4

Do you know about NaNoWriMo? National Novel Writing Month is coming right up this November, and I’ve decided to participate!

I feel like this is the perfect time for me to throw myself into a time-consuming and distracting project.  And there’s really only so much research one can do about washed up gunslingers and failing mining towns before you just gotta write your damn story.

So I made this little..uh…cud-chewing-looking announcement, cause if anyone wanted to do this with me I would be, like, RIDICULOUSLY happy.

I’m not going to be doing final pages, rather I’ll be doing 5 pages of thumbnails and script a day.  I was thinking it would be nice to have a shared blog with people who wanted to do it as well, and then we’d have people to be accountable to!!

If you feel like you’re up for it, shoot me an ask!  I’ll be doing it come hell or high water, so I hope to see you there!  <3

Road Trip to NaNo: Finding Your Creative Energy Generator

image

NaNoWriMo is an international event, and the stories being written every year reflect our hundreds of participating regions. We’re taking a Road Trip to NaNo to hear from our amazing volunteers and writers all around the world. Today, Summer, one of our Municipal Liaisons in the USA :: Texas :: Bryan-College Station region shares her secret for creating writing synergy:

Usually if I tell someone I’m from Bryan, Texas, the reaction flips between “Huh?” and “Where?” Switch it up to College Station, and some might go “Oh yeah, Texas A&M”, especially here in Texas where football is king and cities are known by their teams. In reality, the two are often mentioned together as Bryan-College Station, because they pretty much always have been. If you look at the cities on a map, their borders blend seamlessly into each other. You can literally drive down any number of roads and poof: you’ve flipped cities without even knowing it!

Historically, while the two towns often have a good-natured rivalry, they have continued to grow together, uplifting and supporting one another. I often liken our twin cities to a pair of fraternal twins: sure, they may trash talk each other now and then, but they always stand together in the face of adversity—two as one. As our police and fire departments note, ours is a community without borders.

This spirit of helping, of connectivity, of oneness regardless of our differences is something that carries through to the people who live here…

Read More

We’re gearing up for NaNoWriMo at our library: one month of writing workshops, about everything from brainstorming, plotting and character,  and navigating writer’s block, run by none other than YA authors Jody Casella, Jennifer McGowan, Natalie Richards, and Paul Melko! 

So with NaNo on the brain: Vonnegut’s Rules for Short Stories, anyone? Nothing puts us in the mood to write quite like this list of guidelines. 

{Quote originally reblogged here. We just made it all fancy with the fonts and the colors and the what-nots. :) }

Would anyone here be interested in like, a NaNoWriMo tumblr aces writing group?

I find that having some kind of skype/facebook/google hangouts sort of writing group helps motivate me a lot for NaNoWriMo, and it’s great for setting up things like word races.

If you would be interested, what format would you prefer?

So I’m planning to do NaNoWriMo aka National Novel Writing Month in Nov.  It’s less that I really want to write a whole novel, but I miss writing.  I love the RPing but I miss the total control that comes with writing your own thing.  Of course now that I have total control (mwhahaha)…. I have no idea what I want to do. 

I’m thinking about possibly doing something with aliens and it will probably have bi guys having sex because I really like writing erotica.  But otherwise…. I have no clue.   I see all these people with plans and they will probably produce something better than I will, because my plan is to just start writing random snippets and see if something emerges. That’s how I started writing Fathers and Sons and that’s the fanfic that everyone loves…. so it must not be too bad.  I did that by writing a few key scenes then stitching them into an outline and just going for it.  So I will probably start this by writing some sex scenes and seeing where it goes.  

But I really hope I can stick with it and not fail whale.  

NaNoWriMo 2014

image

It’s that time of the year again. Jude is getting ready to go completely mental for an entire month.

For those who haven’t been here last year: NaNoWriMo stands for National Novel Writing Month and basically is the idea to write an 50.000 (or more) words novel within November - that’s 1.667 words per day.

Last year, I used NaNoWriMo to write the first draft of what (after three months of heavy editing) became Going Home, a story that is nowhere near perfection but something that I am extremely proud of so if you haven read it already I’d appreciate if you checked it out.

