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Introducing PrideLight: Our Spotlight on Theatre and Entertainment

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This week at TravelPride, we introduce PrideLight, your guide to recommended best bets in entertainment. Fall is a popular time for theatre companies to schedule season openings, so there’s a lot going on in almost every town across America, too much to cover in one pithy column. But this seems a fitting time to focus on some of the cities where foliage tours and the waning last days of outdoor amusement might take you hiking, biking, and exploring in the less urban centers. For example, Asheville and Richmond might not make the cut every week. While larger markets like San Francisco and leading LGBTQ-specific theatres will receive more consistent coverage, I’ll seek to guide you off the beaten path to seek out the best of regional and community theatre events that might not pique your curiosity at first glance.

The goal is exploration, after all.

Asheville, North Carolina

What: Carry On written and performed by Murphy Funkhouser Capps
Where: Asheville Community Theatre
When: September 29-October 1

Playwright Murphy Funkhouser Capps (great name, right?) expands on her award-winning one-act play with a new act and a fresh title. In 2007, Murphy Funkhouser Capps quit her job and hit the road with 500 pounds of luggage hooked to the back of her Subaru to take her one-act Crazy Bag on the road. The autobiographical one woman show about her journey from minister’s daughter to rebellion to redemption premiered at Colorado Theatre Festival and won numerous awards, including one recognizing Capps for her acting chops in the Festival performance and a nomination for Best Solo Performance of 2008 by the Denver Post.

Crazy Bag went on to rave reviews in Breckenridge, Aspen, Denver, Albuquerque, and Oklahoma City and was accepted into the 2008 San Francisco Fringe Festival. The journey brought her back to Asheville where her story began two decades before. Do not be repelled by the “community theatre” stigma that can sometimes haunt the small-town playhouses of middle America. This performance is a must see for those who love to discover that unexpected gem, and support original work by talented artists. The performance is one weekend only, and tickets are available at www.ashevilletheatre.org and range in price up to $50. The company website provides detailed travel and parking directions and advertises free parking after 6 pm.

What: Listen to This hosted by Tom Chalmers
Where: Asheville Community Theatre
When: October 26, November 30
What to do? You just missed Carry On at Asheville Community Theatre. If it’s a Thursday, head to the theatre for the 7:30 performance of Listen to This staged in ACT’s intimate black box space 35below every Thursday. Quickly becoming Asheville’s most popular series, actor/comedian Tom Chalmers hosts this collection of stories and songs from Asheville’s most interesting writers and performers, a fresh theme and new performers each week bring to mind a good old fashioned southern potluck. Fair warning: the show could be hit or miss depending on the featured artists chosen, but for an admission price of only $15, I’d say it’s worth the risk. The company encourages you to enjoy refreshments in the theatre but also cautions that seating is limited and punctuality a must, both for parking availability and choice seating (even for those with tickets in hand). Purchase tickets in advance at www.ashevilletheatre.org. Arrive and park earlier in the day and check out the Tom Wolfe Memorial, downtown shops, and other sites of the quaint downtown area.

Atlanta, GA

What: Atlanta Black Theatre Festival
Where: West End Performing Arts Center
When: October 4-7

A diverse lineup of artists drawn from around the globe to around the corner. The Atlanta Black Theatre Festival is “40 plays in 4 days,” hardly enough time to preserve and share the stories of the African diaspora. But whether you’re a lover of Tyler Perry, August Wilson, or world-class Black Art, the amazing shows and international vendors’ market will make this popular fall festival one of your favorite things to do in Atlanta. Don’t just pick a play; pick a DAY (or all four) and immerse yourself in a marathon of bold, exciting theatre. Produced by Micah 6:8 Media “a professional management company.”

