Thursday, October 20, 2011

Behold, Blogging "On the Go"

This is basically a test to see if this funky app for my iPad actually works!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

I Lack a Pithy Title! I Also Lack a Proper Post!

You guys, we need to put forth a proposal to make the day longer than a measly 24 hours.

Either that, or someone needs to invent a miracle drug that will give people the ability to stay up/stay alert/stay alive for multiple days at a time.

Preparations continue for the epic NaNoWriMo 2011 expedition. I have an idea that I like very much--now the big challenge is just keeping the creative fire stoked with plot ideas until November 1 when I can actually start WRITING. I am doing my best to keep detailed notes, but that is easier said than done between work and school.

Speaking of the aforementioned, I'm attempting to get the bulk of my work for school finished as early as possible, so to not have many projects hanging over my head like anvils by the end of the quarter (which, naturally, is the middle of November). I can't really control my work schedule, but I can at least control how much homework I finish in one sitting! I've taken to running up to the school's computer lab during my work break (my store shares building space with my university) to Photoshop pictures for this article, or download reading for that class. Today I worked from 6.45am-3pm, and my classes started at 5.45, so I spent the intervening hours working on a paper that's due next week, one of two (the other of which I finished yesterday because it was the shorter of the two). Basically, if I'm not actually in class or at work, I'm glued to a computer somewhere, doing class and work related stuff.  The upside of this is that much work is getting finished, and finished earlier than usual, which is nice. The downside of this, of course, is that it leaves very little time for anything else.

But! But! All of this stress now pales in comparison to the excitement I feel that November 1 is only 13 DAYS AWAY. Thirteen. My lucky number! Here's hoping this is a lucky NaNo season!

How are you preparing for NaNoWriMo? What projects are you trying to get finished early to free up your November?


Thursday, October 6, 2011

NaNoWriMo 2011

I was fifteen or sixteen when I wrote my first NaNoWriMo. A friend from a parenting forum my mother frequented at the time told her about it, encouraging her to try it out and my mother passed the information along to me, in a half-bewildered, half-impressed, "it sounds unbelievably stressful, but could be fun!" sort of way.

It was unbelievably stressful. It was unbelievably fun.
I sat down on November 1st with absolutely no story idea in my head. None. I was going through a creative dry patch at the time, and had hoped that the prompt of "50k/30days" would jump start my brain back to its usual 24/7 imagination loop. I stared at the blank Word Document for upwards of 20 minutes, with the increasing sense that the damn thing was mocking me. To shut it up, I wrote a word:


"Aha!" I said to myself. "Already this will be a proper, grown-up novel--it has a PROLOGUE!"

Of course, nothing came after "Prologue" for another half hour, and I began to despair. I went to eat dinner, did some homework, came back and put my laptop on my lap, but "Prologue" had not done what I wanted and reproduced words on its own in my absence. I fumed for a moment, and then put my hands to the keyboard again. If I could not make a story come to me, I would just start building scenery until something inspired me. This has always been one of my favorite writing tricks, writing lush, detailed scenes that may or may not ever find their way into a story. It forces my brain to think about aesthetics for a moment, rather than just pace and plot and dialogue. For someone whose work has always been heavily dialogue- and action-oriented, this has been a very useful exercise.

It was useful this time, too, and from a carefully detailed scene of a winter forest under falling snow, my "Prologue" turned into a proper prologue and I think I even got through Chapter One that night, too.

To make a long story short, I finished NaNoWriMo that year, and have been participating ever since. Most years, I clear the 50k mark on or before the 30th. Twice, I've cleared 50k, but the story was not finished (they are both sitting in a folder on my computer, each around 75k, STILL. NOT. FINISHED.) and only once I had to give up around 30k because I was studying abroad at the time and doing ten bajillion other things. And also, that particular story sucked. Well, the idea itself did not suck, but my writing was sucking immensely, mostly due to a lack of time and dedication to the task.

Which brings us to this year's NaNoWriMo. I have picked up the idea from that aborted year mentioned above, and I think I am going to try it again. Of course, not with the original manuscript (which I should probably ritually burn, holy hell is it a mess) but with the concept to start a completely new story. One with a proper plot this time. And proper characters.

With each new NaNo comes new challenges, some surmountable, others not so much. Last year, I reached my 50k goal (though that was one of the 2 WIP's that did not 'end' at 50k) despite working almost full time. This year, I am working a bit less, but I am also going to graduate school full time, and doing a lot of work for the university paper outside of school. Which means one of two possible outcomes:

1. I will become an even greater master of time management and successfully pull off a straight A quarter, get a promotion/raise at work, and write the next Great American Novel


2. I will explode

So, who else is doing NaNoWriMo? Do you have your ideas ironed out yet? How are you preparing? I am interested to hear who else is going to give up their November to the unbelievably stressful/unbelievably fun craft of writing under pressure!