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What happens when the storyteller is forced into the story? When fate doesn’t follow a script. Well today fate has found Brandon. It’s almost here.

Leave the comfort of your book covers this Halloween as we share haunted tales right here on your computer screen. Come back tomorrow, Oct. 30 for a spine-tingling tale submitted by patrons!

Posted by [email protected]  On Oct 30, 2020 at 10:59 AM
by Stacy

"I'm writing a first draft and reminding myself that I'm simply shoveling sand into a box so that later I can build castles." – Shannon Hale


Alright – you know what NaNoWriMo is, you’re game for the challenge, there’s only a few days until November 1…. now what?  

While November is the month of writing, September and October are really the months for prepping! If you aren’t like me, you probably have a pretty good sense of time and maybe you’ve already started prepping for NaNoWriMo – which is totally awesome and I’m jealous! Maybe you didn’t know what NaNoWriMo was until now and wish you had a few more weeks to prepare? NaNoWriMo’s official website has their own preparation guideline you can follow as early as September 2021.

However, maybe you are like me. Maybe life is pretty busy and you probably don’t even know when November is – let alone that it’s in two months, or one month, or even three days. Aha – then this is the blog for you! Not official by any means except to me, I am going to share with you how I prep for NaNoWriMo before November!

Create Goals
First and foremost – Create. Your. Goals. 
(Trust me, this is so important.)

You know your end goal is 50,000 words by November 30. Now it’s time to create mini-goals to last you from now until November 1 to get you as prepared as possible to start writing. I will share with you my personal NaNoWriMo 2020 mini-goals and a bit about each one – maybe your mini-goals aren’t exactly the same and that’s perfectly okay! There’s no one correct way to write a novel and that’s what this month long challenge is all about!

My NaNoWriMo Mini-Goals:
- Develop an Idea
- Plot/Characters/Setting/World Building
- Outline, outline, outline!

Develop an Idea
Yeah, okay, maybe this one sounds like a no-brainer, but unless you’re already flowing with creativity (which I am not) this is a really difficult first step.  

Luckily there are a lot of ways to generate story ideas! Listening to music, watching movies, reading books are all classic ways of getting ideas. All you need is that one line or that one piece of imagery to move you in the right direction – sometimes the whole work can move you. I’m pretty notorious for writing adaptations of my favorite older movies and books like “Alice in Wonderland” by Lewis Carol and “The Graveyard Book” by Neil Gaiman.  

Another thing I like to do when I feel stuck on an idea, or lack thereof, is use random word, story or sentence generators online such as Plot Generator. This website gives you random generators for story ideas, opening lines, etc. A lot of times this can sparks new ideas that you wouldn’t be exposed to in your day to day life! This tool is actually one I use a lot when I write – not only is it good for creating ideas, it’s a really great daily writing practice I use before I pick up my NaNoWriMo novel for the day.

Character/Setting/World Building
Okay you have your idea – now on to the hard stuff.  

I find it impossible whether I’m writing a novel for NaNoWriMo or writing a novel for an entire year to have all three of these things figured out in detail. So absolutely do not stress about having all of this set in stone. I guarantee you it will all change as you are writing and discover new paths and developments for your story and characters.

Character: I like to start with a few characters – namely, my protagonist. Really, my only goal with characters before November is to get some names down for my primary characters, a few names for my secondary characters and any important information that will make starting the story easier. For me, I prefer to let my characters come out as I write.  

Setting: I know it’s difficult – who wants to write about the state and town that you grew up in? It seems so boring and dull, where’s the excitement? It doesn’t seem as glamorous as Hollywood or New York City. Real life isn’t glamorous. I grew up in a small farm town where my middle school graduating class was maybe 500 kids, essentially the exact opposite of glamorous. But that’s what I know – that’s where my childhood is rooted, it’s where I learned the fundamentals of who I am. Is it glamorous? No. Is it pleasant and fun to write about? It can be. Do I confidently feel that I could believably write my hometown in a way that will create a strong setting for my characters? Yes!  

