Week Three Spectacular!

Fox Socks Box Knox
Knox in Box
Fox in Socks
Knox on fox in socks in box.

Fox in Socks by Dr. Seuss

My all time favorite Dr. Seuss book is “Fox in Socks.” Crazy full of weirdness and rhyming. ūüėÄ And a perfect book for our Week Three talk.

At Week Three Dr. Seuss had already dealt with Chicks and Bricks and Blocks and Clocks. He’d taken care of The Goo-Goose chewing new blue goo. He had celebrated Ben’s band, Bim’s band, Big bands, Pig bands. Ah, Week Three is of course when Dr. Seuss would have written:

Through three cheese trees three free fleas flew.
While these fleas flew, freezy breeze blew.
Freezy breeze made these three trees freeze.
Freezy trees made these trees’ cheese freeze.
That’s what made these three free fleas sneeze.

And then, because Seuss was now on a tongue twisting roll, he began:

Very well, then, Mr. Knox, sir.
Let’s have a talk about tweetle beetles…

(The best part!)

In all of the month, Week Three is one of the best! You’ve got your characters fleshed out, your plots are moving. In fact sometimes they start moving really fast. It is¬†hard to keep up! Your characters have¬†their own ideas of what is going on and it doesn’t always mesh with what you planned but it doesn’t matter. You’ve gotten into the swing of things and you’re just madly taking dictation. You know you’ll fix it later.

Week Three is a great time to ride that rollercoaster! At each write-in do word wars. Take breaks and refuel. Get as much down as you possibly can while things are moving.

Write like Mad! For soon your story, like Knox, will say:

Fox in socks, our game is done, sir.
Thank you for a lot of fun, sir.

~ Pacifika aka Patti


We Week Two, do you?

“Shuffle, duffle, muzzle, muff. Fista, wista, mista-cuff. We are men of groans and howls, mystic men who eat boiled owls”.

Bartholomew and the Ooblek by Dr. Seuss

So say the king’s magicians of themselves. They create all manner of havoc when the king asks. Why did he ask? ¬†He was bored with the normal. Bored and needing some inspiration, something new. Just like you in Week Two!

What’s Week Two you ask? It is a miserable time of NaNo. Worse than the Editing Doldrums of December. ¬†(I just trademarked that.) ¬†Your characters flee and hide in corners, refusing to talk to you. Your plot points vanish into thin air. And worst of all – you start thinking that mountain of dirty laundry and dust piles and crusty dishes look enticing! What’s a writer to do??

There are a few thing to snap you out of it and break that rubber band of recurring disaster.

  • First¬†– take it to the threads! Everyone suffers this malady at some point in their NaNo career. Reach out and create a thread if there is isn’t one; if there is, read through it for fabulous ideas on how to make your novel behave and get your mojo back.
  • Second¬†– take a break! Give yourself permission to take a day off and do something fun. Go see a movie, read a book, get a massage, go mall walking. ¬†Replenish your flagging energy so it’s raring to go when you sit back down at the keyboard.
  • Third¬†– if you haven’t already, attend a write-in in person. Being there in person is important to your weary writer brain. Enthusiasm is contagious and where better to find it than at a write-in! Join in the word wars even if you are simply typing “I know nothing.” over and over. Getting those fingers moving will eventually wake up your sleepy muse and she’ll look at your repetitive sentence in horror and give you something better to write.

Whatever you choose, remember the lesson from Bartholomew. Be careful what you wish for; you might just get it!

Missed a few of our ML reports? You can catch up on all our Seuss-ish fun on the Spokane Regional NaNo threads:  Here!

NaNo Week One (and counting)

*Cough Cough*¬† Please pardon the dust.¬†We¬†seem to have missed October a bit.¬† There was that one post¬†about Food Prep for NaNo, but we seem to have lost the rest of the month.¬† Sorry about that.¬† Our intentions were good, of course, but the flurry of MLness sort of took over.¬† The good news is we’re back!¬† And mostly on track even.

There is a wonderful thread of Dr Seuss-ness on our NaNoWriMo Regional forum:  How Dr. Seuss Does NaNo.  Being as it is our adopted theme this year, and where we are going to put the many ML communications in lieu of spamming your email inbox, you should check it out!

We have a lot of new faces in the area and first timers as well.¬† Please take a moment to reach out to them. Add them to your buddy list, share your expert advice on How to Survive NaNo¬†or just say, “Hi, how’s¬†your word count?”.¬† They can all be found in our Welcome thread.

