Chris Baty's Blog

March 19, 2018


We’re gearing up for Camp NaNo, so we’ve asked some of our community members to share what they love about Camp! Today, writer Athena Franco tells us what makes Camp great, and why she might love it even more than NaNo:

It’s a bold statement, but it’s true. There’s nothing like the experience of NaNoWriMo—the rush, the thrills; the howls of frustration and the tears of joy. Why, then, do I find myself so elated when Camp rolls around? Isn’t it just more of the same? It doesn’t have to be, and therein lies the beauty!

Here are three reasons I love Camp…maybe even more than I love NaNoWriMo.

1. Exploration

What projects have you always wanted to explore? What ideas lurk in the corners of your mind? What deep wellsprings of creativity have you left uncharted? What’s that collection of lyrics singing in your soul, the spark of a script keeping you awake at night? 

For Camp, I’ll be deep diving the murky waters of revisions—a stage of the writing process I enjoy yet never seem to have time for. Well, here’s my chance! Perhaps you’ve always wanted to try a complex outlining system or you have a blank sketchbook just begging to be turned into a graphic novel. Maybe you’re a steadfast outliner who secretly harbors a desire to pants your way through an entire novel. Now’s the time to finally feed your creative cravings.

2. Flexibility

Like a great video game, Camp allows you to set your own level of difficulty in the form of a custom goal. The keyword here is customization, not comparison. It’s all about crafting at your own pace. Keep it slow and steady, picking your way along unstable ground, or plunge recklessly headlong into the dark woods. 

For example, I struggle with word counts; so, in April, I’ll be tallying my victories in minutes and using a nifty little timer to help me keep track. This is a great time to add a writing achievement to your scorecard, no matter how big or small. You choose the goal, so take advantage of that and set yourself up for success!

3. Good Vibes

From constructing blanket forts to debating the best degree of toasted marshmallow doneness, at Camp, things are just way more chill. I can easily keep up with the forums and find it easier to strike up conversations with a cabin mate. There’s way less FOMO, and I don’t feel guilty about updating my achievements at the end of the day as opposed to every ten seconds. 

Instead, I can relax and just enjoy the process. Real camping is about escaping the everyday—your classes, work, and laundry will all be waiting for you when you get back, so for now, sip some lemonade, stretch out on the grass, and let your muse frolic with abandon.

As a bonus, maybe you never went to “real” camp—just band camp, where you got a weird sock tan and attacked by swarms of dragonflies. (Speaking from personal experience here!) Anyway, this may be as close to real camping as you’ll get, so go all out!

If, like me, you want to set your own pace and experiment creatively, Camp is the place for you! If NaNoWriMo is the stormy sea, then make Camp your quiet creek of scripts or your raging river of revisions. It can be an avalanche of short stories or a gentle rhythm of poetry rain.

Shape your path and rest assured, you’re not alone. It’s a wide wilderness, but we’re all wandering it together.


Athena Franco is a writer and professional daydreamer obsessed with all things creativity. With a bachelor’s in psychology, a master’s in public health, and an eclectic career history, she spends her free time playing video games, lurking at the library, and watching her houseplants slowly die. She currently resides in Virginia with her Navy sailor husband and a growing stash of pens that don’t work. Find her on Youtube, Instagram, and Twitter.

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Published on March 19, 2018 12:32

March 16, 2018


We’re gearing up for Camp NaNo, so we’re asking the community to share their Camp experiences and tips. Today, writer and editor Katta Hules shares a few books that have helped her become a better writer:

I’m a lifelong bookworm. Whenever I start a new project, or just need a boost in writing an old one, I always like having a reliable selection of books to turn to. Camp NaNo is no different. Some books are specialized for certain types of storytelling, but can be applied across mediums. Here are some books that have helped me in my writing journey so far, and will hopefully help you!


These books are helpful for prewriting and outlining for plotters; or, if you’re a pantser, for internalizing a basic story structure.

Save The Cat! The Last Book on Screenwriting You’ll Ever Need  by Blake Snyder: A classic for breaking down plot structure and story beats. It tends strongly towards a commercial bent, but Snyder’s concepts are clear and solid.

