1. They don’t matter. NaNo novels aren’t finished products. They’re hideous messes. Yet, it’s a popular activity that many published authors engage in (probably). Why? Because they prove something to you. The social aspect of having a website and hashtag and, well, Interweb just obscure the fact that NaNo is as personal a venture as anything can be. It doesn’t take a village to write fifty thousand words.
2. Remember that “writing” thing? There’s no reason to write nothing until November. If anything, now is a perfect time to figure out your voice and practice with sketches or exercises so you don’t fizzle out and spend the rest of your month whining or looking for prompts on the forums. Plus, speaking from experience, you need a certain amount of detail in mind to reach novel length.
3. Performance anxiety. NaNo is about quantity, not quality. If you get everyone and their mom hyped up about your idea, how easy will you find crapping out the first draft of that story?
4. You need to be excited through November. Okay, maybe you are self absorbed enough (or… fine, have a long enough attention span) to still be excited and fresh on November 29. But for the rest of humanity…. Make yourself anticipate. Rev up the engine, don’t burn half your fuel half a month out.
5. No, seriously. I don’t care. Finished products are where it’s at. If you can’t deliver, don’t make the promise… and it’s not deliverable until it’s done.
This one is more for people looking into commissioning cover artwork (self-publishing seems to be the big one, although there are so many new zines out there this probably applies to some of them), but also check out this awesome post on E. Kristin Anderson’s blog with all kinds of great insight into the cover process.
Anyway, I recently heard a horror story about commissioned cover artwork (from a friend who was directly involved in the mess), where the only person who really came out on top was the skeevy designer. I did design and Photoshop work through college and a bit afterwards, and I dip my toes into photomanipulation a fair bit, so a lot of this information is based on what I’ve seen around. (Also, there was this point in time where I did an art minor—I took all two digital art classes woooooo.) Sorry for the lack of definitive sources. Read the link above. 😛
I think the worst part of this by far was that the photographer/model wasn’t even informed of what was happening. If there’s any plans to commercialize a work, everyone who has contributed it needs to be aware. Some people are generous enough to release their work without limits, but honestly, if money is involved, better safe than sorry. Continue reading →
As much as I think a list of things writers should do is useless, I think a list of things writers shouldn’t do is great. It’s a lost less constricting, you see.
The biggest one, personally, is the one about taking criticism. The truth is, I have plenty of opinions on how you can make your work better, but I don’t want to share them when I think I’ll get yelled at. a) it’s a waste of my time, and b) it’s not really encouraging.
Anyway, I see so many of these things online, I just want to repost this everywhere. (A friend on one of those sites showed it to me first, so we’re actually mostly covered…oh well.)
I think the most valuable part of this post is the discussion on trademark. Of course your publisher would be the one handling issues of copyright/trademark infringment, but it’s still good to know in this day and age.
I keep meaning to do a nice big post about ‘when writers violate the rights of artists’ but I haven’t got around to it yet.