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NaNoWriMo 2012
October 24, 2012 9:03 PM   Subscribe

National Novel Writing Month is almost here. Discuss.

This will be my second attempt. I didn't even get off the ground when I tried a few years back. My username is the same as the one I use here. Here is my quick synopsis:

The Work of Wizards is based on a very simple premise. It is basically the 1999 movie, Office Space, set in a fantasy world with the office drones replaced by wizards. I chose this subject as an extended creative writing exercise that should both be fun and allow me to hammer out my first novel without having to worry too much about plot.
posted by jkafka to MetaFilter-Related at 9:03 PM (247 comments total) 8 users marked this as a favorite

I won four years in a row, from 2006-09. I thought I had it licked. Then I failed miserably two years in a row.

This year I will have my revenge.
posted by chrchr at 9:06 PM on October 24, 2012 [3 favorites]


The goal is to write a 50,000-word (approximately 175-page) novel by 11:59:59 PM on November 30.

Hmmm.

(Checks Fanfiction)

Words: 30,954


oh sweet I'm pretty much done early.
posted by The Whelk at 9:06 PM on October 24, 2012 [8 favorites]


Over the last 12 months I wrote 184k words of interactive choose your own adventure stories online and I'm about to start a new one but will not keep the pace required by NaNoWriMo. Nevertheless I can tell you: It is very possible to write every day, to hit a quota every day, and to accomplish ridiculously large things. Good luck to everyone.
posted by shakespeherian at 9:07 PM on October 24, 2012 [19 favorites]


Just put in lots of smut and body horror thats the key
posted by The Whelk at 9:08 PM on October 24, 2012 [7 favorites]


I did it last year, only got to 30,000 words when I realized the fundamental bones of my story were mostly ridiculous and it was basically a bunch of nonsense and I was like SHUT IT DOWN SHUT IT DOWN and then I worked on a children's musical instead.

Now I'm staring down the barrel of Noviembre Uno thinking I'll try again. Kiiiiiiind of thinking I want to do a middle-grade/YA thing, but also kind of think I want to do a semi-true personal memoir. Hmm hmm hmm *strokes chinbeard thoughtfully*
posted by Doleful Creature at 9:12 PM on October 24, 2012


That and stupid dream sequences, plus characters with wordy names. "Hail and well met, Major General Mary Jo Van Buren! What unseasonably warm weather we've been having here in Stratford-on-Hogg Township!"
posted by chrchr at 9:13 PM on October 24, 2012 [4 favorites]


use every single adverb you can think of
posted by The Whelk at 9:14 PM on October 24, 2012 [2 favorites]


How to identity the passive voice
posted by The Whelk at 9:15 PM on October 24, 2012 [5 favorites]


Also in the 11th hour just download something obscure from the Gutenberg project and do a search and replace of common objects and replace them with laser bazookas, waterbeds, anthropomorphic t-shirts and a robot sex queen.
posted by Doleful Creature at 9:18 PM on October 24, 2012 [7 favorites]


a page of the phrase 'fuck it' repeated 180 times

a page of ascii art unicorns

a page in 96pt font that just says KILLS ALL THE DUDES
posted by Doleful Creature at 9:22 PM on October 24, 2012 [3 favorites]


My experimental NaNoWriMO is just me pulling a 175 page novel from the archives and making bitchy asides in the margins.
posted by The Whelk at 9:27 PM on October 24, 2012 [2 favorites]


I failed again last year for the third year running after succeeding like... five times? So I'm hoping to beat that streak this year, and I feel your pain, chrchr. I'm writing some escapist high fantasy that starts out as sort of YA-y but will probably, like most of my NaNo novels, end up padded with terrible smut and long philosophical conversations.

Also, descriptions of food. Since I'm doing a story where the main character works in a castle where her food is prepared for her, I will have to have elaborate dinner parties and other ritualized eating to pad out dialog, since usually I write long, over-involved cooking scenes that could be reduced to extremely realistically boring conversations between characters + recipes.

I also plan to include excessive clothes porn, descriptions of hairstyles, and characters who get in conversations about when I'm going to kill them off for want of something better to drive the plot when I inevitably get stuck midway through the second week.

Also, I'm going to be doing worldbuilding as I go along, so things will inevitably turn into encyclopedia entries. "The pancakes were garnished with a tart berry I'd not seen before, and the Earl informed me that they were from estates in the Western lands owned by the feral moon-dukes of that strange place who only just opened trade with us as a trend among them developed in which they fashioned elaborate neckwear from some of the plantation-grown vegetable lambs...", things like that, with food descriptions quickly turning into me attempting to navigate my world's geopolitical and economic landscape because if I don't I will not know where the tea that they're drinking was grown and god forbid I use an improbable beverage in my story before they are all, I don't know, eaten by dragons.
posted by NoraReed at 9:37 PM on October 24, 2012 [7 favorites]


A good way to keep from padding or encyclopedic writing is to make sure that at least one something significant happens in each day of your daily writing (1666.66 words, on average). Hand your day's output to a person to glance over. This is a very hard thing to do if you have written nothing of substance or consequence.
posted by shakespeherian at 9:49 PM on October 24, 2012 [8 favorites]


Hand your day's output to a person to glance over. This is a very hard thing to do if you have written nothing of substance or consequence.

I do that all the time and you know it.

(and yes, concurrent plotting, important.)
posted by The Whelk at 9:51 PM on October 24, 2012


I do that all the time and you know it.

I ALREADY GAVE YOU NOTES
posted by shakespeherian at 9:51 PM on October 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


A good way to keep from padding or encyclopedic writing is to make sure that at least one something significant happens in each day of your daily writing (1666.66 words, on average). Hand your day's output to a person to glance over. This is a very hard thing to do if you have written nothing of substance or consequence.

I prefer to write a shitload of prose. Bad prose. Some gems in my bad prose. Because it's NaNoFuckingWriMo, and I'm doing this for fun, not to write substance. I like writing long-ass philosophical discussions, breaking the fourth wall, and spending four paragraphs describing a dress only to spend another four describing taking it off again. Sometimes it's fun to have no standards whatsoever.
posted by NoraReed at 10:21 PM on October 24, 2012 [4 favorites]


I did this five years in a row starting in I think 2002. Only crossed the line once, and it was terrible but also sort of fun in parts, and I've liked bits of the failed efforts as well. But the will to push really collapsed a lot after that win, I think partly because sheer bloody-minded plodding was no longer it's own reward after I'd already unlocked the "finish the game" cheevo.

But I still think about it every year. And I was talking a while back with my brother about writing intentionally bad cyberpunk, which has led to some fun stupid ideas, so maybe. Maybe.

I've written somewhere upwards of two and a quarter million words on this site in the last few years, which doesn't actually come out to a NaNo a month every month since I started being talkative but it's not bad for sheer consistency. If I could contrive a novel that just looked like a very busy month in Metatalk, I suppose I'd be all set.
posted by cortex (staff) at 10:44 PM on October 24, 2012 [8 favorites]


I won in 2009 before failing for two years in a row. This year I'm out of the running too, thanks to important exams which begin on the fifth and end neatly on the twenty-eighth. Eh.

If I could contrive a novel that just looked like a very busy month in Metatalk, I suppose I'd be all set.

You mean, a novel of flameouts, sexism call-outs, censorship battles, unfounded snippiness and administrator hope?

I'd read that.
posted by undue influence at 11:49 PM on October 24, 2012 [5 favorites]


Heh. I have 27 pages of comic script to write. Doubt I'll be done with that by end of November given my usual rate.
posted by Artw at 11:56 PM on October 24, 2012


I tried only once, in ... 05 or 06, I forget. I actually got pretty far, 37,000 words or so. My downfall was that because I got ahead of schedule, I gave myself a weekend off, and just never started back up. Maybe that warning can help someone doing it this year - don't get comfortable and stop, no matter what. Just keep going, and either you finish early or you astonish yourself by writing 60-70,000 words.
posted by mannequito at 12:25 AM on October 25, 2012 [1 favorite]


Tried it 3 times starting in 2000 I think, and got up to ~50% the third year but hit such a wall that I gave up any hope of being a writer. Maybe time just to try it again.
posted by fleacircus at 1:02 AM on October 25, 2012


I'm unemployed so BRING. IT. ON.

(Also I found some writing mojo in my RPG campaign.)
posted by geek anachronism at 1:06 AM on October 25, 2012


Just remember all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.
posted by Segundus at 1:09 AM on October 25, 2012 [3 favorites]


Can anyone suggest alternative November challenges for the non-writerly-inclined? I've always wanted to experience the thrill and despair of participating in a hilariously ambitious community-oriented project but I suck at word-related things.

(I just did some cursory googling and found The 30 Characters Challenge and NaNoMangO, but the former's just not the same and the latter looks like it might be inactive?? I guess I could do it anyway but there's nothing like suffering for your art alongside thousands of other people.)
posted by brieche at 1:43 AM on October 25, 2012 [1 favorite]


Is anybody else doing poetry? I don't write fiction and I've never thought to seek out a poetry buddy for NaNoWriMo (which I have both attempted and failed at horribly exactly once). I think the cheap, cop out deal is just a poem a day, which yeah, is totally lazy compared to the fiction writers.

I'd like to try writing fiction, but... plot... well...
posted by stoneandstar at 2:51 AM on October 25, 2012


I've got to kick out 50K by early December. I guess I'm in.
posted by catlet at 4:00 AM on October 25, 2012


Can anyone suggest alternative November challenges for the non-writerly-inclined?

NaSoAlMo?
posted by mintcake! at 4:38 AM on October 25, 2012 [1 favorite]


Did it 2009 and 2011. This is an even year so I'm going to have to sit it out this time.

(Yes that's the only reason. It really really is.)

(That's my story and I'm sticking to it.)
posted by prettypretty at 4:51 AM on October 25, 2012


I'm doing it this year. YA-ish semi-autobiographical sort-of-mystery, inspired by this period in my life. Username is, of course, "theintrepidgirlreporter".
posted by pxe2000 at 5:00 AM on October 25, 2012


I'm in.

A Song of Snark and MeTa will chronicle the civil war among the formerly gentle and peaceful Users of the Front Page when the powerful image tag suddenly becomes an everyday tool.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 5:04 AM on October 25, 2012 [6 favorites]


I won in 2010 and 2004 and failed 3 years. I wasn't going to do it this year, but last night I had a dream about what would make a nifty plot. Maybe. It's either about the Queen of England's secret yearly trip to a bar for a pint, or of a haunted library that kills living subjects of biographies when the book gets shelved for the first time.

