NaNoWriMo Preparedness

It’s NaNoWriMo preparedness time!

November kind of sneaks up on you, so fair warning, as of today Oct 4th, NaNoWriMo is a mere 4 weeks away.

For you local writers seeking a state of preparedness that might stave off panic come November 1st, we have pre-NaNo write-ins three weekends in October.  Use them to plot, develop ideas, or characters, bounce questions off the group, get website or book recommendations, pretty much anything having to do with novel writing-you ask we’ll do our best to answer.

For my web-based writer friends I recommend these resources to help you prepare. Check out the WriNoShore website, Wednesday Woo posts for even more writing links.

Obvious, but chock full of helpful information to get you started is NaNoWriMo’s own website,

Chuck Wendig’s books and blog are a favorite, be forewarned he is loose with the crude language, and I love him for it.

An interesting search engine I’ve just started exploring,


Are you new to NaNoWriMo?

The WriNoShores are a regional writing group that germinated and grew from our NaNoWriMo experience. While we have a distinct identity from NaNoWriMo for the month of November  we are devoted to participating in NaNoWriMo as the North Shore region of Massachusetts.  We’ve discovered over the years that each region has their own way of doing things, though the basics are the same.

The ML (Municipal Liaison) arranges for places to hold write-ins during the month of November, ours has NaNo Prep Write-Ins several weekends in October to help one another with plot ideas and familiarize newbies with the process. We have a variety of write-ins held in libraries, coffee shop, tea shops, and private homes and attended by anywhere between 2 to 20+ writers.

I can’t stress enough how productive our write-ins are. We are very dedicated to helping you reach you word counts which we do by holding word sprints. Word sprints are 20 minute focused writing sessions, often back-to-back with fifteen minute breaks between sets. It is amazing how the energy of all those writers pounding out the words helps you concentrate. It is rare that someone doesn’t find this event works for them, truly, most are pleasantly surprised.

As anyone in our group will attest, we are convivial, but serious minded, kind, accepting, and helpful. We strive to be productive, yet balance that with copious amounts of tea, coffee, and chocolate, administered as necessary.

If you have any questions don’t hesitate to ask, here or on our NaNoWriMo regional forum.



Recommended: Daring Greatly by Brené Brown

I’m not exactly going out on a limb here in recommending a book I haven’t read yet since I’m sure I’m going to love it (I did!). I already love this woman, her message and her willingness to share what she’s learned.

You can get a feel for her and what she has to say on her website here and watch her brilliant TED talks on vulnerability here and shame here. Check out the book trailer for Daring Greatly.

“Our willingness to own and engage with our vulnerability determines the depth of our courage and the clarity of our purpose.” Brené Brown

Some who’ve read the book and reviewed it—Sarah Pinneo on Blurb is a Verb and The Pioneer Woman’s review.

As soon as I get my hands on it I’ll let you know if it does indeed deserve my blind recommendation. I have so much faith in her message I just couldn’t wait for you to hear about it.

UPDATE: Of course I loved it. I highly recommend it.

Reviews or Recommendations?

On my list of things to blog about I had some notes on why I don’t trust book reviews, and the pros and cons of posting my own reviews. It seems to be hot topic on twitter of late. Just a few weeks ago, blogger/writer Nina Badzin wrote a very interesting article, Why I Don’t Trust Book Reveiws Online. Her take, which I basically agree with, is that online reviews are untrustworthy.

This morning, reinforcing that view, was this article, RJ Ellroy’s Secret Amazon Reviews Anger Rivals. It’s about a writer posting under a fake name, trashing other writer’s books and praising his own. The bastard. All to common too.

What’s A Reader To Do?

Because I’m not shy about writing on subjects political, that many, many people hide behind the anonymity the web affords one, is no shocker to me. It seems to predispose some to more petulant behavior than they would other wise indulge in. We teach our children not to say online what you wouldn’t say to someone face, for a reason. Adults should heed this too. I’d like to say I’m surprised by the vileness you find in the comment sections of most news sites but I’m not.

Which is why I struggle with anonymous authorship. I know it’s not as simple as not allowing it. The reality is there’s a need to protect ones identity in certain situations. For example: a friend was the victim of domestic abuse and stalked to the point where she had to move out of state and change her name. While I sympathize with those who hold positions where their personal beliefs could jeopardize their careers, I’d rather we required full disclosure of ones identity hoping it would foster a higher level accountability for what we say online and in print. Real names. Real consequences.

I like to imagine the ugliness would be lessened, perhaps even the political discussions would be less heated, more focused on solutions rather than name calling, and the truth more readily apparent. But, truth is subjective, and ugly people say ugly things, and always will. How else explain Rush Limbaugh? So maybe nothing would really change. But I digress, back to books.

Who Do You Trust?

How you find reviews that have veracity and relevancy to you?

What’s worked for me is to familiarizing myself with Goodreads reviewers. It’s easy enough to uncover like-minded readers on there than search for book and read the random reviews on the big bookseller site’s where reviews are too anonymous, too untrustworthy.

Once I’ve found my fellow readers I search what books they have in their to-read list for anything that looks interesting. I also add them to my friends list so I can get updates when they post new reviews.

There are plenty of bloggers, writers, and critics who review works online but it takes some effort to find the ones that speak to you. The advantage to taking the time to find them is, once you do so you have a trusted reliable source.

The reality is people still get most recommendations from friends and family. Second best, a local bookstore. There you can get to know the proprietor and staff most of whom have recommend reading lists. The better they get to know you, the more precise their selections and recommendation.  Don’t forget your local libraries either. Librarians are readers too and are happy to help you find new and interesting material to read.

Reviews or Recommendations?

The question still on the table is, should I review books for my blog? I think for now, the answer is no. I do post what passes for reviews on Goodreads. To be clear though, these are not detailed critiques. I don’t write a synopsis because it’s right there above my review.

What I do share is my feelings about the book, what I think about the plot, the characters, very subjective stuff not an too much analysis of the author skill, though I will comment on obvious flaws just to warn you. I suggest you read my reviews to see what I mean. Run through the list of books I’ve read to see if you agree with my assessments. If you do, then you’ll likely enjoy the books I recommend.

Eventually, I’ll make a page devoted to those I trust as reviewers.

For now, I will post recommendations here and links to my reviews on Goodreads.






Recommended: My Book Reviews

I occasionally write reviews on Goodreads. When I have new ones I’ll post a link of my recommended books here.

The Future of Recommended Books

There has been a discussion around the blog-sphere concerning author quid pro quo marketing that leaves readers questioning whether they can trust reviews.

These are legitimate (a word here that means “justified”, in case you are a Republican representative from Missouri) concerns. I myself do not trust the big book seller’s starred reviews anymore.

My end-run is to build a list of reviewers whose opinions I trust. I typical start at Goodreads to see what my friends are reviewing/reading.

The more venues you peruse the more likely it is that you will find reviewers whose opinions you can respect and trust. Some of my favorite reviews come from these bloggers, publications or websites:

Diane Prokop

The Rumpus



I don’t read much science fiction or fantasy so it’s especially import for me to trust the reviewers opinion. These guys are funny too.

Elitist Book Reviews