Let’s Get Ready to Write!

National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) is only days away.  Are you ready?  Here are a few tips to help you prepare to write 50,000 words by the end of the month:

      1.  Write a synopsis. Take a few minutes to jot down the main points of your novel before NaNoWriMo kicks off.  Not quite ready to flesh it out?  That’s okay!  Start by jotting down some plot or character details and maybe they will find their way into your writing.
      2. Make a playlist. Seasoned NaNoWriMo winners suggest making an inspirational playlist that gets your writing juices flowing.  Find those jams that make you feel great and get your playlist ready.
      3. Create a writing space. Having a designated space to write can make it easier and more comfortable for daily writing.  You don’t need a lot of space, just a cozy corner or a spot at the dining room table.  Find a place where you can set up to get those daily words on paper.
      4.  Schedule time to write. One of the hardest parts of NaNoWriMo is finding time to write your daily word average.  If you miss several days, it can feel intimidating to get back on track.  Schedule time each day to sit down and write and stick to it.  The words will add up before you know it!
      5. Find your support network.  Writing 50,000 words in a month takes time and dedication.  Find a support network to keep you moving towards your goal.  There are several options for creating a supportive writing community.  NaNoWriMo offers weekly write-ins for regional groups all over the US.  Another great option for WNBA-LA members is Incite to Write, a new facebook  group to help keep you motivated and writing and take your writing all the way  Not a member, don’t miss out on all the fun.  Join Today!

Author Lilliam Rivera Q &A

WNBA-LA Blog Editor, Laurel Cole, had the chance to ask award-winning writer Lilliam Rivera a few questions.  Here’s what she had to say:

Photo Credit: Vanessa Acosta

Laurel Cole: “What attracted you to writing young adult novels?” 

Lilliam Rivera:” I grew up reading Judy Blume and S.E. Hinton novels when I was young. Although I started my writing career as a journalist, it took me many years to get over this fear of writing fiction. After taking writing classes at UCLA I noticed how every story I wrote would feature a sixteen year old Latina. I love trying to capture that intense time, what I like to call the discovery of firsts— first kiss, first revolutionary act, first major disappointment! It’s so ripe for fiction.”

LC: “What type of writer are you? (Outliner, panster, do you know the ending when you start, etc?)”

LR: “I usually try to write a one-page synopsis to the novel I am hoping to write before I start. I may not look at the synopsis again after I do it but I definitely need to know how the story ends before I begin.”

LC:  “Where is your favorite place to write?”

LR: “My favorite place to write would be my home office but since I don’t actually have a home office where I’m writing at that given time is my favorite place. I try not to put too much emphasis on where because I just want to be able to write wherever and whenever.”

LC: “What is a challenge that you encountered when emerging as an author?

LR: “The challenge I found is my own self doubt, the belief that my story wasn’t valuable enough to be published. I had to really own up to loving my first novel and being fearless in saying that. With my second novel, I don’t have that. Although there is always self doubt creeping in, I just try to work around it.”

LC: “Do you have any advice to share with aspiring authors?”

LR: “My advice is to dedicate every day towards your art. This doesn’t mean writing so many words per day but just really focusing on your writing project even if it’s for one hour so you can reach THE END. You want to finish your project!”

LC: “Anything else you would like to share with your readers?”

LR: “As much as I love writing my novels I love meeting people. Writing can be such a solitary act and stepping out and talking to other people who love literature as much as I do is a real treat.”

Have more questions for Lilliam? Be sure to join us at the Global Voices: Hispanic Heritage event at Creating Conversations in Redondo Beach on October 19th where Lilliam will be joined by fellow authors Mireya Vela and Jennifer Torres.  Best part?  It’s free!

And The Winners Are…

After much deliberation, the 2019 winners have been announced!  Come honor the winners of the 34th Annual Judy Lopez Memorial Award for Children’s Literature at the historic Culver Hotel on September 15th.

The 2019 Medalist is:

The Assassination of Brangwain Spurge
by M. T. Anderson and Eugene Yelchin
(Candlewick Press)

And the 2019 Honor Book Selections are:

Sweep: the Story of a Girl and Her Monster by Jonathan Auxier
(Amulet Books)

The Night Diary by Veera Hiranandani (Dial Books for Young Readers)

You’ve Finished Writing A Book…Now What?

You’ve spent the past months and possibly even years laboring of your work and now you have a finished, edited version of a book.  Congratulations!  But now what?  It can be overwhelming to find a literary agent that wants to take on your project, especially when rejection letters start arriving.  Many authors give up at this point.  Don’t be one of them!

First, spend some time searching for an agent that is looking for your project.  There are many free resources available online.  The MS Wishlist hosts a wealth of information for any author looking for the agent who will work to publish their blood, sweat and tears into a novel. 

MS Wishlist provides authors with tips on what agents are looking for, common mistakes that lead to rejection, a forum for asking agents questions, and also links authors to an associated Twitter feed where agents can request specific topics, genres, and subjects that they are currently wanting to take on as projects.  This provides a way for authors to connect with agents and publishers in their specific genre and provides a way to turn a cold query into a hot lead.

Photo Credit: Zoe Sadokierski

For authors wanting a more hands on approach, many agents provide opportunities for authors to submit segments of their writing for agent review and critique.  MS Wishlist acts as a directory for agents seeking submissions and additionally, links authors to personal critique services for a fee. 

LA locals can take part in an in-person critique session with literary manager Hannah Ozer on Monday, August 26th at Broadway Second Stage where she will live read 2 winning scripts from a recent screenwriting contest.  After the live read, feedback will be provided by Hannah along with script coach Tim Schildberger.  Bring your burning questions, as they will be hosting a Q&A following the live read event.  For more information or to purchase an event ticket, please visit the event page at: LiveRead/LA.