Monthly Archives: October 2011

Nanowrimo Author Interview: Elaine Corvidae


In the spirit of both Halloween and Nanowrimo, today I’m interviewing Elaine Corvidae, author of multiple novels and short story collections, some of which are horrific and others of which aren’t. I’m very honoured to have her here today and I hope you are too.

1. Can you tell us a bit about your books?

I write science fiction and fantasy novels about shape-shifters, vegetarian wizards, barbarian warrior women, and angry faeries. My upcoming release, Hunter’s Crown (due out January 2012 from Mundania Press, LLC) is the fifth in my Shadow Fae series and was largely written during Nanowrimo 2010.

2. I understand that at least one of your books came from Nanowrimo. When did you first discover Nanowrimo, and what convinced you to sign up?

Way back when, some author friends I knew would get together and challenge each other to write (or complete writing) a book in a short amount of time, usually two weeks. I tried it with a novel that was giving me problems and was amazed when I was able to write 3/4s of a book in fourteen days. When I found out that there was an organized challenge month with support forums, badges, and the sort of camaraderie that most of us writers don’t get the other 11 months of the year, I was hooked.

3. What are some of the biggest factors in your success during Nanowrimo?

Lots and lots of caffeine. Also, my AlphaSmart, which lets me write in coffee shops and at the pub without the temptation of checking Twitter every five seconds.

4. What advice would you give to a first time Nanowrimo participant?

There are plenty of days that your writing will suck. You’ll want to just throw your hands up and walk away in disgust. Just remember that you can always fix it in rewrites, and plow on through. When you go back in December, you’ll be surprised at how much of the manuscript isn’t half as bad as you thought it was.

5. After you’d completed Nanowrimo, how did you turn the manuscript into a publishable book?

Well, I had to finish it first! I’ve written three books during Nano that either have been published or are scheduled for release next year, all of which are substantially longer than 50,000 words. I also have a tendency during Nano to skip scenes if I don’t know what to do, or just wing bits that I’m not sure about yet, so I have to go back and add-in/rewrite those. Then it’s the same as any other first draft: make any structural changes, make sure it reads coherently, and fix as many typos as I can catch before sending it to the editor.

6. What is the hardest part of the writing process for you?

The beginning. I enjoy the pay off, so the first act setup is always agonizing. But it’s a critical part that can’t be skipped, so I just buckle down and do the work.

8. You’ve written both novels and short story collections. How does each style challenge you?

I find short stories to be far more challenging, which is the reason I don’t write as many of them. Telling a complete story in under 5,000 words is incredibly difficult—you really have to boil it down to the bare essentials.

Novels of course have their own challenges: structure, cohesion of the plotlines, fully developing the characters, etc. I find those things to be the fun parts of writing, though, so even though there is more work to do when writing a novel, it comes to me much more easily.

9. What piece of advice do you think it is most important for aspiring authors to remember?

Be persistent. Writing is a huge commitment, not just in getting the words on the page, but in all the other, less-fun bits that come after. The will to keep going is the biggest factor that separates the “aspiring author” from the “author.”

10. Are you participating in Nanowrimo again this year? If so, what are you going to be working on?

Yes! However, this will be the first year I’ll be doing it under a pen name due to the planned erotic content. If anyone wants to be writing buddies (assuming the Nano website gets this feature reactivated), my new profile is here: http://www.nanowrimo.org/en/participants/jordan_l_hawk

Who is Elaine Corvidae?

Elaine Corvidae has been telling stories about faeries, elves, and dragons since she was a small child. Her dark fantasy novels have won numerous awards, including multiple Eppie Awards and Dream Realm Awards for Best Fantasy Novel. When she isn’t wandering the worlds of her imagination, she lives in Harrisburg, NC, with her husband and several cats. You can visit her on the web at http://www.elainecorvidae.com.

Did you enjoy reading this interview? Please let me know.

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The Final Days

Today, my friends, is October twenty-seventh. Do you know what that means? It means Nanowrimo is pretty much standing on top of us. Don’t be afraid, it won’t hurt. Well, it won’t cripple you. Nanowrimo is not liable for any head, back or wrist injuries caused by writer’s block, the insane goal, or any of its participants. Neither am I just because I convinced you to do it. But, with any luck and a little help from me, you won’t have so many difficulties you end up bashing your head off of the wall.

