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  • Autumn is my favorite season. The crisp air, the sweaters, the butterbeer, the colorful leaves, and... NaNoWriMo.

    For those of you who haven't heard of it... November is National Novel Writing Month.

    What started as a personal quest of the creator Chris Baty, and has now turned into a worldwide phenomenon. Each year tens of thousands of participants sit down at their keyboards, their notebooks, and their typewriters with one thing in common. They set out to write a 50,000 word novel in 30 days.

    The challenge is to get the words down, despite your inner editor telling you they're not perfect yet, to get words on the page and move on. Once you have a draft you can edit it, but if you keep rewriting the first paragraph you'll never reach the end.

    I first discovered NaNoWriMo (NaNo for short) in high school. While the other girls attended football games I sat at my desktop computer tapping away at the keys until I reached 50k. The best part of NaNo, for me at least, is the community. Having that sense of togetherness with other writers scattered across the world is inspiring. Connecting with those other writers on the NaNo forums is both my greatest strength and greatest source of procrastination during November. NaNo novelists come from different walks of life, but have one thing in common... the love of storytelling and the commitment to write.

    If you've ever dreamed of writing your own novel join us!

  • Happy September! 

    We sure do have a lot going on here on the ol' Quirk Books blog today. Awesome deals on the Jane Austen Handbook and Yum-Yum Bento Box, a crazy one day deal on Blair Thornburgh's Stuff Every College Student Should Know, and one top secret thing that I totally can't talk about just yet. It starts with "fancy website" and ends with "update."

    But we won't stop there. Can't stop, won't stop, as the saying goes. 

    To welcome in September and the start of school, we're giving away a fancy Quirk Books Back-to-School Prize Pack (Q.B.B.T.S.P.), filled with titles for the aspiring writer and English major. Included in the bundle are See Jane WriteHow Not to WriteStuff Every College Student Should Know, and two notebooks (Walls and Skywriting) to scribble out all your ideas. 

    And be sure to sign up for the Quirk E. Newsletter to get the inside scoop on giveaways just like this one! We run a lot of SECRET raffles, just for newsletter subscribers.

    You can enter the giveaway via the Rafflecopter below. We're giving away FIVE prize packs! Good luck!

  • “I’m a writer, you monsters! I create for a living!”

    Ah, if I only had a dime for every time I’ve screamed that, Barton Fink style, to a bunch of soldiers and sailors at a USO club and ended up getting my teeth knocked out. We’ve all done it, haven’t we? Because the sensation of finishing a writing project—let’s call it “that Barton Fink feeling”—is one of the few measly pleasures of the writing life. Which is why the Camp NaNoWriMo experience of writing a novel in one month is so…is there a word with a combined meaning of “agonizing” and “contains some surprisingly satisfying moments?”

  • (Image via flickr)

    If Camp NaNoWriMo were an actual camp, this would be the week of Color Wars, final bonfires, and tearful goodbyes. We'd all be wrapping friendship bracelets around each others' wrists and promising to keep in touch during the school year. But as bittersweet as the end of the session may be, Camp NaNo has a considerable perk that normal camps don't: a manuscript draft!

    Yes, your wonky little Word doc now qualifies as a manuscript draft! It's a momentous occasion that many would-be writers never reach, and one that deserves a little end-o-camp Jamboree. But when the embers have died down (and you've taken a good long break to give yourself some fresh perspective) your next quest, should you choose to accept it, is revising. A first draft is wonderful and pure and (if my experience holds) kind of a mess. It needs some TLC before it can become a book.

    There's no Camp Revision-a-wassa to see you through the process, but there are great books to help you shape your manuscript into a story that's worth a whole arm's worth of friendship bracelets (yes, even the cool kind with beads and feathers woven in). Here are my favorite picks—read them, let the ideas stew for a few weeks, and then plunge back in to your book.

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