NaNoWriMo Gathering; October 19, 2014
Karl Road Branch Columbus Metropolitan Library.
Review by L. Anne Wooley
We gathered at the Karl Rd. Library, about 30 of us. First timers and veterans alike. The Municipal Liaison from the Columbus Region was there and led the discussion. She gave a lot of good advice and had a show and tell with different writing books. She also mentioned Nita Sweeney who has a local newsletter for Central Ohio writing events, as well as being a former student of Natalie Goldberg, she also teaches Natalie’s Methods.
The diverse nature of the people who came, was really cool. We had a couple of nurses, students, a former journalist were among them. There were like 4 or 5 first timers, along with multiple long timers. I fell about into the middle.
Topics of discussion were Planner vs. Pantser, those terms were defined as. Planner- someone who outlines, creates the characters, world builds, basically everything to do with ‘Planning.’
A Pantser- on the other hand, is someone who just makes it up as they go along.
I am in between. I do some character development, and world building, basically most of the background stuff, and some tentative story line.
The next thing we went over, was different ways to get and flesh out ideas. She laid out the “Mind Mapping,” and then the “Snowflake Method.” (advancednovelwriting.com). the mind mapping is just writing down the ideas, in a brainstorming fashion. Just writing down stuff at random, then you can connect the ideas and get an outline type thing.
Someone asks about how to get word count? She suggested word padding. One of the ways to do this, was to do a challenge. One year she did a challenge with a writing group, which everyone put a “Travelling Shovel of Death,” in. In my online Nano Group, we have used murdering one of the Admins for the past couple of years. Then there is a suggestion of putting crayons on fire. You can always take them out in edit phase. But they can go to your word count. Other ways to do this, have your character do a diary, or write a letter. Again, these can always come out. Me, I add a scene I know will go out; similar to the former suggestions.
The books that she showed off had among them; Victoria Lynn Schmidt’s Book in a Day. If you get this book, she has an online presence through Yahoo groups. There are a lot of novel writing worksheets on there: A four page Character Creation Sheet, Plot sheet, and several others. I personally use the Character sheet. I do a 100 question questionnaire (though I only use what fits), then I will move the answers over to the four pages, where they are handy. She also had Anne Lamont’s “Bird By Bird,” Jane Yolens “Take Joy,” and several other 30 day novel books.
· From Jane’s, she mentioned a few things. Jane says “Value the process, not the product!” She has this above her desk.
Things to stay away from:
· Don’t have manuals around you when you write. Have a book you enjoy reading for craft as inspiration (fiction).
· Prep your space before you start writing, or you will use that to procrastinate. Also prep some healthy foods, like vegetables, so that they are at hand.
· Try not to research while you are writing. There is a forum on Nanowrimo site where you can add your question on research, and when you are ready to look, there probably will be an answer for you. Look for “Reference Desk.” You can save that to your forum preferences.
· Do try to find a book that is written in similar point of view.
She also had Chris Baty’s “No Plot, No Problem,” which has a new edition out. He corrected what he said in the first edition, “Everyone has one novel in them.” To “Everyone has many novels in them.” Which I agree with!
He also has Magna Carta 1 and Magna Carta 2
1 is “Thing’s about books that you love.’ For me that is characters that overcome and find the strength to within themselves. Magna carta 2…”Things you hate about books.” *** Pointless endings*** Like City of Angels. The story is very strong, and the ending would have been great had it stopped with the happy ending. But NO, they had to do the pointless ending.
Another thing I don’t like, is switching scenes, time periods or pov without it being marked (alerted).
She also mentioned write ins. Some folks bring sticky’s with them, and put their problems down on them. Then others can put 5 suggestions for fixing them on other sticky’s, you may not use them, but they could jog something that will work.
Lastly, she mentioned Jim Butcher who wrote the Dresden Files series. He had all the books plotted out before he wrote the first one. That is something that JK Rowling also did.
Sprints were also discussed, and I mentioned things about Scrivener, even gave a demo to one of the attendees.
I highly recommend going to your write ins, and kick offs. They are so much fun, and it’s nice to be in a room with others who share the same joy!
Feel Free to Check out my Nano Blogs as well:
And the Elements of Story:
Stay Tuned for More…