Lately, I’ve been catching up on Michael Moorcock’s Elric saga. I’m currently reading, Stormbringer, which I think was originally planned as the sixth and final Elric novel, but, according to Goodreads, nine novels were published in the end. I only own the first six so I’m definitely stopping after Stormbringer for now and I honestly don’t know if I’ll read the other three at some point or not…there’s just so much to read.
Good luck to all National Novel Writing Month participants as we come into the home stretch! I didn’t participate this year, but I’ve got four unfinished novels that I can credit (or perhaps blame) to previous NaNoWriMo attempts. Despite never “winning,” I still really enjoyed the experience and would recommend it to anyone who is thinking about writing and just needs a good excuse to start.
It’s late November so that means it’s Worldbuilders season. In a nutshell, Worldbuilders is an amazing charity started by fantasy author, Patrick Rothfuss, that benefits Heifer International. There are bunch of different ways to donate, but I usually just enter the Lottery, which means that I have a chance to win cool prizes just for donating.
In 2009, I discovered a really cool thing: November is National Novel Writing Month and the Office of Letters and Light runs this really cool project that they appropriately call NaNoWriMo. NaNoWriMo is an open challenge for aspiring and accomplished writers alike to write a 150 page novel during the month of November.
It’s definitely a challenge, but they provide a number of really great tools to help you reach the 50,000 word goal. I made my first attempt in 2009 and made it to around 15,000 words I believe. I tried it again in 2010 and made it to around 40,000 words. Both partial novels were complete crap. Despite that and the fact that I didn’t complete the challenge either year, I still found the experience to be enjoyable and, somehow, rewarding.
If you have ever thought about writing in any capacity, you should really give it a try. Completing the challenge is great, but there’s still a lot you can learn by just participating.
I don’t think I’m actually going to participate this year (I didn’t last year either), but I’m thinking about perhaps using it as inspiration to try my hand at a short story, which may be a more realistic goal given my time and (lack of) writing skills. If nothing else, I’ll probably grab a t-shirt just to throw a little support towards a really great program.
As I mentioned earlier, I participated in NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) for the second time this year. It was great fun last year even though my attempt at a novel was a complete flop. This year, however, I went in with an open mind and a better idea and ALMOST busted out 50,000 over the course of November.
Almost, but not quite. Unfortunately, I just couldn’t find quite enough time. Over the course of the month, I did manage to write 39,589 words, which is a freaking lot, let me tell you. That translates to just about 132 pages. I was so close! Next year, it’s going to happen for sure.
So, I didn’t finish an entire novel in a month, so what? I still had a great time and learned a boatload about writing and what it takes to be an author. And, you know what, I kind of like my little geeky, urban fantasy epic and I’m even planning on finishing it. Will it ever get published? Probably not, but there’s only one way to find out. But I have to finish it first.
Words of Wisdom
One of the greatest parts of NaNoWriMo is that the folks over at NaNoWriMo.org do one hell of a job. They provide a number of great tools and motivation that really do help a lot. I learned so much from the Pep Talks the first time around, that despite a full time job and other responsibilities, I almost wrote a novel…in a month.
This little pep talk of my own would probably seem a lot more inspirational if I had actually finished…but I didn’t so deal with it. Nonetheless, here are some of the things that I’ve learned that helped me get as far as I did.
Just Keep Writing
This is probably the most obvious advice that anyone can give and, yet, it is the most important. No matter how bad your last sentence sounded, ignore the impulse to edit it and write the next one. Editing as you write slows the process WAY down. You’ll have plenty of time to edit it all after you finish.
Novel Getting Boring? Blow Something Up.
If you don’t have a clear vision for your novel (or even if you do), you may write yourself into a boring scene. If that’s the case and you find yourself bored and uninspired, the fix is easy, make something happen. Anything. Just change things up and see where it takes you.
No Time? Make Time.
NaNoWriMo suggests that you should write 1667 words a day to finish your novel on time. I usually needed about 90-120 minutes to write that many words. Some days it was impossible, but I found ways to make it easier. I spent my 30 minute lunch break writing, I postponed doing dishes and cleaning in general, I stayed off Facebook and neglected my RSS reader, and I stopped blogging (that really sucked by the way).
