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View Full Version : It's almost my favorite month of the year: NaNo is coming!


fdsaf3
10-10-2011, 10:11 AM
For those of you who don't know (and don't remember my thread from last year), NaNoWriMo is an international novel writing "competition". People from around the world sign up to write a 50,000 word novel between November 1st and November 30th. The whole point is not to write a good novel, but rather to give people like me an excuse to put aside everything else in our busy lives, ignore friends, family, and responsibilities, and just write. It's all about quantity, not quality. Just think: there is no backspace button. (True story: a friend of mine did it last year and physically removed his backspace key.)

Come for the challenge and stay for the community! I can honestly say that few things in life bring you closer to someone than the stress of writing a 50,000 word novel in a month. The NaNo community (at least where I live, your mileage may vary) is great, supportive, and encouraging.

I've done NaNo for the past 4 years, and I've won (i.e. wrote 50,000 words) each time. Last year, Brita (and maybe other TLers) participated. This year, I'm encouraging all of you here to at least consider it. It's crazy, you will probably lose sleep, and you will certainly have a blast!

This year, I've finally decided to try my hand at a fantasy novel. I wrote a zombie apocolypse novel two years ago which went well. I've had an idea for a fantasy novel for a while now, so I'm going to try my hand at it. To be honest, it's probably an exercise in world building and development to see if I can grow the idea into an actual novel in the future. But it's going to be fun!

So, fellow TLers, what do you say? Will you embark upon this quest with me? Will you sacrifice sanity, sleep, and your willingness to accept anything less than perfection to join the illustrious club who can call themselves novel writers?

I challenge you to challenge yourselves. Let's do this!

Zombie Sammael
10-10-2011, 11:38 AM
I'm going to be making an attempt at the fantasy novel I've had in my head for years (like, literally since I was posting as Gnat) this time. It's the first time I've ever tried it. I have a few worries - I have to sit at a computer desk for work, typing, all day, and so doing it in the evenings as well is less than appealing; I've traditionally been very bad at writing every day, too - but I know I want to do it. I'm so serious about it I've told my Mum I'm doing it which, well, let's just say I better stick to the word rate.

As for the thing about removing the backspace key, mine actually fell off a little while ago. I got a new one, but when that one fell off, I had to replace my entire laptop keyboard and rearrange my desk. Having no backspace key is not good when your job is typing.

Hopefully I will have 50,000 words by the end of November.

Brita
10-10-2011, 06:13 PM
I bombed last year- badly. I was worried life might get in the way, and I was right. Plus, my novel idea was ambitious and very personal, and probably too much for a nanowrimo write.

This year, I am part-time, my grandma is stable and there isn't a WoT novel being released. So I think I have a good chance. Plus, I have a solid idea that I think will be easy to write.

So bring it on November...bring it on!

The only caveat is that Skyrim comes out November 11th. That might affect the writing curve a little.

fdsaf3
10-10-2011, 06:39 PM
I'm going to be making an attempt at the fantasy novel I've had in my head for years (like, literally since I was posting as Gnat) this time. It's the first time I've ever tried it. I have a few worries - I have to sit at a computer desk for work, typing, all day, and so doing it in the evenings as well is less than appealing; I've traditionally been very bad at writing every day, too - but I know I want to do it. I'm so serious about it I've told my Mum I'm doing it which, well, let's just say I better stick to the word rate.

As for the thing about removing the backspace key, mine actually fell off a little while ago. I got a new one, but when that one fell off, I had to replace my entire laptop keyboard and rearrange my desk. Having no backspace key is not good when your job is typing.

Hopefully I will have 50,000 words by the end of November.

No joke, telling people you are doing it is better motivation than almost anything else if you want to finish. Posting here doesn't hurt either. :)

If you do it, I will promise to every so often send you messages cheering you on. How's that for motivation!

Brita - hold off on buying Skyrim until November is over. Two years ago, I told myself that I would only buy Dragon Age if I finished NaNo. What did I do on November 27th when I finished my novel? Went out to the store and bought Dragon Age. So worth it!

The Unreasoner
10-10-2011, 06:43 PM
I'm doing it. Or at least I think so.

I did it last year, wrote the last chapter, the first paragraph, and three chapters that probably belong somewhere between the two. I then gave up.

But I dug it up, and it looks pretty good, so I may continue with it this year. Unless I get bored, of course.

The Unreasoner
10-10-2011, 06:48 PM
I'm going to be making an attempt at the fantasy novel I've had in my head for years (like, literally since I was posting as Gnat) this time.
Fantasy? Ambitious. I'm sure we'll all be glad to hear it.

