Posts Tagged With: National Novel Writing Month

NaNoWriMo Countdown – 3: To Plan Or Not To Plan

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For many people, the only way to get through NaNoWriMo is by extensively planning their novels ahead in October. Everyone seems to have a different strategy for doing this. While three days is perhaps a little too soon to start planning, it’s still enough time to get some sort of outline prepared.

I can’t sit here and tell you HOW to plan your novel and how to structure your outline because everybody has a different, unique way of doing it. You need to sit down and figure out what works best for you. I read a book once on ‘how to write creatively’ which basically said you shouldn’t read books on how to write. In a lot of ways – although a little ironic – this makes a lot of sense.

Figure out what works best for you. Experiment with your story lines and chapters, and don’t be afraid to take risks. Also, no amount of planning is ever too much. That’s really the only advice I can give.

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The way I plan for NaNo may surprise some of you (especially if you’ve picked up on how obsessive-compulsive and anal-retentive I can be). You see, my plan for my novel is not to plan.

Sometimes I feel that writing out an exhaustive outline can be just that – exhausting. If you’re anything like me then you’ll equate an outline with as close as you can get to writing your novel without writing your novel. Since your novel is thus ‘quasi-written’, it can become awfully boring and dull to flesh it all out with sentences and paragraphs. I know it is for me.

I think that sometimes, dependent on how flexible you are willing to be with your outline, planning out a novel extensively can take away from the spontaneity of creating a novel worth reading. Chances are if it becomes a struggle for you to write, it will be a struggle for a reader to read.

The most planning I generally ever do is to acknowledge the end. As a writer, you have to know where the novel is going. As long as I know how the novel is going to start and how I want it to end, everything else will fall into place during the writing process. A lot of times, I don’t know how it will all tie together or how it will even progress, but eventually it all begins to become clear to me.

That, I think, is the beauty of writing. It’s as if my mind knows the novel, but I have to work and write and progress to uncover what my mind knows – which is really just another way of saying “it just came to me.”

So, for November 1st, I know where my novel will start. The first few pages, and probably even chapters, are mapped out in my head already. I won’t reach the ultimate fini during November (I generally aim for novels over 100,000 words), but I know where I want the characters and to be at the end and how I want the plot to go.

Exactly how everything is going to get there is still a mystery. But it’s my mystery. And I intend to inspect the hell out of it.

By the end, I should have something that resembles a novel and I won’t be tied down or held back by an outline. That’s more a comment on my inability to outline than it is a critique on outlining.

If planning and outlining is how you write and is what is going to get you through November, then all the power to you.

Good luck, everyone.

Let’s get ready to NaNo.

Till Next,

-Will

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Categories: Life, Nanowrimo, Writing | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

NaNoWriMo Countdown: 5 – Why NaNo?

I shouldn’t be writing this post.

What I should be doing is reading my history texts, perusing my essay sources, formulating theses, writing those weekly summaries, reading that book for the review, and so on.

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By this time next week, I’ll be saying much the same. Except, I’ll begin with:

“I shouldn’t be writing this novel.”

The reason, dear friends, is that next week I’ll be immersed in National Novel Writing Month (and hopefully you will, too).

People often question why I put myself through the intensity and deadlines that make NaNoWriMo seem so daunting. I could argue about the creative merits of such seat-of-your-pants writing. I could mention the encouragement from fellow writers, across the world. I bring up the atmosphere and energy that NaNoWriMo fills you with. It’s a response to a challenge. It’s a test to my fortitude as a writer. I could argue it is for bragging rights.

In reality, I could – and I have – argue any number of things to make people understand why I do NaNo , or perhaps even to justify why I do it. But I don’t expect you to truly understand unless you’ve taken part in the craziness that November brings writers every year. And, really, I don’t need to. NaNoWriMo is MY time. Believe it or not, it’s a relaxation. It forces me to forget about life for an hour or two every day and just write.

It is also proof that a person really can survive on coffee and chocolate and that, no, I don’t need eight hours of sleep to function normally.

I used to try to explain NaNo and offer up very thoughtful, in-depth, even philosophical answers to the question this post poses.

