The Pyrenees---Southern France

The Pyrenees---Southern France

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Writers! NaNo-ers! Rebels!

        I went to the St. Louis Writer's Guild workshop yesterday. Donna Volkenannt and Linda O'Connell spoke about how writing about our lives is a smart way to go. (This is such a lame description of what they talked about, but I cannot spend too much time on laying out the highlights because...it's NaNoWriMo!)  Linda and Donna are both award-winning writers and have been published in many different collections. Their talk was inspiring and funny and spot-on.



          Then two writers spoke about NaNoWriMo. Several people I spoke to are crazy brave enough to do NaNo this year. Kim is working on a intriguing novel that revolves around an earthquake...and what happens next. (Do I have it right?) Donna Volkenannt is working on...well, she's keeping it a secret, I guess, or she said and I was in a menopausal moment. Linda O'Connell's working on--her 142 soon-to-be-published Chicken Soup story, so no NaNo for Nicole's Nana.
Lynn is doing NaNo, so I have someone I can wallow in misery with cheer on in my critique group.

       I'm a NaNo rebel this year. Last year I made it to the 50,000 word finish line, but now have 50,000 words which means it's only part of a novel (and a hot mess of a story it is, indeed). This year, I'm trying to add 50,000 more words to my 2012 project. However, I'm already behind, so we'll see...

      The suggestion came up to avoid all contractions while doing NaNo (I figured that out last year on my own) and reward yourself with chocolate after meeting small goals.

       Chocolate is always a good incentive... If you're doing straight NaNo or if you're a NaNo rebel like me, have a great month...
 

30 comments:

  1. Avoid contractions? So, word count trumps content? That's just stupid.

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  2. Shay--

    Different people do it different ways. I heard one guy who is writing some zombie novel, and in one chapter, he listed all the people who had gotten killed/eaten/taken over (whatever zombies do to people)--all 5,000 of them. Some people are revising as they go. I am working on the project that I began last year, so I'm filling in huge holes with much-needed "spackle." Also, I'm finishing it, since I had not gotten to the end. Last year, I DID avoid contractions, but during the year (after November) I went back revised it a little here and a little there.

    It does sound like it's silly and stupid and crazy, but turning off our inner critic and "just getting it down" is a valuable exercise. I DO know that if I hadn't done NaNo last year, I wouldn't be working on a novel right now. (I ain't no fiction writer. ;)

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  3. I don't know how you all do this...but I wish you well! Let us know how things progress.One tenth of November is gone today! Time flies.....

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    1. Claudia--Ssssh. Don't say that. I am behind, and with 1/10 gone, it makes me feel even more behind.

      By the way, your pictures of fall foliage were beautiful...

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  4. Yikes! Fifty thousand words of fiction? My lily liver can't take that. I feel faint just thinking about it. Get the smelling salts. Wait. I'll try to get them myself. You have writing to do.

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    1. Val--You could do it. Give Juno a newspaper, let her tear it up, and then rearrange the words--willy-nilly--and you'll get to 50,000 in no time...

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  5. Yesterday was fun. It was great to see you, Sioux. I always knew you were a rebel. And you didn't have a menopausal moment. I didn't reveal what my novel is about, but I'm plugging away on it. Believe it or not I'm enjoying it so far--just ask me in a week or two when I hit the mid-novel slump that the NaNo speakers mentioned. My biggest drawback is that I can't stop editing after I finish a chapter. And I'm using contractions all over the place, especially in dialogue. Finishing the "race" by cheating only cheats the cheater.

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    1. Donna--If you are editing as you go, that means that even if you don't reach the 50,000 word mark, you will NOT have a hot mess to clean up.

      I figure, whatever word count I get to, it's more than if I had not done NaNo...

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  6. Good for all of you for participating. Not me though. Maybe some year I will make the attempt. Sioux, I have many letters to work with around here, if I went with Lynn's example. Thanks for the food for thought, and have a wonderful week.

    Kathy M.

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    1. Kathy--I don't know if it's "good" of us or crazy of us for participating... ;)

      Thanks, and thank YOU for sharing such an interesting letter...

