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Lestrade 09-24-2012 04:39 PM

NaNoWriMo anyone?
I hope this is the right place for this thread = )

Anyone else planning on doing NaNoWriMo this year? Have you done it in the past? What're you thinking of writing about?

I did it successfully in 2010 (despite falling way behind and having to write 15,000 words the final day). Last year I was way too busy to do much, so I plan on re-using the idea I didn't really write from last year this year. It's a semi-generic fantasy novel about a group of chosen heroes who have to save the world, but I'm hoping it'll be a little bit unusual in that the way they have to save the world is by releasing a sealed evil god and restoring the proper balance to nature.

My 2010 novel was about a half elf/half dwarf sent as an ambassador to the elven kingdom. It was really mostly a slice of life story and I'm sort of proud of it even though not a lot actually happens in it action-wise.

John Watson 09-25-2012 01:51 AM

I plan on doing it this year. I shouldn't have too much school work during November, and I won't be working because the village is only open on the weekend. But you know all this =p

I've never done it before, though I've considered it the last two years. My idea for this year is a story about a mage. I don't have a whole lot of details about it, yet. At least not enough to actually explain what I'm thinking.

shay_almost 09-25-2012 03:26 PM

I found out about it last year but I wasn't able to do it sadly. This year I'm going to do it. I'm so excited!

Pathosis 09-25-2012 08:59 PM

I've always wanted to do this, but I don't have the motivation. xDDD
It'd be quite the achievement to put under my belt though~

Lestrade 09-25-2012 10:11 PM

I have a hard time writing when I don't have a deadline so NaNo was actually kind of good for me = )

Pathosis 09-25-2012 10:41 PM

I've had this awesome plot in my head for a fanfiction.
But I don't even have the first chapter written because of writers block.
; n ;
It's depressing.

Mizeria 09-26-2012 01:13 AM

I've never done, but I have wanted to. I just forget and never actually do anything.

Lestrade 09-27-2012 01:38 AM


Originally Posted by Pathosis (Post 1369305)
I've always wanted to do this, but I don't have the motivation. xDDD
It'd be quite the achievement to put under my belt though~

That's why NaNo is awesome! You can just make yourself go without worrying about whether it's good or not until after you're done XD

Quiet Man Cometh 09-28-2012 02:06 AM

I've heard of it, but I don't do it. I've sadly come to the despairing realization that I am just not a novel writer. I've tried, but the farthest I've ever gotten was a single part of what was bound to be a four part novel that I ultimately felt was derivative and somewhat of a "favour of the day" type of book. That was some years ago so it's about time for me to try again. ;)

I write short stories instead, and poetry. Pulling off a short story in a month would be something worth trying I think. My latest short that I finished (billed as poetry rather then prose as it mixes the two) was begun sometime back in 2009, probably when I was taking my course on Ancient Egyptian religion. My writing speed is atrocius, and I often take so long to write something that my intent changes which ultimately results in a re-write.

Suzerain of Sheol 09-28-2012 07:34 AM

I've never liked NaNoWriMo. November is an extremely inconvenient time for me, possibly the worst writing month of the year with the way my school work tends to fall. I also disagree with the philosophy of the project, in that I'd rather plan something out in exacting precision and have the first "draft" be as near to complete as possible rather than push myself into getting words on the page only to be left with a (very likely) useless morass of broken character arcs, plot holes, and innumerable other issues that will crop up moving at that kind of pace.

50,000 words is also only half of a novel. I've been learning that the hard way with the collaborative novel I've been writing with my cousin for the past few years. We got to the "end" only to realize we had to go back and expand the story tremendously to take it from a novella to a novel, which is what it was conceived as.

I mean, I'm sure NaNo is fun, I guess I just... don't write for fun? I derive enjoyment from writing things I'm satisfied with or proud of. The writing process is extremely painstaking for me, I obsess over sentence structure and word choice to the point where I can get completely stalled out on a piece over a single word and never end up finishing it. I also constantly second-guess myself, so that, by the time I get halfway through something (especially something novel-sized) I end up thinking that what I've wrote is irredeemable garbage and giving up or starting over.