Nowadays, though, when asked why I do NaNoWriMo, I answer with the single, most-important factor in consideration. I answer without trying to sound like a snobbish writer. I answer without trying to explain my lifelong romance with writing and to explain the intricacies of how NaNo is a creative release, an amazing environment, etc.

I don’t do NaNo because other writers do it.

I don’t do NaNo to brag about it after.

I don’t do NaNo to connect with like-minded individuals around the world.

No, these things, and so many others, are byproducts of doing NaNoWriMo.

The real and most important reason – and probably the only valid one – why I do NaNoWriMo is because it is incredibly fun.

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Thanks for reading!

Till Next,

-Will

Categories: Demonria, Just Another Day, Life, Nanowrimo, Writing, Writing Devices | Tags: , , | 5 Comments

I’m Back. Unfortunately For You.

Well. I guess I decided I missed blogging, finally. That, or I’ve got a rejuvenated passion for the damn art of blogging because of a surprise I’ve planned for next Wednesday (which I can’t say much about as of now). I guess, I just realized, it could be part of my two year celebration. Yeah. That’s right. I wrote this first post two years ago.

So, I figure explaining why I was absent for so long might be nice. Which is why I’m not gonna do that.

I’m here now. With more to come. NaNoWriMo is right around the corner. That should be fun.

Referring to above was I this sarcastic and cynical when I used to, you know, post these things regularly?

Anyway. I need food. And you need two minutes of your life back for having to read this. I hope you guys are still there, reading this. I don’t expect you to be. I’m sure I can find new followers. Wait. This is the part where I’m supposed to be nice and endearing? Ah, damn. Better luck next time.

Stay tuned for a NaNo post. Always my favourite. If it’s not yours, then move along.

hahaha I really am joking. Mostly.

Anyway, I’m here. See?

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Until Next,

-Will

Categories: Just Another Day, Life, Nanowrimo, Writing | Tags: , , , , | 7 Comments

NaNoWriMo Wrap-Up

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Another NaNoWriMo is already finished and the subtle snow of November has turned into the frigid, tundra that Saskatchewan becomes in the months of December and January. I guess it’s a good thing for NaNoWriMo to be in winter – for me anyway – because there’s more excuse to stay home and actually write. I’m also fortunate that November is only the beginning of a five month winter in Saskatchewan, which means plenty of time to hide away from the oodles of snow that accumulates all winter long. I’ll just make a vast amount of hot chocolate and take it to my room where I will dwell in seclusion and just write.

Oh crap! This won’t work at all. I have finals I have to be writing, and then there’s this little thing called Christmas. I am still allowed to call it that, right? No one is offended if I say ‘Christmas’ instead of ‘Holidays’? Well, you know that Christmas is really a holiday meant for everyone to celebrate and it’s just downright ignorant for the Christians to call it their holiday.

I better stop ranting since this is supposed to be about NaNoWriMo. So I got 52,126 words this year! If you’re at all curious – and even if you’re not, too bad – here is how it measures up to my previous NaNoWriMo achievements:

2006-Lost Worlds: Horizon – 50,008
2007-Demonria: The Dark Chalice – 53,659
2008-Demonria: Prelude To A War – 51,396
2009-Harbinger: Surrogates Of Discord – 50,105
2010-Demonria: Waiting For The Sun – 52,223
2011-Black Ice – 50,244
2012-What If It All Means Something – 52,126

You’ll see that it’s not my highest word count – but it is close – and it certainly is not my lowest. 2006 was a stressful year…those 50,008 words came five minutes before December 1. I was in a panic for those five minutes, which went on forever, as I prayed that the NaNo server wouldn’t crash and still allow me to validate my words and win. Lucky for me, it all worked out.

Congratulations to everyone else who has written anything this month. Kudos to you. If you won and want to brag a little, I won’t mind if you are shamelessly self-absorbed when you write a comment. If you didn’t win but want to brag about what you did write this month, don’t.

Only kidding. I’d be more than happy to hear how any of my blog buddies faired this year! Even if you didn’t win, you still attempted and persevered. It doesn’t matter how many words you wrote, it’s how much enjoyment the writing brought you. Yes, November can get hectic at times and we often stress over our novels even when we’re not writing them. Not to mention that our inner editors, that we didn’t know were so forceful, try to have their way with us and our novels. That, I think, is the most vigorous challenge of NaNoWriMo.