Backwards and Forwards: A Technical Manual for Reading Plays by David Allen Ball: A short handbook that gives the reader a clear understanding of what drives the plot, how to convey it successfully, and gives examples to illustrate each idea concretely.

Tips & Tricks

I love a good tips and tricks guide! These two are fun, informative, and can be dipped in and out of for inspiration.

The Kick-Ass Writer: 1001 Ways to Write Great Fiction, Get Published, and Earn Your Audience by Chuck Wendig: Wendig doesn’t pull his punches or censor his language. Among the many, many tips in this book, you’ll find really creative swearing, odd and somewhat gross imagery, and funny but sound advice.

Steal Like An Artist: 10 Things Nobody Told You About Being Creative by Austin Kleon: This fantastic illustrated book on creativity is one of my favorite books of all time. It’s full of quotes, advice and common sense ideas that blew my teenage mind when I first picked it up. I recommend it to all my creative friends, and by that I mean I press it into their hands whether they want it or not.


We all get blocked sometimes and it sucks. Here are a couple books I like to dip into when the going gets rough.

Chicken Soup for the Writer’s Soul: Stories to Open the Heart and Rekindle the Spirit of Writers by Bud Gardner, Jack Canfield, and Mark Victor Hansen: A collection of essays from writers about all stages of the writer’s life. The essays are short but comforting all the same.

Quotes for Nasty Women: Empowering Wisdom from Women Who Break the Rules Ed. by Linda Picone: The quotes in this book make me happy both as a woman and as a creative person. Every page has an empowering quote from a woman who went out and did something amazing, even though it was hard. An especially good read for Women’s History Month!

Staying in the Habit

These are great for keeping up your word count during Camp and keeping your momentum going afterward — remember, the end of April doesn’t mean the end of your project!

Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World by Cal Newport: One of the best ‘work smarter, not harder’ books I’ve read lately. Newport emphasizes focused sessions set aside for work, which allow you to enjoy the rest of your day. He makes good points about connectivity and productivity, but his methods may not be for everyone.

On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft by Stephen King: King’s memoir is a classic for a good reason. It’s a well-written, compelling page-turner full of tough love advice and a glimpse into the life of one of the most successful writers out there. 

There are many more wonderful craft books out there. I hope this list helps you find books that inspire and help you along your writing path!


Katta Hules is a writer and an editor at TUBE. Magazine and author of The Bookworm Is In newsletter. Her fiction has appeared in several publications including Fantasia Divinity, Visual Verse, 200 CCs, and the Realities Perceived anthology from Left Hand Publishers. She has also written several Twitter-based serials for the new story app Everyst. She can be found lurking around Twitter, Facebook, and her website.

Top image licensed under Creative Commons from Nathan O’Nions on Flickr.

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Published on March 16, 2018 11:14

March 14, 2018


We’re gearing up for Camp NaNo, so we’ve asked the community for their best advice for new and returning Campers. Today, writer Sarayu Adeni shares three distracting writing “mosquitoes” and how to defeat them:

I confess, the title is a bit deceptive. You can’t actually stop distractions from draining your time and motivation from you while you’re writing. Like writing mosquitoes, they’re aggressive little beasts. 

Meet the three distraction “mosquitoes” whining around my (and possibly your) ears at Camp NaNo this year:

1. Work

That is to say, actual work, or grad school work, or undergrad school work, or homework. I’ve lived, studied, and worked on three different continents during past Camp NaNos, and despite valiant efforts, I’ve sometimes rejected my super-novel’s attempts to fly and gone back to my meek alter-ego’s everyday grind. This year, I’m balancing Camp NaNo with a job hunt—so this mosquito bites hard. The resume polishing, cover letter creation, networking, interviewing, etc. are top priority!

2. Love and/or Heartbreak

You may be in that fresh, sparkly initial stage of any new relationship, or—like me—you’re pushing heavily past a recent disappointment and moving on. These are raw, common experiences. But I find when I’m trying to write, they like to buzz in my head with daydreamy replays and alternate endings as if it’s never happened to anyone before. Which of course, as far as word count goes, is completely unproductive. Swat that mosquito!

