Interest Check: National Novel Writing Month

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[FDG]Sundae
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Interest Check: National Novel Writing Month

Postby [FDG]Sundae » Tue Sep 22, 2009 6:20 pm

This is an interest-check thread just so others get the chance to see it. Not expecting any interest, but am putting it out there anyway.

http://www.nanowrimo.org/

National Novel Writing Month is a fun, seat-of-your-pants approach to novel writing. Participants begin writing November 1. The goal is to write a 175-page (50,000-word) novel by midnight, November 30.
Valuing enthusiasm and perseverance over painstaking craft, NaNoWriMo is a novel-writing program for everyone who has thought fleetingly about writing a novel but has been scared away by the time and effort involved.
Because of the limited writing window, the ONLY thing that matters in NaNoWriMo is output. It's all about quantity, not quality. The kamikaze approach forces you to lower your expectations, take risks, and write on the fly.
Make no mistake: You will be writing a lot of crap. And that's a good thing. By forcing yourself to write so intensely, you are giving yourself permission to make mistakes. To forgo the endless tweaking and editing and just create. To build without tearing down.
As you spend November writing, you can draw comfort from the fact that, all around the world, other National Novel Writing Month participants are going through the same joys and sorrows of producing the Great Frantic Novel. Wrimos meet throughout the month to offer encouragement, commiseration, and—when the thing is done—the kind of raucous celebrations that tend to frighten animals and small children.
In 2007, we had over 100,000 participants. More than 15,000 of them crossed the 50k finish line by the midnight deadline, entering into the annals of NaNoWriMo superstardom forever. They started the month as auto mechanics, out-of-work actors, and middle school English teachers. They walked away novelists.
So, to recap:
What: Writing one 50,000-word novel from scratch in a month's time.
Who: You! We can't do this unless we have some other people trying it as well. Let's write laughably awful yet lengthy prose together.
Why: The reasons are endless! To actively participate in one of our era's most enchanting art forms! To write without having to obsess over quality. To be able to make obscure references to passages from our novels at parties. To be able to mock real novelists who dawdle on and on, taking far longer than 30 days to produce their work.
When: You can sign up anytime to add your name to the roster and browse the forums. Writing begins November 1. To be added to the official list of winners, you must reach the 50,000-word mark by November 30 at midnight. Once your novel has been verified by our web-based team of robotic word counters, the partying begins.


What's the prize?

Nothing. Well... nothing except knowing that you've just written a first draft of a novel in one month, despite the odds being highly against you ever even finishing it. Less than 5% of people who start a novel ever finish it. (I'm not even talking publishing... FINISHING.) Even the NanoWriMo participants only have a 15% completion rate, and they're typically a bit more driven than your average HS girl writing a YA chick-lit.

That's the point of the month - it's a solid month of "omg must write faster!!!" that forces you into a deadline to get your writing done and gives you a little friendly challenge to get working on it.

As I posted in Team Chat on the Fudge site - I'm participating this year and will be cutting back my gaming substantially / completely (depends on how my progress goes - starting out without any gaming, and may add some if my pace is good.)

50,000 words is still a short novel, so I'm upping the ante a little. 75,000 words is my goal - 2,500 words per day. Sounds tough? NOT AT ALL. I decided to check out how many words I write in a given day on the Fudge, FnG, SA, and UODemise forums. I currently churn out about 5,200 words per day on average just BSing on random forums.

(As of the word "forums", this post (excluding the quote) was already 224 words long. This post took me about 3 minutes to type.)

SO THERE YOU HAVE IT... NATIONAL NOVEL WRITING MONTH. Anyone want to join in? If so, I'll start posting suggestions for how to get started based on having finished a novella, at least, and link to useful software for planning / outlining ahead of time (that's allowed - just no actually writing the real thing until Nov 1 ). If nobody's interested, I'll save my typing time and keep outlining the plot before November. :lol:

PS> There's one last little rule the Q/A forgot to mention: You not only have to hit 50,000 words by Nov 30, but you have to finish the novel also. A 50,000 word unfinished manuscript doesn't count. Start and End are necessary. Their word-counter won't know the difference (it's just a script), but you will... and that's really all that matters.



