Abigail’s Favorite 2016 Technology

Abigail’s scoured the web for tech updates in the world of reading and writing fiction. Here are her top seven news stories from 2016!


As the intern for Sell More Books Show podcast, I spend a lot of time with my nose to the ground sniffing out the latest news and author tips in the publishing industry.

Because there’s never a dull day in the wide world of books, we always have fascinating and informative stories that don’t make the final cut for the podcast’s line-up.

In the spirit of giving these discarded stories a second chance, I’ll be sharing them here.

I’ll start with a recap of technological advancements made in 2016. Over the past year, authors and readers enjoyed new ways to create, interact with, and analyze books.

Here are my top seven picks for technology that could revolutionize the publishing industry.

My first four picks are proof that creating and consuming stories became more interactive in 2016:

1) CNET published a “massively multi-writer” sci-fi novel with over fifty authors working at a time on a shared document.

2) Amazon introduced choose-your-own adventure audio stories on Alexa. Continue reading

Nanowrimo Love Letters: Reconciliation

Abigail has seen the error of her ways! Will NaNo take her back? Read part one, part two, and part three!


NaNo, my old flame,


What I’m about to say may sound crazy. But in memory of the love we once shared, please hear me out.

Forgive me. I’ve been such a fool.

I was scared. Fifty thousand words seemed a herculean task, and I felt so small, so wholly unprepared and inadequate. And yes, there were some dark days when I couldn’t call myself a writer.

But now I realize that I was never alone in my struggle. You and a community of 500,000 wrimos were there by my side showing me that I’ve been a writer all along.

Even though our story is imperfect—even though our characters stumbled, even though the world we put them in was hollow, even though our plot was misguided—it was better to have written and lost than to never have written at all.

If all I have to show for my hours spent with you is a broken-hearted story, I’ll take it. I will gladly sign my name to it.

But I have a feeling that this is not the end. November still draws breath, and there’s still life left in our story.

I’m asking for a second draft, a second chance.

I know we haven’t seen each other in a week. I know that we only have 33,340 between us, but who needs a fat wordcount when we have each other?

Let’s run away together. Let’s make this a shotgun love story.

We’ll escape all the distractions of day-to-day life. We’ll hole ourselves up in a cheap motel or an isolated cabin deep in some forgotten woods. Just you, me, and an old trusty typewriter.

We’ll abandon food, sleep, and an internet connection. Writing will be the only sustenance we’ll require.

Let’s pledge our undying devotion to one another. Let’s word sprint headlong into the dwindling hours until, at long last, we reach our story’s happily-ever-after.

Nano, if you feel the same way, put on a clean shirt and your best pair of jeans and meet me on November 30th at the courthouse. I’ll be waiting for you.

Forever yours, forever a writer,


P.S. Um, about that internet connection, we’ll probably need it on November 30th to upload the word count. Bring your hotspot.

P.P.S. A bottle of bubbly would be nice too. And don’t forget the ice! (Partly because I’ll need something to cool down the carpal tunnel.)

P.P.P.S. I have a sudden craving for Funyuns. Bring a couple bags. On second thought, make that a couple dozen bags. Writing makes me peckish.

P.P.P.P.S Slight change of plans. Instead of the whole courthouse-isolated-cabin-thing, let’s meet at the local library. Much less likely to run into hungry, Funyun loving bears.

P.P.P.P.P.S Drats! The local library is closed for renovations. Don’t they know what month it is? Let’s just meet at my place. After all, we write best in house slippers and pajamas.



<< Part 3







Nanowrimo Love Letters: Estrangement

It seems the excitement of the new relationship has worn out.  Abigail and Nano’s future together seems bleak. Read part one and part two!



NaNo, you rat bastard,


What happened to our fifty-thousand-word commitment?

I sit at my computer waiting for you to show up. You’re never there for me when I need you.

The blinking cursor and worn backspace key is a constant reminder of your cruel indifference.

But you seem to have all the time in the world for your other admirers. How do you think it makes me feel when I see other wrimos’ word counts soar and mine stagnate?

And don’t tell me that I’m just being paranoid, or that I have a bad case of word count envy. It’s more than that.

The thrill is gone.

I used to look forward to our little trysts at the word processor, but lately I’ve come to dread them.

There was a time we couldn’t keep our hands off the keyboard. I used to daydream about you, but now thoughts of you are only passing frustrations.

The truth is, you’ve changed. You’re not the same Nano I fell in love with. Over the course of these last few weeks, you’ve turned into an egomaniac, a needy, nagging glutton for attention.

Your single-minded pursuit of more words borders on hysteria.

I have no more words to give. I’m a busy woman with a pile of real work to finish, a dog to walk, dishes to clean, leaves to rake, closets to color-coordinate, and friends who miss me.

In fact, I’ve been having some heart-to-hearts with my old pal, Inner Critic. I’ve been rehashing our story through fresh eyes, and I’m embarrassed to realize how foolish I’ve been.

Our story had once seemed so important, so meaningful. But now I see the wild-plot-bunny chases as they really were: a waste of time.

The characters we developed are shallow, flimsy things who strut about and run their mouths without purpose, commonsense, or a firm grasp of the English language.

The world we created for ourselves is just as nonsensical; its rules and rituals wouldn’t hold up if they were tapped with a feather.

The truth is, our story was doomed from the start. We built it on a misshapen plot structure that’s crumbling underfoot.

I can’t believe we ever thought we could make it to “The End.” I can’t believe I wasted hours of my time and 33,340 words on you.

It’s over, Nano. Don’t bother looking for me on the forums, I won’t be there.

No Longer Yours,


P.S. I used to think your head ware was cute and quirky. But now? It’s just pathetic. I mean, who wears a Viking helmet every day?


Is it truly over between Abigail and Nano? Or will love triumph in the end? Tune in next time for the final letter.

<< Part 2Part 4 >>





50k Isn’t Any Sweat At All

nanosuccess-017 Strategies for a Successful Nanowrimo

1. Use the hashtags to facilitate later name changes.

Someone really clever already explained how to implement this. This is an excellent way to make sure that edits are easier later as well as giving you the opportunity to Just Keep Going instead of stopping to work out a character sheet any time you need a new person to add. #Thatonefriend

2. Let wanderings, ramblings, and tangents abound. (oh my)

Nano is about shutting out everything else to do what you love. It’s about experimenting with a new style, or a new genre. It’s also about letting the plot wander where it needs to go. No matter how well you planned, characters tend to have a mind of their own. A plot point you thought needed one  quick scene may turn onto a wandering path that sort of hits your point.

FEAR NOT. Do not start using the backspace. Do not select any portion and write over it. You can fix the sentence you are working on for spelling or for “oops, no, let’s change those two words” but let the novel go where it might and you can work on sitting it down for a long talk in December or January.

Use the generally neglected strikethrough option in your font formatting options if you know a section is not to be used later. It is ultimately as important to allow your creativity to wander off the path sometimes so that it can return to the plot as outlined. Continue reading