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Day 195: The Most Frugal Novel in the World

Guest post!

So, you may have noticed that I am currently grievously ill. But I went to the doctor, am armed with super-sized penicillin (the definition of "unexpected emergency expence," I think). Here to save the day is Jenny!

This is my first guest post, and I'm really excited to have the fantastic Jenny from You Were Going To Be Fantastic. Now, I know what you're thinking - it's *already* frugal to write a novel. But is it, really? From purchasing a computer (unless you want to write it using used matches on old napkins) to getting paper and printing (even if you go to the Library to print, it's still $0.10/page). But Jenny has found a way around all that! Plus, her story is hilarious and great!

Take it away, Fantastic Jenny!

How fantastic is Jenny? Note: she is usually smilier than this.
She is just looking extra-fierce for fashion purposes.

Thanks, Ann! I'm busy writing a “Choose Your Own Adventure”, chick-lit style. Every week I
post a chapter that ends with two possible paths for the story to take. The readers then have a
week to vote on which direction they want the story to go in next. It’s pretty cool! And also, as
I see it, pretty frugal.....

The Original "Choose Your Own Adventure" books were quite frugal too.
They're like 25 books in one! And in about 20 of them, you die horrifically.

A few years ago in New York City there was a short, homeless model named Isobella Jade who wanted to write a memoir. Being short meant she was having a hard time finding work as a model. This lead to sporadic homelessness, which meant that she had neither a desk nor a computer upon which to write her story.

So where does a young, homeless model go to write her memoir? The Apple Store, of course!

Writing a book on the demo stations at a computer shop and saving your drafts in your Yahoo
account might just be the frugalest way to write a book, but it’s not the only cheap way to be an
author. I might be an employed home owner, but I too have stumbled upon an inexpensive way
to write a novel!

Note: sneaking into a local heritage interpretation centre and writing on their typewriter is also frugal.
You may get arrested, but you'll have a great story to tell!

Want to write frugally? Follow these ten easy steps:

1. Participate in Canada Writes*, a radio game show that finds the funniest, fastest writer in the
nation. Beat out 1400 other contestants and win a laptop computer which arrives without a
battery. Have your dad buy you a battery. Your computer can now be taken to coffee shops
(with free WiFi!) so you can be a Real Writer. You can also use the WiFi at the library, which is
likely cheaper as no one will hover around you demanding that you buy a muffin.

2. When your computer is stolen in a home invasion, (don’t worry, you’ll be at work when it
happens), make sure you upgrade your laptop to a fancier version. Get a battery!

3. Begin writing a novel using Google Documents. (Because while you will get a battery, you will
forget to purchase a Microsoft Office program for Macs). Delight in how free Google Docs is!

4. Decide you want to share your story with people. Get yourself a free blog address. Call it
something catchy, like this: (Only you’ll have to pick a
different one, because that one is mine).

4. Start writing your novel. Write a chapter, and then at the end of the chapter, give your readers
two choices: Should Katie track down her alcoholic sister at the 7-11, or go art supply shopping
with love interest Eoin? The advantage to asking your readers to tell you what happens next is
that you don’t have to use up any of your brain energy. Let your readers spend their brain cells.

Save yours for later, in your brain bank.

Jane Austen is like, "Ahh! Google Docs! Why didn't I think of that??"

5. Sit back and wait a week while your readers cast their votes on what should happen next.
Sometimes they’ll even come up with options you hadn’t thought of (“steamy sex scenes”,
or “there should be whiskey and drunken brawls!”) or character development (“seems
improbable that her friends would behave that way”) or enthusiastic directives that you will likely

6. Gather up readers from all around the world. This will come in handy when you travel to
Brazil, Morocco, or England, and need a free place to stay.

7. Realize that by writing your novel like this you do not need to print anything, as you publish
directly online. Scratch “Printer” off the shopping list you’ve been carrying around for three
years. You also have no need for purchasing pens, paper, ink, or any of the other trappings that
go along with traditional novel-writing experiences.

8. You will no longer expend valuable time or energy on editing. Because the writing process is
so immediate (Write chapter on Sunday, post on Monday, wait until all the votes have been cast
over the week and then start the process over) you cannot spend any of your precious time or
brain fuel on re-writes, self-doubts, ripping up pages, or deleting things. You will publish your
piece flaws and all and you know what? People will like it anyway.

"Jenny! Choose my idea! Jenny! Make them time travel back to England in the 60s!

9. Follow other writer blogs. Take their free advice on the writing process (Writing Tips by Alice Kuipers), self-promotion (How to keep track of retweets and clicks on Twitter), and balancing writing/life (Always Under Revision by Leona Theis).

10. Win free books from the blogs you follow! And then, once you have read them, give them
away at your own blog, as thank-yous to the helpful readers who are spending their time and
energy on your work.

And now you’re a frugal writer, too!

Want to read the Frugallest Novel in the World? Pop on by and participate in my literary experiment. And enter my current giveaway!

*If you aren’t a Canadian and therefore can’t win Canada Writes, consider using the free
computers at your library. You could try the Apple Store, but you might feel they’ve got enough
publicity by now. Another option would be invading the home of the most recent Canada Writes
winner and stealing his or her computer. It’s fine -- this talented individual can get another one
in the insurance claim.


Anonymous said...

Oh my gosh, I think "steamy sex scenes" was mine wasn't it? I'm so excited, it's like when you accidentally walk past in the background of a news story and then see yourself on TV later (or in the case of my sister in law, an episode of Law and Order...).

Annabelle said...

That was totally your idea, Cyndi. You're secretly famous now!

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