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Week One – Shinobi

Week One – Shinobi

Happy 12:01, everybody, and welcome to Week One of NaNo 2013!

As Contemplative Cat and I were planning for this year we decided that on a local level we would be celebrating the year of the ninja.

Ninjas are an interesting group when you look back at their history, but what caught my attention about them going into this first week was their name. While we here in the west call them ninjas, according to Wikipedia it’s native kun’yomi kanji reading is pronounced shinobi – a connotation of “to steal away” and “to forbear”.

What does that have to do with NaNo?

As we go into this month we all have goals of what we would like to have when our 30 days come to a close. There will be days when writer’s block strikes, when your characters revolt, and when you realize you’ve somehow completely lost the plot.

Like the ninja, we’ll need to steal away. We’ll need to find those places where we become invisible to the world and the world to us so that we can reach our goals. There are things that we’re going to need to resist and go into avoidance maneuvers so that we don’t get off track. Some days our patience will be tested (see the writer’s block, etc. above) but if we focus and persevere then at the end of the month we’re going to have done something that’s magic – just like the fabled abilities of the ninjas of old.

Now that I’ve written far more than intended, here are our upcoming write-ins for the week…

First Day (aka today)
Grand Traverse Pie Company
East Lansing

Check Twitter for updates as the day progresses

Saturday Afternoon – ML
Grand Traverse Pie Company
East Lansing

This will be a morning write-in the rest of the Saturdays.

Monday Night – Library
CADL Downtown Branch

Thursday Night – ML
Old Chicago Pizza

– The Rest –

Name The Rhinos

We want to make sure you all get a chance to chip in, so check out this thread on naming our friendly NaNoRhino mascots.


Curious about the Tardis? A broke wrimo who would like to get a halo? Clink the links to find out more.

Also, region fundraising rewards will be going up this week, so keep an eye out for the thread. We’re finalizing details, but I can tell you that our rewards start at $1000. That’s $5.35 a homed member based on our current numbers, but it also includes Tardis donations, silent auction funds, etc.

That’s all for now, so get writing!

Alaina (A_Rachelle) & Annette (Contemplative Cat)
Co-Municipal Liasions, USA::Michigan::Lansing

Find us online! 
Our Forums

This regional broadcast was sent out via email on November 1, 2013.

Kick Off Party!

Kick Off Party!

Start off NaNo right by coming to our Kick Off Party.  There will be games, door prizes, a potluck and silent auction.  Meet your fellow wrimos and learn about our exciting month of fun!


When: Sunday October 27, 2013
Where: The Avenue Cafe (Gone Wired) 2021 E Michigan Ave, Lansing, MI (Enter through back as it will be opening early for us.)
Time: 1 – 4 pm.


  • Games – We’ll have a get to know you game, a pimp my plot station and other games to get you into the creative flow.
  • Door Prizes – There will be several cool door prizes given away throughout the event.
  • Goodie Bags – Your very own NaNoLansing Survival Bag will be awaiting you filled with treats and helpful items.
  • Silent Auction – New this year as a fundraising incentive.  Please bring items to donate for our silent auction (and bring some cash so you can buy them).  We already have some good looking items up for bidding.  This is your chance to get some really nice stuff for a song of a price.  (All proceeds will be donated to NaNoWriMo.  For every $10 received, one broke wrimo will be chosen to receive a halo and donor badge under their name.)
  • Potluck – If you can, bring some food to share.  The kitchen may not open until 3 pm.  (If you can’t bring food, come anyway.  We still want to see you!)

RSVP Please:
We need to know how many goodie bags to create, so please RSVP by Friday October 25th.  Post your RSVP here at our Eventbrite site.


Other Info:

Prep Workshops
We’ve had great fun at our previous workshops and we have one more left.
Thursday October 24 at 7 pm at the Avenue Cafe 2021 E Michigan Ave Lansing, MI we will Breathe Life Into Our Characters.

Here’s the description – As most NaNo vets can tell you, when you’ve lost the plot and the story is just not moving the way you want it’s the characters that help you find you way – even if its by misbehaving. We’ll take this time to discover and flesh out the characters that will move the plot along.