This year I’ll (hopefully) do the same as last November: I’ll write the first draft of a Valdaya fic, I’ll edit it and then I’ll post it in the new year. I’ll also try to keep you updated during the month; tell you how I’m doing and post little snippets. 

About the new fic: The working title is Our Little Secret. I’m about 80% sure the title will change but for now I like it. I have actually started the story twice already. The first time (then as a non-Valdaya fic but as an actual novel) for Camp NaNo 2012 but I had to stop after a couple of days because my Grandma died that month and it felt wrong to continue the project. I tried again this summer, again for Camp NaNo (2014) but summer’s not really the best time to write a novel. So three time’s a charm. Fingers crossed.

It’s going to be very AU (Alternate Universe) because Maks and Val are twins in it and I won’t focus too much on dancing - but still enough to fit the characters. Here’s a synopsis:

When Zendaya’s new Russian teacher turns out to look exactly like her hot singer boyfriend - who just happened to have broken up with her a day ago - she is convinced her lover is trying to win her back. Little does she know her teacher and her boyfriend are two estranged twin brothers who couldn’t be more different: Maks Chmerkovskiy, self proclaimed rockstar, living his dream, about to leave with his band for a tour in Mexico, and Val Chmerkovskiy, bored by life, left by all inspiration, narrow-minded and a lover of responsibility. Everything changes for the three when Val first finds himself back in his hometown to teach at the school he always hated, and then suddenly in a tour bus to Mexico - with the brother he always hated even more but the only person who can bring a spark of adventure into his life. Zendaya too finds herself on her way to Mexico, determined to win her boyfriend back - determined he wants her back - only to get mixed signals; While rockstar Maks wants to be a free man, Val - now pretending to be his brother - pities the girl and starts hanging out with her to give her the fun experience she always wanted from her boyfriend… until he slowly starts feeling more for her. But can a relationship be built on such a secret?

It’s all a bit confusing and I suck at summaries so here is an easier explanation:

  • Maks and Val are twins
  • Maks is dating Z but breaks up with her before he goes on tour with his band
  • The day after, it turns out Val is Z’s new Russian teacher but she doesn’t know Maks has a twin brother so she thinks Maks is trying to win her back - so she decides to follow him to Mexico
  • Despite his terrible relationship with his brother, Val also goes to Mexico to have a bit of adventure in his life
  • Maks dumps Z again but Val pities her so he starts pretending to be Maks and spends time with her
  • Val suddenly likey Z
  • problemo!

I know it’s complicated but if I manage to do it right I’m sure we’ll all have fun with it. Just trust me to get it right. And I’d appreciate your opinions on this idea - maybe I’m already completely crazy and this is the worst fic of all times. No idea. We’ll see. Leave your thoughts in my inbox.

Oh, if you also particpiate in this year’s NaNoWriMo, you can add me, I’m superjude. And if you need any help/tips/whatever - I’m here. This is my 5th year doing this so I know a thing or two. 😃

Getting Into Character - Preparing Yourself for NaNoWriMo

October is full of preparation, but as thorough and thoughtful as writers are when it comes to planning out what they’ll write, many tend to neglect the most important thing to prepare - themselves. Unless you’re already a prolific, productive writer, you’re about to do something that you don’t usually do. Writing 50k words in 30 days is out of character for most people. You’ll likely turn down social engagements you’d usually accept, or close yourself off from those you live with in order to get a private moment to write. Your work ethic in your job or at school might slack a little as your writing energy depletes your energy for everything else. Your exercise and eating habits may change. From December-October, this isn’t normal for you. And as writers, we know that out-of-character behavior doesn’t work. 

