Fall 2015 slate of preparatory workshops

t’s that time of year again. The time when millions of people around the world sit at their computers, or grab their pen and notepads, and write a novel during the month of November. The world wide phenomenon known as Nanowrimo is set to begin Sunday, November 1st. The question is, are you ready? For many, the answer is not quite. So what can we do to prepare? Thankfully, the members of the Naperwrimo writer’s group, supported by area libraries, are here to help you prepare for the frantic fun just around the corner. During the month of October, there are four preparatory sessions planned for writers to meet and prepare their plots, characters, or writing brains for the upcoming month. The first preparatory session will be October 3rd at the Nichols Library in Naperville, run by Anastasia Zoldak and Todd Hogan. Are you a planner or pantser? Don’t know?! Then join us for an introductory NaNoWriMo session on story beat points, discuss genres and learn how NaNoWriMo can support your writing. Let’s have some fun! Join us on our adventure as we discuss the basics and challenges of writing. The second preparatory session is the night of Thursday, October 8th at the Aurora Public Library. Tim Yao and Catherine Brennan lead this preparatory workshop. The why’s & how’s of writing a novel in a month. Bring your laptop or notebook and pen to this highly interactive and entertaining workshop to gain a better understanding of how NaNoWriMo works and how you can succeed in writing your novel this November. There will be (small) prizes and even an example word war! The third session in our series is October 10th at the 95th Street Library in Naperville. Whether you’re a plotter strategizing your battle plan or a pantser curious about investing in a Nanowrimo road map, this session will help you visualize your novel rather than writing blind. Led by Sam Brown, aka “Basil Cliffside,” you will learn how to turn your story idea into 30 bite-sized pieces so you can avoid that deer-in-the-headlights feeling every day you’re faced with an empty page. Our last session of the year is October 17th at the Nichols Library in Naperville. Todd Hogan and Kathryn Stepp will host a session focusing on the characters for your novel. In this workshop, titled Characterology 101: Heroes, Villains, Lovers, and Amigos, you will take a look at Characters’ roles in your stories.  Also, you will study the difference between stereotypes, archetypes and your own characters. Attendees are encouraged to come dressed as one of their favorite characters. There will be two breakout sessions:
    • Explore Character Development and their Motivation / Mindset
    • Use Characters’ Conflicts and Motivations to Create Scenes
Also, be sure to join us for the potluck kickoff party on Saturday October 24th at the lunch room of the Naperville Municipal Center from 11:45 -2:45. There will be food, games, and fun for all. Once the writing has begun, we will have our annual all day write-in Friday November 13th at rooms BC of the Naperville Municipal Center. This write-in will begin at 9am and won’t finish until 9pm. This all day event is a great way to sit for hours and churn out words, or even stop by for a short word war or two to get ahead on your word count. The Naperville region of NaNoWriMo, representing the cities and suburbs west of Chicago, is partnering with many area libraries to offer write-in events in November for people to use to work on their novel while others around them are working on theirs. These libraries include: Aurora (the new Main branch), Bloomingdale, Carol Stream, Geneva, Glen Ellyn, Helen Plum Library (Lombard), Indian Prairie (Darien), Nichols Library (Naperville), Plainfield, Warrenville, Wheaton, and Woodridge. In addition, the Side Street Studio Arts (Elgin), in conjunction with the Elgin Literary Festival, is participating this year. For more information, see naperwrimo.org.

What is NaNo?

“What is NaNo?”

This is a conversation I had with my imaginary friend, Hazleton Chesterford, after a recent The Writing Journey™ (“ThWriJo™”) meeting.
“Well, obviously,” I said, “it’s short for National Novel, so when people ask, ‘Are you doing NaNo this year?’ they’re asking if you’re doing “National Novel,” as if that makes any kind of sense.”
Also, did you notice that if people do say WriMo, they say it like…”Rye-Mo,” as if they pronounce “writing” as “Rye-ting.” I certainly didn’t notice.
“But what IS NaNo?” Hazleton insisted. “Is it:
A) A kind of challenge/performance art where you see how much typing you can do within thirty days
or
B) An attempt to see if you can create something shaped like a novel that is not totally horrible, confined within the bounds of a thirty day parcel of time
?”
I frowned at this point, possibly owing to the dodgy formatting of the question.
If it’s the former, then it makes sense to prepare. Make notes. Make outlines. Generate characters. Create plots. Perhaps type up a few practice drafts while you’re at it. Make it something that can’t be confined by the space of a mere thirty days. Scoff at the concept of a “month” and simply use that set of weeks to hone a vision to razor-sharp prefection.
If it’s the latter, then writing for word count on a strict time limit while celebrating and preparing for holidays is probably not going to result in the next The Great Gatsby. Actually, since The Great Gatsby is dreadful, perhaps it will.
“In my opinion,” I answered, after careful consideration, “it is what you make of it.”
Hazleton fell silent for a moment.
“I wonder if it’s related in any way to the fact that so many new novels appear on Smashwords in December.”
ABSOLUTELY NOT.