Anyone else in? :D

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Re: Interest Check: National Novel Writing Month

Postby [FnG] Unholy Eve » Tue Sep 22, 2009 7:25 pm

Me Me Me Me Me :panic: Its such a daft idea but yet sounds quite good, 50,000 words and at 2500 words a day is quite something I bearly write 1000 words a week let alone that many in a day :stars:. It'll be mind boggiling and probabaly very tireing and yet will more then likly remain one of the unfinished pieces of work but hey a can say at least i tried and failed then never of trying in the first place.

Hmm does grammer matter for this or not ?

Any way signed up for it should be rather good and quite an acomplishment if I get it finished (probably wont) crack on ^^
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Re: Interest Check: National Novel Writing Month

Postby [FDG]Sundae » Tue Sep 22, 2009 7:27 pm

MS Word informs me that your post was 114 words long. :) I expect you should be good if you can keep up the effort. ;)

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Re: Interest Check: National Novel Writing Month

Postby [FnG] 7uh » Tue Sep 22, 2009 8:38 pm

Sounds interesting -- maybe I'll do this, just in the interest of keeping up the ol' creativeness.

For a couple of years I've been a part of something similar with music called February Album Writers' Month, which encourages you to write an album's worth of songs in a month (about one song every couple of days). I never get a whole album's worth done (I tend to scrap songs fairly early on that don't seem to be working for me), but it has helped me write more songs. Maybe an artificial deadline will help me get back into writing more. :D

*edit -- went ahead and joined ... here I am ...

Now to figure out something to write about. :crazy:

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Re: Interest Check: National Novel Writing Month

Postby [FDG]Sundae » Tue Sep 22, 2009 10:37 pm

Hooray!!!

Here's me, btw. http://www.nanowrimo.org/eng/user/508250


I certainly plan to cheer everyone on to the finish line. :D

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Re: Interest Check: National Novel Writing Month

Postby [FnG] Unholy Eve » Wed Sep 23, 2009 5:33 pm

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Re: Interest Check: National Novel Writing Month

Postby [FnG] Rotten_Emu » Thu Sep 24, 2009 11:36 am

Well here I am. Perhaps I can finally finish one of the ideas constantly coursing around in my head. For your convenience I'm even going to write it in English! Yay!

It's about 2000 words a day, wouldn't know if I can take that with school and all but if people keep motivating me and I keep the deadline in my sights it might be do-able! I usually wrote a lot on the internet for Play by E-Mail RPGs but it has lessened a bit, it does make me think I can easily do 2000 words a day (it's only 83 an hour, or 1,333 a minute :P). I'm not sure about my keystrokes anymore but I used to have about 150 a minute I think.

Stupidly inadequate and short Sci-Fi novel, here I Come!

(ps added you all to my buddy list :wink: Add me Back!
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Re: Interest Check: National Novel Writing Month

Postby [FDG]Sundae » Thu Sep 24, 2009 3:16 pm

Woohoo! :D

I'm glad we've got some people participating. :D

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Re: Interest Check: National Novel Writing Month

Postby [FnG] Hanno » Thu Sep 24, 2009 7:23 pm

Well I might consider it as Ive already been developing a plot about an Insane Unholy Emu which only eats Sundaes and drinks 7up.
Not sure where that idea popped into my head from!
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Re: Interest Check: National Novel Writing Month

Postby [FnG] 7uh » Thu Sep 24, 2009 10:20 pm

[FnG] Hanno wrote:Well I might consider it as Ive already been developing a plot about an Insane Unholy Emu which only eats Sundaes and drinks 7up.
Not sure where that idea popped into my head from!

