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Watcha Writin'?

Discussion in 'Arts & Entertainment' started by Zkribbler, Nov 18, 2017.

  1. Zkribbler

    Zkribbler Deity

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    I'm seriously rethinking this. :think: One thing that was stopping me was my aversion to grinding out 1700 words per day. :badcomp: Some days this won't be possible, and it just sounds too mechanical :borg: Then I came across this woman's vlog:
    5,000 words her first day. 5,000 words her last day. Taking days off in the middle. :sleep:This sounds more like me. :hug: I did some research and, although NaNiWriMo encourages starting with a new work, this isn't a absolute rule as long as already-written words are not submitted.

    I'm 4,000 words into Mammon's Throne, but have been stuck for months. :cringe: Maybe I'll go with this.
     
  2. Synsensa

    Synsensa Retired Moderator

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    I'm not a daily-word-count person. With NaNo I'll have several zero days and then days where I pump out 5k+. I find that works better than trying to be consistent.
     
  3. Zkribbler

    Zkribbler Deity

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    Naw, I want a comedy: Eek, my spacefaring swashbuckler. I've only been working on it for 10 years. So far: 2,750 words. :yeah:
     
  4. aimeeandbeatles

    aimeeandbeatles uolǝɯɹǝʇɐʍ

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    I sometimes have trouble with my 300 words-a-day goal. NaNo would break me.

    I found that being consistent about it works better for me, though.

    Right now, my story's plot is running off the rails. Stuff keeps happening that I hadn't planned. I'm just going to let it go where it wants.

    I'm not surprised it happened, and it's part of the reason I decided to wait until I'd gotten a decent part of it done before posting it. So if I have to go back and edit old chapters to make it make more sense, it won't be a pain.
     
  5. Zkribbler

    Zkribbler Deity

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    I've found when my characters take over, the story gets much better.
     
  6. Zkribbler

    Zkribbler Deity

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    I'm thinking more about Mammon's Throne. But instead of a NaNoWriMo project, I think I'll simply return to writing it and setting myself and unofficial completion goal of Nov. 30. :coffee:

    Edit: I looked over my info on novel length, and it appears a crime/science fiction should be at least 80,000 words, not the 50,000 required by NaNoWriMo.
     
    Last edited: Oct 4, 2019
  7. aimeeandbeatles

    aimeeandbeatles uolǝɯɹǝʇɐʍ

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    When I got sick, I temporarily lowered my daily goal to 100 words a day. Now I'm starting to inch it back up. :)

    I was going over my old draft, too. There were a couple parts in it where the story took over but I couldn't figure out what was going on. But now they make sense when taken in context with my new draft. I guess some of the ideas were already somewhere in my mind.
     
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  8. aimeeandbeatles

    aimeeandbeatles uolǝɯɹǝʇɐʍ

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    I finished my third chapter! :)
     
  9. Zkribbler

    Zkribbler Deity

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    I had planned on submitting "Yule," my Viking Christmas story, to the Writers of the Future contest this quarter, but my inability to conceive of the necessary "bio bad" has left it floundering. :sad:

    Maybe I'll replace it with "Dancing on Air," a near-future story about a maimed recluse who falls in love. I haven't worked on this since I moved to the Philippines a decade ago.

    I might also take up "YesterWorld" a far future novel which takes place in a world where the laws of physics have been replaced my the rule of magic.
     
  10. Kyriakos

    Kyriakos Alien spiral maker

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    So, how does this Nanowrimo thing work? Do they give you themes and is there a (lower) word limit? :)
     
  11. Synsensa

    Synsensa Retired Moderator

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    The NaNo camps have lower word count requirements, as you set the milestone yourself. NaNoWriMo during November is 50k. No themes. You can write whatever you want, although typically the expectation is a novel of some kind. It's not a true competition, though, so it doesn't matter. The most boiled-down interpretation is "50 thousand words during November."

    Some writing workshops and groups have NaNoWriMo-themed prompts. I've never bothered as I don't see the point of them.
     
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  12. aimeeandbeatles

    aimeeandbeatles uolǝɯɹǝʇɐʍ

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    I'll set my milestone to 1 word, then!
     
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  13. Kyriakos

    Kyriakos Alien spiral maker

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    So, which part of Nanowrimo would one be advised to participate in, if they just want to send something with at least some chance of being published as a result of participation?
     
  14. Synsensa

    Synsensa Retired Moderator

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    @Valka D'Ur probably pays attention to that more than I do. I know that a couple people over the years have been published as a result of NaNoWriMo, but my offhand perspective is that the chance of such is bordering on 0.00001%. It's not really an event for finding financial success.
     
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  15. Zkribbler

    Zkribbler Deity

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    It's my understand, NaNaWriMo doesn't publish and doesn't help you get published. It's purpose is to get you writing.
     
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  16. Kyriakos

    Kyriakos Alien spiral maker

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    :eek:
     
  17. aimeeandbeatles

    aimeeandbeatles uolǝɯɹǝʇɐʍ

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    For some people thats difficult.
     