Just remember pacing: 50,000 words is pretty short compared to WoT. So if WoT is even subconsciously affecting your sense of tempo, you may hit 35,000 and barely be into the second act.

Brita
10-10-2011, 07:22 PM
Brita - hold off on buying Skyrim until November is over. Two years ago, I told myself that I would only buy Dragon Age if I finished NaNo. What did I do on November 27th when I finished my novel? Went out to the store and bought Dragon Age. So worth it!

No can do- my husband and son would never wait :). I will just have to push hard the first couple of weeks to make time. Besides, it will give me something to do while they play.

Sarevok
10-11-2011, 03:26 AM
The only caveat is that Skyrim comes out November 11th. That might affect the writing curve a little.

Alloy of law is also coming out in November somewhere, iirc...

Zombie Sammael
10-11-2011, 04:57 AM
Fantasy? Ambitious. I'm sure we'll all be glad to hear it.

Just remember pacing: 50,000 words is pretty short compared to WoT. So if WoT is even subconsciously affecting your sense of tempo, you may hit 35,000 and barely be into the second act.

Whilst I have absolutely no doubt that WOT is a major influence on my work and life, my prose style is usually best described as concise and to the point. I'm more worried I'll finish the story before I hit 50,000 than the opposite happening.

Brita
10-13-2011, 08:00 AM
I know we did this last year- but what is everyone's handle at Nanowrimo- I'd like to sign you up as writing buddies.

Zombie Sammael
10-13-2011, 08:54 AM
I know we did this last year- but what is everyone's handle at Nanowrimo- I'd like to sign you up as writing buddies.

Mine is LeeRussell - not my real name, liked it because it's gender neutral.

fdsaf3
10-13-2011, 05:02 PM
I wanted to write down some of the ideas I'm going to explore while writing NaNo this year.

First time writing a fantasy novel, but I've been kicking around the idea for the past 8 or so years. The basic setup is that I'm sick of reading about a society on the decline. When you read fantasy novels, don't you get kind of excited when you read about how awesome things used to be? Don't you want to know more about the Age of Legends in WoT? My story is set up in that golden age.

This is my world's first chance at society. They're sitting on an enormous amount of power (magic, whatever), and no one's really sure what to do with it. It's the story of what happens when the only rules to go by are the ones you make up as you go along. You can't root for or against anyone, because there is no right and wrong.

I guess it's sort of a Lord of the Flies thing with magic. This isn't post-modern fantasy, this is something entirely different. In this world, there is no rule book to throw out the window.

Brita
10-13-2011, 08:30 PM
Sounds very cool and incredibly ambitious! Good luck. Will you post it without encryption, so I can read it when it's done?

fdsaf3
10-13-2011, 10:05 PM
I hereby vow to post (or make available) whatever I have written as of December 1st, 2011 (the end of NaNo 2011).

It's going to suck!

Zombie Sammael
10-14-2011, 04:40 AM
I hereby vow to post (or make available) whatever I have written as of December 1st, 2011 (the end of NaNo 2011).

It's going to suck!

Yeah, I'm not doing that. It's going away for December, depending how finished I am. I'll revise it in January then decide what I'm going to do about sharing, if anything.

fdsaf3
10-14-2011, 07:42 AM
Funny story - every year I do NaNo, I always tell myself to take December off and then get back to writing/editing in January. For some reason, it hasn't happened yet.

The bottom line is that I've always been convinced my idea was good before writing anything, and slowly as I write the novel things start to come undone. All I can see at the end of November is how far I fell short of what I wanted the novel to be at the beginning of the month. But then again, I'm a perfectionist at heart. I'm surprised I enjoy NaNo as much as I do given that fact.

Brita
10-20-2011, 02:20 PM
I downloaded a free software program that was created by an author for book writing. It is amazing! I highly recommend checking it out.

http://www.spacejock.com/yWriter.html

I am already organizing my characters, my chapters, brief noted for each chapter and what I want to occur. And the Word Count tool is motivating! It even allows you to export your document to Nanowrimo itself (encrypted version).

Zombie Sammael
10-20-2011, 03:09 PM
Funny story - every year I do NaNo, I always tell myself to take December off and then get back to writing/editing in January. For some reason, it hasn't happened yet.

The bottom line is that I've always been convinced my idea was good before writing anything, and slowly as I write the novel things start to come undone. All I can see at the end of November is how far I fell short of what I wanted the novel to be at the beginning of the month. But then again, I'm a perfectionist at heart. I'm surprised I enjoy NaNo as much as I do given that fact.