Boston, MA

What: Faceless by Selina Fillinger
Where: Zeitgeist Stage Company at Boston Center for the Arts
When: NOW PLAYING through October 7
With especially positive reviews in The Boston Globe, Boston Phoenix, Broadway World, and Boston Arts Review for its solid performers and the visual impact of its set designs, founder and artistic director David Miller has lead this smaller fringe company in exploring contemporary plays and rediscovering historic works for 17 seasons. In Faceless, eighteen-year-old Susie Glenn is on trial for conspiring to commit acts of terrorism, and recent Harvard Law grad and practicing Muslim, Claire Fathi, has been brought on to prosecute. Though pitted against one another in the courtroom, these two young women are fighting a similar battle to defend their morals, motives and religious freedoms in this riveting and timely new drama. An explosion of identity politics, questions of faith, and a face-off between two seemingly diametrically-opposed women drives this compelling narrative.
Faceless is presented at the Plaza Black Box Theatre at the Boston Center for the Arts. Purchase tickets and peruse other upcoming Boston productions at www.bostontheatrescene.com. Tickets for Faceless are reasonably priced at $20. Count on having an intimate theatre experience in the 90-seat black box, expect thought-provoking subject matter, and enjoy excellent performances from the play’s two strong female leads.
What: Wicked Queer
Where: Boston Museum of Fine Art
When: Ongoing
While in Boston, also check in with Wicked Queer: the Boston LGBT Film Festival housed in the Museum of Fine Art, Boston. The group sponsors ongoing events and film screenings. Check the user-friendly calendar prior to your trip at www.wickedqueer.org for titles and showtimes.

Boulder, CO

What: The Revolutionists by Lauren Gunderson
Where: Boulder Ensemble Theatre Company at Dairy Arts Center
When: NOW PLAYING through October 8

You may think you know Marie Antoinette. You don’t. You may believe you can outsmart Charlotte Corday. You can’t. You may have never heard of Olympe de Gouges. You will. In this irreverent, girl-powered comedy, these women live, die, and dare boldly in revolutionary Paris.
Producing Artistic Director Stephen Weitz shared his thoughts about the programming for this season “…as things were unfolding over the last eight to 10 months, we had some internal conversations about who we wanted to be in this climate.” This season, the company has assembled the most diverse ensemble in the company’s history. For the season debut of The Revolutionists, for example, BETC assembled an all-female production staff to complement the show’s all-female cast, and a majority of the plays in their 6-show lineup are written by women or persons of color. Tickets range from $20-$45 (most tickets priced at $36.50). The $45 ticket on opening night September 16 includes admission to the post-show reception. Purchase tickets at www.thedairy.org and investigate more about BETC at www.betc.org.

Chicago, IL

What: A Perfect Arrangement
Where: Pride Films and Plays at Pride Arts Center
When: NOW PLAYING-October 22

In Topher Payne’s comedy A Perfect Arrangement, it’s 1950, and new colors are being added to the Red Scare. Two U.S. State Department employees, Bob and Norma, have been tasked with identifying sexual deviants within their ranks. There’s just one problem: Both Bob and Norma are gay, and have married each other’s partners and moved next door to each other as a carefully constructed cover. Set amidst the earliest stirrings of the American gay rights movement, madcap classic sitcom-style laughs give way to provocative drama as two “All-American” couples are forced to stare down the closet door.
This relatively new theatre company in the Chicago theatre scene is housed at Pride Arts Center. Pride Films and Plays, seeks to bring theatre to the Chicago area that is “essential viewing” for all audiences. The Huffington Post has called this, “A powerful and empowering entity.” Tickets are on sale now www.pridefilmsandplays.com.
What: The CiviliTy of Albert Cashier, music & lyrics by Joe Stevens and Keaton Wooden, book by GLAAD Award nominated writer/producer Jay Paul Deratany
Where: Stage 773 (Permoveo Productions)
When: NOW PLAYING through October 15
This new musical, set between 1862 and 1915, tells the astonishing, “timely, essential, insightful” and true story of “an amazing figure from [our]history” -The Windy City Times. In The CiviliTy of Albert Cashier, Albert Cashier is a Civil War soldier with a secret that resonates with today’s modern world. Detailing the soldier’s life fighting in more than 40 engagements during the Civil War, the musical follows Cashier through retirement and the onset of dementia, when a life-long secret was discovered: That Albert was born Jennifer Hodgers. Causing an uproar in the small southern Illinois community where Cashier lived, Cashier was prosecuted for impersonating a soldier, requiring fellow soldiers to return once again after 60 years to detail Albert’s heroism and life.
Stage 773 acts to embody the vibrant spirit of Chicago off-loop theater. The group strives to present excellent and affordable theatre and provide a foster home for emerging artists and creative groups. The theatre hosts various companies and acts throughout the year. See Bullets over Broadway or choose from a list of other current shows now playing. Tickets for The CiviliTy of Albert Cashier are $40. Visit www.stage773.org or www.theatreinchicago.com.

