Gearing Up for NaNoWriMo

NaNoWriMoYes, it’s that time again! Writers everywhere are plotting and planning as they get ready to dive into the trenches of NaNoWriMo.

What’s NaNoWriMo, you may ask? NaNoWriMo stands for National Novel Writing Month and it takes place in November. Started in 1999 by Chris Baty in San Francisco, it soon evolved into a worldwide event organized by The Office of Letters and Light. You can join here.

The only real criteria is that you write 50,000 words in 30 days. There are forums to help you if you get stuck, if you have questions on a plot point, if you need a title, if you need inspiration, or if you want local support.

Our novel, Titanic Deception, started out as a NaNoWriMo rough draft. It’s a lot of fun, and if you’ve never written a novel before, it’s a great way to get started. If you’re an established writer, it can be a a fun way to get that rough draft written quickly. Writers of all calibers participate from all over the world, and for people who don’t care for the solitary aspect of writing, it offers a social aspect we don’t get the rest of the year.

Even if you don’t ‘win’ this year, it’s a wonderful writing exercise. Meeting a daily writing goal can be challenging, but it’s a good discipline to practice. If you don’t do that now, NaNoWriMo can be the perfect excuse to start.

Got your pencils ready?

Than or Then

I can’t tell you how many times I see than and then mixed up. Yes, they sound similar… not exactly alike, but similar. Than rhymes with pan and then rhymes with pen. See? Two different, separate words. Most of us use them correctly when we speak…. just not when we write. How do we remember which is which? It isn’t too hard.

Than is a conjunction (Remember “Conjunction Junction… what’s your function?” from Schoolhouse Rock!) that is used when you are comparing something. I like cheesecake better than strudel.

Then is is an adverb (Remember “Lolly Lolly Lolly Get Your Adverbs Here – Schoolhouse Rock!) that deals with time. You use it when you want to tell the order in which something happened or that you should do things. You see it a lot in recipes. Plate up the noodles and then add the sauce.

All you really need to do when you are stuck in the Than or Then quandry is ask yourself if you are comparing something or telling the order in which something occurs. If you find you are not making a comparison, use then. If you are, use than.