Link of the Week – Winter Writing Festival 2019

January 8, 2019

It’s time once again for the Ruby-Slippered Sisterhood Winter Writing Festival. Time to kick your writing into high gear. WHOOO HOOO!

winterwritingfestfacebookimageThrough the bleakest part of winter–January 10, 2018, thru February 28, 2018–the much-anticipated NINTH Annual Ruby Slippered Sisterhood Winter Writing Festival will be here to keep your creative fires burning with support, advice, inspiration, and regular writing sprints in our chat room. There are fun prizes for participants all along the way, including books, critiques, gift cards and Ruby-inspired gifts. And it’s FREE!

Unlike NaNoWriMo and other writing challenges that have a one-size-fits-all approach, the Ruby Winter Writing Festival is designed for you by busy, hard-working women: i.e., we schedule it for AFTER the holidays, and we let you DESIGN YOUR OWN approach to “winning” so it actually fits in with your real life

No matter what stage you’re at right now (brainstorming, plotting, free-writing, fast-drafting, slow-drafting, revising, layering, polishing…or any combination of the above) the Ruby Winter Writing Festival can help you reach your goals.

Did I mention SPRINTS! Yes, I did! Regular sprints are held in our cozy RUBY CHAT ROOM.

Get more detailed details at the Ruby-Slippered Sisterhood blog.

Check out the great advice for a successful Winter Writing Festival at the Ruby-Slippered Sisterhood’s Blog here.  Or better still, bookmark the Ruby Slippered-Sisterhood Winter Writing Festival website!


Link of the Week – Naughty Girls Writing Naughty NaNoWriMo Event

November 18, 2014

NGWN+Promo+November+2014+with+textYou may or may not know this, but I have an alter ego. I also write steamy, dangerous sexy stories under the name Harlowe Wilde. Harlowe belongs to a great group of saucy gals called the Nice Girls Writing Naughty. And, yes, we have a blog. This week’s link serves a dual purpose. One, to introduce you to the Nice Girls. Two, to offer you some awesome tips during the Nano season. Tips that can help you along any time of the year.

Nice Girls Writing Naughty is holding a NaNo Event, now through November 26th. Lots of great advice and encouragement for your writing pleasure, as well as daily prizes can be had. To sweeten the pot, there is also a grand prize up for grabs – a $25 gift card to ARe. Tomorrow, Wednesday the 19th is my, or rather, Harlowe’s day. Stop on by to see what awesomeness we can spread.

Link of the Week – NaNoWriMo Apps

November 4, 2014

NANO Participant-2014It’s NANOWRIMO season again. That time when writers worldwide ban together in a collaborative effort to live off little food, water, sleep, and, more importantly spit baths. Write a 50,000 word novel or die trying. Well, maybe not that extreme. But darn close. Especially if the significant other or the kids get too close.

To help those along their merry way to crazyville, here are a few apps for your mobile devices to  help you keep track of your word counts, goals, and progress, and the progress of others.

WordKeeperAlpha –

Writeometer –

My Writing Spot –

NaNo MoJo –

WrimoDemon –

NaNo Saga –

Write or Die –

Want Adventure? Try NaNo!

October 27, 2011

And by the way, everything in life is writable about if you have the outgoing guts to do it, and the imagination to improvise.  The worst enemy to creativity is self-doubt.  ~Sylvia Plath

By: Stacey Purcell

It’s that time of the year again. Sure the weather is changing, we’re getting ready for Thanksgiving, and Christmas is right around the corner- but that’s not what I’m talking about. It’s NaNoWriMo time!

 If you’ve never heard of it, then you need to slide on over to and check out what all the hype is about. Chris Baty began this writing adventure (because that’s what it truly is) in San Francisco July 1, 1999. There were only twenty one people registered to participate. It’s grown slightly over the years and in 2010, there were over two hundred thousand signed in to write their little hearts out from around the world. So far NaNoers have contributed 2.8 billion words throughout the years.

In 2000, with one hundred and forty people ready to write, he moved it to the month of November in order to take full advantage of the miserable weather that time of year on the Bay. He had some home grown help from friends, but it was mostly done manually and took a lot of man hours. Finally some automated help came to the rescue, however it wasn’t the end of their problems. Almost as soon as they had stuff online, writers would try to upload their word count for the day only to find the system had been hacked. Pornographic images blared across the screen along with the, ever so clever, words “YOU SUCK!” Sigh. It was a long row to hoe. They persevered and it is now streamlined and easy to register.

The goal is to write fifty thousand words in a month. Simple, right?

