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Guest Post & Giveaway: Why I'm Doing NaNoWriMo with Victoria Hanley

Thursday, November 17, 2011
Seize the Story by Victoria Hanley
Website | Blog

Do you wish you had a published writer's secrets at your fingertips, ready to help you achieve your goals of publication, success, and the chance to be the next great teen writer? In Seize the Story: A Handbook for Teens Who Like to Write, Victoria Hanley, award-winning author of young adult fiction, spills the secrets for bringing action, adventure, humor, and drama to stories. All of the elements of fiction, from creating believable dialogue to exciting plots, are laid out clearly and illustrated with examples taken straight from story excerpts by excellent writers. The book is packed with writing exercises designed to encourage teens to tell the stories that are theirs alone.

In addition, other published authors of young adult literature share their insights about the writing life. Teens can gain firsthand advice from accomplished writers T. A. Barron, Joan Bauer, Hilari Bell, Chris Crutcher, David Lubar, Lauren Myracle, Todd Mitchell, Nancy Garden, and many more.

Why I’m doing NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month)
by Victoria Hanley

Every November, National Novel Writing Month launches, and the goal is to write 50,000 words of a novel in 30 days.

I’d been hearing about NaNo (affectionate nickname) for a while, and this year I signed up. It’s easy. You just go to

Why do this?

Well, because I detest writing first drafts. Really. I hate them with a mad fiery passion. And I’m not alone. Many authors admit that they find writing first drafts a detestable monstrous task. (Okay, some say they love it, and to those who do, fine, whatever, I know you probably hate revising, which I happen to love.)

So what do we do when confronted with a detestable monstrous task?

Avoid it! We search out a hundred excuses. It’s time to cook dinner. That closet needs cleaning. What an interesting piece of junk mail! And what about all those books I’ve been dying to read?

NaNo to the rescue.

Somehow, knowing that thousands of other writers out there are taking on the dreaded first draft; that they too are struggling through 1667 words a day; that they too are snarling at their keyboards as they type—well, it makes it a little easier for me.

NaNo is a giant free-write. The goal is not to have a polished manuscript at the end of 30 days. The goal is to have 50,000 words of a first draft.

The important thing is to get something, anything, to work with.

So I’m almost halfway. And I’ve kept up with my word count. I’ve cheered other writers on, and relied on others to cheer me on. We will keep going and finish out those 50,000 words.

And I plan to be a WriMo next year too. Hope to see you there!


  1. This is my third year doing NaNo :) I'm a bit behind but hopefully I can catch up during Thanksgiving break. Great post!

  2. Hi Victoria!

    I do it for the same reason... I hate first drafts, but I know that once it's out of the way the real fun... shaping the story and fleshing out all the lovely details and idiosyncrasies of my characters, comes next.

    Keep writing! I'll see you at the finish line for lattes :)

  3. This is my first year doing NaNo. I started about a week in, and I'm at about 37k. So that's 13k to write in 4 days. Weeeee. I wish I had started one day 1. I would have been done by now =(


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