Tuesday, October 26, 2010

NaNoWriMo Challenge: Starts Nov. 1

Hi WOTH Writers! I am plugging something a friend suggested to me a year ago (after November). I cut and pasted the official press release for this fun month-long challenge. Please read and let me know if you are taking the challenge! ~Cindy Blomquist, WOTH Editor


Symptoms include flashes of brilliance, questionable plotlines, and blatant use of mixed metaphors.

Berkeley, California (Oct 1, 2010) - At midnight on November 1, armed only with their wits, the vague outline of a story, and a ridiculous deadline, more than 200,000 people around the world will set out to become novelists.

Why? Because November is National Novel Writing Month, or NaNoWriMo, the world’s largest writing challenge and nonprofit literary crusade.

Participants pledge to write 50,000 words in a month, starting from scratch and reaching "The End" by November 30. There are no judges, no prizes, and entries are deleted from the server before anyone even reads them.

So what’s the point? "The 50,000-word challenge has a wonderful way of opening up your imagination and unleashing creativity," says NaNoWriMo Founder and Executive Director (and eleven-time NaNoWriMo winner) Chris Baty. "When you write for quantity instead of quality, you end up getting both. Also, it’s a great excuse for not doing any dishes for a month."

More than 500 regional volunteers in more than 90 countries will hold write-ins, hosting writers in coffee shops, bookstores, and libraries. Write-ins offer a supportive environment and surprisingly effective peer pressure, turning the usually solitary act of writing into a community experience. That sense of community even extends beyond the page—so much so that more than a dozen marriages and at least four babies have resulted from NaNoWriMo over the years.

Although the event emphasizes creativity and adventure over creating a literary masterpiece, nearly 60 novels begun during NaNoWriMo have since been published, including Water for Elephants, a New York Times #1 Bestseller by Sara Gruen.

"Writing a novel in a month inspires incredible confidence in seasoned and first-time novelists alike," says NaNoWriMo Program Director, Lindsey Grant. "Completing a draft of the novel they’ve been contemplating for ages gives participants a tremendous sense of accomplishment and leaves them wondering what else they’re capable of."

For more information on National Novel Writing Month, or to speak to NaNoWriMo participants in your area, visit http://www.nanowrimo.org/ or contact press@nanowrimo.org.

The Office of Letters and Light is a California-based international non-profit organization. Its programs are the largest literary events in the world. Learn more at www.lettersandlight.org

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Are You "In," or "Out"?

Quotation Marks + Punctuation = ???
My red pen bleeds profusely over the writer's confusion of whether to put the commas, periods, question marks, and their one alotted exclamation point (see previous post) inside or outside of quotation marks.

Quick Lesson

1. Commas and periods go inside quotation marks:

Mary McQuire wrote the article "Going Overseas Isn't for Sissies."

"I can't believe she writes so well but punctuates like a kindergartner," Cindy said. "She seems so smart."

2. Question marks and exclamation points go inside quotation marks if they are a part of the quote. Put them outside if they apply to the whole sentence:

"Well, did you ever consider that she is from England?" asked Freda. "When it comes to grammar rules, Brits and Yanks are separated by a common language!"

Who said "England and America are two countries separated by a common language"?

3. According to my grammar books, these two rules are "almost always." For lack of time, I would be curious to know the exceptions, playing by the U.S. rules.

"Do you know of any?" she inquired.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

The Cheese Stands Alone

from our one entrant and deserving winner of our
"Searching for Beauty" Simile Contest

From Christine Harms:

Knowing a Haitian woman is like having a Royal Poinciana tree--she is fruitful, surprisingly colorful, and spreads her arms wide.

What a gorgeous simile...thanks, Christine, for taking the time to share the beauty of the women you serve. I'll be contacting you with your prize: a $15 iTunes gift card.

Of course, if Christine's simile is kick-starting your creative process, please submit your beautiful simile in the comment section this week.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Searching for Beauty

Amidst the drab browns of this land, their beauty shines like the hand-blown glass goblets I saw hidden away in dusty heaps in a local shop last year.
~taken from “Searching for Beauty: Confessions of a Non-girly Girl”
by A.R., WOTH onlineMagazine, Sept/Oct ’10.

I love a beautiful sentence. I paused when I read the one above. The writer did a remarkable thing—she created a picture in my mind depicting the women of her region and drove home the theme of her piece in 29 well-chosen words.

I congratulated her on that one sentence alone (and then went on to publish her piece).

Writing Tidbit: Never underestimate the power of a simple simile and its more complicated sister, the metaphor.
  • Simile is a comparison of two dissimilar objects that uses the words like, as or than.
  • Metaphor is an implied comparison that brings together two dissimilar objects, persons, or ideas. Unlike a simile, which uses the words like or as, a metaphor directly identifies an obscure or difficult subject with another that is easier to understand.

Jesus knew how to keep His audience’s attention with the beauty and power of speaking metaphorically: “you are the light of the world,” “a farmer went out to sow his seed,” “I am the bread of life,” etc.

So be like Him…and here is how I’ll know…

Enter our writing contest: “Searching for Beauty”

  • Write a one sentence simile that depicts the women of your region.
  • Submit it me: editor@womenoftheharvest.com by Monday, October 11, 10:00 AM (MST) with “Searching for Beauty" in the subject line
  • I’ll post all the entries next week and you all will vote on your favorite.
  • A $15 iTunes card will be awarded to the winner! (my one e-point)


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