My user name there is ladygypsy.
posted by kimberussell at 5:07 AM on October 25, 2012


I really want to try this year, but I'm such a terrible self-editor. The urge to get the words "right" the first time through is just so powerful that I can write 1000 words as fast as I can type them and then spend an hour fiddling with them. Ugly, clumsy language feels like failure, which I know is entirely against the point of NaNoWriMo.
posted by uncleozzy at 5:11 AM on October 25, 2012


Do dissertations count? I need to finish this danged thing.
posted by iamkimiam at 5:31 AM on October 25, 2012 [2 favorites]


Most amateur racers don't expect to win but are satisfied with a personal record, yes?

Likewise, this year I am going to participate knowing that I have no chance to achieve a 50K "win" and will be satisfied if I merely produce more than in any of my previous attempts.

Fortunately, it will not take much writing to achieve this.
posted by Egg Shen at 5:32 AM on October 25, 2012


I'm in.

The Manchurian Moderator will be a political thriller novel about a member of a prominent US website who is brainwashed into being an unwitting blogger for a socialist Kenyan conspiracy.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 5:38 AM on October 25, 2012 [1 favorite]


As a firm believer in the "long now" I am participating in National Novel Writing Life. So I got time.
posted by griphus at 5:39 AM on October 25, 2012 [7 favorites]


the story of @ will be a tale of an ordinary looking Parisian blogger, @, who descends into a grumpy world of gaming, movie obsession and sci-fi novel submission.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 5:47 AM on October 25, 2012 [2 favorites]


Tried it one year and surpassed the 50K mark by over a thousand more words. Tried it again a couple years later, when I had less time, and just couldn't get it going.

I still like both my ideas; I seemed to lean towards YA fiction about groups of outsiders in seaside towns for some reason.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 5:47 AM on October 25, 2012


I am going to write a Twilight knockoff and mail it to myself of 5 years ago.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 5:53 AM on October 25, 2012 [1 favorite]


I'm torn between NaNoWriMo and NaKniSweMo. I've done NaNo 3 or 4 times, and lost miserably each time. I've done NaKni once, and succeeded.
posted by Gordafarin at 5:53 AM on October 25, 2012 [1 favorite]



As a firm believer in the "long now" I am participating in National Novel Writing Life. So I got time.


Hey Griphus if I put together a series bible by November ...5th you wanna spend the month of Nov on the first two issues?
posted by The Whelk at 5:58 AM on October 25, 2012


YES
posted by griphus at 6:02 AM on October 25, 2012


I've written somewhere upwards of two and a quarter million words on this site in the last few years, which doesn't actually come out to a NaNo a month every month since I started being talkative but it's not bad for sheer consistency. If I could contrive a novel that just looked like a very busy month in Metatalk, I suppose I'd be all set.

Hello epistolary fiction!
posted by shothotbot at 6:08 AM on October 25, 2012 [1 favorite]


YES

ossum.
posted by The Whelk at 6:08 AM on October 25, 2012


I think I'm going to do it, but I'm not gonna write a novel, I'm just going to write... stuff. Different stuff. Fiction, nonfiction, anything just as long as it isn't essentially just an emo journal entry, because that is what I always wind up writing. I just want to SEE if I can make myself write, every day, about something other than my own emotional states.
posted by showbiz_liz at 6:24 AM on October 25, 2012 [1 favorite]


It really upsets me that I'm not positioned to do it this year. I've completed it twice. Each time, I got to a count of 50K pretty easily by including summary, alternative plot lines and things like that. I think the first NaNo taught me to write mysteries or taught me that I want to be a mystery writer, or something. I have another book that I think has more potential, but I've fucked it up by taking to long to get the first draft down. In the future I will ALWAYS pour out the first draft, NaNo style. It may not be true for everyone, but I think for me, the first draft should be more or less a very long outline with some key scenes.

The first time I finished, the NaNo boards were really helpful to me, especially the mystery board. One of the writers present had a book out with a major publisher and has since come out with the NaNo one. We had wonderful conversations about things like weak middles, which enabled me to revise the book in the following weeks and feel it was pretty book-like before trunking it.

The other time I finished-- wow, is that a weird manuscript. It certainly isn't a book. I'm thinking of plugging chunks of it into Scrivener to see if I can turn it into a coherent narrative.

Darn, maybe I'll sign up and just lurk on the boards.
posted by BibiRose at 6:38 AM on October 25, 2012


Where's the NaNoWriMo for writing novel-length collections of autobiographical essays? That's what I need.
posted by Pater Aletheias at 6:54 AM on October 25, 2012 [1 favorite]


just change the character's name to Vater Metheias. Bam, done.
posted by The Whelk at 6:55 AM on October 25, 2012 [2 favorites]


I'll be having "National Write Papers for Graduate School" month.
posted by Jahaza at 6:58 AM on October 25, 2012 [4 favorites]


Seriously, I don't see why autobiographical writing wouldn't work for NaNo.
posted by BibiRose at 7:00 AM on October 25, 2012


i'll be participating in national hells to the no month.
posted by elizardbits at 7:07 AM on October 25, 2012 [2 favorites]


I'd totally do this if I could, you know, write.
posted by octothorpe at 7:09 AM on October 25, 2012


I'm gonna do a YA novel, only with lots of cursing and sex.
posted by Slap*Happy at 7:12 AM on October 25, 2012 [3 favorites]


I'm thinking of plugging chunks of it into Scrivener to see if I can turn it into a coherent narrative.

Is anyone else using Scrivener? I'm using the windows version of the NaNoWriMo trial. Hoping to get that 50% discount at the end of the month. What word processors and other programs are you using?
posted by jkafka at 7:18 AM on October 25, 2012


You can turn a Nook Simple Touch into a rudimentary and distraction-free word processor.
posted by griphus at 7:21 AM on October 25, 2012


I'll just be working on the graphic novel I've been working on, but I'll marvel at everyone's fortitude/craziness from a distance.

The one year I did NaNoWriMo, it broke something in me.
posted by COBRA! at 7:26 AM on October 25, 2012


For my latest book I spent almost a year writing in long-hand with my co-creator from 10-6 nearly every weekday and then typing it out, revising, and re-writing for months after to the point where just loading a word processor made my lower back hurt.
posted by The Whelk at 7:29 AM on October 25, 2012


I just took a look at the copy of Twilight my library has on reserve for a class (!). This should be easy.

"Save me, my Mummy Muffin!"
"MMmmppphhhrrr! Awww wahv woo!"
posted by robocop is bleeding at 7:31 AM on October 25, 2012 [2 favorites]


I'm going to write a novel entirely in the second-person. It will be called You Are Never Going To Read This.
posted by griphus at 7:33 AM on October 25, 2012 [6 favorites]


You know a whole segment of Cstross books are written in the second person right?
posted by The Whelk at 7:37 AM on October 25, 2012


For anyone who's finished it in the past, within guidelines and all:

What lasting thing(s) have you got from it?
posted by Eideteker at 7:49 AM on October 25, 2012 [1 favorite]


Griphus' twist is, it's going to be Second Person... Plural. The novel will be narrated from the perspective of the reader as a bunch of different people grouped together. It will be largely accusatory in tone.
posted by Slap*Happy at 7:51 AM on October 25, 2012 [5 favorites]


the title is What Is Wrong With You by A Committee Of Your Peers.
posted by The Whelk at 7:52 AM on October 25, 2012 [8 favorites]


Were I Charles Stross, it would have a different title. Also, Slap*Happy is describing the sequel, which will be called J'accuse Y'all!
posted by griphus at 7:52 AM on October 25, 2012 [4 favorites]


I have participated each of the last eight years. Sometimes totally into it, sometimes totally half-assedly. The most I have ever gotten written was about 30,000 words. I used to be somewhat active in the Twin Cities NaNo community - which is totally awesome, I recommend that any NaNoer in the Cities check out the meetups.

This year I've been doing something different. It's legal to plot and storyboard before November, so long as no actual words are put on paper (or computer). So I've been working on that for a month or so. I hope that this is the year.

Eideteker, I haven't ever actually finished it, but here's what I've gotten out of it:

1. Several wonderful, long-lasting friendships with awesome people
2. Hours and days of "forcing" myself to be creative, when I was in a non-creative field/grad school. It's really hard for me to carve out time to get creative when I'm busy with other stuff, NaNo was great for that.
3. I have eight partially completed stories. That's eight more than I would have had if I hadn't done it.
posted by Elly Vortex at 7:56 AM on October 25, 2012 [1 favorite]


Some day someone with a firm grasp of southern language etiquette will write a second-person novel that'll properly be from the perspective of y'all.
posted by COBRA! at 7:57 AM on October 25, 2012


Brandon Blatcher: the story of @ will be a tale of an ordinary looking Parisian blogger, @, who descends into a grumpy world of gaming, movie obsession and sci-fi novel submission.

If I read that blurb on the back of a book, I would buy it immediately.

Also, I'm hoping to finish the first draft of a novel that I've been writing for the last two years this November. It'll probably be under 50000 words total. My envy for all of you fast writers knows no bounds.
posted by Kattullus at 8:10 AM on October 25, 2012


...a second-person novel that'll properly be from the perspective of y'all.

A Southern Gothic entitled What Ever Happened To Honey Boo Boo?
posted by griphus at 8:10 AM on October 25, 2012 [3 favorites]


I recently discovered Twine, an Interactive Novel making program, and I'll probably do everything in that. So by the end of it it'll be a game or something.

(thankfully provides a wordcount function, so I think it still qualifies)
posted by hellojed at 8:16 AM on October 25, 2012 [1 favorite]


I'm also sorely tempted to turn this into a Personal Interactive Fiction Writing Month (PeInFiWriMo) because that copy of Creating Interactive Fiction with Inform 7 is just staring at me with big doe eyes.
posted by griphus at 8:17 AM on October 25, 2012


Personal Interactive Fiction Writing Month (PeInFiWriMo)

An interactive fiction game about being a depressed writer unable to work or leave the bed.

