Nanowrimo

The writing process, writing advice, and updates on your work in progress
Claudie
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Re: Nanowrimo

Post by Claudie » October 6th, 2010, 4:43 pm

Sommer Leigh wrote:
Margo wrote:LOL. Cheerleader? I'm probably going to need a medic. How are you with decaf IV drips? It's the thought of caffeine that counts. :)
I work with nurses so I'm constantly asking them to hook me up. I get stern looks. I don't think they understand how serious I am about caffeine.
I'm with Margo here. I put coffee all over my shiny new keyboard. :P
NaNo isn't just for writing, I should mention. It's also for meetups I hear. I haven't ever been able to go to one, but I hope this year I might be brave enough to get my butt to the local BN to meet some crazy writer types. It's to forge friendships with psychotics who are insane enough to attempt this lifestyle with you. XD
Because I spend my month organising these events on top of writing my stuff, I can only encourage you to do it. Every Wrimo from my region that musters the courage to walk up to a bunch of crazy strangers and say 'hi, I'm one of yours!' is a hero for me. So go! Meet-ups are super fun! They are also where I met some of my closest friends.

I'll be honest with you guys and say I'm aiming for 200,000 words during NaNo. It's what I did last year, it was super hard, and right now it's kind of intimidating, but I had tons of fun pushing myself to the limit like this and I want to experience that again. My two drafts were also surprisingly OK, considering the speed (by that I mean it was possible for me to rework them instead of dumping everything) so I don't feel like I am wasting my time. :)
"I do not think there is any thrill [...] like that felt by the inventor as he sees some creation of the brain unfolding to success... Such emotions make a man forget food, sleep, friends, love, everything." -- Nikola Tesla

Jessa
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Re: Nanowrimo

Post by Jessa » October 6th, 2010, 5:16 pm

I have to admit, I don't do the meet-ups. I need to be completely in my own headspace when I write. I put on headphones and put on a playlist of MP3s and tune out the outside world. So there's just no incentive to be around a bunch of people when they'll only be ignored! I do go to Starbucks or something to write, usually, but I sit at a tiny table in the corner, put on my headphones, and ignore everything but my latte.

Claudie
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Re: Nanowrimo

Post by Claudie » October 6th, 2010, 6:56 pm

Well to be honest, we don't write a lot at meet-ups. We use them to let some steam out, share our stories and laugh. And cry, sometimes.

It could seem a bit counter-productive to spend hours meeting NaNo writers instead of writing NaNo, but I always come back super motivated, and I've been told by others that they feel the same. I find writing with a group fun, but not quite as much as just talking with them.

Obviously, this is a region thing, so I have no idea how they do it where you are. But I definitely understand that some can't write without a complete focus on the work.
"I do not think there is any thrill [...] like that felt by the inventor as he sees some creation of the brain unfolding to success... Such emotions make a man forget food, sleep, friends, love, everything." -- Nikola Tesla

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Heather B
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Re: Nanowrimo

Post by Heather B » October 6th, 2010, 8:38 pm

I'm one of those that can't write without complete isolation - I get too easily distracted. I am going to the meets even though our region barely has 10 people :)
Journey to the Cuckoo's Nest

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BCarle
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Re: Nanowrimo

Post by BCarle » October 8th, 2010, 2:48 pm

This will be my second year attempting NaNoWriMo.

I'm usually a belly-acher of a writer, agonizing over every line, but last year's NaNo was deliciously liberating! I grabbed a silly idea of what would have happened if my "real" protagonist had chosen a different path, and I went tearing along with it -- getting silly, falling down, tumbling and gallumphing along, not worrying about editing, correcting, or how ludicrous my ideas were.

I wound up writing 75K words that I considered pretty much garbage at the time. After giving it a rest, however, I found that it was a story I actually love. It changed my "real" novel by showing me nuances of the characters, and, importantly, how to improve the pace. Nothing like writing a book start to finish to give you a feel for when it's time for some tension and when it's time to slow down a bit. The NaNo novel needs work, of course, but I'm so happy to have it.

I don't know if I can recreate the headlong fun of last year, but I hope to try. This year, I'm writing a silly prequel to my real novel. I don't expect anyone to ever read it, so I can go crazy with it, if I like.

I like writing side stories to my main novel because already knowing the characters makes it so much easier.

