musical playlist is always on point.

NaNoWriMo! Where writers come together to spur each other on. No one gets left behind!

NaNoWriMo! Where write-in events are the events of the season! You don’t want to miss out in attending one because when wordsmiths gather together the creativity factor goes through the roof. Join me on Wednesday over at the Bathurst Clark library for a write-in event that is being hosted by the Vaughan Writer’s club from 6:30-8:30 pm. The call has gone out across the GTA on the official site so authors, literary nuts, poets et all will join in on the fun. Pack up your laptop, grab some snacks, fill a thermos full of something caffeinated, and get ready to write! See you there.