Tag Archives: NanoWriMo

Nanowrimo Housecleaning Blues…


So what I want to know is WHY – if I am writing a young adult novel in NaNoWriMo – does my freaking house look like the crime scene from out of a police procedural? Housecleaning is a joke. Both my wife and I are hard at work on simultaneous NaNoWriMo projects.

It is not that I am all that fussy about keeping the house tidy. We pick up what we can. If we can see the occasional glimpse of floorboards between the dust, the dirt and the accumulated debris – we are happy. But yesterday I swear that I saw the film crew from HOARDERS walking through my living room…


So how is your day going?

chalk outline

yours in storytelling,

Steve Vernon

PS: Do me a favor and grab a copy of TALES FROM THE TANGLED WOODS today. It is FREE on Kindle for today only. Happy Monday, folks!

Ten Tips for #NaNoWriMo

1 – Write like your ass is on fire and you are farting gasoline.

2 – Put the pedal to the metal and go. Writing a novel is nothing more than a road trip between “once upon a time” and “happy ever after”. The sooner you get there the sooner you are done.

3 – Don’t take any detours. Drive straight through just as fast as you can.

4 – Pour out your words with the pure and unbridled and whole-bellied honest velocity of a frat house kegger power-hurl. Vomit out that first draft. Blow great funky-chunks of prose all over the place. You can clean up your mess in December.

5 – Lay down words like you were a thunderstruck bricklayer building a life-size recreation of the Great Wall of China out of Lego building blocks and you possessed the keys to the Lego factory.

6 – Line up all of your apostrophes against a wall – (not the Great Wall – you are building that, remember?) – and shoot them full of bullet holes. Remember – “you’re” only counts as ONE word while “you are” counts as two.

7 – It helps to have a road map. Nail a big old sheet of poster board to the wall of your writing cave and scribble notes to every plot point you think of. Don’t trust your memory. Memory is a lying cad with unspoken dreams of political achievement – whose mouth runs in both directions at once.

8 – Don’t think too much. Just focus on remembering those two magic words “AND THEN”.

9 – Don’t let your face be seen on Facebook for the entire month of November. Leave the twittering to the birds. Unlink your LinkedIn and completely lose all Pinterest in posting pretty pictures. Time wasted is words poured needlessly down the drain-hole.

10 – Don’t ask me why I am writing this blog. I really ought to be writing right now.


If you enjoyed this blog entry why don’t you pick up one of my e-books?

Steve Vernon on Kindle!

Steve Vernon on Kobo!

yours in storytelling,

Steve Vernon

#NaNoWriMo Meets #Movember

November used to be a pretty quiet month.

Back in the day I used to work most of my school visits through the bulk of October and then November would start to slow down. The tourist trade would dwindle for the winter and the New Age bookshop where I worked at would grow pretty quiet as well.

This year, however, November is a little livelier.

Let’s start with Halloween.

I always enjoy dressing up for work and I decided this year that I was going to shave off my beard – which I have worn for over twenty years – as part of my costume.

Author at Signing

“Why don’t you try a Fu Manchu mustache?” my wife asked me. “I have always wanted to see you in one.

Which led to this.

Halloween 2014 mugshots 003However, this year I had also quietly decided to myself that I was going to take part in Movember and grow my own mustache. Now I know some fellows would be happy just to do it this way – shaving their beard and leaving the mustache – but I decided that I wanted to start with a clean slate.

Which led to this.

Movember 001

If you click this photograph it will take you directly to my Movember fundraising page. I feel a little guilty about this – especially because I spend so much time jumping up and down asking folks to buy my books – but I feel this is a battle that we all need to pitch in on.

I have got a few reasons for this gesture.

Like I said – I have been thinking about this for a while. I want to take part. I don’t really know how it works – but I want to do my bit to raise awareness for prostate cancer.

Cancer – ANY sort of cancer – is a big scary development in ANYBODY’s life. I have seen the effect it can have on the people who suffer from it. I have seen first-hand the effect on the family of cancer victims.

If you want to talk about ghost stories – let’s talk about that fellow who used to be there. We all know him. He’s your brother. He’s your uncle. He’s your barber, your mailman, your hockey coach and your best friend. Cancer is like a kind of world-wide vampire that sucks the life out of good people all across this planet. I am just one man but I would dearly love to shine a light strong enough to wither cancer into nothing more than a dark memory.

I don’t have any more words to fight with so let me just throw my whole damn face at the thing.

So now, I am a Movember Man.

I’ve raised a little bit. Hopefully, I will raise a little bit more. I have even joined a Movember group called NS WRITERS . If any of you Nova Scotia writers who follow my column feel like pitching in and joining up you are more than welcome. All that is required is a clean-shaven face and a willingness to grow yourself a mustache.