World Building: World building can be soooooo much work. It doesn’t have to be though. If you decide that you want your world set in our real modern day Earth, your fictional world will likely follow our same rules and laws. World building can be as easy as modern day Aurora, Colorado or as extensive as J.R.R. Tolkien’s Middle Earth. If you’re like to me and like to create fantasy and sci-fi stories, world building is crucial. You’ll most likely start a whole world entirely by scratch. This can include maps and landscape, lore, currency, religion, laws, government, etc. Trust me, it sounds like a lot because it is. I personally lovelovelove world building and taking the time to create a fictional world can be such a blast.  

Again; I guarantee that you will change you character/setting/world as you are writing and discover new paths and developments for your story and characters. This is super common and expected, especially for NaNoWriMo.  

I understand that not everyone outlines. Outlining can be tedious and it can be slow, especially when you’re in a dry spell for ideas. I know a lot of writers who don’t outline at all – they just begin writing and create an outline/story path as they go! For me though, honestly, sometimes I get so invested with outlining, I forget to actually write my stories. Outlining is always what I spend the most time on when I write novels.

I create two documents; one is my general/overall outline and another I call “chapter/idea outlines.” The general overall outline is my story from start to finish. The likelihood of me getting an outline completely finished before November 1 will never happen, even if I started it the previous November. A lot of this time this outline will start in the middle of my story or at the climax, and I will outline my way to the end before going back and outlining backwards to the beginning. My “chapter/idea” outline is when I have something specific that I know I want to happen, but not sure where to fit in yet. This document allows me to express and flesh out all of my ideas, while giving me the time to fit it in rather than force it in.  

Come into NaNoWriMo on November 1 as prepared or unprepared as you want to be! My favorite part of novel writing is the research, planning, and world building so I spent a lot portion of my time catering to these expectations. If you haven’t tried preparing for your stories before, 2020 might be a good year to try it out! Normally over plan like me? Forgo it! Wing it – see how your story comes out!  

Posted by [email protected]  On Oct 29, 2020 at 2:20 PM
Read It!
APL Reader's Corner
with Tessy & Elizabeth

Welcome to Reader's Corner! This month we're exploring fantasy/science fiction with the book "Gideon the Ninth" by Tamsyn Muir.Available with your library card from our OverDrive & Hoopla collections here.

GIDEON THE NINTH: The Emperor needs necromancers. The Ninth Necromancer needs a swordswoman. Gideon has a sword, some dirty magazines and no more time for undead nonsense.
Brought up by unfriendly, ossifying nuns, ancient retainers, and countless skeletons, Gideon is ready to abandon a life of servitude and an afterlife as a reanimated corpse. She packs up her sword, her shoes, and her dirty magazines, and prepares to launch her daring escape. But her childhood nemesis won't set her free without a service.
Harrowhark Nonagesimus, Reverend Daughter of the Ninth House and bone witch extraordinaire, has been summoned into action. The Emperor has invited the heirs to each of his loyal Houses to a deadly trial of wits and skill. If Harrowhark succeeds she will become an immortal, all-powerful servant of the Resurrection, but no necromancer can ascend without their cavalier. Without Gideon's sword, Harrow will fail, and the Ninth House will die. Of course, some things are better left dead.

Discussion Questions
- What did you love about this book?
- Who is your favorite minor character?
- Which of Gideon the Ninth's nine houses would you be assigned to?

Posted by [email protected]  On Oct 23, 2020 at 8:18 AM
He never wanted to hurt anybody. He never wanted any of this to happen. But now what does he do? How does he stop this? Is it even him – or are there other forces at play? Just how far is the reach of The Long Arm?

Leave the comfort of your book covers this Halloween as we share haunted tales right here on your computer screen. Every Thursday at 8 p.m., tune into Facebook for new spine-tingling tales!