Well, this is my first time doing it. But I think I'm pretty set up. I have a reasonable idea of where it starts, a reasonable idea of where I want it to finish, and a strict POV limit of four characters, all of whom I feel I have a reasonable grasp on. I know the setting reasonably well and I know the history, again, reasonably well. I say "reasonably well" because I'm well aware that things can and do change in the writing process.

I am nervous, and I'd be a fool to deny it, but being afraid is often a good reason to do something. And I'm determined to win.

My only real problem is the gender balance in the novel. Three of the four main characters are female, and none of them works in my head if you swap the gender around. I'm male. I know what not to do from a simple perspective of gender cliches, but I am worried about getting into their heads and writing them realistically. I'm also worried I'm over-thinking it. ARGH.

fdsaf3
10-20-2011, 03:36 PM
This might not be helpful for you, but it was incredibly helpful for me the first time I did NaNo.

The only thing that matters is just writing. Did you just write a crappy scene? How about a particularly dull dialogue between two characters who you are finding not to be nearly as exciting as you thought they would be?

Doesn't matter. Keep writing.

Did you realize halfway through your novel that your plans and intentions don't work nearly as well as another, more exciting avenue you hadn't previously thought of?

Go exploring. Whatever seems to be working, just go with it.

I've gone in with full sketches and ideas, and I've gone in literally deciding to do it at 12:01 AM on November 1st. I won every time, but I can honestly say that my prior preparation didn't make much difference. It all depended on how well I was able to just keep going. Once you find your flow, sticking with it as long as you can and just letting yourself explore those ideas without wondering if they're any good...that's the best thing.

And for the record, the first year I did NaNo I wrote a story with a female main character. It was laughably bad. Turns out I can't write women very well. I applaud you for taking the risk.

Also keep in mind that everything I'm saying is purely my own experience. I'm not presuming to tell you how yours is going to be. Hopefully you find one grain of helpfulness in there somewhere.

Brita
10-31-2011, 11:55 AM
I am trying to add writing buddies, but I am having a heck of a time finding people. Any tips? I try entering the usernames in the search function, but that ain't working.

fdsaf3
10-31-2011, 12:08 PM
The NaNo site is usually buggy leading up to the event, and then for the first few days. I'd say keep trying over the next few days and see if it gets better.

Brita
10-31-2011, 01:39 PM
Ya, I guess tens of thousands of people on it at once will do that. I'll try later.

I think I already have you as my writing buddy, correct?

Zombie Sammael
10-31-2011, 01:57 PM
I am starting to feel nervous now. The good news is it looks like I'll have regular working hours as of the end of the week (as opposed to my current "work when you feel like it" regime) so that'll make time allocation easier.

Tomp
10-31-2011, 07:29 PM
I am going to give it a go for the first time. I have the ending, the main characters and some big plot twists figured out. But there's going to be a lot of discovering in the next month.

Wish me luck.

Oh, and good luck to you all.

The Unreasoner
10-31-2011, 07:39 PM
Wish me luck.
Good luck.

What sort of genre are you running with?

fdsaf3
10-31-2011, 08:23 PM
Ya, I guess tens of thousands of people on it at once will do that. I'll try later.

I think I already have you as my writing buddy, correct?

yep, we are buddies. Everyone else post your name and i'll try to add you.

I know I wrote before that I was going to write a fantasy novel, but I've decided at the last minute to abandon this idea. I'll still do it eventually, but it's not going to happen. Instead I'm doing an un-romance novel. Not sure if I wrote about that yet on here. I'll try and post a description of what i'm writing in the next few days.

it's getting close! I'm excited.

The Unreasoner
10-31-2011, 08:28 PM
Eh. I like to compartmentalize.

Cor Shan
11-01-2011, 03:32 AM
Going for it.

Tomp
11-01-2011, 07:37 AM
Good luck.

What sort of genre are you running with?


Thanks.

When it comes to genre. It will be a light fantasy set around betrayal, love, class, death and the realities of war. Seen from "innocent" eyes.

(with light fantasy I mean magic-light)

Zombie Sammael
11-01-2011, 05:36 PM
3076 words in the first night. That's either the first chapter or the first couple of chapters, I haven't quite worked it out yet.

When is NaNoEdMo?

fdsaf3
11-05-2011, 02:56 PM
I had the world's busiest week this week. Prior to that, the record was last week. Needless to say, I didn't get anything done until last night. I was exhausted, but I managed to get about 2k words last night. Today I'm at about 2k and am probably done for the day. We'll see. So, all in all, I figure I'm not doing too bad considering the ridiculously busy weeks I've had.

