Nanowrimo 2012

November starts tomorrow, having settled into its new role as the month where you do something a bit different in order to give you something to talk about on the internet. As I already have facial hair, I can’t take part in Movember, so instead it’ll be another attempt at National Novel Writing Month. Amazingly, despite the fact it’s spread far and wide from its origin as something attempted by a group of friends in San Francisco to become a worldwide phenomenon, that stubborn ‘National’ clings alone to the front, with no concerted efforts to either delete it or add an ‘inter’ before it it. That’s probably because people don’t want to work out how to pronounce ‘NoWriMo’ or InNaNoWriMo’ after putting so much effort into learning to pronounce NaNoWriMo.

(Of course, if National Novel Writing Month didn’t exist, it’d be the sort of thing the National Office of Importance would have produced a poster about)

Yet again, I will be attempting to produce fifty thousand words of something during the next thirty days, and as this will be my fifth attempt after four previous successes, I thought I should share my wisdom with you all and collate the lessons I’ve learned over those previous 200,000 words. I may go on at length, so if you want to read more, you’ll find it beneath the cut.
Continue reading Nanowrimo 2012

National Novel Writing Month

There’s just a week until the 2011 version of National Novel Writing Month kicks off, and as with all my previous attempts at it, I haven’t decided whether or not I’ll have the time to do it this year.

However, one thing I can report is that there’ll be write-in events taking place here in Colchester to support it, so if you want to take part and give it a try why not come along? They’ll be at Fifteen Queen Street on Thursdays from 7.30, or if you want that information in the form of an image:
National Novel Writing Month will be here in November. Here i... on Twitpic
There’s also a Nanowrimo Essex group on Facebook with details of events all around the county.


Yes, I’ve managed to finish National Novel Writing Month again, and have just passed 50,000 words. (Anticlimactically, the 50,000th word was a simple ‘a’)

It was harder this year than the two previous times I’ve tried it (2006 and 2009) because it became clear to me after a few days that the idea I had wasn’t really working. There’s the core of something interesting in there, but the way I’d chosen to tell it didn’t really fit with it and the characters weren’t really sparking into life and jumping off the page for me. Still, I carried on and just let the story wander where it wanted to, dropped in some lengthy digressions and diversions and just kept buggering on until I finally staggered across the finish line. In the end, it’s all good practice at finding ways to keep motivated, and that’s something I need to remember when I switch to working on a new project after a suitable break.

Light posting ahead

(Because I need an excuse for that, obviously)

Just to let you all know that I have decided to attempt NaNoWriMo again this year, so blog posts will be even sparser than usual until the end of the month, or until I abandon it, whichever comes first.

I may post some samples and updates on my LiveJournal, but I’m doing it slightly differently this year because I’m using Scrivener for the first time, which means I can jump about between different points in the story as and when inspiration strikes, rather than progressing entirely linearly in telling it. So, I won’t be posting the whole thing in sequence as I’ve done in previous years. However, I will try and post word count updates on Twitter as and when I’ve got something impressive to boast about, and may post the odd sample of the work in progress as proof.

For those of you really dedicated to keeping track of me, my profile on the main NaNoWriMo site is here.

50,000 words is nothing, right?

Those few of you who are long-term readers of this blog may well remember that in 2006 and 2009 I attempted – and completed – National Novel Writing Month (aka Nanowrimo, though I don’t know why a contest that requires you to be prolix needs a shortened version of its name).

I hadn’t really thought about doing it this year because of all the extra things filling up my time now, but seeing the @Nanowrimo twitter feed suddenly light up with activity again has got me thinking that maybe it might be worth trying again – after all, having achieved it twice under more optimal conditions, maybe I need to up the level of the challenge I’m facing by cutting down the effective time available.

Above all, though, what motivates me to consider doing it again is that the previous attempts have been fun. Starting off with a vaguely formed plot idea and then being compelled to follow it wherever it may go without the ability to go back, delete and rewrite is an interesting and sometimes exciting experience, shutting off the voice of my internal editor and just ploughing on towards the target, no matter how much retcon you have to use to make it all make sense.

So, I haven’t completely decided whether or not to do it, but I wanted to flag it up now just in case any of you who happen to read this want to go ahead and try it for yourselves – you’ve got all of 24 days to come up with a plot before it kicks off, which is weeks longer than I’ve had in previous years, so what’s stopping you?

Victory is mine

NaNoWriMo 2009 winner iconYes, I did it. With 4 days to spare, I managed to get over the NaNoWriMo finish line, and hit 50,000 words a little after midnight last night. For those of you who care about such things, the 50,000th word was ‘people’.

If you’re interested in what I’ve written, then the work-in-progress can be read here, but the fact that it was splurged at almost 2,000 words a day is very obvious. However, I do like the underlying story, and one of the advantages of going through the NaNoWriMo process is that you end up exploring all the little crevices of the story and the world it’s set in, because sometimes the only way to get to the words you need to keep on target is to release a giant pile of infodump.

So, I’ve kept up my 100% NaNoWriMo success rate – now 2 out of 2 – and all I have to do now is go and finish the actual story. And then rewrite it in a form which makes sense. And then probably rewrite that too…

This doesn’t count towards the 50,000

Back in 2006, after completing a rather more physical challenge, I attempted National Novel Writing Month(if the site’s not working because of so many people trying to get word counts, here’s the Wikipedia explanation), and finished it victorious, completing a 50,000 word book in a single month.

I intended to try it again in 2007 and 2008, but was too busy and didn’t get around to it. However this year, even though I’m pretty sure I’m busier than those two previous years, I’ve decided to have another go, in the hopes of making it 2 out of 2.

I’ve timed this post to go up just as I should be starting to write tonight, so wish me luck, look out for updates on Twitter, and if you’re brave enough to want to read what comes unedited and unfiltered out of my brain then there’ll be updates on my LiveJournal, as there were last time.