Saturday Write In Location Correction:

Our ML Sponsored Saturday Write Ins are as follows:

  • Saturday November 2 – Grand Traverse Pie Factory (Orchard Rm) E. Lansing 1-4 pm.
  • Saturday November 9 – Grand Traverse Pie Factory (Orchard Rm) E. Lansing 11 am – 2 pm.
  • Saturday November 16 – Car pool with us to Saginaw to the Battle of Midway
  • Saturday November 23 – Grand Traverse Pie Factory (Orchard Rm) E. Lansing 11 am – 2 pm
  • Saturday November 30 – Grand Traverse Pie Factory (Orchard Rm) E. Lansing 11 am – 2 pm

See our regional forums for additional write in locations and information.

Excitedly gearing up,
Annette (Contemplative Cat) & Alaina (A_Rachelle)
Co-Municipal Liaisons, USA::Michigan::Lansing

Find us online!
Our Forums

It's alive, IT'S ALIVE!

It's alive, IT'S ALIVE!

For all of you who read that subject line with Frankenstein-esque, mad scientist grandeur – thank you and you’re welcome. (You may also insert the appropriate Skynet reference for the website being a living thing.)

Anyway… earlier this week the NaNoWriMo website did its big update for 2013. If you haven’t been there yet, you should definitely head over and check out how shiny it is.

While you’re there, here are a few other things you should do:

1. Update Your Author Info

Even if you’ve done NaNo before you’ll want to check to make sure all of your information is correct. You do have to manually update your previous NaNo experience. If you’ve participated in the past, scroll down to the bottom of the edit page to check off your years done & won.

To get to the edit screen, sign in and go to ‘My NaNoWriMo’ then click on ‘Author Info’. Any widgets showing on the page should have an edit button in the upper right hand corner.

2. Add Your Novel

Even if your current title is ‘I Don’t Know,’ by putting any information in about your 2013 novel we know that you’re planning to be an active Wrimo this year. This can also be found under the ‘My NaNoWriMo’ section.

3. Introduce Yourself

We want to get to know you! Stop in at our region’s introduction thread and tell us a little about yourself. Annette and I have already been by, so this is also your first opportunity to learn od and random facts about us that you may not yet know.

If you’re a newbie, or just want a refresher, you may also want to check out our NaNo101 thread and Helpful Links & Resources thread.

P.S. If you haven’t yet homed to our region but are planning to participate with NaNoLansing, go to ‘Local Events’ and select ‘Find a Region’. If you’re getting this via email you should have us showing there. If not, you can search for us in the ‘Other Regions’ section. Either way, all it takes is a click from there to make us your home. Mi casa, su casa and all of that.

4. Explore

There are some cool new features hiding out around the site like an updated notifications system, the ability to watch forum threads, and the wonderous new WYSIWIG editor aka you don’t have to know any HTML anymore to bold things and add links and all of that. Yay!

Also, make sure to stop by the NaNo Flair section to get 2013 badges and banners to add to your blog, Facebook page, etc.

Those are just a few of the things. I’ll let you have the joy of discovery of the rest for yousrselves, but I will say you may want to stop by the homepage after you’ve made this little journey of updating for the new year 😉

Upcoming Events

Don’t forget about the “Are you ready to NaNoWriMo?” workshop this Saturday (2pm @ The Avenue Cafe).

Also, if you’re planning on coming to our Kick-Off on October 27, please a moment to let us know by signing up here.

That’s all for now. Have a great day!

Alaina (A_Rachelle) & Annette (Contemplative Cat)
Co-Municipal Liasions, USA::Michigan::Lansing

Find us online! 
Our Forums

This regional broadcast was sent out via email on October 3, 2013.

NaNo 2013 Is Upon Us!

NaNo 2013 Is Upon Us!

As I was driving back into town yesterday I couldn’t help but noticed how the trees were already beginning to turn into the deep reds and golds of fall, which reiterated to me that Fall is officially here and NaNo 2013 is at hand.

Here’s the lowdown of what we have planned so far…

– NaNo Prep Events –

With one month to go, Contemplative Cat and I wanted to help you guys have a fabulous NaNo year with some events to make sure you’re ready to hit the ground running Nov. 1st.

Topics include:

  • “Are You Ready to NaNoWriMo?” Workshop
  • Finding Your Vision with Inspiration Boards
  • The Plot Thickens
  • Breathing Life Into Your Characters

Learn more about these here.

– Kick-Off Party –

Mark your calendars! Our kick-off party will be October 27, 2013, from 1-4pm at The Avenue Cafe. Keep an eye out for more details to come and/or register here to get all of the updates about the Kick-Off Party specifically.

