NaNoWriMo is as much fun as Movember in March.

I’ve never participated in NaNoWriMo. I doubt I ever will.

From their website: “National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) is a fun, seat-of-your-pants approach to creative writing. On November 1, participants begin working towards the goal of writing a 50,000-word novel by 11:59 PM on November 30.”

Let me be clear. If you’re doing this and enjoying it, good for you. I know several professional and amateur writers who look forward to November every year and use NaNoWriMo as a way to motivate themselves. But I’m not one of them. Writing the first draft of a 50,000 word novel in 30 days is not my idea of fun. Writing along with the other NaNoWriMo participants and sharing daily word counts is as exciting to me as sharing a public restroom without stalls. I imagine many folks who begin NaNoWriMo never finish it. A shaggy, 70s porn mustache for Movember seems more attainable, in my opinion.

Before I get skewered by other authors and NaNoWriMo folks, I would like to explain why this type of writing does not appeal to me. First of all, writing that much in one month because I have to is not fun. I’m a proponent of rapid production and marketing. However, even for a seasoned writer, 50,000 words in one month is daunting. Yes, I know it’s only a draft and you’re not bound by blood to the NaNoWriMo rules. But still, this does not appeal to me. If you’re writing a novel in November because other people are too—and for the badges—you may struggle to motivate the other eleven months of the year.

If you’re sitting at November 17th and staring at the summit of November 30th, I’d like to offer you a Sherpa. I just launched a new course on Udemy called “Finishing a Manuscript in 60 Days.” The title tells you all you need to know. I’m not going to explain why you should enroll especially because this blog post is already too long. Nowadays, anything more than a 140 characters doesn’t get read. What I will tell you, is that if you enroll in my course using the special link below, you’ll get it for $9.00. NINE. The regular price is $49.00 and that will be going up as I add to the curriculum. You have to use this link to register before midnight Pacific tomorrow (Tuesday, 11-18-14) and there are a limited number of $9.00 coupons. First come, first served. If you purchase now at $9.00, you’ll get unlimited access to the class now along with everything else I add to it in the future.

If you want to feel warm and fuzzy while writing arm-in-arm with other NaNoWriMo people, best of luck. If you’re serious about writing a first draft and need the structure and organization you won’t get from stumbling through NaNoWriMo, and you want to enjoy writing a novel, then join me on Udemy.

The River is Dark by Joe Hart

theriverisdarkThe River is Dark by Joe Hart, delivers a satisfying chunk of dark, suspenseful entertainment. I recently met Joe (as a guest on The Horror Writers Podcast) and instantly liked the guy. During the interview, Richard asked Joe if he would send us both a signed paperback copy of The River is Dark. He did. As soon as I finished Pet Sematary, I jumped into Hart’s book.

I’ll be honest. I get requests from authors I’ve never met to read their books which is not a great way to introduce yourself to a fellow writer. If we’ve just started “dating” and you’re already asking me to “go all the way” with your book, it puts me in a bit of an awkward situation. However, I’m usually good-natured about it and will give just about any title an opportunity to grab my attention. Well, I would have continued reading Joe’s book whether he asked me to read it or not. He didn’t, for the record.

The story is set in in Minnesota, on the banks of the Mississippi River. Detective Liam Dempsey is pulled into a murder investigation as a suspect. The murders are gruesome and one of the bodies is Liam’s estranged older brother. It turns out that Liam is an ex-cop with an accidental shooting on his record that has haunted him ever since. An old flame reappears and helps Liam solve the mystery. To give you any more would be a spoiler.

Hart is masterful with his imagery and his characters are flawed heroes making them easy to identify with and root for. I’ve never been to Minnesota but Joe made me feel like I have. The pace of the story accelerated, as a good thriller should. The conclusion left me surprised and satisfied.

If you’re looking for an engaging, suspenseful and satisfying mystery, grab yourself a copy of The River is Dark. I promise you won’t be disappointed.