Let me guess -- it's a travelogue about a trip from Carthage down the west coast of Africa? :P

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Re: Interest Check: National Novel Writing Month

Postby [FnG] JinX-D » Thu Sep 24, 2009 10:50 pm

I signed up as well, though I am not really sure why... :P
There are always some things floating around in my mind, quotes, just things really, let's right them down, in about a month worth of time :P
Invite/accept me as writing buddy :D

My page: http://www.nanowrimo.org/eng/user/509125

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Re: Interest Check: National Novel Writing Month

Postby [FnG] Rotten_Emu » Mon Sep 28, 2009 7:27 pm

[FDG]Sundae wrote:I'll start posting suggestions for how to get started based on having finished a novella, at least, and link to useful software for planning / outlining ahead of time (that's allowed - just no actually writing the real thing until Nov 1 ). If nobody's interested, I'll save my typing time and keep outlining the plot before November. :lol:


I'd love to hear some of those suggestions. I've started (and even finished) some stories and would love to get my hands on some helpful tools (both for this and other projects. Bring it on!
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Re: Interest Check: National Novel Writing Month

Postby [FDG]Sundae » Tue Sep 29, 2009 8:57 am

I'd love to hear some of those suggestions


Ok!

Food for thought, and questions to spin the mental wheels and churn up some imagination...

Have you picked a location for your story?

What does it look like? Is it an existing location?

If it's fictional, is it someone's house / manor / estate? What makes the place special? Can you describe the exterior? What do the windows look like, and how did their gardener do the front yard? Where, or what, is the front lamp post? How about the mail box, if they have one? Where is the car parked at night? Do they have horses, or does the building have an old, unused stable / barn?

If it's a simple, normal house, what does it look like at night from the street? If someone walked up to the front door, what catches their eye?

Is it a pre-existing city? If so, where are they in respect to various landmarks? What do you hear from the window, if you walk over and look out it? Be very careful if you use pre-existing cities. Make your research damned thorough, or you'll break suspension of disbelief for anyone who happens to actually be from that place. Not a big deal if it was, let's say, Manhattan Kansas, but a much bigger deal if it was Manhattan NY. For example, it might be a good idea to NOT talk about how the police detective sprinted down the street after the suspect, and they ran across the empty streets of Times Square and down 42nd . Anyone who has ever been to New York EVER knows how packed that area is. You did not just have them run across a deserted Times Square.

Does the person who lives there like the house? Why or why not? I expect much conversation is had at the kitchen / parlour table. What does that room look like? Can you describe their teacups and kettle? What does the hostess see from the kitchen window? Is the yard enclosed? If not, what does she see?

How's the weather in the winter? What's it like during the time frame your story takes place? If it's in upstate NY, for example, a week of sunny weather in the autumn would be fairly unbelievable. Rain in eastern Kansas. HA. A muggy summer night with cicadas whirring loudly on Long Island? Perfect. Grasshoppers? Nope! Little details help, even if most readers won't know the difference.

What if the location isn't a house / estate? (I just said that on the basis of how most mysteries tend to go.) Where else could the setting be? What type of believable thing could you put together? It doesn't have to be real. For example... what if we had a YA murder mystery involving a college student who was found dead in the library? Drama could unfold at that unusually expansive coffee shop on 93rd street about 10 min from Ithaca campus, where students would meet to study and do homework during the day while drinking their chai or bubble tea, and at night the staff pushed away the tables and turned down the lights for dancing. What if there had been a fight between the young man and his jealous girlfriend, after she found him there flirting with someone one night?

That coffee shop, as far as I know, doesn't exist. Think about Ithaca, though... it's quite feasible that it *COULD* exist. It's a small college-town with lots of space and old buildings. The same could not be said for a place in the vicinity of Columbia University, though. Space is much more precious in NYC, and there's no coffee shop that could spare that much space on the upper end of Manhattan. Plus, Columbia students going out to the clubs head down to the Village or the meat packing district. The latter is now a trendy club district, while the 'hipster' clubs are mostly down in the village.


Useful ideas:

Google Images is very useful. Type in concepts that you might think of as fitting your thought process / mood that you seek, and try to find things that fit.

For example, I wanted "Winter village" to get some ideas. Google Images brought up plenty of inspiration, and finding photo albums of people's trips to the countryside in Switzerland filled in the rest.

Research will help make things believable, especially if you are using a real or realistic location!!