3. Living Space 

I recently moved into what Virginia Woolf referred to as “a room of one’s own,” which means I have space and solitude and every reason to hit my Camp NaNo goal this time…right? 

…Except I have to take out the trash tomorrow, don’t forget! And that’s the third lightbulb that’s gone out this month—better get that checked. It’s almost seven p.m., go feed the dog! When was the last time I watered that potted succulent? …I think it’s time to break out the vacuum cleaner. 

How to deal with these distractions:

There’s no amount of bug spray that will get rid of these distractions for good when I’m trying to write. So here’s my approach at Camp NaNo this year: instead of trying to oust the mosquitoes from my tent, I’ll invite them in.

I’m resurrecting a long-unfinished NaNoWriMo novel that I’ve been working on in Camp NaNo the past two years. By looking around my own house (distraction #3), I can add richer descriptions of surroundings and what tasks my characters are doing or need to do. 

Maybe some of them are better than I am at balancing it all. In fact, do all my characters have stable jobs? If not, why not? Maybe I should see how they hold up in an interview. And maybe my own areas of expertise in international development, youth empowerment, and journalism can add something legitimate and complex to my made-up plot. In other words, make use of your own distractions to push your writing ahead.

As for the ups and downs of relationships, I don’t want to inflict heart-suffering on my characters—but I do want them to learn the same lessons I did, or at the very least teach me something. Maybe as I journey forward, they can keep me company. A long tirade from a jilted lover is good for word count, anyway.

Your whining mosquitoes—your distractions—at Camp NaNo this year might be the same as mine. Maybe they’re different. But don’t give up and let them consume you alive, or waste time trying to slap them away. Find a way to work them all in to the novel, poem, play, script, whatever. This year, turn whining into writing.


Sarayu Adeni lives in Austin, Texas, but in different eras of life, she’s called Chicago, Valparaíso, Kumasi, Playa Najayo, and New York City home. Amid her travels, she has participated in Camp NaNoWrimo since April 2013, ScriptFrenzy once, and NaNoWrimo for over eleven years. When not facing down the ol’ writer’s block, she works in the nonprofit sector, studies classical Indian dance, and holds the world record for slowest eater. Visit her on LinkedIn or on her website.

Top image modified from an image licensed under Creative Commons from frankieleon on Flickr.

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Published on March 14, 2018 11:10

March 12, 2018

NaNoWriMo’s Young Writers Program: image

Enter the Camp NaNoWriMo Young Writers Program contest for a chance to win some prizes and get your writing published on the NaNoWriMo blog! (Open to YWP participants age 17 and younger. Click on the link for more details!)

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Published on March 12, 2018 16:34

March 9, 2018


We’re gearing up for Camp NaNo, and whether you’re a first time NaNo writer, or if you’ve published before now, you’re sure to know that there’s a lot of work involved in writing a book and making it feel authentic. Today, writer and Wrimo Jav Bond shares their tips for making your writing authentic:

The process of making a good novel great involves more than cleaning up small errors; it can mean taking on an intense process of starting from the ground up (sort of). So it’s important to remember throughout the entire process that authenticity is key. 

Here are some key lessons I’ve learned from writing, editing, and preparing to publish my NaNo novel:

1. Revisit and rethink your novel.

You probably already know what I’m about to say: when you’re planning to publish, you can’t just send in your draft as-is; you need to revisit and rethink your story with a fresh perspective.

The editing process isn’t just a grammar check; it’s a crash course in managing how your story flows—from the plot and characters to the style, you’ll have to grow in your overall understanding of the story.

2. Fix plot holes.

In the course of editing four stories, I’ve found that flow is paramount. For example, you need to check for any plot holes. There might be a specific place a character visited that, later in the story, is said to be somewhere else. Someone may reference something that never happened, or call a character by the wrong name.  

