The Scarlet Paperback Blog Tour & Read-Alongs!

Posted on: 13th Jan 2014  /   Categorized: Blog Tours

Three weeks! I can’t hardly believe it, but Cress comes out in just three weeks . . . and guess what! So does the paperback edition of Scarlet, which will also be hitting bookshelves on February 4.


There are fifty pages of bonus materials in the paperback edition, including: “The Queen’s Army,” a companion short story; a Cress teaser; Q&A with yours truly; book discussion questions; and a we love bloggers! appreciation page.


In celebration, all this week is a special Scarlet blog tour—complete with lots of opportunities to win great prizes and free books!



Monday January 13: My Shelf Confessions

On the Lunar Chronicles’ science-fiction / fairy tale twists . . .


Tuesday January 14: Reader of Fictions

On some seriously swoonworthy boys . . .


Wednesday January 15: Scott Reads It

On one terrifying villain . . .


Thursday January 16: Michelle and Leslie’s Book Picks

On the Lunar Chronicles’ global settings and their futuristic glory (and chaos) . . .


Friday January 17: Book Brats

On our strong and inspiring heroines . . .


For your best chance to win copies of Cinder and Scarlet, be sure to follow the complete blog tour and enter all the giveaways!



But that isn’t all—you can also win awesome prizes by joining in two, that’s right, TWO read-alongs happening this month.




(Visit for details.)



(Visit for details.)



Both read-alongs are drumming up plenty of Lunartic chatter, fanart, and fun, and both come with prizes! So grab a copy of Scarlet and get reading (or re-reading) today!

Mark Your Calendars for the CRESS Launch Party and Livestream!

Posted on: 10th Jan 2014  /   Categorized: Cress

I am SO EXCITED to be posting the details for the CRESS launch party! If you live anywhere in or near Western Washington, I highly recommend making the drive, because it will be worth it.



WHAT: Celebrate the launch of CRESS: Book Three of The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer! Be entertained, eat some food, and get your books signed!


WHEN: Tuesday, February 4. Doors open at 6:30. Show begins at 7:00. Book signing to follow.


HOSTED BY: Garfield Book Company at PLU


WHERE: Karen Hille Phillips Center (formerly Eastvold Hall) at Pacific Lutheran University in Tacoma, WA


PARKING: There are two parking lots on the corners of Garfield & Park Ave. (On this map: Mortvedt Lot and Harstad Lot. The event will be held at #25 Eastvold Hall.)


TICKETS: Due to limited seating, this will be a ticketed event. See below.


Cress flyer 8x11


Q: I can’t wait!! How do I get a ticket and ensure a seat at the event?


Get your ticket by pre-ordering CRESS from Garfield Book Co. Each CRESS pre-order comes with one event ticket. Each person must present a ticket to be admitted into the launch party.


OR you can purchase just the event ticket for $5.00 online at (Tickets for children under 10 are free.)


Q: I’m from Seattle/Portland/Oklahoma. Is this party really worth the drive to Tacoma?


Abso-friggin-lutely! The CRESS Launch Party will include:


– Marissa Meyer talking about her inspiration for The Lunar Chronicles, telling at least one fairy tale (Marissa-style), answering questions, and generally making a great hullabaloo about the fact that she’s written three books now, holy cow, when did that happen?

– Special musical performances by singer/songwriters Angie Lynn and Dave Hannon

– Special Lunar Chronicles balloon art by Dr. Twistin

– Hand and body paintings by local henna artists

– A costume contest

– Salon Ish facilitating donations to Locks of Love

– Raffle prizes

– Swag

– Book signing

– FREE FOOD! <~ if that didn’t convince you, you may be a lost cause.



Q: I’m coming to the party and I’m psyched!! How can I be a part of the festivities?


All guests are encouraged to wear red hats or hair accessories. (For Cinder everyone wore red shoes, for Scarlet it was red scarves—it’s a super fun way to dress up for the occasion!)


If you don’t have any red hair accessories, or you forget—never fear! We should have special CRESS hairbands available for purchase, hand-made by my own mom, who also made the special Scarlet scarves from last year, because she’s all amazing and stuff.


Overachievers are encouraged to wear Lunar Chronicles-inspired costumes. Depending on participation, we’re hoping to host a costume contest, where you could win a really awesome prize!


