Wednesday, November 2, 2011

MandyWrimo - Taking the (Modified) Plunge


Ahh. NanoWrimo. Indecision. In my experience, they go together.

Me and NanoWrimo are a bit like Anne Lamott and gardening. In Bird By Bird Lamottt describes how terrible she is at gardening, how it doesn't work for her, how every plant she has dies. And yet she loves the idea of a garden and the metaphor of gardens.

I love the idea of Nano.

I love the concept of writing your butt off for a whole month, of pushing and pushing and never giving up, even if it kills you. I love the freedom Nano offers. Mistakes? Who cares. Dirty house? Who cares, it's Nano! I love the community Nano fosters. Also, I am a stubborn person by nature. I like making hard goals. I love the sensation of achieving something other people told you was impossible.

Here's the problem.

I think a lot when I write. I brainstorm. I process. I am a huge rewriter. If my first drafts are too crappy, they are not worth my time. This is mainly because I need to learn something in my early draft. In writing, I uncover the main forks in my story. And then I pick a fork. A few chapters later, I may need to go back and choose a different fork. Ever so slowly, this is how I uncover my novel.

The process of discovery takes time. It also requires being able to go back. But to quote Veronica Roth, Nano is a sprint. No looking back. No time to discover. Just go.

The very first time I participated in Nano, I learned that this just doesn't work for me. Ever since then--as in, every year since then--I toy with the idea of it. I tell myself, "You will get more work done if you skip Nano." I tell myself, "Just say no." But oh, Nano is so tempting and shiny. Skipping it is just as hard as completing it.

Last year I managed to skip. November was a horrible time for me. In fact, the whole Fall semester was horrible. Nano was out of the picture.

This year is different. Since moving to College By the Sea, I have realized it's time to get back on the ball. Time to blog more. Write every day. Finish Mirrorpass. Start something new. Get serious.

And then comes the tickling, whispery allure of Nano. I was doing a good job avoiding it. But I was frustrated with my new project, The Eternity Shift. I've been poking it. Toying with it. I feel like it needs a jumpstart. Nano would be perfect, except Nano would ruin it. Problem unsolved.

Three days ago, this occurred to me. I could Nano ETShift, and I could Nano it my way. I could choose a pace that balanced quantity with quality. And as soon as I thought it, I knew this was the thing to do--the solution I've been looking for.

So I'm taking the plunge. My goal? 25,000 - 30,000 words this month. 800 words a day. The first half of my novel by the end of the month.

It's perfect. 800 words is just enough for me to squeak out on the worst, busiest days, but it's also the point when, on better days, the story will hook me. Once I write 800 words, I can almost always keep going. And this has proved true so far. Two days in and my wordcount is 2,359.

In case you can't tell, I'm quite jazzed over this solution.

And if there's any of you guys teetering there on the edge, torn between the impracticalities of Nano as it applies to you, and the definite appeal of writing 50k in one month, then I invite you to join me. Personalize! I'll do MandyWrimo, you'll do YouWrimo, and at the end of the month...

Well. Maybe we'll have something shiny to show for it.


My MandyWrimo project:



The Eternity Shift: YA Dystopian

Robin is a girl with a deadly illness who wakes up in a future where everyone is immortal. As their souls and personality decay, their bodies live on. Immortality is a curse. Robin is the one anomaly: Robin is still mortal. The rulers of Paradigm City will do everything to keep control of this possible new cure. As for Robin, all she really wants is to find a way home--a journey through space and time that would leave her immortal if she succeeded, giving her a second chance at the life her illness stole away. But is there life--real life--to be had in Paradigm City? Or is Robin clinging to a past that was never hers to begin with?


Okay, guys. What are you doing for Nano? Are you going all out, or did you decide to modify Nano like I did? Feel free to linkback to your Nano project in the comments!


Truly and always,
-Creative A

6 comments:

1000th.monkey said...

I have my own skewed NaNo system too :) Since I'll be away a lot in November, technically, I have max 15-17 days to write (since I'm only home 18 days), so I have a less-ambitious goal as well, though no hard word-count number I'm trying to hit.

I'm going to be flipping back and forth between two projects, a MG speculative and a YA contemporary.

My only rule is that I don't write crap. Ever. Not if the only purpose is to pad word-count. That feels, not only like cheating, but a waste of time because I know I'd just have to go back later and delete those words.

My NaNo profile can be found here:

http://www.nanowrimo.org/en/participants/jadeharpy

Erin Michelle said...

This is my third year of NaNo, and I've been planning a rewrite of my YA Superhero novel for the past couple of months, so NaNo seemed like a great idea to get the new draft started. I've got enough planned in my head that I feel like I can write a lot without completely ruining the book. Here's hoping it works out...!
Good luck :)

Creative A said...

Cool beans, Monkey! Kudos for maximizing your time. I'm curious, if you're not using wordcount as a goal, what are you shooting for progress wise?


Hey Erin--you go! I feel like a rewrite would be a subtly more difficult goal than the first draft, since in rewrites, the precedent has been set, and now you're trying to take it a step up. Good luck to you, as well!

-Mandy

Ryan Sullivan said...

Since getting closer to 60,000 words, I've decided that, realistically, that CAN be the bare minimum for my final book. I've only got about 3,000 words left until I hit it, but this month I'm aiming for 5,000 words. Just passing 60,000 words will make me one happy boy, but I still have much of the story left to write. I think my first draft will amount to somewhere between 65,000 and 80,000 words.

I'm aiming to release next year, so this is all wonderful timing for me.

So while I'm miro-NaNoing here (min 200 words a day), I may consider a PerWriMo (Personal Writing Month) in December with a goal to finish it. Then I could revise all through January and release by my birthday in April!

http://thedarkcornerofthemind.blogspot.com

Claire L. Fishback said...

This is my 8th year (and will be my 8th win) doing NaNoWriMo. I tend to go into November with something new and fun. Something that CAN be crap. It's my way of letting my creativity out to gallivant around and air out all the weird stuff that doesn't fit in my "serious" novelling escapades.

I'm at almost 15,000 words so far. On track. But my characters are stuck. I'm looking into the distance wondering if my creativity accidentaly gallivanted off a cliff...

Claire L. Fishback said...

This is my 8th year (and will be my 8th win) doing NaNoWriMo. I tend to go into November with something new and fun. Something that CAN be crap. It's my way of letting my creativity out to gallivant around and air out all the weird stuff that doesn't fit in my "serious" novelling escapades.

I'm at almost 15,000 words so far. On track. But my characters are stuck. I'm looking into the distance wondering if my creativity accidentaly gallivanted off a cliff...

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