I'm planning on catching up by Tuesday of this upcoming week.

I am going with the un-romance novel. So far so good!

Zombie Sammael
11-05-2011, 03:02 PM
Progress report: I have written 8033 words. All of the main characters except for two die in the first chapter. The big expositiony bit that explains the plot is in chapter two. I think this book may be upside down.

I've also switched to yWriter as Brita recommended, as it very much suits the way I'm writing the book (one POV a night). The POVs might eventually end up being chapters, George RR Martin style, or they might end up being four (or sometimes five) parts of one chapter. At the moment I guess that's not as important as just frickin' writing.

I've entered the part of the book that isn't the opening, i.e. I have much less of an idea where everyone is going and what happens to them. This is much scarier, but mainly they seem to be sort of telling me what they need to do, so I'm okay, I think.

Brita
11-05-2011, 05:50 PM
I have much less of an idea where everyone is going and what happens to them. This is much scarier, but mainly they seem to be sort of telling me what they need to do, so I'm okay, I think.

I always find this so cool, how the book just kind of takes me along with it, even though I'm writing it. It really does develop it's own momentum.

I am just using google documents atm, just because I can access it easily on any machine. I use so many (work pc (several), home pc, laptop, iPod) that the yWriter just didn't work. But I think I will cut and paste into it for my editing since it has so many lovely organizing function (pov,character, item etc. Let me know how you like it ZS.

fdsaf3
11-05-2011, 11:34 PM
I'm using ywriter too, and it's good so far. Personally, these organizational tools don't really help me much. I'm just as happy using Word. But I like it.

Zombie Sammael
11-06-2011, 04:52 AM
Like I said, I'm mainly writing from a strict POV of four characters, so it's very useful for writing - chapters? - as POVs and leaving me free to organise them. I started with Word but by Day 3 I was starting to be faced with an enormous wall of text. It's nice to have it compartmentalised.

Tomp
11-06-2011, 07:26 AM
Unfortunately I've been sick and had a fever.

Result: Not as far as I along as I should be

fdsaf3
11-07-2011, 08:06 PM
I wrote about 4,000 words today and might do some more. Part of my un-romance novel is a sex scene, so I thought I'd try my hand at that. Thought it should be obvious, I'll just say it: writing sex scenes is hard. You might think that with a bit of foresight and planning you could just start up and pound it out quickly, but you'd be wrong. I found that when writing a sex scene, you have to build up to it slowly. They're a temperamental creature: you have to tell them they're pretty, and no, that dangling modifier doesn't make you look fat.

Despite the initial pain I felt while writing, I quickly got over it and after that it was smooth sailing. I might suggest that if anyone else doing NaNo is going to write a sex scene that they read another sex scene or watch a sex scene from a movie that they particularly enjoy. This might help get your creative juices flowing and make writing the scene be a bit easier.

(I had way too much fun writing this)

Cor Shan
11-07-2011, 08:20 PM
... I could tell.

In related news: why is NaNo in midterms? Fuuu

Brita
11-07-2011, 08:27 PM
I wrote about 4,000 words today and might do some more. Part of my un-romance novel is a sex scene, so I thought I'd try my hand at that. Thought it should be obvious, I'll just say it: writing sex scenes is hard. You might think that with a bit of foresight and planning you could just start up and pound it out quickly, but you'd be wrong. I found that when writing a sex scene, you have to build up to it slowly. They're a temperamental creature: you have to tell them they're pretty, and no, that dangling modifier doesn't make you look fat.

Despite the initial pain I felt while writing, I quickly got over it and after that it was smooth sailing. I might suggest that if anyone else doing NaNo is going to write a sex scene that they read another sex scene or watch a sex scene from a movie that they particularly enjoy. This might help get your creative juices flowing and make writing the scene be a bit easier.

(I had way too much fun writing this)

Terez may be able to help you with this, she has some experience...

fdsaf3
11-14-2011, 12:49 PM
Halfway point check in time!

I'm....well, proud, I guess, that I'm on track to finish. My novel has developed (I was going to go with 'devolved', but I'm trying to give myself credit) into something completely different than what I thought it was going to be. It went from an un-romance novel to a biting satire of love, relationships, and commitment.

In other news, it's been a really difficult month for me in my personal life. No way those two are correlated, right?

I hope everyone is doing well.