Do you have un-bleached hair longer than 10 inches? Consider donating it to our Locks of Love campaign! In return, you’ll receive awesome Lunar Chronicles goodies and free swag from Salon Ish in Puyallup. If you aren’t sure if your hair fits the requirements, our volunteer stylists will be able to help.


PLUS, if you would like to volunteer your hair during the livestreamed show, you will win an even bigger prize! Please comment if you’re interested.


(Locks of Love is a non-profit organization that provides high-quality hairpieces to children in the United States and Canada suffering from long-term medical hair loss. What better way to celebrate Rapunzel’s lovely locks?)



Q: Can I buy additional copies of CRESS and/or CINDER and SCARLET for signing?


Yes, indeed! Bring and purchase as many books as you like. I’ll sign until my hand falls off. Or PLU kicks us out. Whichever comes first.



Q: I can’t come to the party and my heart is breaking! How else can I be a part of the fun?


Never fear, Lunartics! The CRESS launch party is going to be livestreamed, so anyone far and wide can partake in the entertainment.


Details are still being worked out. For now—mark your calendar for Tuesday, February 4, at 7:00 PST.


You will also have the opportunity to ask questions during the livestream. If your question is chosen, I’ll answer it on-stage, and you could even win a special VIP prize.


I’ll post more information on that once I have it.


Closing statement: Eeeeeeeehhhh I can’t wait!!

My 2014 Writing Plan

Posted on: 7th Jan 2014  /   Categorized: Writing Life

Last year I posted about my writing business plan and my goals for 2013, so today I thought I’d look back and see just how much I did (and did not) accomplish, and also give some insight into my upcoming year.



My 2013 Business Plan

– Launch and promote SCARLET (success!)

– Final revisions/edits for CRESS and early promotion (success!)

– Turn WINTER in to my editor

– Turn the Secret Nano Project (a.k.a. HEARTLESS) in to my editor

– Brainstorm and outline whatever will come next (semi-success)

– More regular updates to the Marissa Meyer Facebook fan page (esp. while traveling) (success!)


In the end, it turned out that I way, way, way (way way way way WAY) underestimated how much time it was going to take me to revise WINTER. This book has been about ten times the headache that the first three books were. Not to worry. I am nearing the end (finally!) and I’m hopeful that I’ll have it off to my editor soon, but… yeah. It definitely did not happen in 2013, and the thought that I’d hoped to revise both WINTER and HEARTLESS last year is seriously laughable.

But! I did write two short stories and a novella tied in to the Lunar Chronicles universe, and those hadn’t been on the initial business plan, so all in all, I’m pretty pleased with my progress last year.

And now…


My 2014 Business Plan

– Launch and promote CRESS (one month to go!!!)

– Final revisions/edits for WINTER and early promotion

– Turn HEARTLESS in to my editor

– Final revisions/edits for HEARTLESS? (publishing schedule TBD)

– Outline and draft at least the first book in my next series. (Come November, if I’m feeling ambitious, I may attempt to draft two or even three books, like I first did with TLC. But . . . we’ll see. I might decide to take a 30-day nap instead.)

– Start a book club.

– Go on my first group writing retreat.


Which sounds like a crazy-fun productive year!


Interested in making your own writing business plan? Check out my original post for more strategies.

And feel free to post your own goals for this year in the comments!

My Top Ten Reads of 2013

Posted on: 2nd Jan 2014  /   Categorized: Book Love

I didn’t read nearly as many books as I’d wanted to in 2013 (acknowledging that I could read 500 books in a year and still not be satisfied), but there were definitely some great ones!

Total books read: 61 (29 fewer than 2012, despite all my best efforts)


Genre breakdown:

Young Adult: 45*

Nonfiction: 8 (4 memoir, 2 self-help, 1 on adoption, 1 writing guide)

Graphic Novels: 3

Romance: 2

Middle Grade: 1

Fantasy / Literary: 1

Science-Fiction: 1


*YA can be further broken down into:

YA Paranormal / Horror: 13

YA Sci-fi / Dystopian: 10

YA Romance: 9

YA Fantasy: 8

YA Thriller: 5


The complete reading list can be found on yesterday’s blog post.


My Ten Favorite Books I Read This Year

(In alpha-order by author. Series grouped together.)


1. Of Triton by Anna Banks

I am so smitten with Anna Banks’s writing voice, and both Of Poseidon and Of Triton came with the perfect mix of humor, action, and romance. I’ve heard through the grapevine that the conclusion of the series, Of Neptune, is even BETTER, and I cannot wait to get my hands on it.