Dallas, TX

What: In the Tall Grass written and directed by Paul Kalburgi
Where: TeCo Theatrical Productions at Bishop Arts Center
When: NOW PLAYING through September 24
In the Tall Grass, produced in association with Transgender Education Network of Texas, follows the harrowing true story of the murder of Shade Schuler, a 22-year-old Dallas transgender woman. The community is left asking “why” and fearing who could be next. Told through the first-hand testimonies of trans women of color in Dallas, the world premiere of In the Tall Grass explores the circumstances which force many to exist in the underworld – ignored by society, cut off from support and legal systems.
TeCo Theatrical productions, an award-winning multi-cultural “oasis for the next generation” of artists, was founded in 1993. The company offers a full season of theatrical performances, jazz concerts, a speaker series, and year-round arts education programs. Tickets range in price from $12-$25 and can be purchased online at www.bishopartstheatre.org.
What: Hair: the American Tribal Love Rock Musical
Book and Lyrics by Gerome Ragni & James Rado
Music by Galt Macdermont Directed by Kevin Moriarty
Where: Dallas Theatre Center
When: September 22-October 22

Dallas Theatre Center is aptly named as it is truly the center of the Dallas Theatre Scene with a long-standing record of excellent professional entertainment. They just won a Regional Tony Award in case you missed it. If you’re a resident or frequent visitor, you already know about them. Granted, their offerings are a little more commercial, a little more mainstream, but this production is somewhat of a diversion for them and really caught my eye. People in red states are just dying to rip their clothes off, apparently. I was about to scroll on by until I saw this:

WARNING: This production will include Hippies cursing, smoking pot, getting naked, mocking societal conventions, meditating, taking LSD, flaunting their sexuality, celebrating their race, creating a happening, singing and dancing. Also, there will be audience participation. Consider yourself warned, and come to the Be-In.

Ok, so if you haven’t already seen Hair, besides just assigning you a failing grade in Musical Theatre class, I’m going to push you through the doors to see this production. Find tickets and more at www.dallastheatrecenter.org. (TravelPride is not responsible for any STDs you acquire during this performance.)

New York, NY

What: Fearless: Art in the Face of Adversity
A series of performances by LGBTQ artists
Where: The Clemente Soto Velez Cultural & Educational Center
When: Ongoing throughout 2017-18, Next event opens September 29

Artists at The Clemente created this series of works in direct response to the tragedy in Orlando and continuing attacks against the LGBTQ community. Connected by the theme of understanding and unity, these events are spread throughout The Clemente’s 2017-18 season. See Tjasa Ferme’s “The Female Role Model Project,” directed by Ana Marginaunu September 29-October 1. The artists describe it as a “scientifically enhanced multimedia-devised theatre piece built by an ensemble of female-identified artists about recreating modern female role models in the world of cataclysmic climate change, cataclysmic political change, and possibility of reprogramming our brains.” Check www.theclementecenter.org for other titles coming up in this exciting series. Admission is $15 per performance.
Since 1993 The Clemente has focused on “cultivation, presentation, and preservation” of Puerto Rican and Latino culture. Equally “determined to operate in a multi-cultural and inclusive manner,” the organization promotes artists and performance events that “fully reflect the cultural diversity of the Lower East Side and the city as a whole.”

What: Torch Song by Harvey Fierstein, Directed by Moises Kaufman
Where: Second Stage Theater at Tony Kiser Theater
When: Opens September 26

Torch Song takes place in 1979 in New York City. Arnold Beckoff is on a quest for love, purpose and family. He’s fierce in drag and fearless in crisis, and he won’t stop until he achieves the life he desires. Now, Arnold is back… And he’s here to sing you a torch song. The Tony Award-winning play that forever changed the trajectory of Broadway returns for a new generation.
Second Stage Theater produces an adventurous range of premieres, musicals, bold new interpretations of contemporary plays, and unique theatrical experiences from America’s most dynamic writers of the 21st century. Through the discovery of emerging talent, the commissioning of new work, and the creation of a training base for directors, Second Stage reflects the diverse city and the world we live in today and reaches an ever-growing audience through its Broadway runs, national tours and regional productions.
Torch Song runs 2 hours and 20 minutes including intermission. Ticket are limited and prices vary, so we recommend contacting the Box Office at 212-246-4422. The theater also offers student access tickets one hour prior to curtain to full time students and $30 under 30 tickets will be available in advance for patrons under 30 and for limited performances before October 19. (Valid ID required.) Find out more at www.2ST.com.
What: {my lingerie play} 2017: The Concert and Call to Arms. Story, Music, and Lyrics by Diana Oh
Where: Rattlestick Playwright’s Theatre
When: September 27-October 28

