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Novander
It is almost November, which means it is NaNoWriMo time again. And this year I am trying it for serious. Signed up officially and everything. I have a vague idea of what my novel will be about, but I think that's going to change drastically as soon as I start writing. I started trying to write up an actual plan and plot outline but it then occured to me that maybe plans are for cowards, so I am taking this off the map and who knows where it might end up. Hopefully somewhere awesome!

Who else is playing this year?
vicrawr
I will. Shoot me now.
elphaba2
Haha. I have to get into college and do millions of other things. Of course I'm doing NaNoWriMo.


Hands in! We will all clap for success! Wahoah!
Greeneyes
I also really don't have the time. Using aforementioned logic, I will also be joining in. I may never be a writer, but I'll always be a wrimo. I planned to have a plot planned out, but I'm really struggling. I suspect I'll fail after the first day.
Phyllis
I am joining in. Last year I was moving to a new country, and the year before that I had finals. This year I have no excuses, hurray! I also have no idea what I'm going to write about, booo. Plans are totally for cowards.

I will conquer you, NaNoWriMo.
MisterJ
I'm sorry if I'm a bother, but, may I ask what NaNoWriMo is? blink.gif
Novander
http://www.nanowrimo.org

It's National Novel Writing Month. The idea is that in the thirty days of November, you have to write a novel of at least 50,000 words.
PsychWardMike
I'm doing it. Again. It's not like I have class or projects or anything to stop me.

::grimace::
voices_in_my_head
Doing it again for sure!

I've got a vauge idea of what I'm writing this year, characters and such too....my main goal is to actually write something worth reading this time. smile.gif
MisterJ
QUOTE (Novander @ Oct 28 2007, 03:52 AM) *
http://www.nanowrimo.org

It's National Novel Writing Month. The idea is that in the thirty days of November, you have to write a novel of at least 50,000 words.


Oh, kk, thanks! smile.gif
Sounds pretty cool.
Daria
Pfft! Well. SOME of us have a plan, character names, chapter titles and even know (almost) the wording of the first chapter by heart.
Then again, it is going to be vaguely autobiographical- which makes me feel like a tit to admit, but it should hopefully be interesting for the reader.
Yep, feel even more of a tit. rolleyes.gif

The gist of my book is that it follows the story of two women going from childhood/ teenager...hood to adulthood and going out into the big bad world. Sounds crummy, but hopefully it won't be. The two stories run side-by-side, in a nonchronological order, and it is a first person account from each character.
You will find out at the end that one is the daughter and one is the mother, but I am hoping to write it so that it is timeless- so you can't tell one story is set in the 70s and one in the 90s. It's basically going to be about significant times and memories in my life (like when my cat was runover when my late granpa was very ill in hospital and no one told me as they thought it would upset me too much) and in my mother's- like the first time she got with my dad (whether it was before or after she was married to my siblings' dad). I want the story to show that whatever you are- mother, father, sister, brother, teacher, doctor, nurse, policeman- you are still a person and are entitled to a private life of your own. Which.. you know, can sometimes get a bit complicated and hey presto! a teenager.

I need to get some stuff off my chest wink.gif
elphaba2
Maybe mine will be about...monkeys?

Ah, I have no idea and no time. Lead on November.
vicrawr
Oh hell, I just realized the first of November was this Thursday. Where does the time go?
Daria
It gets lost, along with socks and pennies.
Mata
Oddly enough, I'm planning on finally getting back to writing my novel in the next few days. It's only about six thousand words done, and it should be around 100k when it's finished, but I might join in with blasting forwards for the word count anyway. The novel will only be half-done at 50k, but it would be a lot further on than it is now!
Izzy
QUOTE (Novander @ Oct 27 2007, 12:52 PM) *
It's National Novel Writing Month. The idea is that in the thirty days of November, you have to write a novel of at least 50,000 words.

I thought it was only 10,000 and didn't consider joining this year. I'm certainly not going to now. Maybe next year...
vicrawr
If only it were 10,000. Oh man. It's Monday.
Mata
As a limbering up, I reread my first chapter today and was surprised to find that it's actually very readable. It needs some editing, but basically it's pretty good. I piled into the second chapter and now that's half done. In a couple of days I'll have two chapters finished, which will mean that 10% of my book is done. Woo hoo!

Like I say, I'm not strictly playing by the NaNoWriMo rules, but it's nice to think that other people are writing too.

Good luck everyone, it starts tomorrow!
elphaba2
Stop scaring the Americans, Mata. It starts in two days, guys.
Daria
Hehehe. I'm so excited about starting! Although also a little lost. Eeeep! Alternate punctuation. How crazy!

(technically the last one should be an interrobang.)
Novander
Just over six hours to go until it starts here. Good luck to you all.