Remember Tacoma/Pierce County?¬† We beat them soundly in a one-day word war last year.¬† This year they¬†have challenged us to a¬†month-long¬†word war.¬† Of course we said, “Bring it!”, but then they added about 100 more writers, and Azombieatemyshoelace defected to their region!¬† Not to worry, we acquired several new writers-of-mass-word-count this year and our average per writer is higher.

Lastly, don’t forget we are still taking submissions for the regional anthology, “And Then What Happened? Vol. 2”.¬† You can send us anything written this past year, including poetry and black & white photos or drawings.¬† We’d like to have your submissions before Thanksgiving.

Contact us via Facebook, Twitter, Goggle+, email or¬†comments below.¬† Then get back to writing!¬† Week two is approaching fast! How’s your word count?

NaNo Jargon

*This post was originally a thread in last year’s Spokane Regional forums, created by Samantha Potter, ML.

Like many specialized endeavors, NaNoWriMo has evolved its own specific jargon over the years. A question by one of the attendees of our plot planning session reminded me that like any foreign languages, many of the terms bandied about by NaNoWriMo participants must be learned.

Often those of us who have been around for a while have incorporated many of these NaNo-specific phrases into our personal vocabularies, and we’ve long since forgotten that the general public has no clue what we’re referring to.

… And Then What Happened? Vol. I = an anthology published August, 2012, containing the work of 23 of the more than 630 Spokane-area authors who have participated in NaNoWriMo from 2002 through 2011. Copies of the Anthology may also be purchased directly from the MLs.

Camp NaNoWriMo = an opportunity to write a novel in two separate sessions during the summer months. Camp is also run by the Office of Letters and Light, NaNoWriMo’s parent organization.

Chat Room = an unofficial chat platform where MLs can set up a chat for their region.

Chatzy = The Spokane Region’s Chat Room. This is a password-protected, moderated chat room that requires users to register their email address. The Chatzy Chat Room is open year-round for Spokane-area NaNoWriMo participants.

Donation Day = a single day in November when participants are challenged to meet a fundraising goal. OLL staff members offer to embarrass themselves on YouTube to encourage fundraising efforts.

Donation Station = the place where anyone can donate money to the Office of Letters and Light and/or purchase merchandise related to NaNoWriMo, YWP, Script Frenzy, Camp NaNoWriMo, and the Office of Letters and Light.

Kick-Off Party = a social gathering, usually held just prior to the beginning of November to meet local participants and talk about your novel.

MC = Main Character. Variants: MFC = Main Female Character & MMC = Main Male Character

Meet Up =¬†when Wrimos ‚Äúmeet up‚ÄĚ anywhere. These usually happen in coffee shops, libraries, parks, homes, or cafes. In contrast with a Write-in, a meet-up may not involve actual writing.

Midway party = a non-writing event held about half-way through November. A midway party can be a great stress-reliever and community-builder

ML = Municipal Liaison. One of the officially appointed unpaid volunteers who organize events in a specified region.

ML Appreciation Day = a day during November when participants celebrate all the hard work that MLs put into making NaNoWriMo happen.

Mr. Ian¬†Woon¬†= an ongoing challenge, created by sushimustwrite,¬†whereupon each Nano participant is challenged¬†to include a character by that name in their novel. ¬†¬†Mr. Ian Woon is an anagram of NaNoWriMo. That is, if you rearrange the letters of Mr. Ian Woon you’ll get NaNoWriMo.

NaNo Rebel = any NaNoWriMo participant who writes something besides a new novel in November. NaNo Rebels are largely self-defined.

NaNoMail = the private messaging system through which users can communicate with each other on NaNoWriMo.org. Participants must be logged in to read and send NaNoMail, and must have their mail set to receive private messages in order to receive messages.

NaNoVideo = videos produced each fall by the NaNoWriMo staff and posted on the site, containing advice, encouragement, answers to questions, and amusing miscellany.

Night of Writing Dangerously = a fundraiser and writing marathon that benefits OLL programs. Takes place each November in San Francisco; tickets are limited to the first 250 fundraising Wrimos who collect 250 dollars or more through their fundraising pages for the event.

No Plot? No Problem! = NaNoWriMo founder Chris Baty’s book, published in 2006, that explains NaNoWriMo and offers advice for successful participation.

Novel Validation =¬†the process of confirming that a participant has written at least 50,000 words in November, through the website‚Äôs word-count validation system. Takes place from November 25-30 and can be found under ‚ÄúMy NaNoWriMo‚ÄĚ ‚Äď> ‚ÄúEdit Novel Info‚ÄĚ when a participant is logged in. Participants must validate their novels to receive winner goodies.