What drives an artist to stand in her black corset in Times Square on a soapbox? It began for Diana Oh at 17 with her first shoplifted f*ck me bra. Over the course of this unfiltered and soul-baring, performance art event, Diana Oh’s personal collection of unmentionables comes on and off as she and her band ignite the audience to create a saner, safer, more courageous world for us all.
World premiere {my lingerie play} is a play, a protest, a concert, and an installation all at once. Through this concert-play, Diana and her band explore mainstream culture’s relationship to the body and the deep and complex dynamics that exist regarding sex and gender politics. This culminates in a genre-bending soulful rock and R&B concert-play and final installation of {my lingerie play} 2017: 10 underground performance installations in lingerie (as supported by the Venturous Theater Fund of Tides Foundation for 2017) staged in an effort to provide a saner, safer, more courageous world for women, trans, queer, and non-binary humans to live in. Tickets range from $10-$30 (preview performances) and $40 general admission after October 13. Rattlestick is on the cutting edge of art and theatre. Explore www.rattlestick.org to purchase tickets and find out more.

 Portland, OR

What: Hand of God by Robert Askins
Where: Triangle Productions (The Sanctuary at Sandy Plaza)
When: NOW PLAYING through September 30
Nominated for 5 Tony Awards including Best Play for its Broadway production, Hand of God is a must see. If you missed this dark comedy in New York, don’t worry. Regional theatres across the country are jumping at the chance to produce it. The plot follows Jason who finds an outlet for his anxiety through the Christian puppet ministry in a conservative town in Texas, but when his puppet Tyrone takes on a shocking and dangerously irreverent personality of his own, Jason’s life is thrown into upheaval. Based on Triangle’s 27-year history and consistently positive reviews, expect a solid production of Hand of God in Portland. Presented in The Sanctuary at Sandy Plaza, Hand of God couldn’t be a better choice for this company that produces “rich stories told through diverse perspectives, particularly the gay perspective.” Audience members sit in church pews! A full bar and bistro with a limited dine in menu opens an hour and a half before show times and stays open after the show. The company’s website offers other nearby dining recommendations that range from Asian to American BBQ. There are two free parking lots and free parking on the street close to the theatre, a rare find in Portland. Tickets are still available from $15-$35 (no handling charge) and can be purchased online through the company website www.trianglepro.org

Richmond, VA

What: Cloud 9 by Caryl Churchill
Where: Richmond Triangle Players
When: September 27-October 3
Hailed as the best professional theatre in Richmond of any style or stripe, Richmond Triangle Players is taking a big bite out of the queer theatre anthology in its 25th season. If you took a modern theatre class in college, you’re probably already familiar with at least one play by the illusive, reclusive playwright Caryl Churchill who is known for evading questions about her plays preferring that each audience member decide for themselves what “it” (fill in the blank) means. Graduate students could write tomes on any one of her plays. Cloud 9, the surreal, gender-bending, ethnic cross-casting comment on feminism, colonialism, and gender identity was decades ahead of its time when it first premiered in the 80s, but the show still feels futuristic to today’s audiences. This theatre fare is less for those seeking a delightful theatrical diversion, but more for those who love provocation, to think and to discuss long after the final curtain goes down. Look to be challenged, enlightened, dumbfounded, and entranced. You’ll wake up the next morning still thinking about the ins and outs of this one. Look for a feature column on this exciting company in TravelPride next week. RTP’s 25th season is well-chosen, thought-provoking, joyous, and balanced with a little something for everyone (everyone except Granny Kate, that is). Go to www.rtriangle.org for more information and to purchase tickets in advance.

San Diego, CA

What: Homos, OR Everyone in America by Jordan Seavey
Where: Diversionary Theatre
When: NOW IN PREVIEWS, open September 23-October 15
Founded in 1986, Diversionary Theatre provides quality theatre for the LGBT community with a vision for amplifying the next generation of LGBT voices. By exploring stories of what sets our culture and history apart, as well as stories that focus on LGBT people’s humanity rather than their sexuality, Diversionary bridges the gaps of cultural understanding. Homos, Or Everyone in America a new play by Jordan Seavey follows a Brooklyn couple attempting to navigate the complexities of contemporary gay life together. Hopscotching back and forth over the timeline of their relationship, a sensual, hilarious and compelling story of their bond emerges. This brave, new play confronts the lingering dangers and interconnected values of our nation, and the way our future may be found through our past. Previews began September 15 with a September 23 opening. Look for a feature on this ground-breaking company, the 3rd oldest continuously producing LGBT theatre in the United States. Diversionary’s decades-long track record of collaboration and new work development has solidified the company’s status as a leading queer theatre- a must see if you’re in the San Diego area.

