I will thank the Lord with all my heart as I meet with his godly people. How amazing are the deeds of the Lord! All who delight in him should ponder them. Psalm 111:1-2 NLT

Friday, October 21, 2011

The Countdown is On...

To the ACFW 2012 Conference in Dallas, Texas? Don’t be silly! (Although, it’s 335 days away. You know, in case you were wondering.)

The countdown is on for NaNoWriMo 2012!! The NAtional NOvel WRIting MOnth begins at midnight on November 1st. So, if you’re planning to join the roughly 200,000 people writing a novel (defined as at least 50,000 words that string together in a somewhat cohesive story) in November, you’d better grab your chocolate, stock up on caffeinated drinks, and fill the freezer with meals for your family because you now have less than eleven days.

My October 2010 blog post details NaNoWriMo (as does Lisa Jordan’s) and all the reasons to write a novel in 30 days. In addition, visit the new and improved official NaNoWriMo website for a plethora of fabulous information.  The rules are simple; you can spend hours, days, or even years researching your novel, but you cannot begin work on the 50K brand new words (in your brand new WIP) until 12:00:00 am on 11.01.11. Fun, yes?

I’ve participated in NaNoWriMo since 2008. I’ve always gone into it as a Pantser, with rather mixed results. This year I am going to try something new. This year I’m going into November with a Buddy. MBT's The Book Buddy, that is.

This year, I am spending October pondering my story with Charles Dickens. Yes, I named The Book Buddy…doesn’t everyone? Chuck, as I like to call him, is helping me sketch out a plan for my story in hopes that the time I spend churning out 50K words in November will produce something useful. Trust me; nothing I’ve written in my previous three NaNoWriMo adventures has been worth keeping. 

Chuck’s first 30 pages help me brainstorm my story and flesh out my characters. Chuck’s questions allow me to see my protagonist’s journey while discovering the villain, subplots, and layering along the way. The next 20 pages focus on each of my three acts, with several pages devoted to getting my inciting incident just right. The appendix of The Book Buddy is packed with worksheets designed to help me plan as much (or as little) as I like/want/need.

Finally, when I surface in December with a completed first draft, I can come back to Chuck for help improving the POV, dialogue, Storyworld, emotional layering, and word painting. He will even walk me through writing a stunning synopsis, a perfect premise, and the quintessential query letter. 

Obviously Chuck doesn’t actually speak, which is probably a good thing since it means he can’t sidetrack me with talk of Beyonce’s baby bump or last night’s episode of The Mentalist. He does his best to keep me on the pathway to victory. When he is silent, the 2011 MBT WriMo is available for interaction with actual human writers. I hope you’ll join us for fellowship, writing tips, daily encouragement, weekly devotionals and, of course, fabulous prizes. (Including a brand new 3G Kindle Touch!!!)

Here's the best part: if you sign up for NaNoWriMo and then post on the MBT Voices NaNoWriMo forum, you will be given a link to purchase The Book Buddy at a special discounted rate offered only to NaNoWriMo participants. I know, right?!

Even if you are already knee-deep in your current WIP, please join us at MBT for MyWriMo! Sign up as a “Personal Goals Participant” in the forum and enjoy fun and accountability as you work toward whatever personal goal you choose. (Not to mention, special personal goals prizes!)

To kick off the NaNoWriMo prize party, The Ponderers will give away a copy of Susan May Warren’s The Book Buddy to one lucky winner. To be entered, leave us a comment with your November writing goals and what we can do to help you reach them between now and Monday (24th) at 6 pm PST. (*Naming your Buddy is optional.)

One last thing: I’ve included recipes with my last two blog posts because I love food. So, in honor of The Book Buddy (and his/my love of chocolate) I decided to include the recipe for a yummy NaNoWriMo-appropriate treat. Enjoy!

9 cups Corn Chex®, Rice Chex®, Wheat Chex® or Chocolate Chex® cereal (or combination)
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup peanut butter
1/4 cup butter or margarine
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar

1.  Into large bowl, measure cereal; set aside.

2.  In 1-quart microwavable bowl, microwave chocolate chips, peanut butter and butter uncovered on High 1 minute; stir. Microwave about 30 seconds longer or until mixture can be stirred smooth. Stir in vanilla. Pour mixture over cereal, stirring until evenly coated. Pour into 2-gallon reseal-able food-storage plastic bag.

3. Add powdered sugar. Seal bag; shake until well coated. Spread on waxed paper to cool. Store in airtight container in refrigerator. 

Makes 18 servings. What? Who are we kidding? This maybe makes 6 or 7 servings.

~Heidi Larson Geis

***BY THE WAY:  The winner of last week's drawing for Jenny B. Jones' latest book, There You'll Find Me, is . . . (drumroll) . . . SKY!  Sky, your TBR pile just got a little less meager!! Please email your mailing address to melissatagg@yahoo.com and she'll send you the book pronto. Congratulations, and thanks to everyone who commented!***


  1. Heidi, what a fun post! I've determined to do WriMo this year. Last year, the thought of NaNoWriMo overwhelmed me as a writer of three months. :) I'm going to do the personal goals section because my wip is finally moving. The thought of beginning a new one doesn't appeal. :)

    I actually plotted out my book with the Book Buddy (who is still nameless). My goal is to plot out scenes before Nov 1st begins, so I can just write, write, write! Can you tell I'm NOT a pantster? :)

    My goal is to write 50,000 words during the month of November.