Example: What crops could possibly be grown in a small village in a mountainous forest region that gets significant snow in the winter? Well, Switzerland's a good fit to the concept... let's see what their agriculture is. (research it on google).

Example #2: The murder happened at Carnegie Hall, and the murderer's alibi was that he was at Rockefeller Center with his girlfriend all night, but she notes that he spent a good 15-20 minutes in the bathroom at one point. Is it even possible to make it to and from Carnegie Hall in that amount of time? Research helps!!!

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Re: Interest Check: National Novel Writing Month

Postby [FDG]Sundae » Tue Sep 29, 2009 9:01 am

Characters...

The first step of this is, of course, believable characters. Let's assume you have that part down already. (I certainly don't.) Let's include "defined, realistic / reasonable personalities". Not that everyone has to be reasonable or realistic, but rather that their personalities allow for suspension of disbelief.

Reasonable example: The timid library employee, Christina, may not stand up for herself to her overly obnoxious and controlling boyfriend, but goes into a fury whenever she sees someone mistreating a child. It stems back to remembering how her alcoholic father treated her little sister when they were younger. Unreasonable example: Christina is a timid library employee who doesn't stand up for herself to her overly obnoxious and controlling boyfriend, but loves to hit the clubs on Friday night and dance the night away while flirting with every boy who has a pulse. Incompatible character personalities. You will not see this in a person who doesn't have a mental disorder of some sort, because the personality-components required for this don't exist in tandem.

Off of that tangent... these are suggestions I've seen for dialogue from my prep work so far...

#1 - Read it back to yourself. Out loud. When nobody is around to hear it, of course! Are you embarrassed to even say what's written on the paper? That's probably a bad sign.

#2 - As sickening as it sounds, watch a soap opera episode. You'll only need to watch one. See all that stuff they're saying? Don't emulate any of it.

#3 - People other than myself are really not that wordy IRL (and I should probably be ashamed of myself). Add a little bit just because it's literature and you can do that, but the vast majority (and I'd say everyone that anyone actually listens to) do not spout out full paragraphs while discussing mundane topics.

#4 - You don't really need to emulate an accent in text. It doesn't help. In fact... PLEASE DON'T EMULATE ACCENTS IN TEXT. Phrases, word replacements, expressions, etc etc - yes. Accents - not unless you're really trying to make a point. Imagine Onslo from Keeping Up Appearances, but in text form. It's hard to read. Imagine any given indian doctor, but in text form. Now imagine having to read hundreds of pages where every time that character talks, it's written in the same fashion. The book would go right back to the library. One exception I could see would be if you're trying to make the point that the person is completely incomprehensible to the other character he's talking to. "Hi Rapper Ted. How're you today?" "Yo dawg jus' hoppin like whoa 'n s'all good man." "Riiight, good to hear! I have to go now...." That sort of situation.

#5 - Get ages, experience, and vocabularies right! I'm going to paraphrase MST3K for this one from their 'Twilight' rifftrax: "That's how life is when you're full of overly-mature world-weary teenage-girl wisdom like I am!" A little English girl, for example, is not as likely to be worried about the economic disasters resulting from the German blitz as she is having to leave all her friends and home behind and go move somewhere else for a long time. Her vocabulary isn't going to be adult level (I don't mean baby-talk, but I do mean mannerisms, lack of "propensity towards excess verbosity", etc etc), and odds are she's going to cry at some point if we're talking younger than 8 or so.

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Re: Interest Check: National Novel Writing Month

Postby [FDG]Sundae » Tue Sep 29, 2009 9:02 am

Short-hand Problem Statement - Story In A Nutshell

Write your story's point using a few key questions. Force yourself to just sit down and churn out a solid starting and ending point. This is the literary equivalent of looking at a globe and saying "OK I'LL GO TO PRAGUE!!" Now that you know where you're going, you can get down to the plotting your route. This approach works for me. If you prefer to leave the ending open, go for it. =)

WHO?

WHERE?

WHAT (HAPPENS)?

WHY?

WHAT'S THE RESULT?

Maybe that will help you get the ball rolling.


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