I feel pretty good about this. The only real problem is that my wife thinks that I look like this guy now that I am clean shaven.

Any Third Watch fans out there?

In addition to Movember I have also decided to take the plunge into NaNoWriMo this month.

I am doing it just a little bit differently than I did in July at Camp NaNoWriMo.
You see, I ended October at the 33500 word mark in a brand new paranormal novel that I call LADY MACBETH – THE MERMAID AND THE SELKIE.
Only problem is I need to get myself to the 50000 word mark.
Macbeth Final - Playing Card Size
Which is why I am pounding away at the novel for the first week or two of NaNoWriMo.
In fact, I already have a promotion lined up for Black Monday for this book – so I guess I have got myself a deadline. Which is cool by me. The sooner I finish this book, the sooner I can move on to my next book.
Once I finish those last few thousand words on LADY MACBETH, I intend to spend the rest of NaNoWriMo working on a 30,000 word novella – that Nova Scotia zombie novella that I have been planning to write for years now.
So it is going to be a productive month.
In the next few days I will post a first chapter excerpt of LADY MACBETH and I will set up a pre-order for it on Kindle and possibly on Kobo.
In the meantime here are my writing figures so far on NaNoWriMo.
November 1st – 1700 words written
November 2nd – 2400 words written for a total of 4100.
(actually, that is a total of 37,600 words, once you add in the October total.)
Yours in storytelling,
Steve Vernon

Camp NaNoWriMo – a wrap-up

Those folks who were wondering how I wound up with Camp NaNoWriMo will glad to hear that I finished my novel by the last day of July with a total of 51,700 words.

I have begun the revisions and clean-up within the next couple of weeks.

In the meantime I have begun work upon my next project – a paranormal romance entitled LADY MACBETH AND THE KELPIE.

Or at least that’s the working title for now.



In a recent blog I lamented the loss of the Canadian penny – which has gone and died and gone to copper heaven some time ago – thanks to the Canadian Mint who decided that a penny was just too darned expensive.

I rolled most of my pennies and traded them in at the bank but I’m holding a few back for next summer’s gardening season.

Here’s why.

If you salt the ground with pennies early in the season it will keep away slugs. They don’t like the taste of all of that metal.

Apparently you can use them to turn your hydrangeas blue, as well, if you liberally plant your pennies close to the hydrangea bush’s root system.

There is also the remote possibility that by planting those pennies I might actually grow me a money tree.


Slug of Something or Otheryours in storytelling,

Steve Vernon

And, if any of you folks would like to send me a few pennies – why don’t you do that electronically by picking up a Kindle copy of my latest short story collection DO-OVERS AND DETOURS.

With 18 of my favorite stories you are bound to find something you like and at 99 cents it won’t hurt your wallet very much – but I warn you – I do not accept any slugs.


Day 30 at Camp NaNoWriMo – Ride Out With Me

Helms Deep

I started this morning at 43500 words.

Which means I need 6500 words to reach my 50000 word goal – by the end of tomorrow.

What can one man do against so reckless odds?

Ride out with me.

Ride out wielding nouns and verbs to the left and the right of you. Ride out with me carrying whole sentences under your arms and paragraphs on your back and clenching a couple of critical transitions in your teeth.

Ride out with me and help me finish this book!

yours in storytelling,

Steve Vernon

PS: I am at 44,250 words as I type this. I probably shouldn’t have stopped long enough to bother with a blog today – but I wanted to make this gesture.

PPS – Getting ready for a short night shift – but I’ve reached the 46,500 word mark. Only 3500 more words to go by tomorrow midnight. Wish me luck.

Follow along with me and cheer me on if you like.

Don’t Blow Your Own Horn

“Let someone else toot your horn and the sound will travel twice as far.” – Will Rogers.

All right.

Just so that you won’t think that I am being holier-than-thou let me make one thing clear. I do occasionally blow my own horn on Facebook and Twitter and all of those other social networks.

I try not to overdo it.

The fact is I don’t really know if it even helps. Occasionally a well-placed Facebook posting will result in a sale or two – but I get more sales when a posting comes up on a promotional website.

I’m talking Bookbub or e-Book Soda or the many other websites designed strictly for promotional purposes.

It may cost me a few dollars but in the end it brings results.

So the next time you find yourself impulsively shooting out twenty or thirty Facebook “Buy-my-book” postings – stop and think about it.

Wouldn’t you be better off spending the time signing up with a reputable promoter who can get the word out to folks who actually might buy your books.