2. The Coldest Girl in Coldtown by Holly Black

I had no idea that I could care about a vampire book, but this one entirely swept me off my feet. The concept was both unique and familiar, and I was hooked from page one. It doesn’t hurt that I happen to be painfully in love with Gavriel…


3. Texas Gothic and Spirit and Dust by Rosemary Clement-Moore

I just discovered Rosemary Clement-Moore this year and since then I have tried to force these books onto every person I know who enjoys fast-paced books filled with ghosts and witches and mysteries and seriously hot guys. Seriously. I love them so much.


4. Book of a Thousand Days by Shannon Hale

This book has been out for a while and I finally got around to it last year and, in true Shannon Hale form, I adored every page. Both the story and the voice read like a fairy tale and I loved watching the protagonist grow over the course of the story.


5. Prodigy and Champion by Marie Lu

Marie really left us hanging at the end of Prodigy so it was such a relief to be able to dive into both books in 2013. Day! June! My heart! Also – who else so could not have predicted the epic world-building from Antarctica? I kind of want a spin-off series to be set there. *nudges Marie*


6. Grave Mercy and Dark Triumph by Robin LaFevers

The moment I heard about the His Dark Assassin series—teenage girls who are nuns secretly trained to be assassins—I knew that I would love these books. And I was absolutely correct. Robin’s knack for combining historical details with brilliant protagonists and one seriously terrifying villain is mind-blowing.


7. Nerve by Jeanne Ryan

This was another book that sold me on concept alone, and it exceeded every expectation. Maybe it spoke to my nostalgia for “Truth or Dare” games? Either way, it’s so full of twists and suspense I couldn’t put it down.


8. This Song Will Save Your Life by Leila Sales

Oh. This is one of those books that every time I think about it my heart sighs. It should be required reading for everyone who has ever felt like an outcast. (Which I suspect is… everyone.) So much love for this book.


9. The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight by Jennifer E. Smith

Another heart-sighing book, this one continues to give me gushy feelings even months after I read it. I can be an enormous sucker for meant-to-be romances, and this book manages to fill that need without ever feeling melodramatic or clichéd. A perfect pick-me-up.


10. The Raven Boys and The Dream Thieves by Maggie Stiefvater

Without a doubt, these are the books that left me with the biggest book hangover in 2013. So, um, HOW LONG do we have to wait for the next one?! (She asks with irony.) I am so crazy in love with every single character in these books and on the edge of my seat to see how certain seemingly-doomed plotlines will be resolved. Unless Maggie Stiefvater plans on breaking my heart. *cries*



There you have my favorite reads of 2013. And for an added bonus, here are:


The Top 10 Books I Didn’t Get To But Am Seriously Dying to Read in 2014 

1. Splintered by A.G. Howard

2. Star Cursed by Jessica Spotswood

3. Vicious by Victoria Schwab

4. Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

5. Days of Blood and Starlight by Laini Taylor

6. The Bitter Kingdom by Rae Carson

7. The Wicked and the Just by J. Anderson Coats

8. Transparent by Natalie Whipple

9. Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein

10. Everything on Rosemary Clement-Moore’s backlist.


Game on, 2014!


Feel free to post your favorite reads of 2013 or most anticipated book for 2014 in the comments!

4th Quarter Reading List 2013

Posted on: 1st Jan 2014  /   Categorized: Book Love

Happy New Year!

I’m wrapping up some loose ends, running some errands, making a plan, and all-around preparing myself for a fantastic 2014… and no doubt a very busy 2014 as well.

In 2013, I revised and edited CRESS and wrote the second draft of WINTER. I also wrote one prequel novella and two companion short stories.

I also read 61 books, many of which blew me away. There were a gazillion on my TBR that I didn’t get to, including the sequels and conclusions to some of my favorite series, so I look forward to jumping back into some of my favorite fictional worlds this year!

My Fourth Quarter Picks

Without a doubt, the books that spoke to me most this quarter were The Raven Boys and The Dream Thieves by Maggie Stiefvater. I am so in love with these books, and I was left with such a book hangover after reading them. Everything from the story and history and atmosphere to the characters – oh! The characters. Some of the most dynamic characters and relationships I’ve ever read. If you haven’t started this series yet, I highly recommend it!