There is no victory condition.
posted by The Whelk at 8:22 AM on October 25, 2012 [1 favorite]


Alright, I'm in again after past failures. I'm Navelgazer over there too. Now, do I go with my semi-autobiograpical YA-with-sex-and-swears bildungsroman, or my concept of the invention of time travel causing a total moral event horizon for all of humanity?
posted by Navelgazer at 8:25 AM on October 25, 2012


I demand the production of a 500-entry Fighting Fantasy novel without any violence and entirely in a realistic (i.e., non-fantastic) mode!

QUIDNUNC KID

SKILL  n/a        STAMINA  n/a
posted by the quidnunc kid at 8:27 AM on October 25, 2012


You find yourself at your desk staring at an Underwood with a piece of paper, entirely blank but for the words CHAPTER ONE

>x underwood

Your mortal enemy in this fight is unwounded and sneering at you with its iron teth.

>i

You have:
A tumbler (empty)
A bottle of Kentucky Gentleman "bourbon" (almost empty)
A block (writer's)
Bills (unpaid)
Advance (squandered)

>write novel

You have to get rid of the block first.

>drop block

You can't, it's cursed.

>fill tumbler

You sigh and refill your glass. The bottle of bourbon is now empty.

>drink bourbon

You choke back another swig of the bourbon. It burns on the way down.

It is now noon.

>exits

There are exits to the north, south, east and west. They all lead to failure.

>write novel

You have to get rid of the block first.

>write novel

You have to get rid of the block first.

>drink bourbon

You are out of bourbon.

>give up

...and what?
posted by griphus at 8:29 AM on October 25, 2012 [15 favorites]


What I got out of the year I won: a dear penpal, a really sucky heap of a YA novel and the conviction that duuuuude I can do anything! I exaggerate of course, but it's real training to overcome my lack of confidence as an amateur writer, and a chance to make myself work at it.

Having a goal is awesome. Having to work a little every single day is a great learning experience. For me personally, I write only on impulse usually, which has landed me with years and years of scraps so tight and self-contained that I can't do anything with them! NNWM is about writing writing writing every day as work and training.
posted by undue influence at 8:29 AM on October 25, 2012


Eideteker, I did it and won in 2008. I write for fun on a semi-regular basis, but I usually work on shorter things and have several I'm working on at any given time. I felt it was a good learning experience to work on one longer project exclusively for an entire month. It wasn't something that I, personally, would normally do without the structure of the "competition."

I'm thinking about participating again this year. Last time I adapted an older novel to a modern setting, which was a bit of a disaster but really fun. I'm not sure whether I'll do something similar this time
posted by Carmelita Spats at 8:30 AM on October 25, 2012


griphus if Onstad is unable to write Roast Beef Interactive Adventure stories then we must do it for him.
posted by The Whelk at 8:32 AM on October 25, 2012 [2 favorites]


"1. Several wonderful, long-lasting friendships with awesome people"

Whoa, how does that work?

Answers in the context of NaNoWriMo or Real Life will be accepted. =\
posted by Eideteker at 8:33 AM on October 25, 2012 [2 favorites]


I have a bunch of tentacle porn revenge fantasies that I can stitch into a novel, I think.
posted by Mister_A at 8:42 AM on October 25, 2012


To clarify, some are about getting revenge ON tentacles, while some exact revenge WITH tentacles. All are porny though.
posted by Mister_A at 8:43 AM on October 25, 2012 [2 favorites]


Day Of The Tentacle 2 is rated M for Mature.
posted by The Whelk at 8:43 AM on October 25, 2012


DAY OF THE TENTACLE II: THE PROBING
posted by elizardbits at 8:45 AM on October 25, 2012


Day of the tentacle 2: The en-sushi-enating.
posted by nebulawindphone at 8:47 AM on October 25, 2012


Day of the Tentacle 2: Guess Who's Cumming For Dinner
posted by Mister_A at 8:48 AM on October 25, 2012


What lasting thing(s) have you got from it?

- A lot of humility. Just making a mad dash at writing a novel in the face of a dare doesn't reveal you to somehow be a natural writing phenom. You're still who you were, writer-wise, at the start. If who that is is "someone who hasn't put any serious work into writing long-form fiction", now you're that person but with 50K words of practice, which isn't nearly enough.

- A newfound appreciation for the value and difficulty of plotting. I didn't have a ton of trouble with plot ideas—an overarching plot arc isn't hard to come up with in terms of starting at point A and ending at contrasting point B, and coming up with a number of little touchstone moments and b-plots wasn't terribly hard, but putting that all together in a coherent and satisfying fashion that worked with characters I liked, on the fly? Hooboy. There's a reason people don't (a) refuse to plan ahead and (b) give themselves only a month with this stuff. Improv is hard, coherent long-form improv is very hard.

- A better understanding of what I like about writing, and what comes easy and not-so-easy to me. Turns out I actually kind of like writing dialogue. I like patter. I don't have too much trouble getting verbally into a couple of characters' heads and having them riff in a way that feels pretty solid to me. I make myself laugh a little there sometimes. Whereas description I struggle with, a lot.

I've learned as much or more of this from my failed attempts as from my win, though. Partly from the false contrast between the two: the only real difference between my win and my losses is word count, and bullying on through to 50K the year that I did so was a process of continuing to write a pretty badly-structured story just because I could, not because it was better than my losing efforts. It was arguably a lot worse, if only because the ones where I lost my steam stopped at a point where I still had some hope for the story finishing well whereas my win was a gasping, retching dragging-by-my-fingernails exercise in point-making. I finished it mostly because (a) I had a very boring job where (b) I could get away with little snippets of writing and (c) I had failed twice before and wanted to beat that streak.

I thought that maybe when I went full-time at Mefi a few years back, that'd be the year of my triumphant return to successful nanowrimoing what with my newfound flexibility and home office, but (I can hear work-from-homers laughing at me already) it turns out that being trapped with some free time at a very boring office job is not the same circumstance as having lots of free time in your own home with unrestricted access to your hobbies. So I'd be a shoo-in for National Videogame Playing Month, I can say that much.
posted by cortex (staff) at 8:51 AM on October 25, 2012 [9 favorites]


The goal is to write a 50,000-word (approximately 175-page) novel by 11:59:59 PM on November 30.

Hmmm.

(Checks Fanfiction)

Words: 30,954


oh sweet I'm pretty much done early.


Although I know you were joking, unless they have changed something since I did it back in 2005, you are expressly forbidden from doing any actual work on what you submit before November 1st.
posted by adamdschneider at 8:58 AM on October 25, 2012


THERE ARE RULES, WHELK!
posted by Jahaza at 9:17 AM on October 25, 2012


I was hoping to have the second draft of my current project (which was actually started during NaNo 2010, although in no way finished then) done in time to send it to the beta readers and dash off the cozy mystery that has been poking me for a year now during November, but this rewrite is looking... extensive. And frankly I'd rather hit my goal of kicking an actual novel out the door to agents by the end of the year than the really artificial goal of NaNo.

I like the idea, I like that it's been a constant nudge for a decade, but I don't actually write that well at that kind of speed, and 50k of shitty prose that will need to be completely rewritten (see above: re, second draft) is not all that helpful to me. But then, I'm not sure it's really aimed at me, either.
posted by restless_nomad (staff) at 9:17 AM on October 25, 2012 [2 favorites]


It would be fun to do a collaborative story on MeFi itself as sort of a parallel NaNoWriMo project. Like, open a MeTa thread every day in November that's only for putting together the story - each member can contribute to each day's thread only one time and their comment is capped at, say, 250 words, that must build off the last comment posted; then the mods close it when the next day's thread is posted.

It wouldn't make a lot of sense in the end but it would be funny and community-oriented. We're all here writing pages of words all the time anyway.
posted by flex at 9:24 AM on October 25, 2012


I will neither write a novel nor grow a moustache in November. I might write the word "moustache", though. I think I can go that far.
posted by Decani at 9:25 AM on October 25, 2012


Although I know you were joking, unless they have changed something since I did it back in 2005, you are expressly forbidden from doing any actual work on what you submit before November 1st.

And if you type anything before hand, the Rules Police (a force of international arbitrary code enforcement officers, also the subject of my 2009 NaNo novel now available in finer trashcans everywhere) kick down your door and throw white out at your computer screen.

Fah to that rule, I say. If NaNo inspires you to write, it inspires you to write. When shouldn't matter.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 9:26 AM on October 25, 2012 [5 favorites]


I'm of two minds on this. In one way, this might be the great motivating kick in the pants I need to get my writing going again; in another, this might be the next dispiriting failure that I really don't need right now.
posted by never used baby shoes at 9:28 AM on October 25, 2012 [1 favorite]


Three years later, Decani bursts into MeTa with a three-volume bildungsroman and a Fu Manchu down to his knees.
posted by griphus at 9:29 AM on October 25, 2012 [1 favorite]


That's a shame Decani. You'd look great with a moustache.
posted by hippybear at 9:33 AM on October 25, 2012


So, it's about 2K words a day, assuming some days are duds?
Can anyone suggest alternative November challenges for the non-writerly-inclined?
Movember?
posted by Karmakaze at 9:37 AM on October 25, 2012


point of order hippybear you think everyone looks good in a mustache
posted by The Whelk at 9:38 AM on October 25, 2012 [2 favorites]


I'm in again. Also, I'm under prepared again. I've got the same user name on the Nanowrimo site.
posted by maurice at 9:40 AM on October 25, 2012 [1 favorite]


Flex, the immediate problem with that is it's going to suck for someone to hit their 250 words, check preview only to see someone else beat them, start over, and be beaten again. Ultimately, some sort of token or queueing system would be needed for a linear story.

Plus, now with the editing pony, why would anyone bother to preview? I think that ultimately, some sort of token or queueing system would be needed for a linear story.

I guess another way around it would be to link to the comment that one is bulding off of, and have multiple threads? Maybe someone uses the aformentioned twine to turn it into interactive collaborative fiction for every time that two or more people add to the same point.

The problem with the attempting of the interactive fiction in metatalk itself is there's potentially exponentially more potential places to start each day, so there's a risk of needing a few hundred meta's on Nov 30th. I'd find it interesting to follow, or contribute to something like this (either linear or interactive), but I think that metatalk itself is not the place for it.

