PubCrawl Podcast: NaNoWriMo 2015 Ideas

Kelly and JJ kick off NaNoWriMo month! This week they talk about how to find an idea to write into a novel, and some tips about how to start writing.

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What a Gchat conversation between Kelly and JJ looks like.


JJ had to draw this, of course.

Show Notes

It’s all JJ, all the time this week!

Some Tips and Tricks

  1. Keep a journal to write down scraps of ideas, or Story Seeds
    • Character
    • Premise
    • Plot
    • Match any of the Story Seeds together for a novel–need at least 2 to start writing
  2. If Story Seeds aren’t coming:
    • Write a list of your favourite books
    • Identify which tropes are contained within them (visit TV Tropes as needed)
    • Divide the tropes into Character, Premise, and Plot
    • Pick 2, see if it sparks anything and start writing
  3. Start telling yourself the story—DON’T START WRITING YET—write a “long, shitty synopsis”
  4. Figure out the inflection/turning points of the first act
    • Inciting Incident: the thing that changes the status quo
    • The Point of No Return: the moment the protagonist takes action and becomes personally involved


  • Describe your character using three adjectives, without describing their sex/gender, ethnicity, looks, or profession/occupation.
  • Specificity helps. BE SPECIFIC.

Books Discussed

Apologies for some audio issues at the end of the episode.

Off-Menu Recommendations

That’s all for this week! Next week we’ll have another pep talk for you, plus answering your questions! Comment with any questions you have for us about writing, drafting, motivation, etc. or send us as ask through Tumblr.


3 Responses to PubCrawl Podcast: NaNoWriMo 2015 Ideas

  1. Karima Nov 10 2015 at 11:38 am #

    Ladies, I absolutely love the podcast! It’s so interesting to hear all of your behind-the-scenes tidbits.

    Kelly, I know you work in contracts and you touched on your history with that a bit. I don’t recall whether you mentioned if you needed a law degree or law experience to work in them?

    I do want to offer you both a little constructive criticism about certain little tics you do which distract me, as a listener. I only bring them up so you can be more aware of trying to avoid them as you record. First, each of you has a tendency to smack your lips/tongue in the middle of speech multiple times during an episode. Second, I’ve noticed that while JJ is talking, Kelly (or vice versa) will murmur “uh-huh” in agreement over and over, but without adding any other information. In a conversation just between two people, it’s important for the person talking to understand that you’re listening. But when you have an audience, then you’re really talking to the audience more than each other and the constant agreements just distract from the person talking.

    These aren’t the worst things in the world, but they do disrupt the flow of the podcast. Otherwise, great job ladies!

    • Kelly Nov 10 2015 at 12:12 pm #

      Hi Karima,

      I do not personally have a law degree or a legal background. Some publishers have an in-house legal departments but many have outside counsel.

      Usually a lawyer–whether as an employee of the Publisher or an outside lawyer retained by the Publisher–will create the template contract for the Publisher to ensure that it is legally sound. From there the Contracts department takes over, handling the drafting of each specific contract (with details unique to each author and book) as well as negotiating with agents and making changes as necessary. In general the Contracts department will be authorized to handle a variety of scenarios and requested changes in accordance with the Publisher’s polices and practices. If ever confronted with something that falls outside my authority, things are then escalated to a lawyer (this is rare, but it does happen). In addition to drafting contracts, tracking them, processing them, and working closely with the accounting department to generate payments are just a few of the things handled by the Contracts department. A degree in law is certainly helpful, but is not required in all cases. Attention to detail is imperative, though.

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