Do you have a spooky story of your own? We're taking scary, terrifying or spine-tingling submissions! Staff will choose their top five favorite stories to read on Facebook the day before Halloween, and allow Facebook to vote via reaction! The winner will receive a prize from Aurora Public Library. Submissions must be 1,000 words or less, rated PG-13 and under, and must be emailed to [email protected] by Sunday, Oct. 25.
Posted by [email protected]  On Oct 22, 2020 at 5:35 PM
Draw It!

Grab a pencil and paper - it's time to Draw It! 📝 Our staff member Kristin shows how to draw whales!

Show us your whale in the comments and tell us what you'd like to draw next!
Posted by [email protected]  On Oct 22, 2020 at 1:43 PM

National Novel Writing Month: APL Edition!
by Elizabeth

“Sorry, I need extra pie and an hour of silence! For, uh. Writing inspiration.”

As October comes to a thrilling close, we’re getting closer and closer to one of the library’s most celebrated holidays: a time when our patrons come in looking haunted, horror stories are whispered and recorded and candy is consumed at alarming rates. No, not Halloween, though I love October’s spooky spiders and skeletons! No, I’m talking about AFTER Halloween: National Novel Writing Month.

What is This Holiday?
National Novel Writing month

National Novel Writing Month, or NaNoWriMo, is one of my favorite times of year. It was founded in 1999 by a group of friends who realized their lives seemed…kind of empty. When they were kids, they’d been wildly creative, but as adults, they went to work, came home and collapsed into sleep. Winter blues and the holidays were just around the corner. What could they do before then that would actually mean something?

Well…write a novel, of course!

The goal? Write 50,000 words in 30 days. That’s as long as “The Great Gatsby”, which my English teacher always claimed was the Best Novel Ever Written. Sounds promising, right? (And kind of exhausting!)

Other novels around 50,000 words long include:
⦁    “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy” by Douglas Adams
⦁    “The Giver” by Lois Lowry
⦁    “Speak” by Laurie Halse Anderson
⦁    “Fahrenheit 451” by Ray Bradbury
⦁    “The Notebook” by Nicholas Sparks
⦁    “Fight Club” by Chuck Palahniuk
And more!

Novels 50,000 words long

Okay, But…a GOOD Novel? (Short Answer: No.)
Most of the time, what you write for NaNoWriMo won’t be fantastic. Writing just under 7 pages a day is a ridiculously fast pace, even for the most experienced writers out there! If you’ve got the Great American Novel bottled up somewhere inside, this might not be the time to write your stunningly perfect masterpiece. Making a perfect story isn’t really the point! This is more about getting creative and adding one more life goal to your bucket list: climb Mount Everest, finally finish watching the Great British Baking Show, learn to juggle, write a novel…

Some books have been published after National Novel Writing Month, though; it isn’t entirely impossible!

From cute romances to wild fantasies and everything in-between, here are some NaNoWriMo novels:
⦁    “Cinder” by Marissa Meyer: cyborg Cinderella falls for the attractive Prince Kai and must save him when the Moon’s residents plan an assassination
⦁    “Water for Elephants” by Sara Gruen: an orphan joins the circus, befriends an elephant and falls for one of its star performers
⦁    “Fangirl” by Rainbow Rowell: a first-year college student balances new life experiences with writing her favorite familiar fanfiction
⦁    “The Night Circus” by Erin Morgenstern: two young rival magicians at a mysterious one-night-only carnival fall in love
⦁    “Not Your Sidekick” by CB Lee: a high school student desperate to improve her college applications gets an internship working for a supervillain
⦁    “The Forest of Hands and Teeth” by Carrie Ryan: a girl in a mysterious fenced community discovers…zombies!

Published NaNoNovels

Check out more published NaNoWriMo novels here.

