Nanowrimo?

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semicolon
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Nanowrimo?

Postby semicolon » Mon Sep 03, 2007 8:53 am UTC

I don't know if the Books forum is intended to contain discussion on writing, but if it isn't, it should be, so there.

Anybody doing Nanowrimo this year? For those not cool and hip and in-the-know like I am, Nanowrimo is an attempt by 100,000 people or so to write a 50,000 word novel in the month of November. 1667 words a day. Needless to say, it's fucking hard. And the writing it turns up is usually terrible (I was going to post a sample of my novel from last year -- the same sample I posted on nanowrimo.org, and the only bit of my novel I can find since a HD crash last year made me lose it... no big loss though. If the sample is any indication, the novel was garbage. The sample sucked, is what I'm saying. Otherwise I'd've posted it.), but the goal is quantity, not quality, with the intention of going back and revising it. Chances, are, the first draft is shitty, but that's the point. It's there. Finally, ripped out of the depths of the writer's mind and put onto page after glorious page! In actual, physical form, a real, honest to god novel! That's the idea. Just getting it down on paper.

And shitty or not, it's a pretty huge accomlishment. Pretty grueling, too, especially since November is a busy month as it is. School has gotten into swing, and the workload is picking up. Then there's Thanksgiving. So it's tough. Last year my final wordcount was 50016, finishing a day early -- I remember getting halfway through a sentence, thinking, "I think I hit 50,000 a few words back. I should check!", plugging the thing into a word count applet, and seeing it spit that glorious number back out. I closed the document where I was, mid-sentence, sat back in my chair, basked in my own glory, then never opened that worthless excuse for a novel again.

So I didn't really produce anything useful. But that's not really the goal. Actually, a few Nanowrimo-produced novels have actually gone onto get published (though not before heavy, heavy editing), but for the most part, the novels produced during Nanowrimo aren't really intended as works of art. Of course, there is a certain art in the sort of writing produced during the frenzied, reckless writing marathons of Nanowrimo, but objectively, it's almost all garbage. Which is okay! I wrote a novel! 50,000 words! Quality words or not, that's an accomplishment. I'm not a particularly hard worker in really any part of my life. I get Bs and As, but that comes pretty easily to me. I'd never really undertaken a project of such hugeness and difficulty as Nanowrimo. And when I finished, it was great. It was very self-affirming. After all, if I can write a novel, what the fuck can't I do?

I hope this doesn't come off as bragging. Thousands of people do it every year, so I'm not all that special. Some people even write 100,000 or 150,000 word novels in that time. Some of those people even have jobs and kids. Finishing 50,000 words isn't all that difficult when the only obligation you have is homework, but I can't imagine doing that while trying to make a living or trying to raise children. And I definitely can't imagine twice or three times that amount of work. It's crazy. A testament to the power of hard work, I guess.

I'm rambling though, so I'll wrap it up. Apologies to anybody who has read this long.

If you write, or if you have always thought about writing, or if you're even midly curious about writing, or if you just want to do something fucking crazy, I highly recommend Nanowrimo.

That said, has anybody else on XKCD done it before? Last year was my first win. The year before, the first time I did it, I got to 8,000 words and lost steam. I went to an anime convention one weekend, and when I got back I just couldn't get back into the mindset to write. It sucked. Last year was awesome, though.

I still can't think up an idea for what to write about this year though. I have one idea, but I don't even know if I'd be able to develop that into something short-story length, much less novel-length. I had a pretty good idea before that, but then I realized it relied on the "A bunch of twenty-something dudes in an apartment have a wacky adventure, and they get drunk at least once and have witty banter about all sorts of things that aren't at all relevant to the plot" cliche yet again. People tell me the witty banter is pretty hilarious, but it's basically the only fucking thing I write. I didn't realize this until a few months ago. So I'm going to try something different this year. I just have to come up with something. So please wish me luck with that.

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Postby Jesse » Mon Sep 03, 2007 9:29 am UTC

I'm looking at doing a novelization of my Remembrance series, but it depends on whether I'm starting my new job at the time or not.

I'll probably still give it a go anyway, it's always good fun.