During these final days before Nanowrimo, enjoy your freedom. Don’t shake in your boots fearing what is to come. 50, 000 words (or more) in a month is a noble goal. It is also perfectly achievable for the majority of people. Make sure you have a solid idea what your plot is about and who your characters are, but don’t over plan or spend all your time fussing over your outline. This is Nanowrimo. It’s not about writing the perfect novel. It’s about writing a messy but full-length first draft, which you may or may not choose to edit later. It’s about being able to say ‘I wrote a book once’, even if you never do it again. It’s about having fun. If it doesn’t end up working well for you, you can plan more next year.

Instead, make sure to spend the next few days–or as much of them as you can–doing the other things that you enjoy. If you know you have a big project of some sort due next month for work or school, do some extra work on it now. The idea is to get these things out of the way now so that you don’t feel the need for them as much during the next month. It’ll help, trust me. Go to a Halloween party. Have fun. Next month is going to be a long month full of trials, tribulations and hopefully victory dances. Be prepared.

This November, I will be posting pep talks every Monday, a dare every Wednesday, and some sort of tip/update/excerpt on Friday. I’ll be just as exhausted as the rest of you, but I’ll be loving it. After all, Nanowrimo to me is the most wonderful time of the year.

What will you be doing in the final days before Nanowrimo?

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5 Things You Should do Before November First

Of course, my luck is the sort where I get very, very sick at the worst possible time. For example, on Saturday morning I woke up very very early because I couldn’t breath. A box of kleenex and several rolls of toilet paper later, today I actually feel good enough to go back to school and get some work done. Nanowrimo is right around the corner now and it’s terrifying. I know what story I’m writing, but I haven’t dug out my binder to look at my notes. I haven’t gotten ahead in my homework. As it stands now, thanks to my awful head cold this weekend, I’m actually really behind in my homework.

This looks like it’s going to be my most difficult Nanowrimo in years. I’ve got more homework than ever before, I’m interning with Musa Publishing, and I’m part of a local weekly writing group. And I really haven’t done much prep work over the last month. With that in mind, here are five things I’m going to to before November first that you should try to do too:

1. Make a basic plot list. If I was more creative and not overcoming the worst cold I’ve had all year, I’d come up with a cooler name for this. The idea–and I’ve never done this before, but I think it’s going to be fun–is to get a big piece of chart or poster paper and to write the most important parts of your plot on it. You can make it an ordinary list, a timeline, or whatever you want. If you’re feeling really creative you can even make a storyboard. I’ll probably just be sticking with a list or a timeline. Put the list up next to your work area. If you haven’t carved out a corner of your house and told your family that you’re not to be disturbed while you’re in that corner, do that now. It will be difficult to enforce that this is your work area and that you need the time to write, so try to make it an out of the way spot where people are less likely to bother you.

2. Watch a movie with your family/lovers/friends. This may not seem like it has anything to do with your novel, and I’ll tell you a secret: this may not have anything to do with your novel. But if you’re a busy person with a job or school or just a lot of volunteer commitments, you probably already have limited time to spend with these people you love so much. Next month, you’re going to have even less time than that. I’ve already told my boyfriend that I’ll need two hours every day to work on my Nanovel. With that in mind, I’m going to take care to spend some extra time with him this weekend. We might go see Puss ‘N’ Boots. We might just stay home and hang out. Either way, I’m going to make sure I spend some time with him so he doesn’t feel completely abandoned next month, and you should do the same for the people you care about.

3. Go for a long walk. You won’t have any time for this next month, and if you live in Canada like me, you probably won’t want to go on many long walks next month anyway. It does tend to get cold. Get some fresh air and some exercise, and enjoy nature. You won’t have the time to next month.

4. Write 1, 667 words. Go on, try it. Get a feel for how much you’ll be writing every day and how long it’s going to take you. The best way to know how long it’s going to take you to write 1, 667 words every day is to actually try it. If you’re stuck for an idea, try writing about a traumatic moment in your main character’s past. Write about the lead up to the moment, the trauma itself, and the moments that come after. This will give you a more concrete idea of how much time you’ll need to spend working on your Nanovel every day and help you get into the writing zone.

5. Go to your local Kick-off Party. Go out and meet your fellow Nanoers. Odds are, they are wonderful people. If your region isn’t that active, look for one nearby and see if you can go to one of their events. Meeting these people face to face is a lot of fun, and it really encourages you to complete your novel. My first Nanowrimo, it was the challenge of proving to everyone that an eleven year old could write a novel which made me finish. While I think I probably would’ve won most years without the support of the community, I know I wouldn’t have had as much fun, and I certainly never would’ve written 300, 000 words. So go out and meet the Nanowrimo people in your area. It might just be one of the most awesome nights of your life.