San Francisco, CA

What: The Legend of Pink by Kheven LaGrone
Where: Theatre Rhinoceros at the Gateway Theatre
When: NOW PLAYING through September 30
GLAAD Media Award Winner Theatre Rhinoceros now in its 40th season and the longest running queer theatre in the world presents the world premiere of a new play The Legend of Pink, a local story set in West Oakland. The time is the late Twentieth Century. Drug wars rage and the lovely African American transgender woman, Pink, does her best to bring a bit of beauty to the harsh environment. But people are watching Pink as she tries to form a connection with a beautiful young man, and they don’t like it.
All shows produced at the Gateway Theatre (formerly Eureka Theatre). Tickets are $20-$40. Call the 24-hour box office hotline at 1-800-838-3006 or link to Brown Paper Tickets. If you miss The Legend of Pink, find information about future shows at this leading queer theatre company at www.therhino.org.
What: Dash Improv: An hour of free-form comedy chaos
Where: Un-scripted Theater Company
When: Saturdays at 10 pm
If you don’t get your act together in time to catch The Legend of Pink at the Rhinocerous, drop by Un-Scripted Theater Company Saturdays at 10 PM and enjoy all the fast, funny, fearless hilarity the company can jam into an hour for an admission price of only $10. The fact that this show is offered weekly is testament to the company’s depth of talent and audience demand. Un-Scripted bills the weekly show as “a seamless, spontaneous, and continuously morphing spectacle of excitement and laughs.” www.un-scripted.com

Seattle, WA

What: Next Fall by Geoffrey Nauffts
Where: Fantastic.Z
When: September 29-October 14
Named last year by Playbill as one of “15 Regional Theatre Companies Leading the Charge in Gay Theatre,” may I introduce Fantastic.Z. An artist founded and run company presenting quality theatre focused through a queer lense, Fantastic.Z’s presence in the national queer theatre scene has been growing in recent years. With a commitment to producing new plays in the Puget Sound area, the company produces an annual New Works Festival of 10-minute plays and also seeks out new full-length plays to be considered for its mainstage season. Upcoming production Next Fall takes a witty and provocative look at faith, commitment, and unconditional love. This timely and compelling new play forces us all to examine what it means to “believe” and what it might cost us. Tickets available www.fantasticZ.org.
When you see any of the shows on our list, please share your thoughts about the experience and the welcome you received. Did we get it right or miss the mark? Do you have a favorite theatre company or performing arts group in your area? Tell us about them!

Originally posted 2017-09-19 14:35:02.

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Meet the Drapers: New Reality TV Series Where Viewers Can Invest in Startups.

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meet the drapers
Meet the Drapers: New Reality TV Series Where Viewers Can Invest in Startups.

First-Ever Crowdfunding TV Show “Meet the Drapers” Premieres on Sony Entertainment Television November 19th, 2017.

Ever watch your favorite investment show and wish you could get in on the action, too? Now you can! In the new reality series, “Meet the Drapers”, millions of viewers will be able to invest alongside the sharks — the Draper family, Silicon Valley’s top venture capitalists.

Meet the Drapers, the first series of its kind, allows regular people to become investors — right from their couch, while watching the show. This unique angle is made possible by the recent SEC regulations that for the first time opened investment crowdfunding to the public.

Investments will take place through the equity crowdfunding platform Republic, which has announced it will be Meet the Drapers’ official investment platform.

“Republic’s partnership is instrumental for the show’s success,” says producer Sarika Batra. “No other platform out there makes investing as friendly and easy, which is critical for the – often first-time – investors watching the show.”

“Crowdfunding is removing barriers like never before,” says Republic CEO, Kendrick Nguyen. “What was once viewed as an industry for a selected few is now accessible to everyone. And we’re thrilled to be part of a TV show that promotes entrepreneurship and enables greater diversity among both founders and investors.”

“South Asians – the show’s core audience – are a vibrant part of the Silicon Valley startup culture,” says Jaideep Janakiram, Head of the Americas at Sony Pictures Networks. “We created this show to showcase these trailblazing entrepreneurs, VCs and angels, and to allow our viewers to participate in their ventures.

“Meet the Drapers” is produced by Sarika Batra and is airing in partnership with the Draper Family, Sony Entertainment Television (SET) and Republic and sponsored by ICO Investor.tv.

The series premieres Sunday, November 19 at 6PM ET on Sony Entertainment Television. SET is a paid channel on Dish network, Sling TV and major cable providers — please check your local listings.