Does anyone know of a system which would work nicely?
posted by nobeagle at 9:52 AM on October 25, 2012


NanooWriMo: 30 Short Stories About Ork
posted by mintcake! at 10:02 AM on October 25, 2012


Is there like a group or something or do we have to find each other individually? On NaNo?
posted by Mister_A at 10:05 AM on October 25, 2012


Anyway, I'm on the NaNo site under the same handle I use here.
posted by Mister_A at 10:13 AM on October 25, 2012 [1 favorite]


I'm a fictional character desperate for zany adventures in a variety of literary styles and I have the whole of November off, because I just got sacked by Zadie Smith.

Is there no way I could participate in this No-Now-Rim-o you are all going on about? I am available to work as a protagonist, love interest, funny uncle, pedophile uncle or even an evil clown.

For those of you with an experimental bent, I can also break the so-called "fourth wall" - in fact, I'm quite happy to come around to your house and knock all the walls down, and to set fire to the rubble and claim the insurance. Just tell me where you live and write a scene in which I get on the bus.

Also, please write that I have a full wallet and a sexy smile, because I might meet a special someone on the bus and want to pop in to the pub between chapters.

Furthermore, please write that I have super powers because I already have my underpants on the outside, and people at this bus stop are looking at me funny.
posted by the quidnunc kid at 10:21 AM on October 25, 2012 [6 favorites]


And if you type anything before hand, the Rules Police (a force of international arbitrary code enforcement officers, also the subject of my 2009 NaNo novel now available in finer trashcans everywhere) kick down your door and throw white out at your computer screen.

Fah to that rule, I say. If NaNo inspires you to write, it inspires you to write. When shouldn't matter.


Writing beforehand violates the "we're all writers in this thing together, right now" spirit of the event, in my opinion.
posted by adamdschneider at 10:33 AM on October 25, 2012


The Quidnunc Kid sands for a moment in the dustbowl of his wasted afternoon, watching the distant droning traffic of Highway 9 as the sun winks off a succession of windshields and indistinct, indiscriminant mirrors. He lacked cohesion-- that's what she said, whatever the fuck that means. The Quidnunc Kid jams his hands into his too-tight hip pockets and fingers the lint lining the seams in there. What he needs, he knows, is narrative imposition.
posted by shakespeherian at 10:42 AM on October 25, 2012 [5 favorites]


Twine looks really fun, but what I want is a piece of software that really guides me through the process of writing a story takes over my computer and my life until I'm done. Like a literate version of Clippy, on amphetamines:


Clippy: Hey! Looks like you're trying to write a story!

Me: Yes.

Clippy: OK NEAT!!!!!!!

Me: ...

Clippy: Alrighty what happens first?

Me: Well, there's this guy...

Clippy: And? AND??!

Me: He's got like, I dunno, flying powers or something

Clippy: DO GO ON I CANT FUCKING WAIT TO HEAR MORE ABOUT THIS
*screen starts shaking violently, Clippy turns blood red*
*Clippy is doing things to the computer*
*Speaker Volume: 100*
*Play "Carmina_Buarana_DubEDIT.mp3"; repeat 99x*

****

Clippy: HEY IT'S BEEN 30 SECONDS SINCE YOU TYPED SOMETHING

Clippy: DRINK ANOTHER RED BULL

Clippy: FYI I just ordered some Adderall from Silk Road hope you like it



And it's basically that forever until you hit 50,000 words
posted by Doleful Creature at 10:43 AM on October 25, 2012 [16 favorites]


The quidnunc kid stared at the littoral landscape. It was literally littoral, not figuratively pelagic.

Anyway.

the quidnunc kid stared at the literally lemon-littered littoral landscape. Whence all these littoral lemons, he thunk. He thunk and thunk. Since when do I say whence? I sound like a ponce.

Poncily, the quidnunc kid stared...
posted by Mister_A at 10:51 AM on October 25, 2012 [2 favorites]


Poncily! Goddam authors ... Please, somebody write a scene where I sue for defamation!
posted by the quidnunc kid at 10:56 AM on October 25, 2012


I prefer to browse the NaNoWriMo forums making fun of the premises for terrible fantasy written by 12 year olds. It's a much more lower energy way to enjoy the month AND I'm a winner every year.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 10:59 AM on October 25, 2012 [2 favorites]


I have issue with all the programs encouraging people to write. It's not that they shouldn't write, they should do whatever they want, it's just that a lack of writers seems to be the least of the industry's problems. There are huge issues with the publishing industry, and a dearth of appallingly prolific writers churning out unedited prose is the smallest problem.

I wish that the energy invested into encouraging people to write could be focused on some of these overwhelming structural problems. It's hard watching the number of publishers (and places TO publish) shrink, while wages for writers vanish into history and a vanishingly small number of Meirs and Rowlings roll around in wealth.

Or maybe that's just another excuse for me to procrastinate and not write. Bah.
posted by Stagger Lee at 11:21 AM on October 25, 2012


Tried in 09, won in 10, fell short once again last year and set to go again next week (read: totally unprepared!). Agree with Cortex that I learned as much or more the two years I didn't finish as the one I did, although there is a satisfaction in reaching that word count, just barely and with only a day to spare.

This will be my first try since moving permanently from the East Bay--NaNoWriMo central, home of the Office of Letters and Light-to Mount Shasta in Siskiyou County. I didn't socialize much, write-ins, etc. in Oakland and Berkeley, but somehow knowing they were there and going on around me was comforting. Up here in "Elsewhere:CA" NaNoWriMos are few and far between, to say the least. If I do finish, and even if I don't I will go down for the TGIO party in December. That was lots of fun.

And I too go by my same name.
posted by emhutchinson at 11:25 AM on October 25, 2012


nobeagle: My thought with doing it on MeTa itself was that if it's set up somewhere else people won't go there. So without a queueing system here you'd just have to set very simple limits that allow anyone to participate in under a minute. There's so many members here you couldn't write something super-thoughtful but if the whole point is a community endeavor then it's interesting to see what 1000 people would string together one tiny bit at a time, on every refresh it's grown a little and you could participate on the days you felt like it and not bother on the days you didn't.

I was thinking that if it were limited to each member only posting once in each thread, and there was a word limit per comment, then it wouldn't scroll too fast before you made your contribution, and if you saw on preview that someone else had gotten a comment in before you then you wouldn't have too many words to change.

But I spitballed too big a number (250 words); it should be a smaller limit that wouldn't be frustrating to rewrite on preview - 50 or 100 words, or just one sentence, something like that. Then if you had to change it, it wouldn't be a big deal. I mean it wouldn't be a super-serious endeavor anyway, it'd just be whatever you threw into the mix and if it works it works, but if someone posted at the same time as you then it'll sound silly or surreal and that's amusing.
posted by flex at 11:48 AM on October 25, 2012


the quidnunc kid closed his browser as the phone rang.
"Littoral, Lemon, and Litter - Lawyers at Large" said the voice on the other
end. "We understand you are feeling litigious. We specialize in Internet
Defamation cases."
the quidnunc kid pondered this. "I believe we can do business, gentleman. I'm nobody's Ponce."


I would love to read a serialization of the tqk's adventures - but as the snippet above should demonstrate, I am not qualified to write it.
posted by namewithoutwords at 12:12 PM on October 25, 2012 [1 favorite]


"Ha, April fool," said The Whelk, Slamming down the phone and laughing manically.
posted by marienbad at 12:18 PM on October 25, 2012


the quidnunc kid swooned "Oh Mr. Stark, why I NEVER-"
posted by The Whelk at 12:19 PM on October 25, 2012


I'd kind of love to participate this year if only because nearly every YA writer I know is doing it. This, despite swearing off of NaNo in 2008, after I finally won and got the NaNo monkey off my back (I participated, and lost, in 2002, 2003, 2004, and 2006). It's a certain kind of fun mass, hysteria and I'd like to get in on that. Alas, it doesn't work for me right now--oddly enough because I have a December 1st deadline on a sequel that's 2/3rd written. I hope to finish it wih change and then have a few days off. I've been writing it since August at this point (with a full scrapping and rewrite in the middle) and I can't wait to come up for air.

My first NaNo win got me querying though, which was a big milestone in this crazy journey. It wasn't my first book or the one that made me a pro, but I still think it's a pretty great exercise.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 12:21 PM on October 25, 2012


'So they tell me that you call yourself The Whelk,' Steve said from behind the too-large desk. Sitting at this desk made him feel like a little kid in his dad's office.

The man across from him nodded quietly.

'What is that, some kind of code name? Supervillain? You an agent from somewhere?'

The man shrugged. 'It's from the internet,' he said. 'Everyone has a different name on the internet.'

Steve looked for a stack of papers to neaten, something to occupy his hands. 'You can be-- different there?'

The man smiled broadly, now, for the first time since he sat down. 'You can be however you're most comfortable.'

Steve glanced back at the ludicrous vibranium shield set on one edge and tipped against the foot of the desk. He recalled the dank sweatiness of the mask, the constriction of the armored outfit. He still hadn't found anything to do with his hands. He looked back up at The Whelk. 'Teach me,' he whispered.
posted by shakespeherian at 12:27 PM on October 25, 2012 [8 favorites]


I feel really weird favoriting that.
posted by The Whelk at 12:33 PM on October 25, 2012 [1 favorite]


the good kind of weird

cliiiiick
posted by The Whelk at 12:37 PM on October 25, 2012 [1 favorite]


Won each of the last eight years, cannot conceive of a reality in which I don't participate this year.

Well, I can, because I've got a wicked imagination and am good at making stuff up convincingly and then spending 47,000 words exploring it - but the plot I'm working on is so much more awesome than "not doing NaNoWriMo in November of 2012" that I simply choose not to.

Which is to say: I just entered this MetaTalk thread as a way of taking a break from some seriously exhausting population modeling (*) for the runaway space colony my characters will be arriving at, circa November 1st, to reclaim as their own. You can see the progress of my noveling efforts in real time here (I even made a cover this time.) Always willing to buddy up with Mefites; we didn't appear to have an official thread so I made one.

Also: Trebuchet Club for the win! I have no idea how one will feature in my work, exactly, but this year I have a seriously easy way to do it - no one but my band of stalwart, newly-arrived space veterans has access to electricity, machined weapons, steel, or plastic, and the folks on the planet have been fighting over scarce resources for a few hundred years. It's arguable this will be the most legitimate appearance of a trebuchet ever, compared to the 480,000-ish words of all of my previous efforts combined.