  18. Zkribbler

    Zkribbler Deity

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    When I was still in the US a decade ago, I wrote Chap. 1 and the first halves of Chaps 2 & 3. I "pantsed" them, writing into the dark. Nowadays, I prefer writing with more structure laid out before me.

    E.g.. In those chapters, I spoke of my big bad as the God of Death. I'm now thinking of what kind of "god" he can be. Not a god-god surely, for then, how can he be defeated? I'm thinking instead of a godlike creature, say e.g. a lich, a powerful evil mage who is still clinging to his corpse even though he is dead. :evil:
     
    Last edited: Oct 16, 2019
  19. Kyriakos

    Kyriakos Alien spiral maker

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    I can write 50k/month, but apparently there is little incentive :)
     
  20. Valka D'Ur

    Valka D'Ur Hosting Iron Pen in A&E Retired Moderator

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    You are allowed to write more than 50,000 words, if you want to. The only criteria for winning is that you have at least 50,000 words and that you validate that by 11:59 pm (not sure if that's Pacific time or your own time zone).

    My first win in 2016 had over 62,000 words.

    That's how it happens, sometimes. I've been having some odd turns of plot running through my mind in the last couple of days. Since I'm working on two different versions of the story at the same time, I've got some scenes that work in both versions, some that could work in one but not the other, and some that would only work if I started yet another alternate version.

    And then I've got another one that's a crossover with the story I tried to do last time but got writer's block. I've decided how the crossover can actually work, so I will work on that one as well at some point. Basically, it involves my 11th-century character accidentally time traveling to the present day to the setting in the Park Ranger games It's a "fish out of water" story with a twist, and is intended to be purely for fun... and will also help me write part of the story I'd intended to write for the Park Ranger novel I left off last year.

    Sometimes all it takes is letting your mind go stream-of-consciousness for a bit with your characters and their situations, and a new solution can come out of it. Even my crossover can partially fit in with either of the other versions.

    You have an advantage I don't. You live in a very large city where there are likely lots of meetups so you can meet other participants in person, bounce ideas off them, and you could probably find a few new clients who might like the idea of having someone to edit their stories and give them a few pointers.

    The email I got yesterday said I should be getting lots of emails from my "municipal liaison", but of course that doesn't take into account that being in Red Deer - halfway between Edmonton and Calgary - I don't have a local liaison.

    The Camp events used to have a minimum word count of 10,000. That's a fair minimum in my view, since it's easily doable at 334 words/day. Assuming I have an outline and know what and where the story's main points are supposed to happen, I can knock that out in about 20 minutes.

    One thing you need to know from the start: Nobody at NaNoWriMo will ever read your novel, unless you choose to post it on the forum, on a cabin message board, or as a synopsis on your own page. Winners are determined by word count that is verified when you copy/paste your novel into the field where a computer algorithm counts the words. If you have at least 50,000 (in November) or at least whatever your stated goal is in a Camp event, you'll be greeted by a message saying, "Congratulations, Winner" and a link to your winners' goodies.

    There are no free tangible prizes, unless you opt to print out the winner's certificate. Downloadable free prizes include images suitable for banners and avatars, as well as the aforementioned certificate (I'm using the avatar on another gaming forum, since some of the other people in that group have been encouraging me to continue these stories - some of them have played the games I'm novelizing, and there have been a few suggestions to explain why a pepperoni pizza was left on the roof of an abandoned mine shaft).

    The way the other prizes work is that winners receive discount codes for books on writing, writing software, and other online resources - some of which have included help for people who want to publish their novels.

    @Kyriakos, if you want to try NaNoWriMo without feeling stressed to write 50,000 words in 30 days (they recommend doing 1667 words/day; I personally recommend a bit more, just in case your word processing program has the same issue mine has, in that it doesn't count words the same way the NaNoWriMo site does), I would suggest waiting until April, when the next Camp event should be, and you can choose your own goal.

    But judging by your post count here, it may not be a problem for you to do 50,000 words in 30 days. ;) There's no harm in trying the November event; it took me 9 years to make it to 50,000 (my previous best result was somewhere between 22,000-23,000; my worst result was 0).

    Some people do go on to get their NaNoWriMo novels published. Of course, it's not all accomplished during November. It's expected that what people write during the actual month of the competition will be a first draft, and they recommend people take December off to decompress, enjoy Christmas, and in the new year they run some editing workshops or encourage people to have get-togethers to do revisions, editing, and so on. After that, these people will do the usual things authors do when their goal is to be published - agents, sample chapters, etc. I'm sure you know more about that than I do, at least personally.

    Most of what I know about this part of the process stems from years ago when a friend who was determined to get his novel published gathered a group of people who could focus on different aspects of his novel and help him revise and edit it. Since my strength is in the mechanics - spelling, grammar, punctuation - that's what I focused on. He was living in London (England) at the time, so we had email conversations during his lunchtime (it was 3 am for me), and I taught him the proper format for writing dialogue, what to do with colons and semicolons, and so forth. All told, I read that 100,000-word manuscript SIX times over the course of the project, and he also asked us for advice on writing his cover letters and writing resume when he was trying to find an agent.