These things we call “plot holes” can be used to great effect—for instance, in a story about memory loss—but every story needs consistency. And that starts with you, going over your story with a fine-tooth comb. If your story goes to print, and it’s full of plot holes, your readers won’t understand where your characters are, or even what happened two pages ago. Your story might be powered by magic, but your readers’ logical acuity surely won’t.

3. Know where you are…

When it comes to helping your readers follow the story without getting lost, you may find it helpful to describe the geography of your setting. That way, you have a location which you automatically connect with—that is, put a name to a place. I forget the geography sometimes, but it helps to draw a plan, map, or some specific locations in whatever place you choose. 

You can also make an attachment or enter some geographical information as a footnote, so it looks like a real location. Both you and your readers may also enjoy some historical information on the people or places you’ve created. This can also come in the form of pictures, maps, and textual information. Remember: dimension is key!

4. …And know who your characters are.

The same applies to your characters—their personalities, looks, hobbies, routines, and more. For instance, if I have a character named Will, it’s important that he has things he enjoys. What does he do in the rest of his life outside of the story? What does a typical day in Will’s life entail? How does he style his hair?

Details like these will help hook your readers, especially in the first few chapters. Once they’re drawn in, you can really accelerate your story’s action—so much so that you readers are shocked, but excited to go on.

5. Get feedback.

It’s also essential that you get outside feedback. It’s hard to make a story feel authentic without people to verify that it is authentic. That means socializing with other writers, making friends, comparing your styles, and—most importantly—reading other works! So, be it through casual friends or professional beta readers, you should always try to get some critical feedback on your work. That way, you can pinpoint what needs improving, and really make your story sing!

Jav Bond is an author, blogger, YouTuber, Plotagon plotter, occasional singer, and reader of romance, suspense, and classics. Jav has written ILE, Dangerous, Lost Innocence, and Royally Murdered (Book One in the Stronglaw series).

Top image licensed under Creative Commons from Jessica Paterson ( on Flickr.

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Published on March 09, 2018 14:25

March 7, 2018


Camp NaNoWriMo is just around the corner! If you’re a first-time camper, welcome! If you’re a returning camper, welcome back! Everyone needs a clear set of writing goals in order to succeed; today, writer Marissa O’Leary shares a SMART tool for making your Camp adventure great:

Camp NaNo is all about choices: Will you participate in April or July (or both)? Will your goal be in pages or hours? Poetry or novel? Cabin or solo? It can be so hard to decide! 

One thing I love about Camp NaNo is how much freedom you’ve got. All the power is in your hands: you decide what your project will be and what your writing target is for it. This can be both awesome and overwhelming. As you spend this month thinking about what you will write, consider some other aspects: how much writing you’re going to challenge yourself to do and why you’ll definitely be able to achieve this amazing feat.

An effective tool for focusing your writing goal is by creating “SMART” goals. “SMART” is an acronym that you may have heard of in school or in a work training program. Applying it to something you’re passionate about (like your writing, for instance) helps you learn this useful technique in a fun and memorable way. Here’s what “SMART” stands for and how you can apply each step to your writing:


First, your goal needs to be Specific. Luckily, the Camp Nano program makes this really easy for you. You know specifically what you want to do. You’re going to write a novel. Or a comic book. Or a collection of short stories! Even if you don’t exactly know all the details of who your characters will be, what they’re going to do, or what their conflicts are going to be, the fact that you are going to commit yourself to sitting down at your notebook, typewriter, voice recorder, or computer to craft a story is specific enough.


Next, your goal needs to be Measurable. How much are you going to write? Are you going to spend two hours a day? Or write forty-thousand words? You can choose your target and adjust it as necessary. Then, you can chart your progress. I’m super competitive so there’s nothing I love more than seeing the little bars on my graph exceed that diagonal line!


Is it Achievable? Of course it is! However, if you’re starting to doubt yourself or need a little bit of emotional support, you can join a cabin of writers to chat with. I’ve really enjoyed my experiences with my cabin because I moved to a new country and didn’t always have many people to talk to. My cabin-mates were a virtual support group both for my move and for my writing.