– Write-Ins –

These are what we have confirmed so far:

Thursday Nights – ML
7 pm
Old Chicago Pizza (Marsh Road)

Saturday Mornings – ML
11 am
The Avenue Cafe

– The Rest of the Sundry –

Site Updates

The NaNoWriMo site is set to update on October 1, 2013, including clearing out our old threads and adding a bunch of cool new things. Once everything is up and shiny we’ll drop you a regional message on some of those cool new things and brand spanking new 2013 threads.

Tell us more!

We would love to hear from you on what you would like out of your NaNo this year. Waiting with eager anticipation for the return of the Guilt Monkeys? Hoping for a mid-month write-a-thon? Looking for a write-in in another part of town? Let us know by taking a couple of minutes to fill out this survey with your hopes, dreams, and fears for this November.

Also, if you were with us last year and didn’t have a chance to fill out our end of year survey there’s still time! Go here to fill it out now.

We’re super excited for this year and hope that you are too!

Alaina (A_Rachelle)
& Annette (Contemplative Cat)
Co-Municipal Liasions, USA::Michigan::Lansing

Find us online!
Our Forums

This is a slightly edited version of a regional broadcast message originally sent out through the NaNoWriMo site on October 1, 2013.

The Week Four Countdown

The Week Four Countdown

Hello, NaNoLansing! Welcome to Week Four. It’s hard to believe there’s less than a week until month’s end.

As I was flipping through one of my dad’s magazines today, I saw an ad for a five stone synthesized diamond ring. According to the ad they are supposed to be even more perfect than naturally mine diamonds as well as being far more inexpensive to produce thus their price of only $99.99.

When I was a teenager I inherited an engagement ring from my grandmother, the center of which featured a beautiful old mine cut diamond. It has far more facets than the cuts that I see now when wandering past jewelry stores, but what you cannot see with the naked eyes is that there is a flaw just beneath the surface. Any jeweler who purchased it would cut it down for a smaller but more perfect stone, but to me that makes the stone unique. Even history aside there is none other quite like it.

Now, I have nothing against imitation stones. They can be quite lovely and are great for day to day, but there is beauty in imperfections.

Right now, our novels are like that old family diamond. They are not perfect. In fact, you may feel like yours is still that just mined hunk of stone that has as yet to be more than pulled from the earth. That is okay. Those imperfections make that novel unique and yours.

It is easy at this point to become distracted by all of the imperfections that we see in our work. There are scenes you hate, superfluous descriptions, misbehaving characters and any other variety of things that you are just waiting until December 1st to edit away. For these last five days forget about them. There are another eleven months of the year that can be spent polishing them into a gorgeous, glittering gem.

Embrace your imperfections. Embrace your mess. Go into these last few days rejoicing at what you’ve completed and not the things that you haven’t. Find the beauty in those things and use it to spur you on to even more interesting story ideas. You can do it. We believe in you.

Happy Week Three!

Happy Week Three!

Happy Day-After-Halfway-Day!

Also, Welcome to Week Three!

You’ve done it. You have made it past the halfway mark and are still reading our messages, which probably means you have drunk far far too much coffee in the last 15 days.

At this point in the month there are a few places that you could be.

A) Riding high on a fabulous word count that may even be over 50,000 already. If so, hats off to you! Congrats!

B) Right on with 1,667 words a day (or somewhere around 26,667 words at this point). Like the tortoise you are set to win the race. Hold fast to the goal and do not forget to back-up your novel in multiple places.

C) A little – or a lot – behind where you had hoped you would be with your word count. To you I want to say don’t give up.

I have been where you are. That graph with the nice diagonal line of where I should be was my nemesis sent to torment me with my lack of progress. Perhaps your characters rebelled, your plot disintegrated or that ‘real’ life thing invaded and took all of your writing time. Whatever the cause, write on. There is still time to catch up. In my years with NaNo I have seen amazing things come about in the last two weeks of the month. You can do this. We believe in you.

If you need a little inspiration there are several things you can do…

Check out NaNoWordSprints on Twitter. You can scope out their page even if you don’t use Twitter yourself. Not only can you sprint along, you can also snitch their inspirations. Tom Selleck’s mustache may not seem to fit in your story but you never know where it might take you.

Give NaNoLansing Chat a try. You can challenge others to word wars or ask Timmy, the ever helpful bot, to give you a challenge.

Visit a write-in. I’ve only been to the ML sponsored ones but we’ve had a great crowd and the Cauldron of Doom spawns more than just monkey trading.

