Saturday, November 21, 2009

Welcome Cathryn Fox

By the time you read this article, I’ll be smack dab in the middle of NaNoWriMo, and will probably be ready to pull my hair out, toss my computer out the window, or sit in a corner and eat copious amounts of chocolate. What is NaNoWriMo, you ask. Well it’s National Novel Writer’s Month. Here’s the link if you want to check it out.

So basically what you do is write like crazy for the month of November, and try to complete a whole book. You’re supposed to turn off the internal editor and just forge ahead without looking back to ‘fix’ anything that feels off. Forget about cooking, forget about laundry, forget about car-pooling, heck forget about showering if you want to…okay, well, maybe that’s not the best advice. Please shower.

Believe it or not, this is a fun experience because Nano is more than about just making a word count and walking away with the bare bones of a book. It’s about connecting with other writers, cheering and encouraging one another on, and forging friendships. My local RWA writing chapter has set up a yahoo account where we all have friendly competitions, pep talks and push one another to reach our daily word count.

So what can you do ahead of time to prepare for Nano?

First, tell your family what you’re doing so they know not to disturb you. I let mine know that "Mom, I need-" is no longer in our vocabulary.

Turn off the phone during your working hours and tell the family to text you only if it’s important. (Why is it teenage girls think everything is important? I can certainly wait until December to hear that someone put a bad facebook picture of her up. Ah, the drama.)

Be sure to delegate chores, and if you can, solicit the help of family members and other relatives.
Put a sign on your door that says, "Disturb only if you’re bleeding from the head." Oddly enough, this has happened.

Drama Daughter: Knock Knock. "Mom I need-"

Crazy Writer: "Stop, that is no longer in our vocabulary."

Drama Daughter: "But Mom I’m bleeding…"

Crazy Writer: "From the head?"

Drama Daughter: "Yes."

Crazy Writer: "Oh."

Prepare easy meals ahead of time, and stick them in the freezer. Spaghetti sauces, lasagne, pizza and casseroles. Heck fast food for a month isn’t going to kill anyone, and if they get tired of it, maybe it will inspire them to cook. That’s my secret evil plan actually.

So those are just a few tips on how to survive Nano month. Sound like fun? You bet it is. Come check it out and I hope to see you participating next year!

Oh, for those with any other advice on how to prepare, or recipes for easy meals I’d love to hear from you. Anyone who leaves a comment gets a chance to win a copy of Instinctive, NAL HEAT!

In Fox's titillating new series we enter Serene, a supernatural playground where sexy shape shifters live behind the white picket fences...

"Cathryn Fox is the next Queen of Steamy Romance." Julianne MacLean-USA today best selling author

Cathryn's website has a complete list of her books, a link to her blog, AND an excerpt from Instinctive.


Janet said...

Morning, Cathryn. I hope by now NaNo is going well and your sanity is still in tact. I know a few of The Chicks are in the middle of the frenzy as well and I hope they stop in and give us an update (along with maybe what they're finding to be successful and what's frustrating them).

I'll ask you the same questions, Cathryn. What's going well? And what's frustrating you? And is this the first time you've done NaNo - if not, has any of the novels you worked on during the month of November gone on to be published?

Thanks for joining us today - looking forward to a lively discussion.

Jana Richards said...

Hi Cathryn,
Thank you for joining us!

I've never done NaNo, but I'd seriously love to, especially since fellow Chicks and guests such as yourself have had so much success with it. Hopefully next year.

I have done Book-in-a-Week, something our writing group does every January, and your suggestions are right on. If you can load up the freezer with stuff that can be easily defrosted and heated, your life will be much easier. I stock up on things like spaghetti sauce (I have some frozen that we made from our garden tomatoes) pasta, homemade lasagne, etc. I like to make meatballs, cook them and then freeze them on a cookie sheet before throwing them in a zip lock freezer bag. Then you can easily reheat as many as you want with your choice of sauce.

Food is one of the biggest obstacles so if you can do as much shopping for non-perishables ahead of time as possible, it helps a lot. Also, you'll want to stock up on things like toilet paper and soap ahead of time so you don't have to make an emergency trip to the store! These things tend to happen in the middle of the most sensitve scenes!


Anonymous said...

Hi Janet.
This is my first nano, and my sanity is semi intact. The word count is going well and I'm making my daily quota, but I'm writing so fast I'm forgetting cruitial plot points and that's not good!

Cathryn (can't seem to sign in under my google acct)

Cathryn Fox said...

Yes, excactly, I think food is the biggest obstacle too, but be sure to stock up on everything else as well!

Cathryn Fox said...

Yay, I can sign in now.

Silver James said...

Good morning, Cathryn! This is my fourth year for NaNo and I fear I won't *win* for the first time. I'm stuck at about 15K words on my intended project and my editor hit me with an additional set of edits and revisions. Ah, those pesky deadlines!

My crockpot is a good friend during NaNo. Soups, stews, chili, pot roast--dump in the ingredients in the morning, turn the thing on and forget about it!

I am going to make a stab at finishing NaNo. If I can get truly inspired, perhaps I can get close, but I'm going to cheat a bit and change horses in mid-stream. I'm putting aside the WIP and will start on the third book in my fae trilogy. Since I'm working on edits of the second book, I'm in that mindset. I hope to work a few hours on edits and then write like mad on the new WIP. We'll see how it goes. I am competitive enough that I'm a bit irked I won't win this year--but there are only so many hours in the day and as much as I'd love to hibernate for the duration, Real Life(tm) won't let me.

Thanks for dropping by the Prairie today! The Chicks are awesome!

Karyn Good said...

Hi Cathryn. Thanks for Nano tips. I'm attempting Nano for the first time and already I'm planning to do it again next year.

