Friday, October 31, 2008

NaNoWriMo 2008

*pops head very cautiously above the surface of the Internet*

*peers around*

*decides it's safe to blog*

Well hello again, faithful blog readers! =)

I have been totally absorbed in myself lately, getting the pesky health issues sorted out, and poor LIT SOUP hasn't gotten the attention it's deserved lately. (For the record: My health condition is not life-threatening; we have not quite figured it out yet; I'm not going to talk abut it publicly because you don't need to know; at the moment, my quality-of-life is just not superb because of it.)

So I'm happy to be back and blogging!

I wasn't sure what to talk about first, but I figured that we'd do NaNoWriMo, because it approaches! So, is anyone doing it? What are you writing this year? Are you all crazy, in a good way? Let me know!

I think NaNoWriMo is one of the best "motivations" of recent years because it really, really makes people get off their butts and try to write that novel that they've always wanted to write. Not everyone has a great novel in them--a lot of us have really crappy novels in us that we need to write first, before we can even get to the good novels that are in our heads. But it's the writing of those first novels, the very process of starting to write out a story that teaches people how to write the good novels. NaNo teaches you discipline. It teaches you that you can succeed at something, even though it may hurt and suck and you may very well feel like you are pulling words out of your brain with a spork. But in the end, I think it's worth it, because it's often the only impetus that makes many people sit down and start to write. I think everyone should try it, at least once.

I don't personally know whether I'll be doing it this year because I've got some super-sekrit projects that I need to take care of first. But I'm looking forward to seeing the novels that result from those that do "win" at it.

Go for it, people! =)

(And answer my question: What are you all writing?)

30 comments:

ehadams23 said...

I will be doing NaNo this year for my second time (I won last year with a really bad vampire mystery). This time I'm going to write a YA fantasy about a spoiled princess cursed to remain as a fluffy white dog, and the young woman charged with protecting her. It is one of those ideas that has been floating around in my head for years and years, and I want to finally get it out on the page. It won't be a great novel but it will be fun to write and good practice!

Jenny Rappaport said...

ehadams23, I like that!

For inspiration, you might want to check out THE PRINCESS AND THE HOUND by Merrie Ivie Harrison. It's a different story than the one you want to tell, but with a similar premise.

James Klousia said...

After careful consideration and a long time on the fence, I signed up. This will be my first year, and I'm not really sure what to expect - besides sleepless nights and a dirty house. Despite this, I'm really excited to get started. The biggest challenge that I face as a writer is discipline. And if NaNo doesn't give me the kick I've been looking for I don't know what will.

I'll be writing a contemporary apocalyptic fantasy - I think that's an appropriate classification - based (lightly) on the book of Revelations. It's set in the near future, about 20 years after nuclear warfare decimates almost the entire world's population. I just got done reading McCarthy's The Road, which provided some dark inspiration.

A little off topic, but I'll also be participating in Movember, in which I'm required to grow a mustache during the month of November to raise awareness (and money) for men's issues. It'll be quite humorous, since my job is the suit and tie and very serious type.

Funny, but I'm actually more apprehensive about the whole mustache thing than trying to write 1,167 words per day.

MaryF said...

This is my third year. I'd plotted out a romantic suspense, made my collage and storyboard....and day before yesterday got a completely different idea for a historical romance that won't let me go. So I've been researching like a crazy lady the past two days, haven't even got the characters' NAMES, but I'm itching to get going tomorrow.

Cory said...

I'm going to be doing a light-hearted, cracky urban fantasy set in Amsterdam (my home city). My MC's had an unusual childhood as a normal human being living in a not-so-human family and is now doing everything she can to distance herself from magic. When she finds out that a childhood accident with a hellhound that left her badly scarred would have killed her if not for a contract her dad signed with the untrustworthy fae people - a contract that now threatens to take his soul for the next thousand years - she has no choice but to dive back into the world she's traveled an ocean to tried to distance herself from in order to save her dad's soul.

But she doesn't have to *like* it.

green_knight said...