About Republic:
Republic launched in 2016 with a mission to democratize investing. A leading equity crowdfunding platform and sister company of AngelList, Product Hunt and CoinList, Republic is part of one of the most prominent startup ecosystems in the world. On Republic, anyone can invest in breakout early-stage startups for as little as $10 in just a few minutes, using their credit card or bank account.

About Sony Entertainment Television:
Sony Entertainment Television (SET), one of India’s leading Hindi general entertainment television channels is a part of Sony Pictures Television (SPT) backed Sony Pictures Networks, which is India’sleading television network. Since its launch in October 1995, SET has created a unique space for itself in the Indian Television industry. Pioneering new waves in television programming, with blockbuster movie premieres, big format non-fiction shows and an impressive array of fiction shows like Sabse Bada Kalakar, Super Dancer, The Kapil Sharma Show, Indian Idol, Kaun Banega Crorepati, Entertainment Ke Liye Kuch Bhi Karega, Sankat Mochan Mahabali Hanuman, Beyhadh, Kuch Rangpyre Ke Aise Bhi, Bajirao Peshwa, CID, Crime Patrol Bade Acche Lagte Hain, Bharat Ka Veer Putra Maharana Pratap and Itna Karo Na Mujhe Pyar. SET is known for its innovative concepts and exciting formats and is the most preferred family entertainment channel which has been providing strong platforms for more than 700 brands to reach over 93 million households in India. In addition, Sony Entertainment Television is also available in the US, UK, Africa, Europe, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, Pakistan, Nepal, Bangladesh, Maldives, Malaysia, Indonesia, Fiji Islands and Seychelles. In total, SET influences over 332 million viewers in the Indian sub-continent, and the South Asian Diaspora worldwide.

About ICO Investor.tv:
ICO Investor.tv is the title sponsor of the show. They are a trusted source of information for Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs) enthusiasts and ICO investors. Their sister site, NextGen Crowdfunding will provide data for all campaigns on the show, and a live Crowdfunding Ticker will display updates on investor commitments for each campaign. Through the Meet the Drapers dashboard, viewers can “follow” and track the deals they are most interested in.

More information on the show please visit setasia.tv/meetthedrapers.
Show website: http://meetthedrapers.com/
Detailed information on participating startups can be found on republic.co/meet-the-drapers.

Originally posted 2017-11-19 04:37:43.


Also published on Medium.

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How To Complete NaNoWriMo Without Losing Your Sanity

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When most think of November, they conjure up images of turkey, cozy sweaters, and the seemingly endless preparations for the Holiday Season. However, if you’re in the writing community, November brings up images of frantic typing and the fear of a looming deadline.

That’s right folks, NaNoWriMo is here, and it’s getting cray.

  What’s NaNoWriMo you ask? It’s a fancy acronym for National Novel Writing Month. This month-long creative “holiday” was created by freelance writer Chris Baty in July of 1999 with 21 participants in the San Francisco Bay area. The next year, it was moved from July to November to “to more fully take advantage of the miserable weather.

The objective? Write a rough draft of a novel (about 50,000 words or more) in 30 days. Anyone else screaming yet?

This is a free event that anyone can do, just join their website and start writing in any format. Just as long as you get 50,000 words before the end of the month. Participants can submit their novel to be automatically verified for length and receive a printable certificate, an icon they can display on the web, and inclusion on the list of winners. Also, bragging rights.

 Hey there,  I’m Ellen, a Features Writer here at TravelPride and a writer by occupation. I have a BFA in Creative Writing and have written a novel already. I’ve always wanted to do NaNoWriMo and I thought this would be the perfect time to do it. Plus I want to take a break from writing my current memoir and do the fun interconnected short story collection I’ve been dying to write for years. I thought this was going to be so easy. I mean my senior thesis was 50,000 words. My novel manuscript is 96,000 words. 50,000 words will be a piece of cake.

Me, Writer and actual Fool.

I was wrong. It’s hard ya’ll.

       To complete NaNoWriMo on time you need to write 1,667 words per day, which is roughly 6 pages, double-spaced. That may not seem like a lot, but with everything you have to do in a day, plus find the creativity and energy to write 6 pages seems overwhelming.

   Then there’s something I call the “NaNo slump” which happens around the second or third week of November. The first week of NaNoWriMo you’re all excited and ready to write, cranking out 2,000+ words a day. Then you get busy, writer’s block or just plain fall behind and then quit because you think you can ever catch up.

