ON WRITING

“It’s very easy to quit during the first ten years of writing. Nobody cares whether you write or not, and it’s very hard to write when nobody cares one way or the other. You can’t get fired if you don’t write, and most of the time you don’t get rewarded if you do. But don’t quit.” Andre Dubus

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Monday, 30 November 2009

Finding my way

NaNoWriMo is finished for me. Lots of editing to do but that will be a joy. I could easily get 55,000 out of my story as certainly a lot to add yet.

There must be a trillion writing blogs out there so I'm working on mine (as always) making it a bit more Aussie. Not sure where I'm going but I'll know when I get there. I really don't take myself that seriously, but I love what I do, even if I try to go in too many directions at once. I'm sure no-one else has that problem.

With Christmas coming, realistically how much can we hope to write? I haven't reached the stage where I feel so driven I get up at 4 am, but I salute all you successful people who do! Writing is very individual and we all have to find what works for us - I'm a slow learner - haven't quite figured it out yet, but I'm getting there.

One thing I'll miss about NaNoWriMo is the guest motivational emails from successful authors. Wouldn't it be nice if we had a mentor yelling from the sidelines through a megaphone all the time! Nah, probably not...

Friday, 27 November 2009

I Did It!

I'm glad to report that I've written over 50,000 words towards my romantic novel.tentatively called "Ruby", so now it'll take me the next year or so to edit. All good. Now I know I can do it. Loved the experience...Good luck to all those still heading for the finish line...

Monday, 23 November 2009

The End is Nigh

I feel pumped today as I have a few hours of hopefully uninterrupted writing ahead of me. Had lots of dramas last week and hardly any writing done. Was able to hit it yesterday, Sunday, and got nearly 6,500 words done and it all seemed to flow. Maybe I needed a break to keep it fresh. I missed the 35,000 deadline on 21st (only had 27,597) so by the end of today I should be well over the 35,000 mark. Anyway, you can only do what you can do, huh? I've never doubted I will get there, couldn't live with myself if I didn't make the 50,000, so I do have renewed enthusiasm today. Let's hope it lasts. It's been a great experience to be plugging away on a regular basis. Hope everyone else is getting over the hump, too! Only a week to go! Gadzooks!

Monday, 16 November 2009

Middle Earth

Well, I've reached the middle of the novel (25.000+) and admit I've been sitting on the fence, a bit of a Mugwump (Mug on one side and my wump on the other) thinking about which direction my story is going. Everything went great at first, I had my plan, my ideas, and didn't it flow like a river! Sweet! My characters have taken me for a bit of a ride, weaving, taking me to places I hadn't planned (not a bad thing!) but now I have to tug the reins a bit and forge ahead. I haven't exactly lost my way, just not sure how to proceed.

Was heartening to read that writers spend 97% of their time in the Middle!

I haven't written for a few days - family committments and other excuses - but I hope to do amazing things this week to make up for my days of zilch words. Okay, so I'll get down from the fence and get to it...

Wednesday, 11 November 2009

Pep talk from Chris Baty NaNoWriMo

Some practical, yet very useful advice from Chris Baty, founder of NaNoWriMo:

1) Write every day. Even if you just knock out 75 words before collapsing into bed, those 75 words will keep you connected you to your story in essential ways, and make diving back into your book much easier.


2) For now, stop thinking about 50K. Just sprint thousands. Visualize each writing session as a tall staircase made up of 1000 steps. You are part ninja, part monkey, and part stairmaster cyborg. You were born to fly up those steps. Bash out 250 words, and you've made it halfway to 500. Keep going for another ten minutes, and you're past 500 and within striking distance of 750. Once you hit 750, you could sneeze out enough words to get to the top! After each thousand, be sure to take a quick break and celebrate. Then fire up that monkey spirit and go run another thousand.

3) Remember that your book is important. I didn't say this in the Week One pep talk because we'd only just met and there's really only so much cornball sentiment from a random guy on the internet that anyone should have to tolerate in one month. But here's the truth: You have a book in you that only you can write. Your story matters. Your voice matters. The world will be richer for you seeing this crazy creative escapade through to 50,000 words.

Well, I've made it past the 20,000 mark which was the goal for all writers to reach by 12/11, so I'm a little ahead, for now!

Monday, 9 November 2009

Plot Ideas, Characters, Wordy Details

A short paraphrase from a recent Pep Talk from Gail Carson Levine (author of Ella Enchanted) revving up NaNo writers:

When you run out of plot ideas, write about setting and what each character is wearing, in exquisite wordy detail. When you run out of setting and apparel, write about the voice quality of each speaker, speech mannerisms, facial ticks, body language. Hey! That sounds like me on a good day!

Now that I've cleverly downloaded the word count widget from NaNo Fun Stuff, I don't have to be so pedantic about my progress. Saturday I was a bit of a social butterfly for once, so only got about 700 words written and I've decided my brain is going to hurt if I don't take a day off, so Sunday I wrote zilch. I also gave the local Write In the flick. My fingers itched every time I looked at the computer but I stuck to my guns. I confess I had a bit of a play with my blogs etc.