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Postby __Kit » Mon Sep 03, 2007 10:12 am UTC

Congrats. but, Fuck. That. Shit.
Also maybe use (STEAL) the 'slightly glowing man idea' from the Ideas thread?
=]

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Postby Narsil » Mon Sep 03, 2007 3:11 pm UTC

I think everyone should use (STEAL) that idea and post the story they come up with. It would be interesting to see everyone's take on the same idea.
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Postby Lyra Ngalia » Mon Sep 03, 2007 3:38 pm UTC

I won NaNo last yar. Book was utter garbage and I never finished it (in fact, never look at it again once December came). It's a real creative rush and screws up my writing style like no other, but even though I swore I wouldn't do it again, I've caught myself making a mental cast of characters and outline in my spare time, so maybe?
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Postby Bakemaster » Mon Sep 03, 2007 3:50 pm UTC

I've never done it before, but this year I may make an attempt. The only problem would be it getting in the way of writing short stories.
Narsil wrote:I think everyone should use (STEAL) that idea and post the story they come up with. It would be interesting to see everyone's take on the same idea.

*cough*
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Postby Wolf » Mon Sep 03, 2007 3:56 pm UTC

I'll be doing it. I won the last two years in a row (I haven't finished either novel yet, though), and am excited to go for a third. It should be tons of fun.

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Postby podbaydoor » Mon Sep 03, 2007 5:21 pm UTC

I've thought about it time and time again, but this November looks to be especially horrifying for me since I am actually getting into the journalism part of my journalism major. Deadlines on top of deadlines.

A bigger consideration is that I struggle with producing 500 words. So, no.
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Postby Lyra Ngalia » Mon Sep 03, 2007 5:40 pm UTC

podbaydoor wrote:A bigger consideration is that I struggle with producing 500 words. So, no.


That was my concern when I first heard of NaNoWriMo, but afterwards, 500 words was nothing. NaNo really teaches you to write fast (albeit, not well).
Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration. I will face my fear. I will permit it to pass over me and through me. And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path... Only I will remain.

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Postby william » Mon Sep 03, 2007 9:00 pm UTC

500 words is a lot shorter than it seems. I found that out when I wrote a college admissions essay.
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Postby bbctol » Mon Sep 03, 2007 11:00 pm UTC

I'm doing it. First time.

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Postby dagron » Mon Sep 03, 2007 11:56 pm UTC

I can't imagine anything I'd be able to write about for 50,000 words, regardless of how much time I had to do it in.

Also, I hate writing.

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Postby Aetre » Tue Sep 04, 2007 2:41 am UTC

I did it back in 2004. Here is the successful result.

I don't know if I'll do it this year; it would take a lot of time that I'm not really sure I'll have. Also, once you've already done it, the appeal of trying isn't all that high.

...Though it would be nice to be that productive with writing again. I dunno. We'll see.

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Postby Durinthal » Tue Sep 04, 2007 4:13 am UTC

I have never been able to participate due to classwork, so perhaps next year for me. It's a great idea, though.

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Postby Maseiken » Tue Sep 04, 2007 6:25 am UTC

I will,
I only got 14,000 last year so... fingers crossed!
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Postby podbaydoor » Tue Sep 04, 2007 6:30 am UTC

Lyra Ngalia wrote:
podbaydoor wrote:A bigger consideration is that I struggle with producing 500 words. So, no.


That was my concern when I first heard of NaNoWriMo, but afterwards, 500 words was nothing. NaNo really teaches you to write fast (albeit, not well).


That's the problem. I can let my mind run away and produce tons of stuff (have written more than one overdue essay with this method :P) but most of it is crap, so before long I have to go back and edit. I don't want to generate worthless words, I want things to be polished. And so I cripple myself and 1000 words becomes a huge accomplishment.
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Postby grim heart » Tue Sep 04, 2007 8:30 am UTC

Maseiken wrote:I will,
I only got 14,000 last year so... fingers crossed!


Same... which is a shame because for that first week it was going so well. :P

Probably won't do it again this year due to courseload, but I may if the fancy strikes me.

