November is just around the corner.

November is National Novel Writing Month, and if you don’t know what that is, please click on the above image because The Office of Letters and Light will do a better job of explaining it to you than me. During the month of November I do my best to write 50,000 words in thirty days. If you’ve ever wanted to try your hand at novel-writing November is the perfect month to start because you’ll have 300,000 other people there to motivate you and encourage you and help you leap over plot holes.

I could tell you that it’s easy and that 50,000 words is not a lot, but that would be a giant fib and I’m not going to lie to you. I will tell you that winning feels AMAZING and you get a sense of  accomplishment even if you know that your novel is going to require some serious editing later. There will be late nights and early mornings and getting eight hours of sleep at least one night a week will seem like an impossibility. Caffeine will become the newest love of your life for the duration of the month and you will get enormous dark circles under your eyes but after a while you’ll stop caring about your appearance because it takes away from your writing time. You will make new friends and have an intelligent support network (via the NaNo forums)  at your beck and call at any time you need them, because you can’t afford to get lost on Wikipedia.

You’re probably thinking something along the lines of: I can’t write a novel in a month! I have no idea what to write about and I don’t have a plot. BUT YOU CAN and it will be brilliant. I had a general idea that I wanted to do something with Fairy Tales and Dinosaurs for this years NaNo and it took me maybe thirty minutes to think up a plot to combine those two radically different things. Your mind can and will surprise you with the sheer amount of imagination, creativity and ideas that it can produce.

Even if you don’t reach 50,000 words by November 30th you’ll STILL be a winner because you’ll have given it your best shot and you will probably write more than you ever have before. Yes, you will be rocking some serious sleep deprivation and be more over-caffeinated than you’ve ever been in your life, but it’s WORTH it. Your family will think you’re strange and some of your co-workers will avoid you when you’re writing in the break room, BUT IT’S WORTH IT. I promise.

If you’ve ever wanted to write a novel I highly encourage you to give National Novel Writing Month a chance, and if you haven’t, well, I can tell you that you’ll be missing out on a grand amount of fun.

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Letters To Authors: Tamora Pierce

Dear Ms. Pierce,

You probably get this all the time, but I thought I’d write an open letter to you so I can let you, and anyone else reading this, know what a wonderful human being you are.

I was eleven when I was introduced (quite forcefully, by my future best friend) to Alanna and I ended up devouring her quartet. I, swiftly, moved on to The Immortals series and got to know Daine; it was fantastic. There I was, a tom-boyish eleven year old who finally found, not one, but TWO series of books with female leads who were absolutely NOT damsels in distress. This was very much like finding a million dollars on the sidewalk; I was telling everyone, who would listen, about your amazing books.

My mother noticed the change in me (mostly because I was failing math, but then again I was ALWAYS failing math) and wanted to know exactly what was so interesting about these books that I kept not returning to the school library. My mother is a brilliant woman, but fantasy is not her genre of choice – she loves fiction and thrillers and Stephen King. Adequately giving her a description of your wonderful books was very hard for eleven year old me. It involved a lot of jumping and flailing arms and adjectives. I have no idea how she managed to make sense of my pre-pubescent fangirling, but she got the gist of it: relatable female heroes being awesome and kicking a whole lot of bad guy butt. I didn’t know it at the time but my mother understood exactly how awesome it was for a young girl to find a series of books like that.

Prior to finding your books, I was reading a lot of books where the heroes were always male. Redwall, Harry Potter, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, The Lord Of The Rings, The Hobbit, James and the Giant Peach, and a whole lot of Xanth Novels, to name some. There is absolutely nothing wrong with any of those books, I adore each and every one of them and most of them have some very strong minor female characters in them. There were also a few fiction books (most notably by Kit Pearson) that featured female leads and were very good, but there was no action. The female leads were sort of dainty and they were never put in any situation that required a fight or flight reflex. They were awesome books but they were lacking the fantasy and action that I preferred, which is probably why I was always reading novels with boy leads. I can say with great certainty that there is something very special about being a young-lady-person and reading about grounded and brilliant girls doing the butt-kicking instead of the boys. This was something that my mother never had growing up and I think that was why she encouraged my reading. She was the one who bought me Protector of the Small when it first came out in hardcover and every one of your books thereafter.

I guess what I’m trying to say is this: Thank you, Mrs. Pierce, for all the effort and time you’ve put in to write the books that have had, and still continue to have, a great amount of influence on my life, even fourteen years later. Thank you for all the books you’ve yet to write and thank you for inspiring me to write about my own lady-folk heroes. You are amazing and I thank you from the bottom of my heart for giving my eleven year old self her absolute favourite books.

Sincerely and affectionately,

Nuki

———-

Everyone, click the link if you’re confused. If you aren’t confused, click the link anyway. —  http://www.tamora-pierce.com/

Please note – Ms. Pierce’s books are fantastic for all ages, her writing style is brilliant and realistic and if you give her books a chance they will eat you alive (in a good way). If you’ve never read her books before, I highly recommend starting at the beginning (Song Of The Lioness Quartet) and working your way though all the series. If you were looking to start with some of her more recent books without much complication, you should probably start with her Beka Cooper series; Terrier is the first book. If you have children, and they enjoy reading, then you should definitely think about seeing if their school library carries these books, or if their birthday is close – buying the first series as a gift. It will be the best birthday present ever, I promise. My nephew will most likely be reading these books once he’s old enough.

(I know this letter isn’t perfect, but it’s my letter and I’m a fangirl. Basically, that should explain everything, right there. I’m just happy it came out semi-coherent and not all “ASDFGHK! YOU’RE AWESOME! I LOVE YOU!”)

I plan to make a series of blog posts like this; letters to some of my favourite authors. I think I might be setting myself up for failure here, but it’s always good to have goals!