Saturday, November 27, 2010

New Notions

Sadly, I have fallen off Nanowrimo. I'm too behind and too busy with homework recently to finish the 50,000 word goal. However, I successfully got to 24,000, and I'm happy that I got such progress on a project I've been thinking about for so long. I am looking forward to finishing that project in the coming months, but I have other things that demand my attention a lot sooner. I wish everybody who's still participating the best of luck and blessing that they can get to that finish line. As for me, here's to next year!

Meanwhile, while researching some alternative self-promotion techniques, I ran across this blog where the author Nina Amir blogs about blogging a book...while she's in the process of doing that herself. While it took me awhile to wrap my mind around her approach to writing, I got curious about whether it could apply to fiction. I read through some of her posts, and it is definitely geared toward non-fiction works, however I saw a lot of sense in some of what she says.

So, here's my idea: take a novel you're working on, or want to work on, any one, and write it via blog. You could make an entirely new blog dedicated to the project and make your updates your word count for that day, or you could take one blog you're already managing and just do a post a week with an excerpt, any approach! Heck, sites like and function on this very principle and have a very loyal following. I, for one, am very excited about trying this idea. Sure it's going to be challenging posting a rough draft for the world to see, but I might get some good feedback and a readership in the process. I honestly have nothing to lose, either, so why not give it a shot?

Tell me, what do you think of this idea? You think you might undertake it yourself, or some kind of variation on it? If not, why? If so, why?

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Keeping Commitment (Nano Day 21)

The Nano themed month continues. Unfortunately, my novel progress has come to a halt just short of the halfway point. I'm hoping going home and liberating myself in the warm embrace of turkey stuffing and pumpkin pie will help the creative juices start flowing as well as my anticipatory saliva glands. However, my biggest obstacle at the moment is coming from school. Despite the fact I've been keeping up with homework lately, the credit stacking I decided at the beginning of the semester is catching up with me near its end. Eighteen credits wasn't so bad with my classes at first, and even now I'm still finding time for sleep and a sparse social life. That's a good sign, I think. Next semester, though, I'm definitely keeping it light. Only three bulky classes and a pretty free schedule otherwise. Spring will be for finishing this rough draft the rest of the way!

This business leads me to the topic of today's post. This month, I'm sure people have been beating the subject of 'balancing life and writing' to death. I thought I'd try a different format if I can successfully figure out how to embed a video into this post. Wish me luck, and even better, watch if I'm successful!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Suiyoubi Skies! (Nano Day 10)

For anyone who is confused about the Asian ring to the title, that is the Japanese word for Wednesday. I am putting Japanese words into my title because that is the only class I have today before I get to take off for the weekend! Cue celebratory trumpets, and scene finished.

That bit of good personal news aside, my Nanowrimo progress is 15,637 words (I can write that in Japanese too, but I'm not gonna because it's long as heck). I powered through the 5000 I needed to catch up on Monday night (or early Tuesday morning, take your pick) and got a little extra done yesterday. Now I just have to get through the daily word goal of 2000 today and I'm set. And better yet, I've only gotten blocked on the novel once so far.

Now, onto the writing portion of the post. Since my only post this month seems to be Nano themed, I've decided to make the entire month like that in this portion. Last week covered regular writing sessions, this week I'd like to talk about continuous writing within the session. If that is too vague, then I'll give the example of the marvelous program Write Or Die. For those of you who have used it, you know precisely what I'm talking about. If you have never used this program (please check it out), it works like this: you're given a blank screen where you do nothing but type. It can be an essay, a story, a novel, a blog rant, anything. As you type, if you find yourself getting tired or blocked and your fingers stop tapping at the keys. Your screen turns red, screeching violins (or crying babies, your pick) curdle your ears, and if this isn't enough to jar your fingers into action, the words on the page start to disappear one by one (not permanently, I assure you). The goal of this program? To keep your fingers clacking away, your word count going up, and your ideas free-flowing onto the page.

The idea is pretty clear in your heads now, so how about the process? It does have it's pros and cons, what doesn't? On the plus side: words come out, ideas come out, and it stirs the muse in some people because the muse isn't allowed to rest for two seconds. The minus side: the words aren't necessarily going to be good, neither are the ideas, and it can be rather stressing if someone prefers to process everything so they can get a better handle of what goes into their computers/notebook.

My thoughts are that the technique certainly isn't for everyone, but it's really helpful. For me, half the battle is getting words on the page to begin with, getting a workable base prepared for fierce cutting and revision later on. If I have something, anything to work with, I'm good. This system helps leave more time to conquer the hated editing stages, as well. However, one of my favorite authors is one of those who works gradually on her MS and stops to revise as she goes. The draft process takes longer, however the finished product is downright shiny and already nearly ready to send out.

So, now your turn to give your take on this, does the technique work for you? Are you a fan of the continuous stream of words or are you more the taking-your-time type? What works for you and what doesn't with this technique if you use it?

And on a little aside, thank you so much Summer Ross and Elliot Grace for your consistent comments, they mean a ton. Check out their blogs if you don't already, Summer's is both quirky and insightful while Elliot's is both eloquent and moving. (As for the infamous Aizen commenter, they already hear how awesome they are on a regular basis!)

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Dozy Day 2

It is now day two of Nanowrimo...I am happily trekking forward with a cushy 500+ word buffer at where I'm supposed to be. I have to say, doing an attempt at historical accuracy in a historic fantasy is wearing on the eyes as far as research goes. So many little details to get straightened out! I've learned, even more, the power of a good Google search and the value of Wikipedia for casual research in these past writing sessions.

I also stayed up with a buddy of mine last night (or should I say this morning) doing nothing but writing the novel, all while I am completely caught up with my homework at the moment for today. I even have time to patiently wait for my Glee to come on while typing this. I have to say, it's a good start to the month. Only down side? I'm tired as hell, hades, and all the other underworlds known to religious belief.

I think I'm re-learning a very good bit of technique in this whole marathoning process. I've heard it on other writer blogs, and I'm sure that the attitude of muses varies with their owners, but sitting down to work on this purposeful spewing out of a rough draft is actually making Brigid (my muse) very responsive. I've gone weeks with spuratic outpourings onto this rough draft or that rough draft once in a while when I have time, but making time for it is getting such good results! Experience is the best teacher it seems, am I right?

For those of you who are doing Nanowrimo, how are your month-long novels going this early in the game? Shaky or wildly successful? What about those of you who aren't doing Nano? What are your thoughts on sessioning your writing and how your work responds to it?