Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Every Month is #NaNoWriMo with Romance In A Month #amwriting #RIAM

The other day, a friend asked me if I was doing NaNoWriMo, or National Novel Writing Month, which starts November 1, less than a week away. Looking back, I realized that with my Romance in a Month method, every month is novel writing month for me.

Romance In A Month is my way of motivating myself and a group of about sixty romance authors to write faster and better. We do exercises to flesh out our stories first: select tropes, develop characters by listing motivations and goals, and challenge ourselves to dig deeper and go further than we'd ever imagined. Most of all, we commit to encouraging each other by reading and commenting on the daily updates.

In May 2014, I formed a Facebook Group and gathered about thirty writers to test our concept. I always believe that encouragement and support make all of us stronger and better. We don't compete in our group, but cooperate so that we all become faster and better writers. The group ranged from experienced authors to new beginners, and the only requirement for membership was an open mind and a willingness to explore new ways of writing and working together. It was sort of like the many NaNo camps where members checked in with each other daily, but the biggest difference is NO WORDCOUNT posts. I did NaNoWriMo in 2012 and have been in a few Camp NaNo's, but the major emphasis is tallying wordcount. At the end of the day, participants updated their wordcount and compared graphs. In the camps and groups, people likewise also spoke mostly in terms of wordcount.

It was supposed to be encouraging, and since I'm one of those writers who can write 3000-5000 words a day, it did not disturb me at first--not until I polled several of my friends who dropped out of those groups. I then realized that daily wordcount posting may be encouraging for those high output writers, but was actually demoralizing for others. It also turned the entire writing exercise into a competition as everyone raced for the goal of 50,000 words.

What about the story? Did anyone even care what their friends' stories were about? Or were people purely in a group to chat about how many cups of coffee they drank and how many words they banged out after midnight?

Romance In A Month is different. It is not a writing exercise or a wordcount driven competition. Instead, I teach the elements of story structure as it relates to a romance, then we select tropes, develop characters, and start writing. We develop a cohesive group feeling, friendships, and lasting relationships in addition to outputting fantastic romances, both long and short.

Romance In A Month consists of two basic elements.
1. Daily Update - This post contains a few pictures that inspire you. Your proposed Title and a short description or blurb. Every day you write, you update this post with a short few sentences of what happened in your story. Other members will read along and comment. Sometimes, brainstorming happens right in the thread, or someone asks a question that leads you in a new and exciting direction. Your Daily Update thread is your motivation to write that day. No writing, no updating. Quite simple. [Remember, no wordcount, just a description of what happened in your story world].

2. Daily Question - Every day, we post a question under the hashtag #RIAMDaily and participants answer for their own characters. This Daily Question can spur discussion as well as help you brainstorm. If you're blocked or having trouble, go back and search the hashtag and answer daily questions from before. Again, your answers are not in a vacuum. Discussions are encouraged and sometimes you might be surprised what new ideas come from it.

Now that November is starting up, whether you're writing with NaNoWriMo or on your own, I encourage you to check out the Romance In A Month Facebook Group. Your next writing adventure may just be waiting for you there.

Write Early. Write Often. Write Well.

List of #RIAM participants' books (since May 2014):
Ey Wade - When Clouds Touch
Rachelle Ayala - Claiming Carlos
Karina Gioertz - Lost Avalon
Lyssa Layne-The Right Pitch
Chantel Rhondeau - Happy Endings (McCallister's Paradise - 1)
Rachelle Ayala - Played by Love
Michele Shriver- The Art of Love
P.C. Zick - Behind the Altar
Toshia Slade (Yadao)- Ten Year Crush
Rachelle Ayala - Playing the Rookie
Lyssa Layne-Fear of Striking Out
Karina Gioertz (K.S. Thomas) - Unhurt
Jade Kerrion - Aroused
Jade Kerrion - Betrayed
Rachelle Ayala - A Father for Christmas
Karina Gioertz (K.S. Thomas) - It's Kinda My Thing
Michele Shriver- Starting Over
Lyssa Layne-Everybody's After Love
Stacy Eaton - You're Not Alone
Rachelle Ayala - Roaring Hot!
Jade Kerrion - Crushed
Jill Blake - Coming Home
Chantel Rhondeau - Blazing Love
Jade Kerrion - Desired
Sharon Coady- Scared Hearts
Stacy Eaton - Barbara's Plea
Rachelle Ayala - Christmas Flirt
Nikki Lynn Barrett- 'Tis The Season for Forgiving 
Jade Kerrion - Ensnared
Lyssa Layne-Everybody's After Love
Lyssa Layne-My Favorite What If
Rachelle Ayala - Playing Without Rules
Jade Kerrion - Flawed
Michele Shriver- Playing for Keeps
Rachelle Ayala - Christmas Stray
P.C. Zick - Behind the Bar
Sharon Coady - Broken Lies
Chantel Rhondeau - Season For Love
Chantel Rhondeau - Diving Into Love
K.S. Thomas - Secret Hudson
K.S. Thomas - Bittersweet
Lyssa Layne-Loved by the Linebacker (novella/novel)
Nikki Lynn Barrett- Fallen Idol 
Amy Manemann - Love on the Slopes
Stacy Eaton - Finding the Strength
Rachelle Ayala - Intercepted by Love - Part One
annamaria bazzi - Rescued by a Gambler
Rachelle Ayala - Intercepted by Love - Part Two
Lyssa Layne-Until You Fall in Love
Stacy Eaton - Tangled in Tinsel
Rachelle Ayala - Intercepted by Love - Part Three
Jill Blake - Balancing Act
Michele Shriver- Love & Light
Lyssa Layne-The King and the Pawn (novella)
Nikki Lynn Barrett- A Forever Masterpiece (The Masterpiece Trilogy #3) 
Rachelle Ayala - Intercepted by Love - Part Four
Rachelle Ayala - Intercepted by Love - Part Five
Stacy Eaton - Cured by Love
Rachelle Ayala - Leap, Laugh, Love
annamaria bazzi - Mail Order Bride
P.C. Zick - Third Base
Sharon Coady - Mavy's Christmas Miracle
Lyssa Layne - Love & Famiglia Novella #2 (novella)
Rachelle Ayala - A Pet for Christmas
Rachelle Ayala - Christmas Lovebirds
Michele Shriver- Crossing the Line (Men of the Ice #2)
annamaria bazzi - Mail Order Bride
Lyssa Layne-Another At Bat
K.S. Thomas - Fallen Angel
annamaria bazzi - An Impossible Rescue
annamaria bazzi - Harmony in the Vineyard
Rachelle Ayala - Intercepted by Love - Part Six
Michele Shriver- The Christmas Wish
Robyn Tieman- Without You
J.L. Campbell - Grudge
J.L. Campbell - Perfection
J.L. Campbell - The Vet's Christmas Pet 
Sharon Coady - Christmas Choices
Chantel Rhondeau - Loving Lucy
Lisa Belcastro  -  A Shenandoah Family Christmas
Jill Blake - Beyond the Ivory Tower
Chicki Brown - Don't Stop Till You Get Enough
P.C. Zick - Minty's Kiss
Rachelle Ayala - Santa's Pet
P.C. Zick - Behind the Curtain (trilogy complete!)
Rachelle Ayala - Valentine Hound Dog

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