I think Nano is great for people who need to take the plunge into writing and who aren't certain about the whole thing, but it has its dark sides as well. I see people thinking 'they've written a novel' when they have written 50K of first draft. It's a long way from there to finished novel.The format encourages people to write fast - which is great if they have an inner editor who blocks them with perfectionism, and not so great if their writing becomes flat and wordy (or hurtles down blind alleys) because they didn't take the time to think about their words. Last but not least, it encourages one style of writing (you can outline as much as you like, but you can't have actual text) without acknowledging that for some people, an exploratory first draft is the better method.

I'm not doing Nano, but I shall be riding the wave. I *love* the sheer buzz that goes around the net each November.

I'm currently working on an archaeological expedition into Faerie, and you cannot pay me tnough to put it down just so I can start something else.

Betsy said...

I'll be participating this year, for the fourth year in a row - though I've only won once. Having just finished writing an epic fantasy for my graduate program (which is my excuse for losing last year - too much else going on) I'm going to be writing a sweet romance set in modern-day Philly. My heroine is recently widowed, even though she's just barely 25, and I think my hero is a resident at UPenn's hospital. Honestly, that's about as much as I know about things, because every time I do a lot of planning for NaNo, another idea hijacks my brain at the last minute. So this time I just waited until the hijacking idea came along. This is NaNo at its best!

MaryF said...

Betsy, I'm so glad to hear I'm not the only one! I am frantic right now, but excited.

Sharon said...

This is my first year doing NaNo because for the past five years I've worked in retail and I've always stopped writing from November-January because, well, it's retail and it's the holidays. But this year I am *not* working retail and *am* doing NaNo and am very excited about it. I will be writing a romantic suspense titled Absolution and it involves a pediatrician heroine, a US Marshal hero and a Mafia villain.

Joe Iriarte said...

I agree with the pitfalls green-knight mentioned--I think the advice "It's okay to write crap" is okay for some people--those who get paralyzed by their inner editors. My inner editor doesn't paralyze me, though, and I find that when I give myself permission to write crap, just so long as it's fast, what I tend to write is irredeemable crap, that I pretty much have to scrap later. And I've written a hundred and fifty thousand words so far this year (not all one project!) without NaNo, so motivation isn't that big a deal to me.

All that said, I had planned to participate. I just bring a different mindset to it than the one they seem to constantly encourage. I write plenty, but in three years of trying, I have never won NaNoWriMo, and that's okay. I still find it useful as a way to get a jumpstart on a new project. I had been hoping for months to wrap up my current project in time to plan my new one in time to begin writing in November. Then I could share in the communal writing experience and get a healthy chunk of my next novel done.

Unfortunately, though, I'm still revising my current project, and it doesn't make sense to start a new one and let my current one sit--especially when I'm going to be pitching it to you in . . . ::checks calendar:: . . . sixteen days. ;)

Kalika said...

This will be my fifth year, I think. I lost track. I'm going for a fantasy Japan-like land. You could say I'm writing an anime. I'll have the samurais, the battle monks, the good spirits, the bad spirits, the kitsune (foxes in japan are said to be able to transform into humans) and other fun bits of Japanese folklore.

I'm sick of western fantasy, so I'm going to do something that appeals to me. It might even turn out good. :)

Jenny said...

I'll be doing NaNo for the first time this year, though I already have two written (though still unpublished) novels under my belt. I'm hoping this month I learn the discipline necessary to keep to deadlines! My NaNo novel is about a couple whose marriage is failing, the husband is contemplating adultery and then his wife learns she has cancer... We'll see how it turns out once the words are actually on the proverbial page!

Betsy said...

Mary, don't worry, just write. :)

And for those mentioning the pitfalls, you certainly list valid points - some people don't have trouble with inner editors or staying power. Mostly, I use NaNo as a chance to practice writing. I'm not worried so much about whether I'll be able to edit and sell these things later (though that would be swell) but it's great to just play with things, see what works and what doesn't in a completely non-threatening, non-obligating situation.