Some of these books are deliciously weird. Some are familiar and comforting. Some NaNoWriMo books get published; others (like mine) sit on a computer’s hard drive in a folder marked “Never Look at This Again.” Still, I’d say even those novels that never go anywhere are worth it. (Mine all were.)

Why Even “Failed” Stories are Worth It
My first National Novel Writing Month adventure was in high school, my junior year. Suddenly, my friends and I needed to get ready for the Real World. That meant applying for colleges, taking the PSAT, and staying up half the night with homework. It also meant no more time for hanging out. Every conversation with family members revolved around My Plans and Being Productive: had I aced this test, taken that class, filled out enough applications, figured out what I wanted to do with the rest of my life?

I missed my friends, so I started a campaign those last two weeks of October: who wanted to write a novel with me? It didn’t have to be good. It didn’t even have to be the full 50,000 words long. Who wanted to meet on Saturdays and write silly stories while we ate too much popcorn and candy? We could say we were writing novels for college and spend some time together.

They agreed.

Honestly? Almost none of us finished! The stories were terrible: teenagers storming Neverland, intergalactic emperors fighting space blobs, vampires quoting Hamlet word-for-word and swooning all over the place. We made terrible bets, joked about our stories, quit because there was too much homework, finished and danced around Walmart in victory.

I’ve tried NaNoWriMo 9 times since, and I’ve only “won” twice. Most of the time, I don’t come anywhere close to 50,000 words, but I still have a great time.

Save Your Thanksgiving (and Your Sanity)
So why should you try NaNoWriMo?
⦁    Want to finally finish something big?
⦁    Longing for something to brag about over those family holiday Zoom calls?
⦁    Wish you were as creative as when you were a kid?
⦁    Already watched everything good on Netflix?
⦁    Need to stay off of Twitter and stop obsessively checking the news?

Join the Aurora Public Library for National Novel Writing Month! We’ll have writing prompts, encouraging words, write-a-longs and virtual help all November for your virtual noveling needs. Whether you want to write about vampires, zombies or cyborg Cinderella, there’s a place for you here. We can’t wait to see you!
Posted by [email protected]  On Oct 22, 2020 at 11:05 AM

HELLO stands for Hand-on Early Literacy for Little Ones. In this program children will sing songs, work on fine and gross motor skills, learn about letters, numbers and science and develop early literacy skills. Ages 0-6.

Posted by [email protected]  On Oct 22, 2020 at 9:55 AM
Create It!

Create It! Halloween Spider Decor
by Karen

Oh what a tangled web we weave! In this video, Karen shares a festive Halloween DIY, perfect to create wall decor or decorate a trick or treat bag!

Posted by [email protected]  On Oct 19, 2020 at 10:14 AM
Lions, tigers and bears - oh my! That's the old saying, right? People feel more comfortable with creatures of familiarity. that's what people like to say happened to Mr. Morgan...but there's no description. There's no way to describe the damned thing. 

Leave the comfort of your book covers this Halloween as we share haunted tales right here on your computer screen. Every Thursday at 8 p.m., tune into Facebook for new spine-tingling tales!

Do you have a spooky story of your own? We're taking scary, terrifying or spine-tingling submissions! Staff will choose their top five favorite stories to read on Facebook the day before Halloween, and allow Facebook to vote via reaction! The winner will receive a prize from Aurora Public Library. Submissions must be 1,000 words or less, rated PG-13 and under, and must be emailed to [email protected] by Sunday, Oct. 25.
Posted by [email protected]  On Oct 15, 2020 at 9:26 AM
Make & Learn

Make & Learn: Coloring the Alphabet
with Sara

Welcome to Make & Learn! In this program, our librarians will be sharing easy-to-make games and activities that support cognitive development and practicing early literacy skills. In this video, Miss Sara shares a fun craft to practice writing and encourage print motivation, print awareness and letter knowledge.

Posted by [email protected]  On Oct 15, 2020 at 9:12 AM
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