Sunday, October 30, 2011

My Writing Week: Issue 44 Year 4

National Novel Writing Month.

Last week I finished and submitted my next article for DiVine magazine. The article is about weight loss for people with disabilities. I then finished re-writing a short story. Before I had time to think about what to do next I saw a post about National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) and decided to give it a go.

For those who don’t know, NaNoWriMo is a challenge to write a 50,000 word novel in November. About 300,000 people worldwide usually attempt NaNoWriMo.

Those who have read this blog would know about my miniscule word output, so me deciding to write 50,000 words in a month is a bit like someone who just occasionally jogs around the block deciding they are going to run a marathon on every day of November.

Once I committed myself to the idea of NaNoWriMo, I had to come up with a scenario to push me onto the starting line. I considered using a 2000 word excerpt of a young adult novel I had written for my masters as a starting point. Alternatively, I could have added 50,000 words to one of my novels in progress. The better one is at about 15,000 words, while the other one is at 40,000 words and not getting anywhere fast.

But I knew I would more likely achieve the 50,000 words with something new, as I find the early words of a novel a lot easier to write. The later words seem to come out slower, probably due to attempts to keep the plot and characters consistent.

I decided to use a novel scenario I have had floating around in my head for years. On Friday, between sets of weights and watering the veggies and pot plants, I wrote down pages of notes. I have been frequently adding to those notes over the past few days.

I have a main character, a theme, a scenario that covers the whole story arc, an internal and an external problem for the main character to solve, a problem for the secondary characters to solve, and a problem for the main character and secondary characters to solve together.  I have figured out the first half of the novel – assuming it doesn’t take a more adventurous route.

For the first time, I am going to write chapters from alternative points of view. I am even going to change from first person to third person with the alternating points of view. This approach was very effective in Margaret Atwood’s Year of the Flood.

And of course the novel I am going to write is science fiction.

So I will probably not be making much noise on the web for the next month. I hope to update my blog every now and then with how my NaNoWriMo race is going.


Ethan said...

Good luck, Graham. I've often thought about doing the Nano thing, but haven't found the intestinal fortitude to do it. I'll be watching the blog for notes on your progress.

Graham Clements said...

thank's Ethan.

Anthony J. Langford said...

Good luck with it Graham. It's pretty tough. Especially the second and third weeks.
It's good to committ and as an exercise, force yourself to be disciplined. However, for me, I found that the work was too rushed and it took me a year of heaving editing to make it right again. ( I did it twice).

I already knew I could write a novel, so what exactly was i acheiving? That i could write fast?
personally I think better work is achieved over a longer period, but applying an equal amount of discipline.

Best of luck.