I think this might be a link to my nanowrimo profile. If you add me to your buddy list on the site then when you're feeling down about it you can always check mine and think "At least I'm doing better than Nov."
Daria
Buddied smile.gif
I think this should be me
elphaba2
Et ša, c'est moi--link. Holy crap it is november first!
Daria
*stealthbuddies*

I'm on about 800 words and I think I am using the word F*** too much. Hmm.
Izzy
Hmm... Changed my mind. I'm slightly bored, will have at least one week off from school this month thanks to Thanksgiving, and have nothing better to do.

I'll give this a shot, but I'm not aiming for 50,000. Maybe 25,000.
Phyllis
Oh, god. I only have 244 words so far. 244! I've written longer posts on here.

The first year I think I wrote about 4,000 on the first day. UNGOOD.

Whatever, it'll pick up. I am DETERMINED this year. All caps, so you know I'm serious. tongue.gif

writey writey writey.
Izzy
446 words. Which is sad, because I can write more in half an hour for school essays, but that took about an hour to write.

http://www.nanowrimo.org/user/244039

That should be the URL for my profile.
Greeneyes
Ah, November the 1st. Or as I like to call it, Ididn'trealisejusthowmuchmyideasucked day.

550 is the time, 122 is my word count.

Profile! Because a) I don't wan't to user5532785628 anymore, and b ) So Novander an look at someone's profile too tongue.gif
Novander
I feel like the hare at the start of the race. I am steaming ahead (2,500 words so far) but I know I will get distracted soon and fall far behind. Especially since I'm away this weekend, and hopefully moving house sometime this month.

Things I have learned so far from NaNoWriMo: I cannot think of names for people. I especially cannot think of names for businesses that haven't already been taken. 'Prone' I thought meant lying without moving, but apparently it refers specifically to lying face down. My recent sleep paralysis was most likely caused by my sleep pattern getting all out of whack again.

Oh, and also: I have absolutely no idea how long my chapters should be.
Phyllis
I'm up to 1167 now. Woo! That's more like it.

Here is my profile, I think. I added everyone who linked their profiles in the thread already. Or, I'm trying to. The site is being slowwww.
Izzy
876 words now, after my mom made me go back and edit out a bunch of the parts she didn't like because they were too grotesque. Cops finding this guy's ex beheaded isn't that bad, is it?

Mom: Change that.
Me: Okay, I'll change it to 'dead'
Mom: No, I don't want anyone dying.
Me: It's called Getting Away With Murder, someone has to die!
Greeneyes
Maybe it could have a cliffhanger implying murder. Without actually writing it.
Mata
Woo! Well, on the first day I've done 1000 words. That's not enough to get me to 50k during November alone, but it's a reasonable start. So far this week (because I've been working on this book anyway) I've done nearly 4k words, which I'm very happy about because this means I've got my first two chapters complete. They're 5k words each, which I think is about right. There might be too much dialogue in today's work, but I can always edit that once it's done.

Amusing discovery for the day: despite spending months carefully planning and replanning the story, my characters have already hijacked it and come up with a better idea about what's going to happen next. This makes my life simultaneously easier (because their idea is more dramatic) and more difficult (because it's going to give them loads more challenges than I originally had in store for them). I hope they know what they're doing!

Tomorrow I think I may be writing a really important scene, but with my target of only 1k words per day I might not get there. Nonetheless, I've now done a total of over 10k words. I'm aiming for 100k, so I'm 10% done. WOOHOO! I love completion percentages, and slipping into double figures is always a nice feeling. The next big number is a few weeks away, 25%, but I'm already excited to get there.

Nov: In a full-length novel, chapters tend to average around 5k. That doesn't mean that they have to be that long, but it makes for nice easy maths. I've got 20 chapters planned, at 5k each, leading me up to my target of 100k. Often people break their chapters into scenes, although this is a stylistic choice. A good number people find to use is three scenes per chapter. So far I've gone for a rough division of two scenes, although the first chapter is half-flashback, and the second is two scenes that flow together quite closely, just in different rooms of the house.

Quick guide to plots:

1. At the beginning of the book something changes and disrupts everyday life.

2. Around 20-25% of the way through, the main character/s make a very clear and direct statement of what they want to achieve, why they want it, and what's stopping them getting it. This is sometimes referred to as plot point one.

3. The midpoint, also known as plot point two. Around 50% of the way through the goals are made impossible: he wants to be a pilot but he gets thrown out of the academy; she wants to be a singer but she gets mugged, hit in the throat; and suffers vocal chord damage, the criminal wants to escape but he has been double-crossed by his ally.

4. Plot point three happens about 75% of the way through the book. By this point the hero has been struggling against the problems caused by the crisis at the midpoint. Here something good happens that gives them hope that they can achieve their goal, but it also means that there is no turning back: the trainee-pilot shows courage during a bar-fight and is seen by an officer and given one final chance; the singer has struggled to regain her voice and now has a once-in-a-lifetime audition but will she be able to get her voice good enough in time; the thief appears to have escaped but he's left behind a vital clue, so he needs to go back past all the police and detectives now on the scene to recover it.

