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Wednesday, October 8, 2014

That Ole Nano Magic Has Me Under It's Spell... or The Best Laid Plans

I tried to fight it.   That urge to write something new.  The urge that I have succumbed to...yes, Virginia, there is a Nanowrimo.  Every year starting November 1, thousands (and even more) begin the journey of 50 thousand (yes, 50,000) words.   We write solo or at write ins.  With our laptops, notebooks, and phones.

The main website:, puts out pep talk videos, and articles.  They have a large forum, and you can even have "Nano buddies."   There are participants from all over the world.  There is also a "Young Writers Program," and some teachers have encouraged their students to participate in Nano.

So, back to my dilemma.  I have participated in Nanos from 2005, 2009, 2010 (November and August Camp Nano, same group), 2011, 2012, and 2013.    I have an impending move, and though still no place to move to yet <insane cackle>, I was just going to edit one of the previous novels for publication.  I was not...going draft!   I was going to cut, paste, resculpt, revamp, re...well you get the point, to one of the previous drafts.   And yes, I was originally planning to do that last year....until I saw the new goodies.

But, the last few weeks, I've been feeling that excitement that I get every year around this time.  That feeling of "Coming Home," that I cannot deny.  Though  I am still fighting that urge, today I broke down and started doing some preliminary notes, some character basics, some plot basics.  Yes, a new novel is being brewed up even as I type this!

Where did this SNI  (Shiny New Idea) come from?   Well, I run a writing practice group on Facebook.  It's a closed group though, sorry.  Every Saturday night, we do a google Hangout, running with an event page.  We do writing prompts, and I assign "Homework."  This homework is a prompt that can be used for a story starter.    The rules are, that you cannot write the prompt out, you can do all your background research, planning, character naming/generation, all the prep work, during the week.   Then on Saturday night, we do this as the first prompt.

Last week, the homework generated a story idea for me to expand into a full length novel, and there I was writing notes as well as doing the prompt.  I worked on fleshing out more of it, moving what I had done over into a new document that I could brainstorm.  And so yes, I have got that need to write new.  And I figure, if I can get the 50k done in a week (one of my friends did it in one day!); then I can focus on editing something older.

So one of the questions on one of my Nano facebook groups (one which is not affiliated with the group who oversees the official stuff), was "What do you do in the month before Nano?"  and of course this is paraphrased.

Well, if I usually have been thinking about it for a while before the last month, but it is the last month that I really prepare.   I get a loose outline together, work on my characters (though it is edit phase where everything comes together).  If I plan out everything ahead of time, when I write the first draft, the story will not follow it.  No matter how much I browbeat it into being.   And the thing is, the story is usually right.

So, I normally don't plan out that far.  I just see where the story takes me.  Nothing is set in stone, and is fluid, including the "Outline."   I have the general idea, and they usually don't all get in.  During the month, and in the writing, the truth of the story is revealed.

Anyhow, that's enough for one day.   I'll be posting little tips and hints for Nano-ers.  I invite all my readers to participate in the grand challenge.  It's really not that hard.

Happy NaNo'ing!

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