• Here Come The NanoMonkeys


    NaNoWriMo 2007 ParticipantYes, the NanoMonkeys podcast is back for our sophomore year of providing daily episodes of tips, tricks and advice for surviving NaNoWriMo. We’ve expanded the cast of characters this year: Chris Miller, P.G. Holyfield and I are back, but now we’ve brought a bunch of new folks along for the ride. Some of them are participating in NaNoWriMo for the first time, others are published authors, and a few (like me) are die-hard WriMos who just want to spread the love.

    As of this writing, there are two episodes available: in the kick-off episode, Chris, P.G. and I tell you what you can expect from us over the next thirty days and drop a few of our contributors’ names along the way; in Day One, author and game designer Sam Chupp (Heart of the Hunter) gives the rookie WriMos a little pep talk and reminds us repeat offenders that we just need to write.

    1. Download the Kick-off Episode.
    2. Download Day One.
    3. Subscribe to the NanoMonkeys podcast feed.
  • NaNoWriMo 2007: Last Minute Preparations


    NaNoWriMo 2007 Participant
    National Novel Writing Month begins in a few short days, and I still haven’t decided which story I’m writing. I have two potential ideas:

    1. A supernatural detective story set in the mid-nineteenth century. The detective in question is one Bannister Proulx—a name I’m borrowing from last year’s incomplete NaNo effort, Yesterday’s Tomorrow—a police consultant, dabbler in the arcane and amateur magician. While investigating an unusual murder in Cleveland, Ohio, Bannister learns of similar killings in San Francisco, Boston and other far-flung cities across the United States. So similar are the slayings that Proulx can draw only one conclusion: as impossible as it may seem, the grisly crimes are the work of a single individual; a man or woman capable of transporting him or herself across thousands of miles in the span of a few short hours.
    2. A political thriller set in the near future, shortly following America’s triumphant return to the moon. In a whirlwind campaign, the commander of the moon mission gains a seat in the U.S. Senate and seems like a favored candidate for the upcoming Presidential race, until he dies under mysterious circumstances while on the campaign trail. The police detective assigned to the case digs a little deeper than her superiors would like, and finds herself involved in not one, but two far-reaching conspiracies that could very well alter mankind’s destiny on Earth.

    That second idea was born out of an attempt to play Primetime Adventures several months ago. Chris Miller, Miscellaneous G™ and I fleshed out the basic premise over a couple of hours one evening, but the idea has been simmering in the back of my head ever since, and I’d love to fill in the details.

    I’d definitely feel more comfortable writing in (or near to) the present day, but over the weekend I started mind-mapping the gas-lit detective story using, a free online brainstorming tool. I didn’t get as far as I’d hoped, but it was cool to mess around with for a couple of hours.

    Then there’s the matter of word-processors. Last year I used yWriter for both Yesterday’s Tomorrow and the untitled superhero novel, and I loved it. Unfortunately, yWriter is a Windows application and this year I’ll probably be doing most of my writing in Linux. I’ve yet to identify a suitable substitute (at least as far as yWriter’s outlining and character tools are concerned), so I’ll probably be using or Google Docs. I’m leaning toward the former, as I’m not sure I’ll always have a reliable Internet connection when I’m writing and Google Docs is an online app.

    I haven’t found a decent progress meter yet, either. The API for is nowhere to be found on the official website at present, so I may have to revert to the home-grown progress meter I made a couple of years ago.

    So I’ve got two and a half days to decide what I’m going to write, how I’m going to write it and how I’m going to keep track of my progress here at Oh, and did I mention the five-minute essays I need to write and record for The NaNoMonkeys? Yeah, there’s those, too.

  • Prepping for NaNoWriMo 2007


    NaNoWriMo 2007 ParticipantIs it mid-October already? That can mean only one thing: National Novel Writing Month (or NaNoWriMo, as the kids call it; or, as the Ancient Ones knew it, November) is right around the corner. Once again, thousands of aspiring writers from all over the globe will attempt to write a 50,000 word novel in just 30 short days.

    This will be my fifth consecutive year participating in NaNoWriMo and—though I’ve only hit that 50,000 word goal once before (in 2005)—I’m pretty jazzed about it. People still say that, right? Jazzed? Anyway, I’ve got a couple of ideas floating around in my head and I’m going to try some pre-NaNo mindmapping exercises to knock some of the details loose before I commit the first words to paper (or electrons) on 01 November.

    The (morbidly or otherwise) curious among you can view my NaNoWriMo profile at any time to get an idea of how well I’m doing, but I’ll also have a handy word-o-meter in the sidebar at to provide a constant reminder that I need to be cranking out 1,667 words per day throughout the month. I’ll also be recording a couple of episodes for The NanoMonkeys, the (Parsec-nominated!) daily tips, tricks and encouragement podcast Chris Miller, Mur Lafferty, P.G. Holyfield and I did last year. We’re doing it again for NaNoWriMo 2007 and we’ve got a lot of new participants, including Sam Chupp, Jason Penney and Natalie Metzger, just to name a few. Stay tuned!

    In addition to NaNoWriMo I’m going to take another stab at National Blog Posting Month, or NaBloPoMo, and attempt to write—at a minimum—one blog post every day in November. Last year when I did NaBloPoMo I was writing daily posts about my NaNoWriMo progress; this year, I’ll be posting pictures of my HoNoToGroABeMo progress, and if you’re wondering what the heck that is (and why there’s no link to the appropriate website), read on…

    HoNoToGroABeMo (short for How Not to Grow a Beard Month) is a project of my own devising. On October the 31st, I will be shaving my goatee off and letting my beard grow for an entire month, documenting the process with a daily photograph. It is my sincere belief that the bizarre follicle topography of my face makes it impossible for me to grow a full beard, so I’m giving my cheeks and chin thirty days to prove me wrong. I’ll still be shaving my neck just below the jawline, because after a few days that hair drives me up the wall, but the aforementioned cheeks and chin will remain untouched by my Mach 3 (but occasionally groomed with my beard trimmer to maintain some semblance of civility on my grizzled visage) throughout the month of November.

  • Podcast Stuff: The 2007 Parsec Awards


    I can only assume that some clerical error has led to The NanoMonkeys being one of the finalists for the 2007 “Best Writing-related Podcast” Parsec Award.

    The NanoMonkeys, which ran all through November of 2006, was a series of short tips and tricks to help NaNoWriMo participants write a 50,000 word novel in 30 days. The series featured episodes from Mur Lafferty, Chris Miller, P.G. Holyfield and me.

    There’s a full list of categories and nominees at the Parsec site, but here’s the list of nominees for “Best Writing-related Podcast”, so you can see what we’re up against.

    • The NanoMonkeys. That’s us.
    • DragonHearth. Tracy and Laura Hickman. Between them, Tracy and Laura have authored or co-authored something in the neighborhood of 40 fantasy and science-fiction novels. That we’re on the same list with them simply blows my mind.
    • The Secrets Podcast for Writers. Michael A. Stackpole. Another name that makes me wonder how we could possibly be in the running for this award. Mike has written more than 35 novels, including several Star Wars novels that made The New York Times Bestsellers list.
    • I Should Be Writing. Mur Lafferty. Yes, Mur is nominated for two podcasts in the same category. She’s also got two of the three nominations in the “Best Speculative Fiction (Novella Form)” category and a nomination in the “Best Speculative Fiction (Short Form)” category. She’s been busy.
    • Whispers at the Edge. Phillippa Ballantine. New Zealand native Phillippa Ballantine is the author of Chasing the Bard, a tale of faeries in Elizabethan England, where only a young William Shakespeare can prevent the destruction of the World of the Fey.