I'm pretty happy how my story is going, but I have a love triangle coming up and I don't know who the heroine is going to end up with. Hmmm. I hope they can sort it out.

Happy writing everyone!

Friday, 6 November 2009

The Importance of Taking Notes


Day Five 5/11 - Thursday - Words 2968 (14,084)

I'm a great note taker and when I don't have the laptop with me I write furiously in my notebook. These notes often become very useful, getting me over a blank moment or three. I can flick through my notes and sometimes find just what I'm looking for, or just see an idea I can use.

At times I wish I belonged to the era of handwritten books, as there's something very satisfying about looking at a blank page of luscious stationary and making the first mark with a new, expensive pen, preferably purple ink. I'll never be Jane Austen or Charlotte Bronte, but there's a romance to their creativity, propped at an old wooden desk at a window framed in dark velour drapes. Plastic and chips can't match that- but hey, enough daydreaming! Imagine writing 2,000 words a day on notepaper, then editing, rewriting, eek!

These are some hot tips from my NaNo region:

  • Work 'as if' - make notes and keep writing, going forward as if you made those changes. Later you can go back and revise. You cannot write and revise at the same time (especially in NaNo month!) It is so hard to turn off that internal editor...
  • Leave out subplots. You can add these later when you rewrite. Just focus on the main characters and plotline and race through to the end (keep notes of developing subplots; if you have time during NaNo you can go back and add them in, otherwise leave it until December...
  • Use the 80-20 rule to focus. 20% of your time/effort should generate 80% of your results. Know what you want to do and what you really don't need to do...
So far, so good. Had a great writing day yesterday, nearly 3,000 words. I spent the rest of the time (as it's my one day off teaching), to work on reading and collating info on my Muscular Dystrophy blog. Satisfying day.
Cheers out there in writing land...

Thursday, 5 November 2009

Questions to ask yourself about your novel

Day Three 3/11 - Tuesday - Words 2874 (9336)
Day Four 4/11 - Wednesday - Words 1771 (11,107)


A very useful little set of notes came my way courtesy of my local Nano region. They are good to check every now and then.

1. Character
  • How can I make the actions/reactions of the characters believable?
  • Have I provided enough background to understand the characters?

2. Setting

  • How can I make the setting contribute to the tone, theme, plot of the narrative?

3. Plot

  • How can I make the plot believable?
  • Do the characters have a significant role in the plot?
  • How can I make the plot fresh and original?

4. Theme

  • What larger issues do I want readers to think about as a result of my novel?

5. Dialogue

  • Is the dialogue natural?
  • Does the dialogue develop the characters and plot?
  • Does the dialogue show action?

Notes from Book in a Month, by Vl Schmidt and Writing for Emotional Impact, by K. Iglesias



Tuesday, 3 November 2009

Book Keeping: Speed-Writing For Success - mediabistro.com Content

To kick off National Novel Writing Month, an enterprising YA author reveals how her participation in the day writing frenzy landed her a book deal

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Novel Writing

Day One: 1/11/2009 - Sunday - Words 3357
Had 950 words down before I left to the inaugural 'Write In' at the Milton Coffee Club. Took hubby along for an early brekkie of houloumi cheese and mushroom sauce on Turkish, yum. Good start. The Nanos had the back section booked and hooked (up) so made my way in there and got started. Found the ML already there was an English guurl. As they'd had their welcome BBQ the day before and had a meet-fest there, they didn't do the hello how are you thing, it was just set up your laptop and write. I had visions of actually meeting people but that wasn't happening. During the write fest I managed 2000 okay words, but I was longing for the quiet of home as I'm not a youngster who likes a lot of raucous commentary. Had one little competiton during the day, checking who could write the most in 10 minutes. Knew I wouldn't have a hope, so I plodded on. The winner (who was last year's nano winner) managed 460 words, while my count was 297. It was fun thought but everyone probably wrote crappola. Having excellent coffee on tap and a hearty slice of New York cheesecake was pretty good...

Day Two: 2/11/2009 - Monday - Words 2196 (6461)
My first day of writing at home and wouldn't you know I had a glitch. One of my students had emailed me a draft and had used the latest Office 7, so my program couldn't read it. After a bit of mucking around I remembered one of the gems I heard at the Nano write in - open everything in google.docs. I had a poke around and tried it, and lo! it worked! So I had to edit 2 students' drafts, then into it.
A good day of writing and felt pretty pleased with the way the story is starting. Thought I might get some time after work to write, but got visitors instead, so will have to be happy with my total. My goal is 2000 words minimum a day, to cover the days when I know I won't get the chance to write.

Day Three: 3/11/2009 - Tuesday - 8.30 am -Words yet to be written
Getting this blog post done, then I begin to write. Ducked down to the 7/11 for my chocolate supply, so I'm set...