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Pep Talk from Nic Stone

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You Can Do Iiiiiiiit!

A NaNoWriMo Pep(ish) Talk by Nic Stone


Everything stinks a little bit right now, doesn’t it? Panoply-Panini-Panorama Pandemics, global conflicts, overt acts of inhumanity, natural disasters… And here YOU are out here trying to be creative. Trying to write a whole 50,000 word novel.

First: kudos to you. I know—from experience—how hard it can be to make things when the world is more or less falling apart. There are questions of What’s the point? and Does this really even matter in the grand scheme? and Is anybody even going to have the time or energy to read this? But I will also say—from experience—that there’s something therapeutic about having a world completely within your control at a time like this. Once I was able to get past that initial writer’s block (during which I just wrote a bunch of bunk), I realized that my stories were places I could escape into when the world outside my window had become too much.

Which leads me to number two: what you are creating is wholly yours. Make it what you want it to be. It doesn’t have to be “realistic” (unless you want it to be). It doesn’t have to reflect what’s happening in the world (unless you want it to). It doesn’t have to include a pandemic or world conflict or extremist groups overtaking whole nations (unless that’s what you want it to include). Your story is the dancer, and you are the dance. You lead. You set the steps. You call the shots.

Now on to three… Listen: November is thirty days long. Thirty. Dass it. No one—I repeat: NO ONE—writes a ready-to-publish novel in thirty days. No one. So have fun with it. You’re going to have to revise it. Don’t bother trying to make it perfect. There are no shortcuts in this game. Consider this your clay making. The spinning/shaping/vase-making will happen in December (or if you’re like me, February-ish). What I’m getting at here: the novel-shaped thing we wind up with at the end of this month isn’t likely to be spectacular. So just work on, you know, getting as much done as you can. And having a good time with it.

Okay great.

Back to work with you!

Love, Nic

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Nic Stone was born and raised in a suburb of Atlanta, GA, and the only thing she loves more than an adventure is a good story about one. After graduating from Spelman College, she worked extensively in teen mentoring and lived in Israel for a few years before returning to the US to write full-time. Growing up with a wide range of cultures, religions, and backgrounds, Stone strives to bring these diverse voices and stories to her work.

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