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November 28, 2005

NaNoWriMo Update 2

I resign - NaNoWriMo has beaten me this year.

On Thursday, after another 10 hour day at work, not counting the 3 hour commute, and with still 35,000 words to go to the 50,000 total, I realised that I was never going to make it.

I was making slow but steady progress, finding myself capable of around 1000 words per hour, but not having any hours in the day to write them. Of course, if you miss one day, you end up needing twice as long the next, and it just wasn't possible, barring taking time off work or other unrealistic ideas. (one crack fuelled idea was to sit up all Saturday night with a pack of Pro-Plus - but then I remembered I was in a 5K race on Sunday morning. Real life just keeps getting in the way).

But all is not lost. I have learnt a huge amount about writing, and I do have those 15,000 words, and an idea to develop, which I didn't have when I started. Some of these ideas are general, some specific to me. Here they are in the order I think of them.

1. Even with a seemingly empty head, and no idea of character or story, I can sit down and churn out 1000 words in an hour. Maybe not great words, but quite good, with the odd nice sentence or idea.

2. I can write a scene, with dialog, to move a story forward when I know where it needs to go.

3. Keeeping track of your character's characteristics and their histories is hard. Keep separate notes. Also keep a dramatis personae of every name you mention.

4. Sometimes you can write yourself into a corner. A bit like the old Flash Gordon serials where the hero was facing certain death at the end of every episode. Unfortunately, in a normal novel, strange men with wings cannot fly down and rescue your hero every time.

5. Keeping the characters different, and not making them just do things that you already know about and do, is hard. Research, again unfortunately, is required.

6. Sometimes, you will spend a whole hour or more working on a scene or a character description, and then realise that your character wouldn't really do that. Throwing away work is hard.

7. I am very prone to writing the same thing twice. Proof reading will be required to make sure my characters don't all have the same hobbies or habits. Writing when very tired or under the influence of alcohol exacerbates this. Of course, a lot of novels have themes running through them, so I can always use that as an excuse should I need it :-)

8. 50,000 words is a lot. And it's only a short novel. Filling up a whole book with interesting stuff is a _LOT_ harder than I thought before I started. I now have more admiration for even the trashier writers than I ever had before - they managed to finish a book -hats off to them!

I'm taking a month off from writing novels now, but the experience hasn't soured me. In fact the opposite is true. Next year I'm going to attempt to finish this book, maybe writing 500 words a day to hit the 50,000 target and have a coherent novel with a beginning, middle and end. (Yes, I know, all books don't have to be like that, but I think all the good ones are). It will not be very good, but I'm working to the theory that says all first attempts at works of art should be completed quickly, and just as quickly discarded.

Then I'll spend a few months plotting the next NaNoWriMo. It's just too hard to do unless you have a plan - not just for your characters and plot, but also for your time.

Next time I'll be ready, next time I'll win!

Posted by se71 at 02:25 PM | Comments (1)

November 13, 2005

NaNoWriMo Update

NaNoWriMo, apart from being really hard to type, is also really hard to do.

I've done about 5000 words in 2 weeks, so the target of 150,000 is looking a bit unrealistic - this year.

I think I need to try and lower the quality of what I'm writing a bit (if that is possible :), so that I can churn it out faster. One problem I'm having already is remembering what a character is like so that I don't contradict myself. I can't stand internal inconsistencies in stories.

Check out my author profile page

I guess I should stop blogging about it and get back to it though...

Posted by se71 at 01:10 PM | Comments (0)

November 02, 2005


OK, so I've started NaNoWriMo

This doesn't mean I'm going to finish, and one day in I'm feeling even less confident than I was 24 hours ago.

I've just got to remember the mantra

"It's not quality - it's quantity that counts!"

If you want to keep up with my progress, or lack of it, my id is se71

Posted by se71 at 04:04 PM | Comments (0)