(*) The death rate in the year 2199 was staggering, it appears. Almost 50% of the population got wiped out by a very-tricky-to-choreograph nuclear disaster. However, I'm using the RANDBETWEEN function in Excel to make it less "Sarah is the queen of round numbers" looking, so every time I recalculate, the demographics of the situation are totally different.

I've spent more time on this model than almost any other single aspect of my planning, mostly because I wanted there to be a good explanation of why there's a shortage of women, which is important for plot reasons.

posted by SMPA at 1:16 PM on October 25, 2012


"1. Several wonderful, long-lasting friendships with awesome people"

Whoa, how does that work?


I chatted with other nearby NaNoers online, then we attended meetups, then we started to hang out once NaNo was over, and now I've got some good old friends from those days, including my BFF. We blame it all on NaNo: it was fun, we bonded over the stress of it all, we look back at our horrible, horrible stories and laugh.
posted by Elly Vortex at 1:32 PM on October 25, 2012


For anyone who's finished it in the past, within guidelines and all:

What lasting thing(s) have you got from it?


That writing isn't magic or mysterious or even a matter of talent. It's just the matter of sitting down and churning it out. Some days you'll get magic, other days it's frustrating. But if you keep at it, you get it done, you rewrite it and then you move on to the next one.

I won in 2010, after several years of trying. Managed to finish early, despite a day job and a big freelance project, but I did so by powering through in a "2,000 Words A Day or Death" march that was, in the words of my wife, "Fucking insane." I felt very good at the end though, as anyone does after completing a huge task.

Tools I used:
WriteRoom on the Mac
Notepad ++ on Windows.
The book was just several text documents (.txt extension), to make things simple and stored in a folder on Dropbox, so I could literally write from anywhere, on any device (though I didn't try it on anything Linux based).

I spent about 15 minutes in Scrivener at the beginning of the month and decided learning how to use a complex piece of software to write was counter productive to actually writing. Good program, but needlessly overpowered for getting text out, IMO. Probably great for editing and rewriting.

Started it in 2011, buoyed by the success of the previous year, but stopped after 5 days. Wasn't happy with what was being churned out in the sense that I was churning, as opposed to crafting.


On preview:
SMPA is quite mad.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 1:47 PM on October 25, 2012


Ulysses is my personal favorite. It's kind of like Scrivener but somehow dorkier in a way that clicks for me.
posted by Doleful Creature at 1:49 PM on October 25, 2012 [1 favorite]


Is anyone else using Scrivener? I'm using the windows version of the NaNoWriMo trial.

*raises hand* I'm a huge Scrivener fangirl, and I've registered for my first Nano this month, with two goals in mind: to write every day, and to see what happens if I dedicate all the time I usually spend online to doing creative work instead. Which means blocking my Mefi account and FB and so on for the 30 days, with a couple of caveats: checking email once or twice a day, because, you know, life, and if Obama wins the election, I want to get in here and celebrate with the virtual masses. Otherwise, it's all up for grabs. I have a handful of projects I could work on, and whether I make the 50K or not doesn't really matter that much to me. I'll see how it goes...
posted by jokeefe at 1:50 PM on October 25, 2012


"Shakesperean, eh?"
"No. Shakespeherian."
"OK have it your way bub."
"I'm still not going to help your stupid tortoise."
posted by Mister_A at 1:55 PM on October 25, 2012


I use Scrivener for plotting (mostly the index card feature and the ability to collect reference images and background history info). I save down the individual scenes to Word files in the Dropbox folder that syncs to Scrivener, and work directly in the Word files once I get writing.

For folks collecting writing buddies on the NaNo site, I'm there under this username.
posted by catlet at 1:55 PM on October 25, 2012


I expect to try again this year, due largely to being in the physical presence of Caillien's gravitational pull of over 33,333 words per DAY last year. I'm bark.
posted by okbye at 1:56 PM on October 25, 2012 [1 favorite]


Brandon Blatcher -
On preview:
SMPA is quite mad.


One of my primary wishes in life is to not have people saying things like "SMPA has no freaking clue how many students are in her magical school, and I seriously doubt she cares even one tiny freaking whit for continuity. Not one teeny tiny freaking whit!"

In other words, I'm not "mad," but rather, I'm mad.
posted by SMPA at 2:13 PM on October 25, 2012


One of my primary wishes in life is to not have people saying things like "SMPA has no freaking clue how many students are in her magical school"

Welcome to the Society of Background Planners, SMPA. (I am writing a historical romance in which I have learnt a great deal about WW I supply chains, which will never make it into the story other than a throwaway line or two.)

Also, I used to go on extended rants about JKR's class schedule and how it would be utterly impossible to carry out, given how much grading each faculty member was supposedly doing.
posted by catlet at 2:19 PM on October 25, 2012 [1 favorite]


You cannot believe how much I learned about ca.-1880s circus trains in order to eventually write one fucking paragraph where the animal cars are near the front of the train because they sway less up there.
posted by shakespeherian at 2:21 PM on October 25, 2012 [12 favorites]


OK, I'm in. I expect to be a spectacular train wreck, but will give it my best shot. Same user name there, just without the spaces.
posted by never used baby shoes at 2:25 PM on October 25, 2012


Is anyone else using Scrivener? I'm using the windows version of the NaNoWriMo trial.

For those on Mac, there is one day left to pick up Scrivener on the cheap from the latest Macheist.
posted by stp123 at 2:35 PM on October 25, 2012


I am Lyn Never there as well.

This will be the tenth year I've at least taken a shot at it, and what it's gotten me, over that 10 years, is that I now have a basic understanding of how I write and what I need to do from an organizational standpoint. It's taken me to this past year to actually write, all year round, as a routine, on things that are almost coherent projects.

It's also my yearly reminder that it is totally okay for me to spend some of my free time on creative projects of my own, for myself.

I've been prepping and outlining for a couple of months on this year's effort and am pretty excited to get started.

I am a devoted Scrivener user, I use it for all kinds of things, but I'm on a Mac. When the first betas and then release for Windows came out, I got those too and found them lacking. I haven't tried that version in a long time, though.
posted by Lyn Never at 2:46 PM on October 25, 2012


I got the MacHeist just for Scrivener. Totally worth it. Scrivener's amazing - I feel like I've been writing on my computer with the equivalent of a pointy stick, and now I have a swiss army knife.

I've always wanted to do NaNo. Unfortunately November is never a good month, for various reasons. I've been writing a lot lately anyway so I might try to do some extra writing in November, but probably not as an official NaNo participant.
posted by oulipian at 2:48 PM on October 25, 2012


You cannot believe how much I learned about ca.-1880s circus trains in order to eventually write one fucking paragraph where the animal cars are near the front of the train because they sway less up there.

I now have a vast and encyclopedic knowledge of the many and varied ancient roman gladiatorial styles and weaponry and armor due to an odd sense of dedication towards writing the best and most accurate possible softcore porn reviews.

posted by elizardbits at 2:51 PM on October 25, 2012


Welcome to the Society of Background Planners, SMPA. (I am writing a historical romance in which I have learnt a great deal about WW I supply chains, which will never make it into the story other than a throwaway line or two.)


I god, I mentioned how I outlined not only the floorplans of all the major houses in the story before hand but also objects most likely to exist in them in case I needed them to prove a point or something.

Hell when the DC thing still looked long-term I flew to fucking France to make sure I had some details right.
posted by The Whelk at 4:04 PM on October 25, 2012 [3 favorites]


Oh wait I forgot for my first serious web comic I had it set in NYC in the early 1900s so I learned SO MUCH about turn of the century new York, seriously I can recommend you a gay bar or ice cream place in 1902. I had a Barnes And Noble reprint of an exhaustive old guidebook to the city in like 1910 and it got very foxed and bookmarked.

I like to think I was the first webcomic to have a joke about the Astor's problems with getting electric lights installed.
posted by The Whelk at 5:04 PM on October 25, 2012 [1 favorite]


Hell when the DC thing still looked long-term I flew to fucking France to make sure I had some details right.

What a burden.
posted by shakespeherian at 5:04 PM on October 25, 2012


OH WAIT IT WAS 1892 THE KING'S HANDBOOK TO NEW YORK CITY
posted by The Whelk at 5:08 PM on October 25, 2012 [2 favorites]


What a burden.

Well they did lose my luggage for a while.
posted by The Whelk at 5:08 PM on October 25, 2012


Project Gutenberg Link

It's so DETAILED.
posted by The Whelk at 5:09 PM on October 25, 2012


Actually, I'm just "intrepidgirlreporter" on NaNo. As you were...
posted by pxe2000 at 5:29 PM on October 25, 2012


I've never 'won' but I refuse to call it a failure.

My first adventure with NaNoWriMo taught me firsthand why so many of Stephen King's stories are about novelists with writer's block (writers block? writers' block?).

The second adventure taught me the term "analysis paralysis" and that this humanities student should probably not write hard science fiction for her first book.

My third NaNoWriMo, where I failed spectacularly but agreed to be editor for some friends' rough drafts, taught me that no matter how badly I wrote, there is always worse.

My fourth taught me that I actually do have some really awesome ideas, and that my 'style' is somewhere between Philip K. Dick, Jorge Luis Borges, and David Cronenberg... if they vomited their genius into a text document and then gave it to Michael Bay and Uwe Boll to rewrite.

This will be my fifth. SO EXCITED!

mefi stalkers can find me by the name of my favorite author: Bradbury
posted by subject_verb_remainder at 5:38 PM on October 25, 2012


Also, I used to go on extended rants about JKR's class schedule and how it would be utterly impossible to carry out, given how much grading each faculty member was supposedly doing.

Two words: Half-elf TAs. They're even cheaper than grad students!
posted by NoraReed at 5:40 PM on October 25, 2012 [1 favorite]


You guys and your continuity. You're starting to make me embarrassed that my protagonist of my first NaNo win "Tumble Dry" switched names halfway through the book.

What lasting thing(s) have you got from it?

When I complete a NaNo, I get a great feeling of accomplishment. I drop ideas and projects left and right, but those two times I stuck with it through good and bad and made it work. I know a lot of people who have run 5Ks. None of them have become professional runners, but knowing they finished is good enough for them.

Ugh. Dammit. (Heads to the NaNo site to log in for 2012.)
posted by kimberussell at 5:59 PM on October 25, 2012


The second adventure taught me the term "analysis paralysis" and that this humanities student should probably not write hard science fiction for her first book.

