WootBot


quality posts: 14 Private Messages WootBot

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If you've never heard of NaNoWriMo, it stands for National Novel Writing Month: a 30-day challenge to writers everywhere to pound out one (1) novel of 50,000 words or more by the end of November. If you follow any blogger or writer types on Twitter, Facebook, or the like October is a time full of lamentations about the upcoming grind, how horrific it's going to be, and the excitement of taking on the challenge. It's not unlike running a marathon, except you sit for pretty much all of it.

I'd heard of the idea a few years ago but never gave it much thought until two weeks ago, when seeing the annual slew of tweets got me thinking about it. "I've got one or two solid ideas," I thought, "and I'm only putting them off. Maybe committing to this thing will give me the kick in the pants I need to get to writing." It's a well-known fact among professional writers that 99% of our job consists of convincing ourselves to write. Distractions abound, an idea can always use more mulling over and refining, and of course there are video games to play. "Screw it," I said to myself because I am a pathetic, friendless person, "I'm going to write a novel..."

 

writing in the journal
"And for ONCE it's not going to be erotic Buzz Aldrin/Neil Armstrong slashfic."

 

Apparently there is a large, vibrant community in and around NaNoWriMo, but I will never know because half the features of their site don't work for me. They keep asking me to log in when I already am, and the stuff that IS there is pretty uninteresting or obtuse, so screw it. I did get a mass invite to a brainstorming session at a Denny's, so that's something, but I've found that terrible coffee and greasy fried food tend to make me want to kill myself rather than be creative, so I abstained.

 

Author Charles McCain at work on An Hon German  March 2007
Like a Denny's could be more fun than this, anyway.


I need to write 1,700 words (give or take) a day, starting today, to meet the 50,000 word count goal. I initially thought this would be no big deal. Between product descriptions, Woot blogs, my own blog, and various other stand-up routines or scripts I tinker with I put out at LEAST that much daily. What I forgot to consider was that my novel would not replace those things, it would be in addition to them. So already I'm not optimistic. But tonight I will be sallying forth to my laptop and putting my fingers to keys and ideas to digital ink. I've decided to write out an idea I've had for awhile about a zombie apocalypse book, because the world needs more crap like that right now, and I thought it might be an easy genre to start in. My wife was quick to point out "it's not the quality of your words, it's the quantity." Story of my life.

Are you writing a novel for National Novel Writing Month? Got any tips for a novel-writing noob? Feel free to post your tips, commiseration, encouragement, or scathing criticism as I periodically update my progress here on the Woot Blog.

 

 

 

Flickr photos (in order):

used under a Creative Commons License.

kyleen66


quality posts: 1 Private Messages kyleen66

There is nothing quite like it.

Welcome to the cult.

llandar


quality posts: 32 Private Messages llandar
kyleen66 wrote:There is nothing quite like it.



The same can be said for bamboo under your fingernails. Thanks for the welcome!

taternuggets


quality posts: 22 Private Messages taternuggets

Good luck!

Are we to ignore seeing you on xbox this month or will you claim it to be your wife?


Nothing follows.

llandar


quality posts: 32 Private Messages llandar
taternuggets wrote:Good luck!

Are we to ignore seeing you on xbox this month or will you claim it to be your wife?



You already ignore me and you know it.

kiminca9


quality posts: 0 Private Messages kiminca9

Good Luck!

I was seriously thinking about doing it this year, but my cat bit my right hand a few nights ago, it got infected (and very swollen), and I can only use my left hand to type. I so wish I were making that up.

I know, I know, as an excuse it's right up there with "the dog ate my homework"... sigh. It's too bad, because with the pain meds I'm on
my ideas are flowing. Ah well, I'll cheer from the sidelines.

agingdragqueen


quality posts: 126 Private Messages agingdragqueen

Staff

kiminca9 wrote:Good Luck!

I was seriously thinking about doing it this year, but my cat bit my right hand a few nights ago, it got infected (and very swollen), and I can only use my left hand to type. I so wish I were making that up.

I know, I know, as an excuse it's right up there with "the dog ate my homework"... sigh. It's too bad, because with the pain meds I'm on
my ideas are flowing. Ah well, I'll cheer from the sidelines.



At least it's a really original excuse.


reservoird


quality posts: 4 Private Messages reservoird

I've never heard of it before, haven't formed anything solid from the idea gumbo every wanna-be writer has inside his/her head, and don't have nearly enough spare time to bang out that kind of volume in a month.

So naturally, I'm in.

inkycatz


quality posts: 105 Private Messages inkycatz
kiminca9 wrote:Good Luck!

I was seriously thinking about doing it this year, but my cat bit my right hand a few nights ago, it got infected (and very swollen), and I can only use my left hand to type. I so wish I were making that up.

I know, I know, as an excuse it's right up there with "the dog ate my homework"... sigh. It's too bad, because with the pain meds I'm on
my ideas are flowing. Ah well, I'll cheer from the sidelines.


As a cat owner, I sympathize. Maybe if your phone has a voice memo feature you can at least get the ideas out before they vanish into space.

As a bonus, later you can confirm that they were quite awesome meds, yes.

