Image courtesy of National Novel Writing Month

Coorlim’s Guide to NaNoWriMo

It’s October! Pumpkins. Changing leaves. Wind. Colder temperatures. Halloween. And the looming specter of National Novel Writing Month.


If you’re an aspiring writer you’ve probably heard of NaNoWriMo. If you haven’t, the short version is simple: You write a novel during the month of November. Yes, it can be done.

Last year I wrote a guide to help people write faster and more efficiently. If you haven’t read it, I invite you to give it a look. It’s not too early to start planning!

Questions? You are invited to either leave a comment below, or ask directly through the comment form.
Photo Credit: geishaboy500 via Compfight cc

Killing Your Darlings: Carl Crow

“If you here require a practical rule of me, I will present you with this: ‘Whenever you feel an impulse to perpetrate a piece of exceptionally fine writing, obey it — whole-heartedly — and delete it before sending your manuscript to press. Murder your darlings.” — Arthur Quiller-Couch, On the Art of Writing

It’s a piece of advice that has echoed through the ages, one both parroted and lamented by authors from Faulkner to King: Kill your darlings.

Good writing is efficient writing, and efficient writing is that which you’ve ruthlessly sliced away everything that you can without damaging what it is you’re trying to say. If you can cut it, cut it. If you can’t, don’t.

In a way it reminds me of one of Taoism’s truths: When you have divested yourself of everything you can eliminate, whatever remains is your true self. So it is with writing; everything in your story must serve a vital purpose. Trim the fat.

So it was with Ghosts of Shaolin

Ghosts of Shaolin was the fifth Galvanic Century novel, released in January 2015 and set largely in and around China during the early 1910s. As I’ve mentioned before, I love doing research, so I spent about a month just listening to podcasts about the era, to get a feel for the nature of the time and place.

Laszlo Montgomery’s China History Podcast was a huge help, and I strongly recommend anyone setting anything in China’s history to give it a listen. Specifically, in episode 79, I was introduced to Mr. Carl Crow.

Who was he? Give the episode a listen. Spoiler: He was amazing. I loved him. I needed him in my book, so I added a chapter featuring Mr. Crow as a supporting character.

And then I cut him

Two months later, while revising the novel, I excised him completely. Why? Well, as much historical flavor as good ole’ Carl added, his scenes were utterly devoid of conflict. He was there, he was doing things, but he wasn’t having any strong effect upon the novel.

I cut him because I could. I regret nothing. It was the right choice.

He lives on, in a sense. Almost a year on from the novel’s publication, I’ll be sharing those deleted scenes with the fans supporting my patreon. So even while cutting him out was painful, even though he added nothing substantial to the story, I was able to get some value out of the time I spent writing that chapter and doing that research: added value for the people who have invested in me.

So cut, but don’t discard. You never know when you’ll get some value from those clippings in the future.

Questions? You are invited to either leave a comment below, or ask directly through the comment form.
A Gentlewomans Chronicles audio

Patreon Audiobook Bonus

Audible gives me a number of promotional credits I can use to gift people copies of my audiobooks for promotional purposes, and I’ve decided to use them as a sign of gratitude to those who support me through my patreon.

What’s Patreon?

Patreon is a way you can support your favorite artists and creators directly.

How it works:

  • Your Pledge is how much you donate every time I finish producing a book, short story, game, or other project.
  • Rewards are what you get for pledging at a given level. This makes you a Patron.
  • Milestone Goals are the total amount that everybody is pledging.
  • Milestone Rewards are given to all Patrons when a goal is reached.

So, sign up. You’ll get the free audiobook, a digital copy of what I release, and access to exclusive Patron-only production diaries… right now I’m writing one up about the next series I’ll be working on.

And sign up soon! Copies of the free audiobook are limited. I only get so many free copies to distribute!


Questions? You are invited to either leave a comment below, or ask directly through the comment form.