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  7. Another tip - if you use a hyphenated word, leave a space after the hyphen so the word counts as 2 ;-)
    What a treat hearing these two ladies speak. Nano On!

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  8. Kudos to you, Sioux for attempting this. You are amazing!

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    1. Linda-- ALREADY I am far behind. So I don't think amazing is the adjective I would use if I were you.

      However, every word I get down is one more than I would (probably) otherwise...

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  9. Hey Sioux, I was able to get a little caught up today. But with the things that are going on this month, I figured I have to write at least 3500 a day in order to make it. Egads. I'm being a bit of a NaNoRebel myself because I want to finish all the other stories I've started and since they okayed that you can continue working on something as long as it's new writing, then... so now I don't feel like I'm cheating. But I don't "cheat" with the whole contraction thing. I can stretch a scene though! Ha. Yes, all those ladies on Saturday were awesome!

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    1. Lynn--I'm with you there. If you write in a stilted way just to up your word count, you're going to have to go back and revise it, so I figure, save yourself the time and at least TRY to do it right the first time...

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  10. Okay, Blogger keeps kicking me out. Third try's a charm, right? I'm not doing NaNo this year, but I'll root for you. :) And Lynn's a great NaNo partner. Woot, woot!

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    1. Lisa--Lynn is wonderful at whatEVER she does. And thanks. When you cheer for Cathy, give a toot toot for me, too.

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  11. I say whatever gets the writing on the page is worthwhile. You all keep at it. I didn't know you could legally add to an already in progress work. I cheated and did it anyway. I got 888 words the first day - and stopped. It just seemed too forced, not the organic way I usually write. I wish I could plunge in like that, but alas, no. I get caught up in research and even if I could get the story flowing, I type about 12 words a minute. I'd never make it.

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    1. Marcia--No, I'm not doing it the "legal" way, hence my acceptance of the "rebel" title. Yeah, I don't think I'm going to make it either, but at least I'm making progress with my story...

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  12. Look at you, all SUPER busy over here, rockin' Nano word counts. And why would you say you don't do fiction? You do! You write your stories--and SELL them all the time. Beginning, middle and end. That's all you need for a great story, no matter how many words. You got this, you rebel, you! :-)

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    1. Cathy--That's like the pot callin' the kettle black. Oh wait, if this was part of my NaNo, I would have written, "That is similar to the cooking container known as a dark colored pot whispering--no, yelling--that the container used to heat water is also a dark color."

      Yeah, that's the ticket.

      Seriously, I've had to prepare for a sub twice this week (dental appointment and a writing festival for kids) which meant I had to spend two evenings doing novel-long lesson plans instead of NaNo. This weekend, I will have to write 14,000 to catch up (only a slight exaggeration).

      Thanks for the words of encouragement. You, too. Write like the wind, you fellow rebel.

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  13. I'm full of angsty-torment over not doing NaNo this year. On the other hand I feel great not to be stressed out over a word count. Guess I've got a case of multiple NaNo personalities.

    Pat
    Critter Alley

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    1. Pat--You just gave me an idea. I could increase my word count by having one of my characters have multiple personality disorder. Triple or quadruple the dialogue...

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  14. Just think of me as an old, grumpy cheerleader whose knees hurt too much to jump. But I am nonetheless deeply impressed, contractions or not. Go Sioux!

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    1. Tammy--I am going to need more than a cheerleader, because I am over 10,000 words behind--as of yesterday. Yikes!

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  15. I have a character with a stutter, hence double words ...

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    1. Marcia--Yeah, Gerry Mandel suggested that. I am going to have a character who stutters with OCD--they are obsessed with making sure they stutter, so they repeat what they stutter several times, to make sure and count the words they stumble over--triple or quadruple the word count...

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  16. I'm jealous that you're (you are) doing NaNo this year. I did it once many years ago, and considered having a protagonist who stuttered or stammered so I could increase the word count!

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    1. Mary--

      You? Jealous of someone who is already crashing and burning?

      Don't. I'm pathetically behind. AND I have a pathetic behind. ;)

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Thanks for your comments. I appreciate you taking the time to stop by...