I'm just hanging out, really.

Ozymandias42


quality posts: 0 Private Messages Ozymandias42

Assuming you're in Seattle, I should point out that Seattle has one of the largest NaNoWriMo communities out there. There's an active forum, almost daily writing events in a variety of locations, and even an IRC channel. Tonight there'll be a write-in in Belltown, for instance.

Amander


quality posts: 2 Private Messages Amander

This will be my second year, my tip is describe the hell out of things. DESCRIBE THE HELL OUT OF THINGS! I mean like really describe them in minute detail almost to the point of ridiculousness (exactly like I just did).

Yeah, you'll have to do some chopping later, but what you're going for now is quantity...get something on the page, and spend the rest of the year editing it and trying to figure out at what point you went 90% batshit crazy.

Last year was my first year, and although it was a challenge I failed (by around 6,000 words), I came away with something worth working on, AND I'm really excited about trying it again this year.

"Buddy" me on the NaNo page (amanderpanderer) and I'll yell at you to get your ass in gear. I'm good like that.

BTW, my wordcount so far...22. 22 whole words.

jeanze


quality posts: 0 Private Messages jeanze

I'm taking on NaNoWriMo... while working a full-time job, trying to fulfill my roles as wife/mom/zookeeper, and keeping commitments to the community theatre group on which board of directors I serve. I am insane. But excited. I have no idea if I can do this, but I'm going to try. I have ideas, but no real plot. It's going to be a freaking free-for-all at the keyboard. Quanity not quality, right? Is it too much to hope for both? (Probably.)

Most of all I'm posting to say how much I love you Woot writers! My budget may prevent a lot of impulse buying, but I come to Woot every day for a good laugh, if nothing more.

For that, I thank you!

Jeanne (aka Jeanze... by which ID I can be found at NaNoWriMo)

llandar


quality posts: 32 Private Messages llandar
Ozymandias42 wrote:Assuming you're in Seattle, I should point out that Seattle has one of the largest NaNoWriMo communities out there. There's an active forum, almost daily writing events in a variety of locations, and even an IRC channel. Tonight there'll be a write-in in Belltown, for instance.



These seem counterproductive to me. I can either hang out or write; I don't do both simultaneously very well.

llandar


quality posts: 32 Private Messages llandar
Amander wrote:This will be my second year, my tip is describe the hell out of things. DESCRIBE THE HELL OUT OF THINGS! I mean like really describe them in minute detail almost to the point of ridiculousness (exactly like I just did).

Yeah, you'll have to do some chopping later, but what you're going for now is quantity...get something on the page, and spend the rest of the year editing it and trying to figure out at what point you went 90% batshit crazy.

Last year was my first year, and although it was a challenge I failed (by around 6,000 words), I came away with something worth working on, AND I'm really excited about trying it again this year.

"Buddy" me on the NaNo page (amanderpanderer) and I'll yell at you to get your ass in gear. I'm good like that.

BTW, my wordcount so far...22. 22 whole words.



I'm on the site (and most every internet site I frequent) under the name llandar.

jfade


quality posts: 0 Private Messages jfade

I did NaNoWriMo last year for the first time, and it was a blast. I "won" and ended up finishing my book at 63,381 words a few weeks later. It wasn't the "first" book I ever wrote, though. I'd written a novel for the heck of it in my first year of college and self published it...

Yeah. While I didn't lose any money (I didn't need to invest any money, really, and used print-on-demand/ebook services that were essentially free to use) it was a valuable learning experience.

I learned, for instance, that you should spend a heck of a lot more time editing things. I did edit, but not nearly enough. I also learned that word counts are completely arbitrary. You need to tell the story and not pay attention to the word count. My first book was basically published without a finished plot because I got excited that I hit some arbitrary number and published without finishing the story. In the reviews I've gotten, many of them complained about that fact.

When I did NaNo for the first time, it was a wholly different experience. I knew I wanted to write a mystery, but didn't really have any ideas about the plot, murder weapon, or even the killer. All I knew is that I wanted to write a murder mystery, and I had a main character. So I flew by the seat of my pants.

In the end, though, I came up with what I feel is an awesome story with a surprisingly lucid main plot. (There was a side-plot that was going on that I'll probably end up cutting from the book or heavily revising.) Friends who read it really enjoyed it compared to my first book, and they weren't afraid to tell me that!

I think NaNo is a great way to get your creativity flowing and at least inspire you to do something new. This year I'm not participating "officially" because I'm working on a manuscript that I started a while back: the sequel (or, more accurately, the proper ending) to my first book. But I'll be there, hanging out in the forums, and using the craziness to inspire me to (hopefully) finish my current manuscript.

Friend me if you'd like. My NaNo handle is the same as my handle here.

elemenohp


quality posts: 0 Private Messages elemenohp

I teach 3rd grade and my students are participating in nanowrimo this month. Some of the 3rd graders chose 10,000 word count goals... as a teacher who has to proof read all of the books before they're sent for publishing...I am a little concerned.

Last year, I had a student successfully write a 6,000 word novel at 8 years old. pretty impressive.

The great thing about the program is that you actually get the books published for free (if you meet your word count goal).