Remember that Nanowrimo is two parts fun and one part slave labour. Writing a novel in a month should be extremely challenging, but it should also be fun(to the exclusion of all other fun activities). Above all else, make sure that you have fun this month. Oh, and don’t forget to stock up on coffee, tea, or whatever it is you drink to boost your energy: you really will need all the extra energy you can get.

What last minute preparations are you making for your Nanowrimo?

Creating a Nanowrimo Survival Kit

Every year in at least one of the Nanowrimo forums you’ll find a thread talking about people’s Nanowrimo survival kits. A Nanowrimo survival kit is a big box full of items that will help you through Nanowrimo. Unlike most kits, not all of it will be in a box. Some of these items are better off in the fridge or cupboards around your home. Some should be carried with you all the time. Today I’ve created an example Nanowrimo survival kit, which contains many items most Nanoers find useful during the month of November.

  • Ramen Noodles- Mr. Noodles are a quick, simple meal to make when you’re deprived of sleep and chained to your computer. Picking up a big box of these noodles is a good idea. Even if you don’t eat them all in November, they’re good to have around when you’re tired and sick. Think like a college student–not a lot of time, not a lot of money. Embrace the noodles.
  • Stickers- These are for your calendar to mark key achievements. Some people have different kinds of stickers for when they hit different word goals: one kind for their daily word goal, one kind for their weekly word goal, and others for major points like halfway and of course 50, 000. Usually these go on a calendar or a chart of some sort for the month.
  • Spiral Notebook– This is to carry around with you everywhere, and to keep beside your desk. Use it when you have an idea that doesn’t have a place in the story you’re working on for Nanowrimo. Write down little things you hear people say on the subway that are particularly interesting. Collect dares from the forums that you can use in your Nanovel. Whatever you do, make sure you don’t go anywhere without your notebook next month.
  • Pens– These of course go with the notebook. You should have a couple in your writing space at all times, and you should bring at least one with you everywhere you go. I don’t like to leave my house unless I have at least two pens, even when it’s not Nanowrimo season.
  • Sugary Treat of Choice– Some people like chocolate bars. Some people like hot chocolate. Some people, who may or may not be freaks, prefer strange gummy candies to chocolate. Whatever your favourite sweet thing is, make sure you have a stash for next month. These will be used both to reward hitting massive word goals, and to inspire you in moments of complete desperation.
  • Caffeinated Beverage of Choice– Some people don’t like caffeine at all. Most Nanoers aren’t those kinds of people, so don’t forget to grab an extra box of tea or coffee for next month. You’ll need to load up on caffeine if you’re going to write 50, 000 words while working or going to school, and time spent going to the store could be better spent writing.
  • Dried fruits– And of course other food items which will aren’t going to rot too quickly. It’s convenient to have a stash of healthy snacks. Try to pick ones that won’t grease up your keyboard. When November hits, keep a bowl of healthy snacks on your desk so you don’t end up just eating crap while typing up your novel.
  • Story Totem– Some people have several of these. I sometimes don’t even have one. Creating a totem for your novel–an object of some sort which represents your story–is a good idea. It’s something physical that you can hold in your hands and play with when you get stuck. It’s a great way to keep yourself inspired.

There are dozens of other things you can include in your own personal Nanowrimo survival kit. I haven’t included all of the items in my list, and there are probably things you’ll find incredibly helpful that I haven’t listed here. But this is a really, really good place to start. Remember, Nanowrimo is all about creating a novel in a month, but you’re going to need some things other than a story to make it easier on yourself.

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What’s in your Nanowrimo survival kit?

5 Short Exercises to Develop Character

Character is for many writers the driving force of their fiction. Knowing your characters thoroughly is just as important as knowing your plot. Sometimes, it’s even more important. When character comes second to plot, characters often seem stereotypical and dialogue becomes wooden. In order to make your fiction come to life you must bring your characters, especially your main character, come to life for the character.

I’ve compiled a list of exercises to help you develop your characters. You can do one of them or all of them for any and all of your characters. How much work you do to prepare for Nanowrimo is really up to you, but it’s good to have a basic grasp of your characters, setting and plot before you begin. It helps to make for less rewriting.