Besides all of this, there is something really cool in knowing that while you are writing, 300,000 other people from around the world are putting their talents to the test in the same month-long adventure. For anyone who has not participated in NaNoWriMo before, I offer you my highest of recommendations to one of the greatest things I am privileged to be a part of. November just wouldn’t be the same without it. No I lied, my year just wouldn’t be the same without it.

Lastly, I’d like to commemorate all of the writers out there who did participate. No matter how much your wrote I have two things to say: good looking out and I salute you!

Thanks to all of my NaNo buddies, old and new, who really made this November very special!

Thanks for reading!

Till Next,

-Will

Categories: Life, Nanowrimo, Writing | Tags: , | 19 Comments

NaNoWriMo Day 18 – Warning: This Title May Contain False Advertising!

Well, what can I tell you? Not much actually, because my brain is as close to being asleep as it ever is. It’s 10:30 pm and I just got home after working for ten hours. It was a really long day and I had to stay later than usual because there was some birthday party going on and I had to wait until they left so I could go clean up their mess…and what a mess it was, indeed. You might be wondering what it is I do for work?

Well, around my university schedule, I work part time as a Dietary Aide in a retreat house. The place is called Queen’s House and they have several dining rooms and conference halls that people rent out for different functions. If they wish to organize a multiple-day retreat, there are many, many rooms for people to stay overnight. It’s a fairly large complex and an extremely fun place to work at. That being said, any place I might work at would be loads of fun for the simple reason that I ooze fun.

As for my actual position, Dietary Aide is really just a fancy name for chef’s assistant (but, I like Dietary Aide better; if there is a opportunity for me to be ostentatious, I’m all over it). I don’t do any of the cooking, that’s left to the two chefs at Queen’s House – and it’s probably for the better, too. I do everything in the kitchen that isn’t cooking – all the grunt work.

Usually I can be found prepping vegetables for the cooks, portioning desserts and making them look pretty, preparing fruit trays, making salads and other menial tasks in the kitchen. Oh yeah, and I get to do the dishes. All the dishes. There are ways to make it interesting, though. Like this fruit tray I put together today. I named it “The Bird’s Nest”.

Who wouldn’t want to eat some fruit off this marvelous tray? I could barely help myself.

Apart from getting to be creative with pineapples, watermelons, grapes and cantaloupe, my job is awesome because I work with some real great people and we’re always laughing (even if they are all more than twice my age and the opposite sex). We’re having a Murder Mystery Dinner for our Christmas party and I get to be some pool boy named Fabio Fabulous…as if the old ladies weren’t creeping on me enough already! 😉

I guess I should talk about NaNoWriMo now. I was quite enthused to have written nearly 5,000 words yesterday, for a grand total of 30,654. That’s the plus side to this coin. The plus plus side (if there exists such a thing) is that I need 30,000 words by the end of today, so I’m ahead. The down side to this, then, is that I probably won’t be writing any tonight. Don’t be in a panic, I will survive until morning. If, however, for some fortuitous happening that leaves me unable to write at all tomorrow, it is very likely I’ll begin experiencing withdrawal. It could get ugly.

With this I leave you. If I’ve totally gone wacko with my next post tomorrow, it’s because I’ve still had the misfortune of not being able to write. For now, though, I really have to study for a Latin test, which is tomorrow. Why is it it always Monday? My Latin prof always gives us tests on Mondays and it really stinks. This is why I’ve become a coffee fiend. That, and coffee tastes really good. No morning is complete without it.

Have you caught on to my devious ploys of procrastination? I really don’t want to study so I’m trying to make this post as lengthy as possible (without sacrificing your much needed enjoyment) by just talking about anything. If you cut all the extra crap out, there’s only one paragraph about NaNoWriMo. Is this really false advertising? Who cares! False or not it worked because you’re still reading.

Now I really have to go study. Oh, wait! First I better eat this scrumptious, homemade chocolate cake with delectable fudge icing. My mom baked it today because my oldest brother was over and it was his birthday on the 13th. I’m so glad I do martial arts, otherwise I’d probably be fat from all of the delicious garbage that I eat.

Thanks for reading!

Till Next,

-Will

Categories: Family, Life, Nanowrimo, Writing | Tags: , , , | 5 Comments

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