That's pretty much what has stymied me in my previous non-starter attempts to write what I plan to write in November. Except it's not even "hard" science, but rather just that I have trouble magicking away conceits, and end up tumbling down the rabbit hole of explaining how impossible things work without having Douglas Adams' talent for building further absurdity while doing so.

I think I've figured it out this time, though.
posted by Navelgazer at 6:07 PM on October 25, 2012


You guys and your continuity. You're starting to make me embarrassed that my protagonist of my first NaNo win "Tumble Dry" switched names halfway through the book.

To be fair, going head-on into the other end leads to conversations like this:

"And who is this character?"

"That's Suzanne McGreggor, her mom named her after the Leonard Cohen song, she's worked at the bait shop since was old enough to put things away and after her Mom started to express signs of severe depression she took on all her roles in the house and shop and resents her Father for some ill-formed teenage idea of it being his fault so she's got this fuck-you-dad streak under her super-helpful exterior (again, all her Mom's influence) which causes her to strike up a conversation with a stranger and get kinda flirty cause she knows her Dad is RIGHT THERE and it will enrage him just enough that she can deny doing it."

"Ah okay, and how many pages does she have?"

"Two."
posted by The Whelk at 6:10 PM on October 25, 2012 [3 favorites]


I'm motty over there also. I won in 2003 (see!) but failed every time I tried since, which was about once every three years or so.

Hoping to try again this year, unless events yet again get in the way, as they have done in so many previous Novembers.
posted by motty at 6:15 PM on October 25, 2012


Also, the idea of doing this in November always bugged me, as it's a holiday season in America.

January or February seem like better. It's cold out, no big holiday seasons or major plans, etc etc.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 6:41 PM on October 25, 2012


Preposterously full-featured word count tracker available here.
posted by Egg Shen at 6:47 PM on October 25, 2012 [1 favorite]


I figured out the key issue to my early exit in my one miserable failure in this thing—I was putting all the backstory INTO THE STORY, instead of just dropping my people into the middle of hell and letting things unfold naturally.

And it's funny, because I know I shouldn't do this - I do a lot of video work and write a lot of linear stories for promotional things, and I'm always right to the point after briefly setting the scene; but these are like 10-min. videos or 1000-word pieces (or shorter). I was blinded by the luxury of 50,000 words! And proceeded to bore even myself to tears.
posted by Mister_A at 8:16 PM on October 25, 2012


I have developed the habit, when I am not sure what is supposed to be happening, of maneuvering all of my characters into a room and making them talk about it until *they* figure it out. (It works, I suppose, but it makes revisions a bitch.)
posted by restless_nomad (staff) at 8:23 PM on October 25, 2012


The main thing that stops me every year is that I always have some big family thing that takes up the entirety of the last week of November. This family plans out their gatherings to the hour, leaving no time for writing, so I'd basically be doing National Novel-Writing Three Quarters of a Month. I've considered skating the rules and starting a week early, but.. y'know.. rules.

The fact that it's not strongly enforced, and it's pretty much all on the honor system, makes me a lot less inclined to bend the rules in my favor.
posted by reprise the theme song and roll the credits at 8:25 PM on October 25, 2012 [1 favorite]


Here's the thing: I've done NaNo since 2001. I've won almost every year. But the last few years have STOPPED BEING FUN for me. Mostly because:

(a) My in-town writing buddies (I don't own a car) all moved.
(b) They have NOT been replaced. Nobody in town shows up for write-ins any more even when they were whining at me to set some times and places for them. The last few years have been very, very, very solo and very sad and alone writing experiences.
(c) This is the most NaNo discussion I've seen online short of the forums in years. My online writing buddies have all gotten bored and bailed too.
(d) I have sadly come to the conclusion that I am not a born fiction writer. I have ONE plot a year, and by the time I'm done writing it I no longer like it enough to want to edit it into a proper book. I never really edited because by the time I'm done, I'm soooooo burned out. I really think I was meant to write nonfiction.

Last year, I did Camp NaNoWriMo. I wrote the nonfiction book of my heart that I want to do. It came out...so-so? Needs a ton of work, and I quoted a fuckton, but it's still better than my shit fiction with dull plots. But I was so burned out by the end of the summer (plus I'd used up my one plot idea for the year) that for the first time, I did not do November.

This year, well...I am 90% inclined to not ever doing NaNo again. And I hate that! I don't want to quit it, but I am no longer enjoying it at all except for maintaining my bragging rights. I don't want to lose those either, but why drag through all that writing for nothing but bragging rights?

What I want to write this year is a one-woman show. I love those things. I saw a contest listing for the end of November for a one-act play that I could enter. I could do that instead, but god knows that ain't gonna be 50,000 words (and well, shouldn't, it's theater). Or I could just do NaKniSweMo, which I should probably do anyway.

I don't want to be a quitter, but I've lost the fun entirely. How do I get it back?
posted by jenfullmoon at 8:33 PM on October 25, 2012


Oh yeah, and I forgot to mention that this was the first time I ever thought about doing a Script Frenzy, only to find out that they've dropped Script Frenzy. I had no idea! Too late now, though.
posted by jenfullmoon at 8:35 PM on October 25, 2012


This may be the first year that I have a relatively commitment-free November (at least, that's my excuse for previous years). Complicating things is that I have the seed of a story I've had in mind for awhile, which you're absolutely not supposed to use in NNWM. I should probably leave it and write something fresh, but I will write something.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 8:46 PM on October 25, 2012


I thought you were allowed to use an existing idea, as long as you haven't started writing the actual text yet.
posted by reprise the theme song and roll the credits at 8:52 PM on October 25, 2012 [1 favorite]


Yes, you are absolutely allowed to use an existing idea. Some folks think it's a violation of the purity of the whole shebang. Those people are crazy; don't listen to them. No one is a true seats-of-the-pants writer - even pure stream of consciousness writing has a few seconds of forethought. Even just typing "e" followed by a space, for 50,000 repetitions, constitutes following a plan.

Embracing the spirit of NaNoWriMo in no way requires you to refrain from thinking, plot development, planning, whatever, until 12:01am on November 1st. It just means you don't write the actual text that you will count for the 50,000 word goal until that point.

There's an entire forum designed to help people sort out the nitpicky rules crap. Quite frankly, I see no reason in trying to ferret out such details for yourself. Write fiction that's new. Don't count the words you wrote before November 1st. Try not to be a jerk about obvious cheating stuff. Have fun. The end.
posted by SMPA at 8:59 PM on October 25, 2012 [1 favorite]


Plotting, outlining and other world building is allowed. The actual writing starts November 1.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 8:59 PM on October 25, 2012


There's "allowed" in terms of what counts for your word count, and then there's what you're "supposed" to be doing if you're following Chris Baty's rationale in No Plot, No Problem, which is that the purpose of NaNoWriMo, and its great strength, is quantity, not quality, and the ability to turn off your internal editor for this first draft is key. The reasoning is that if you're working on a story you already care about, have put thought into, want to turn out well, you're not going to be able to do that. The recommendation is to give yourself a week to prepare, sketch outlines, what have you, but not to continue existing projects, written or unwritten.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 9:15 PM on October 25, 2012


I've gotta say, the bickering over the exact "rules" (as well as the conceit of "winning") is the most offputting part of NaNo to me. But, again, I'm not sure I'm the audience - writing novels is a thing I do for its own sake, not as a game or a dare.
posted by restless_nomad (staff) at 9:22 PM on October 25, 2012 [1 favorite]


It's not a rule; it's a suggestion by the person who brought NNWM into being, knowing that the "internal editor" is perhaps the #1 problem participants have. What "counts" toward the total is a whole other thing (and not much bickered about as far as I can see).

(#2 problem: November. Why November?)
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 9:24 PM on October 25, 2012


Certainly agree there - November is a bloody stupid time to do it, at least if you're American. I have always had the Thanksgiving week problem, too (as well as the Halloween hangover, some years.)
posted by restless_nomad (staff) at 9:32 PM on October 25, 2012 [1 favorite]


The rules are mostly there from Baty and friends's trial and error. Like it is damn hard to try to recontinue your previously partially done work during NaNo--the year I lost, I tried that. Trying to rewrite/do a second draft doesn't work too well for it either. Fiction allows for a lot of ass-pulling. The rules are mostly there as a "this seems to be how it works best" sort of thing, but other than word count, nobody's going to kick you out for breaking them. Nobody else will even know!
posted by jenfullmoon at 9:36 PM on October 25, 2012 [1 favorite]


Let's have a rebellion! We can set up a MeNoWriMo in some other month that's less insane.
posted by reprise the theme song and roll the credits at 9:44 PM on October 25, 2012


January or February!
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 9:54 PM on October 25, 2012


The January or February Revolution!
posted by The Whelk at 10:03 PM on October 25, 2012


Hmmm. But which one? February has Valentine's Day to contend with, but I imagine January would have the "Halloween hangover" problem writ large.
posted by reprise the theme song and roll the credits at 10:16 PM on October 25, 2012


January is a perfect month to exercise those holiday demons.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 10:34 PM on October 25, 2012


I won once, and was shocked that my brilliant pitch to myself about "elves vs psychics" turned out to be 50k words of unmitigated drivel. I was less shocked that my personal Mary sue was a changeling elf princess, but that's not important right now. This year a buddy and I are writing 500 words per day that we don't hate (the endless typing of crap to make up word count being my biggest beef with the nanowrimo process) and then we both have to submit to a paying publication. If we fail to get accepted, we may self publish, ACE DOUBLE style.
posted by Sparx at 10:35 PM on October 25, 2012


"elves vs psychics"

Which ones were the good guys?
posted by reprise the theme song and roll the credits at 10:47 PM on October 25, 2012


February is also shorter.

But fuck if we're bucking the rules anyways, why not do Jan 15 - Feb 15? MeJaFeRhino!

I'd be in. That's the deadest of the dead time of year for me, I have literally nothing planned.
posted by mannequito at 10:47 PM on October 25, 2012


Then it'd be MeNoWriMo. Which is what happens to me about two weeks into NaNo, every year.
posted by cmyk at 11:00 PM on October 25, 2012 [4 favorites]


Hey, put me down for MeNoWriMo!
posted by undue influence at 12:41 AM on October 26, 2012


Hand your day's output to a person to glance over. This is a very hard thing to do if you have written nothing of substance or consequence.