I'm BridgetCarle over there, if anyone wants to be a buddy. :) Good luck!

http://www.nanowrimo.org/eng/user/515973

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Jaya
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Re: Nanowrimo

Post by Jaya » October 8th, 2010, 4:00 pm

JESSA - I am not interested in meetups either. I think I do better on my own. So is Nanowrimo still something I should consider, just for the word count? Or am I better off not registering, but "thinking" I am and committing to the month of words. I'm a private person.

MARGO - Makes sense re your reply to me. So do you outline a lot beforehand? Have a clear idea and focus of what you will be doing?

You guys all aiming for novels: In your writing lives thus far, have you always attacked ideas as novels? Or have you completed short stories for the practice and skills building, etc. I find short story so difficult to tackle. But it would make sense for such an amateur like me who needs to sharpen her skills and who also lacks the "outline", i.e., I have a few thoughts and nothing more. (I don't even know my "voice", my preferred target - adult youth or middle grade or adult fiction, etc).

I should probably shut up, stop worrying and just write whatever comes in my head. Very disorganized and frazzled.

Margo
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Re: Nanowrimo

Post by Margo » October 8th, 2010, 4:12 pm

Jaya wrote:MARGO - Makes sense re your reply to me. So do you outline a lot beforehand? Have a clear idea and focus of what you will be doing?
Yeah, I outline quite a bit. Hardcore pantsers would be horrified by the amount of outlining I do. Perhaps the shock therapy is helping, though, as I actually downgraded my outlining for my most recent short story. :) Just kidding. You don't want to introduce electricity to this body. I'm enough trouble as it is.
Jaya wrote:You guys all aiming for novels: In your writing lives thus far, have you always attacked ideas as novels? Or have you completed short stories for the practice and skills building, etc. I find short story so difficult to tackle. But it would make sense for such an amateur like me who needs to sharpen her skills and who also lacks the "outline", i.e., I have a few thoughts and nothing more. (I don't even know my "voice", my preferred target - adult youth or middle grade or adult fiction, etc).
I hear many writers say they are natural novelists or natural short story writers, and I do find that the novel is and always has been my natural length. However, I also write short stories for a couple of reasons. I have a tendency to overshoot my target word count. Being forced to think within the boundaries of short stories helps me sharpen my focus and come to terms with the difference between ideas I'd really like to have in my story/novel and ideas that I must have for the project to function. Also, short stories do not require the time investment that a novel does, meaning I feel a little more willing to experiment. After all, if it doesn't work out the way I've written it, that was a 4,000-word learning experience instead of a 100,000-word one. Also, as I've had more luck placing short stories than novels, it provides my confidence with some occasional sustenance for the long road to becoming a professional novelist.
Urban fantasy, epic fantasy, and hot Norse elves. http://margolerwill.blogspot.com/

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Re: Nanowrimo

Post by Jessa » October 8th, 2010, 6:53 pm

Jaya wrote:JESSA - I am not interested in meetups either. I think I do better on my own. So is Nanowrimo still something I should consider, just for the word count? Or am I better off not registering, but "thinking" I am and committing to the month of words. I'm a private person.
I found it worthwhile for helping me learn to get out of my own way and just get the first draft done. I have a tendency to speed through (see below), and writing 50k words in one story was huge for me. Turning it from that into a near-total rewrite of 83k was a triumph. I guess it all depends on what you hope to get out of it. I needed the proof of a daily wordcount that wasn't invisible. No one cares if I make my own personal wordcount on a day-to-day basis, no one sees, no one knows. But there was something about that chart and graph that kept me going.

Mind you, thanks to one 10k day at the beginning, and a 12.5k day at the end, I finished in two weeks, but it was still good for me. To do it, to learn how to do it. I needed it. But I didn't need the meetups.
You guys all aiming for novels: In your writing lives thus far, have you always attacked ideas as novels? Or have you completed short stories for the practice and skills building, etc. I find short story so difficult to tackle. But it would make sense for such an amateur like me who needs to sharpen her skills and who also lacks the "outline", i.e., I have a few thoughts and nothing more. (I don't even know my "voice", my preferred target - adult youth or middle grade or adult fiction, etc).