I also really enjoyed Nerve by Jeanne Ryan, which completely caught me off-guard with its intensity. My heart was racing for the last 100 pages and there were plenty of twists I didn’t see coming. Think Truth or Dare – meets – viral videos – meets – The Hunger Games. *chills*

I’ll be posting my Top Ten Books of the Year tomorrow. In the meantime, here is the complete reading list.

1st Quarter
1. Style, by Lauren Conrad
2 Perfect Chemistry, by Simone Elkeles
3. The Archived, by Victoria Schwab
4. The Madman’s Daughter, by Megan Shepherd
5. For Darkness Shows the Stars, by Diana Peterfreund
6. Shades of Earth, by Beth Revis
7. Suite Scarlett, by Maureen Johnson
8. The Summer Prince, by Alaya Dawn Johnson
9. Fair Coin, by E.C. Myers
10. First Frost, by Liz DeJesus
11. Prodigy, by Marie Lu

2nd Quarter
12. Redshirts, by John Scalzi
13. Ashes, by Ilsa J. Bick
14. Article 5, by Kristen Simmons
15. Revenge of the Girl with the Great Personality, by Elizabeth Eulberg
16. Drop Dead Healthy: One Man’s Humble Quest for Bodily Perfection, by A.J. Jacobs
17. Cinder, by Me!
18. Scarlet, by Me!
19. Don’t Expect Magic, by Kathy McCullough
20. The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight, by Jennifer E. Smith
21. Sailor Twain, or The Mermaid in the Hudson, by Mark Siegel (graphic novel)
22. A Midsummer’s Nightmare, by Kody Keplinger
23. The Rithmatist by Brandon Sanderson
24. Antigoddess, by Kendare Blake
25. Texas Gothic, by Rosemary Clement-Moore
26. Spirit and Dust, by Rosemary Clement-Moore

Third Quarter
27. The Tao of Martha, by Jen Lancaster
28. The Know-it-all, by A.J. Jacobs
29. Book of a Thousand Days, by Shannon Hale
30. This Is What Happy Looks Like, by Jennifer E. Smith
31. Populazzi, by Elise Allen
32. A Week to be Wicked, by Tessa Dare
33. A Lady by Midnight, by Tessa Dare
34. The Night Circus, by Erin Morgenstern
35. Dead is a Killer Tune, by Marlene Perez
36. Pluto, by Urasawa Tezuka (graphic novel)
37. Clarity, by Kim Harrington
38. The One and Only Ivan, by Katherine Applegate
39. Nothing Can Possibly Go Wrong, by Prudence Shen and Faith Erin Hicks (graphic novel)
40. The Madness Underneath, by Maureen Johnson
41. Grave Mercy, by Robin LaFevers
42. Dark Triumph, by Robin LaFevers
43. This Song Will Save Your Life, by Leila Sales
44. Possess, by Gretchen McNeil
45. The Successful Novelist, by David Morrell
46. The Fallout, by S.A. Bodeen
47. Tumble & Fall, by Alexandra Coutts
48. Of Triton, by Anna Banks
49. The Coldest Girl in Coldtown, by Holly Black

Fourth Quarter
50. Unthinkable, by Nancy Werlin
51. The Raven Boys, by Maggie Stiefvater
52. The Nightmare Dilemma, by Mindee Arnett
53. The Dream Thieves, by Maggie Stiefvater
54. Allegiant, by Veronica Roth
55. The Unseemly Education of Anne Merchant, by Joanna Wiebe
56. Adoption for Dummies, by Tracy Barr and Katrina Carlisle
57. Bossypants, by Tina Fey
58. Champion, by Marie Lu
59. Nerve, by Jeanne Ryan
60. United We Spy, by Ally Carter
61. The Happiness Project, by Gretchen Rubin

A Real-Life Post: Babies and Adoption!

Posted on: 26th Dec 2013  /   Categorized: News

My husband and I have just made the official announcement to our friends and families, and I wanted to share the exciting news here as well.

We are currently in the process of adopting our first child!


Though there are no guarantees with these things, we hope to have a new addition to our family by this time next year, and I look forward to sharing adorable pictures when I can.

We made the decision to adopt back in August, and since then have noticed some continuity in the questions people ask, so here are some…


Domestic or International?
There are certainly valid arguments for adopting both domestically and internationally. Jesse and I have chosen to adopt domestically, right here in Washington state.