So how can you develop your characters?

1. Interview your character. This is a fairly common technique in which you interview your character as if for a magazine. Ask your character what their favourite colour is, what their childhood was like, and what made them who they are today. If your character is well known for some reason before the story begins, ask them specific questions about what it is that makes them so well known. Write what you learn down on a separate fact sheet afterwards. Fact sheets are very valuable resources to have when you’re in the midst of writing the book. It’s easier when you don’t have to look through pages and pages of prose to find a useful piece of information.

2. Write about your character’s first love. How somebody acts towards somebody they love, or at least claim to love, is usually a pretty good indicator of their personality in general. Focus on how your character feels about this person and how they express their feelings. If they’ve never fallen in love before, write about a very close friend or mentor who they are no longer connected to. By examining how they think about the person they love and how they communicate with that person, you can figure out whether they are trustworthy or not, whether they tend to obsess over people or things, and how they react to loss. Knowing how your character reacts in a number of different situations is vital to making them come to life on the page.

3. Map out your character’s family. Create a family tree for your character. Figure out at least who their parents and siblings are, and whether or not their siblings have children. I prefer to begin with their grandparents. As you’re mapping them out, write down one sentence about each person in the family. When you’ve finished, write a paragraph or two about how they all get along. Take as much or as little time as you need, and write it from anyone’s point of view–a random stranger is fine here, too.

4. Write about the first time your character meets someone–from the other person’s point of view. It’s important to know your characters very well: what they do for entertainment, how they see themselves, and how others see them. Sometimes writing about one of your characters from the point of view of a stranger tells you a lot about that character. It’s good to know how they are when meeting new people and how they come across to others when you’re in the thick of the book. The more you know about how your character interacts with people, the more realistic you can make their interactions throughout the book.

5. Write about what your character does on an ordinary day. Think of this as a Dear Diary post. It’s really up to the character and how they live what is said and how many words it’s said in. If your character lives a boring life or isn’t very wordy, this exercise might only be a couple of sentences. If your character likes to describe things intimately or lives a life of constant adventure, you might write a couple hundred words. Focus on what they do on a normal weekday, whether it be farming, bartending, or running a large corporation. It’s always good to know what your character does when they’re not saving the day in your novel.

I hope these exercises work for you. I’ve done each at least once and I’ve always learned something. Some characters are easier to learn about than others. Just like real people, some of them are shy and others are mean. Some have hard exteriors but are really all gooey on the inside. Some are waiting to kill you in your sleep. Some exercises will work better with one character than with another. Figure out what works for you, and figure out those characters.

If you liked this blog post and you’re looking forward to Nanowrimo too, please sponsor me this Nanowrimo season.

How do you develop character?

10 Things You Should do Today

In case you haven’t noticed,Nanowrimo has refreshed and opened its forums, though the full site isn’t quite ready yet. With this news in mind, I’ve made up a list of ten things you should do today–or at least this week–to prepare for Nanowrimo. After all, you want to make the most of the experience, and have maximum fun time.

1~ Sign up or log into Nanowrimo. Check out all the pretty new participant icons. I swooned so much I had to show my boyfriend. Even he agrees that the participation icons are prettier. Or maybe he just said it to please me; I imagine he really hates Nanowrimo with all the attention he doesn’t get. Anyway. Go update your account information.

2~ Make friends. Go check out the forums belonging to your genre, your age group and your locale. Introduce yourself in a few places. Make conversation. Join conversation. Find out when your local kick off is. Friends are awesome, and there are few places with as many wonderful people as the Nanowrimo forums. Although, we might all be insane. Who knows?

3~ Brainstorm. You might already know the main plot of your story, but either way, it’s still a good idea to brainstorm some more. Don’t be afraid to explore new options in your mind map. If you pull out your binder covered in dust and realize that you don’t want to write quite the same story any more, it’s okay. There’s always time to change your mind. Even when you’re already halfway through. And the more wacky potential ideas you have, the more choices you have when you get stuck.

4~ Write for fifteen minutes. It’s a good idea to get into the habit of writing regularly now to prepare for Nanowrimo. If you want to be a published author, you should probably get into the habit of writing regularly anyway. Fifteen minutes is a small amount of time. You can do anything for fifteen minutes, and most people can find fifteen spare minutes in their day. It’ll get the creative muscles flowing and hopefully give you ideas for the coming month.

