Saturday, April 12, 2008

Writing marathons, word sprints and stealing time

Okay I must be crazy. I've said yes to writing another 50,000 words in June. As if doing it in November isn't enough.

My real life writer friends think I'm crazy and not one of them has dared take up the Nanowrimo challenge with me. (I can barely get them to commit to 100 words a day). But they admire my prolific output. Because with the training I have had from four Nanowrimos challenges, I am becoming a prolific writer. Just not a prolific editor. So at the moment, I have four complete first drafts (ranging from 50k to 110k each), one almost complete at 53k (approx another 6k to go), and a halfway there story of 25k.

I have a full time job, plus I give up a day a month to do the accounting for my father's business. So how do I manage to find the time to write?

As Anna Jacobs said in the seminar at last year's conference: 'Life won't give you the time to write. You have to steal it.'

So I do steal time and I make the most of all the little pockets of time available to me because it all adds up. Fifteen minutes here, fifteen minutes there. Waiting for the doctor, waiting for my partner to pick me up after work, grab some time in my teabreak. Maybe it wasn't the smartest time to write a skydiving scene when I was waiting for my blood pressure to be measured (had to wait another ten minutes and test again) but there you have it....that's how I write.

I'm also a big fan of 'word wars' and 'word sprints'. During Nanowrimo last year and in 2006, I would get online and challenge a writer friend in Canberra to 'word wars'. I could write 1200 words in half an hour. We would use this Talking Alarm Clock to time ourselves. You can program the wizard to congratulate you when the time is up, and even play a song from your music library.

I'm a pantser although I generally get to about 3/4 through the story and then I have to write the final scene (or at least outline it). I liken it to taking a joyride but towards the end of the ride, I need to decide on a destination so I can work out how to get there, so I just haven't driven around in circles the whole time. While I'm doing a writing challenge, I don't spend much time looking back, I don't edit, I just try to keep going forward. Sometimes this means that I write scenes out of order because I write the scene that is calling to me next.

Probably the hardest thing I find with a writing challenge like this is that after 50k, I still have more to write, but I'm usually pooped from all that writing. (Especially if I write over 6000 words on the last evening as I did last year) and then I have to motivate myself to finish the next 50k words without the amazing community of writers all striving for the same thing.

So when I finish the first draft of Beyond Happily Ever After, I will have finished 3 first drafts in 2.5 years (I'm with the Band started November 2005). I possibly may have finished 4 first drafts in 4 years but I'm not sure when I started writing 'Making the Cut'.

I have no idea what I will be writing yet in June, but I think in May I will set up an Edit in a Month challenge for the others of us who have completed first drafts that need editing.

This picture is me holding my 2006 Nanowrimo effort Diary of the Future. Luckily the whole story was told in just over 50k as it is young adult. that year offered a free copy of your novel if you had completed the 50k so I did a quick edit, designed a cover, and have my name on a real physical book - the only copy that exists at this point.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Surviving June

On the side panel we now have sites that may help you on your journey towards our write-a-thon in June.

In the Article section, both Ally Blake and Nicola Mash chat about the process they use in writing a novel. Both are well worth visiting.
Annie Doyle has a very interesting blog about building a collage using Powerpoint. Drop by and have a read of her blog. While you're there don't forget to say "Hi". That goes for Ally and Nicola as well.

The generators are fun, and very interesting. All helpful in different ways. Oops hang on got to go and do a word sprint with Diane for 15 minutes.

Okay I'm back Diane did 344 words in fifteen minutes I did 317. See what you're missing. Anyway that's another blog. So where was I? Oh yeah generators.

Glass Giant is great you can design your own book cover complete with novel title and your name. Add a photo you think best depicts our story and presto. Print your novel cover off and stick it to the wall in front of your computer as a reminder of what you are aiming to achieve.

Having trouble coming up with a name or plot? Try some of the others and see if you can find something that will inspire you.

The research links is a must. It's always good to have somewhere you can go and tap into information that will make your life as a writer easier.

