NaNoWriMo and Beyond

Yesterday, I woke up with 6,500 words left on my NaNoWriMo target. Somehow, I stumbled across the finish line, completing 50,000 words of my latest November novel. Congratulations to all my fellow wrimos and thank you to everyone who cheered me along the way. Suffice to say, I don't have a lot of energy left for updating my blog after running that marathon. Thankfully, I sorta planned ahead and wrote some other things that were kindly hosted and highlighted by my fellows in the writing community. Over at Bang2Write, I wrote about 5 Ways to Keep Writing After NaNoWriMo, because real authors don't get to retire in December. Writing is not always writing. Sometimes, writing is thinking about writing, preparing for writing, or deleting writing. Confused yet? Writing a novel is a process far beyond just putting words on a page. It is certainly more than typing each individual letter. Hopefully, before NaNoWriMo, you put together at least a rudimentary plot and some characters...
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INTERVIEW: Lucy V Hay on The Decision: Lizzie’s Story

Lucy V Hay talks teen pregnancy, stigma and transmedia Lucy V Hay (aka the infamous script guru Bang2write) took time out of her busy schedule to share some insight into writing her new book THE DECISION: LIZZIE'S STORY, the story of a pregnant teen's many possible futures. What inspired you to write THE DECISION: LIZZIE'S STORY? Personal experience and frustration. I always wanted to write something about being a teen Mum, because I would look around and see no one like me on television, or movies. It's one area of characterisation where there is very little variety beyond two dimensional stereotypes. Always, teen Mums are depicted as mouthy, ill-educated, scroungers - getting pregnant for benefits, or because they're too "stupid" to use contraception. If we're clever, we're usually trying to trap a (usually much older) man, who can't resist the little Lolita. I made many attempts to write something different before THE DECISION: LIZZIE'S STORY - it was my agent, Julian Friedmann who...
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GUEST POST: Second Thoughts: Writing The Next Novel In A Series by Lucy V Hay

I am delighted to welcome Lucy to Swords and Lattes for our first guest post. Her screenwriting advice is always practical and rooted in years of industry experience. Recently, she has turned her talent to novelling and, while in the grips of my sequel writing, I thought it would be great to explore another writer's point of view on wrestling with the agony of writing The Next Book. Without further ado: If you’ve ever written a novel, you’ll know it’s a painfully frustrating, isolating and generally miserable experience. It’s also like winning the lottery and all your millions are delivered in molten chocolate (or whatever is *your* fave, all the choc’s mineallminegetyerhandsoff). It’s a weird thing, novel writing. You spend all your time wading through soul treacle, desperate to write THE END … And then you DO and you feel like your child has left home – those painstaking, slo-mo years rushed by so fast! – and then you burst into tears. So, really:...
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The Writer on Holiday

If, like me, a week away from your laptop and constant access to Twitter fills you with dread, here are some tips to appease your creative sensibilities while still getting some much-needed downtime. 1) Scribble on paper and then lock your notes in the safe A paper note can be a refreshing way to examine your ideas and help you make connections you might not have otherwise grasped. As for the safe, this is not because some would-be plagiarist might steal them (see Lucy V's post here), but because the maid might be disturbed by the carefully planned murder laid out on hotel stationery. 2) Mobile apps are your friend I drafted this post in the bar with a cocktail. Evernote, Celtx, Dropbox - make sure they're synced and ready to go. Also, take advantage of any hotel wifi for a quick glance at email (though I dutifully set my auto-responder) - it's particularly good if there's a time limit to the thing, for those...
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Pitching with Brits

Ahead of the LCWF, I asked Twitter for advice about pitching. Firstly, Lucy Vee has a post with 5 Pitching Tips. Then, we have advice from the wondiferous Phill Barron: Keep a check on your breathing; if it's too fast you're panicking. Force yourself to breathe slower and you'll calm down. Same goes for posture, if you're tense, your shoulders rise. Keep them low and relaxed - it'll help you relax. Eye contact, but not too much. Smile, but not too much. Rehearse, but leave enough space for improv if the mood strikes. Start with basic info, like lead paragraph in a newspaper. Genre, who, where, what ... etc. As interesting as possible. If it's a single, cover ALL the beats. If it's a series, try to make the possibilities seem endless. Most important: believe your story's awesome, only you can tell it and they HAVE to make it Excitement generates excitement Lead character and plot should be as intertwined as possible: it's a story about someone who must...
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