5~ Visit with your family and friends. Make a point of doing social calls this month and going to see your family. You’re going to end up spending a lot of next month sitting indoors at a computer, and you should make sure they’re not offended. While you’re there, tell them that you’re participating in Nanowrimo this year. With any luck, they’ll be supportive and encourage you. If they don’t support it, then go ahead and do it anyway to spite them.

6~ Do all your work for any classes you have. If possible, do a bunch of your work early so that you don’t have to worry as much about school when writing comes around. Trust me, it will make your life easier come November first. Besides, being the first person to hand something in once in a while is awesome.

7~ Acquire a notebook. Sometimes these can be found in the depths of your room, or gotten for free in certain places, and of course you can buy one. Pick one that suits you. Carry it everywhere. Make it specifically for details or ideas you can use during Nanowrimo. Carrying a notebook is always a good idea for a writer anyway. Make Nanowrimo your excuse to buy yourself a pretty new notebook.

8~ Try some new writing software. You’ll find that on the forums there are some special offers for Nanowrimo participants. Most of these are demos for writing software still in beta. You don’t have to try one, but you should at least take a look. This year I am going to try an online program called Yarny. I don’t usually try the new softwares, but I think this year it’s time for a change. I’ve been using Open Office for a number of years and I think it’s time to experiment with something new.

9~ Go for a long walk. After all, next month you’re probably going to be inside on a computer most of the time. I don’t know about you, but for me it’ll be cold after that. Nobody spends very much time outside when it’s cold. So make sure to get a good dose of exercise, scenery and fresh air between now and November 1st.

10~ Buy Mr. Noodles. Lots of Mr. Noodles. This will be essential when you’re up at midnight and looking for something quick to eat. It will also be part of your Nanowrimo Suvival Kit, which we’ll talk more about next week.

Remember that Nanowrimo is only 17 days away now. What does that mean? It means that you have both lots of time to get ready and no time at all. Hopefully I’ll be able to make your Nanowrimo experience a bit simpler this year.

What do you usually do to prepare for Nanowrimo?

It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year

Staples Business Depot would like us to believe that August and September make up the most wonderful time of the year. Most people seem to believe that Christmas is the most wonderful time of year.

And then there are a few hundred, maybe even a few thousand strange people that are convinced that October and November, especially November, are the best time of the year.

Why is that? Well, it’s simple. November is National Novel Writing Month. Each year in November, thousands of people gather both on the interwebs and in real life, all with the same goal: to write 50, 000 words or a first draft of a novel. They gather on forums and in chat rooms. There are local Nanowrimo groups in hundreds of cities around the world with varying levels of activity. People come from all walks of life: university students, dentists, scientists, web designers, artists, mathematicians. You name it, we’ve got it.

I participated in Nanowrimo for the first time when I was eleven. It changed my life. I became more confident in my writing. I knew I could write a novel–a big deal for most eleven year old kids–and even better, the community loved the excerpts I brought to the social events. When people ask me how long I’ve been a writer, I tell them that I’ve always wanted to write books for a living, but that I started seriously writing when I was eleven. During Nanowrimo. It changed the way I think about life, about writing.

To make it even better, I made lots of new friends. My mother also participated in Nanowrimo that year, and she took me to a number of the social events and a handful of writing events. I’m blessed to live in Toronto because we have one of the most active local groups–we even have our own website (http://www.torontonano.org/v2/) with our own chatroom. The people I met that year, during my first Nanowrimo, and the people I’ve met every year since are some of the most awesome people I’ve ever met. I love them dearly, and I wouldn’t trade them for the world.

Nanowrimo isn’t for everyone. Published authors all have different opinions on it. Some people enjoy it. Some people don’t. But I think everyone with a serious interest in writing should give it a shot at least once. You might not succeed, but at least you can say you tried. And even if you only write a thousand words, that’s a thousand words you hadn’t written before. It’s an accomplishment. Something to be proud of. Only those of us who hit or surpass 50, 000 words will get winners’ certificates, but one of the most important things to remember about Nanowrimo is that every participant who tries is a winner. It’s all about stepping out of your comfort zone and forcing you to do something potentially life-changing.

