Writing in November

dream timeLife is weird. Life is also busy. It is now November. I have two sick kids who are on the mend and I really just want to take a nap right now. I slept well last night, aside from strange dreams, but I feel like I need an extra thirty-minute nap or something to reach fully recharged. I think these days that is a permanent feeling. I am always a nap away from not being tired but I never actually get the nap.

November is National Novel Writing Month. Three days ago NanoWriMo kicked off and thousands of people out there are furiously writing away at what will hopefully be a 50,000 word novel by the end of the month. My friend Lori is giving it a shot. I have competed against time and life to write that 50,000-word novel in a month before too. I am considering doing it again. Only this time I think I will give myself a break. I mean I did just finish a book. Not quite a 50,000-word novel, but a book none the less.

I think I will write a book of short stories. There are hundreds of writing prompts you_fail_only_if_you_stop_writingfloating around out there so I can just pick one or two a day and write a bunch of short fictional narrations that will eventually add up to the necessary word count.  That is the tentative plan. I also have another book idea but I have so many writing irons in the fire I really don’t want to chase after another long project right now.

If anyone out there wants to hop on board the National Novel Writing Month train, I have provided links to the website. It is fun and challenging, especially if you have never done it before. I am just giving it a shot for fun. I know I can write a novel in a month if I need to so I am not as worried about if  I can. I am just writing to support my friend in her endeavors as she runs the race and to enjoy writing just for writing’s sake. Who knows, maybe I can churn out something useful by the end.

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21 days until November

0autumn_wallpapers_EA54095We only have 21 days until November.  For some this means Holidays and Christmas shopping.  For others it signals the beginning of a massive creative endeavor, National Novel Writing Month.

Every year thousands of people attempt to write 50,000 words in just 30 days during one of the busiest months of the year.  If you have never attempted NaNoWriMo, I highly nanoencourage it.  It is a lot of fun, which is the whole reason I do it. For fun.  Not to produce a critically acclaimed book that will win hundreds of awards.

There are writers out there who frown and boo National Novel Writing Month simply because when novices take up a pen and produce a large quantity of words, they often think it is the most wonderful thing ever written and must be shared with the world.   50,000 words in 30 days is quite the necronomiconaccomplishment.  It should be celebrated.  But no one really wants to see your baby covered in the after birth…and honestly there are some books written during NaNo that should never be allowed out in the daylight.  (I have written a couple of those myself.  In fact often my NaNo ideas are completely silly things that I wouldn’t normally attempt.)

So while I greatly encourage all to come NaNo with me during the month of November, I ask that you let the word count high settle during December and then re-read what you have written before sharing it with the world.  Sometimes NaNoWriMo produces gems that are usable sometimes it doesn’t.  But always remember that first drafts are diamonddiamonds in the rough.  They need to be cleaned, cut, and polished before they truly can shine.  And for the love of ink slingers everywhere, please please let someone else read your book before sharing it with the rest of the world.  It will save you and the world a lot of heart ache. Trust me on this one.  (As mildly dyslexic and a natural bad speller I am speaking from experience.)   I will probably be posting more on the Pros and Cons of NaNoWriMo as the month passes.  Though if anyone wants to register early (its free btw) don’t forget to add me as a writing buddy.  I am thecoffeefox.coffeefox

On the eighth day of Nano my muse said to me…something I can’t repeat in polite company

So today is the eighth day of National Novel Writing Month. I am attempting a fantasy novel this year.  I would be writing this book regardless but I thought Nanowrimo would help me get it done faster.  (For some reason this makes me feel like I am cheating.) I am still near the beginning of the book and haven’t given in to desperation yet, so we will see how coherent this first draft turns out to be by the end.  (I am also way behind on my word count and will have to write like crazy to get caught up.)

So far, things are going according to plan. Unfortunately, I am also getting to the part where the plan is becoming a little fuzzy around the edges.  This morning I was contemplating today’s worth of writing, trying to figure out if I should give the main character memory loss, and figure out what comes next.  All I ended up doing was starring into space with  my last two scenes replaying over and over in my head.  Then I started mentally talking to myself.

It went something like this:

Okay, so she is still unconscious…maybe I should look up what that much head trauma does to a person

yeah but don’t get too carried away. It is a fiction book after all.  She’s gonna have to wake up sometime, probably earlier than if she were a real person

I know, I know. It’s a fantasy novel. They can heal her with magic or something….

Who can?

I don’t know, some old wise woman or something.

Where does the woman come from?

Look, it doesn’t matter right now okay?  I need to figure out what to do with the guy who’s dad just got killed and who’s brother is on his death bed

Man his life sucks…though the dead dad could come back as a zombie…

This isn’t a zombie book.  And I need to make up someone to deliver some important info to him.

A ninja.

