Tag: NaNoWriMo

NaNoWriMo 2012

Time to play NaNoWriMo once again! I give it a go every other year or so. In the past I’ve not participated because, oh, I was busy writing my thesis or editing the novel I’d finished… things like that. I have a friend who recently lamented that he couldn’t play NaNoWriMo this year because he was busy with a freelance writing project. I found it tres amusing that he should feel bad about not participating in an arbitrary get-people-to-write gimmick because he was already writing productively–for pay.

Well, I have writing I’m working on, but it’s always good (great, actually) to have set goals, to write every day, to give yourself rewards and social punishment for being productive or being lazy about writing. So, I like NaNoWriMo and what it does for me (at least for the first couple of weeks before I realize that trying to write for two hours lat at night, after a day of work, doing cooking and cleaning and laundry, makes being productive writer on a forced writing march, very emotionally draining and leads to poor output). But in the meantime, here I go….

Though, I must say, preparing for NaNoWriMo this year (what? You don’t prepare?) gave me a massive epiphany! I have a handful of story ideas percolating in my noodle at a time, sometimes for days before I start writing them down, sometimes years. My first novel, the seeds of that one I’d been playing around with for four or more years before I finally started it. Well, among others, I’ve had the bits-n-pieces of three different novels working around for a very long time. Except one of them, the young adult novel I started thinking about a couple years ago and started writing a couple of months ago — that one’s the newest. Well, I decided I’d take one of the other ones and work on that fro NaNoWriMo, and as I started to outline the events and thumbnail the setting, something amazing came to me! These three particular, separate novels, are part of one giant epic that spans centuries! And the ways and reasons why the three settings are different, but similar, give me some really fun effects of time and social evolution to play with. But, there’s a distinct connecting line through them. Each novel can be read separately (and in the case of the young adult one, which sits as the middle book, it really must be distinctly separate because I want to keep that young adult while the other two are certainly for more mature readers), but the experience is much richer for having read the one(s) preceding it. Anyway, it’s been real fun working on the nuts and bolts of this more expanded universe that just opened up for me.



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No no, NaNoWriMo.

Once again, I’m going to give up on completing NaNoWriMo. I intended to use this weekend writing and editing. Well, I’d gotten quite a lot done editing my existing novel! …and absolutely no new writing done.

Well, it’s for the best, really. I’d rather be that much closer getting my existing novel into a shape in which other people might think it’s good, and not just me. 🙂 If I can get a little bit more done every night this week, or at least another marathon editing weekend, I think I can get it finished before next week and be able to give it to some readers for critique. It’ll be nice to get some feedback from people outside my own head. The voices in there aren’t always the most trust-worthy.

I love this book, and I’m extremely proud of it — but I don’t mind saying I can’t wait to be done of it. Sure, I want it to be the best it can be! I’m not at all going to hedge on the effort going into editing it. But, when it’s done, when I’ve edited the last page and am ready to send it to paying customers/editors, I’m done with it. I totally understand how directors and actors when their franchise gets cancelled and they’re asked about fan efforts to revive their show, they often reply with a kind of “Oh, it was a great time in my life, but it’s over and I’ve moved on now. I don’t think I can return to that.” Makes me wonder what the heck’s George Lucas’ deal, constantly going back and fiddling with Star Wars. Guess it helps he just has to tell an army of people, “Go and change and add this. Hop to!”


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NaNoWriMo, again. Maybe. Perhaps?

Writers_Block_1Once again I’ll be participating in the National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo). And this time I mean it!

The point of NaNoWriMo is to help people get past the blocks and barriers and hesitations and just write, dammit. Heck with editing (for now), heck with obligations and excuses for not having time, NaNoWriMo provides the excuse to write ~three pages a day, every day, for a month. If you get 50,000 words of new material (can’t work on something you’ve already been working on; you have to start fresh November 1st), you win!

What do you win? Well, I think there’s a Web image you can put on your Web site saying you completed, but otherwise, you win the pride and honor of actually writing a (small!) novel’s worth of words. I’ve tried in the past. In fact, the first time was several years ago when NaNoWriMo was hardly known about. I think I uploaded maybe 5,000 words before I stopped. Then I tried two more time more recently, and stopped before I began. But this time, I’m doin’ it! But to really get and stay motivated with the task of writing every single day no matter what, it’s helpful to really get into the mood and networking and social atmosphere NaNoWriMo helps facilitate with the tools and advice they put on their site, and connect with fellow participants who you can trade encouragement with. It’s very much like a 12-step program or something.

The one roadblock I have (in additional to blaming being too brain-dead after work each day to write) is I’m still trying to finish my current novel/Master’s thesis. If I want to graduate this December, I really needed to have it turned in already to my readers. It’s currently about 270 pages long and that’s about 150 pages more than the thesis readers tend to have to deal with. I should just take the advice of my advisor and stop it where it is, edit the existing material, tack on a summary of what’s supposed to happen, and call it good. And I’ll probably do that. Plus, I have a couple of class papers due in December that I can use as excuse to not NaNoWriMo some days–even though these are easier papers than I’ve had to write in most of my grad school career thus far.

What I’m saying is: I can’t use those as excuses. I’m doing NaNoWriMo, and I can still work on other projects–and in fact, this should help me be able to work on these projects a lot more than I currently do where after work I feel like my brain isn’t capable of scholarly thought. (Well, it still won’t be. It may actually not help with my school stuff at all, and the NaNoWriMo output quality may suck horribly.

But there’s one thing I’m keeping in mind as I participate which has been a deterrent in the past: I’m looking at this as working toward a completed work. My current novel is going to be vaguely 90,000 words long. The normal length for a novel (from novice writers) is around 80,000 to 100k. Most people say 80,000 is really as small as most publishers will consider now-a-days (have you seen how short most novels were before the late 1980s?!) But here’s the thing: one of my favorite authors, Cory Doctorow, has a 50k word novel (Eastern Standard Tribe) and a 48k word novel (Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom), and they’re fantastic! (Especially the later. EST is good but anti-climactic). A novel doesn’t have to be 80k+ words to be good.

And, as Cory and Wil Wheaton and other have proven, you don’t need to cowtow to the publishing industry in order to be published or get your work into the hands of interested people. So, this silly roadblock I created for myself that because this super-productive blast of creative writing would be an incomplete work, I shouldn’t bother participating in the structured and constrictive waste of time of NaNoWriMo, can be ignored like the drek it is.

So, here’s my NaNoWriMo profile: http://www.nanowrimo.org/eng/user/520083. If you think you may participate as well, “buddy” me. Now, all I need to do is try to figure out which plot idea I want to try to develop. 😛


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