A Shout Out to the Screaming Pens!

Friday morning, I visited Mrs. Goodman’s writers, the Screaming Pens at Kennedy Junior High School. We discussed NaNoWriMo; I learned that three of them had already written novels and one of them was a previous NaNoWriMo winner in the Naperville region.

Unfortunately, the school bus schedule cut into the time we had together, so we didn’t get to touch all the topics I wanted to cover. Fortunately, I can use this blog to reach out to the Screaming Pens to note a few points:

  • a reminder about safety: The online forums at nanowrimo.org and ywp.nanowrimo.org (the Young Writers Program) are closely monitored by NaNoWriMo staff and volunteer Municipal Liaisons (MLs) (and the YWP forums are only open to the YWP participants and MLs), but common sense is important whenever participating in online communications. Never post your e-mail address or other personal information online. Be careful about private communications with people you’ve only met online.
  • turn off your inner editor: National Novel Writing Month is about completing your novel; this is a big hill to climb. To be successful at this, you should turn off your inner editor. Don’t listen to the part of you that wants to go back and edit what you’ve written. You might consider writing your novel with the q10, Dark Room or WriteRoom editors that allow you to really focus on writing and not editing.
  • back up your story!: When November 1st starts and you begin writing, make sure you take care to back up your story regularly! One convenient way to do this is to upload your story to googledocs, which has version control. Another way is to e-mail it to yourself (especially if you have a gmail account).
  • consider using mindmapping: In the few remaining days of October while you are planning out your novel, consider using a mindmap to plan your novel. Freemind and XMind are both multi-platform, open source and free mindmapping programs that are intuitive to use. In addition, XMind allows you to attach files to your nodes.
  • come to our Write-Ins: we have write-ins planned for every Sunday in November (at the 95th Street Library) and most Saturdays (at the Plano Library or Warrenville City Hall). And there will be online jabber chat write-ins almost every night in our regional jabber chatroom. Contact me (NewMexicoKid) via NaNoMail if you would like a jabber account (of course, while we MLs (TRRDEDEAN, KatherineWriting and NewMexicoKid) will frequently monitor the jabber room, the safety cautions definitely apply). We will have fun word wars at all write-ins. A few of us have extra laptops; contact me before a write-in if you would like to use one at that write-in (if you have a USB flash drive, you can copy your story to/from the laptop).
  • set your regional home to Naperville: If you are participating in the full NaNoWriMo, please do set your region home to Naperville. What this does is let your word counts help us with our total, which will allow us to do well in our anticipated regional word war. Last year, we had an entertaining contest against France.

Finally, if you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to send NaNoMail to me (NewMexicoKid). Happy NaNo’ing!

–Tim (NewMexicoKid)

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