Tag Archives: NaNoWriMo

NaNoWriMo: I Don’t Know What I’m Doing

It’s official: I’ll be participating in NaNoWriMo this year. I’m thoroughly convinced I made the right decision. Thinking about a different story with new characters and settings has been like a breath of fresh air in my writing life. I’m already chomping at the bit to start writing, and it’s only August! Luckily, time goes by fast, and November will be here before I know it.

I have a sneaking suspicion that I’m not quite comprehending what I’m getting into, though. In order to complete a 50,000 word novel in just one month, I’ll have to write about 1,666 words a day–that’s about the size of one of my short stories, or three long blog posts. That’s a good chunk of writing, but it doesn’t seem hugely unmanageable. That view will probably change on November 1st, when undoubtedly I’ll feel like I’ve been writing for ages then look down to see the word counter hovering somewhere around 937 (a completely arbitrary number, by the way.) Seasoned NaNo-ers, please tell me about your experience with the event. I know it’s going to be tough, and I feel I’m prepared, but just how prepared do I have to be?

Well, whether I’m really up to the challenge or not, I’m going to take it on. I’ve signed up at the NaNoWriMo website; if you’d like, you can add me as a buddy–I’m hopelesscrowmantic. I have some ideas for my novel, and more are cropping up every day. My characters are already starting to get away from me, and I haven’t even written anything about them yet. Is this a good sign? I hope so.

Do you have any advice or warnings to offer? Or is it better for me to take a tumbleweed approach?

A Second Attempt

I’m pleased to report that my grand summer plans have completely failed so far. After a few days of editing my novel, I came to the conclusion that another total rewrite was in order, and, despondent from that realization, fell into a writing slump. However, I’m not yet ready to give up on finishing this rewrite before school starts again.  It isn’t quite August yet–there is hope.

Remember last November when I held, in lieu of NaNoWriMo, my own personal Novel Rewrite Finishing Month? I’m going to try the same thing this August. I have a few more days of July with which to review what I have done already and plan where I’m going with the rest of the book. Finishing this rewrite quickly will give me something to work with editing-wise throughout the school year.

As another attempt to start fresh writing-wise, I’m thinking about actually undertaking NaNoWriMo this year. Almost everyone here is a seasoned NaNoWriMo participant–what are your thoughts on the benefit of this exercise? Is there anything in particular I should know before getting into it?

Why I Am a Complete Failure, and also, Why I’m Not

Just change around a few letters, and my November is summed up right here. I even wore a horned helmet once, but that’s another story.

This year, in lieu of NaNoWriMo, I came up with my own month-long writer-ly event: NaNoFiMo, or National Novel Finishing Month. I resolved to finish my current novel by the end of November. I was totally pumped; I was going to DO THIS THING. There was no possible way I wouldn’t win.

Long story short: I didn’t win.

I’m at least 5,000, if not 10,000, words short of finishing, which is an epic fail. Just when I thought I was drawing near to the climax, I went back through my first-draft notebooks and remembered that there was a whole bunch of important stuff that happened between my current point and the actual climax–and then after the climax, there’s an anticlimax of around two chapters. I panicked, leading me to not write much. Thus, I am a failure.

But this doesn’t mean I’m never going to finish The Novel! I’ve set another goal for myself–bear with me here. I’m going to finish it by the new year. At the very least I have winter vacation in which to write. I think–think–I can do it. In the fashion of many NaNoWriMo-ers, I’ll be updating you all along the way, whilst-and-at-the-same-time not revealing the title or any excerpts, because I’m that paranoid, and hopefully I won’t be using as many run-on sentences as I am in this post.

Oh! Right! I promised to tell you why I’m not a complete failure. *I shuffle forward shyly, clearing my throat.* Some of you may have heard this already from Teens Can Write Too!, but…a short story of mine was accepted for publication over at Black Lantern Publishing, and is scheduled to appear in the February issue of their online and print literary magazine. I’ll be sure to tell you all when the magazine is available, so you can read some lovely macabre fiction from your favorite blogger, because I am your favorite blogger, right? Right? Well, even if I’m not, I still encourage you to check out the current issue of BLP, and the future issue in which my work will appear.

A month full of fails and wins always makes for a nice combination, doesn’t it?

Fads, Evil Thistles, and Surprisingly Bad Grammar

This post is for the November 2011 Teens Can Write Too! blog chain. This month’s prompt was:

“What are the wackiest, funniest, most disturbing search terms anyone has ever used to find your blog?”