So, no, I don't think NaNo is for me. :P

Quiet Man Cometh 09-28-2012 09:21 PM

What he said, but I do like the idea of just powering my way through a word count and not obsess over details for once.

I'm not all that familiar with how NaNoWriMo works, just the main idea, but I figure that's enough for my purposes.

I thought that 100 000+ was high for the average novel. I've heard that as new authors go, 60 000 is the ideal mark as the bricks are usually saved for established authors that publishers know they can make money on and aren't too concerned about the extra money to print a larger book.

Lestrade 09-28-2012 10:10 PM

50k is certainly a shortish novel, but it's not like you have to stop there XD And a lot of people who do NaNo add more and edit later.

I don't think it's generally going to produce a really good, polished product, but that isn't really the point. My 2010 NaNo novel had parts that I really, really liked, and I ended up pulling out some of those parts, shuffling other stuff around, and turning it into a short story that I really like.

Suzerain of Sheol 09-28-2012 10:31 PM

@Quiet, I think that's largely the case in genres outside of fantasy. From what I understand, 200-page fantasy novels are not currently vogue, and haven't been for a while.

@Lestrade, I understand the sentiment, I just have such a hard time getting into my "writing zone" (outside of which I lock up and can't get a word on the page) that I want to make sure it's a 100% effort on my part once I do get there. Nice that you ended up getting something out of it, though, that's good.

Quiet Man Cometh 09-29-2012 12:47 AM

Not sure, I've heard the same for fantasy since the comment referenced G.R.R. Martin and Robert Jordan for authors of the big novels. This was a couple years ago though. Epic, lengthy fantasy works might be the sellers now, but look at how the Harry Potter books grew after the first one. Not sure if Rowling would have gotten the larger books published without first having the shorter ones sell.

Suzerain of Sheol 09-29-2012 11:36 AM

Even the first one was over 300 pages, wasn't it? I mean, as a counterpoint, look at Erikson. They were meh about Gardens of the Moon, but they found out he had plans for 10 more 800+ page books, they were throwing money at him to get him to work for them. (Granted, that was a unique confluence of circumstances of his publisher wanting to compete with other big fantasy series)

Quiet Man Cometh 09-29-2012 10:28 PM

Ah. I imagine series are popular with publishers if they sell well because they provide a good long term investment. If you can guarantee a novel that will sell at least reasonaly well each year or two for the next 10 years then it's more security for the publishing company in the event that they can't find the next big thing from new submissions.

*This is theory of course. I have not actually dealt with publishing companies and only read about such thing from articles by editors or agents and such. Never know what might be useful to know. :)

Lestrade 09-29-2012 10:31 PM

Harry Potter was initially aimed at kids, so the shorter length made sense. The books sort of got longer and darker as the target audience did, and honestly by the time the fourth one came out Rowling could've written basically anything she wanted because she was raking in the dough ^_^*

I will say, as a fantasy writer, that worldbuilding in a short span of pages can be REALLY REALLY HARD. When I turned my NaNo into a short story the single hardest aspect of doing that was figuring out how much of the backstory of the world and the races to leave in and how to go about getting that information across without just infodumping.

Quiet Man Cometh 09-29-2012 10:48 PM

Yeah. In short stories the space you can devote to setting the stage is minimal so one needs to find little tricks to develop the environment while simultaneously moving the stories along. If course, I write thing that are very short. I'm lucky if I manage over 1000 words so I need to keep stuff as concise as possible, or maybe it's just my habit to do that.

As a result, I find that I often leave out things that don't influence the story directly, such as the appearance of the characters, unless the opportunity to sneak it in comes up. For instance, a character removing his hat and scratching his head is an excuse to say that he has black curls, and a hat.