Zombie Sammael
11-14-2011, 12:59 PM
On Thursday morning last week, my laptop went boom. Fortunately, my book is backed up and safe, but unfortunately, it's seen me using back-up machines that don't have yWriter on to load it. Compounding this is the fact that my laptop has my music collection on it, and writing without my music is rather difficult for me.

I fully intend to make up the lost days in December. Hopefully the laptop will be repaired within the week and I'll be able to get back on track.

The laptop dying was just one in a series of events that individually were merely annoying but taken together made last week a pretty bad one. It's caused me some difficulties with work, as I work from home and use it for that.

Still, I am a good 12,000 words in, I have an idea of the shape of the book now, and I think it is going to be longer than NaNo anyway. So I remain positive.

The Unreasoner
11-14-2011, 03:49 PM
I feel like such a slacker, I've only done 5000.

And, one line from my novel I'm sure HCFFs will appreciate:

He was smiling. I don't know how I missed it before. It was a smile that touched nothing but his eyes, but a smile nonetheless.

fdsaf3
11-30-2011, 02:18 PM
I crossed the finish line a few days ago, but today I submitted my official draft of 62,402 words.

I am exhausted. Best idea for a novel yet, but probably my second-worst writing. I just had too much stuff going on to make it interesting.

Oh well. At least it's over and I can forget about it for a while.

Zombie Sammael
11-30-2011, 03:17 PM
I have not finished. In fact, due to computer problems, I'm still only about 12,000 words in. But I don't care. I am still writing, and I still intend to finish it. NaNo was never the point, this is about me writing a book.

In a way I feel quite happy because I'm now free from the pressure of time and of having to produce a certain number of words a day (or night). If I feel like I can only manage 200 one night, screw it. On the other hand, I do still have to make sure I am doing it every day, and I think the NaNo target amount of about 1600 words is a good one.

It'll be done when it's done, and then it'll go away for a bit. Then I'll do the second draft, and it's the second draft people will get to see. That'll be next year now, but once again, that's fine.

Brita
11-30-2011, 03:31 PM
I only got 11,000 words into mine and got so incredibly bored by my story I gave up. Then I resurected my 30,000 words from my first attempt and thought I would finish that instead. I read it, quite liked it, and then played Skyrim when I should have ben writing. So Zombie, I'm with you. This book (the one from my first year) is gonna get done- I hereby commit to finishing that novel even if it's outside of NaNo.

fdsaf3
11-30-2011, 03:38 PM
Congrats to both of you for getting even 1 word written. I am proud of you both for trying.

Zombie Sammael
11-30-2011, 03:40 PM
I only got 11,000 words into mine and got so incredibly bored by my story I gave up. Then I resurected my 30,000 words from my first attempt and thought I would finish that instead. I read it, quite liked it, and then played Skyrim when I should have ben writing. So Zombie, I'm with you. This book (the one from my first year) is gonna get done- I hereby commit to finishing that novel even if it's outside of NaNo.

*fist bumps* We should start a movement. NaNotTheEnd.

Sarevok
11-30-2011, 03:49 PM
With all this talk about writing stuff, I'm getting the urge to try and write something myself.
Knowing me, this will probably consist of a few days of actually doing something, then get bored, leave it alone till I've almost forgotten it and give it another try in a few months.
I've started by downloading this yWriter you recommended. (Windows made me jump through a bunch of hoops because it might not be safe. I'm trusting you guys on this one, please don't disappoint me...)

Next question: what language should I write it in? With all this internet posting and reading books as soon as they come out, writing and reading have been mostly connected to English, but as you know... that's not my native language. :eek:

We'll see where this goes... :D

Zombie Sammael
11-30-2011, 04:00 PM
With all this talk about writing stuff, I'm getting the urge to try and write something myself.
Knowing me, this will probably consist of a few days of actually doing something, then get bored, leave it alone till I've almost forgotten it and give it another try in a few months.
I've started by downloading this yWriter you recommended. (Windows made me jump through a bunch of hoops because it might not be safe. I'm trusting you guys on this one, please don't disappoint me...)

Next question: what language should I write it in? With all this internet posting and reading books as soon as they come out, writing and reading have been mostly connected to English, but as you know... that's not my native language. :eek:

We'll see where this goes... :D

Well, my computer did break after downloading yWriter, but since it was a crappy model and it was a motherboard problem, and the other computers I've installed it on are still fine, I don't think it will eat your hard disk or anything.

As for language, I would think having two (or more) languages would be helpful; you can introduce concepts using words from different languages where the meaning is slightly different, which I would think would be quite an interesting tool. (Yes, I am suggesting you write in both. This is because I am a dangerous madman.)