Thursday 1 November 2012

NaNoWriMo: Out to lunch

And to answer your question, yes I have lost my mind.

If you would not be forgotten as soon as you are dead and rotten, either write something worth reading or do things worth the writing.
- Benjamin Franklin: US author, diplomat, inventor, physicist, politician, & printer (1706 - 1790)

NaNoWriMo: Who, why, what, where, when

In the 30 days of the month of November, I and three hundred thousand other people, sit down to write a fifty thousand word novel. (That works out to be an average of 1,667 words per day) The purpose? The next New York Times Best Seller? Appearances on Ellen and Oprah? Nope. It's all about the the sheer joy of setting a goal and achieving it. If I run a marathon, I don't (necessarily) start with the objective of being the fastest person in the world (being first and winning the race); I start with the objective of completing the race. Seem crazy? To all of you sitting on the sidelines looking at me askance, I am reminded of the bumper sticker on the car ahead of me when I pulled up to a red light years ago. It read: I'm ahead of you. I will now hold my right hand up to my face, my thumb on the tip of my nose, my fingers splayed out, all while I stick my tongue out.

The journey is the reward.
- Chinese proverb

So for the next 30 days, I am going to be chained to my desk. I hope to have a good time but I also recognise there will be a little blood, sweat, and tears involved in this. Blood? In writing? I can't rule out papercuts.

my blog: NaNoWriMo *slaps forehead* Oh my God, not that!

My first time: November 2011
I managed to crank out my fifty thou in 18 days. Sounds good but I ended up with a bit of a mess, an incomplete story by any stretch of the imagination. I have some good chapters if I do say so myself (And I do!) so one day I will revise it and complete the work. Or maybe I won't. Who knows? The point is that I did it. I completed my (literary) marathon.

What I did wrong
I didn't plan. Well, I didn't plan until the last minute. I guess like a lot of people, I had no idea of how to approach this so I thought to "wing it". Is this the downfall of anybody who ends up not going the distance?

What I did right
I had fun. Yes, I had fun. Believe it or not, while trying to stick to the self-discipline of writing almost two thousand words per day sounds like an onerous task, there were moments when I "got into it". I was having quite an enjoyable time writing scenes. I would play my mental movie of the action and would be periodically quite amused by it all. I thought once in a while that somebody else would find such and such a scene interesting or funny. It was a lark constructing the story, the various scenes, and my characters and I must confess, there were a few times when I finished a section then jumped out of my seat exclaiming out loud in my empty apartment, "All right!" while doing a fist pump and gleefully pacing up and down as I mulled over my mini-triumph. That was fun!

Some recommendations
I have read each of the following and I would recommend you do the same.

No Plot? No Problem! by Chris Baty
A Low-Stress, High-Velocity Guide to Writing a Novel in 30 Days
Mr. Baty is the founder of NaNoWriMo and who better to encourage us than somebody who's been through it all right from the beginning. The book is quite funny and an easy read. It does offer wise words about the process and emphasizes the quantity over the quality. You aren't the next Stephen King and you're not going to write the next Harry Potter, but you will have a life experience you won't forget.

NaNo for the New and the Insane by Lazette Gifford
(free eBook at Smashwords)
This woman knows what she's talking about. Heed her words!

On Writing by Stephen King
From the mouth of the master himself, this book is part biography, part guidebook based on King's own writing techniques.

See you in December! :-)


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