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Wet Noodle Posse | Blog

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

NaNoWriMo

It’s November and I’m excited. Why?

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National Novel Writing Month (http://www.nanowrimo.org/). This is my third year to participate and each year I’ve completed a bare bones novel, the second of which I will finish revising in December.

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Why do I like National Novel Writing Month?

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It’s an excuse to write something new, a story idea I’ve been excited about for a bit, or maybe a story that’s a departure. The first year I wrote what was supposed to be more action adventure, less romance, but it turned out to be the most romantic of all the books I’ve written. This year, after plotting a romantic suspense, I changed my mind. Now I’m writing my first historical. If I write it in a month and decide I don’t like it, what’s been lost? 30 days.

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It’s an excuse to put writing first. Granted, November isn’t the best time for this, with the holidays around the corner, and you emerge in December in a kind of “What day is this?” fog, but you commit to the story, to the challenge, and everyone sees how important this is to you.

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It feeds your competitive soul. You can add friends to your page on the NaNo website and track your progress against theirs. My friend Natalie kicks my butt every time, but I hold my own.

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How do you survive NaNoWriMo?

1) Clear the decks. Reduce your outside commitments as much as possible. However, the first time I did NaNo, my dad and stepmom came for five days at Thanksgiving. I managed to win that one early, and that was stopping to clean house and entertain. I told them what I was doing and I got up early to do it, so I would still have time to visit. This year I think I have 2 night activities, not including my local chapter meeting.
2) Find your prime writing time. Mine is around 5 AM. No one’s up wanting the computer, no one’s emailing, no one’s calling. I write for an hour, sometimes two before work.
3) Plan it out. The only way I got through NaNo last year was that I’d plotted the story out at plotting bootcamp. Otherwise, I’d still be hung up on that book.
4) Break it down. 1,667 words a day is all you need. I find it so much easier to go by word count than page count, because every word is progress. Every word counts.
5) Remember this is a fast draft. Get it down. Perfect it later.
6) Join the community. Different regions have community gatherings, where local Nano-ers meet face to face. My community activity has all been online, but I enjoy setting up my page and adding friends and checking on their progress. I also download the WriMo Radio podcasts and listen to them on the way to work.

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What do you say? Want to NaNo with me?

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13 Comments:

At 10:15 AM, Blogger RK said...

Hi,
I'm a NaNo virgin this year and nervous whether I can do it or not. So, yeah I'll NaNo with you and keep checking back for encouragement! :)

I'll also be posting weekly updates at the Texas Typos blog at http://texastypos.blogspot.com/

 
At 10:41 AM, Blogger Dianna Love said...

Mary -

Great way to help writers get moving with NaNo. I've never tried this, but I write constantly so your advice is great for those who want to be productive Anytime.

Dianna

 
At 10:53 AM, Blogger M. said...

Yay Nano! it's my fourth time out.
Where did you get those cool graphics?
I do rely on the energy and encouragment of the message boards so when their system is overloaded and I can't get in, it makes me antsy...

 
At 1:04 PM, Blogger Mo H said...

Mary,
Good luck to you and the other Nano'ers. I've never tried it, but I may give it a shot to finish the book I started this summer!

 
At 1:23 PM, Blogger Karen said...

The idea of NaNo makes my tummy ache. 1600 words every day! Eek!

I just can't figure out where I'd find the time. I'm not an early riser (although I'm jealous of those of you who are) -- I'm a night owl. Unfortunately, if I stay up as long as I'd like to I can't haul the old fanny out in the morning for the day job.

Maybe someday, but not this year.

Good luck to all of you who NaNo!

 
At 1:47 PM, Blogger Delle Jacobs said...

I don't think any time spent writing is a loss, Mary. You don't know what the future will bring, or if something about that story will lead you down an entirely different road. Experimentation always sharpens the mind.

I have a whole folder full of story ideas that for one reason or another remain unwritten. Most don't seem to have enough plot for a full length novel. But now that shorter stories have a market at houses such as eHarlequin as well as epublishers like Samhain, I'm re-thinking these stories. And- Surprise- they do have enough plot for a shorter story! My favorites will require major changes, but the ideas are already there.

 
At 1:48 PM, Blogger Merrillee said...

As with any writing style, NANO isn't for me. I was never good at BIAW either. I'm one of those writers who just has to stop and look for the right word or stop to do a little research as I write. So everyone has to do what works for them. Good luck all you NANO people.
Merrillee

 
At 1:59 PM, Blogger Delle Jacobs said...

I am doing NaNo this year too. I find it does help me focus and keep going, but I don't get involved in the forums and stuff.

NaNo is geared more to that crowd, but a lot of experienced and professional writers have also found it's very helpful to them. And I think one reason is that it gives them permission to go back and write like a shiny-faced newbie who is having a lot of fun.

So I'm all for it!

 
At 2:00 PM, Blogger Diane Gaston said...

I think Nano is great to make you write without all the worries that go with writing (is this good enough? will it sell? etc etc)

Mary, I think it is so cool that you are trying a historical!!!!!

Good luck all.

 
At 4:02 PM, Blogger MaryF said...

RK, I felt overwhelmed the first time but I joined just to see if I could do it. I still love that book beyond reason ;)

Diane, I'm like you-always writing. But this gives me a deadline, doesn't let me fiddle around. I put writing first. Then when I meet my daily goal, I can play around.

M, I found the icons here: http://community.livejournal.com/nano_icons/
They have a ton more! I've not delved into the message boards yet, but I do keep checking to see which writing buddy is kicking my butt. I know what you mean about having trouble logging in!

Mo, the timing usually didn't work out for me, but for the past 3 years, I made it work. This year, I even set aside my WIP so I could start this book!

 
At 4:03 PM, Blogger MaryF said...

Karen, I know what you mean about finding the time! The first year the story would wake me up, so I'd get up and write. Some days I'd have 1500 words before I went to work!

I think having the right story to work on is important, though. It has to be something you're excited about!

 
At 4:06 PM, Blogger MaryF said...

Delle, you're right. You learn something from everything you write! So you're working on one of your shorter stories for Nano? And absolutely - literary abandon is the tag line, and exactly what I feel when I pour the words onto the page. It's joyous.

Merrillee, Nano certainly isn't for everyone. And in last year's Nano book I had a bunch of bracketed things that I'm just now looking up as I revise it!

 
At 9:46 AM, Anonymous Nicole said...

This is my first year for NaNo as well. I've always written contemporary stuff, but the words just started coming out on Nov. 1 - and they are set a loooooonnggg time ago. What is the plotting boot camp you're talking about? Sounds interesting....
Thanks for sharing, and Happy NaNo!

 

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