Well I’m settled into the cabin. It was quite a hike to get in! More on that later. For now, I think I’ll settle in and get some sleep and start early in the morning! Good luck to all the participants…happy writing.
I have to admit, I’m beginning to feel a bit nervous about the contest. I’m hoping I’ll be able to write something coherant and…well…really good. Of course, I’m a bit afraid that I’ll end up with 100 pages of complete crap. I have frightening images in my head of locking up…or getting 5000 words or more in and realizing I can’t write my idea and have to start over (been there, done that…not fun!). I’m pretty sure this is a normal place for my mindset to be at this point based on what I remember from previous years. If you are feeling the same way, don’t sweat it. This too shall pass.
I am enjoying meeting the other participants on the facebook page and on the chat boards (see my post a few days ago for links). Some really cool people are hanging out and sharing ideas and tips. I loved this post by Damsel in de Tech on her preparation list for the contest. I’ve also enjoyed reading updates from Pam Bustin on her blog…beware–she’s the one who introduced me to the chat room. Resistance is futile…lower your shields and join us.
It’s been challenging because I’m traveling this week for work. I’m trying to finish my outline and character sketches at night in the hotel. There is much to do yet. Here’s my list:
Finish packing my clothes (don’t overpack!)
Shop and pack my food. (Keep it as light as possible because it has to be carried in).
Charge the deep cycle batteries and pack the converter so I can charge my laptop. (This is critical or I’ll lose precious writing time waiting for my hubby to drive back up to bring the converter to me).
Make sure I’ve packed my moleskin and other notes.
Check my music playlist from last year and see if I need to update it. (I can only write to music that has no words so it’s primarily new age, classical and nature…weird but true).
Copy my online research into Scrivener so I have it handy while I write. (I’m most worried I won’t get this done in time which could be a big issue considering I don’t have internet at the cabin)
Finish my outline (without making it too detailed–leave room for creativity)
Finish my character sketches on at least the 3 main characters in the story…do some of the minor characters if I have time.
Pack a small bottle of champagne to be opened at midnight on Monday!
I’m excited and only a wee bit terrified. LOL! Leave me a comment and let me know what you do to prepare for the contest.
I’m trying something new this year–I’m secluding myself from the rest of the world in a cabin for the duration of the 3 Day Novel Contest. I’m excited–but also a bit nervous about it. I’m going off grid for the three days at Wintergreen Studios eco retreat with no power and no internet. This will either be the smartest or the stupidest idea of my life. I’m hoping that the scenery and the lack of distractions will both inspire me and also keep me on task with my writing. If the writing isn’t going well, I can always blubber and at least no one will see my big ugly cry. LOL!
It’s a 15 – 20 minute hike to the cabin carrying everything I need for the weekend. There’s no running water in the cabin, but there is a lake to swim. I’m planning my supplies for the weekend and it looks like I’ll be carrying water, food, a cooler, clothes, my laptop, batteries (to recharge my laptop), a coleman lamp, my notes and a coffee pot. Writing without coffee–don’t be ridiculous!
Trail to the cabin
That doesn’t look like an easy hike to me but my awesome hubby is going to help me carry everything in…and then he’s going to leave. As in–leave me all alone in the woods for three very long days.
There are two cabins and neither are booked for the Labour Day weekend so I’m able to look at both on the day I arrive and then make my choice..
The hobbit is cute and has great light which is nice when your plan is to spend the weekend writing. It’s made with cordwood construction using reclaimed materials and inset with bottles that act like stained glass sending coloured light across the room when the sun hits the right angle. It’s a five minute walk to the lake and is the smaller of the two cabins. It has a tiny kitchen and a fold out bed. It’s the cabin I’m most curious to see.
The Parthenon is a traditional post & beam structure and it has a few advantages over The Hobbit cabin. It sits right on the lake which is handy for swimming (and washing). It’s also a bit bigger and it has a porch which would be ideal if I want to write outside during the day.
I plan to blog updates if I can get cell service. I’m told that they will show me the rock to stand on to get a signal. If not, I’ll upload my blog posts when I return to civilization on Tuesday. Only one more week to go people!
I’ve decided to break my writing fast with another attempt at the 3 Day Novel Contest. I’m happy to report that I have a story idea, the beginning of an outline, and three relatively solid character sketches. I don’t have character names or a title, but that doesn’t worry me…yet. You can check out my survival guide and my adventure doing the 3 Day Novel Contest last year if you like. This will be my 5th year participating.
Check out the Facebook event page, the chat room or use the Twitter Hash Tag #3DNC if you want to see what others are saying about the contest and their preparations. Good luck everyone!!
Amy Tan has a number of bestsellers to her name, including The Joy Luck Club (adapted into a film), The Hundred Secret Senses, and The Bonesetter’s Daughter. Her entertaining 2008 TED address deals with all the ups and downs of the creative process. A great talk for writers who might need a little boost of confidence when it comes to believing in their own methods.