Best of luck with the project!!! It will definitely be a good story to tell.

artgirl929


quality posts: 1 Private Messages artgirl929

Looks like I would be getting a late start. Oh well, there is always next year.

Moueska


quality posts: 54 Private Messages Moueska

This year, I'm skipping it. But give me about two hours, and I'll plug in 1,700 words into this post on my previous failed attempts, and the NANOWRIMO support forum I use.

And there will be a link, but it will not be spam. Catch you after Nov 1st is over, so I can opt out on purpose instead of by accident.

cappo


quality posts: 34 Private Messages cappo
kiminca9 wrote:Good Luck!

I was seriously thinking about doing it this year, but my cat bit my right hand a few nights ago, it got infected (and very swollen), and I can only use my left hand to type. I so wish I were making that up.

I know, I know, as an excuse it's right up there with "the dog ate my homework"... sigh. It's too bad, because with the pain meds I'm on
my ideas are flowing. Ah well, I'll cheer from the sidelines.



Two words: Tape Recorder

Or, digital recorder... I'm so old.


banshee1013


quality posts: 0 Private Messages banshee1013

This will be my third time participating... and since we all know "third time's a charm", this is going to be the one I WIN, dammit (if it's the last thing I evar do..). Win or loose, it's a fun time, so enjoy!

Friend me on the NaNo forums if you wish, I'm celina63 there

MzHartz


quality posts: 1 Private Messages MzHartz
llandar wrote:These seem counterproductive to me. I can either hang out or write; I don't do both simultaneously very well.



Noise cancelling headphones. I put them in when I want to write uninterrupted, and take them out when I'm stuck and need help with a plot point, or am just ready to take a break.

Supersugar


quality posts: 10 Private Messages Supersugar

Jfade!
Surprised (but not really) to see you here. You knew me as "spladoum" a while ago. Congratulations on getting published!

rayray099


quality posts: 6 Private Messages rayray099

You can do it, Randall! You're an entertaining, thoughtful writer. I'm the same as you with my painting...have to be totally focused, headphones, in the zone... and then I realize I have zero ideas! I spend a lot of time doing random image searches and sketching. Then after all that I don't feel like actually painting. I blame society for our habitual laziness!

panbiscuit


quality posts: 0 Private Messages panbiscuit

I wanted to use my first Woot post to comment, NaNoWriMo is an excellent motivator for so-called writers like me who need it. I've participated in every NaNo since 2005 AND won! (though I spent four years editing the first until I liked it enough for publication, scrapped the second, skipped ahead to 2009's and finished that, and am now picking through various other projects) The key is to remember it's a tool first and foremost--participating just because everyone else is even though you don't have any ideas isn't going to do as much good, which is an unfair criticism I've heard about NaNo. If this was a unicycle-riding contest, and you don't want to ride a unicycle, of course it's probably going to seem stupid to you.

The only valid complaint I've heard is that, come December, publishers get flooded with 50,000-word "novels" that so many hopeful writers think will sell big time, but that's something that's unfortunately understated in the guidelines. The first year I participated, they emphasized that the next step was editing, to refine the rough draft created over the course of the prior month. If people miss that, it's their own ignorance, and blaming NaNo for that is like blaming cellphone makers because stupid people talk/text while driving. But, sadly, I haven't seen the "Now edit your book!" part given much attention of late, which is unfortunate because it fails to emphasize that the core of NaNo is getting the draft out--the hard part. After that's done, editing is a breeze, even if it takes me years afterwards to get around to really polish my turds.

Overall, I owe a lot to NaNo, and it really is a good feeling having even half a novel finished in a month. Last year's was awesome, because I had no idea what most of the story was about until I happened to write it. It's amazing what happens when there's a DO THIS OR ELSE sign looming overhead.

I want to add, I'm also tempted to add this post to my word count, but I don't think I'm creative enough to pull it off convincingly... XD

taternuggets


quality posts: 22 Private Messages taternuggets
MzHartz wrote:Noise cancelling headphones. I put them in when I want to write uninterrupted, and take them out when I'm stuck and need help with a plot point, or am just ready to take a break.



So, he should intentionally surround himself with distractions so he can cancel them out with headphones?

Is it just me?


Nothing follows.

llandar


quality posts: 32 Private Messages llandar
rayray099 wrote:You can do it, Randall! You're an entertaining, thoughtful writer. I'm the same as you with my painting...have to be totally focused, headphones, in the zone... and then I realize I have zero ideas! I spend a lot of time doing random image searches and sketching. Then after all that I don't feel like actually painting. I blame society for our habitual laziness!



Thanks for the kind words! I shall endeavor to do you proud.

klozitshoper


quality posts: 2 Private Messages klozitshoper

You CAN do it Llandar - you are a talented person. The hardest part is, at least for me, always making that commitment that I will continue and finish. Have you ever written for open dot salon dot com or writing dot com?

00000100


quality posts: 9 Private Messages 00000100

Good luck, llandar!

As an aside, I noticed that your actual name is Randall (it's at the top of the blog post, I'm no stalker). llandar is ALMOST Randall backwards, and that annoys me.

Just sayin'.