Tag Archives: National Novel Writing Month

My changed view on NaNoWriMo

I’ve done NaNo since 2003 and tried Camp NaNoWriMo this past July. The

Things Have Changed

Things Have Changed (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

first four times I ‘won’ the 50 K challenge, but didn’t achieve it ever since, and didn’t achieve the goal for Camp either. I didn’t even get halfway there.

My Changed View

What I’ve come to realize is that I’m now putting too much pressure on myself to complete the marathon, to the point that I’m stalled to actually do so.

So, I’ll plan to try a different approach and see how it works for me:  from now on I’ll use the start of a NaNo event to spur me to start a project (a novel in November, something else for Camp) but I won’t concern myself with completing the target by the deadline date.

Maybe by not pressuring myself I’ll succeed at it more often again. I want to always finish the book that I start, instead of leaving it to be forgotten when the event is over. Some of my past projects I already plan to revisit, some of them I need to rewrite from scratch because I no  longer have my backups. Just as well, as the new versions won’t feel as clunky.

An Important Caveat

Note that I’m not bashing NaNoWriMo in the least. I’ve been a part of it since nearly its start (I think there were three before I began) and it can help an author to get the words out of their head – and  my view may change yet again, many times in fact– but for now this is what I’ll try, and see how it works.

“Don’t Get it Right. Just Get it Written.” James Thurber

Blog

 

Pantsers vs. Plotters

With me starting at Camp NaNoWriMo on July 1st I thought that I should explain the difference between these two story methods, and what I do or don’t.

“Pantsers”

This is an expression, short for “writing by the seat of your pants”. A writer goes into a project with nothing planned and just writes what comes to them. They have no characters planned, no scenes either. They just make everything up as they go along writing.

For some people this is the best way to work on a project. They are always surprised by what appears on their screen (or on their typewriter / paper), and as a result don’t have many predictable turns in their stories.

Me? I ‘ve tried it for many years — and won the first 4 — but it proved to be too open for me. I needed more structure to guide me.

Outliner

The opposite alternative is to work from a detailed outline of your story. Even the characters are defined — in name, personality is sketched, their character File:Plotextraktor.pngarcs are mapped  out, the works.

Some people like that level of planning. They can come to finish novels often that way.

Personally, I find that much structure too much. I like to have some measure of surprise in my writing, so control to that level I find stifling.

That led me to an alternative:

not snowflake

File:Snowflake11 2.png
Here‘s a description of how it’s done.

I find this method still tends to be too stifling. It still doesn’t leave room for surprises and twists.

Instead I use a hybrid method that incorporates story beats.

the beat goes on…

I create character sketches, and I outline some scenes (like the end) but I leave the rest open, so that I can still come up with other scenes that will surprise me.

I guess you would call it planned chaos.

chose your own way

Note that this is how I do it.  You may chose to do things differently; say how in the comments.

 

NaNoWriMo 2013: How Did I Do?

As you can see above, it wasn’t a victory. Well, not for the competition, anyway. It’s still quite an accomplishment from zero words.

I have a good outline. My characters are well-defined. I wrote daily but not with enough BIC (Butt in Chair) to make my daily word quota. Thus, I’m not far enough in for my tastes.

I’ll take a break from it for several days to finish other projects, then I’ll continue it. Some people backed it, and I promised to get it done for them, rewrites and all. I keep my promises. Beside, I want to see if it will sell well in the Amazon platform.

NaNoWriMo 2013: My First Post

I haven’t updated here for some time for several reasons.

First was the Indiegogo campaign that I mentioned here. I asked many people that I know to get it funded. A few did, many didn’t. Some of those who didn’t seem a bit miffed. I’m hoping that some if not most of them will talk to me again.

In the end I didn’t achieve my campaign. However that hasn’t stopped me…

NaNoWriMo 13: I’m attempting the first draft of this novel as my NaNo this year. As my progress widget shows I’m further behind than I’d like but I’ve at least started it!