The only time I won, I actually based my novel off of Pride and Prejudice -- and by "based" I mean I ripped off 90% of it. But I did it on purpose - visual artists learn by copying the masters, and I decided that I wanted to get a feel for Austen's pacing and development, so I copied her. I never expect to publish that story, in part because it *is* so similar, but I learned a huge amount just from doing it.

And this time around, working with an entirely different genre and time period than I've been immersed in for the last few months will be a great change of pace and, hopefully, let me come back to the epic fantasy in December with fresh eyes and enthusiasm.

JS Bangs said...

I'm doing NaNo for the first time this year, though I'll be writing my second novel. I am insanely prepared: I have twenty-five chapters outlined, plus another ten pages of culture, history, and character notes. I'll be writing a far-future SF story about a dangerous first-contact situation.

I certainly hope that the people who do nano know that 50K words of bad first draft barely counts as a novel. I expect to substantially rewrite big parts of my novel before it's done and sent to agents. (Jenny, make sure and take me on when I query you, OK? KTHX.)

Cory said...

Note to self: proofread your comments before posting them. Sigh!

If anyone feels like adding me as a buddy on the site, my username is TheCory. I'd love to get in touch with more writers.

Mabel said...

Believe it or not, I'm still deciding. I'd love to take up the challenge but between the spinning, knitting and the shop plus classes, I don't know if I will have the energy and dedication I had years ago. :(

Anyway, good luck and I'll be cheering you on!!!!

acpaul said...

This is my first year doing NaNo. I'll be hacking my way through a novel that's been floating around in outline form for a while now. It just kept taking the backburner compared to other novels set in the same world.
It's pure 100% unabashedly fantasy.

Renee said...

I'm doing NaNo this year. A Scottish historical romance. I'm excited and ready to go, especially since this one is darker than my previous stories that I've completed, it'll just make the happily ever after all the sweeter.

Good luck to everyone.

Renee

C.R. Evers said...

THis is my first year doing Nano. I'm doing a YA slice of life called "Kiss the Frog"

I'm excited and just tapping my fingers away until midnight! :0)

Hope you're feeling better soon.

Christy
http://ChristysCreativeSpace.blogspot.com

Kim said...

This is my first NaNo - I'm working on an historical romance. It's a project I tried to get off the ground over the summer, and just couldn't quite make myself work on it. Hopefully this will be the perfect jump start. It's got pirates and shipwrecks and the hero and heroine share a pretty steamy past (not to mention kind of a steamy present, as well, nudge,nudge, wink, wink). It should be fun - if it cooperates...

Chumplet - Sandra Cormier said...

I'm not officially part of NaNo etc. but I'm under a personal deadline to write a 50,000 words of Toast Bitches for our friends at Ravenous Romance. Wish me luck!

Verification word: boatt - something for which I definitely need a paddle, since I'm up the creek...

jill said...

I'm not doing NaNo because I never have something ready to start in November. Instead, I'm writing a new ch 1 for a science fiction novel, finishing another science fiction novel, and finishing two fantasy novels. Oh, and improve latest query revisions and send those out. Not gonna finish all those in November, but i won't be bored for a while.

Loquacious Me said...

This is my first year for NaNo, and I'm writing an alternate history fantasy set in the wild west complete with jackalope. I have high hopes for this one, but 50K in a month is WAY higher than my usual writing pace. So we'll see.

Ink Johnson said...

I'm doing NaNoWriMo for the 3rd time this year, with 2 successful NaNos under my belt and another non-NaNo novel floating around as well.

I love NaNo, not because my Inner Editor paralyzes me, but because it fits in perfectly with the way I like to get things done. I prefer fast, difficult, and intense over drawn-out, easy, and mellow. I'd prefer to take a total immersion class and master the basics of a language in several weeks than spend a year in a classroom doing the same thing. I'd rather ask someone out directly than dance around the topic for a month. If I had the choice, I'd rather die quickly than hang around. It's just part of who I am. I think I get the best out of myself if I get something over and done rather than taking my sweet time.