5. The black moment. Both this and the resolution have to be squeezed into the final 25% of your book. This is the point where everything appears lost. You think of the worst possible thing that could happen to your character in terms of their original goal and then make it happen: the pilots drink is spiked by a rival and his fails his tests and is expelled from the school; the singer's voice breaks during the audition and she is taken to hospital for immediate surgery - she might never speak again, worse still, her humiliation was videoed and put onto the web by a rival for everyone to laugh at; the thief is caught on the scene. This is the second most important bit of your book, so roll on the high stakes.

6. Resolution. This is it, the most important bit. You've got to make your hero overcome everything you've thrown at them. So far nearly everything has gone wrong for them. After the initial catalyst they've been constantly trying wilder methods to get their head above the water but nothing worked... Until now. This is their final ditch attempt, based on everything that they've learnt, all the ways that they have grown as a person, and now they pull off the big one: while leaving the airport, having packed his bags, the airfield is bombed and the pilot jumps into the nearest plane and saves the day; the singer's audition becomes a focus of national sympathy, the cruelty of her tormentors is ridiculed and after years of therapy she takes to the stage to sell-out audiences who are all desperate to see the girl who would never give up on her dream; the thief is revealed to have already laid in cunning tricks to escape in case he was captured, he has totally out-witted his pursuers and gets the prize in the end.

The End!

The pilot's plot is a bit corny, but could work with a bit of refinement (it sounds a lot like Top Gun!). The singer's story is a weepy and would probably go down a storm. The thief's tale isn't great, it would need a better Black Moment and Resolution.

There's another method of plot structuring called 'three disasters and an ending'. You pick something to go wrong at the start, 33% through the main character has a second disaster while trying to fix the first. 66% there's the third disaster caused while trying to fix the first two, and finally you get to the end where the fixes eventually work. I think Michael Crighton writes like this!

If in doubt, make everything go wrong for your characters and see what they do.

'Hope this helps!
voices_in_my_head
It's a bit sad that all books can be put into such simple terms!

1,000 words exactly today. I'll probably write a bit more. On the good side, I'm really happy with what I got written today. one really good opening paragraph and two or three sentences that I'm proud of.

Go me?
Daria
oh... my first chapter is 1,175 words. Still, each chapter will vary on length as they are actually snippets of memories and defining moments from each character.
I have finished the first chapter and now I'm kind of stuck. Hurrah.
Mata
I guess if you're writing something vaguely autobiographical you can't do the usual writer's block trick of throwing something (usually nasty) at your character: what if they were then mugged, their phone broke, there was a power cut, an earthquake, they suddenly discovered that they are pregnant, aliens land...

Voices: Not all books work like this, but it's a good formula that works well for everything from romantic comedies, through thrillers, to blockbuster sci-fi epics. I think it's just the way that humans are designed to react to stories, and there's something in there about the nature of stories too. It's just not interesting if the hero wins all the time... Which incidentally is why most plots in computer games suck: the designers never let the hero lose.

1. Man goes to make tea, discovers there are no teabags!
2. Vows to go and buy teabags, despite it being 3am and all the shops will be shut.
3. He gets to the 24 hour garage and discovers that his credit cards have been revoked.
4. On the way home he finds the rider of a bicycle taxi crashed by the side of the road, he helps the man back on his bike and rides him home. The man offers him money in thanks, but instead he accepts many handfuls handfuls of teabags that he stuffs into all of his pockets.
5. Disaster strikes! On his doorstep, about to put the key in the door, so close that he can nearly smell the refreshing brew that he's about to make... He is abducted by aliens! Worse still, all the teabags fall from his pockets as he is lifted into the sky!
6. On board the alien ship, surrounded by bubbling experiments and strange, probe-like devices, the man discovers one teabag that had become caught in the turn-up of his trousers. Sniffing a beaker, he puts the teabag in, and finally his gets his cuppa!

The End.

You see, with the six steps you can make anything become a decent story, just keep throwing bigger and bigger obstacles at your hero.
Izzy
Wow, Mata just said ( 4 posts above) pretty much exactly what was going to happen in my book. So, everyone prepare for an apparently very generic guy-trying-to-not-go-to-jail book!
elphaba2
Oof. Ditched the old story, gotta write ten times more than I've currently got so I can stay on top of everything.

New story seems promising though!
vicrawr
I just had to stop and show this to you guys. I was cruising the forum and wasting time so I could keep my word count at 0 when I stumbled across this link. It is insanely awesome. It's a word processor, right? But not just that. It's a plain, full-screen, no frills word processor. You can put in the word count you're aiming for, change the text, set a timer for those fun Word Wars, and it's got an awesometacular typewriter sound.

