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Tag: maynowrimo

Another Close Finish

Maynowrimo, another one of those binge writing spin-offs, is now over and I can say that I squeaked by with 50,377 words.  I can say with some confidence that it was mostly procrastination.  I started out in the month of May hoping that I would be regularly writing, but lab stuff, as usual, got me sidetracked.  So I ended up writing about almost 40,000 words over the last three days–almost 10k on Sunday, almost 20k on Monday, and about 11k on Tuesday (yesterday).

I’m pretty drained after that writing marathon, so I guess for about the next month, I’ll turn my attention to other things.  However, there are other writing things after June that I’m vaguely contemplating about:

Last year, I did Julnowrimo (in July) and Augnowrimo (in August).  After August was over, I felt pretty burned out and semi-vowed that I wouldn’t do it again.  But then again, real writers write every day and it sort of seemed like I would be wimping out if I didn’t do it again.  However, this year is complicated with Camp Nano, the summer version of Nanowrimo that is also organized by the same people.

As a municipal liaison, I sort of feel that I have some sort of obligation to organize some things in my region.  This may also involve setting up write-ins which can be kind of tricky since the people in charge of Camp Nano still don’t know whether or not this is going to be for July or August or both.  In any case, it will involve some time committment from me.

I’m also thinking about the 3-day Novel Contest in September.  I’m really toying with the idea that I might actually submit an entry this year.  You know, with all of the last minute writing that I’ve been practicing lately, it shouldn’t be too hard to write a coherent novel in three days, right?

Mad Scribbling Time

I don’t know how people do it.  You know, managing a day job and writing at the same time.  For the first part of the month, I’ve been kind of lax by not working on the Maynowrimo project.  I have been in lab, though, for 10-12 hour days. Including weekends.  And by the time I come home, I feel too brain dead to do anything else except eat dinner and sleep.

A professional writer, I suppose, wouldn’t have to worry about a pesky thing like other jobs.  The hard-core writer, however, would probably yell at me for being such a sissy and that I should make time to do any writing by just steamrolling it rather than letting it steamroll me.

The problem is, I feel a lot like Sisyphus.  I get a lot of work done, but I don’t feel like I’m making any progress.

Anyways, I have over 40,000 words to go in about 10 days.  I won’t be posting much here until next month, to say the least.

Progress and Programs

Last night, I wrote a chapter for my Maynowrimo project that was basically a conversation between the main character and her sister.  The writing itself, actually, came fairly easily.  Probably the easiest so far.  I think a bit of it has to do with that old adage, “write what you know.”  Although the topic of conversation between the two fictional sisters was completely different from what I had ever talked about with my own sister, the rhythm of how the two sisters interacted with each other was very familiar.  Oh, I know everyone’s relationships to their own sisters are all different, but they’re all similar in a way, too.  And it’s that similarity that I drew upon.

People who are not writers tend to think that writers incorporate people they know into their stories.  The only thing they change, supposedly, are the names.  That is both true and untrue.  I’m sure there are writers out there who put people they know (or even themselves!) wholesale into their writing without alteration.  I don’t do that. The wholesale thing, that is.  My technique for character building is more of a mix-and-match hodge-podge.  I still metaphorically write what I know–just not in the same order or pattern that I see in real life.

* * *

Other writers seem to like recommending writing programs.  The fancy ones with all the frills, the bells and whistles.  The ones where there are special tabs to make outlines or notecards to put your research in.  Special highlighting thingamabobs that help you edit chapters, paragraphs, sentences, so on and so forth.

People say it makes writing easier.  My question is: what do you mean by easier?  For me, easier means faster.  I can see where certain programs that make it quicker to put in references into your thesis or non-fiction work can be helpful.  But for these writing programs, all I see is extra stuff to help you procrastinate.

So for writing, especially fiction writing, why would it be worthwhile for me to download one of these programs?  In comparison to a basic word processor, does it really cut down on writing and editing time?  Or is this just something shiny for people who like to be obsessive compulsive organizers?

What Outline?

The idea for this year’s Maynowrimo project began as bits and pieces from other projects I was mulling over at the end of April.  It didn’t really become a coherent idea until I went to the library to check out a guidebook on Venice (published in 1993, so it is woefully out of date–but who really cares, since I’m setting the story in 1880).  Basically, the only research I’m using is that guidebook, Wikipedia, Google Maps, and a naming website called Behind the Names.  In other words, the locations are real, the people and situations are not.

I am also writing without an outline, so we’ll see how that goes (or not).  This is due in part to my last minute decision to write this.  It’s also a reaction against the hefty outlines I keep reading about from other writers.  Sure, every writer has their own method that works for them.  It’s one thing to have a two or three page outline.  But I’m beginning to think that 100,000 word outlines are counterproductive.  I mean, that’s as big as a book itself!  Wouldn’t it be more efficient and worthwhile to spend your time actually writing the story?

Anyways, the freedom of writing without the outline is that I get all sorts of ideas while I’m writing and I get to think–Hey, that’s pretty interesting.  Maybe I can incorporate it somehow.  At this point in the draft, it’s everything and the kitchen sink.  The cutting will be during editing when I’m not so worried about the word count.

The most difficult thing I find about beginning this project is in introducing the characters and setting.  Unlike some other writers who have characters dancing in their heads for years or have done extensive character backgrounds and pre-writing, I do very little delving into the psyche of my characters before I do the actual writing.  The best I can describe it is awkwardness, the same kind of awkwardness that you feel when you’re introduced to a new person in real life.  So in the first few chapters, I’m kind of like a reader looking from the outside in.  It probably won’t be until a few more chapters in when I become more comfortable with the characters and settings that the words will come a little easier.

Ending One, Beginning Another

Well, that’s it for Script Frenzy.  I’m not sure how I feel about the script I just wrote.  It definitely needs a lot of revision.  And I’m thinking I probably need to not see it for a while if I don’t want to get into a jag of moaning despair.  I ended up calling it a “fantasy mockumentary” that is “a philosophical exploration of a Bhutan that never was” – whatever that means.  For the nosy masochists, it’s posted here.

I wrote the script only during writing sprints which I held on Twitter and the Idaho Script Frenzy chatroom.  Since I have a record of all of those sprints, it comes out to a total of 1415 minutes or a little over 23.5 hours.  Of course, one has to put into account the fact that sometimes, in those writing sprints, I wasn’t writing but looking up random stuff on the internet.  But even with that stuff factored in, I pretty much wrote 100 pages in under 24 hours.  So if there was some contest about writing a script in a day, I suppose it would be possible.

Anyways, that’s it. No more thinking about scripts until next year.

As for May, I was momentarily crazy a couple days ago and signed up for MayNoWriMo.   I’ve only started planning for it this morning.  It currently looks like it’s going to be a fantasy steampunk story set in Venice, but one never knows for sure until the whole thing is written.