   Well, stop write there (get it?). I’ve got some great tips for how to complete NaNoWriMo without losing your inspiration, hope, and sanity.

 

Write Everyday

The most important part of writing for NaNoWriMo or just being a writer is creating a writing schedule. One of the genius things about NaNoWriMo is that it allows you to become a better and more successful writer after this is over since it takes 30 days to create a habit. By writing every day in the month of November, you’re setting yourself up for writing all year long.

Carve a period of time out of your day and set it aside just for writing. It can be early in the morning, late at night, an hour, two, whatever you can and use that time to just write and only write. If your life is a little crazy and can’t form a schedule, write when you’re on the go. Carry your tablet with you, use the Notes app on your phone, or do the old-fashioned pen and paper and write whenever you get a free moment. Waiting for your flight? Write. Commuting to home or work? Write. On your lunch break? Write! You’ll be surprised how all those little moments of writing really add up. It’s just important to write every day. Just write it!

Prompts

   Oh, Writer’s block, the sworn enemy of a writer. That blank page causes so much anxiety and could lead you to giving up on your project because you’re “stuck.” A writing prompt could help you. NaNoWriMo’s website is awesome because they have a feature called “word sprints” which is a timed writing challenge. You set a timer, open up your draft, and race against the clock to add words to your novel. They have a cool “dare me” button that gives you little writing prompts such as “Write a scene that takes place in a house of mirrors.” or “Have one character have a sudden personality switch with another”. It’s a fun little way to get the juices going. You can also just google “writing prompts” to find some good ones. Have fun with it!

Buddy System

   Teamwork makes the dream work! NaNoWriMo has a cool feature where you can have a writing buddy with friends who are also doing NaNoWriMo, which is a fun way to help encourage each other or be a shoulder to cry on. One of my dear friends, Cassie, who’s also a writer has been doing NaNoWriMo for years and she’s been a great resource (she also made a book cover for me, because she’s the real MVP). My friend Kelsey is doing NaNoWriMo for the first time too. It’s just nice to not feel alone in my frustrations and have someone who is also going through this. NaNoWriMo also has forums where writers can talk to one another because, despite popular belief, writers are not solitary creatures, but communities.

Let Go and Have Fun

   I personally put so much pressure on myself, not only during NaNoWriMo but in my everyday professional life. When something I write isn’t perfect on the first try, or I don’t meet my word count, I beat myself up over it. You have to remember that NaNoWriMo is all about having fun. No one is reading your novel right now, no one is judging you but yourself. You have 30 days to write 50,000 words, it’s okay if you take a break or write something crappy. You can always write more words and it’s better to write something crappy and edit it later than to never write at all.

   For some more words of advice let’s talk to TravelPride’s own Editor and Weekly Columnist, Summer Kurtz. Summer has actually completed NaNoWriMo in the past. Here’s how she completed the writing challenge:

“I had to set a schedule/goal and really stick to it as closely as I could. I think I tried to do a certain number of words daily and if I didn’t quite hit that I had a weekly goal to try and meet or even exceed if possible. It really helped me to become a more disciplined writer but also learn not to beat myself up over not reaching every single goal. On days I got stuck I would write a couple hundred words on any other topic I felt like until my motivation returned.”

   Fantastic advice. How are doing in NaNoWriMo? Let me know in the comments and follow my own NaNoWriMo journey here. Remember: we’re all in this together!

Happy Writing!

 

Originally posted 2017-11-15 18:30:10.

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Ten Literary Landmarks For Any Traveling Booklover

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Books are magical. They can take you to far-off places without even moving your feet. But what if you want to see the places of people you’ve read about in real life? Luckily, organizations such as the American Library Association, global historical society, and die-hard bookworms, have preserved and created literary landmarks that anyone can enjoy all across the world. From childhood homes, museums, and even statues. Here’s a list of 10 places to add to your literary bucket list.

 

 

 

Edith Wharton(1862-1937) broke gender boundaries and society’s exceptions to become one of America’s greatest writers. She was the first woman awarded the Pulitzer Prize for fiction for her novel Age of Innocence. Most of her novels have themes of declining morals and wealth in the late nineteenth century. The Mount is not your typical author home tour. Not only does it offer guided tours and exhibits, it also has ghost tours, mimosas on the terrace, a cafe, a women’s writer-in resistance program, and a pet cemetery. Heck, you can even have your wedding at the Mount, but honestly, you had me at ghost tours.