I found a great article in the Huffington Post by David Henry Sterry that talks about how important it is for an author to have a Facebook fan page. The article addresses questions like:
How many fans is enough to impress a publisher?
Should I set up a fan page for my book or or just use my personal page?
When should I set up my facebook page–when I start writing/once I have a deal/once my book comes out?
How often should I communicate via facebook? What is too much?
I’m worried about privacy issues. What should I do?
Should I put up pictures? Video? What kind of pictures should I load into my profile?
The article also links to other useful information like what are the essential elements of an Author page and facebook settings that you need to be aware of. If you are a writer I recommend checking it out.
Do you know someone who wants to be a novelist? If so, here are my top 5 picks for gifts to give to that aspiring writer:
A small Moleskine notebook: a budding writer NEEDS to have a small notebook with them at all times to jot down thoughts, ideas, and notes of all sorts. These are the fodder for characters and stories. Moleskine is the classic and known by most writers, but any journal or notebook that will fit in a purse or bag will do.
A flash drive and a subcription to Dropbox (or some other online storage utility). Every novel needs to be saved in at least three places in case of disaster. Any author will tell you that their biggest fear is that they’ll loose their work.
A writing program for their computer (or a case of writing pads if they don’t like to write on the computer). I prefer Scrivener but there are plenty of others that exist if you google it. Writing doesn’t need to be complicated. Word (for Windows) or Pages (for Mac) are solid word processing programs that will work. However, what a writing app or program can do is to simplify the formatting process for when they are ready to submit their novel. I like Scrivener because it has some simple functionality that allows me to write in scenes and chapters (making relevant “notes in the margins” if I need to. It also allows me to dump the scenes onto a virtual corkboard and move them around. This has come in very handy in the past. It also allows the writer to open up a full screen window while typing that eliminates all other distractions. You might be surprised at how helpful this is.
A good book about the craft of writing. You can find a few of my recommendations here. I’d also add Margaret Atwood’s Negotiating With The Dead to that list.
A subscription to the local gym. Not only will they need the social interaction to stay human while they are locked up trying to finish their novel, but they need a strong body to combat the aches and pains of being hunched over their novel for long hours trying to complete it.
The hotly anticipated Kobo Touch has arrived in stores and I thought I’d take a few minutes to give a brief review. I’ll compare it to the old Kobo and to the iPad, both of which I’ve used. The biggest concern I had with the new Kobo Touch was whether the page turn speed would improve. It turns out that I had nothing to worry about, it is much better.
Improved page turn speed
Slimmer profile and good screen size vs. the old Kobo
It’s as small as a paperback novel but you can carry your whole library with you wherever you go.
Touch functionality to make it easier to use the dictionary.
Added the ability to highlight passages and store them for later use (which I find very useful).
New Kobo Life functionality including reading statistics.
Easy to read due to the e-ink technology. The iPad isn’t a great choice for reading outside because it is back lit.
Feels more like a book in your hand than the iPad does, especially if you buy one of the ‘book’ covers for it. When turned off, the screen defaults to the book cover–again, making it feel closer to carrying a book.
Easier to carry in your purse, or on a plane, than the iPad.
Has the ability to import books in other file types and to borrow books from libraries. Kindle just announced they are working to bring the library borrowing function to their e-reader, but they have not yet moved on allowing readers to import e-books they’ve purchased elsewhere.
Battery Life is phenomenal if you shut it off when you are not reading (vs. sleep mode). It takes a bit longer than I’d like to load the book when you turn the Kobo on, but it’s worth it in being able to go weeks between charges (depending on how much you read…I read about an hour a day, sometimes more). I’ve found this extremely convenient when traveling. On the other hand, my iPad needs to be charged on almost a daily basis–in fairness, I use it for more than just reading.
Fingerprints on the screen. This seems to be less noticeable on the iPad than the Kobo Touch. My guess is that it’s due to the Kobo not being back lit.
Single use gadget, unlike the iPad (I don’t consider this a negative, but some people would)
Only has a black and white screen. As a result, the iPad is, by far, the better choice for reading magazines in e-format.
Overall, the Kobo Touch is a significant improvement over it’s predeccessor and my preferred choice of an e-reader (e.g. when compared to Kindle, Sony, etc).
The choice to purchase an iPad over the Kobo Touch is really dependent on what you are looking for in a device. I’m a fan of single-purpose devices that do what they are supposed to do very well. That is the case with the Kobo Touch. However, if you are looking for something that will do more than just allow you to read books, and you don’t mind the higher price (iPad starts at $519 and goes up from there, Kobo Touch is $139) then the iPad may be for you.
Random musings about writing fiction, reading fiction and living (in reality).
"The older we get, the more...you realize there's a whole range of things you will never do, of things and people you will never be. As life becomes more and more limiting, there is something wonderful about being able to get inside the skin of people unlike yourself." ~Lee Smith