It used to be, but it's gotten easier after years of practice with this little metafilter Post Comment button right here
posted by hattifattener at 1:14 AM on October 26, 2012


I'm going to write a novel entirely in the second-person. It will be called You Are Never Going To Read This.

I hope it begins,
"You are not the kind of guy who would be writing a novel like this at this time of the morning. But here you are, and you cannot say that the characters are unfamiliar, although the plot is still fuzzy. You are writing about a very gifted individual, at a school for very gifted individuals, talking to a girl with a shaved head. The school is either Hogwarts or the Xavier Institute. All might come clear if you could just slip into the kitchen and grab another Red Bull. Then again, it might not."
posted by octobersurprise at 6:35 AM on October 26, 2012 [4 favorites]


This is the post where I claim that I'm going to be awesome and win this year!

Look for the follow up post at the end of the month where that doesn't happen.
posted by SNWidget at 7:00 AM on October 26, 2012


I'm waiting for a call today to find out if I get downsized and let go, so this might be the year I finally have enough time to commit to NaNoWriMo!
posted by Slack-a-gogo at 7:15 AM on October 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


The problem with writing in the second person is it's very hard not to end each page with something like this:
"The mechasloth bares its teeth and leaps at you. What do you do?
- If you pull your ion blade and take a swing at it, turn to page 25
- If you leap onto the nearby conveyor belt, turn to page 114
- If you collapse, weeping, in a fit of existential despair, turn to page 62"
posted by cortex (staff) at 7:16 AM on October 26, 2012 [5 favorites]


cortex that's a feature, not a bug. What will you do with this new feature?

1. Adopt the feature - turn to page π
2. Consume the feature like an ice cream - turn to page ∞
3. Squash the feature like a bug - turn to page i
posted by Mister_A at 7:31 AM on October 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


I was thinking about doing NaNo. Now I am thinking about doing a NaNo that is Steve Rogers/The Whelk slash fiction.

is that wrong?
posted by pointystick at 7:58 AM on October 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


If it's wrong then I don't want to live in this universe anymore.
posted by Doleful Creature at 8:09 AM on October 26, 2012


turn to page ∞

*flip1*
*flip2*
*flip3*
*flip4*
*flip5*
...
posted by the quidnunc kid at 8:17 AM on October 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


...
*flip-4*
*flip-3*
*flip-2*
*flip-1*
*flip*

Well ... that shouldn't have worked.
posted by the quidnunc kid at 8:34 AM on October 26, 2012 [8 favorites]


The problem with writing in the second person is it's very hard not to end each page with something like this:

Purely out of self-promotion I would like to remind all interested parties that I am sincerely doing another group-participation Choose Your Own Adventure thing starting next week over on G+, and I am not even slightly joking here.
posted by shakespeherian at 8:35 AM on October 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


And they are really fun, too! I would like them to be a little more eldritch tho. I will always choose the eldritch path.
posted by Mister_A at 8:39 AM on October 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


I can vouch for them, they're very good.
posted by The Whelk at 8:40 AM on October 26, 2012


If it's wrong then I don't want to live in this universe anymore.

Luckily there are numerous canon-compliant universes in which to reside!
posted by elizardbits at 8:40 AM on October 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


There is a universe where Lorenzo Lamas is President!
posted by Mister_A at 8:45 AM on October 26, 2012


And literally a llama!
posted by The Whelk at 8:47 AM on October 26, 2012


I want the universe where I get to make out with Tony Stark a lot.

that universe is the best universe
posted by elizardbits at 8:49 AM on October 26, 2012 [4 favorites]


I was at this one universe where "I think I crapped my pants" means both "I love you" and "I think I crapped my pants." It was very confusing and smelly, that universe.
posted by Mister_A at 8:54 AM on October 26, 2012


I want the universe where President Lama successfully convinces congress to enact legislation to completely divert the defense budget into genetic research to produce a human-animal hybrid breed of camelids with the body of a llama and the face of Lorenzo Lama and call them Lorenzo Llamas.

And we'll put one on our national flag
posted by Doleful Creature at 10:53 AM on October 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


I'd be in. That's the deadest of the dead time of year for me, I have literally nothing planned.

I would totally do that, actually. A one-month deadline to spit out this damned mystery would be really helpful, and it'd give me a hard deadline to have the current project wrapped.
posted by restless_nomad (staff) at 11:06 AM on October 26, 2012


"I was thinking about doing NaNo. Now I am thinking about doing a NaNo that is Steve Rogers/The Whelk slash fiction.
posted by pointystic

Do you mean slash as with a knife or slash the guitarist?
posted by marienbad at 11:17 AM on October 26, 2012


I won in 2009, after years of trying. I missed a week when my grandfather died and expected to founder, but I ended up writing 10,000 (awful, hilarious) words the following Sunday and catching right back up. I "won" with three days to go.

What I got out of it: definitely a sense of fulfillment. I had always wanted (and tried!) to write a novel, and failing at it so many times had turned it into this looming beast that lurked in the corners of my psyche, kind of like Stewie in Family Guy. "So...working on your novel, huh?"

I reread it last year and it is predictably terrible, yet I'm still proud of it. It has voice. The characters are distinct. Stuff happens. There are many descriptions of food. Any time I stalled I'd bring in a scene with a giraffe that happened to be around for an early bit about a parade, and that giraffe ended up with more screen time than the main love interest.

I used a plot generator at 11:58pm on Oct 31st to kick it off: "A retelling of Cupid and Psyche set in a reality TV show". Bang! I had no grand ideas or advance work - I spent a few minutes deciding on the characters and then I threw them into a situation that caused everyone a lot of problems and then I wrote my way out of it. With lots of food and giraffes.

I didn't participate in 2010 or 2011 because I had some life going on, but I've had 2 babies in the last 13 months and my reward for not currently gestating and having all this "free time" at 2am when somebody's crying or eating and I have one hand on my phone is that I decided to sign up again this year. I'm excited.
posted by annathea at 11:19 AM on October 26, 2012 [6 favorites]


I think they should add various internet communities to the "My Regions" options; it would sure make it a lot easier to find the other mefites.
posted by never used baby shoes at 11:35 AM on October 26, 2012 [3 favorites]


If MeNoWriMo turns out to be a thing, then I'm gonna look like a total chump if I don't throw in.

And maybe a semi-chump if I don't meet the goal.
posted by reprise the theme song and roll the credits at 12:04 PM on October 26, 2012


¡Cuidado, cuidado, cuidado hay llamas!
posted by Mister_A at 12:27 PM on October 26, 2012


Hey flex, I saw your idea about quick collaborative fiction. You might be able to use (er, abuse?) the software we're using to transcribe the podcast. I think that when you hit "edit" on a segment, everyone else is locked out from that segment for 20 minutes. Is that enough time to work with?
posted by Pronoiac at 3:37 PM on October 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


Well, here is a thread started in the forums by the lovely SMPA.
posted by undue influence at 5:16 PM on October 26, 2012 [2 favorites]


Hey Pronoiac, you're right! That could work if anyone is interested. I think it would be fun - it just wouldn't be on MeFi itself.
posted by flex at 8:55 PM on October 26, 2012


only to find out that they've dropped Script Frenzy

It's happening in April isn't it?

I never heard of it before, but discovered it while exploring the Nano site because of this thread. I put it in my calendar.

I am half contemplating doing Nano, though November is never a good month. But I'm thinking it might be fun to just allow myself to write something that makes no sense whatever.
posted by philipy at 12:41 PM on October 29, 2012


I would like to participate in MeNoWriMo starting January 15.

Since I've gone back to school, and had summer as well as fall/spring classes, November and June have been the worst possible months for me to try to just write.

Having said that, I'm going to try NaNo again this year. I could maybe do it!
posted by RainyJay at 3:22 PM on October 29, 2012


Just an hour and some change left for those of us on the East coast (and in the rest of our surprisingly wide timezone)! My M&Ms, candy corn, (candy) orange slice wedges, (fresh) apples, chocolate milk, spreadsheets, note tablet, and Word document are all ready to go, and my plotting/plans strike an appropriate balance between obsessive preparation and room for spontaneity. Wooohooo!

Good luck to us all!

Script Frenzy was terminated this year after 6 years; it was running at an "unsustainable loss."

And you can do Camp NaNoWriMo in August, if November isn't so good for you.

This year I am proud to report that with less than 90 minutes to go, not a single character in my entire novel has a complete family tree or a middle name. One small step for not-totally-ridiculous preparation!

posted by SMPA at 7:43 PM on October 31, 2012 [2 favorites]


Doleful Creature, thank you so much for the Ulysses recommendation. It's like Scrivener basic, and I think perfect for fiction; so here's another vote for it as writing software of choice for Nano.
posted by jokeefe at 9:26 PM on October 31, 2012 [1 favorite]


Glad I could help, jokeefe.

3 minutes to midnight and I have decided my story. I will basically write about my childhood but this time I get to have superpowers.

THAT'S RIGHT LARRY LOVELACE I'M COMIN' FOR YOU NO CRYING THIS TIME no tears, no tears
posted by Doleful Creature at 11:04 PM on October 31, 2012 [3 favorites]


Australian so I just got my first day done. Here's hoping I do better than the two other times I've tried (three days and not at all)...
posted by geek anachronism at 11:52 PM on October 31, 2012 [1 favorite]


And they're off...

Good luck, you crazy bastards.
posted by Egg Shen at 5:44 AM on November 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


I wrote a cold open this morning. 252 words in which someone tells a knock knock jock and a house explodes. Not sure there's really a novel in this.
posted by cortex (staff) at 8:08 AM on November 1, 2012 [5 favorites]


"Knock, knock"

"Who's there?"

"Wait, the house exploded, why are you knocking?!"
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 8:12 AM on November 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


Now that novel, I want to read.
posted by philipy at 8:29 AM on November 1, 2012


Script Frenzy was terminated this year after 6 years; it was running at an "unsustainable loss."

Damn.

I wish when things like that happened, people would think to slap a huge notice across all the relevant site pages. "This thing no longer exists, don't waste your time reading this page."
posted by philipy at 8:35 AM on November 1, 2012


"Knock, knock"
"Who's there?"
"To"
"To who?"
"To whom, actually."

via anti-joke.

