And so it begins (NaNoWriMo 2014)…

Tomorrow, writers from all over the internet will embark on our month long journey to reach 50,000 words in thirty days. For some, that means spending a week staring at a blank screen or page, unable to conjure a single word. For others, it’ll mean starting, highlighting, deleting, and starting over again.

For me, it means starting and getting through. For me, NaNo is a partly an exercise in getting over all those little perfectionist quirks we develop over the years, the constant fear that what we’re writing is bad, that no one will ever read it, or the anxiety that our story zigged when it should have zagged 25,000 words ago. It’s means starting and not stopping, no matter what. Who cares if that character I killed on page 35 really needs to be on page 235 for the plot to keep going? Bring her back…you can iron out the details later. No one is going to know but you (I understand, though, that for some people, only you knowing is enough for people to freak the hell out…it used to freak me the hell out, too.)

This year, I’m doing something a little different. I’m going to be what the NaNo community calls being a “NaNo Rebel”, in that I’m not going to be writing a novel, but a screenplay. More accurately, it’ll be a series of screenplays, ultimately intended to find its way onto the web (one day, fingers crossed). It’s still going to be a long work of fiction that shares theme and characters and an overarching story, which the mods of the Nano Rebels forum assure is completely acceptable.

It’s also going to be set in the Blackwood Empire universe, because a web-series was always the ultimate goal. All the stories and fake news articles are, in a way, just world building and backstory for the on-screen endgame. Something I can point at and tell potential investors “Look, I’ve done the groundwork, here. I’ve built this world, developed these characters. I have the script ready. All we need to do is shoot.” It’s not that simple, of course…I’m just simplifying for the sake of brevity. Visual story telling is much more involved than written. When you write, all you need is a pen and paper (or a word processor, or other writing medium), and your imagination. Making something for the screen…that’s a completely different animal, even if the basic purpose, to tell a story, is the same.

So, my fellow writers out there. Are you participating in NaNo this year? If so, tell us what you’re working on, and good luck!

And so it begins (NaNoWriMo 2014)…

The NaNoWriMo Week Two Doldrums

During this year’s NaNo, I first heard of a concept known as the week two doldrums, in which the participant finds him or herself at a standstill. The pressure of hitting the daily count, good old writer’s block, and the call of the outside world can all contribute to this.

I myself have found myself facing this situation this year (last year it was more like week 3.5). I had reached a point where I began to feel the story I’ve chosen to write does not have the meat to carry 50,000 words. My protagonist was stowed away in a fortified bunker, and the antagonist was waiting outside with no way to get in. My two opposing forces had reached a stalemate, and so had I.

I’ve still been plugging away, however, nowhere near the point of giving it up. Granted, most of my word count has consisted of half page descriptions of air vents and loopy, overly complicated mental soliloquies meant to explain various character motivations, but the count has been made. I can reel all the bullshit in later. And, all of the garbage I’ve written this past week hasn’t been for naught. It’s simply helped me find the path.

I had a bit of an epiphany last night…that my story isn’t about the person I thought it was about. I went into this meaning to write a direct sequel to the work I produced during last year’s challenge, focusing on the character of Pixie Sinclaire. But Pixie isn’t the star here…she’s definitely a player in the events of the story, but it isn’t her story. It’s the story of Arufina Villanova, and the band of gunslinging assassins/bounty hunters sent to capture Sinclaire, and the dynamic between them. It’s a siege tale told in reverse…Assault on Precinct 13 told from the perspective of the gang members, Rio Bravo through the eyes of the bandits, Night of the Living Dead as told by the zombies (okay, that one’s a stretch). I began today’s writing session using this direction as my guide, and I’m happy to say that the story has been infused with a much needed shot of adrenaline.

Hopefully, I can keep this pace up. I’m coming up on the half way mark, both of the story and of my deadline, and I still have to get past the Thanksgiving holiday. The sudden change in direction means that re-writes are going to be a real pain, but I find myself looking forward to the challenge. I feel like I have the potential for a nice, action packed romp, and I think I can salvage it.

 

 

The NaNoWriMo Week Two Doldrums

NaNo13 Update

Well, it’s day four and NaNo is well underway. I think I’ve found a pretty good stride, and I think I’m doing a pretty good job of throwing caution to the wind.

Last year I spent as much time self editing while writing as I did actually writing. This year, I’m trying to maintain forward momentum, no matter what. Correcting typos and misspellings as I go is almost second nature to me…not much I can do about that. Hitting delete and fixing mistakes I know I’ve made is pretty much automatic. I’ve done it at least three times since I started typing this post.

Continue reading “NaNo13 Update”

NaNo13 Update

Gearing Up for NaNoWriMo 2013!

It’s almost here…National Novel Writing Month! The goal: Put 50,000 words to paper (or word processor, pick your medium of choice) before the end of November. 1667 words a day. Sound easy? It is…for the first few days. You’re starting something new…new characters, new problems, maybe even a new world if your thing is sci-fi/fantasy.

Then you start working on a plot, and second guessing yourself and begin worrying about revision. Not to mention, depending on whatever cultural traditions you adhere to, you have about three or four days where you’re surrounded by family, including nieces and nephews who keep bothering you to  watch them play Batman: Arkham City. Well, those are the complications I’ve faced in the past, anyway.

I first heard about NaNo a couple of years ago, but didn’t participate in earnest until last year. There are two schools of thought in the community; ‘Planners’, who spend October hammering out outlines and character sketches and what not, and ‘Pantsers’, so named for their tendency to write by the seat of their pants. I’m a natural procrastinator, so put me firmly in the ‘Pantser’ category. It’s disorganized, chaotic and stressful, and it’s a blast.

I kept up fairly well, but miscalculated and ended up having to spend the last day squeezing 6000 words out of my brain, not an easy task when you’re second or even triple guessing everything you’re putting down.

But that’s what NaNo is about…it’s about finding the freedom to write, and to write BADLY. It’s about expunging all the crappy metaphors and melodramatic scenarios you secretly  wish were okay to put down on paper, but would make anyone else eye-roll so hard the force would tear the skull from their spinal chord.

It’s about throwing caution to the wind and letting the story run rampant on the page without any sense, allowing yourself and your characters to be a little bit goofy. It’s supposed to be about fun. It’s about letting loose with a 500 quintillion megaton imagination H-Bomb on the world and reveling in the destruction.

Sifting through the fallout, picking through the wreckage and finding something salvageable…that’s what January is for.

So, if you happen to be reading this and are a writer who hasn’t heard of NaNoWriMo, check out the event’s page at NaNoWriMo.org. Hope to see you there!

Gearing Up for NaNoWriMo 2013!