But the best part is that it's free. I just found a reason to start!
Mata
I use http://www.spacejock.com/yWriter.html . It's also free and has loads of useful features if you like structuring your stuff.

Today I did 1107. Woo!
voices_in_my_head
Oh goodness. Just deleted all of yesterday's writing and re-constructed my plot with one hour left to get my wordcount submitted for the day.

Hopefully it will be easier to write now, though. I just need to get in the grove of writing for enjoyment again - I'm so used to having to have everything be perfect!
Mata
Whee! 1389 words today. It was a tough scene that I was writing, but I think it's gone okay. I'm resisting and going back and editing too much as I write. This is very hard for me, but I know that there will be plenty of time to do this when I'm done, it's more important now that I get the thing written.

I've set myself a target date of 2nd Feb 2008 to get the first draft finished. That's 1000 words per day, and allowing for five possible days where I don't write (Christmas is in the middle there, after all). Currently I seem to average around 1000 - 1200 most days, so I might even beat that target. I just need to keep my motivation high and the words flowing. Writing regularly is feeling very rewarding. I feel great having pushed through tonight's scene and made it to my target, then beaten it.

I've also already mapped out exactly what I'm going to write about tomorrow, so that should be a doddle. If I hit 1400 tomorrow then that will be the first three chapters done! This is really fun smile.gif
Daria
*grumblemuttermoan*
I don't want to do this anymore.
Izzy
^ Dittoed...

I still haven't written anything since the first day. ...Crap.
Mata
The lesson I'm learning is to resist the urge to splurge - going too far on one day only makes it harder to come back the next. I hit my target of over 1400 words today, which I think was pushing it, but I'm very happy because that means I now have the first three chapters done. I'm pushing the characters back towards the vague schedule that I've laid out for them, but they keep on telling me that the events I've laid out are going to happen in completely different places.

I suspect this is mostly going so well for me because I did spend about three months earlier this year plotting and replotting the narrative. There's been a lot of groundwork put down.

I'm averaging around 1100 words per day I think. That wouldn't be enough to get NaNoWriMo done in time, but it feels like a natural pace to write at.
Novander
I'm gonna have to drop out already. I found a flat in Norwich last weekend and so now I've got to pack up and leave home like I'm all growed up or something. And packing and leaving are both activities which do not offer a lot in the way of writing time.

I'm gonna keep going with the novel, albeit at my own much slower pace (which will hopefully pick up once I'm moved and settled), and I'm going to stick with NaNoWriMo's write-now-edit-later philosophy, as that actually seems to work; not thinking how crap what I've written already is means I don't have to worry about what I'm going to write next, making the writing process a lot more fun.

Good luck to you all.
Phyllis
Argh, I am SO far behind. I only just broke 4,000 today. I think I'll cut myself off from the Internets until I'm caught up (aside from updating my word count). dry.gif It distracts me too easily -- I can't be trusted!
Greeneyes
To make you all feel better, I haven't written anything since the first day. Had a sudden influx of deadlines, though, to be honest, my idea wasn't really that developed. Had difficulty writing. Will continue if inspiration strikes.
Mata
QUOTE (candice @ Nov 6 2007, 07:10 PM) *
I think I'll cut myself off from the Internets until I'm caught up (aside from updating my word count). dry.gif It distracts me too easily -- I can't be trusted!

I've set myself into the pattern of shutting down Firefox and Thunderbird (my email software) before I begin writing. I only have open Winamp with a few hours of electronic tunes on it (usually Future Sound Of London, but it's been 'Lauwarm Instrumentals' by Scanner for the past couple of days) and Ywriter and I don't get up until I've hit my target. It's the only way I can work, otherwise I'll constantly be checking stuff online, or deleting yet another bit of spam as soon as it pops into my inbox.

I got another 1100 done today. It's going to be a lot harder once I'm back in a full time job, but that won't be until Dec 1st at the earliest, so I've got three weeks yet.

It's silly, but I'm getting excited because on Saturday I will get my fourth chapter finished - that will mean I'm 20% through the novel and it's been coming along really easily so far. There's the chance that I'll get stuck at some point and each line will be hard fought for, but at the moment it's coming smoothly. If I'd known that writing novels would be this much fun I would have given it a try years ago!

I think I've worked out why I'm enjoying it so much: it feels like levelling up on a RPG. Every day I slog, having random battles, and then at the end by total score has notched up just a little bit. Progressing at 1% per day doesn't seem like much, but it only takes an hour or-so, and it mounts up fast.
Mata
1101 today. I'm nearly halfway through my fourth chapter. I'm looking forward to the fifth because I get to write some violence. Hooray!

How's everyone else getting on? Who's left participating?
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