So instead of thinking of your solitary, exhausted NaNo persona as out-of-character, think of it as a new character entirely. Let’s call them Nano. Nano eats, sleeps, and breathes fiction. Nano’s brain is an active storytelling machine that finds plot in every moment of every day. Nano may have great supporters, or Nano may have family or friends that believe their writing is simply a phase they’ll get over someday (and Nano wants to prove those naysayers wrong). Nano is the type of person who has metaphorical lightbulbs illuminating a few times a day, forcing Nano to scramble for scratch paper to jot the ideas down in a manner as urgent as an epiphany level discovery. While Nano has to go to work, do homework, and go to classes, Nano’s writing brain never shuts off entirely. It’s still running in the background, like apps that use up battery life without us realizing it. While there are times when Nano wants to quit, Nano finds a way to get it done, whatever it takes. 

Nano is resilient, determined, unrelenting, and unwilling to ever give up. And you, dear writer, will be playing the role of Nano for the month of November. Play the part well, and you might just end up with 50k words as proof of your award winning acting. 

Seriously though, NaNoWriMo is not meant to be a segue into writing like this full time. It’s a once a year event that requires you to stretch yourself just a little and accomplish things you likely have no motivation to reach for during the rest of the year. 

Writing is hard. But NaNoWriMo is the perfect time to make it easy. Maybe you’ve always wanted to be the type of writer that writes daily. Well, you get to be that writer for 30 days. It doesn’t matter how good or bad the story is - you are sitting down and churning out words like a pro. That’s the dream! Put on that hat, that costume, that persona for 30 days, and then the credits will roll on this intense movie, and you’ll get to be you again come December 1.

This character of Nano is an anomaly for most people, and while you won’t be able to channel it year-round, it’s possible that if you play it convincingly enough, a little bit of Nano might just rub off on you from December-October.

So get yourself into character. If you’re feeling adventurous, develop this character as you would your own characters. Aside from writing 50k words, what is your character’s goal? What are some possible roadblocks your character might run into, and how will the character get through them? Anticipate your NaNo journey as you would your own plot. Plan ahead for the problems and think of the solutions. 

-R 

National Novel Writing Month!

It’s almost here! 

I’ve participated in NaNo since 2007, and with the exception of 2008, when my son was 2 months old, I’ve managed those 50k in 30 days each time. Once, in-advisably, in ten days. Holy Moses I couldn’t use my hands after for the life of me. I’ve written promising things, I’ve written two things I’m really proud of. I’ve written something terrible I’d like to pretend never came from me and was a bear to get through. 

NaNo is terrifying and exhilarating and daunting and incredibly motivating. I love that there are no rules. I love that no matter what happens — if you make it or not — NaNo pushes people out of their comfort zone into the land of “maybe I can” or “yes I did”. 

Before my first NaNo, I was a writer who lived in Never Can Land. I didn’t think I had interesting stories to tell. I never thought I’d harness the discipline, and I wondered what the point would be when nothing would come of it. 

But then the universe arranged itself, as it sometimes does, and things just…happened. I was at a terrible job with awful people that I dreaded seeing each day. It was soul sucking, horrible…all of those things. 

The only other person in my office I could stand confessed to me that she wanted to write a book. She had no idea why, seeing as she didn’t like to read (I still haven’t figured this out). I’d just finished my second or third re-read of The God of Small Things and it had lit a fucking bonfire under me. I always knew I was a poet, but for some reason, I’d never really thought that I could take that poetry and learn to write fiction in my own way. Books like this are the kind that make one realize that you don’t have to follow the “rules”. You can do any fucking thing you want with the space and time and a blank document or sheet of paper in front of you. 

And that’s when, somehow, I ran across the NaNoWriMo web site. It was already November 3rd or something like that, but it…was a little more gasoline on that bonfire. And my friend and I decided then and there we had to do this crazy thing. 

The more I’ve written in my life, the more I realize I’ve come to obey a lot of the unwritten “rules* of writing. This is something I love because process and progress and learning: all good things. But I also love that I’ve honed my craft. I love that that push NaNo gave me each year taught me to be confident. Not in how others would perceive my stories (that’s a fanfiction story), but in my ability to find and tell a story. 

It doesn’t help to hear from your editor that the poet in me comes through in what I write. Discovering that I can blend my love for words and making images and movement from them with storytelling…what a lovely affirmation. 