This year for Nanowrimo, I’ll be working on a novel currently titled Some Secrets Should Never Be Known. It’s a story about a ward of the Queen who’s actually the rightful heir to the throne but doesn’t know it. With her best friend Logan, she sneaks into a secret room deep in the castle, and she discovers the secret of her lineage. She narrowly escapes execution by the Queen. Somewhere along the way she is separated from Logan, and a bit later she’s found by a couple. The couple belong to a village of outcasts, people banished by the Queen, and the village takes her in. Eventually she becomes a renowned warrior and leader, and she finds Logan in one piece. Together they take back the kingdom that’s rightfully hers.

It’s a project that’s been sitting in my head since sometime last year, when I had a dream about it. It wasn’t a dream about it–the dream was the story. The whole story. In my head. Kind of eerie, but I’ve written up pages and pages of notes about the mythology, the legal system, and the story itself. This is the part where I blush and admit that the legal system is worked out better than the one for Moonshadow, hence the halt in my revision on that book. All in all, I can’t wait to get started on this story.

Over the next few weeks I’ll be putting the finishing touches on my worldbuilding (though I’m sure I’ll need to come back and do a lot more once I’ve written the book) and I’ll be discussing how you should prepare for your own Nanowrimo novel. A couple of the things I’m planning to talk about are character development, basic outlines and of course, your Nanowrimo survival kit. (That’s where you put the chocolate.) And then, in a few short weeks, it’ll be time to start our novels.

What are you writing about this November? Are you actually participating in Nanowrimo?

What to do with Your Dear Diary Project

Now that you’ve finished your Dear Diary Project, there are several things you can do with it. They range from hiding it in a corner in your basement to trying to turn it into something publishable. But before you do anything with the file or manuscript itself, you need to properly extract all the valuable information from it for later use.

Extracting Information for your Dear Diary Project

Now, I don’t know about you, but my character profiles are pretty messy and I usually don’t have much room left on the page by the time I’ve written a Dear Diary Project for that character. So I like to create a fact sheet, which is a simple list of facts about my character. Things like their favourite colour, what kinds of animals they like, and experiences that changed their life that either weren’t important enough to be included in the profile itself or that hadn’t been thought of when you made it.

Reread your Dear Diary Project. Scan it for the things that are most important. Write down all the things you’ve learned about your character over the course of the month.

Once you’ve finished that, take a separate piece of paper and write down any new stories you might have gotten from writing or rereading your Dear Diary Project. Make note of any moments you think it might be important for your character to remember during the main project you’re working on. Pick out ones you might be able to turn into short stories. Write down as much about these ideas as you can, but try not to spend more than fifteen minutes on that.

Now you should be ready to start thinking about what to do with the project itself.

What can I do with my finished product?

There are a few things you can do with your Dear Diary Project. It’s possible that there are a few I haven’t thought of. In fact, writing that sentence I thought of something I’ve never considered before. I’ve created a list of things you should be able to do with your Dear Diary Project. Some are harder than others.

Leave it in a corner in your basement
Or in my case, a corner on my computer. I’ve never done much with my Dear Diary Projects. I’ve posted a few entries on my blog every year, but I’ve never done anything more than take knowledge from my Dear Diary Projects. I’ve thought about doing character blogs and all kinds of exciting things with them. But to be honest, other writing projects and school have always taken priority over transforming my Dear Diary Projects.

You know what? It’s all right if you do the same thing. Having a character’s diary stashed somewhere in your basement or your computer is pretty nifty. The important thing is what you’ve learned from working on your Dear Diary Project. Whatever you do with it, you’ll still have learned something about the process itself–and that was the real goal of this project.

Create a Character Blog
There are these nifty little things called character blogs. I don’t know all the history of them and I can’t tell you who wrote the first one, but I know they’ve existed for a few years now with varying success. Your Dear Diary Project can easily be turned into a character blog. At the very least you’ll want to clean up your grammar and spelling–unless you’re OCD and already have–and make sure that each entry shines, that each one is memorable.

If you want to get serious about character blogging, brainstorm what comes after your Dear Diary Project. Create a proper storyline around the Dear Diary Project. Decide how long–not exactly, but generally–you want to write your character blog for. Then go to great pains to make sure your character’s blog looks good and start putting your work up. You can generate quite a following with a character blog, but it’s a long and painful process. Then again, so is building a following in any kind of writing. If you want to do it enough, you should make it. But if you don’t want it bad enough, it’ll never happen.

Book
There are books made up mostly or sometimes entirely out of diary entries. There are tons of them. Most of them are historical novels set in our world during some particularly interesting part of history. There are also books written entirely in letters, and depending on how you wrote your Dear Diary Projects, transforming them into letters and adding some return mail might not be too hard. You’re going to have to polish the crap out of it though.