I should probably shut up, stop worrying and just write whatever comes in my head. Very disorganized and frazzled.
I naturally write novellas. 20-30k, that's about the length I tend to think in. I've written short stories for years and years. I know how to get to a plot, tell the good bits, and wrap it all up in a hurry. Learning to take my time but keep the pace up? That was a year of toiling and only one book to show for it so far. I don't mean to say that I feel like I should've produced more in that time, I just mean that I don't know yet if I've actually learned what I think I have. I won't know until I've done it four or five times, is my guess.

I never outline, I'll say that. And it bit me in the ass, bigtime. The whole reason my NaNo needed a massive rewrite was because in focusing on each day's output with NO re-reading and NO editing, I turned out a bunch of scenes that were cool in and of themselves, but once strung together they lost something. Like, say, a bad guy who actually did anything. In other words, with no plot planned out, I had no plot. Normally, the things I write are short enough that I can keep the whole arc in my head. And I'm willing to say that given a slower pace than "50k in two weeks", I might be able to take the time to keep the arc in mind for something longer, too.

My current WIP has more of an arc but I'm still missing some key ingredient; not in the story, but in the planning. I've tried to Snowflake it and that just led rapidly to frustration and annoyance for me. I'm just not that kind of writer. I'm still looking for the method that works for me, but outlining and in-depth plotting will never be a part of my process, I don't think.

Sommer Leigh
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Re: Nanowrimo

Post by Sommer Leigh » October 8th, 2010, 6:56 pm

Margo wrote:
You SO owe me a decaf pumpkin latte and a pack of handy wipes. Maybe a new keyboard, too. :)
Claudie wrote:
I'm with Margo here. I put coffee all over my shiny new keyboard. :P
Ha! My job here is done. *bows*

If I could have a decaf pumpkin latte delivered to your door, I totally would.

On a side note about pumpkin lattes, at the hospital I work at we have a Starbucks cart with an A++ barista. She's too cool. So right after they got the pumpkin latte stuff in, she told me how she'd been experimenting with the flavors and wanted to know if I was feeling adventurous. I am always feeling adventurous so she made me up a white chocolate pumpkin latte. It was amazing. Like pumpkiny heaven. I highly recommend it for anyone who is adventurous with their caffeine.
May the word counts be ever in your favor. http://www.sommerleigh.com
Be nice, or I get out the Tesla cannon.

Margo
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Re: Nanowrimo

Post by Margo » October 8th, 2010, 7:09 pm

Sommer Leigh wrote:Ha! My job here is done. *bows*
Evil...
Sommer Leigh wrote:...a white chocolate pumpkin latte.
And a pumpkin latte connoisseur?

Madame, I salute you.
Urban fantasy, epic fantasy, and hot Norse elves. http://margolerwill.blogspot.com/

BethTH
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Re: Nanowrimo

Post by BethTH » October 8th, 2010, 11:25 pm

I'm a fellow NaNoWriMo participant--I've attempted it five times and won three. I hope to get the first draft of the third book in my series finished in November (which is our slowest time at work) so I can spend the rest of the year editing it into shape. If anyone would like to be buddies, I'm BethTH there too.

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Quill
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Re: Nanowrimo

Post by Quill » October 8th, 2010, 11:49 pm

How does one win? What is the contest? What's the prize?

Claudie
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Re: Nanowrimo

Post by Claudie » October 9th, 2010, 12:06 am

Quill, NaNoWriMo is a challenge more than a contest. You have to write 50,000 words in the 30 days of November. If you do, you win.

While technically there are no prizes, they have an increasing number of sponsors that give stuff to winners. Off the top of my head, you get a 50% discount on Scrivener, and you can order a proof copy of your novel for free from CreateSpace (you have until the end of June to finish/edit, if desired).

Mostly, though, you do it to get the 50,000 words, for the bragging rights and for the fun. :)
"I do not think there is any thrill [...] like that felt by the inventor as he sees some creation of the brain unfolding to success... Such emotions make a man forget food, sleep, friends, love, everything." -- Nikola Tesla

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sierramcconnell
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Re: Nanowrimo

Post by sierramcconnell » October 9th, 2010, 9:14 am

Claudie, you forgot the awesome badge you get and the certificate thingie you can print out. XD
I'm on Tumblr!

The blog died...but so did I...and now I'm alive again! OMG.

Jessa
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Re: Nanowrimo

Post by Jessa » October 9th, 2010, 9:25 am

The marathon analogy is most apt. You do it to prove you can do it, to say you did it.

And to get the print-out certificate of course. And the purple bar!

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