Tuesday, November 28, 2006

After Nanowrimo - downer

I have to say, the Nanowrimo, novel writing month was a huge high... the beginning, the progress, the finishing - all exciting and life changing.

Here I am, at the end of the month, rough draft in hand, feeling a little down. I still feel like writing, but unlike when I was working on my novel, there seem to be good excuses to not write!

I'm hoping that a new novel writing group with spur me on (maybe not a good approach! Ha!) . All I need is something to read to them when we gather, and that will probably work out.

Also - I'm reading and almost done "No Plot? No Problem!" by Chris Baty - a good book for sure. A real preparation manual for Nanowrimo - I wish I'd had it before I'd finished my novel. I will be reading it again before the next novel writing month - likely to happen in June, although I'm sure there will be other writing before then.

A few key items in the book that I found good ideas that I never followed in my month:
1) Outline for a week or so before the novel writing starts (I worked on the fly all the way)
2) keep a "novel ideas" file open at the same time as the novel to put random thoughts
3) Some word processor ideas to mark bits and pieces as being "bad", i.e. transparent etc..

Otherwise, I think I did pretty well - I regret not outlining more, as it left my novel in a sorry state - not publishable without sizeable edits, large sections removed or relocated etc... A jumble of ideas. I like the ideas though - so that is a huge accomplishment. I'm just having trouble going back to it.

Someone did offer to do a novel swap though, and I'm reading "Shark" by atomic_willis, although I'm still days away from a real review.

Friday, November 24, 2006

Nanowrimo 2006

If you're ever, ever, ever even remotely considered writing a novel (I have for years - since I was a teenager), then I highly recommend trying out the Nanowrimo competition. The 2006 one is almost over - it happens in November every year, but there is always next year.

It is a competition with yourself, there are no prizes except that if you finish, you have a nice, shiny new rough draft of a novel. The support network is amazing, full of like minded, delusional people also trying to finish a 50,000 word novel in 30 days.

Check out www.nanowrimo.org site.

I was roped into this by my good friend Andy, who casually pointed me to the web page one day in an email, subject line: “Interesting Challenge”. So, something like 3 or 4 months later, we're chatting about it in the weeks leading up to November.

Andy: “So, are you going to do it?”

Travis: “Sure! Why the hell not?”

My first day, November 1st. I couldn't sleep, I'm up just after 6AM, wired (I don't drink coffee - this is caffeine free!). I am at work by 7:15AM (unprecedented outside of a support call). I start writing. I was a purist – while the site says you are allowed all the outlining you want before November, as long as you write the prose starting midnight Nov 1, I didn't even know the main character's name going in. No outlines - nothing but a concept that had come to me while watching a mediocre sci-fi movie.

8:30AM, I'm at 1400 words and completely stoked. I know, know that I will finish this. It is one of the greatest moments of my life! That made it all worth it, that first morning.

I never duplicated that feeling for the rest of November. However, it was pretty close, when at 6:45 on November 22nd, I check my word count and I'm at 50016 words! It is awesome, and I love my ending – I can hardly ask for more!

Check it out – you will thank me!