Tag Archives: NaNoWriMo

All hail Romance Writers of America!

29 Nov

Well, it’s November 29 and NaNoWriMo is winding down (as is my self-imposed NaNoEdMo). I remember being here two years ago. Ha! However, I think I can safely say while I won’t have all my i’s dotted and t’s crossed by November 30 (in other words novel will NOT be ready to send out), I have made some SERIOUS headway. I totally rewrote my opening two chapters (now just one chapter) and am much, much, happier with it. I’m still losing parts of my soul as I throw out some great chapters but keeping in mind my superb critique partner’s words about “needing to get to Maine” (where most of my novel is set) faster. Bummer. That means Las Vegas and Fat Lennie need to be whittled down and I LOVE Fat Lennie. I’m also still grappling with how to make the disappearance of my reclusive artist a super-duper important news media story. Oh, and making my hero far more troubled. He clearly needs to be more screwed up than he currently is.

However, to this end, I’m excited to say I have joined the Romance Writers of America. Wow! After attending a panel session last week with various romance writers, I was convinced that this had to be my next step. Thanks to the Independent Writers of Southern California Group (IWOSC), I got to attend this panel. Until I did so, I never really thought that my book was a “romance.” I always thought of Romance Novels (note the capital letters) as those Mills and Boon (Harlequin in the U.S. I believe) style books that are very formulaic. I have no bodice ripping or heaving bosoms. I have a mystical blue dog and a missing artist that my heroine is trying to track down. Neither of these appear to fit the “romance novel” model. At least I didn’t think so. But I ALSO have a real romance and my heroine does indeed meet the man of her dreams – but it’s all very, very complicated and she has to do a whole lot of truth-hiding (note I didn’t say lying) to make sure he doesn’t discover what she’s up to. AND she will have to sell her soul and sell out her hero if she wants to get the biggest scoop of her career.

Well, thanks to that panel discussion,  I realised I do indeed have a romance novel and apparently anything goes these days. Your book doesn’t have to have a conventional path. So now I’m excited to have joined and signed up to the local Los Angeles chapter  – Los Angeles Romance Authors (LARA) where everyone on the message boards is incredibly supportive and there’s fun stuff to read all the time.

I loved how everyone on that panel was so “normal.” There wasn’t a feather boa or a satin pillow in sight. They all seem like great, down to earth women and they’re all on the local chapter yahoo group. I can’t wait to attend my first LARA meeting and get to know everyone. I feel like being a member now spurs me on to put in the time every day (while juggling my day job) to get my novel up to scratch.



Bless Scrivener… and all who sail in her

27 Jan

Yes, well.. while everyone is going crazy as the Apple iPad/Tablet thingy is unveiled in real time (can you feel the wave of hysteria?), I’m here to tout the brilliant Mac software that is Scrivener. Wow, I never thought I’d be shilling a product on my blog, but if you are a writer and a Mac user (which as a writer I personally think you should be), and if you do not create your novels in anything that even resembles a logistical order (like myself), then Scrivener is about to become your best friend.

I discovered Scrivener when I received a half-price purchase on the product after completing NaNoWriMo. Given that I actually wrote my novel in something closer to six days as opposed to the 30 days we actually had (not something I recommend), let’s just say my novel was in no clear order. I wrote the ending before the beginning, three different versions of the middle, seven different openings and a slew of  scary dream sequences, god-awful sex scenes, I mean tasteful, romantic interludes, and interminable pages about the weather. Then, as I sat with my 50,000 plus words that were slung together and were pretty much all over the kitchen like a madwoman’s breakfast, I discovered Scrivener, which allowed me to put my chapters into some kind of order, create notes, little cork boards complete with drawing pins (Americans call them push pins I think, which makes no sense to me), and a system that formats my text and allows me to cobble together things, highlight stuff, fill in blanks and create order on the page from the disorder in my mind. Of course it doesn’t actually write the book for you (but I’ve already done that).