What?

Ninja are good at delivering information.

…I’m gonna go make a cup of tea….

 

And that is about how my morning contemplation of my story went.  I’m not loosing it, honest.  I’m just not caffeinated enough to plot at the moment.

 

 

It is a very brisk morning, though since I’ve been up since five, it feels almost like lunch time to me.  I am still having trouble with my sinuses (who hate me).  The fact that we took in a stray kitten not long ago probably isn’t helping matters any.  That makes two cats in the house, even though one refuses to stay inside all the time.

I hate being cold but I turned off the heat and opened most of the windows in the house to let it air out some.  Soon it will be way too cold to do so. Also it gives me a good excuse to wear my comfy thick red sweater. Between my sweater and a hot cup of tea I am comfortable enough.I just wish my head would clear and let me think.

NaNoWriMo starts in a couple of days and I’ve been planning a post about it.  I am participating again this year mostly just because it is a lot of fun.  I know a lot of people scoff and roll their eyes at NaNo and many more out right hate it.  This confused me for a long time because I see NaNoWriMo as a game and if you don’t like a game you don’t have to play right?

Well, then I found out some of the reasons why people don’t like it.  Of course you have your snobs. They are everywhere in life. (Even I am a snob about somethings.)  But then you have those writers that try really hard all year to get their best work done and sent out to publishers.  It goes into the slush pile and eventually, maybe, somebody will read it.
The chances of that go down when you factor in NaNoWriMo, because suddenly you have hundreds of would be writers writing these books.  Honestly, a good portion of them are going to be plan awful.  (My first one certainly was.)

These people are excited because they wrote a book. (As they should be.)  And so they send it off.  The problem is they don’t think or ask questions before they do.  There is a lot more that goes into a book besides just the writing part. Editing is a process, and it must be done before you send your stuff out.  I was horrified at the thought of all the mountains of manuscripts that must flood into publishers in December.  My first thought was why would people do that? The answer is, Because they don’t really know better or because they are so certain that their work is special it won’t matter.

It’s like a kid drawing a picture.  It may be the best picture they’ve ever drawn, but up against Monet it’s nothing.  To them it is amazing and everyone needs to see it.  Family and friends pat them on the head and tell them what a good job they’ve done.  That doesn’t mean they should buy an art studio.  This is where an unbiased second opinion comes in handy…if people listen to it.

*sigh*  I am sick and I am rambling.  There are lots of good things about National Novel Writing Month.  I think it is fun and so I will participate this year. I hope others will too. However, I also hope before people start flooding publishers (indie and other wise) with their NaNo-novels that they will take the time to let the manuscript simmer for a month or so before dragging it back out for another look.  Then I hope they at the very least ask themselves, How can I make this better? 

 

National Novel Writing Month

So the allergies are still kicking my butt and I think they may have morphed into a sinus infection.  Lucky me.  But enough about my mucus laden woes, I took some medicine that seems to have temporary worked.  So I am going to write as much as I can until it wears off.

I wanted to post something useful today, so I am going to talk about National Novel Writing Month, or NaNoWriMo. 

NaNoWriMo takes place in November and is probably the single most helpful thing I’ve ever done to improve my writing.  It is an insane attempt to write a novel in 30 days.  I’ve done it twice and plan on making another attempt this year.  50,000 words may seem daunting, and I’m not going to lie, it’s not easy. (Or at least it isn’t for me.)  However the things you end up teaching yourself as you make that mad dash are worth it.

You learn it’s okay to be sloppy as long as you get the words down.  You don’t have time to wonder if the first few chapters give your readers an accurate view of the characters.  You just write.  And you keep writing. And when you don’t know what to write? Well, you write anyway because you only have 30 days to get those 50,000 words.  NaNoWriMo allowed me the chance to get me out of the way of my writing.

I didn’t have time for writer’s block or for prettying up phrases.  I couldn’t spend days obsessing about the first few chapters because I had an entire book to write.  Of course when I was done, it wasn’t the best book in the world.  In fact it was kind of a mess, but things always are right after they are born.  That is where the clean up comes in.  That is when you edit and rewrite. (After a rest, of course.)

There are nay-Sayers out there who smack down NaNoWriMo.  I tend not to listen to them.  If they don’t like it then they don’t have to do it.  I also don’t think they truly understand it either.  Maybe they are afraid.  Maybe they don’t think they are capable of writing those 50,000 words.  Maybe they think that they are above writing dross to find gold.  Maybe they simply just don’t like the idea.  Whatever their reasoning is, it is fine.  That’s their reasoning. It works for them.  NaNo works for me.

 

http://www.nanowrimo.org

If anyone decides to join me in writing a book this November, look me up and add me as a writing friend on your NaNo page.  I am under thecoffeefox over there. 🙂