NaNoWriMo 2011. And swearwords.

Oh SHIT! Shitty shit McShit. It’s September already. SEPTEMBER! How the hell did that happen? Where has the time gone? Tell you what, trying to become a roller derby superstar sure makes the months roll quickly by (pun intended).

For the uninitiated, September is the month before the month before NaNoWriMo, or National Novel Writing Month, that wonderful and terrible writery month of self-loathing, melodrama, repetitive strain injury, procrastination and glorious, GLORIOUS writing. September is the pre-planning-month month of planning; October the actual planning and pre-start Complete Collapse Of Faith In Everything You Hoped To Achieve month; November the month of furious writing, frequent breakdowns, and comfort eating. There is a reason why we do it but I’ll be damned if I can remember what it is… I think we writery types must be slightly masochistic.

The target is 50K. Last year I ground to a halt at 16K. I couldn’t be displeased with the result: I’d written SIXTEEN THOUSAND WORDS. Some of those words – heck, meaty chunks of those words – were even pretty good. And I’d been writing again. I’d forgotten how ridiculously satisfying it is when your characters start to flesh out, when you start writing in a voice that is distinctively theirs, when the decisions they make come out of a thought process that is particular to them. When you write characters or a conversation or an entire scene or series of scenes, and it is BELIEVABLE, has the smack of truth to it, is entirely logical and plausible within the context of the world you’ve built around it, there’s this incredible sense of having created. Out of nothing but your imagination you realise these characters, these events; you bring them into the world; you make them real.

Deep. Compelling. Rich. Just another day out at Sasperella’s Story Shack [immediately changing blog name to this]. Pull up a chair. Pour yourself a cuppa. Stay a while.

So far, as usual, I have done no NaNoWriMo planning. I’ve done some very general thinking-about-plots for non-NaNoWriMo ideas but these tend to be meandering, disconnected scene ideas, or long, complicated and overblown plans for the first three scenes of a story. I have a collection of characters, a collection of ideas, but they all seem to be from different stories, which I’d bring together in one ugly patchwork if the different stories didn’t seem to me to require completely different settings and voices… tough times; tough decisions. Focusing is the problem, I think.

What about you, writery people: do your characters naturally fit together? Are your ideas coherent? How do you force your brain to take one thing and run with it rather than dancing from this character to that idea to this vision of the world and then the other, ad infinitum? What tricks do you have? What strategies? What advice?

Good luck fellow WriMo people. See you at the start.


10 thoughts on “NaNoWriMo 2011. And swearwords.

  1. Shen Hart says:

    First off – Good luck!
    Next – I planned my last nano very thoroughly, I spent a good 3 weeks of October planning it. All that precious planning? Went out the window within 36 hours! So this year, I’m going to turn up at midnight and hope that a variety of plot bunnies take control and magic up some wonderful adventure!
    I love your enthusiasm for nano, so many haters detract from how much fun and good writerly practise it is!

    • Sasperella says:

      So you ended up with something completely different to what you’d been planning?! WOWZER! Did you manage to complete? Good luck with attracting the plot bunnies. If I come across any I’ll send ’em in your direction!

      I don’t really understand how you can hate something like NaNoWriMo – surely if it doesn’t float your boat all you have to do is NOT TAKE PART! Problem solved!

  2. R. Renee Vickers says:

    Ha Greatness! 16k is no small feat and is quite the accomplishment! I wish you luck in your 50k!

    As to your question, I have several stories on the burners at all times, but one is my super massive brain child which I intend to work on during NaNo. I’ve mulled the concept over for about a year and a half now. I’ve flushed out my main characters and an assemblage of a supporting cast – this to me takes the longest since each individual needs a back story to make them feel more real to me. I also find that once the characters are fully fleshed their actions/reactions are made by instinct and they really run the story. To keep them on track I have assembled an outline of important points I expect them to hit (though as every writer knows they can throw a wrench in at any time and derail the outline completely) so it’s best to be flexible.

    This process works for me because I find my inner editor gets on the bullhorn if I don’t prepare correctly which slows me down or stalls me completely. Preparing keeps my anxiety down and reduces how much I second guess myself. Well for big projects at least. For shorts or flash fiction I often just wing it and let the story go where it wants.

    Good luck again!!!

    • Sasperella says:

      Wowzer! I mostly love that you refer to it as your ‘super massive brain child’ and am really hoping that this is it’s working title!! I like the idea of having checkpoints to keep things on track: definitely a useful planning tool.

      Good luck! Hopefully I’ll be buying your novel, ‘Super Massive Brain Child’ from my local Waterstones one day soon!

  3. mrsmoti says:

    16k sound mega impressive to me too…I have a pdf e-book for you as gift to say thanks for subscribing… ( not sure if it will inspire you for this specific challenge)… if you would like it please ping me at mrsmotivatgmaildotcom. And good luck!

  4. S-Dubz says:

    Oh Sasparilly – you are blogtastic – not seen the NaNoWriMo – WHAT a fabulouso idea – I LOVE IT. And as I’ve just postponed the PhD for three months – WHAT a wonderful way to spend November in my new house – up in my garret study – sweating blood!!

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