Bring in ninjas to get your unruly characters back into line. Describe a location that is important to your story. Incorporate the Traveling Shovel of Death. Most importantly – keep writing. You never know what is just over the horizon.

Welcome to Week 2!

Welcome to Week 2!

Welcome to Week 2!

This is the week that traditionally becomes a bit of a slippery slope for wrimos. They hate their novel, feel their characters are cardboard and find new and inventive ways to procrastinate. Or they look at the regional stars’ word counts and compare it to their own and think, “I’ll never catch up, so why bother?”

Well don’t worry. This is normal. It WILL pass. As Douglas Adams says, “Don’t Panic!” All will be well.

If you’re worried about your word count, don’t. Just keep plugging along. Don’t look at the 50K goal. Look at 300 words and then another 300 words and then another. Pretty soon those 300 word bits will multiply and you’ll find yourself with several thousand more words!

If you’re like me and a little competition helps, find someone who is close in word count to you and let them be your carrot that you follow and strive to surpass. Alaina has been my carrot this year. She mostly writes in the evening and I’m a morning writer. So every morning I’ve been waking up to find that she was 1500 to 2000 words ahead of me. It has helped to push me to write just a leetle bit more than her. It’s been a great motivator.

Also use word wars. Some years I don’t do too many of these, but whenever I get stuck, they are excellent at getting me moving and I can usually churn out several hundred words per sprint. At least 1/3 of my novel this year is thanks to word wars. If you want to find a word war, you can head over to #nanowordsprints at twitter, go to the NaNo Word Wars thread, go to the NaNoLansing chat room and start one yourself, or ask Timmy the bot the challenge you to something.

If you respond to kamikaze motivation, try Write or die, but don’t use the highest setting unless you are very serious because your words will start to erase if you stop typing. Or if you like kittens, try written kitten where every 1000 words graces you with another kitten picture.

The other thing that helps is going to write ins. There’s nothing like the energy of a room full of wrimos fervently typing away to motivate you to do the same.

Here’s some other strategies – if you hate your plot, jump to another scene. You don’t have to sit and grumble choking out words like water from an empty thermos. Try something new. Bring in another character and see what they have to tell you. My novel is jumping around more than those leaping plot bunnies we passed out at the kick off party and for cauldron of doom prizes. But it’s all right. With each scene, I’m laying out the foundation to flesh out later. And I keep myself entertained and maintain the fun.

But most of all, give yourself credit! You’ve passed week one and your story is being told! You have written more than those folks who never try, so YEA YOU! Now just keep going. Bit by bit, your novel will unfold and you’ll see those word counts rise!

Happy writing!

Get Ready, Set, Write!

Get Ready, Set, Write!

Greetings Fellow Authors,

In just a few minutes, our exciting journey begins. Whether you have your entire novel plotted out and fully developed or you plan to sit in front of your screen with no idea in mind, or like me, are somewhere in-between, we’re in for a wonderfully fun ride.

Remember to pack the bags for your inner editor and inner critic and send them on their way to a month long vacation. They are neither needed nor wanted this month. This is a month for just writing for the sheer joy of it. And do write. This first day write something. Anything. Just start writing. Get your juices flowing with those first few words and then let those words go forth and multiply like rabbits. You have a story that is ready to be told!

The biggest contributing factor to those who do not succeed in NaNo is that they don’t write. Simple, huh? So try to write every single day, even if it’s only 15 words. You’re still 15 words closer to your goal.

To help get you started with those first few words, we’ll have our first write in of the month tomorrow night (Thursday 1st) at the Pie Factory in East Lansing. Come join Alaina and me as we kick off the month together.

We will also have a chat room up and running in a few days. Those of you who can’t make it to a write in will be able to chat with each other there. We can also have one or two scheduled virtual write-ins during the month. I’ll post all of the information as soon as it is set up.

If you would like to see how your word counts compare to others, be sure to stop by this thread and post a note. We have 7 so far, but with several hundred participants in our region, there is room for many, many more. It would be awesome to have a whole bunch of you participate in this.

Well it’s almost midnight and I’m thinking about staying up until 1 am to jump start the season. I’m much more of a morning person, so we’ll see how this goes. If I’m a little blurry eyed tomorrow night at the write in, you’ll know my NaNo insomnia got the best of me. But if I have my words done by the time I head to the office tomorrow, it will be well worth it.

Happy writing everyone and I hope to see a lot of you tomorrow at the pie factory!