Nano Nay Sayers

Don’t Go Knocking my Nano

It’s that time of year again: Nanowrimo. Yes, National Novel Writing Month is in full swing again and I am deep in its trenches trying to help out my local Municipal Liaison where I can. I love Nano. It helped me write my first finished novel. It helped me make some fabulous writerly friends and learn about new opportunities for writing in my area. Why does any of that sound bad to people?

First, let me explain a little for newbies what exactly Nano is. A bunch of crazy people around the world (in the hundreds of thousands now) try to write a novely looking thing of 50,000 words in the month of November. While 50k is not quite a novel, it is a doable number for most people in 30 days. At the end of 30 days, most will have the beginnings of novel and can feel very proud for the great accomplishment.

Why would anyone want to down this crazy, fun time? Why must the nay sayers come out in full force? I get their worries, but why cram that down the throats of people who would otherwise never write a book? Here are the issues many have with Nano:

1. Too many people only write in November and then never again.

2. Too many people think that what they write in November is a shiny, finished project and try to sell their wares the second Dec. 1st hits.

3. We are goats following the herd and can’t think for ourselves.

4. If you aren’t Nanoing, we somehow won’t associate with you.

5. The writing of 50k words in one month means all the words are garbage (sorta goes along with #2)

I will start with number 1. This is true. There are some who only write in November because of the community they have surrounding them. What’s wrong with that? If that’s what they want to do, so be it. It doesn’t make them any less of a writer. A “real” writer doesn’t have to write 365 days a year, no matter what other people say.  If they aren’t in it for money, what difference does it make?  And what harm is that to these nay sayers? Some people dabble.  So what? Get over yourselves.

2. This is also unfortunately true. While it is only a small percent of all the people who participate in Nano, there are some that don’t understand the publishing industry and don’t do their homework before throwing out a very rough draft into the world.  It is sad, but to judge every single Wrimo based on this is ridiculous. No two writers are identical so why would you lump us all together because we all did a writing challenge? Not to mention, are you telling me that there aren’t people who do this that have never participated in Nano?

3. We can very much think for ourselves. We’re writing 50k words straight from our brain, aren’t we? Heck, there are some who can drag out 100k or even 150k during the 30 days. I think that requires a few unique brain cells. Nano has a great community and although writing is a solitary sport, we can commiserate with each other about the ups and downs we all go through.

4. Just because Nano doesn’t work for you or you choose not to do it, it doesn’t mean we can’t be friends. We may not talk as much during November due to the insane quest to draft, draft, draft, but that doesn’t mean we don’t love people who don’t wanna Nano.

5. Um, to quote a whole bunch of famous, published authors: 1st drafts are crap. I don’t enjoy editing when I’m writing a first draft because it slows me down to the point that I would never finish and I would hate it all way too fast. If you like to edit as you write, good for you—I DON’T.  The choice of editing it all later vs. as you write just means we have two different methods. Isn’t that the beauty of being human? That we’re all different? If we all did things exactly the same way, we’d be robots and who the heck would want to read those mechanically written books?

There are probably other reasons that people hate on it and I’m good with not knowing them. People hate what they don’t understand and this is no different. Not everyone drafts the same. Some people prefer to edit as they write, most doing Nano don’t.  Being able to spew out words until we finish a first draft is the safest choice for people who have trouble finishing.  All writing is rewriting anyways, so getting the basics of the story out onto paper gives a base to start molding and shaping the story into something great.

Whether you like Nano or not, I hope we can all agree that a program that helps give new writers a place to feel safe and learn how to start a writing routine is a good thing. It’s just one of many resources out there for writers. Besides, one crazy month out of twelve really isn’t that much to deal with. Thirty days will be over before you know it! Uh, oh, I better go write!


A Date with Kai Kiriyama and Pathogen: Patient Zero

I’m so lucky to get to do a post for a lovely writer I hope you all come to know and love like I do. Kai Kiriyama has now published her second book, Pathogen: Patient Zero through Lemorn Literary Works.   

Kai was great enough to talk a little about her book and zombies for me so without further ado, a little zombie talk with Kai.

First off, I would like to say hello to everyone and a HUGE thank you to Red for hosting me on this, the very last stop of the Pathogen: Patient Zero blog tour. It’s been a pretty crazy 10 days and I’ve met and chatted with so many awesome people about my new book and about writing and life in general. I wouldn’t be here without the support of my peers and my friends and there are not enough words to thank you all for the support you’ve given me.


All right, enough of the sappy thank you crap. Let’s talk Zombies.