But honestly, I don’t know if any of this would have happened without NaNo. I don’t know that I ever trusted that I would get published for anything, ever, but now I am. I don’t know that the first book I wrote is something I’d ever show anyone now, but with 7 original books and over 400,000 words of fanfiction written (that last part in the span of three years), I have an incredible amount of confidence I rarely let myself feel in my writing. 

If you have a dream or a hope or a longing, write. Fuck the idea of an audience if that scares you. Flip off that voice in your head that tells you you can’t, or won’t, or that you aren’t capable. Let yourself connect with that ache that urges you to make something. If you write 500 words, celebrate the shit out of that because *you did it*

I always encourage people to participate in NaNo because the structure is motivating for so many. The idea that this is a tiny space in time to let go and let yourself dream works for so many people. 

I go into each NaNo thinking “oh fuck what the fucking fuck will I write?”. But somehow, each year, something comes. So yes, November looms and I’m not sure what I’ll do but I feel that tingle in my fingers that says something’s coming. Let’s see what it is. I hope, so much, that for any of you who want to write, or who just want to say you did something crazy that once, that you’ll hope on this speeding bullet of a train too. 

Writers are some of the most imaginative people in the world, and you cannot convince me otherwise. Inventors, artists, scientists, dads (seriously, have you ever seen a dad faced with a weird problem they don’t want to have to call in a professional? Magic is born.), all of them are imaginative. Writers, though, especially fiction writers, build entire worlds, multi-layered stories, ten thousand characters, a horrible back story, and all those other required pieces. Our imaginations, however, can also be our downfall. What about a story whose main character is a frog? What about if there’s a girl who can speak to inanimate objects? What about fae in downtown Seattle? 

How do you choose what story to write when you have multiple all circling your head?

First things first, always write down all your ideas, especially ones you may not get to right away. Scribble down all the details you’ve thought of, though. Even if you think, “That is so unique I don’t think it’s possible for me to forget about it when I come back to this story,” write it down. I have missed out on a lot of great ideas because I can’t remember exactly what they were. 

In a situation like NaNoWriMo where you’re writing constantly and thinking about your story 24/7, you don’t always have time to sit back and think about what’s happening next or world build (unless you’ve already achieved your word count for the day, in which case, plan away). Unless you’re pants-ing it, you pretty much need to already have some vague idea about where the story’s going. When trying to decide between two story ideas, consider which you know more about. I don’t mean which one do you have to research less—you’ll always have things you need to research—but which one do you already have a pretty good idea about the world, people, and events? Do you love the idea of a frog main character and already have a great idea for what the conflict will be and the climax scene? Do you only vaguely have kind of a character, maybe, who might be fae? Do you have some plan for the girl to discover hidden things about her grandmother’s sketchy past through her knickknacks? It’s best to go with an idea you already have some fleshed-out ideas for. Maybe your vague fae in downtown Seattle idea needs to sit a bit longer before you’re ready to jump in and speed write an entire novel about it.

Consider which one you’re most enthusiastic about. If you have the most ideas for the girl with powers than the frog main character, you probably have been thinking about her more. The more enthusiastic you are about a story line, the more likely you are to be able to concentrate on it, come up with tidbits you need in your story quickly, and—the most important part—the more excited you’ll be about it! Maybe you don’t have all the pieces of the plot yet, or the world isn’t totally fleshed out, or you’re still missing how exactly she acquired these powers. Even missing huge amounts of information, if you’re excited about the story, you will be more likely to do well. You’ll be interested in finding out these pieces as you’re going. It’s much harder to write something interesting out of an idea you have all the ideas for but not the drive to write about. I would never be able to write a decent story about a modern day parent struggling with their judgmental siblings because I would never have the drive or interest. I may have the entire plot lined out, but the prose would never turn out well-written if I am not actually excited about it.

Remember those two crucial pieces when trying to decide between multiple story ideas, and you’ll be good to go. Write them all down to come back to later, and pick the one that strikes the right balance between ideas and inspiration. Those are things that only you can determine. The choice is up to you.

Text
Photo
Quote
Link
Chat
Audio
Video