Anne Whitfield would have one of the best sites for researching historical romances. Charlotte Dillon and Holly Lisle are must visits for researching.

Hopefully we will have a couple of our more seasoned members blogging about their experience with NaNo. Please keep an eye out for these posts.

Hope you find The 'No Plot? No Problem' Spot of some help with your preparation for '50ks In 30days'.


Thursday, April 10, 2008

How does the challenge work?

Amanda raised an excellent question in the comments of the last post. How does the challenge work? Here's how I'm thinking it works. First let me say this; THERE ARE NO PRIZES!!
Well it's not that there are no prizes it's just that there are no prizes. (well now doesn't that sound like all brain cells are firing?) Anyway, the only prize at the end of this challenge is self satisfaction. Nothing better than proving something to yourself, who cares what anyone else thinks! This is about you are your writing, no one elses. The idea is to write 50,000 words in 30 days. From June 1st you park your butt in the 'hot seat', (this is the name for the chair I sit in) and you make the effort to write at every available moment. Yes, to get the 50k done you need to do 1,666.6666666....... Okay so we'll say 1,667 words a day. You do NOT have to do the 5ok! If you're new to writing or you have a life, then 50k may not be a good number for you. Change the number. We're NOT going to get the whip out if you don't do the 50, well, not unless you're in to that, we're going to be keen to see you reach your goal. As someone that had life throw a curve ball at her during last years Nano I know that sometimes we just can't do what we set out to do. But that doesn't mean that because we didn't cross the finish line we failed. The only way to fail is to not try. This blog and the Google group are designed for support, cheer leading and understanding. We're all at different stages of our writing so there is always someone who's been where you are, who's able to offer advice, a shoulder to cry on or a gawd damn good time to relieve the stress.
I made a comment on Amanda's blog the other day about the most vital ingredient of a great book, without it, you could be a skilled writer and write a good book but with it...
You need passion for your work, for it to come alive and breath the writer needs to be passionate about the characters, about the story, about wanting to share the story.
Writing is a serious business. It's hard. At times it sucks. And that's where the support of your fellow writers comes in. They know how you feel; they've felt it. They know how hard it is to pick yourself up off the floor and keep going; they've done it. With this blog and the group we hope to build a network of writers that will help in your journey to become published.
I know I've digressed form the original point of this post but hey, what can I say; I'm a writer!
Even though the aim of the challenge is to do 50k it's not the point of the challenge. The point is to write; write consistently. And if that means your own personal goal is 100 words a day giving you 3,000 words, or 500 w giving you 15,000 w, or 1,667 w giving you 50,010 w at the end, it doesn't matter. What matters is that you set your challenge and you went for it. Who cares if you get there other than you? But remember, it's not about winning it's about making the effort and pursuing your dream. Some dreams come quicker than others but all dreams are worth going for.
I know, I'm hopless at staying on track, but I think I've answered the question if not feel free to leave a question in the comments.
'See' ya soon.
Rachel C

What Are You Voting For

As Diane so sweetly pointed out I messed up on one, (well it was really two) of the titles. So here is the complete Title list:

50ks in 30 days
OzNoWriMo - Oz Novel Writing Month
JAMMIN - Joint Author MS Marathon Incentive Network
Romance Under Pressure
WFAP - Write Fast and Passionately
JUICY - JUne Is Creatively Yielding
JUICE - JUne Is Creatively Excessive

Okay you have the list. Cast your vote, make it count. Remember Rach is on a deadline.

The First Challenge

In June we will under take a challenge to write a novel of no less then 50,000 words in 30 days. But before we can get to that stage we need a name. One the enbodies the unique qualities of Aussie writers.

So for the next couple of days your mission is should you decide to the challenge is to vote on a name. Please vote for the name you feel best expresses the aim of the group.

Please be fair, only one vote per person.

In the mean time don't forget to prepare for the challenge tha will loom upon us before we can say cold feet in ice water. Or what ever.