So, it’s pretty obvious that I’m a bit of a zombie nut. I mean, Pathogen is slated to be a trilogy. I have been working for Zombie Training Magazine ( for over a year now and a serial novel of mine is being published there as well. My room is full of zombie stuff. I have a bunch of Walking Dead merchandise. I have met several key cast members. I have a little inflatable zombie punching bag on my desk that I named Joe and I use for stress relief when I’m busy writing. Hell, I have weapons in my room so that they’re close at hand in case of zombies. It’s pretty safe to say that I’m a little bit obsessed.

Now, I’m not saying that “holy hell, YES, zombies are gonna happen like tomorrow! Prepare! PREEEPAAARE!”


Mostly ’cause that’s crazy.


On the other hand, being prepared for a “zombie apocalypse” means that you’re very likely prepared to deal with a natural disaster or other major catastrophe. I’m rebuilding my emergency kits in my home, and I’m planning one for my mom’s car. Simple things like a 72 hour emergency kit – something that even the CDC tells you that you should have – are great steps forward in preparing yourself for zombies. Or floods, fires, hurricanes, tornadoes, winter storms that knock out the power, or even major threats to a city like bomb threats.


To be honest, I also wanna get out of the city. I want a farm. If you’re familiar with Walking Dead, then you’ll know Hershel and his farm. I want something like that. But with a prison wall around the property. I’m not paranoid. I promise.


In one of the first stops on this tour, you’ll remember that I said that zombies are the one monster in pop culture that hasn’t “lost their bite” and I still stand by that. Zombies are scary as hell. They’re the one thing that you really can’t make sexy. (Unless you’re into necrophilia, and in that case I’d suggest that you walk away and please don’t talk to me.) Zombies are dead, rotting corpses. They are killing machines. They don’t feel pain, and they’re only after their next meal. Like undead sharks. (And I think I just wrote a B-movie. I’ll keep y’all posted on Necro-Shark.)


Zombies are the one monster that could theoretically happen at any given time. A lab accident that mutates salmonella, or a virus unearthed from deep inside the Congo. Or, and this is my personal theory, the makeup companies learn how to revive dead cells to make women appear younger and then that gets out of control and BOOM, we have zombies. Scary when you think about it, right? Especially in that context!

Zombie evolution

Anyway, I’m a fan of zombies, and I write zombie stories because it’s something that I love and want to share with everyone else. I really think that my stories are a little bit more unique than the standard run-and-kill stories and I hope that they’re something that you all will read and enjoy.


Thank you again for coming with me on this crazy journey full of undead mayhem and stuff. It’s been rad. I hope to hear from y’all soon, and I really hope that you’ll all read Pathogen: Patient Zero and lemme know what you think.


A question for you before I go, answer me in the comments: What’s your zombie apocalypse theory? How do you think the zombies are gonna start and what are you doing to prepare?


Thanks again!


-Kai Kiriyama




My Twitter Journey aka Gushing

For years, I have been working at writing screenplays.  Only recently have I ventured into the novel writing arena.  With this newest venture, a whole new world has been opened up for me.  First came Nanowrimo (aka National Novel Writing Month).  I have met some awesome local writers who have become great friends and who keep me on task.  Next came Twitter and an entire universe unfolded before me.

Here are even more people like me! All writing. All struggling. All in the same boat. Together. People who understand me and what it feels like to write—create.   And the access to people! Not sure what to name a character? Send a tweet out and get tons of answers seconds later.  Curious how long it took someone to write their about-to-be published work? Ask.  There’s a good chance they will answer.

When I first joined Twitter, I had no clue what on earth I was doing.  Thank goodness for @mixeduppainter (you should follow her, she is awesomely sarcastic and just as awesomely talented).  She helped me find some people to follow and gain some followers myself.  As I played around, I came across the hashtag (#) writeclub.  There’s a club on Twitter for us? I asked what this fabulous #writeclub was all about.  @MeganWhitmer and @MeganPasch answered me and I was hooked.  People from all across the country writing together on Twitter on Friday nights.  They also occasionally sneak a quick session on other days, but the main event is on Fridays.

As I continued to meet new people, I also started to follow their journeys.  Namely, the journeys of @MeganWhitmer and @LeighAnnKopans.  I respect these two ladies and was intrigued by the bits of their stories that I was coming to understand.  It was from following these two on Twitter that I found out what CP’s are. That’s critique partners for those of you who didn’t know what that meant either.