Suzerain of Sheol 09-29-2012 11:23 PM

I've never attempted a fantasy short story for that very reason. All my shorts seem to end up being these postmodern, stream of consciousness, self-reflective explorations of the Hard Problem of Consciousness. >_>

But even in the larger fantasy stories I've worked on, I am extremely sparse with details. I think it's something I picked up from Erikson, come to think of it. I'm an addict of show-don't-tell and will only include a setting reference if it follows logically in the narrative. I'd rather throw the reader in over their head and let them sink or swim on the natural references that arise in the flow of the story than deal with info-dumps of any kind. Which is why I struggle with length, my stuff ends up coming out so to-the-point that it simply doesn't take up the kind of space that's commonly seen in fantasies where you're dealing with heavy explanations of the setting.

I've been getting better about it, though. I'm not exactly sure what changed, by chapters have gone from barely 2k words to 4-5k lately, which is a much more reasonable length for a novel.

I really struggle with my main novel, as it literally features 7 characters, major and minor, which doesn't leave a whole lot of room for "Let's go see what he's up to, now" digressions. It follows one story straight through from beginning to end, and ends up feeling very fast, I fear, because of it. Does something need to be long to feel "epic"? I'm honestly not sure.

Quiet Man Cometh 09-29-2012 11:36 PM

This is where I come in and say that chapters in War and Peace averaged abotu two pages. :p. and that one in particular was half a page. But then, reading it I got the impression that Tolstoy used chapters where most people would use paragraphs. As soon as the focus changed to a new character or a new event, new chapter!

Coda 09-30-2012 12:11 PM

Suze, NaNo isn't INTENDED for you. Your reactions to the concept are exactly the indication that you are outside the target audience. NaNo is intended to get non-writers and amateur writers to get past the blank page and produce something when they've never produced anything of that scale before. You, on the other hand, aren't an amateur writer; you're experienced (regardless of whether or not you've been published, which I don't know one way or the other) and you've developed the ability to write a sufficient amount of words given a subject to write about.

As for me, I've attempted NaNo twice.

The first time I did it, I succeeded -- barely. My final submission was 50,001 words, checked in just hours before the deadline. I was actually looking for ways to pad my word count by just a word here and there in order to get it past the breakpoint.

The second time, I came in with a better idea on a grander scale. The first attempt, I just wrote a narrative that connected a bunch of not-really-related short stories about several of my RP characters. The second attempt, I decided I was going to try for an essay -- 50,000 words of a wizard's thesis on his concept for a grand unifying theory on the workings of magic. Unfortunately, that year I ended up being very busy in November, and wasn't able to finish it. I still have the draft, a little shy of 16,000 words, and I'm proud of what I have (I'm particularly proud of how well I was able to characterize the writer), but it's not likely I'll ever finish it.

That was my senior year of college. After that I've been employed full-time with a family to care for. I don't entertain any notions of having enough free time to dedicate the hours of ANY one month into writing a novella. If I had that kind of time I would be pursuing more relaxing hobbies and/or spending time with my family.

Quiet Man Cometh 10-02-2012 05:48 AM

The challenge for me will be seeing if I can swing a feasible topic between now and then. I have so many writing false starts it's not funny. I might be able to manage the word count in rejected writing. ;)

Lestrade 10-02-2012 05:48 PM

The website relaunched last night! I'm starting to get excited.

Quiet Man Cometh 10-02-2012 07:56 PM

I'll have a look! I've always treated NaNoWriMo as something to tag along with on my own, never really looked at it formally.

Mika 10-10-2012 03:32 AM

Oh right! NaNoWriMo is next month!

Amethyst 10-10-2012 09:22 PM

I tried the last three years... But I always get distracted or overwhelmed with the storyline ans give up.><

Quiet Man Cometh 10-21-2012 07:04 AM

Sigh. No thoughts yet and November is too close for comfort! Is it writer's block if you have no ideas in your head to begin with?

Lestrade 10-21-2012 10:07 PM

Hmm, have you tried a prompt generator or anything?