OLL = Office of Letters & Light, the parent organization that runs NaNoWriMo, YWP and CampNaNo.

Plot Bunny¬†=¬†a story idea that refuses to go away until it is written. The term’s origin is unknown but is known to predate NaNoWriMo. Because plot bunnies tend to multiply quickly, the term is thought to be related to the oft-quoted John Steinbeck quote about ideas and rabbits.¬†“Ideas are like rabbits. You get a couple and learn how to handle them, and pretty soon you have a dozen.”
The NaNoWriMo forums offer several resources for the care and handling of plot bunnies. Unwanted bunnies can be put up for adoption in the Adoption Society forum. Plot bunnies that the writer wants to write later can be left in the Plot Bunny Day Care Center in the NaNoWriMo Ate My Soul forum, where they can breed with the plot bunnies of other Wrimos and be cared for in the finest fashion.

Plot Ninjas = something that is inserted into the plot when the writer finds him- or herself at a loss for what to do next, or when their characters are bogging down in dull conversation rather than doing anything interesting. The traditional form of the plot ninja is literal ninjas crashing through windows or leaping out of wardrobes and attacking the main characters, turning the dithering over plot into an exciting action scene. When actual ninjas are not appropriate, milieu-appropriate enemies, such as orcs, cyborgs, or gangster can be substituted.
In a more general sense, a plot ninja is any plot element, perhaps randomly generated or taken from other’s suggestions (such as dares), which a writer will toss into the story when things are slowing down.

PM (Private Message) = see NaNoMail.

Regional Lounge = a special forum where members of a region can see a calendar of upcoming events, discuss regional matters, and learn about their region and MLs. This post resides in a thread on the Spokane Regional Lounge.

SpokaNaNo = the Spokane Region of NaNoWriMo, officially incorporated as a non-profit corporation with the Washington Secretary of State, and doing business as the Spokane River Writers.

Spokane River Writers = see SpokaNaNo . The combined force of the Greater Spokane-area NaNoWriMo participants since 2002.

Store = the place where official merchandise related to NaNoWriMo, YWP, Script Frenzy, Camp NaNoWriMo, and the Office of Letters and Light can be purchased.

TGIO Party = the end-of-month celebration for all regional participants, usually held within the first week of December.

Traveling Shovel of Death (TSoD) =  an ongoing challenge to include the shovel by name in your novel, causing havoc and death in some manner and then post appropriate excerpts in your regional forums.

Twitter.com/nanowordsprints = the Twitter feed maintained by NaNoWriMo staff that regularly offers timed word sprints.

Twitter.com/nanowrimo = The official NaNoWrimo Twitter feed with news snippets, responses to Tweeted questions, and year-round encouragement.

Virtual Write-In = most write-ins on the Spokane calendar can be accessed virtually (whenever wi-fi access is available from the event) and at least once a week an entirely virtual event is scheduled, via Chatzy for a text-based chat and using Google+ Hangouts for those Wrimos who have circled the Spokane River Writers Google+ Page.

Winner Certificate = a downloadable certificate available to NaNoWriMo participants who validate their novels. Certificate design changes each year; winners receive a link to a congratulatory page after novel validation.

Word Wars =¬†a common activity in which two or more people or groups compete to see who can write the most words in a given time (most ‚Äúwars‚ÄĚ in the Spokane region range from 15-30 minutes). Word wars are a major tool of Write-ins to ensure productive writing sessions. Word Wars also refer to challenges between regions for either most words written in November, or highest average per-author word count.

Word Sprint (see also: Word Wars) =¬†Writing as much as possible in a given time. Sprinters often compare their word counts and at official Write-Ins, MLs may reward small prizes to the winners. The NaNoWriMo staff maintains a feed at twitter.com/nanowordsprints for frequent online sprinting. In the Spokane Region, word sprints are more commonly referred to as word wars, reserving the ‚Äúsprint‚ÄĚ definition for the NaNoWriMo twitter feed.

Wrimo = a National Novel Writing Month participant.

Write-In = a group writing event, usually held at a library, coffee shop or restaurant, where Wrimos gather to write their novels. Usually aided by copious amounts of caffeine, sticker bribery and word wars (word sprints). May be attended virtually via Chatzy or Google+ hangouts, when held in a location providing wi-fi access.

