Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Life Post-NaNo

(My view while writing about interplanetary space ships.)

NaNoWriMo is ending today at midnight and I am done my novel. You’d think that I’d want to spend as much time away as possible from the computer now. You know, stop thinking about my story entirely and see if I’ve missed much of real life in that month I spent in sci-fi/NaNo land! I probably should go to that doctor’s appointment now and maybe put a pound or two on my bones. But rehabilitation is not easy and I find myself still clinging to the glory of NaNoWriMo. I come back from the battlefield, bloodied and exhausted, but victorious and hungry for more... or something like that!

So here I thought I’d go more in depth about my writing experience and give some advice if you think of participating next year. Which, if you have any inclination whatsoever towards writing, you totally should. I didn’t know at first if I was going to do it. I had some initial concerns. But now I’m hooked and wished I didn’t have to wait for another year to do this again (my boyfriend is on the other hand grateful it’s over).

First of all, there is no valid excuse why you shouldn’t do it. 50,000 seems like a lot of words, but it’s realistic. It’s feasible. At the end, you’re not going to have a huge novel. You’ll have something you can easily read back in a few hours (depends how fast you read though I guess. I read fast.) Just trying here to put that number into some vague perspective.

Check your perfectionist tendencies at the beginning of the month and tell your inner editor to zip it. Don’t listen to that nagging voice at the back of your head saying that you suck and that you should quit. Yell back at it: “YOU SUCK! Frack off!!”

This is not the time to spend an hour just picking out a name for a character or a place. Use the first friggen name that comes into your mind. You can change it later, you know, when you don’t have a word count to beat in a timely matter. Borrow names if it gives you a feel for a character or a place. I borrowed names of places from the novel Red Mars and one of my main characters is currently named after a WWE champion. Keep that epic villain name that makes everybody cringe because it contains the word “fetish” in it. Remember, this is a marathon of words. It’s quantity versus quality. It cannot be stressed enough. The right synonym is overrated during this month as well. So what there is the same word three times in the same paragraph? Don’t give yourself a facepalm over it. Save that for NaNoEdMo (National Novel Editing Month). What matters, is your words and the story. That you know what you mean when writing something is all that matters so you can fix it and polish it later.

Take it easy when ideas are not coming. Writing at times will feel like you’re not doing anything. You’re going to procrastinate a lot while your brain works out the details of your story. Having an outline helps. But if you’re anything like me, you won’t follow that story outline too much and know what’s going on as you go. If an idea seems crazy to you but just won’t leave your head, write it anyway. Don’t fight it. Sometimes your subconscious knows best. Or keep telling yourself that. Remind yourself of NaNoEdMo. I had a few wtf moments during this month, wondering what a psychoanalyst would think if he or she ever read my draft. Whatever, masquerade the weirdness for some brilliance and move on! So what if I’ve shaped a self-destruct mechanism as a vagina? That’s cool! If I’d been a guy, it probably would’ve been a phallic symbol ‘a la Austin Power! I’ll worry if it’s tasteful later down road. I got a couple good sized paragraphs out of it though. In the end, that’s what counts, right?

Just do it! And add me as a writing buddy!

See you again next year NaNoWriMo!

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