Cortex, you could interview that band you discovered recently, a punk combo I believe they were, about life before and during the band. I'm sure they will grant you interviews, after all the hard work you did in publicising their work.
posted by marienbad at 10:50 AM on November 1, 2012 [3 favorites]


"Chunks of pumpkin litter the curb like dinosaur vomit." is the best sentence I wrote today, or indeed any day.
posted by oulipian at 2:31 PM on November 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


I did actually make it out today and crank out the two scenes that I needed to fill in this chapter, which is nice because now I don't feel nagged by the Entire Internet. (God damn, I have a lot of NaNo folks on Twitter.)
posted by restless_nomad (staff) at 2:47 PM on November 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


Hey it's still the first, huh. I could technically sit down and start one of these things if I were entirely foolhardy.
posted by shakespeherian at 3:00 PM on November 1, 2012


You're already writing one sprawling Sci Fi epic.
posted by The Whelk at 3:17 PM on November 1, 2012


C'mon, shakespeherian! Ruin your month!
posted by cortex (staff) at 3:18 PM on November 1, 2012


Best worst sentence so far:

Dex tracked and fired three times, the bullets farting mercilessly through the leather upholstery.
posted by cortex (staff) at 3:45 PM on November 1, 2012 [2 favorites]


In my world, Insane Clown Posse go public, are acquired in a hostile takeover by Disney, and are seen playing the Mos Eisley Cantina on the re-release of Star Wars Episode IV.

That's right, my writing is six months ahead of its time.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 5:18 PM on November 1, 2012


C'mon, shakespeherian! Ruin your month!

DON'T TEMPT ME
posted by shakespeherian at 5:22 PM on November 1, 2012


2,329 words in for the day. I hope to get even more in tomorrow - possibly crack 5k. Every over-achieving day allows for more total-slacker days, in my book. Which probably won't be 69,870 words long on November 30th, as today's production level sort of implies.

My novel's most clever lines so far:
Life aboard ship is all about routine. Discipline. Cycles. All of this has happened before, and all of it had better happen again, because otherwise we’re all going to either freeze to death or suffocate alone in the blackness of space.

Most people are pretty okay with the drudgery, given the context.
You can spot a first draft of mine by how many needless geeky shoutouts there are.
posted by SMPA at 8:32 PM on November 1, 2012


1790 words today; essentially my prologue.

It's pretty dull and horrible, actually. But its a lot more than I've written about anything in a long time,
posted by never used baby shoes at 8:56 PM on November 1, 2012


1916 words of sensitive realist fiction between the end of work and the beginning of the opera. I may, tomorrow, write about bullets farting in the upholstery just to mix it up a bit, though.
posted by jokeefe at 11:41 PM on November 1, 2012

At This Rate You Will Finish On
January 10, 2013
:(
posted by Gordafarin at 3:02 AM on November 2, 2012


Between random acts of stomach agony and vomiting at 3am, then meetings with potential PhD people, today was a bit mean. But I still squeaked into the daily word count.

I fear what tomorrow brings.
posted by geek anachronism at 4:02 AM on November 2, 2012


I got sucked into the thing. I haven't officially registered, but I wrote about 1200 words.

I'm trying out Scrivener (for Windows) too, which is partly how I got sucked in. Is there any way I can get it to tell me things like how long I spent writing. how many words per hour I'm doing etc? The Nano template it comes with is set up to show progress towards 50k words, and progress towards 1,667 words per session, but that's not quite what I'm looking for as I'd probably do multiple short sessions per day, and need to get some idea of how much I need to speed up, or how many more hours per day I'm likely to need if I don't.
posted by philipy at 9:08 AM on November 2, 2012


I am veeeeeeery tempted to register as a late entry. The commute home last night put me into a post-apocalyptic mood, and I'm thinking of some kind of a nightmare scenario about the aftermath of the hurricane, but things just get worse and worse and the power and the subways just take longer and longer to fix and finally the whole of Brooklyn rises up in revolt and secedes to form its own country or something.

At the very least it'll be theraputic.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 10:27 AM on November 2, 2012 [1 favorite]


The ASL Lady turns out to be a revolutionary. Go for it Your Empressness.
posted by marienbad at 5:31 AM on November 3, 2012


Oh hell, I am throwing my hat into the ring. I had a completely crazy dream that was life during wartime, if wartime was a weird scifi gene-splicing version of the Blitz.

I'll see where that goes. If any of y'all want to add me on the nano site, I am bolthead there.
posted by cmyk at 8:56 PM on November 3, 2012


Well, I got a late start, but I wrote 1,704 words today, which is the most creative writing I've ever done. It's already been a weird experience.
posted by A Bad Catholic at 9:42 PM on November 3, 2012


Today was the first day where I actually felt like I'm sinking my teeth into something as opposed to just sort of noodling along. I have a lot of problems (like a comic relief character who is apparently better as the butt of jokes rather than the one dishing them out), but I think I might actually have a character to work with.
posted by never used baby shoes at 10:23 PM on November 3, 2012


Man this is the first time I have tried writing anything in ages, it is so hard. I saw this thread and it persuaded me to join, and then I had an idea, and have pantsed it for the last few days, but now I am getting bogged down with trying to plot and all the details. Must. Shut. Off. Editor.....

I have even posted a couple of questions in the Reference desk thread. Also, if anyone needs any crime or csi advice, there is a thread in the Thriller forum from a guy who is an ex-cop and csi, so if you need any help with that, try him out.

Also, it is amazing how hard it is to do. For creatures who speak and write endless words to one another all day long, who can, from the age of 2 onwards, learn several languages simultaneously, who watch and listen to endless amounts of stories in one form or another, you would think writing a simple story would be easy. But it sure ain't.

Went to a write in yesterday in my area, a sub-meeting really, just for our town. Was a small group but we shot the breeze and it was all cool. Nice to know you are not alone in this struggle!

Good luck everybody!! (i am at 6300 words approx. Can't believe I have written that many words in such a short time).

oh yeah, I am Parallax over on Nano.
posted by marienbad at 7:00 AM on November 4, 2012


I'm managing to hit just over the target amount every day so far, and I'm at 5600 (I'll get started on today's bit shortly). I was highly annoyed to discover that on Friday I had, for reasons I can't quite remember, quit out of Dropbox so that the Word file I'm using didn't sync and my entire Friday output is sitting on my computer at work. But I plowed on with a different scene from later in the plot. So far every day has gone well and it's kind of thrilling.
posted by jokeefe at 9:50 AM on November 4, 2012


So far, so good. I'm at 7075 words and my goal is to get to 8000 before I go to bed. This front-loading is what will make up for the 2 days I lose traveling to and from Thanksgiving dinner in western Michigan.

The novel so far is a wonderfully awful cozy mystery, with convenient ghosts.

Permanenently Shelved:

The famous, young and old, are dying shortly after their biographies are released to the public. The subject of an upcoming biography herself, former first lady Claire Donaldson and her longtime Secret Service agent John Paulsen are on the hunt to solve this mystery before she's the next one to be ... permanently shelved.
posted by kimberussell at 4:03 PM on November 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


convenient ghosts

I may steal this for a band name.
posted by Doleful Creature at 10:29 AM on November 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


Today was a tough one; the first day I sat down without a clear idea of what I was going to be writing about. So I decided to start shoveling the back story; might as well do an info dump if I can't think of anything better.

At least I got through today.
posted by never used baby shoes at 9:21 PM on November 5, 2012


Looking back at the 2008 thread, I see I was over halfway done with my 50k words by now.

Karma, you are a harsh one. 7272
posted by robocop is bleeding at 9:54 AM on November 7, 2012


I'm at 3900 or so and haven't written in days. Turns out there was an election.
posted by cortex (staff) at 10:05 AM on November 7, 2012 [3 favorites]


I attempted to plug away and continuing the massive info dump while watching the election coverage. I somehow got to just over 1667 yesterday, though I will not claim any of it was great.

At this point, it is more above the shoveling than the quality...but the interesting thing about it for me right now is it looks like I might just be uncovering the bones of a story that will be worth going back to when this exercise is over. And I guess that is the point: to get through NaNoWriMo, you have to keep writing no matter what, and eventually when you've passed enough volume of words through, some stuff starts to happen.
posted by never used baby shoes at 10:25 AM on November 7, 2012


At 13089 words. Have the day off, daycare is open, and am hoping for a full 7k to get back on pace.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 4:03 AM on November 12, 2012


20089. Full 7k on the dot.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 10:51 AM on November 12, 2012 [2 favorites]


Thanks to a friend who showed up to do her homework with me at the coffee shop, I finished revising an entire chapter today. (It's been a half-chapter a day so far.)
posted by restless_nomad (staff) at 4:22 PM on November 12, 2012


November really is the worst month. I'm not even in the US, so I don't have Thanksgiving to deal with, but I was following the election, and then there's cold season, and then there's Christmas shopping...
Suffice to say I haven't written anything in about a week.
posted by Gordafarin at 12:10 AM on November 13, 2012


I am at about 26000 words. Holy moly, I didn't think I would even get this far. Admittedly I am pantsing it and am at a wall as to where to go now, but wow, 26k? I will be happy if I break 32 in the next week, and then maybe hack out 8k at the end to get to 40. I may just use some tricks to get the wordcount up, but it depends how it goes.

It has been an amazing experience so far. As someone who has struggled in the past to finish stuff, I am determined to finish this, but even if I don't I have put more thought, struggled and wrestled with the story more, and learnt a whole lot about why you should stick with it even when you are struggling and wrestling, so in that way it has been awesome.

My only complaint is that it is perhaps a little cutesy-wutsy over there. I can understand the plot bunnies idea, as that is what it sorta feels like in my brain somedays, but the rest I don't need.

Also, what are you supposed to do with writing buddies? Can you set up a nanmail group and email all your buddies to say Keep Writing/How are you/God I want to die? Or how do they work?

Thanks for turning me on to this, I may be writing a pile, but at least I am writing, learning, thinking, and in many ways I liken it to trying to play eine kliene nachtmusik when you have only just started learning the violin. It takes time, effort and practise, so that's how I see nano now.
posted by marienbad at 6:35 AM on November 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


marienbad: I used to write to my writing buddies mail just like that, but I only ever corresponded with a few, so ymmv. An occasional hey what's up wanna trade excerpts is helpful too.
posted by undue influence at 6:58 AM on November 14, 2012


Lost days with the election, but currently at just over 15K-- haven't added up today's count yet. I figure if I'm writing every day, even if it's less than the magic 1667 words, I've still won.
posted by jokeefe at 2:43 PM on November 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


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