Private or Public?
Private adoption typically refers to babies who are relinquished by their birth parents at birth. Public adoption refers to the foster care system. Jesse and I have chosen to work with Amara, an adoption agency that fosters both types of adoptions, and we are open to both. So we’re kind of letting fate decide on that one.

Age? Gender?
For our first child, Jesse and I are hopeful in adopting a baby (0-24 months). We have no preference on gender. Again, we’ll see what fate hands us.

What is the process even like to adpot a child?
The process varies based on a variety of factors (domestic v. international, private v. public, and more), but generally, adoptive parents complete a home study, either through an adoption agency or the foster care system. The home study includes a series of interviews, a home inspection, training and classes, and lots and lots of paperwork. It typically takes three to six months from start to finish.

From there, families undergoing private adoption will usually put together a profile that introduces themselves to birth families – their lifestyle, values, etc. That profile is given to birth families who can choose who they think is the best family for their child.

With public adoption, you work with a social worker who will find a child from the foster system that will fit your family, and that you will be a good home for.

(That is obviously a very, very simplified look at the process.)

Aren’t you worried about all the risks?
This question comes up a lot, but can refer to a multitude of different “risks.”

Risk 1: You have an arrangement with a birth family/pregnant woman, but when the child arrives, they change their mind and decide to keep the baby instead.

Risk 2: You receive a child from the foster care system, but then they’re reunited with their birth family before your adoption can be finalized.

Risk 3: Any number of health issues, both in the child and the birth parents, or psychological issues due to abuse or neglect.

Risk 4: The “you’re not my real parents and I don’t have to listen to you!” rebellion stage, and/or your child wanting to learn more or even meet their birth family at some point.

The fact is, the adoption process can indeed be a rollercoaster with lots of ups and downs, but we’re willing to weather the storms as they come. A lot of the training that adoptive parents go through is focused on making them more prepared for these potential heartaches.

(Not to mention that there are plenty of risks with having a biological child, too!)

It’s probably none of my business, but . . . why adoption?
This is my favorite question because everyone wants to know but everyone also recognizes that it’s probably rude to ask. But we are an open book and have no problem talking about our decision. :)

Obviously, it’s common for people to choose adoption after experiencing fertility issues, so that tends to be the first assumption. In our case, adoption is and was our first choice for having a child. Jesse and I recognize that there are a lot of children all over the world in need of stable, supportive families, and it was more important to us to offer our home to one of those children rather than have a genetic connection. Without negating the biological bond that forms between a parent and child, we feel strongly that the true value of parenting is about the love and security you give. So adoption felt like the best choice for us from the beginning.

That pretty much covers the big ones.

I am very, very excited to meet my child!!

Help! Autograph Sayings for CRESS

Posted on: 19th Dec 2013  /   Categorized: Cress

With only 46 days (!!!) to go before Cress hits stores and I take off on my epic Cress book tour, it’s time for me to start brainstorming the all-important saying that I’ll write in the book during signings.


This is one of those weird things that kind of stresses me out every year. While a generic saying, such as “Enjoy!” or “Happy Reading!” would no doubt be perfectly acceptable, I really like to write something that relates to the book. Ideally I’ll also have a saying that is gender-neutral.


For CINDER, my go-to phrase is:


Once upon a future . . .


Though if I have more time, I might spice it up by writing:


May the glass slipper always fit.




May your fairy godmother always be on call.




Live long and charming.


For SCARLET, I usually write:


Who’s afraid?




Beware the Big Bad Wolf.


But for CRESS, so far all I’ve come up with is:


Let down your hair.


Which is okay, but a little cheesy and feminine and, you know, what if I’m signing for someone who’s bald?


So I’m seeking your help, guys! Obviously, I know that most of you have not yet had the chance to read CRESS, but I’m open to any ideas that reference Rapunzel or the first two TLC books too.


Any thoughts?

An Interview with the NaNo Challenge Winners

Posted on: 16th Dec 2013  /   Categorized: Nanowrimo

I’m pleased to welcome three special guests today—the top three word-count writers from the Write Like Crazy NaNoWriMo Challenge! Each of these ladies wrote over HALF A MILLION WORDS, which is beyond amazing, and they were all kind enough to write a few hundred more to answer some of my questions.


I am super inspired by their dedication, and I hope you will be as well!


