Jan Kozlowski is a freelance writer and web consultant, who lives in Connecticut with her husband of 24 years, a neurotic German shepherd mix named Louie, and 8 rescue cats. She chatted to me about her new book, why e-books are the new pulp fiction, and why you should write what you love.
Steve Augarde is an author, illustrator and paper engineer who has written four novels for older kids and over 70 picture books for younger ones. He also provided the artwork and music for Bump the Elephant, a cartoon you may remember if you were a small person or parent in the early 1990s. I spoke to him about designing pop up books, 30 years of writing for children, and the possibility he may be responsible for electronic birthday cards…
In November 2010 I completed National Novel Writing Month, a challenge where you have to write 50,000 words of a novel before midnight on November 30th. From this adventure, an idea was born.
The received wisdom is that once the first draft of a novel is written, you’re supposed to leave it alone for at least three months before returning to edit – preferably longer. Coming back to it with fresh eyes means you’re more likely to be ruthless about cutting stuff that doesn’t work. But what do you do in the meantime? For me, the answer was write more. Essentially, NaNoWriMo created a monster.
In 2011, I set out to write the first draft of a novel every month of the year. I gave each month a genre, and off I went. It was hard going, and I only reached the hallowed 50, 000 words twice throughout the year. But I don’t regard that as total failure, more as a lesson in what is physically possible.
Whenever I was tempted to beat myself up about it, I went back to the fact I was working four days a week as an office temp throughout the year, as well as producing monthly columns for The Broughton Spurtle and Ten Tracks, and other articles for Mslexia Magazine, IdeasTap, The Guardian and STV as I went along. I may not have produced 50k fiction every month, but I think I probably did reach 50k across all my writing. I blogged about this in June to serve as a constant reminder.
But what was the final word count? Drumroll, please….
NaNoWriMo has begun and might look like a daunting task at present, so today I have a guest post to motivate you into thinking about what you might do after the 30 days are up. Scottish writer Lynsey May is in charge of Marketing and Events at the Edinburgh Review, and she’s also a freelance copywriter. Here she gives her tips on how to start out digitally.
On several occasions in recent memory, I’ve watched with mild irritation while people risk life and limb by walking up the road with their nose in a book.
Ordinarily I’m pro reading in public places. It’s pretty hot, particularly if you’re reading something awesome. Well done those people – I’m sure you know who you are. You’ve got moxie.
However, if you’re walking down Leith Street between 8.30 and 9am (Sheila O’Flanagan reader) or up Broughton Road just after 5pm (Terry Pratchett and Terry Goodkind man) that is a time for LOOKING WHERE YOU ARE GOING. It is BUSY; there are lots of commuters and school children and occasional cyclists or dogs or buggies to negotiate. The fact you can read does not mean they ought to change their path to get around your meandering gait – stop being so bloody rude.
I can now confirm that this ain’t no word of a lie – look how unnecessarily enormous you can make the text if you so desire! Surely nobody is this blind and still attempting to read traditional print? If you are that person, now is the time to switch to audio books. Seriously.
There are a number of different size settings, and you can also change the line spacing (perhaps you want to be reminded of a dissertation you once wrote that was all double spaced, whatever floats your boat) and alter the typeface if it makes you happy. The whole thing is designed to be nice to read off, and it genuinely is, although there are one or two things that niggle after a lifetime of reading pages with text on both sides, to wit: