It Looms…

1 10 2011

Yes, I’ve read it before. More than once. Don’t ever use ellipsis if you can avoid it. And nine and nine-tenths out of ten times you can. I’m not going to lose sleep over it however. It’s just in a title after all…

And now I’m just being cheeky.

So what is it that’s looming? NaNoWriMo of course!

Every year for the thirty days of November writers both professional, semi professional  and aspiring alike embark on a month-long excercise to put 50,000 words to paper,computer screen or whatever sort of medium is available these days for writing books. Maybe someone would chisel it.

The non-profit invades schools and homes alike drawing in all ages to test their tolerance and ability. It is a chance to ask yourself if you have the determination to forsake friends, family and personal hygiene in the name of literary greatness. And if you are lucky enough to reach that goal, to succeed where not all can, then you can finally smile, relax a little and remove the IV of coffee from your arm.

I have attempted it twice. The first time I won. The second time life was a little too bit imposing. But it’s alright, I don’t let it get to me. 

SO why oh why would you want to subject yourself to such torture? That one is easy. I enjoy torture the way in which only a possibly reincarnated spanish inquisitor could. Not in the literal make you hurt and eventually die sort of torture that is. No, I’m more interested in the sort of torture that is self-imposed without hot irons and sharp pointy bits. It’s about endurance. Of the mental variety.

It’s also about career in my case. This is what I want to do, write books for a living. And though I endeavour to write every day and follow closely the tenants of Kristin Lamb’s teachings I do enjoy a good prompt from time to time. It’s also another opportunity to meet other writers, talk craft and do some meaningful networking. The biggest thing is craft though. The refinement of your skill is where the greatest value is.

Or maybe you just want to have fun. And that’s okay too! I encourage fun.

Now, as if writing 50,000 words wasn’t enough, I need to go about the careful task of preparing for the event. It spans thirty days and what is nearly the minimum industry average for words written in any given novel. (Average minimum is 60,000)

As I said in an earlier post I am not one to do an enormous amount of planning. At the same time I don’t like the idea of flying by the seat of my pants either. I like to have an idea with both a set vision and enough room to be able to make adjustments, stand up, turn around and lay down again without running into major issues should I find the original idea does not mesh.

Enter the note card.

I love these things. Being able to look at every little bit of what’s in my head with little effort. When it’s all there in front of me I don’t have to devote so much energy trying to remember it all at once. It makes things a lot easier to move around too.

In my case each card is a scene. A very rough synopsis of a scene. And each one will yield me several thousand words. The only downside is that if something major on one of those cards changes, it’s a few thousand words that need to be rewritten. A small price to pay for the amount of work it lets me accomplish relatively stress free.

NaNoWriMo is something that I hugely support and I encourage people to take part. If you love to write its a great way to help get you get rolling into a regular schedule even after the event is done. Or maybe you just want to do something new and challenging. Or maybe you just want to read about a bunch of crazy writers driving themselves crazier in an effort to balance it all into daily living.




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