Please welcome Sam (561,921 words), Taryn (555,000 words) and Katie (500,005 words) to the blog!




Marissa: Do you want to tell us a little bit about the projects you were working on during November? I know some of you wrote multiple novels last month—which makes sense!


Sam: My novels were about a government training/ recruitment program for teens that wouldn’t be missed in the world. The government could train these teen soldiers to kill and go into war, and not have to answer to any surviving family members about the teen’s whereabouts or untimely deaths.



MG fantasy about two kids who uncover a monster smuggling ring

NA contemp about two girls who learn they’re dating the same guy

YA fantasy crossing Rumspringa with a Native American vision quest

Space opera retelling of Seven Brides for Seven Brothers

NA romance retelling My Fair Lady


Katie: I wrote four novels last month. The first was about a high school senior who’s trying to figure out where to go to college while dealing with her dysfunctional extended family. The second was a college romance about a young woman trying to reconcile her desires with her feminist beliefs. The third was about a high school football player wrongly accused of murder. The fourth was about a high school dropout who tries to get over the death of her twin sister by hiking the 2,000+ mile-long Appalachian Trail. I also wrote several short stories and sort of “deleted scenes” featuring characters from different novels.



Marissa: What’s next for you and your writing? Do you plan to revise these projects? Any hopes for future publication?


Sam: I definitely plan to revise my first novel, Experiment Area 96, because I really am proud of how that one planned out. The two sequels are kind of  iffy for me. I don’t think I like how my plot went and I may end up just rewriting both. I’m sure deep down inside I want my book published, but I have that little self-conscious voice in my head that’s spewing what ifs. What if they all reject it? What if they publish it and all the readers hate it? So. Maybe when I get this voice tied up, gagged in a closet somewhere, I’ll want my book published.


Taryn: I have an agent, and we’re subbing a project from earlier this year. A couple of these will be revised while that one’s out, so we’ll see!


Katie:  I have two novels that I promised myself I would rewrite once NaNo was over. Once I’ve edited those, I will go back and edit the projects I wrote last month. I really want to be published, and I currently have ten completed drafts that I need to work on. My plan is to make 2014 the year that I focus more on editing the novels I’ve already written and less on writing new novels. (Of course, I also said that last year!)



Marissa: How many times had you competed in NaNoWriMo before this? Was this the first time you pushed yourself to this degree, or is your ability to rack up mind-blowing word counts old news to you and your family?


Sam: This was actually my first ‘official’ NaNo. I did fanfiction for almost two years, racking up almost 16 stories. I think my longest story was about 200,000 words.


Taryn: 7th NaNo! My first one just barely made it across the 50K line. Finished in 3 days last year, but this is the first year I kept that pace up the whole way through.


Katie: This was my seventh year participating in NaNoWriMo, and the fifth year that I hit at least 50k. It wasn’t until my fourth year that I learned that there were people who set out to write more than 50k. So the next year I set myself a goal of 75k and ended up hitting 222k. Last year I tried to hit 250k and ended up falling short at 242k. This year I thought I would be lucky to hit 250k. I never thought that I would be able to write half a million! I didn’t even make that my official goal until about halfway through the month when I realized that I was still on pace for 500k.



Marissa: Speaking of friends and family—what did they think during your November writing madness? Did you have a lot of support, or did they mostly just think you’re crazy?


Sam: I actually only told my mom that I was doing it! She didn’t really say much or understand the significance. As for madness, I usually spend most of my days in my room anyways. (Antisocial teen stereotype. I know.)  So my family didn’t think much of it.


Taryn: I don’t have a roommate, so I basically spent most of my time in my room when I wasn’t at class or at the gym. No one was around enough to think I was crazy. My support system was twitter, and that was vital.


Katie: My family thinks I’m crazy, but they’re pretty much used to it by now. They got a bit annoyed at the constant writing, but they were still really supportive. My boyfriend constantly volunteered to make me more tea when I ran out, and he always cheered me on when I felt like giving up. And my friends are mostly fellow Wrimos, so they definitely helped cheer me on!



Marissa: Can you offer any tips or techniques for how to be such an efficient word-count machine? (In other words: How did you do it?!)


Sam: I used a technique that my shop teacher actually taught me. That is to retype a same sentence while you think of your next one, just so you don’t get stuck there staring at a blinking black line. I also planned. A TON.