    The others in the group focused on making sure he didn't have any plot holes, loose strings, inaccurate information (the novel was about an American guy who goes to Japan to teach English and gets into a series of wacky misadventures with a young woman he meets there), and they helped with pacing and advised him if a scene would be more effective earlier or later in the story.

    I tend to get email offers for services to help me get published, but I personally don't pay much attention to them. They may be very helpful for people wanting to be published in the North American markets, but since my preferred genre is fanfiction, my stories can't be professionally published anyway.

    Doing NaNoWriMo isn't a guarantee of anything. Many people sign up and then proceed to do... nothing. I've had a few instances of that - good intentions, but life, computer malfunctions, illness, severe writer's block, or having to move suddenly are all reasons why my word count those times was 0.

    The "contest" part of NaNoWriMo doesn't mean you're competing with other people. There are thousands of winners every single event. The person you're competing with to see if you're one of those winners is yourself.

    People have asked me, "Couldn't you just copy the same few words or sentence enough times to make 50,000?"

    Yeah, I suppose I could (although the site does have ways to detect this kind of cheating). But what would be the point? As mentioned above, the only prizes that are free are downloadable images. The more valuable items have to be paid for (the prize is a generous discount - anywhere from 20%-50% off, depending on what you might want).

    So this is something that works on the honor system. There's no point in cheating, so most participants are motivated to give it an honest effort. The payoff, at least for me, is the tremendous sense of relief on the last day (usually within a few minutes of midnight in my time zone) of finally being finished. After 30 days of at least two hours/day working on the story (not counting any notes or prep work), my hands and fingers are usually hurting, my brain is fried, and I've consumed far too much caffeine and cheeseburgers than could possibly be good for me (Maddy doesn't mind, as she gets to play with the wrappers).

    And at the end of it, I can look back at the copious amount of pages, and at my stats page on the website that tracks my daily progress, and know that yes, I really did do all this. And there will be a thread here in A&E where those of us participating or spectating can have a month-long conversation about our projects.

    Exactly. The founder of NaNoWriMo said he started it because he got tired of hearing people say, "I'd love to write a novel, but I don't have the time."

    He thought it over and figured out a way to encourage people to find the time, by breaking a large project into small, doable portions.

    As I've mentioned, 50,000 sounds like a LOT of work. That's fair, because it is a lot of work. But it's doable if you pace yourself. When I sit down to write every day, I decide right away how many words I want to do, and when I get to that point I finish up whatever paragraph or overall thought or conversation I'm working on... and that's it for that day. As long as I've left myself a jumping off point to kickstart the next day's writing, all is well.

    And beware of the fatigue that tends to set in around the third week. By that time some people are feeling the stress, their fingers hurt, and they're wondering, "when is this going to be over?". The solution is to get up, take a walk, have some comfort food, hug your pet, and keep going.

    The founder, Chris Baty, said that the ideal outcome for people who participate in NaNoWriMo is that they will develop the habit of writing on a regular basis, even after the 30 days are up.

    In my case, it finally did work. The project I'm working on is huge. The source material it's based on takes place over the course of a single day, with flashbacks to events of 30 years previously. My adaptation explores a lot of things that happen during those 30 years, as well as adapting the game itself... and goes beyond the end of the game. And then some prequel ideas occurred, as well as alternative versions... I've got enough to keep me going for at least another year (last year I told people this would be a year-long project, and that year is nearly up and the end is nowhere in sight).

    I've worked on this project every day since last November 1. Some days it isn't a lot of progress - just a sentence or two. But it's more than I had the day before.

    Now the trick is to increase that to at least 1667 words/day.

    I've been receiving emails from the website lately - they're encouraging people to do some prep work, and get set early. Apparently they've redone the website, so now I'm wondering if I'll be able to find everything.

    As with many things, what you get out of it depends on what you put into it.

    There's no reason you can't use this as another method of encouraging yourself to write stories. You don't have to show it to anyone else unless you want to, and as for winning, the only thing you need to worry about is word count.

    You also don't have to write just one long story. Some people use it as an opportunity to create an anthology of shorter, connected stories. Or if you really want to practice your drabbles, you could write 500 of them to make the 50,000 words.

    Look at it this way: There's something about this challenge that made me continue to try, year after year. It took NINE years for me to succeed, and through practice with the Camp events, I've found the method that works for me: Have an outline, know what you want to accomplish, have a good grasp of your characters (but be prepared if they want to go somewhere you never thought of), and have a Plan B if your first idea doesn't work out. Pace yourself, and don't assume you can just make up the word count on the weekend - because there will always be something else to distract on the weekend.

    I've added my own personal goals to this. I don't just go for a win in November - I try in both Camp events, too. Hat tricks are nice, and confirmation that one win isn't just a fluke. I can do this consistently.
     
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