So, if you are not a Scrivener convert, my only question is why not?

Writing into the end of the year

24 Dec

As everyone gears up to shut down over the Christmas break, I’ll be tapping away on my computer – an excellent time for those of us not of the Christian faith to catch up on being behind. Of course, I will do the de rigeuer Jewish celebration tonight of Chinese dinner and a movie with friends, but beyond that I’ll be keeping my nose to the grindstone. In fact, my latest article just went up. It’s about Jews and Yoga. Can you connect your Ohms with your Amens? Abso-bloody-lutely. Read it here. Yoga: Good for the Jews? .

I’m also excited to be revising my novel written in NaNowWriMo. It finally has a title: Word Painting. I’m very excited by the messiness of it all and the new Scrivener software (a 50% discount purchase as a result of winning NaNoWriMo), that I’m using to unsplit my split infinitives and reconnect my subject/verb agreements et al.

Here’s hoping for a wonderful 2010 for all those of you with literary dreams. Nurture them, coddle them, then get rich off of them – hopefully.

Happy Christmas to all my non-Jewish friends!

Help! I’m in NaNoWriMo hell!

29 Nov

This is just a quickety-quick update. Well, I’ve been TRYING to complete my NaNoWriMo novel. I have just hit the 25,000 mark (25,091 to be exact – but who is counting – ha!). That’s the good news. The bad news is that I have: 2 days 9 hours, 31 minutes and 23 , 22, 21, 20.. seconds to complete my novel. That means that I need to write um… A LOT – to complete the novel.

Now I know I’m good at deadlines, but this is RIDICULOUS. So how did I manage to get myself into such a bind? November ran away with me. I did go to San Francisco and do the Night of Writing Dangerously which was fun, but basically November was a nutty month – yeah yeah heard it all before.

So, um, I did have some SERIOUS stuff to deal with -you know just the average “someone came to stay at my house after her boyfriend kicked her out and she had pneumonia. Supposed to stay two days but that turned into 2 weeks and culminated with a trip to the emergency room because she threatened suicide. This led to a 72 hour lock down  a la Britney Spears, a discovery that she was a rampant alcoholic going through withdrawal and a whole lot of extra craziness thrown in. This took up a LOT of my time and I’m still dealing with the aftermath. And no this is NOT the plot of my novel – although maybe it should have been?

And then, I had a great story idea that was brilliant in my head and then on paper sucked sucked sucked so I gave up and started a whole NEW story last week – hence the crazy deadline. To wit, I did NOT start NaNoWriMo until November 9 and here is my word count so far:

Nov 9 – 837

Nov 10 – 944

Nov 16 – 3303

Nov 22 – 1567

Nov 23 – 283

Nov 24 – 4051

Nov 26 – 1817

Nov 28 – 2232

Nov 29 – 4721

Nov 30 (today) – so far – 5,338  – and it’s 2:35 p.m.

So writing here is my “break” can you believe it? Right! Write! I’m back to writing.. Wish me luck. I may not sleep tonight in order to complete this by midnight tomorrow. Oy. To all other NaNoWriMo’s thanks for the great forum where others are going mental attempting to finish. Insanity rules. Luckily I think I have enough plot points to keep going – and if not, I’ll have to kill off a major (or minor) character, have a dream sequence, a ridiculously long sex scene (which I assume would mean a very dreamy hero who doesn’t mind taking his time) or blow something up. Or perhaps all four at once. That should be good for at least 10,000 words or so. Suggestions welcome…

PS. This explains why I haven’t written here in AGES!

NaNoWriMo approaches, more articles up!

26 Oct

nanowrimoNaNoWriMo looms large! It begins November 1 and finally, finally, I have my novel idea (in both senses of the word). It’s all very exciting and I can’t wait to flex my 2,000 words-a-day muscles. Please quote me on this as I may live to regret it. I’m also thrilled that there are so many twitterers talking about NaNoWriMo. Makes one feel less, alone, no?