  1.  The windmill at the Stony Brook Southampton campus, Southampton, NY

  

 Okay, so I’m down for anything that has to deal with windmills but the story behind the Windmill at the Stony Brook Southampton Campus is both interesting and sad. In 1957. the Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Tennessee Williams lived in the campus windmill after the death of his friend and Abstract Expressionist painter, Jackson Pollock, and wrote the play “The Day on Which a Man Dies” based on Pollock. Sad, but the fact that he lived in a windmill is pretty cool.

  1. Charles Dickens Museum, London , England

Making a trek to London during the holiday season?  Make sure you plan to visit 48 Doughty Street, the London Home of Charles Dickens. This is the home where the famed writer wrote the classic novel Oliver Twist and The Pickwick Papers. The Charles Dickens Museum holds over 100,000 items including manuscripts, personal items and more. There are exhibits, a garden cafe, as well as a lot of activities for children such as the Costumed Christmas walks, performances of “A Christmas Carol” and “A Very Dickensian Christmas Eve.”

  1. Sleepy Hollow, New York

Washington Irving’s The Legend of Sleepy Hollow has become a classic Halloween spooky story still read today. However, many don’t know that Sleepy Hollow is a real place, one which has fully embraced its celebrity status. There’s the Sleepy Hollow Cemetery Tour, The Great Jack O’Lantern Blaze, The Sleepy Hollow Lighthouse Tours, Haunted Hayrides and so much more. They even take on some other classic works such as a circus-theater adaptation of Edgar Allen Poe’s The Raven and a one-man show of A Christmas Carol.

  1. Walden Pond, Cambridge, Massachusetts

Get lost like Thoreau by visiting Walden Pond! Perfect for nature lovers, you can take a lovely nature walk/hike, spend the day at the beach, go kayaking or canoeing on the water or fish; you can even cross-country ski or snowshoe in the winter. You can visit Thoreau’s original cabin and the reproduction. Since the land has been left unchanged it’s almost like you’re walking through the Walden that Thoreau knew.

  1. Shakespeare’s Globe, London, England.

Shakespeare and book lovers go together like pretzels and Nutella. Even if you haven’t read any of the original Shakespearean text, you’ve probably been exposed to some adaptions (10 Things I Hate about You anyone?). The Globe is still standing after many rebuilds, and still holds performances as well as exhibitions and tours. They still put on Shakespeare’s plays; last season they put on King Lear, Much Ado About Nothing, Twelfth Night and Romeo and Juliet, some with a modern twist.

  1. Platform 9 ¾, King’s Cross Station, London

Every Harry Potter fan dreams of one day going to Platform 9 3/4 and getting on the Hogwarts Express. While you might not be able to hop on the Hogwarts Express, you can now find the actual Platform 9 3/4 and have your picture taken holding the handle of a trolley, making it look like you’re running from one world to the next. Don’t forget your wand and house scarf!

  1. James Joyce’s Dublin, Ireland.

Author James Joyce made his beloved Ireland famous with his epic novel Ulysses and other novels that also take place in the city of Dublin. It’s so popular that there is even a holiday known as “Bloomsday” in honor of the character. You can take a walking tour of James Joyce’s Dublin, a 3.5-mile route broken up into two days for the full experience. Some of the stops on the tour include the James Joyce Center, The Writer’s Museum, Merrion Square where you’ll find a statue of laid-back Oscar Wilde, and lots of bars.

  1. Jane Austen’s House and Museum, Hampshire, England

As a Jane Austen fan, I’m all about the Jane Austen House and Museum. Especially since this year is the 200th anniversary of Jane’s death. There’s a lot of bicentennial events going on including exhibits, film screenings, talks, walks, and even picnics. You may even find your match!

  1. Edgar Allan Poe Museum, Richmond, VA

As a huge Poe fan, I would be remiss to leave him off the list. The Poe house, while not in some haunted mansion or catacomb, is still pretty cool. They have an enchanted garden (with a Pumpkin Patch), a shrine to Poe where people like Gertrude Stein and H.P. Lovecraft have visited, as well as a large collection of Poe’s artifacts. The museum also has two living black cats: Edgar and Pluto, that live in the museum. There are also a lot of parties going on at the museum, such as a Halloween Bash, an “Unhappy” Hour of live music, and Poe’s Birthday Bash on January 20th. They host weddings at the Enchanted Garden, which is the only way I’ll ever have a wedding.

 

Have you visited these literary landmarks or have more destinations to add that will make any book lover put down their book? Let me know in the comments.

Happy Travels!

Originally posted 2017-11-14 20:32:01.

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