What Say You: Stephen Williams on NanoWriMo

Stephen Williams is an up and coming young writer I met through a science fiction and horror workshop I led a year ago. While he has no books out, the guy is one of the most prolific writers I know. Give him a few years and he’ll be running a novel sweatshop like James Frey.

Stephen is big into NaNoWriMo, and I invited him to give the blog readers some information about NaNoWriMo and how to become more involved.

–Jason

It’s that time of year again. No, not pumpkin spice latte, haunted house, scary movie, outrageous costumes, and baseball playoffs time of year—it’s time to plan for National Novel Writing Month.

If you’ve never heard of National Novel Writing Month, or NaNoWriMo, then let me give you a quick breakdown. The goal of NaNoWriMo is to write a novel in the month of November—“literary abandon” as some have described it.  A novel in NaNoLand is considered 50,000 words which equals 1,667 words a day. For a slow writer and busy person like me this is not an easy task. Normally, I average 500 words a day but during the month of November I write like no other time in my life.

Last November was my first time, and I was so excited to have a completed a rough draft at the end of the month. I went a bit overboard and wrote 80,000 words. I spent the next year ridding it of superfluous adjectives and unnecessary description. Now if only I could find an editor…

The community in Lexington, Kentucky, is great and all the local support propelled me to keep writing. This year I am one of the Municipal Leaders, and I’ve scheduled a plethora of events at regional coffee shops, libraries, bookstores, and bars. It’s so exciting to see writers, people notoriously known as hermits, gather together to participate in the solitary activity we love.

If you are sitting on that great novel idea and need the extra motivation to crank out the first draft I would recommend that you sign up at nanowrimo.org. Connect with your community of writers to help you write that novel you’ve been dreaming of writing.

This October also signifies another exciting time for me—my completion of the first year of the “School of Sizemore,” a school so elite that even the teacher doesn’t recognize its existence. A year ago I was searching for a way to improve my writing and find others to share it with. I stumbled upon a Science Fiction and Horror Workshop taught by Apex publisher Jason Sizemore.

I had my doubts but they dissipated after the first few minutes of his workshop. Three weeks later, I’d written my first science fiction short story and immediately signed up for the next class. A year later and I am about to finish a collection of 18 short stories, have met a ton of fellow writers who helped beta-read and co-write projects with me, read some amazing speculative fiction, and learned a ton about the publishing industry so that I don’t make a fool of myself when I query my manuscript. I would recommend Jason’s workshops and seminars to any ambitious writer who has the opportunity to attend. I think he travels too!

ApexReaderStephen Williams is an unpublished writer in Lexington, Kentucky, and avid Apex Publications and Apex Magazine reader. He is the municipal leader of the Lexington region National Novel Writing Month group, member of the Lexington Fiction Writers Group, Lexington Prose Group, and a sophomore in the School of Sizemore. He blogs at swilliky.com and is on twitter: @swilliky.

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