Well it is..if you do some preparation beforehand. I’m a true pantster and chuckle at myself when I’m shocked by what just happened on the page. Who knew the characters would do that? I certainly didn’t. I’m also a procrastinator and get easily side tracked. This year I have two tools I’m going to try while jumping in with both feet. On September 8th, 2011, I wrote an article here on the Pomodoro Method of productivity. (If you haven’t read it, I think it will help most writers- All You Need Is A Tomato To Solve Your Problems) This will help me keep on track and make the most of my time.

The other tool I have is a card given to me by Michael Hauge this summer in New York. He is a master teacher and full of wonderful ideas to adapt screen writing techniques for novelists. Screen writers have to have turning points happen at specific times in a movie to keep the audience from getting up and leaving. He’s translated this structure into a lay out for a book.

Stage I(The Set Up) 0-10% ,

Stage II(New Situation) 10-25%,

Stage III(Progress) 25-50%,

Stage IV(Complications And Higher Stakes) 50-75%,

Stage V(Final Push) 75-90/99%,

Stage VI(Aftermath) 90/99-100%.

Turning points are like sling shots to propel your reader to the next stage and they must occur in between each one. By the time you reach Turning Point 3 located between Stage III and Stage IV, your character is at the point of no return- she/he must continue on the quest. This keeps your material fresh and exciting.

As I’ve already stated, I’m not a plotter, but this year I’m doing a general outline of major events so I stay on task and don’t wander off into la-la land with my story. Pacing is so important and I’m hoping this will keep my writing tight and very tense.

If you haven’t tried NaNo, I highly recommend it! Countdown has begun and I’m sure the Pomodoro and Michael Hauge will keep me going!                                                                                                                                     

Tracking Word Counts Made Easy

February 2, 2011

Song of the Day: Firework by Katy Perry

Writers know that there is great satisfaction in meeting and exceeding word count goals. It’s an accomplishment, no matter how big or small, that makes us feel good about our progress. Every word is one more word than the last and brings us closer to the manuscript’s final words ‘the end’.

When participating in challenges such as the madness of NaNoWriMo or The Ruby-Slippered Sisterhood’s Winter Writing Festival, word count benchmarks are essential. An author can waste time figuring up how far they’ve come or how far they’ve got to go.

That’s one reason I enjoy using tools that help me keep track of my progress visually. My choice of tracking device is called Write Track, created by fellow writing daredevil, David Gale. The Write Track is a tracking system custom fit to any author’s need. The writer creates a pre-planned schedule based on their current goals, even as those goals fluctuate. This super easy program has a bar graph to show progress and a calendar which breaks up word counts for each day of the schedule.

Jenn - I would love nothing more than for you to accompany me to my next movie premier. 🙂

Let’s use the Rubies’ Winter Writing Festival as an example. I proposed that I would write 500 words everyday of the challenge. That’s 17,500 words total. Each calendar day will show my goal to be set at 500 words. If I write 1000 words instead of the target 500 words, the calendar adjusts my minimum word count goals lower for the remaining days left in the challenge and I watch my graph grow.

But wait! What if I don’t meet my word count goal? Life happens. The washing machine breaks and a whole day is wasted cleaning up and waiting on the plumber. Or a child gets the flu. Or the MIL makes a surprise visit. Or you have a blog (wink, wink) Poof! The day is gone. The word count is ka-put. No worries, my time-impaired friend. The Write Track calendar will readjust the minimum word count, spreading it out over the rest of the challenge to meet your targeted goal. How cool is that?

Plus, you can give each day a weight. Say Gerard Butler has asked me to be his date for a fancy-smancy movie premier in Cannes next Saturday. (Shh – Let’s not tell DH about this fantasy.) I’ll not be meeting my word count that day. (A girl can dream, right?) Instead of writing 100% of my word count for Saturday, I can give that day a weight of 0%. If I know in advance certain days will not receive my full attention, I can assign those days a weight of 25%, 50%, 75%, or whatever. The tracker will adjust the word count totals for the rest of the calendar accordingly. This makes managing goals guilt-free when daily objectives are not met.

The bottom line? The Write Track can be tailor made for any author. Whether for compulsive writing challenges or maintaining a steady pace on a WIP, a tool that tallies your word count progress can make reaching goals easier and more gratifying.

Hop on over, explore the sight, and give it a shot.

NANO: My Top Ten Lists

December 2, 2010

Song of the Day: All Over Now by Great White

It’s over. Thank the gods of all and sundry, NANOWRIMO is over.

At the beginning of this madness which started back on November 1st, I determined my goal was not the customary 50K words. How completely ludicrous to even entertain the idea that with a 14 month old, a 9 year old, the holidays, and all the responsibilities that I shoulder, I purge out  so many new words. So, I set my goal lower. 25K. That seemed reasonable. Of course, I wasn’t thinking that last week with 9,000+ words to go and Thanksgiving breathing down my neck.