Fourth, your goal needs to be Relevant. You may wonder how writing a fantasy romance story between a rich baroness and a poor peasant farmer relates at all to your life in the real world. This is the time to remind yourself that pursuing your passion is always worthwhile and relevant to your life. Use this month to take an hour or so out of each day to craft your own mythical realm, torture an evil dictator (that may or may not resemble your boss at work), or help your hero to hatch a brilliantly executed heist.


Last, it needs to be timely—in other words, you need to follow your schedule. If you’re doing Camp in April you’ve got thirty days; in July, thirty-one. Having a time frame keeps you accountable to your deadlines and acts as a great finish line for you to victoriously pursue.

Put all together, you’re able to commit to the goal of writing that perfect project. You believe you can do it, you believe you should do it, and you’ve got a month to prove it! Good luck!


Marissa O’Leary is an aspiring writer from Florida. Her favorite color is purple; her favorite book is Slaughterhouse Five, and her favorite sport is soccer. When she’s procrastinating from writing she likes to knit while watching Netflix or listening to podcasts. She studied Chinese in college and has been living in Hong Kong for the past two years with her husband and her cat, Yuki, who you can follow on Instagram at @yuki_the_goblin. 

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Published on March 07, 2018 11:50

March 5, 2018


Camp NaNoWriMo season is upon us! As we gear up for another great season of camping, we’re asking the NaNo community about their best tips for a great month of writing. Today, writer Christina Bagni shares the six things you can’t do without in a month of Camp NaNo:

Hikers and writers have a lot in common. Some hikers can wake up on a Tuesday and decide to climb a mountain on the way home from work. Other hikers plan their excursions to a T, homemade trail mix included. However they prepare, all hikers have the same goal: to climb that mountain!

I like to be prepared when I hike; the same is true when I write. To help new campers out, I’ve compiled my packing list for the upcoming Camp NaNo adventure. You might pack your bag a little differently, but this is a great place to start:

#1: Fire Starter

Every hiker knows the importance of a lighter or some flint and steel. For a writer, your fire starter is your pen or your laptop. It might take a while to get your tinder blazing, but just keep working—eventually a spark of inspiration will catch!

#2: Sleeping Bag

Camp NaNo supplies cabins for you, but you’re responsible for your own sleeping bag: i.e., a comfy place to write. It might be your desk, or a library, or your porch. For me, my “sleeping bag” is my bed. That’s the difference between writers and hikers—writers can write in their pajamas.

#3: Emergency Supplies 

When it comes to emergencies, hikers prepare in case they lose the trail—so they pack a poncho, first aid kit, and a flashlight. Writers prepare in case they lose their inspiration. In your writer’s backpack, bring a handful of writing prompts and NaNo pep talks. They might be just what you need to get back on track.

#4: Snacks

This is where hikers and writers are most alike. A bit of brain food (or a thermos of coffee) can do wonders for your will power. To really get in the spirit of things, you could even make your own trail mix. I like mine with double the recommended chocolate.

#5: Map & Compass

Some hikers don’t need a map, but I always like to know I’m where I’m supposed to be. For Camp NaNo, I usually outline my entire project before I begin, so I know every twist and turn I have to take to reach that summit. Some people are planners, others pantsers—and still others “plantsers.” Which one are you?

#6: A Camp Buddy

Okay, so you won’t actually carry your buddy in your backpack, but they’re still good to have with you. Buddies are great for motivation, or to bounce ideas off of—plus, nothing’s better than seeing each other succeed. Don’t have a buddy? That’s what cabins are for!

Whether your camp backpack is full to bursting or you forgo the bag altogether, happy hiking—and I’ll meet you at the top!


A BFA graduate of Emerson College, Christina Bagni has been writing novels since she was 12. She is currently editing her last NaNo-winning novel, while teaching ski lessons in the mountains of Vermont. Christina’s creative work has been published in Asterism, The Underground Literary Magazine, and Reading A Bit Magazine. Nonfiction work can be found in The Boston Globe and Emerson’s Pub Club Blog. Visit her online at and on Twitter @ChristinaBagni .