In the meantime, my article on Hilary Helstein’s documentary is up. Please read it. And I’m waiting for my article to be published on an extraordinary Israeli fashion designer now based in LA whose career almost came to a screeching halt after she almost lost her hand in an horrific car accident.

Right, off to do some editing work… oh joy -sigh..

Night of Writing Dangerously sponsorship goal met!

14 Oct


I raised my $200 for the National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo)’s Night of Writing Dangerously, and I’ve booked my ticket to San Francisco for November 22. G-d bless SouthWest airlines – el cheapo dealo. I really wanted to fly Virgin America but their prices were high-in-the-sky. So bye-bye Virgin, for now at least.

Great thanks to my mum (aw shucks), Tania Hershman, James Tumminia, Eddie and Melissa Rabin, Etan Lerner (well his parents Paul and Michelle), Fred Kramer, and Susan Meadows for raising the funds for the Office of Letters and Light. You all rock! And thanks to Lisa Alcalay Klug for offering to host me in SF.

My mum was visiting from Israel in November last year and we went to San Francisco for a few days and I came down with the world’s worst flu – but NOT H1N1 (it hadn’t occurred yet). So it will be great to spend a day in SF and do all the things I didn’t get to do last time (after the six hours of writing for NaNoWriMo), because I was stuck in my hotel room bed.

Of course, this does mean I DO have to write my 50,000 words in one month, and I’ve still yet to come up with a concrete idea. Oh well, I have a couple of weeks. I’ve been checking out all the NaNoWriMo posts on Twitter and it’s all a little daunting. There’s almost 40,000 people signed up for NaNoWriMo and it makes you realise how many writers are actually out there – a lot! It’s also fun to know that others will attempt this deranged, insane, activity.

In the meantime, I’m working on three separate stories. Just sent to my editor an article on an Israeli fashion designer in LA who almost lost her hand in a car accident as a teenager and still is managing to pursue her dream. Pretty inspiring stuff. And I just interviewed a former Israeli soccer player who is now the hair extension guru to Hollywood stars (Zohan, anyone?). And I spoke with Hilary Helstein about her moving documentary As Seen Through These Eyes – a decades in the making film about Holocaust survivors who documented their experiences through their art. Narrated by Maya Angelou it’s extraordinary. If you’re in LA – go see it!

All three articles will be written, and up in in the coming weeks – will keep you posted on the links. And of course there is more wonderful work up at Scribblers on the Roof. Go check it out.

NaNoWriMo here we go!

12 Oct

nano_09_blk_participant_120x90.pngI have officially signed up for NaNoWriMo this year – aka – National Novel Writing Month. NanoWriMo encourages everyone and anyone to write a novel of 50,000 words or more between November 1 and November 30 each year. You’re officially a winner if you cross the finish line with a minimum of 50,000 words by November 30.

Now that I’ve blurted it out here, I’m going to feel doubly obligated to complete this crazy assignment. I’m also now going to ask as many of you as possible to undertake this challenge too. Head over to the site and sign up. It’s a daunting task, but as Chris Baty (founder of NaNoWriMo) states, the secret weapon to writing a book is having a deadline.

Please feel free to check in on me and make sure I’m making my word count (which is approximately 1700 words per day – phew).  In addition, I’m also hoping to attend NaNoWriMo’s Night of Writing Dangerously in San Francisco (and I don’t even live in San Francisco!, where I will join hundreds of others in writing all night long. However, in order to attend, participants must raise a minimum of $200. Proceeds from the event will fund National Novel Writing Month’s free creative writing programs in hundreds of schools and communities around the world. And that’s why I’m drawn to this project. Anything that encourages others to take up creative writing is a plus in my book. Please visit my fundraising page here and sponsor me. Donate $1 or $1,000, whatever you like. Thanks for listening to my shameless plea.