Yeah, it has a dark side, but only about 20% of WriMos finish their novel and even less go on to clean it up, much less go out into the publishing world with it. If they want to say they wrote a novel, so what? It doesn't hurt published novelists (and helps debunk the myth that writing a book is easy and that writing is not "real work"). The good far outweighs the bad, I think.

(Kalika: you're really freaking me out here. My first NaNovel was on the EXACT same premise--being sick of Western fantasy--and the main character's name was Kalika. Were we separated at birth or something? :D Drop me a line on the NaNo site, if you read this. My username is "Mutant Goldfish.")

Anyway, this NaNovel is the continuing adventures of the MC of my last novel. He's a bartender. The fact that he's also a wizard only complicates things. (Never fear, Mrs Rappaport--it'll be extensively revised before it hits your desk.)

Man alive, did this turn out long. Thanks to anyone who's still reading!

Theo Lynne said...

Is it bad that I'm sitting at my computer at 12:55am November 2nd, trying to decide if I'm doing NaNo or not? I'm already 1667 words behind... yikes.

I actually did NaNo last year and won, only to find out that the story was only half told. I am planning on finishing it, but I've been working for more than just November on that...

I write SFF with a friend and we have the world we've created (what we're jokingly calling "industrial punk" as opposed to Steampunk) and I could write a new story this month on top of working on the one from last year...

I can't decide!!!

Jill Elaine Hughes said...

I'm a pretty experienced novelist, having written 7 complete novels already, so I don't need to do NaNo to write anything new (and God knows I have my work cut out for me with five novels to write for Ravenous Romance this year). But I think I am going to do a "revision" NaNo to revise the first novel I ever wrote, TEMPLAND. TEMPLAND helped me land my first agent and made the rounds at all the major houses, but never sold---I think my writing was still too immature then. Having written 6 novels since as well as 2 memoirs and a ton of short stories, I'm a much more disciplined and sophisticated writer now. I wrote the book five years ago, and I think if I do some updating and serious revisions (and probably come up with a new title), I might finally get my first novel published alongside my third, fourth, fifth, and sixth novels. (The second novel I wrote, which was a sequel to the unpublished TEMPLAND, is totally unsalvagable dreck, however).

Good Luck NaNos everywhere!

tcastleb said...

I'm doing it and egging my friend on, but neither of us are starting from scratch; we both have projects that need finished, so we're going for discipline and wordage. I'm working on a steampunk/inuit M/M that'll likely end up as an e-book (cause I don't know how to make it long enough for a real novel) and a story I'm trying to work into a YA novel. And possibly a sequel to the novel I've sent out.

Lorelei Armstrong said...

First novel is out, and now I am working on a modern version of Dante's Divine Comedy. Well, thinking about now. I'm halfway through, but I'm also working as the designer of my parents' new house, and I've noticed whenever I work on the book, their contractor calls and yells at me. So no more work on the book until the house is done.

How does he know? We're 3,000 miles apart...

Ah, well, I'm also on book tour. Not the best time to write.

ChristaCarol said...

I'm attempting it this year. Young Adult is what I'm going for: an 18-year-old girl who thinks life is great until her boyfriend leaves her for his crazy ex, and she takes the summer to go to New York and meet up with some online guy friends to get over him, which in turn throws her into an adventure of personal perspective and growth. At least, that's what just spilled out of my head? Sound good? I dunno, I'll just start typing feverishly and hope it comes out so. :-D

Cam said...

Checking in with fellow NaNo writers. Have you won yet? It's wonderful to find a supportive agent blog on the subject. Some agents are so fearful they'll receive mountains of unedited MSs in December that they don't support NaNo! :)

What a ride this has been... I've written more than 46,000 words so far and am on track to "win" so long as I skip ahead to write the ending of a gritty new genre I've created. I affectionately refer to this new genre as YAHSFDMPT (Young Adult Historical Science Fiction Double Mystery Psychological Thriller). I know... If I ever clean it up and send it out into the great publishing abyss, I'll have to clean up that genre and pick just one (probably Literary YA). But for now I'm having a blast. Thanks for the encouragement to just do it!