Don't Shake the Flask

Because you don't know if it'll explode

Month: October, 2011

Prepping for the Upcoming Month

They say there’s an extra level of stress for Nanowrimo, especially when it comes to municipal liaisons–those volunteers who get local events such as write-ins up and running at a library or coffee shop near you. They say that MLs are control freaks and super-organizers. Maybe. But I don’t view myself that way. For one thing, if I were a control freak and super-organizer, my apartment and my desk in lab would be far neater than they really are. I view myself as someone who doesn’t put up with wishy-washy crap. Write-ins would never get scheduled if someone didn’t come along and just do it. This is one of my frustrations for MLing an Elsewhere region. Because I’m just this nebulous online presence for the rest of the participants in the state, it’s difficult to get anyone to commit to times and locations.

Otherwise, it isn’t that stressful. You just either do something or you don’t. The powers that be aren’t going to smite me if I don’t manage to make a local Nanowrimo event the best ever.

Anyways, there’s a thread on the forums asking about what books you would put in your Nanowrimo survival pack. This was my response:

I’m really boring when it comes to books which help me complete Nano. I love reference books of all sorts, particularly:
-a dictionary
-a thesaurus
-a dictionary of folklore
-a book of baby names
-a book with maps in it (travel guide/atlas)

I can understand other people’s responses with their favorite fiction books or various how-to writing books, especially since these will give inspiration or have pep talks. Heck, I’ve used some fiction as inspiration during the planning phases for this year’s Nano novel. But for me, once I get writing, it isn’t really inspirational stuff that will keep me going. To be honest, they have no effect on me, maybe even a detrimental one. That’s why (gasp!) I almost never read any of the pep talks that Nanowrimo sends me until after the event is over.

But you’re an ML and a Nano mentor, you might exclaim. How can you not find encouragement useful? Well, encouragement is one thing. But I don’t want to have books of it sitting beside me while I’m trying to work. It’s not particularly useful when I’m trying to find a word, a name, a place, an idea. Other fiction books don’t really do it for me either. Because those books are someone else’s vision. While that’s fine for reading on my down time, when I’m writing, I’m working on my vision.

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A Brief Fall Update

The planning stages for next month’s Nanowrimo is going very slowly. One reason why: I’ve been extremely busy with other things such as trying to get graduate school stuff wrapped up and job hunting. So the next couple of months will be filled with racing against deadlines and various transitions of one sort or another. Recently, I’ve also gotten the feeling that my parents are sort of resigned to the course I’m charting for myself. I want to do awesome research while my dad is wondering why I’m not just jumping for the “big money” and my mom is, well, probably a little confused. I guess I kind of understand their worry. My position is a bit precarious–I am not like my cousin who got married and just bought a house. I’d rather take a risk on beginning a career rather than go the traditionalist route.

Anyways, novel planning. I’ve managed to sketch out a vague outline for what will happen. The structure of the setting has been pretty well hammered out. I’ve fleshed out a couple of characters and the plot is slowly taking shape. The theme, I’ve decided, will be based on revenge. So the characters will be very angry and manipulative and possibly not very likeable. I think the only truly nice characters I’ll have in the story will be the talking cockroaches*.

By the way, I’m open to doing writing dares this year, too. So if you have one, preferably having something to do with the theme of revenge, shoot it my way and I’ll see if I can fit it in.

*This idea was initially mentioned by Fillyjonk. You might be wondering, “Will these cockroaches be like Jiminy Cricket?” No. Hopefully they’d be less annoying and they won’t be spouting any wise koans. They’d probably be more like socially awkward geniuses.