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Postby LE4dGOLEM » Tue Sep 04, 2007 10:34 am UTC

I'm gonna do it!
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Postby Narsil » Tue Sep 04, 2007 7:49 pm UTC

Part of me, the war-scarred veteran from last year, is screaming "NO! DON'T! FOR THE LOVE OF GOD WHYYYYYYYYYYYY?!?" and yet, there's another part in my head, incidentally the same part that found fun in pretending a tree was a castle and a branch was a mighty sword, that remembers the raw feeling of creativity flowing from my brain out my hands, stopping nowhere.
That part right now is already working on ideas.
I know which part will win out, in the end.
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Postby Lyra Ngalia » Wed Sep 05, 2007 12:51 am UTC

The "FOR THE LOVE OF GOD NOT AGAIN" part and the "OOO, PLOT!" part are still battling it out, though I think "OOO, PLOT!" is winning. As a concession to "FTLOGNA," I might concentrate less on word count this year and more on substance.
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Postby Ketzerei » Wed Sep 05, 2007 1:38 am UTC

Thinkin' of it. I think alternately in wordless concepts and complete cinematic scenes, so I'm not really a natural at translating creative musings into words. Which is, you know, something I'd like to fix. I'm also lousy at getting myself to write, which is kind of an important skill for certain university courses. So yeah, self-challenge and all that.
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Postby bookishbunny » Wed Sep 05, 2007 6:17 pm UTC

I was going to, but I got cast in another play. It's a really small part, and we open on Halloween (time frees up a little once we're in performance), so I may still attack it.
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Postby LE4dGOLEM » Wed Sep 05, 2007 6:36 pm UTC

bookishbunny wrote:I was going to, but I got cast in another play. It's a really small part, and we open on Halloween (time frees up a little once we're in performance), so I may still attack it.


Being in a play is often far superior to actually watching said play.
*experience knows all*
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Postby bookishbunny » Wed Sep 05, 2007 6:40 pm UTC

LE4dGOLEM wrote:
bookishbunny wrote:I was going to, but I got cast in another play. It's a really small part, and we open on Halloween (time frees up a little once we're in performance), so I may still attack it.


Being in a play is often far superior to actually watching said play.
*experience knows all*


Mmm...I enjoy both. I'm a really easy audience member, unlike many in the community here.
This should be a kick-ass one to watch (Dracula. I'm a succubus!).
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Postby Mighty Jalapeno » Wed Sep 05, 2007 6:42 pm UTC

I'm going to have my fourth crack at it this year. I failed the first three.

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Postby Severus Severance » Thu Sep 06, 2007 12:56 am UTC

Yes.

I expect to win this time.

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Postby Phi » Thu Sep 06, 2007 2:43 am UTC

I'm a Senior, college applications and the like. But I'm just about done with my personal statement, and it should be done by November anyway. I'm also in a play, but it finishes just as November hits. As an added bonus, I get my wisdom teeth pulled in November, so writing whilst on Vicoden ahoy! Oh, the joys of feeling... fine.

All in all, I'll attempt it. My goal is about 30,000, but if I make it to that I'm going to push for 50,000. For me, subjects such as Physics/Math/Ihaveajob are more important than creative writing. Which is unfortunate sometimes, I s'pose.

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Postby TheSocialistAvenger » Thu Sep 06, 2007 2:55 am UTC

Yes. I found out about it last year and never got started on a book, but this year I started planning two days ago. I plan to write a science fiction book and if I run out of ideas I'll do something like this.

Raymond Chandler wrote:When in doubt, have a man come through a door with a gun in his hand.


With any luck by the time I'm finished it will be so convoluted that I won't have to worry about continuity.

And I liked this interview.

Matthew Keeter wrote:I found that writing early in the morning makes the plot more fluid. I also found that it made me less likely to remember what I wrote the previous day. The resulting plot holes are always entertaining; exploded apartment buildings magically became reassembled between paragraphs, and my protagonist's car mysteriously followed him around---even if he was using public transportation, his car was always there when he needed it.
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Postby Mighty Jalapeno » Thu Sep 06, 2007 4:41 am UTC

I mean, I KNOW I can do it... I wrote 25,000 words in one night before. However, I have serious blank-page phobia, and I'm excellent at playing games instead of writing.