I don’t know how much of a market there is for this kind of story in genre fiction. I haven’t read or seen too many fantasy novels in the form of diaries, but I’m sure there is a market available for them. A book like this might do better in the ebook publishing world. It’s easier to find a specific group of readers with the internet and there’s an endless supply of people online. With dedication to your work and lots of revision, I’m sure you’d be able to sell a few copies, maybe a few hundred. With a little bit of luck, you might even be able to sell a few thousand. It might be worth a shot–you just have to decide how important this project is to you.

Screenplay
This is the one I thought of while writing this post. To make it into a script would probably take the most work, because your Dear Diary Project is probably mostly exposition rather than dialogue, and scripts are usually mostly dialogue. There’s more room for exposition in a screenplay than in a stageplay, and you can even take the most important parts and make them into a series of scenes for a screenplay. This is probably the hardest option, but it might just be the most entertaining. I, for one, think my Dear Diary Project would be a better movie than book.

The other thing about turning your Dear Diary Project into a script of either kind is that it’s really hard to start producing a play or movie. You have to do a lot of networking and you have to find funding for it. You have to find people willing to help you out on set, and you need to find actors. There are always lots of people wanting to be actors. It will be hard to turn some of them away, but you’ll only get one for each role. Finding people to help create your set, fund your project and film your movie will be much harder. Maybe even harder than getting a book published.

This is just the beginning of your options. With any luck, you’ll have thought of something I haven’t. Think about your options for a while before you do anything with them. You’ll need to get away from the story for a while before you can edit it anyway. Besides, Nanowrimo’s next month. It’s time to start planning–and I’ll talk to you a bit more about that on Friday.

What are you thinking about doing with your Dear Diary Project?

Changes Here at Dianna’s Writing Den

Autumn is a season of change, when the leaves begin to change colours and then fall off the trees, and the frost comes and kills the plants. It is the transition from summer to winter, and for millions of children and young adults throughout the world, it is back to school season. Each new school year brings with it challenges, some of them old, some of them new. New teachers, new classmates. Old teachers, old classmates. New expectations. Harder classes. For many university students, a new town or sometimes an entirely new country.

September has been a month of adjustments for me. I’m working as a writer for the first time, getting paid to blog about the things I love most: books and writing. I’m in harder classes this year and I’m learning to dedicate more time to my homework. I’m working on Moonshadow’s Guardian, but progress has slowed almost to a stop. There’s a new book itching to get out of me, but I don’t know the main character’s name. There’s a lot more on my plate this year, and it’s both exciting and exhausting.

You might have noticed that I’ve changed the layout here at Dianna’s Writing Den. I’ve gone with cooler colours to reflect the change in the season, and in the general mood. In the summer I was working hard on my writing, but it was light hearted work, easy even when it was hard. School is draining work, taking hours out of my day and leaving me near exhausted when I get home. Still, I make myself read and write and edit. It’s a much more serious tone, and it’s a more strenuous procedure. The time I spend writing is hard to find. The time I spend reading exhausts me.

With all of this in mind, I’ve decided to make changes in more than just the layout of Dianna’s Writing Den. I don’t want to burn myself out, so I’m changing the posting schedule here at Dianna’s Writing Den. Starting next week, I’ll be posting twice every week, on Tuesdays and Thursdays. On the second Saturday of every month I’ll post a prompt for a short story. On the last Saturday of every month I’ll either interview an author or share some recommended reading.

My goal is to ensure the quality of my blog posts. With fewer posts to write each week, I’ll have more time to make each post shine. I want to make sure each post means something to you. And really, it is hard work, especially when you’ve got a big pile of homework sitting there taunting you.

It’s October, so this week I’m going to wrap up the Dear Diary Project and talk a bit about Nanowrimo, which is National Novel Writing Month, for those of you who don’t know. During the rest of the month we’re going to talk about how to prepare for Nanowrimo, and I’m hoping to interview a horror writer at the end of this month. There are a few other changes I’m thinking about making here at Dianna’s Writing Den, but I’m going to let them bubble in the back of my brain for a while before I do anything with them.

And for now? I’ve got a big pile of things to read and homework to do, and not enough caffeine. Not enough hours in a day either.

What do you think of the changes going on here at Dianna’s Writing Den? What changes has autumn brought to your life?