Despite all that, I didn’t make it. Maybe next year, I’ll have to give up on TV or my job, I don’t know. The bottom line is that you should set aside some time every day to write.
So What’s In It For Me?
Pride. Prejudice. Zombies…wait…No, mostly just pride, but, who knows, it could lead to bigger and better things. Maybe I’ll finish my novel and become an accomplished author. Maybe not, but you have to start somewhere and NaNoWriMo is an amazing program that helps you do just that.
Oh, and keep your eyes peeled on bookstores shelves for The David Bloom Diaries #1: Geek. Slacker. Hero. or whatever I end up calling it!
For the second consecutive year, I’ve decided to take part in National Novel Writing Month and attempt to write a 50,000 word in 30 days. That’s approximately 150 pages or 6 pages a day.
Since I’m at the halfway mark, I thought I would share my progress so far. At this point, I’ve written 17,807 words. That is 7,193 words less than the 25,000 that would indicate that I’m on pace to finish on time. Currently, I’m on pace to finish on December 13.
My novel this year falls into the (sub) genre of Urban Fantasy and is written in the first person. I’ve been writing this without much of a plan so I have no idea how it will end or even what will happen next. I’ve found this approach to be very satisfying, which is odd, because I’m typically a planner.
I also thought I would share a short excerpt with you. Be warned, I haven’t edited it whatsoever. There may be typos, grammar mistakes, or it might just suck (likely). Enjoy (if you can)…
It was the first word that went through my mind as I woke up Monday morning. It knew it was Monday morning because I was immediately confused by the noise coming from the black box with red numbers on it. Eventually I registered that this godawful piece of machinery was my alarm clock and it was going off because I had to get up and go to work. As a result, my day began in vulgarity.
Similarly, that is exactly how my Sunday night concluded. I dislike Sundays purely on the principle that Sunday is followed by Monday, which is my least favorite day of the week. All Sunday, I will dread the coming of Monday. It doesn’t help that I also never do anything fun I Sunday. I suppose I could, but instead I partake in laundry and grocery shopping and other mind-numbing activities that leave me with plenty of time to think about how lame Sundays are and how even more horrible Mondays are, which then in turn makes Sundays all the worse.
On this particular Sunday night, I sat down in front of my computer and surfed the web pathetically hoping to find something interesting posted on my favorite web sites, but, as it turns out, even the geeks that write science fiction blogs aren’t so lame as to publish a new article on a Sunday. After 5 minutes I had completed the rounds to my utter disappointment, which is what lead me into the no man’s land that I swore to myself that I would never enter.
I was, as you have probably already noticed, a hopelessly depressed loser. But despite my undesirable emotional and social status, I did still retain some shred of pride. This bit of pride, this dollop of ego, this sliver of self esteem had kept me from doing the thing that I dreaded most for the last five bitter and lonely years. However, on that Sunday night, my pride was finally overcome by a boredom and loneliness that had been growing more powerful for years, and I broke down and did the unthinkable.
I joined a dating web site.
The novel is meant to be lighthearted and fun with a certain amount of dry humor, so hopefully it comes across that way. Feel free to leave your comments. I hope you liked what you’ve read so far!
Last year, thanks to Felicia Day’s Twitter stream (I think), I discoverd that November is National Novel Writing Month. That in itself is fairly cool, but what’s really wonderful is the program that the Office of Letters and Light have set up at NaNoWriMo.org.
The site challenges users to write a 175 page (50,000 word) novel over the course of November. The site is chocked full of great writing tips in both text and video formats, but, once you sign up, you get even more tools to help you achieve your goals. You can check on your progress and compare it to others, you can get help on their very active forums, and you can learn about writing events in your area.
I think the program is really sweet. They really do an awesome job helping average people fulfill their goals. I’ve always thought it would be really cool to be an author. I love to read and I really respect the work it takes to write a novel.
As I mentioned previously, I discovered the site last year and tried my hand. Even though I attempted to write daily, I’m not really much of a creative writer and I fell pretty far short of a full novel. Nonetheless, I enjoyed the experience so much that I’ve been looking forward to giving it another go for the last 11 months. I’ve got a rough idea for this year’s novel and I’m hoping it proves easier to write than the Urban Fantasy number I attempted last year.
Whether you are a writer or not, I suggest that you check out the site and support the cause by purchasing some cool swag!