I need to stop looking at the search terms used to find my blog; I’m only creeping myself out. Most of the search terms used to find my blog are perfectly mundane (titles of books and the like), but there are a few real gems. They’re not particularly disturbing, but they make me wonder about the types of people who accidently landed on this blog. Here are a few that made me laugh, twitch, and/or look twice.

ancient people with rocks–Yes, I do believe that ancient people had rocks. They came pre-made.

tamora queen of the goths–Are we talking about the ancient Goths who sacked Rome, or the modern type who hang around malls wearing all black, white, and red?

the w on the cover of witches and wizards–I think you mean “Witch & Wizard.” As for the “W,” it’s on fire, it’s orange, and it has human faces protruding from it.

evil thistle plant–Now I have an image stuck in my head of thistles coming to life and beating us all to death with their purple poofy flowers.

why chocolate is so amazing–I personally can’t see why anyone needs to ask this. Chocolate just is.

good replies to “here’s to us” email–The best I can decipher this one is that there is a chain or spam email going around with the subject line saying “here’s to us.” How dare they steal my blog title?!

fads right now–Look around you: Uggs, Justin Bieber, and kitten videos. These are dark times, my friends.

edger allen poe–I was starting to worry this person was going to spell his last name incorrectly, as well.

official illusions–Is there a National Registry of Illusions? I’d like to know.

2 girls did photos of fake fairies–So they did. It’s a fascinating tale.

horus acrostic poem–Sorry, but I’m not the best source of information on ancient Egyptian literature. Why don’t you consult your local library?

funny witch quotes–Quotes about witches, by witches, or directed at witches? And they have to be funny? You’re much too demanding, anonymous search person.

i am number four figurative language–I’m happy to know that some people still pay attention to literary devices.

stonehenge chain link fence–I’m just not quite sure about this one.

messy homework–Well, it happens sometimes, especially if you save it for the bus ride to school.

We were also asked to write a little bit about our NaNoWriMo projects or current novels for the blog chain.I’m not a NaNoWriMo participant, but I have vowed to try and finish my current WIP by the end of November. The first draft was finished a long time ago, but it’s simply abominable, so I’m doing a total rewrite, which is currently at about 76,000 words. It’s a YA fantasy of the medieval-epic style, but I’d like to say it’s less of an idealized “high” fantasy as a harsher, underworld fantasy. There aren’t any supervillains, but there aren’t any superheroes, either.

Want to follow our blog chain? Here are the participating parties in order.

November 5th —http://kirstenwrites.wordpress.com/ – Kirsten Writes!

November 6th — http://delorfinde.wordpress.com – A Farewell To Sanity

November 7th — http://eatsleepwriterepeat.wordpress.com – Eat, Sleep, Write, Repeat

November 8th — http://alohathemuse.wordpress.com – Embracing Insanity

November 9th — http://noveljourneys.wordpress.com/ – Novel Journeys

November 10th —- http://greatlakessocialist.wordpress.com/ – Red Herring Online

November 11th — http://taystapeinc.wordpress.com – Tay’s Tape

November 12th — http://herebefaries.wordpress.com/ – The Land of Man-Eating Pixies

November 13th – http://randominmind.wordpress.com – Random On My Mind!

November 14th – http://insideliamsbrain.wordpress.com/ – This Page Intentionally Left Blank

November 15th — http://herestous.wordpress.com – Here’s To Us

November 16th— http://incessantdroningofaboredwriter.wordpress.com –  The Incessant Droning of a Bored Writer

November 17th — http://teenscanwritetoo.wordpress.com – Teens Can Write Too! (We will be announcing the topic for the next month’s chain)

The Business of Writing

November is National Novel Writing Month, commonly known as NaNoWriMo. The challenge is to write a full-length novel entirely in the month of November. Though I’m not a formal participant, I am currently working on a novel; it’s been an ongoing project for almost a year. All I’ll spill is that it’s a YA fantasy. Even if it’s never published, I’ve had a lot of fun writing it…but I digress. In honor of NaNoWriMo, I though I’d share my thoughts on the writing process– the business of writing.

It surprises me how many authors (take Shannon Hale) say that, in general, the writing experience for them isn’t always pleasant. The horrors they describe-the rewriting, the struggle to get the tone of the story just right– are very off-putting. I haven’t encountered any of these issues yet. It makes me wonder if I’m writing correctly. But there isn’t an incorrect way to write, is there (grammar, etc. aside)?  

No, there is hardly anything about writing that I don’t enjoy. When writing longer works, like a novel, I’ve found that the hardest part is to get over the “hump.” For the first 50 pages or so, the characters aren’t really alive yet. The fate of their world doesn’t matter. They are lies. But if you manage to push through that first awkward stage, you can race to the finish line with the feeling that your characters are alive. You feel that you have to do so; if you abandon your book, your characters will languish and die. You have to find out what happens, even though you may have the basic plot in your head. This is the only reason I’ve been able to make time for my writing. However crazy it may sound, my characters need me to.

My writing stack, including the handwritten manuscript so far, illustrations, and brainstorming sheets.

As I was saying: once you get over that hump, you just have to let the words flow. It doesn’t matter if it’s from a pen on to paper or from your keyboard into computer files. You are showing your story, its characters and events, to the world. This quote I stumbled across illustrates the point perfectly:

“There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed.”
— Ernest Hemingway
Happy writing!