But I did it! And let me tell you, once I hit the magic number, I stopped cold. Right in the middle of a chapter, right in the middle of a scene. I did, however, force myself to finish the friggin’ sentence.

And so, with this experience behind me, I will bestow upon you my NANO Top Ten List.

Top Ten List Why I hate NANO

10 – Explaining why I participate in the stress-inducing madness to non-writers.

9 – No time to blog, twitter, or updating my Facebook status.

8 – Sheer panic watching my minimum word count skyrocket because I failed to keep up.

7 – The “you owe me” look DH gives when he makes dinner for the 4th night in a row.

6 – Watching your writing buddies write circles around you – dweebs.

5 – Wasting time wondering what happens next. NANO is not for pantsters.

4 – Wrinkles! I didn’t have them prior to, say, November 5th.

3 – Cranky, snappish, crying jags, defeatism, opting to have hot pokers seared into my eyes, wanting to give up, and a general overall bad attitude.

2 – Burnout. The refusal to write just one more word, even a terribly abbreviated signature on my child’s progress report.

1 – Whose idea was it to have NANOWRIMO in November? For the love of Pete, it’s the holiday season! Why not February? It’s too cold and dreary to do anything else anyway. Sheesh!

Top Ten List Why I Love NANO

10 – Camaraderie. The world over, people just like me are participating and most don’t need a straightjacket.

9 – The mid-month writing sprint. Hordes of authors get together and write as if their lives depend upon it.

8 – Progression. Whether 50 words or 50, 000 words, it is still a forward motion and that’s got to be good.

7 – The fact that my computer counts Chapter 9 as two words. It’s the little things that make me happy.

6 – Passing your writing buddies in your total word count. (insert evil cackling)

5 – Watching the charts and graphs grow closer to my goal.

4 – The rush of when I can’t type that mind-blowing scene fast enough. Pure genius.

3 – The excitement of my masterpiece unfolding. Really, I’m on the edge of my seat. I can’t wait to find out what happens next.

2 – Realizing that I can move mountains. I can meet a deadline. I am up to the challenge.

1 – The horn-tooting, confetti throwing, glitter ball dropping, lords a’leapin’, incredible feeling of finishing. What an accomplishment!!!

How about you? Did you participate in NANO this year? How’d you do? I’d love to hear from you.

NANO: A discovery

November 10, 2010

Song of the day: Comedown by Bush

Here we are 10 days into NANOWRIMO. Ten days of chugging along spouting brilliant words of lyrical, breathtaking, action packed scenes and snappy dialogue. Right? Right?

By now all of us Nano-ers should be about 30% through with our NANO masterpieces. Myself, I’m running a smidgen over 25%. Sounds good, but keep in mind my goal is not 50,000 words.

Let’s be realistic. I have a 14 month old baby. The only time I can get cranking and write is when she is napping. And I don’t crank. I more or less, turn a handle one rotation and stare out the window wishing for some brilliant flash of genius to tell me what happens next in the story. Yep.  Bona fide pantster, here.

But I’m making the most out of my measly time. I found out something amazing in my quest for making the daily word quota. While my little one is strapped in her car seat and I’m sitting in the truck waiting for my older daughter to be released from school, I write. I write MORE than I do in my study during naptime. Since becoming a writer, I have always used this time in the carpool lane to my advantage, but usually I’m editing, judging contests, or writing for this blog.

So, why this sudden volcanic rush of words? Is it the drive to catch up from another pitiful naptime creativity dribble? Is it the change of scenery? Is it simply a sprint? Is it my anal-retentive brain working with blinders on? Probably a little of all of the above.

It got me to thinking. Maybe now that the weather is turning milder, I could load up the kiddo for naptime and drive to the park, sit in the lot, sip my energy drink, and crank, crank, crank.

Do you have a favorite place that you seem to be able to be more productive than normal? Let me hear from you.

Would it be wrong to apply today’s blog to my daily word count?

NANO: And So It Has Begun

November 3, 2010

Song of the day: Semi-Charmed Life by Third Eye Blind

I would say I was eyeball deep in NANOWRIMO at the moment, but that is only partially true.

NANOWRIMO is the affectionately slangy term for National Novel Writing Month. This is 30 days of  “literary abandon”. Authors scurry to write at least 1667 words a day to meet the 50,000 word mark by midnight, November 30th. We laugh, we cry, we bang our heads against the keyboard to purge words into a novel. Doesn’t matter that the novel likely won’t make a bit of sense.

It’s day three and you can be assured that I have not written the minimum word count. But it’s not for lack of trying. Honestly, the baby doesn’t take long enough naps for me to squeeze in the magic number. However, I have made progress that I am happy with.

So, to honor NANOWRIMO, here is a vidoe clip I hope you enjoy.

Happy Writing!