NaNoWriMo 2013: The End

Its finally over! Thirty days of writing fury: of non-stop plot-weaving, of unrelenting creativity and of a brave foray into the unknown. Well, that’s what NaNo is supposed to be about. As it turned out, my experience wasn’t quite like that…

I started NaNo reasonably well, managing to rack up close to a thousand words every day, for a few days. Not bang on target, but a decent effort nonetheless. It was then, about four days into NaNo that things started to fall apart. I think it was probably a mixture of not enough plotting (you know, actually knowing what happens beyond the first third of the book), too much time spent making planning spreadsheets in Excel and not having a clear enough vision for my story.

Let’s talk about that last point. I am easily influenced by the stuff I read, the games I read and the movies I watch. Sometimes that can be a good thing, but mostly it’s not. It’s fine to be inspired by great stories and worlds, but I really have to learn not to grab those elements and throw them into my stories like some overfull fondue pot. I start out having a clear idea of what my story is and what it’s about, but then I begin to work in other elements which only serve to confuse the whole project. It’s like making a nice spaghetti bolognese and then adding curry powder. You may love curry powder, but in a bolognese it clashes and confuses the dish. It’s unnecessary, so it shouldn’t be there. Continue reading

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NaNoWriMo 2013 Midpoint Update

Firstly, let me apologise for the distinct lack of activity here over the last few weeks. I decided to take part in NaNoWriMo this month and let’s just say every ounce of my will to write has gone into the endeavour. That’s not to say I’m doing great (because I’m not), but I am at least consistently writing something each and every day. I’ll share my word counts and progress with you. I was hoping to be 25K words down at this point, but there’s no reason why I can’t make up that time during the last 2 weeks.

I started NaNo on day one reasonably well with just over 900 words. My target was about 2,500… yeah…

The following days were mixed with counts of 700 and 800, before plummeting to 450 and then a good block of six days in which I wrote a grand total of 300 words. Hey, it was my son’s first birthday somewhere in there!

This week, I have come back stronger and more determined than ever. 400 words on Tuesday, followed by just over 1,000 yesterday and so far today I have managed 471 words. I’m aiming for about 1,500 today, though more would always be welcome. Now that I’m well into the meat of my story, things seem to flow much more easily.

So, it’s safe to say NaNo Part 1 kicked my butt round the playground, downtown and into Chinatown. NaNo Part Deux? Bring it on.

Writing Out of Time

Today, I have a simple writing tip for those of you who feel you can’t write quick enough. Sometimes, the words just don’t pour out like they do on those other days. You’ll read about writers who can churn out 2000 words in mere hours. It’s impressive and here’s one thing that can really help.

You will need:

* A stopwatch (online or physical)
* Your preferred writing implement
* Some sort of plan
* Steely determination

Instructions:

1. Make sure you’re ready to write and know where you’re heading.
2. Prepare yourself in front of your keyboard/with pen in hand.
3. Start the stopwatch.
4. Start writing!

A good first goal is 250 words in 15 minutes. It should be achievable, even when you’re not in the best frame of mind for writing. A fun game is to raise the word count target each 15 minutes and see how much you can write in a full hour. If you can write a little more than the target each time, you’ve practically got a chapter/scene written in an hour. Try it – it might sound really simple, but it really does work.

~ James

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