Top image licensed under Creative Commons from Kooikkari on Flickr.

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Published on March 05, 2018 12:11

March 2, 2018


Camp NaNoWriMo is just around the corner! If you’re a first-time camper, welcome! You might be wondering what you should do during Camp Nano to produce a great, publish-ready book! Today, writer Christoffer Petersen shares his tips for making your own luck during Camp NaNo:

It’s never too early to go camping. 

My Camp NaNo stats include two published novels, which are currently climbing the mystery thriller charts on Amazon. They have built the foundation of my writing career. Here’s how I used Camp NaNoWriMo to get my camp drafts published:

Tip #1: Make the most of the Public Cabin.

Public cabins are great, and I have enjoyed supporting other campers and being supported while writing in April and July each year. It doesn’t take more than a few lines in the chat to give or ask for help. If you’re new to Camp then be sure to introduce yourself and regularly check in for updates. It’s this part of camp life that keeps you going, and gets those words on the page.

Tip #2: Create a Private Cabin.

Make a note of the other campers you shared a cabin with, especially the ones who contributed to your word count with motivating comments—perhaps even a pep talk in between. Then, when the next camp comes around, be bold! Create a Private Cabin and invite the same campers, or ask to be invited. It’s important to build on that first camp session, and to establish a positive writing environment.

Tip #3: Set your own goals.

Camp NaNo is great because you can set your own goals. Be sure to do that, even if you are editing a manuscript you wrote during Nanowrimo in November. I’ve done this several times, and left Camp with a finished first draft ready for others to read and edit.

Tip #4: Get more eyes on your work.

Now that your draft is finished, it’s important to get more eyes on it, and even better to have an editor go through your work. You can pay for the services of an editor, but if you’re lucky, you’ll know an editor that you trust. There are other ways to catch classic and repetitive mistakes by using some of the brilliant editing software programmes available. However, it’s still important to have humans read and edit your story. And, no, your mum is not your best friend when it comes to editing—if possible, try to recruit readers who will be honest, but constructive.

Tip #5: Set deadlines and stick to them.

Deadlines are really important if you want to get your work published. Without them, you can continue working on the same project for the rest of your life. Deadlines create a sense of urgency, and a sense of importance. You should take pride in your work, and be proud of the effort required to write your story. Setting a deadline for publication will ensure that your project has a finish line, and people have the chance to read your story.

Tip #6: Trust your readers and self publish.

I’m just going to say it: self publish. If you have written a bestseller, your readers—who are your best critics—will let you know. If you haven’t, they will let you know. The days of traditional publishing as the only way to be recognized as an author are gone. You can choose that route, and you might be lucky, or you can self publish and make your own luck

Don’t settle for second best or a half-edited draft. Do your best work, and give it your best shot, and then do it all over again.

Tip #7: Go camping again.

It doesn’t matter if you choose to go back to Camp in July, or wait until November—the important thing is to keep writing. If you listen to the feedback from campers and editors, if you read lots of books, if you make mistakes and learn from them, you will be a writer.

Keep writing. I did.


Christoffer Petersen lives in Denmark and writes crime thrillers set in Greenland. His stories are inspired by the seven years he spent in Greenland, and his travels in the Arctic. Christoffer has a Master of Arts in Professional Writing. He has also seen far too many Jason Bourne films, but just can’t seem to get enough. Visit his website at

Top image licensed under Creative Commons from amanda on Flickr.

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Published on March 02, 2018 10:00

February 28, 2018


The month of March is almost upon us, which means that Camp NaNoWriMo will be here soon! 

If you’ve never participated in Camp before, it’s an online writing retreat that we run every April and July. It’s kind of like November’s rebellious little sister: you can set your own goal, work on any kind of writing project (it doesn’t have to be a novel), and join a cabin to chat and write with other Wrimos.

This March, we’d like to get the awesome NaNoWriMo community excited about Camp by taking part in a month-long Instagram challenge hosted by us. All you need to join in is an Instagram account. 

