Thursday, November 22, 2007

Counting the Ways to Lose NaNoWriMo

The towel, it is thrown. I've all but officially given up on NaNoWriMo, the National Novel Writing Month, this year. Stalled at 6112 words. Haven't written in 2 weeks. I had fun writing about 2000 of those, but it's not a novel. I started badly, with grand ideas that would take way more than 50,000 words. Chopping back the scope down to what would fit in 50,000 words left me with something that just wasn't that much fun to write after a couple thousand words. I rehashed some ideas and even some short stories I wrote 15+ years ago, which was just a bad idea.

So if I had to make a list of ways to lose NaNoWriMo:
  1. Reuse characters and plots from previously unfinished or failed writing efforts.
  2. Try to pack something the size of Lord of the Rings (just under 500,000 words) into 50,000 words. In a month.
  3. Write something you don't know. It's hard to add the little details when you're writing about a completely foreign environment, whether it's a city that you've never been to, a place that doesn't even exist, a job that you've never done, or a culture that you made up. Use what you know and twist it to fit.
  4. Get hung up on details. I constantly had issues like coming up with names for places and secondary characters and keeping them consistent. Once I hit on just using "blah blah" or blatantly stealing existing names (just for the draft), it stopped slowing me down.
  5. Stay in your usual environment. I think I wrote maybe 1000 words sitting at my home desktop. I wrote most of my words sitting somewhere busy with headphones in.
  6. Write while you're online. Just not possible for me. I wrote 90% of my words on an old beat up laptop with no Wifi.
I dunno now. Just making that list and running out of items makes me think maybe I need to suck it up and get back to it. I only need what, 44,000 words in the next 8 days? I think at my peak I figured I was able to knock out 1000 words in a really good hour, but 600 was a more normal pace.

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