Quiet Man Cometh 10-21-2012 10:23 PM

Don't really know of any. Never thought about it. The snag with shorts is that the plotline generally needs to be quite precise to make it workable, or at least for me. I'm not even settled on genre really, but I think I would like to do something fantasy leaning, even if it's only slightly speculative. Blah. Maybe should work on poetry for a bit but that isn't helping much either. -.-

EDIT: problem solved. :). Well, problem solved some time ago but only just got around to logging back in. I have an old story sort of thing with a couple characters I was playing around with while at a writer's retreat that I've never really worked into anything formal. I should get back into that. Magic Realism rather than fantasy but I find I tend to like that better sometimes.

Arikana 10-24-2012 11:16 PM

Never tried it cause I was too lazy to attempt it. >w>

But I'm thinking of using this to keep at writing my fanfiction. So I'd just make note of the word count I'm currently add, and make sure I make whatever + 50k would make it. I just gotta remember to write. But if it really came down to the deadline and I still needed many thousands of words, I'd just buckle down and find a way to squeeze in 50k before the deadline. >w> I'm all about pulling all nighters to make deadlines, and surprisingly I can edit pretty well during them. owo

Tears 11-14-2012 03:12 AM

I'm participating in it in a unconventional way. Instead of actually writing a whole story, I'm writing 100 drabbles, each at least 500 words. My purpose for this is to explore my characters before I actually write the novel for next year's Nanowrimo.

Quiet Man Cometh 11-15-2012 01:26 PM

I completely forgot about this and my plans for it, but I make a point of trying to send some stuff out to magazines in November for other reasons besides NaNoWriMo. I have a couple that I want to send some poems and what-not to and if I can get at least two out I will consider it a productive month.

Lestrade 11-17-2012 02:11 AM

I'm so behind!!!

I mean, it's still doable. I hit 18000 words today. But My lack of planning is starting to catch up to me!

The fact that my characters don't really know what they're doing doesn't help, haha.

Quiet Man Cometh 11-18-2012 09:03 AM

The characters don't know what they're doing, or you're not sure what you're characters would be doing? ;)

Have an issue you need hashing out? Maybe we can help.

Lestrade 11-20-2012 01:01 AM

They don't know what they're doing, and I don't really know how to point them in the right direction XD

The plot of my story is that magic was sealed away in their world and the five elementals that controlled the magic are calling out to them in their dreams, but they'd been sealed so long they only vaguely exist in legend, so the characters don't really know what's actually going on or what it is they're supposed to be doing.

I'm starting to kind of beat the story into shape but that's after taking a day to write a gratuitous sex scene between minor characters just because I wanted to XD

Quiet Man Cometh 11-20-2012 01:19 AM

Ah. That does pose a problem, doesn't it? You need that "call to action" thing (re: Joseph Campbell/Christopher Voguler) to get the heroes on the movie. Could always have then accidentally step on the first one, by which I mean encounter it somehow and then realize that's what was calling out to them. That could get them started.

Zenella 11-22-2012 04:13 AM

This year was my first participating (or trying to) in Nanowrimo. I started out with one plot, changed it completely, wrote a little bit and then stopped. I don't think I was as mentally planned for this as I originally thought, but I'm determined to finish it next year no matter what.

Katame Shiraga 11-23-2012 10:41 PM

Me and my mother attempted NaNo last year, but, I never managed to get anything done, really. I got, like, maybe 150 words? Probably less than that actually. I don't know how much my mother got, and I also don't know if she's planning on attempting it again this year, but, I know I'm not. I don't have the attention spam for that...which probably means I won't be able to cut it if I ever try and actually be a professional writer. *Le sigh*

Maybe I'll just stick with the making a manga idea? After all, some of the ideas I have would probably do better as either a manga, an anime, or a video game.

Lestrade 11-24-2012 05:26 PM

I just got my work schedule and I have Friday off, so... if I have to power through 15k on the last day again, I can! Hopefully it won't come to that. I'm just shy of 30k right now.

Kaunisenkeli 11-25-2012 10:25 PM

I usually try to do NaNo, but this year I was sure that I wouldn't have the time. Maybe next year I won't be in quite so many classes and I'll be able to participate. Or maybe I should just make plans for when I'm finally done with this degree.

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