Year of Big, Fun, Scary Adventures (The Year of Doing Big, Fun, Scary Things Together) = an annual post-November challenge to NaNoWriMo participants, in which participants post their adventurous goals for the year ahead.

Young Writers Program (YWP) = NaNoWriMo for kids and teens in grades K-12. YWP participants can set their own word count goals, interact with each other in monitored, kid-friendly forums, and access a host of resources. Educators can find lesson plans and teacher forums at the YWP site (ywp.nanowrimo.org)

Food, Glorious Food…

“Food, glorious food!
Hot sausage and mustard!
While we’re in the mood —
Cold jelly and custard!”*

pbjWhat do you eat during Nano? Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, or as Dr. Who prefers – fish fingers & custard? Do you make dinners ahead of time, freezing meals for a quick pop in the microwave or reheat in the oven? ¬†Do you tell your family to fend for themselves and rely on what’s in the cupboard for food to keep you going? ¬†Maybe you buy frozen dinners on sale and hoard them for November, filling your freezer with boxes. Whatever you do, now’s the time to give it some thought and perhaps, stock up.

You’ll want to include your favorite writing rewards on that list as well, especially if it is food related. (Mine are dark chocolate covered coffee beans!)

My go to website for fast meals is usually FoodNetwork.com.  I use it for everything from cookies to breads to full dinners.

I prefer dishes I can cook with little fuss and less cleanup. One pot meals are my favorite, but my family¬†prefers to have their peas separate from their potatoes and meat. (Shepard’s Pie anyone?)


On the other hand, they love anything that is easily picked up and¬†taken with – even dinner. I’ve been known to¬†make¬†¬†these easy mini quiches in my muffin tins, eating a few right out of the oven and freezing the rest for late morning rush-out-the-door days. You can¬†omit the crust for a tasty, on the go¬†frittata!

If it’s energy snacks you’re looking for, try Rachael Ray’s¬†Chocolate Chip Banana Bread, or this¬†Homemade Granola. Either recipe lends itself well to additional ingredients.

Whatever you plan on eating, there’s only one month left to get to it!

*Read more lyrics: Oliver РFood, Glorious Food Lyrics | MetroLyrics 

September Writing Challenge

Happy Fall!

It’s my favorite season of the year and we’re celebrating
with a few photos of fall inspiration.  Take your pick!

There’s a cozy tea-pot that is just begging for some attention,
a kitty in Halloween colors year round,
and a spooky morning sunrise with a moon that just won’t go to bed!

teapot autumn

Courtesy of For The Love of Teas, Deer Park, WA


“You want me to do what?”


Early morning

Have a wonderful week of writing. See you next month!

How House-hunting is like NaNoWriMo


Many things are¬†compared to participating in NaNoWriMo, for example – house hunting. Why house-hunting? Because that happens to be what I am doing at the moment. If all goes well, we’ll be moving before NaNoWriMo and settled in time to write with only the usual distractions. ¬†But if not, this may show up in my novel!

How, exactly, are they similar? Read on. For the purposes of simplicity, house-hunting activities will be listed first with the corresponding NaNo activites listed directly below.

1. ¬†You’ve decided to buy a house and you are super excited;
¬† ¬† ¬†You’ve decided to write a novel during NaNoWriMo are are super excited!

2. You talk with the bank about loans, fax off all the documents needed and (Yay!) you have pre-approval;
    You sign up on the site, download your writing program, put all your pencils, notebooks and writing reference books needed (No Plot, No Problem anyone?) in one place.

3. You immediately start looking at available houses in your pre-approval price range;
    November 1 midnight arrives and you furiously begin writing.

4. ¬†After days of exploring houses, you can’t find a house you like in your price range and you feel discouraged;
    Week two finishes up and you realize your novel is pure rubbish and feel the dreaded midway jitters and want to give up.


5.  Your realtor gives you a pep talk and you keep looking through houses, contemplating compromises;
 You reread the pep talks in your e-mail inbox and despite despondancey you plow through the story to Week 4.

6. You find a house that works and make an offer that is accepted!*;
 You realize your story is on the easy, downhill side and race to the finish!

7.  Closing day arrives, you sign the final set of papers and your realtor gives you the house key!
¬† ¬† ¬†You write “The End” and validate your story to Win! Time to party!

*or alternately, start over at #6 & redo.

house keys

Of course there are details not mentioned, such as the house inspection, appraisal & waiting until the closing date (creating characters, filling plot holes and making it all fit). But those are minor things.  The important part is you have a house (or Novel)!