Wednesday, October 30, 2013

NaNoWriMo or How to fry your brain

For those who wonder what NaNoWriMo is, it's short for National Novel Writing Month, also known as Nano for those used to the game. It started several years ago in the States, but since then it became international with more and more people joining in each year. The basics are simple: from 1st to 30th of November, the participants have to write 50,000 words. That would a short novel for those wondering. It also means writing an average of 1,666 words per day for 30 days in a row.

I know there's a lot of excitement about Nano out there. Several of my friends are doing it. I never have. What irks me when it comes to Nano is the emphasis put on getting the word count done. It doesn't matter what you write as long as you reach the 50,000 word mark. Well, let me tell you something: if you write with this goal in mind, then the editing process and getting something decent out of the first draft is going to be a nightmare, and you risk wasting more time doctoring the manuscript than you saved by writing it.

There are, however, two categories of people who Nano can be useful for. First, there are those who have problems with finishing things. It shows them it can be done. I'm not one of them as I never had this problem. Then, there are those who plot in advance every scene in the story. I don't doubt it works great for them, but if I have everything figured out, it takes the fun out of the writing process for me. If there are no surprises on the way and I only have to type the words, then it turns into work for me. And writing is not work, it's entertaining and fun and, sometimes, even magical.

So this is what I'm going to do this November--my own version of Nano. I'm done with The Impaler Legacy series, actually I finished the final draft of Order Restored at the end of June and I have been sort of vacationing since, but let's not dwell on that. It's time to start a new project (you'll want to have something else to read after you finish The Impaler Legacy, right?), and since I haven't written any serious sci fi in way too long, this is me going back to basics. The world I'm creating is rich and colorful, but in the same time dark and complex, so I still have to decide if it's going to be a novella or a short novel. I have a whole cast of characters who all deserve to have their story told. Also, I know what happens in the first fifteen scenes of the story, but I don't feel like I reached the middle point yet so we'll see.

I usually write 1,000 words per day except for the weekends. This time, the exception I'll make for Nano is that I'll try to write during the weekends too. This will be my goal, not 50k. It means that at the end of November I'll have 30k. Even if I reach this goal or not, the plan is to have the first draft done by the end of the year. And then I have another fun story to write, but let's not get ahead of ourselves. Of course, it means I'm postponing again finishing the fantasy trilogy when I should have written book 2 this year. No harm done, I guess, since I haven't released book 1 yet. Otherwise, the readers would have gotten upset if they had to wait such a long time. Then there's the space opera saga I keep mentioning... Well, they'll all come when the time is right.

Okay, we're ready, let the circus begin, literally!

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