The more I got on Twitter, the more I stalked these two for the wealth of knowledge that they are.  Don’t get me wrong, I stalk plenty of people so don’t think I’m leaving you out.  I probably stalk you or will stalk you given the chance.  Anywho, back to my point.  As I followed Megan and Leigh Ann, I found myself cheering them on and praying for them to get published.  Watching their struggles made me want more and more for them to accomplish their dreams.

So, I find myself blogging my gushing pride for two people I’ve never met because 140 Twitter characters cannot describe how excited you can get for someone to accomplish their dreams before your eyes.  These two women are not the only ones I’m rooting for.  There’s a whole slew of writers that I am eagerly awaiting great news for.  One of which is @mixeduppainter who is not quite to querying, but when she is, I will be crying with her through rejections and doing a dance when she gets to that pinnacle of being published.  And @careytorg who is currently querying is another I am rallying for.

If you’re not on Twitter, you really should be.  Not just for the fabulous friends you will make, but for the knowledge you can gain.  And seeing someone succeed is a nice bonus, too.

Lastly, Megan’s and Leigh Ann’s book are not out yet, but they will be soon so you should totally go and read them.  Between will be out in 2014 and One is coming June 11, 2013 with its sequel Two out October 2013.  One and Two will be self-published so stay tuned for more info.  Or check out their blogs to stay informed:

Oh, and if you have a sudden urge to get on Twitter, besides all the above, there are numerous others that would take too long to put here that you should follow.  Follow me @seeredwrite and I can suggest writers of all shapes and sizes for you to follow.  Some of my lovely Twitter friends write for this other cool blog:

Blog Hop!

So I got tagged for a blog hop by the fabulous Katie Teller.  Life decided to make this a day late, but better late than never, right?! Now I get to answer some questions about my WIP.  I’m sure you are dying to see the answers so here we go!

1. What is the working title of your book?

Seeing as I am coming up empty with a title, it is Untitled Circus at the moment.  I keep hoping the right title will jump out and bite me, but it appears to be playing hide and seek.

2. Where did the idea come from for the book?

I was writing a screenplay for June Camp Nanowrimo and I kept telling everyone on the Elsewhere in WI FB page for Nano to put a circus in their story. Said enough times, the circus must have gotten stuck in my head! (yes, I like my exclamation points! sue me!)

3. What genre does your book fall under?

I am undecided exactly. It is YA. There is a bit of fantasy or paranormal. Someone else suggested mystery, but I’m not sold on it.  Maybe it’s hiding with the title.

4. Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?

This was tough for me. I imagined original characters.  I never cast my book and imagined any actors for roles.

Both Lizzy and Ella are 15 year olds and I picture them as blondes but hair dye can fix that.  My choices are between: Chloe Moretz, Abigail Breslin, Willow Shields, and Maude Apatow.

Alex– Zac Efron, Robbie Amell, or Chace Crawford

Edmund–Matt Bomer, Chris Pine

Asher–Jeremy Renner, Alex O’Loughlin

Billy–Henry Cavill, Colin Egglesfield, Justin Long

Hep–Eli Wallach

Ophelia(red hair)–Emma Stone, Rachel McAdams, Jenna Dewan, ideally a young Robin Lively

Ringmaster/Puppeteer–Stuart Townsend

5.What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?

Well, I tried to get it down to one sentence, but I have two. I still need to work on it, but for now, it works.

The circus where all your nightmares come true.  While 15 year old Ella is trapped performing against her will, her best friend Lizzy bands with former circus captives to free her and bring the circus down.

6. Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?

While I’m not against self-pubbing, I would like to start out traditionally and take it from there. If the time comes where I believe it is best to publish it myself, I will then go in that direction.

7. How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?

It was my August Camp Nano so it was just over a month to finish the story.  I won my June and August Nano’s 🙂

8. What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?

I’m not exactly sure because it is a dual POV. I’m horrible at comparing which I think comes in handy. I don’t look at the other books and wish mine was like them. I do wish I wrote like other writers, though.

9. Who or what inspired you to write this book?

Erin Morgenstern’s The Night Circus.  Not only do I love that book, but she got her idea during a Nano.  She was unable to do much with her story so she sent her characters to a circus.  Although The Night Circus wasn’t technically written during Nano, it was Nano inspired.

10. What else about your book might pique a reader’s interest?

It is dual POV switching from 1st person to 3rd person between the two girls’ adventures.  There is snark, mind powers, quirky characters, and what’s not to love about a cursed circus?

Now that I’ve let you know all about my latest baby, here are some other people you should check out in 2 weeks when they dish about their projects.  Heck, check out their awesome blogs while you wait!

Jason Cantrell

Elise Valente

Amanda Kespohl

Sabrina the awesome