Or – wouldn’t you better off writing a few more pages on your next book rather than shooting off thirty eight more “Buy-my-book” tweets?

Don’t blow your horn so darned hard so often.

Don't be this dude.

Don’t be this dude.

Take a lesson from Gimli.

If you are going to blow – blow with a little soul.

yours in storytelling,

Steve Vernon

PS – I’m at 43,500 words today at Camp NaNoWriMo. I’m stumbling towards the finish line on my knees and I believe I can hear Gabriel blowing his horn.

Oh wait a minute, that’s just Gimli again. 🙂

Chasing rabbits…

The old people have a saying.

You chase one rabbit you got supper. You chase two rabbit, you’ve got sore feet.

Sometimes a writer just seems to spend their whole entire day – just  chasing rabbits.







You know how it goes. You find yourself working on a novel and that gets you to thinking about that novella you wanted to work on and the next thing you know the idea of trying to write that novel and that novella at the very same time gives you an amazing idea for a wonderfully structured sestina composed about the theme of a single man trying to ride the backs of an entire stampede of golden palominos.

Before too long you’re chasing rabbits.

You might kid yourself and say that you are just following the whimsical frolicking call of your innermost moose!







(or is that muse?).

You might even convince yourself that – by god, you must be the single-most creative writer in the universe – filled with a never-ending fount of ideas and inspiration.







Horse-puck and hogwash.

You’re just chasing rabbits.

You see, the nearer that the human spirit comes to accomplishing, the more likely it is to try and come up with some reason not to finish.


Because once you finish something, it’s over. And once it’s over, then you got to do something else.

And you got to do it right.

So rather than finishing something properly and then starting something new, properly – a fledgling writer – and even us old fart veterans – will all too often allow distraction to jump up and lead them into the time-honored pursuit of chasing rabbits.

The distraction is nothing more than a fear of commitment. Of finishing it – because once it is finished somebody else will actually read it.

And they might tell you it stinks.






As long as the project remains in that ephemeral state of incompletion you can kid yourself into believing that you’re brilliant.

Only you’re not.

A writer is a craftsman, first and foremost. Like any carpenter he needs to sink that nail into the board, cut the next board and then nail that up to. He has to finish whatever he is building – so that somebody can sell it so that he can buy more boards to keep on building.

The only real difference between a carpenter and a writer is a carpenter often has a foreman who is more than happy to kick his butt.

Oh, we writers have foremen too.

Only we call them editors, publishers and readers.

Sitting at our desk, in our comfortable chair, puts us a long way away from the foreman’s boot.

So a good writer has got to learn to boot himself in his butt.

Hard, and often.

So, here’s what I want you to do.

Sit down with one work and tell yourself that you are going to add a paragraph to it. Don’t look at any other work. You find yourself thinking about any other work give your head a good hard shake and remind yourself that you set out that day to work on one piece of work.

Let me mix a few more metaphors and see if I can muddle this out for you any clearer than I have.

Writing any story is a little like a first date. You work at that story and you don’t look at any other story while you’re working at it. You try and turn that date with a story into a long term commitment and then you try and turn that long term commitment into a marriage and then when you’ve married the heck out of that manuscript and your finally done with it – divorce the sucker and start hitting the single’s bars.

And stop chasing rabbits.

Happy Easter

Yours in storytelling,

Steve Vernon


PS: I’ve passed the 41000 word mark yesterday at Camp NaNoWriMo.

Only 9000 words to go in the next four days. Wish me luck.

Follow my progress at Camp NaNoWriMo!

Day 21 at Camp NaNoWriMo – I Ain’t No Sissy-Wuss…

The original rock and roller…

I passed the 34000 word mark this weekend.

That is over 2/3 of the way through my 50000 word manuscript target.

This is the hard part of the storytelling. Like Sisyphus, I have been pushing this rock up that hill all month long and gravity and momentum and my aged sinew are all beginning to tell on me.

This is where the going gets tough.

This isn’t just about Camp NaNoWriMo.

This is about novel writing in general. You line up any ten people at a writers convention and at least half of them have about twelve unfinished novels sitting up in a pyramid of shoeboxes scrawled on fistfuls of yellowed foolscap with a little sticky note on top of each of those shoeboxes reading – I GOT TO GET ROUND TO THIS ONE OF THESE DAYS!

Round TuitBut this isn’t just about novel writing, either.

Any damn thing that you have been MEANING to get around to doing – go and do it now.

Fuck the bucket list.

Make your dreams a reality now.

Start small. Run to big. Huge is going to happen.

Write that novel.

Say those words you mean to say to that person you mean to say.

Do it now!

