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NaNoWriMo Day 30 - What Next?

Saturday 30th November - What Next?

Wow! We've made it to the end of NaNoWriMo.  If you managed your 50,000 words: Congratulations!  If you managed to get off the starting block: Congratulations!  Whatever anyone tells you, there is nothing easy about writing a book.  Even when you enjoy it, it's still hard work.

So, what happens next?  Here's what Crowvus suggests:

Have a party - you've deserved it! And, by the way, a party only needs to have as few or as many people as you want.  My favourite parties have been family affairs.  It's important to be proud of yourself, and to celebrate your success.Revisit your novel - I suggest you re-read the whole thing.  Pick up and iron out any continuity issues and correct any typos you spot, but don't go through looking for them.  Proofreading comes later.Find your First Reader - for advice on this you can read our Day 15 blog.Rerevisit your novel - decide which of the First Reader's comments you want to build on and m…
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NaNoWriMo Day 29 - Endings

Friday 29th November - Endings

Well, we're pretty much at the end of NaNoWriMo!  If you're anything like me, you'll be wondering where the last month has gone!  It might seem strange to have the penultimate blog on endings, but hopefully this just proves that the end of your book is not the end of the adventure!



On the first blog, I spoke about the importance of beginning a book well and how - in many ways - it's the most important part.  Endings are equally important, but for a totally different reason.  You don't have to hook anyone in, you want to give them a satisfactory ending for the characters they've invested in.

One thing I realised, after several years(!), is that happy endings are never going to be exclusive.  As readers, we invest so much in characters, so by the end what we're really looking for is a contented ending.  The reader will be as lost without these characters as you are, so give them an ending full of hope.  This could be with a ster…

NaNoWriMo Day 28 - Book Covers

Thursday 28th November - Book Covers



The first thing that people see of your book is the book spine. The next thing is the book cover. Then the back cover, with the blurb, then a sample of pages. Your book has to pass the test each time in order to be bought.

When I teach my class about book spines, and book covers, I explain how a reader will subconsciously try and persuade themselves not to buy the book. It's a crazy thing!

So, while it's important to write a fantastic book, it's also important to ensure you have the correct cover.

Now, I'm not going to say that you can't design the cover yourself. I seen some fantastic homemade covers...but I've also seen some terrible ones. The first piece of advice is one of the best:

* Look at other book covers in your genre!

Covers portray a certain type of book, so pay particular attention to books in the same genre that you write. Obviously don't copy, but look through some of the bestselling books and see if you c…

NaNoWriMo Day 27 - Formatting

Wednesday 27th November - Formatting

We're getting to the end of NaNoWriMo now. I'm just about on track to complete the 50 000 words by the end of Saturday, but it's been a real trial.

I start so many things that I give up on, so I am thrilled that I have stuck with NaNoWriMo in my very first year of doing it. I think part of the reason is my sister who completed her word count earlier on in the month. She's been very supportive, but also...I just don't want her to beat me!

So, when you've actually finished your book...in fact, when you've finished editing and redrafting, and then editing, and proofreading, and then editing your book, you have to start thinking about putting it out there in book form.

For the sake of this blog, I have concentrated on formatting ebooks.

Now, there's no reason to reinvent the wheel. There are programmes out there which help you format your ebook manuscript, and the best one I've found is Calibre.

Available here, this

NaNoWriMo Day 26 - Categorising and Genres

Tuesday 26th November - Categorising and Genres



It's important for readers and writers to understand a little bit about genres. It means that a writer can tailor their work to readers, and it means that a reader can have a good guess of whether they'll enjoy a certain book.

There are certain tropes that people expect from certain genres, so make sure you know what they are before categorising your book. For example, if you're writing Romance then you need to make sure that the couple get together at the end of the book. Oh, and they've got to have some troubles along the way too, of course!

By all means, kick back against the trend and defy stereotypes, but if you don't stick to certain tropes then you may end up with disgruntled readers.

Important Notes


A book can be more than one genres. I categorise Taking Wing as Fantasy Adventure, therefore combining the genres of Fantasy and Adventure.Middle grade, young adult or new adult are not genres. They're age catego…

NaNoWriMo Day 25 - Reading Aloud - Audio Books?

Monday 25th November - Reading Aloud - Audio Books?

Some books are better read aloud. I love reading books which are filled with sumptuous language, so that I can hear the narrator's voice and it just wraps me up in the language. And if you love hearing a book, you'd love talking about it too! And, let's face it, that's what every author dreams of achieving.


Audio books are on the rise. They're a fantastic addition to the an author's CV, but they can also cost an arm and a leg to secure. To a self-published author this expense is almost unobtainable. But here's a few ideas of how to make it happen:

Make every word count - Your audio book need not feature every word you wrote in your print book. Most companies or individuals charge according to the word count, so make sure each word counts!Can you beat the author as the narrator? - Give some consideration to the thought your reader might like to hear your voice reading the book. It may not be the best recordi…

NaNoWriMo Day24 - Settings and Locations - Part Three - Urban Landscape

Sunday 24th November - Settings and Locations - Part Three - Urban Landscape



When I was parked outside our local doctor's practice, quite some years ago now, I started thinking about the skyline across the river from where I was sitting. For anyone who's never been to Wick - which I imagine are most people - it is a town which boomed in the nineteenth century, and it has the architecture to match. Being me, the first thing which occurred to me was: "which of my characters would manage to run across that skyline?" After that, I started thinking about urban landscapes in a different way. Instead of starting from the bottom, I thought about my landscapes from the top downwards.

No two towns are the same. I'm not amazingly well travelled at all, but I love exploring different places. A good number of years ago, I did a city tour of Germany. Every one of the cities I visited was different, and each gave me inspiration for a totally different story. It was as though th…