Differing Views

Noisy class during first day of Creative Writi...

Noisy class during first day of Creative Writing Lab about “Writing and Silence” (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Ultimately not, but from different approaches:

Write On: Can We Teach Writing?

The Best Writing Advice You’ll Ever Get

I fall between those two camps. I took 2 classes in creative writing 28 years ago in CEGEP (junior college here in Quebec. Grades 12 and 13 in the rest of Canada). I learned the mechanics of writing there, but writing quality much later. I finished those classes frustrated in fact.

BIC (butt in chair) is I find the only true way to get better at the craft. In fact, it’s the methodology of NaNoWriMo. A philosophy that I should use more often…

The origins of Bosulliman

I gave this name to my Publishing venture. To many it sounds unusual to many; that’s intentional. Where did I get the name though?

When I began studying Animation in University in 1987, I was paired up with another guy I became friends with. I thought his last name was O’Sullivan.

With that in mind I mixed it with my own last name (Boman) and came to Bosulliman.

My mismanagement of names in memory can be a constant, and this situation followed that rule: his last name was O’Connor.

The studio name obviously didn’t happen, but the name stuck in the back of my brain. It  came back to me now.

Another friend from a different group – the Montreal chapter of NaNoWriMo – is a graphic designer. He designed the logo that I’ll be using. I posted it here before but I’ll do so again now:

Bosulliman1

 

NaNo is 2 Weeks Over; Time to Get Busy!

I began to work on my other writing projects. Hopefully I’ll get some of them done over the holidays.

Hunters’ Inc. I’ve now made into a project in Scrivener. Since the character statistics are all that I need to change for each game system that we’re using, I’ve split the book into separate chapters.

Scrivener (software)

Scrivener (software) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Cover art for the new Hunters' Inc. sourcebook

Hunters’ Inc

I’m also seeing if I get benefits from a productivity software tool: I’m trying Todoist .So far Getting Thing Done didn’t; I hope this will instead.

NaNoWriMo 2012: How’d I Do?

First off: my apologies. Save for my progress bar for my novel, I didn’t really update this blog all November.

I was hard at work on my novel, but not hard enough. I never made my daily word quota, my most productive day 1400 words. My final word count:  23923. Almost — but not quite — halfway.

That’s a personal victory. Last year due to exhaustion from work I didn’t even write 19 K. New director for my work program and I topped it.

Here’s a little ‘secret’ about NaNo: getting to the finish line is great, but even if I had just written 1 word, I would already have won. The number of people who have even begun a novel before is minimal.

 

Another Worthy Kickstarter and Updates

English: Kick starter

English: Kick starter (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/scottroche/the-way-of-the-gun-a-bushido-western-anthology

This one has 4 days to go and still needs to raise a lot of funds to succeed.  If you haven’t yet, please support it – and if you already have increase your pledge.

A big reason why I didn’t update this blog in nearly a week was due to my preparations for NaNoWriMo — specifically work on my novel outline.

It was going slow at first until I changed my approach. I’m now just naming the scenes instead of writing notes on them. As a result I now have 44 scenes listed.

To achieve 50 thousand words though I’ll either have to come up with more scenes on the fly or simply write a lot of words for the ones I already have.

Late Updates

I think that I’ll have to change my update schedule for this blog. A daily update isn’t easy to maintain… not if I want every post to be a quality one. I’ll announce my new posting schedule very soon.

I have some updates to share, both about here and  my author Fan page on Facebook:

  •  I’ve added a tab for a newsletter. I haven’t yet made it work though. I may have to create one in my autoresponder instead. Also: I created a Page for it here, so I may use that instead.
  • I don’t yet know if it works, but I attempted to add a NaNoWriMo widget to the blog sidebar. I can use it as extra pressure to complete my novel.
Updates-notification-icon

Update-notification-icon (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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