    Please don't enter me for the drawing. I've already got a book buddy. Happy writing!

  2. OoH! I get to be first to comment!

    I'm in for NaNoWriMo. Me and my Book Buddy, George. Somehow I will write 10,000 words each week. *praying really hard* That boils down to a little over 5 and 1/2 pages a day. When I look at it that way, it doesn't seem so intimidating and since I only sleep about 7 hours, that boils down to...think I'll leave it at the page count. Math never was my strong suit. lol

    Thanks for such an encouraging post, Heidi and for the Muddy Buddies recipe.

  3. How did Jeanne get her comment in before me?

  4. Yum. Muddy Buddies sounds delicious! I really like the way My Book Buddy organizes all the details rattling around in my brain. I'm also going to enter NaNo. May God bless each one of us as we write for His glory!

  5. Pat, I won't say Nee-ner, nee-ner. :) I shooting for 2,500 words per day. Probably ambitious for this inexperienced writer, but we'll see how it goes. :) I'm impressed you figured out page count. :) Good math!

  6. While I'm not doing NaNo this year, I must say this: I don't think I'll ever plan a book again without the Book Buddy. It really is like having Susie right there beside you, helping you plan your manuscript. I recommend it even more than Diet Coke with Lime.

    And...that photo of the snacks is making my hungry. Must. Get. Lunch... :)

  7. I'm planning to do NaNo this year to write the rough draft of my third book. I hope to begin using my Book Buddy--named Jethro (go figure) next week to plot out the story. I need to change my sleep habits to get up earlier to write before my crazy day starts.

  8. Jeanne~

    I'm so glad you are going to go for it! It really is a lot of fun, and if you already have your Book Buddy, you will do great! You can do it...50K words ends up being about 1667 words a day. I've written emails that long, lol!

    If you join your regional group at nanowrimo.org, you can find local "write-ins." I've been to quite a few and they are fun. It is a great excuse to get out of the house and head for a library or coffee shop, and often the Municipal Liaisons (did you know that word had two i's before the S? I so did NOT!) AKA regional organizers have special rooms arranged at different location around your region. I think the most helpful thing about the write-ins is when they set the timer for 10 or 15 minutes, and then give a prize to whoever writes the most words before the buzzer sounds. It's a great way to knock out 600-800 words in no time.

    My "writing buddy" name on the NaNoWriMo website is GoosesGirl93...please add me!! And good luck; YOU CAN DO IT!!

  9. Pat~

    I can't tell you how many times I have thought I was going to be the first poster, but by the time I actually got it written, edited, and submitted, someone snuck in before me! That Jeanne is a sneaky girl!

    I don't know if I'm more impressed that you know that 10k words translates to 5.5 pages, or that you only need SEVEN hours of sleep!! In all seriousness, I think you and George (and the Muddy Buddies)will be successful in the month of November. It totally helps to break it down into smaller chunks. Here it is even smaller: if you write every day, you only have to write 1428.571428 words a day. I'm not exactly how much of a word constitutes that .571428, but I'm sure you will figure it out!! =)

  10. Roxanne~

    You nailed it! Twice.

    1.) The Book Buddy organizes all that information rattling around in our brains.

    2.) We write for HIS Glory. We pray Psalm 90:17, that God will prosper the work of our hands.

    I'm so glad you are doing NaNoWriMo! Add my name (GoosesGirl93) to your writing buddies list!!

  11. P.S. PAT! If you sign up at the actual NaNoWriMo site, add me to your writing buddies list!!

    P.S. JEANNE! 2500 words is an awesome goal! I try to write more than the estimated 1667 words because I know there will be days where I don't get anything written. So, if I'm in the zone, I will keep writing as long as I can. In 2008, I wrote 6000 words in one day to try and catch up. It wasn't fun, but it is the only reason I made it to 50K!

  12. Melissa~

    Wow...more than Diet Coke w/Lime?!?! You DO love The Book Buddy! It's easy to love it when you really can hear Susie's voice come off the page. (Unless I'm the only one hearing voices... Hmmmmm...)

    I agree with you; I don't see myself (even though I'm a bit of a Pantser) writing anything else without the aid of Chuck.

  13. Lisa~

    I'm so glad you and Jethro (why am I not surprised?!) will be joining us for NaNoWriMo! It is absolutely perfect for writing a rough draft, especially if you have any upcoming deadlines for Book 3. I know it's possible for one to write 50K words in any of the other 11 months (well, except for maybe February...it's kind of short) but there is just something about 200K writers, all around the world, all working toward the same goal at the same time. It's kind of inspiring.

    And hey, it's never going to be more fun than when there are whole websites and forums dedicated to helping us succeed, and PRIZES to be won for doing what we should probably be doing anyway!

    Add me to your writing buddies list: GoosesGirl93 =)

  14. Great fun post, Heidi ... getting to it a little late in the day (er, early the next day.)
    I named my Buddy "Weston" and think he's a must-have kind of guy!!

  15. This sounds like so much fun!!! And really its ONLY 1667 words per day, (rounded up of course). I think I might try it, and having a book buddy would really be a help! I am registering at NaNoWriMo's website right after this comment! Wish me luck!


    PS. My book buddy's name shall be, "Curtis"

    Thanks for this blog, its inspiring!