Follow @NaNoWriMo on Instagram
They say a picture is worth a thousand words (and you know we’re always keeping an eye on that word count), so we’ve come up with 31 photo prompts listed in the graphic above to get you thinking about your writing habits and the tools in your creative backpack for the month of March. We’ll post the full challenge prompt on Instagram, but it will also be available in this post if you need to refer back to it.
Much like Camp NaNoWriMo itself, there aren’t any strict rules. These prompts are just suggestions—you don’t have to be literal, though if you want to take these prompts very literally, that can result in some fun pictures, too. You can post a photo for each of the prompts, or choose just a few. You can post one every day, or all at once. Again, much like Camp, the most important part is having fun.
Make sure to tag any posts with the #InstaWrimo hashtag so we can find them! We’ll pick photos from the challenge to feature on our own Instagram account throughout the month. This will be a fun way to think about your writing projects and the tools you already have in your creative backpack: Where do you like to write? Who do you like to write with? What makes you happy about your writing? 
Use your imagination, get creative, and get ready to write!
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Published on February 28, 2018 11:25

February 26, 2018

February is wrapping up, but that doesn’t mean that you have to stop editing, pitching, or working on your writing project. In just a few days, we’ll be launching this year’s Camp NaNoWriMo, where you can keep working on your current story, or create a new one! But if you’re still deep in editing mode and want to discover more about the wider editing community, author Amber Michelle Cook is here to tell you about NaNoEdMo:

You did NaNoWriMo and have a novel!  [*high five*] [*low five*] [*fist bump*] Now you’re looking for ways to craft that early draft into something even better.  One of those ways is to do NaNoEdMo.  

During National Novel Editing Month (held every year in March), writers participate in a challenge to spend 50 hours over the course of the 31 days of the month rewriting and editing your novel (or other writing project). An unaffiliated sister event to NaNoWriMo, NaNoEdMo has articles, forums, contests and winner goodies. And lots of camaraderie.

Any time you make a Big Push, doing a writing challenge like NaNoWriMo or an editing challenge like NaNoEdMo, you learn how much more you can accomplish than you ever thought possible. The benefits of this can be widespread over time, allowing you to take on more and new challenges with a higher degree of confidence and higher levels of expectation of yourself. But what about the specific benefits to your craft?

1. In theory…

EdMo is all about editing, with new articles released each year, as well as forum posts and discussions, so you will learn in theory how to rewrite and self-edit your work better, faster, smarter. An increased understanding of what editing is will open your mind to new strategies and observations of your own work.

2. In Practice…  

Edmo is all about improving your existing draft by doing, so you will learn in practice how to rewrite and self-edit your work better, faster, smarter. You’ll be ready to edit future projects that much better and more efficiently from the start.

3. In Draft…  

As you incorporate what you’ve learned about rewriting and self-editing into your initial drafts or new chapters, they will be written at a higher level of craft to begin with!

4. In Concept…  

Once you start working on other projects in the future, you’ll have the history of your editing experiences in the back of your mind, and this means you’ll make more informed choices about the kinds of projects you embark on. Whatever kind of story you choose to begin will have a better chance of being strong, tight, and sale-able (or whatever your personal goals and targets are).

5. In Resource… 

When March is over and you soldier on with editing that project into shape, Edmo will have exposed you to a wide variety of resources on the subject, so that you can continue to learn and improve your editing skills over the coming year.

Like NaNoWriMo, EdMo isn’t always easy, but it’s always rewarding and productive.  

You can sign up at  We look forward to seeing you in the forums!

Amber Michelle Cook is a speculative fiction author and the director of National Novel Editing Month, proudly living in ‘Keep Portland Weird’ Portland, OR.  She’s a member of NIWA (the Northwest Independent Writers Association) and The People’s Ink writing community, with years of experience in writer’s critique groups.  She did NaNoEdMo the first year it started, and every year thereafter, and loves it so much, she took over when the first director stepped down.  Her author site:

Top image licensed under Creative Commons from Colin Harris on Flickr.

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Published on February 26, 2018 16:55 • 2 views

Chris Baty's Blog

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