Taryn: I have a ton of tips on my blog, but the most important one is this: Know how you write. Know your pace and how long you can keep it up and how long you need to recharge in between writing sessions. Plan ahead—A) in order to be excited about what you’re writing, and B) in order to not have distractions discourage you.


Katie: There are three things that I absolutely would not have won without. A) Write or Die. I don’t know what it is about that program, but it completely silences my inner editor about 98 percent of the time. Best ten bucks I’ve ever spent. B) Word wars. I have an awesome chat group that ran word wars all the time, and those (combined with WoD) really helped push me to write more than I would have on my own. C) A friend really close to you in word count. I wanted to stop writing a lot in the beginning of the month when I was so far ahead of my goal, but every time I wanted to quit, a fellow Wrimo was really close to me, and I had to keep writing so she wouldn’t catch up. Those three things combined to keep me writing all month long, even when I wanted to stop.


Of course, it also helps that I had a lot of free time and have gotten to the point where I can easily type 3-4k an hour. I even hit 5k an hour once. That definitely was something that I worked up to, though. It was only a few years ago that I thought 1k in 30 minutes was impossible for me! :)



Marissa: How about any advice for staying sane during a huge writing marathon like this?


Sam: Outline. Outline. OUTLINE. It helps decrease the panic when you reach a word block. Just go over your outline and try to get a feel for where your story is going.


Katie: Remember to have fun. I have a lot of friends in chat, and I would never have made it if I didn’t have them there to cheer for me when I did something awesomely crazy, to motivate me when I felt down, and just to joke around when I needed to think about something other than my novel. Writing is clearly important, but it’s also important to make sure that you have people around—either in person or online—who can make you laugh when you need it.



Marissa: What was your favorite part of the Write Like Crazy Challenge, or NaNoWriMo in general? Least favorite part?


Sam: My favorite part of NaNo was just the community. I grew to love checking twitter to see how everyone was doing and connecting with others going through the same thing I was. My least favorite part was having self doubts and stressing over wanting to win the challenge so bad. My own mind was freaking out on me when I didn’t type fast enough for all the information it was spewing at me.


Taryn: I love the atmosphere of NaNo, where creating is of #1 importance. Too many people get caught up in the minutiae of writing, but without a full picture, the details don’t matter.


Katie: I loved the Write Like Crazy challenge because it really helped push me to write more than I originally intended. NaNoWriMo is great in general because it pushes me to write in general. I’ve always loved creating stories, but I was always afraid to write them down because they were never as good on paper as they were in my head. And NaNo helped me realize that that’s okay, that there’s always another draft to write that can make it better, that a first draft doesn’t have to be good.


My least favorite part of NaNoWriMo is all the hate that comes with writing more than 50k. People on the forums can be really nasty sometimes. A bunch of people have gotten hate mail, and we have a bunch of people who come into the “Beyond 50k” forum (designed particularly for people who write more than 50k in a month, or 50k in less than a month) and start telling us that we must by lying or cheating or writing stuff that is of substantially lower quality than all the other drafts. Of course, there are also a lot of great people on the forums, and those people definitely outnumber the bad ones. The trick is to learning how to ignore the haters and just to keep doing what we love doing—writing.



Marissa: Would you do it again?


Sam: My gut is telling me NO! Even though it was an awesome experience, my school work decreased drastically! I already have school anxiety, and not completing school work really killed some of my grades. But have no fear, I managed to complete almost all of my work on time. Most of it. It was a sacrifice I was willing to make.


Taryn: Probably not >500K. Writing 16,667/day left me creatively exhausted. Still, I plan to stick with 2 full MSs each NaNo. Having thousands of other writers doing the exact same thing—challenging themselves—is so motivational.


Katie: Maybe. Somewhere around week three, I told myself that I would never, ever do this again. But then I hit 500k a day early, and then I started to think about how much I could have written if I had actually aimed for 500k the entire time instead of just sort of half-aiming for it most of the month, and now I really want to see if I can write more, or at least hit 500k faster. But that will have to wait for a month when I have more free time. I’m hoping to start my first year of teaching next year, and while I’ll still be aiming for at least 100k, I doubt I will be able to write 500k and teach. Although I guess I’ll never know if I don’t try. :)



Marissa: I am so inspired after reading your answers! Thanks for answering my questions, and I wish you the best of luck with your revisions and future writing projects… and catching up on that school work!

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