National Novel Writing Month

This is a Warcraft blog. I’ve tried to blog a few times over the years but never had any success at sticking to it until now. That being said I do on occasion blog about other stuff, and this is one of those occasions. A little short post to explain what that new widget on the sidebar is.

You see while I might not have had much success at regular blog posting, I’ve always liked to write. I started off, as many do I think these days, writing fanfiction. Truly, dreadful fanfiction but the more you write, the more you learn about writing. You start seeing the plot holes, you start learning about pacing and conflict, you learn to show rather than tell. Every story you write you learn a little more about crafting stories and fanfiction, for all it’s bad press, does give you a vehicle to practice story crafting. Eventually though the ideas can’t be constrained by someone else’s universe and you have to make your own.

In 2007 I learnt that NaNoWriMo existed. It’s basically a community, built around the challenge of writing 50,000 words in the month of November. I took part for the first time in 2007 and failed miserably. I got to about 20k words before I realised that my plot just didn’t make sense. I tried again in 2008 and I made it to 50k words, with a very rough first draft. I took part again in 2009 with the same results, a little over 50k words in some semblance of a novel. In 2010 I repeated 2007 and got to about 20k words, which is obviously the word count where things start to fall apart. I didn’t take part in 2011.

I wasn’t going to take part this year either but in truth I missed it last year. So anyway I’m going to be giving it my best shot, 1667 words a day like the song says. As for the plot? Well that’s where I’m doing something that might be a bit stupid. I’ve had this story in my head for well over a decade. I tried writing it in 2007 which was helpful as it pointed out the enormous holes. I tried writing it in 2009 which got me a first draft, because I gave it the focus the 07 version had lacked, by parachuting in completely different main characters. In 2011 I tried writing the story of the children, of the new main characters, from 09. I blame it living in my head, it kind of takes on a life of it’s own. 2010 failed of course but showed that the story of the new main characters, would perhaps be best served as backstory to the new new main character. This storyline would mesh very well with the original plan for 09 that never translated to the page. We’ve now come to where I am for the 2012 version.

The reason why this is stupid is it amounts to a rewrite. Aside from the fact that anything written, outside of this November, doesn’t count in the word count, so if I want to cut and paste a scene from a previous year it won’t count. There’s the fact that rewrites aren’t as inspirational. I won in 08 and 09 because I wrote what I was thinking about at the time. That’s how 09 wound up getting changed so much from what was intended, I took these new characters and ran with it. I probably would have done better in 2010, if I’d written the story about the chef and police detective, that had been germinating in my mind at the time. Instead I went with the plot I’d picked, and planned out, as I didn’t want any more story ideas. I have like a dozen of the things and I wanted to write one out, so I could metaphorically stamp done on it. Naturally there would be the rewrite and until you can show someone else your work, and do so willingly and without reservation, then it’s not done at all. However, it would get it off the ideas pile and into the drafts pile. It was a completely counter productive decision. I wound up running out of steam at 20k meaning I didn’t have a first draft, and I’d had to write down the new idea on the ideas list anyway.

This year I don’t have a new plot begging to be written, though I didn’t come up with the idea for 08 until the day before. I’ve picked the old standby, the story that has its roots in an idea I had when I was nine. Sometimes I think this story has lived in my head for so long that it can’t be told. How will what I put on paper ever live up to the tantalising potential? That question is a bit of a millstone around the neck, a heavy weight to carry, and likely not conducive to a successful outcome on the 30th. However, if I don’t give myself a deadline, if I don’t make myself attempt it, will I ever commit those words to paper?

There’s 8 days to go until November 1st, which gives plenty of time to change my mind on what I’ll be writing. Whatever plot I do eventually pick, I will be writing a novel this November. I encourage all the spam bots that read this to go and do the same, and stop spamming me 100 times a day. If there’s any real people reading this then I seriously recommend joining in as well. There’s nothing quite like that feeling when you type The End, it gives you the best high. The closest I’ve felt to that feeling was downing a really difficult boss for the first time, it’s that elation that comes from pitting yourself against a challenge and proving yourself equal to it. Typing The End though goes beyond that, it’s worth more than ten boss kills, more than twenty, it really is an incredible feeling.

1667 words a day, that’s all it takes. What are you doing this November?