Thursday, November 1, 2012

Day 1: NaNoWriMo 2012

I've done a lot of dumb things in my life--what's one more?

For those of you who don't know what this cryptic thing called NaNoWriMo means, thousands of writers from across the globe, both experienced and novice alike, are officially participating in the annual National Novel Writing Month. That's write right. 50,000 words in thirty days.

I must admit, I've never participated before and was not planning on participating this year either. I had been deep in rewrites of my latest manuscript and didn't see how I could possibly be done with that one and still jump into the abyss of NaNoWriMo.

As fate would have it, I finished the revisions late October 30th. I knew I would not look at my revisions for a good two to four weeks (I always give breathing time for my manuscripts before I read it again). 

So a stupid thought entered my damaged head. Should I NaNoWriMo?

Of course the answer is no. Rest should be top priority. But I hate making these types of decisions without deep and thorough deliberation. 

So I asked my wife, "Wife, should I play?" 
She said, "Husband, love of my life, why not?" 
So I asked, "What should I write about?" I have a lot of half cooked ideas, but I hadn't actually given any one of them a lot of thought. 
She didn't miss a beat. "A mystery novel."

I've never writeen a mystery novel. I love them. But not sure I can write them. I grew up on Agatha Christie and continue to read the modern masters. This was an interesting challenge.

If I was an established author, I would probably not stray far from my core genre. But since I'm still a nobody, there's nothing better than to jump into different genres, test different styles of writing, different perspectives, and frankly exercise a few muscles that I have not used to date.

NaNoWriMo it is.

Will I be able to write 50,000 words in thirty days? Sure, why not? I've done 60,000 in Ten days. Then again, I did get very ill after pulling off that stunt. You may think, that's stupid of me. But the real stupid thing is that I am doing this publicly so all my thousands and thousands (maybe millions!) of fans may see me crash and burn.

Enough talk, today is day 1 and the journey starts. 

So what did I accomplish on day 1? 

Thankfully I had a little concept that I had considered a couple of years ago. It was a basic idea with some elements that were interesting to me.

I have written the log line for the story (one sentence summary of the story). I have also written out the story beats as defined by one of my favorite guides -- "Save the Cat" by Blake Snyder. I HIGHLY recommend this masterpiece for structuring your stories. Yes, it's meant for movie scripts, but if you're writing anything commercial in nature (genre fiction is ideal -- not so much for literary fiction) then with a bit of massaging, the framework is brilliant.

I also used the tools recently laid out by the great James Scott Bell on his blog.

So, Ara, what did you accomplish today? Drum roll please... Day 1, the word count is... are you ready? Zero words.

Okay, so that's not a good start, but I have the framework for the story and that has to count for something. I am not a heavy plotter. However, I do prefer to put in more than a couple of hours, so this is fairly close to being a pantser (write from the seat of the pants and see where one lands). I must admit, I like the way this idea has come together. If you're also participating, look me up. My user name is "araTHEwriter" -- very original, I know.

Send me some muse love... and coffee... and Nutella.

Fight the good fight!



  1. Dude!

    Mah man!


    Compadre... where have thee been? I know that life thing can distract us sometimes :)

    Super Good Luck on NAnOwhatsit - I will be busy finally finishing WIP #1 (the opera singer) and it will be in the hands of our dear JJ on Jan. 1 :)

    Looking forward to your progress reports :)

    (Pulls out dusty, decrepid looking pom-poms with "CLASS OF '86" on them...)

    "Go Ara, go Ara! It's your birthday! Go Ara!"

    1. Mahalo, my man. Can I see a picture of you with pom-poms :)

      Sprint to the finish line with your WIP. JJ has one of my manuscripts as we speak... soon I will be brought back down to earth, I'm sure.

      It's good to be back :)


  2. Yay, Ara! I'll find you on the NaNo page. This is my third year, and hopefully third win. I always come away exhausted, but also buoyed by how much I can accomplish when I put my mind to it.

    Having a rough outline is a great way to get started. You can do it!

    1. Thanks, Gwen. You've been a bad influence in this case. I'm trying to follow in your footsteps... I've barely begun, and I'm already tired :)

      I have a suspicion that you'll kick some arse yet again. Three-peat!


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