But this time, for SURE! This time, November isn't just a month.... my daughter will be born in the 27th (scheduled c-section), that will be my last moment to do ANYTHING for quite some time.

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Postby Flying Betty » Fri Sep 07, 2007 5:46 am UTC

It always looks intriguing and I've lurked the forums for the past few years, but I've never done it. If I'm still unemployed by the time November rolls around I will give it a shot this year. I have lots of ideas rolling around in my brain but nothing cohesive or coherent. It will be an interesting challenge.

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Postby mayhaps » Fri Sep 07, 2007 6:05 am UTC

Oooh, good luck to all of you who are doing it. When that time rolls around, I'd like to hear some 'plot' ideas. I don't think I have the time... even if I did, it would have to be some sort of short stories collection; none of my ideas last long enough for a novel. But it's definately a very cool thing, and I will do it eventually.

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Postby Ptera » Sat Sep 08, 2007 11:12 pm UTC

I might actually do this. It depends on whether I'm too wiped out after defending my General Exam (Grad School) on Nov 1st. I've been in the planning stages of a book for a good year now, so at least I can hit the ground running. Does anybody know how many paperback pages 50,000 words comes out to?

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Postby Narsil » Sat Sep 08, 2007 11:39 pm UTC

That probably wouldn't even get you 200 pages.

Assuming 7-10 words a line, 35-40 lines a page, that's 245 to 400 words a page, divide 50,000 by that, that's...
Yeah, 205 pages at the most, 125 at the least.
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Postby semicolon » Sat Sep 08, 2007 11:49 pm UTC

To all of you "well, I would do it but I'm gonna be busy with X this year..." people.

Do it anyway. Even a quick glance at the Nano forums will tell you that a lot of the people there, hell, even some of the most successful ones, are some of the busier people you'll meet. And that makes the whole experience even better.

Personally, I have an AP Euro class this year, which, I'm told, is basically the hardest class you can take in high school, and I'm still going to do it. Why not? What's the worst that can happen?

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Postby Narsil » Sat Sep 08, 2007 11:55 pm UTC

Your desk could be made of poisonous bees.
Spoiler:
EsotericWombat wrote:MORE JUNK THAN YOUR BODY HAS ROOM FOR

Mother Superior wrote:What's he got that I dont?
*sees Narsil's sig*
Oh... that.

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Postby Jesse » Sun Sep 09, 2007 7:08 am UTC

My one fear is that November will finally be the month Sparx gets his act together and we blitz our next graphic novel, which should have been done by the end of August, but wasn't. If he does that then I can't afford to turn him down, but there's no way I can switch between writing a graphic novel and a normal novel, two very different writing styles and ideas.

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Postby LE4dGOLEM » Sun Sep 09, 2007 3:28 pm UTC

Narsil wrote:Your desk could be made of poisonous bees.


He'll show the professor it'll take more than deadly, deadly bees to stop him [s]harvesting the space honey[/s] passing the class!
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Postby semicolon » Sun Sep 09, 2007 3:37 pm UTC

Jesster wrote:My one fear is that November will finally be the month Sparx gets his act together and we blitz our next graphic novel, which should have been done by the end of August, but wasn't. If he does that then I can't afford to turn him down, but there's no way I can switch between writing a graphic novel and a normal novel, two very different writing styles and ideas.

So if that happens, drop the novel. No reason not to start just in case other stuff comes up.

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Postby Lyra Ngalia » Sun Sep 09, 2007 9:00 pm UTC

semicolon wrote:To all of you "well, I would do it but I'm gonna be busy with X this year..." people.

Do it anyway.


I won NaNo last year while working on an undergrad senior design project that ended up with a 100+ page analysis document (as well as proposals and other review presentations). I also met a man who wrote two NaNoWriMo novels (that's 100,000 words) in one month while holding down a full-time job.

It's doable. And it doesn't hurt to start. I think the thing that helps the most is getting involved with other participants in your city. After all, misery loves company. ;)
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Postby Anomie » Sun Sep 09, 2007 9:05 pm UTC

I think I might give it a shot, it can't do any harm. I've been trying to motivate myself to collect all my ramblings anyway.
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