I can't even guess how many times this month we've heated frozen fries to go with something and I love the ready roasted chickens you can pick up from the grocery store. I was on track until yesterday when I didn't manage to write a single word and today isn't looking any better so tonight will be an intense writing night. Huge football game tomorrow in my part of the world (not watching is against the law in these here parts!) so I'll be up a six in the morning working towards my daily word count it :)

Of course, now I'm into sagging middle syndrome and my latest biggest distraction is the need to start organizing for Christmas (my favorite holiday). I usually start getting things ready the end of October or beginning of November. So Nano, while an invaluable writing experience is also saving me money!!

Good luck!

Anita Mae Draper said...

Hey everyone.

Cathryn, I'm one of the Chicks heavily involved in NaNo right now. I report in to the eHarl NaNo board because for this, my 3rd NaNo, I'm not starting an original wip but editing and adding to a requested ms.

I'm used to the frenzied pace of a pantser but this time it's so slow going because I keep having to stop and check facts. My ms is set in 1879 Wyoming Territory and everyday items like dishes, fabrics, buckets and bales need to be researched. I checked so much stuff before but now it seems I can't go a page without my mind throwing in the question, 'Yes, but was it readily available back then?' So this is really slowing me down.

My extent of knowledge on shapeshifters is Lindsay McKenna's books and Odo on Startrek DS9. :)

Thanks for blogging with us today.

Cathy M said...

Hi Cathryn,

My hat goes off to all of you ladies in the midst of NaNo, and I wish you the best of luck and a free flowing muse.

My hubster is the chef in my family, I am clean up girl, which suits me perfectly (and was a unamimous vote, lol). Love the idea of making and freezing, but the chef prefers to cook fresh meals, so darn, I guess I will just let him, lol.


jennifer said...

wow that sounds like fun actually that sounds like a vacation. But alas I have 3 little one 2 who is not in school yet so I will paticapate some yr sigh anyway good luck and enjoy

Janet said...

Me, again. You said that you're missing some plot points as you go - did you do a full outline before you started? And, if I could ask, if this is your first NaNo, why did you decide to take part?

All this talk about food is making me hungry.

catslady said...

As a reader I hear a lot about NaNo and it does sound like a lot of work but also a good incentive (if needed lol). And I just discovered the crock pot - throw some things together and you don't have to think about it for the rest of the day and if it's big enough, lots of nice leftovers.

Helena said...

Welcome, fellow NaNo fiend! I'm a Chick attempting to do the 50K in a month for the first time.

I'm only a week behind in word count, and guess what, I'm still optimistic that I'll have a good burst of energy left in me for the final week.

One of my frustrations is that my output is inconsistent, tho probably logical. When I get into a new part of the story, I must do more "thinking" than I'm aware of because sometimes I'll be in the range of 500-600 words per hour, whereas if I'm in the middle of a scene where I know exactly what's going on, I can pound out more than 1,000. So it's always difficult to predict how far I'll get in any one session.

Of course, my number one frustration is MYSELF getting in the way -- allowing other things to take precedence "just this once." Bad enough I have to keep whipping up the muse (no name assigned to that creature), but I also have to beat down the Temptor (my favourite TV shows get waved in front of me).

All in all, tho, this has been a great experience, and if I don't make the target this time, at least I will have written 25,000+ more words than I usually do in November. I'm looking forward to the next stage when I can get down to editing and completing the research that I have set aside to do (rather than stop the flow as I go). Hey, Anita! We had a discussion about that on her Thursday post.

I have not participated in any of the "bonding" aspects of NaNoWriMo. All I want to do is be the recluse writer that gets it done.

Would love to win a copy of your book, Cathryn, and thanks again for sharing your thoughts about NaNo on the Chicks.


Cathryn Fox said...

Jennifer, you're right. It is hard with little ones and when mine were little I wouldn't have even attempted it.

Cathryn Fox said...

Janet, yes, I have a full outline which was approved by my editor, but things went off in their own direction, as sometimes happens with me.

It is my first Nano, but I've written 50,000 words in a month before when on a deadline.

zina lynch@ said...

Hey, Cathryn,
So remember when I put on WW that I was reading a book called Instinctive by a cool chick? Well someone took my book and won't fess up so I'm serching the house... the next step is to offer a reward for the books capture. But I really love what I've read so far.. talk about starting off with a bang. I'm surprised I didn't melt all over the floor.

Anonymous said...

My advice on easy meals... take out, lol.
Even without NaNoWriMo, I don't cook much, so I either get my meals from my wonderful, gracious, kind-hearted step-mother (God bless her *bg*) or the nice people at the closest drive-thru, lol
This is the first NaNo where I've actually kept up and not quit half-way through *bg*

Cathryn Fox said...

Zina, that is so funny. Did you really lose it?

Cathryn Fox said...

Ali, yes, love the take out!

Janet said...

Getting on in the evening here on the East Coast - still early on The Prairies. I'll check back tomorrow, but for right now I want to thank Cathryn for taking time out of her busy NaNo schedule to be with us today. It was great fun.

Good luck, Cathryn. A little over a week left - I hope you have enough food to tide you over and you get your first draft finished. I would be interested in hearing if any of those deviations that came up make it into the book, even though they weren't on the outline.

Thanks again, Cathryn :)

Sheila said...

Hi Cathryn and Prairie Chicks,
Sounds like a busy time for all of you doing NaNo. Does any of you find that after you finish NaNo that you didn't like the story and had to redo it? Good luck with your writing.:)

Cathryn Fox said...

Thank you to everyone who came out to say hello and share their nano experienes. I threw your names in a hat and the winner of INSTINCTIVE is....


Janet please emal me at

cathryn @ cathrynfox . com (no spaces)