Get your ass to the gym.

Mow the lawn.

Climb Mount Everest, bare naked, yodelling, in grease paint!

Don’t be a Sissy-Wuss!

yours in storytelling

Steve Vernon

PS – I just hit the 35000 word mark. I’m behind on my quota. The rock is getting heavier but I am going to lean on in and look for an elevator.

You can follow my progress over at Camp NaNoWriMo, if you’d like.

DAY 18 at Camp NaNoWriMo – Seven Secrets to Becoming A Better Writer

TWO THOUSAND WORDS today – and that was wrapped around a whole mess of housework as well. That brings me up to 33,700 words. Today the second half of the book took shape without me even knowing how it happened.

In the second half of the book the voice turned from first person to third in a very natural way. It means that when I revise the second draft I will have to rewrite the first draft in third person – I expect – but that is just fine. The plot developments have REALLY got me excited.

So – without further ado – here are my seven secrets to becoming a better writer.








I would elaborate more upon this – however, I have plans this evening. I need to go and buy some cinder blocks at Kent and we’re going to have some fish and chips as well.

So I am just waiting for my wife to come home from work.

I promise to write a bit more about this list in the next few days.

I will say one thing. EVEN if you can’t write everyday – AIM to. Just the simple act of saying to yourself “I am going to put 300 more words on that manuscript this morning” is going to keep your engine running – even on the mornings when you have go and put out one of those many fires that life and circumstances love to set.

In the meantime, why don’t you take a look at this super-cool periodic table of storytelling?

Click one of those elements and see what it has to say.

And it is funny – but I just cannot look at a periodic table these days without thinking of BREAKING BAD.


yours in storytelling,

Steve Vernon


Day 16 at Camp NaNoWriMo – A 30,000 Word Celebration

How many of you folks out there have watched FINDING NEMO?

Hands down, all of you steampunkish Jules Verne fans.

That isn’t the NEMO that I am talking about.

Captain NemoI’m talking about that Rosie O’Donnell voiced fish with the Aphasiatic tendencies.

“Just keep swimming,” that fish would say.

That is deep.

That is at least twenty thousand leagues deep.

All right. So maybe I am reaching by about nineteen thousand nine hundred ninety nine and nine-tenth of a league – but you try to brilliant this early in the morning.

Sometimes the words aren’t going to be wonderful.

Sometimes you’ll think that your words are absolute crap.

Sometimes your inner muse is going to sit there on that fence and just thumb her nose and maybe spit on you and kick you a few times if you are lucky.

Never mind the muse.

Never mind awaiting upon the spark of inspiration.

You don’t go to work and tell your boss that you have got “WORKER’S BLOCK” no matter how badly you feel about going to that day job. You just get up off of your ass and you go do it – on account of you are inordinantly fond of that whole concept of keeping a roof over your head.

Treat your writing with that same sort of matter-of-fact intensity.


Just keep writing.

Just keep swimming.

You get this deep and nothing will look clear – so don’t trust your judgement. Don’t over-think. Get this first draft done.

Just keep writing.

Just keep swimming.


I added another 800 words on Day 16. That brought my average daily word count down to 1612 – which is about the original quota I started at.

It also put me over the 30000 word mark – which is why I want to celebrate.

I’ve still got another 20,000 words to go – but so long as I just keep on writing I expect to get there by the end of the month.

But I want to celebrate.

Just a couple of weeks ago I released my short story collection DO-OVERS AND DETOURS in e-book format. The book was originally released in trade paperback and hardcover format by Dark Regions Press. I have hung onto the e-book rights because I prefer to handle those myself and I set the price at $2.99 a copy.

I didn’t do any promotion – which is always a mistake but I knew I did not have the time to give to any promotion if I wanted to hit my July Camp NaNoWriMo deadline. So the e-book sold a few copies but it mostly sank – about 20,000 leagues beneath the Amazon.

You like that?

I thought about that line for ten whole seconds before writing it.


For the rest of the month DO-OVERS AND DETOURS is available on Amazon for a mere 99 cents.

I apologize for the punky cover but I did not have much of a budget to run with this month.


There are eighteen stories and over two hundred pages of some of the wildest storytelling you could ever imagine. There’s a couple of my favorite stories in there and it is sure to give some of you writer-folks some inspiration for your own work.

If you would like to help me celebrate my 30,000 word mark PLEASE pick up a copy of DO-OVERS AND DETOURS. At 99 cents it is cheaper than a cup of lousy cold coffee. How can you pass up sweet words like that?


Available at Amazon.com

Available at Amazon.co.uk

Available at Amazon.ca

yours in storytelling,

Steve Vernon