NaNoWriMo TO Write-In Recap

Here is Lynn’s recap of the NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) Toronto Write-In hosted by Random House Canada. I am very jealous to have not gone with her but I’m happy one of us did!

Last Monday I received an email from Katrina at Random House Canada informing me that I had been selected to join 30 others for their first ever NaNoWriMo TO Write-In. To be honest I had completely forgotten that I had even entered in the first place since working on my thesis had turned me into a bit of a zombie. Of course with very little hesitation I immediately responded with a YES and made plans to arrive early in order to get good seats.

However on the actual day of the write-in I ended up oversleeping, something I blame on my alarm clock which I had set up the night before to wake me up at 7 am. Luckily my father woke me up before 9 am and, after taking a quick shower, we both piled into his car as he drove me to the subway station. Due to the oversleeping, I was so out of it that I had completely forgotten today was the Santa Claus parade which meant the trains would be packed! Still, I somehow found a seat and settled into reading a good book.

Arriving at King Station, I went in the direction that looked familiar to what I had googled the night before and I got to the building at exactly 10:10, making me late. Within a few minutes, someone came down for me (and another girl) and together we headed up the elevators to the third floor.

Words cannot describe how I felt as I entered the Random House office; there were just so many books. And I know this may sound really corny but felt like a dream come true to finally get the chance to visit the Random House office. Left to our own devices, myself and the other girl hastily deduced that we should head to where the noise was and, sure enough, we found ourselves in the boardroom which was packed with people.

Inside we were greeted by Katrina, the Assistant Manager of Online Marketing and Cassandra who is the Director of Online Marketing who managed to squeeze us both in at one of the two already full tables. Once everyone was here, a brief introduction was made followed by a short video clip of Salman Rushdie, the author of the book Midnight’s Children. Afterwards, we were introduced to two Random House editors, Anita and Amanda, who gave us some writing tips to get us started. Here are five of the many tips that I got:

  1. If you have writer’s block, then you should write about having writer’s block. i.e. how much it sucks
  2. You should figure out why you are writing and keep it in mind as you write
  3. You should write first for yourself and later revise for the reader
  4. When you are changing the scene, make sure to somehow indicate that the scene has changed unless your goal is to confuse the reader on purpose
  5. Finish everything you start, and continue to write even after November

Then it was time for everyone to get writing. There was a counter filled with snacks, as well as coffee, tea and water in addition to a counter filled with swag and books that we were encouraged to help ourselves to. The writing continued with the occasional informal break until 12 when we stopped for lunch, after which we went on writing until 2. Afterwards before we had to pack up our stuff and say our goodbyes we got a chance to ask Katrina and Cassandra any questions we had about writing and working in the publishing business. Overall it was a fun event, the atmosphere and room temperature was, in my opinion, perfect for concentrating on writing our novels. Also, the fact that the lights would turn off every hour was not only amusing but it provided some comic relief and maybe some inspiration on top of helping us keep track of time. Hopefully, Random House will be running this event again next year and, if so, I hope I get the chance to go again. Below is a collage I made of some quick snapshots I took of the boardroom and office. Sorry for the poor quality, the pictures were taken with my IPod as I don’t have a camera at the moment.


– Lynn

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