Call Myself a Writer?

November 2, 2010

NaNoWriMo Restart

Filed under: NaNoWriMo,Writing — trishtash @ 12:17 pm
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I started NaNoWriMo yesterday, and wrote 1840 words.  But they were the wrong ones.  The premise of this NaNovel is all wrong for me and the writing was dreary and depressing, so I’m starting again today, but I’m planning a completely different story, and writing it in a different way – for me, anyway.

When I have a work-in-progress I do 2-3 pages of warm-up writing in an A4 notebook.  I would like to do this every day, but the novelty always wears off after a few days. I do manage to stick to it during NaNo, though.  So, this morning, I was doing my warm up, and I wondered how easy it would be to write my NaNo longhand.  (I don’t call it a novel, because it isn’t.  It’s a sort of pre-novel).  After all, I love it – the look of it – and the feel of my hand drifting across the notebook page leaving lines and loops in its wake.  And it slows down my thinking, so the writing itself is different from when I type.  It may even be better, but I can’t really judge that, because I’ve never done a complete work that way.

I counted up the words on a couple of pages in my notebook and there are around 220 per page, so if I start today, and do eight pages a day, that’ll be 1760 words daily, which will amount to 51,000+ by 30th November.

The next decision I have to make is whether to type it up daily or leave it till later.  If I type it up as I go, I’d probably be tempted to edit as I type it up.  Which is A Bad Thing in NaNoWriMo, so I think I’m inclined to just count up the approximate amount I’ve written by the end, and paste the appropriate number of words from somewhere on my computer, into the NaNoWriMo word verifier at the end.  I won’t cheat, I promise.  There’s no point in cheating anyway.  I can then type it up when I get to the editing stage.

All of a sudden, I’m rather excited about (re)starting NaNoWriMo a day late.  Let’s see how it goes.  I may be back here in a day or so telling you it was A Terrible Idea. 🙂

Right!  I’m off to buy a new notebook.  Or two.

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November 24, 2009

So I Win Again…

Filed under: NaNoWriMo,Writing — trishtash @ 9:59 am
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So, last night, twenty three days into NaNoWriMo 2009, I hit the official target of 50,000+ words. Have I finished NaNoWriMo?  Nope.  Not at all.  I’ve more or less kept to the rough outline I put together in the days leading up to 1 November, and I’ve also deviated from it in parts, but it’s all a bit of a mish-mash at the moment.

NaNovel09 is a mystery story, as I intended, but for the most part it was a mystery to me too.  I’ve been just dropping in chapters that cover various points in the forty year timeline, and from the POV of four of my main characters, focusing largely on the MAIN main character, and my secondary character (who, at times, has shown signs that she wants to be the main main character.  And I might let her share top billing, but we’ll have to see if she gets her way).  I think, when it’s all over and while I’m giving the thing its well deserved rest, I’m going to have to do a bit of reading, of similar genre novels to see how to handle this problem of telling a story which is largely made up of backstory without giving away the secret.

Meanwhile, now I’ve reached 50K, I need to keep up the pace, as I’ve set myself a new target, of 70,000 words by the end of the month, or to finish the story, whichever happens sooner.

October 15, 2009

Turning To Crime?

Filed under: NaNoWriMo,Writing — trishtash @ 8:58 am
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nano_09_red_participant_120x240.pngI’m gearing up for NaNoWriMo again.

It’s tricky, this time. Last year I knew what I wanted to write, because I had a fully formed story in my head, which had been fermenting there for almost a year. All I had to do was write a little outline to keep me on track and when 1st November came along, off I went.

This year I don’t have a clue. Or do I?

I spent a few days in bed a week or so ago, with swine flu, Ruth Rendell, Minette Walters and Kathy Reichs, and am currently spending time with Kate Atkinson in her crime writer mode. So, I’m thinking, why not write a mystery?

I know why not. I have no idea how to go about planning one. Do I start at the beginning, with a dead body, and hope to find out who done it as I go? That’s apparently how Minette Walters does it. Or do I start with the solution and work backwards?

I’m hoping to find out, soon. I had a few pounds in Amazon vouchers built up from my Valued Opinions survey rewards, so I went along and had a look at yet more writing ‘how to’ books. I’ve ordered a couple (which should arrive today – I just tracked them and they’re out for delivery) so we’ll see if they help.

I’ll keep you posted.

September 21, 2009

Rediscovering Write or Die

Filed under: NaNoWriMo,Writing,Writing Help — trishtash @ 9:25 am
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Yesterday, in an attempt to break my writer’s block, I wrote some stuff which will eventually become a short story to be submitted to Wyvern Publications as a Mertale, using the wonderful web application Write or Die.

I first discovered this last November during my first NaNoWriMo, though I didn’t use it as I didn’t actually feel the need.

Write or Die forces you to keep writing by turning the screen red if you stop for a few seconds. If you have the sound turned up (which i didn’t) it also plays irritating music. You can adjust the grace period from ‘forgiving’ to ‘strict’ to ‘evil’, so that the red screen/music kicks in sooner or later, and you can also adjust the mode. In Kamikaze mode, for example, the program starts to ‘unwrite’ what you’ve written. I found it effective enough to set it on the lowest settings (forgiving and simple) and managed around 3,500 words in a couple of two hour writing sessions, so it had the required effect.

You can use it for works in progress as it prompts you to copy and paste during use and also after you’ve clicked the ‘done’ button. It keeps a word count – though I found that this diminished significantly after I’d pasted it into Open Office, but never mind. I still wrote more than I had for months.  If you want to use it for timed writing, you can do that too, as it has a timer.  Or just go in and start writing till you run out of steam.

Whether I’m pleased with the actual output is a different matter, but I’m sure that’ll improve. I’m just out of practice, and anyway, that’s what editing’s for. I just need to do it regularly and hope the quality stuff emerges (again) sooner rather than later.

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