NaNoWriMo day 6

Writing fiction is a strange and rather magical pastime. There are two types of writer: the pantser – who literally writes by the seat of their pants (or trousers if you come from the U.K., like I do), and the plotter – who outlines and plots meticulously before they begin. I’m a pantser. I begin with just the very vaguest idea and the story either quickly dies, or, it seems to write itself: characters arrive and are either minor bit players, who soon disappear, or major characters I get to know well. I can take those characters anywhere and they’ll bear it without too much complaint.

It is a bit like buying a magical ticket for a holiday without any idea of where you’re going or who you’re going to meet en-route. It’s big fun, but you still have to bear in mind that there will be drama and tears,  love, and fantasy and death.

Today, on day six of this years NaNo, my story clicked and I became involved. Some characters are now more than acquaintances; they’re friends. Some characters I’m beginning to loath, and at least one (wipes a tear away) is going to die.

I’m a bit behind as far as word count goes, but I don’t think that’s going to last long. I’m invested in the story and I really want to find out how it’s going to end. 🙂



NaNoWriMo day 5

I’ve been plagued all day by thoughts of word count, why I’m slipping, and do I really care?

I write: ergo I’m a writer. I may not make a living at it: I may not get up at five in the morning and, bleary eyed, write beautiful stellar prose because that’s when the squirrels are cutely cavorting and it is just the way it’s got to be, darling. I may not even write a lot when I write … but I do write. So do I need the artificial kick in the arse that is NaNo? Yesterday I said:

NaNoWriMo is all about the 50,000 words. Write, write and write! Do not carefully construct each and every sentence while writing…

But that’s just not me. I’m not good at churning out pages and pages and then going back to edit. I prefer to try and get it right the first time. Besides, I write short stories, not novels as they seem to be an easier form for me.

The question I should probably ask myself is ‘why haven’t you finished one of your NaNo novels, then? Hmm?’ Honestly, I don’t know. It’s not that they’re bad, they’re just unfinished. Also, it’s more fun writing something new.

I’m beginning to think NaNo is a bit like Birthdays, Christmas, and Guy Fawkes: the anticipation is much sweeter than the reality.

I’ve ‘done’ NaNo every year since 2006–back in the days when participation hadn’t got near a hundred thousand people and the servers were so slow it was a miracle if you could update your word count. Then, it was an utter blast, and huge fun! But then I knew a lot of people taking part. Now, it seems, no one I know can be bothered. Maybe the global economy is partially to blame, yet year on year the number of people hammering away on their keyboards grows, and the whole shebang has becomes slicker and slicker and better orchestrated … which is not a bad thing at all, it’s just….

I don’t know what I’m trying to say, here. I’ll stop blathering. 😉

Oh, and yes, I do care my word count is slipping. It’s a cracking story and as I want to finish it I’ll do better. Honest, guv.


NaNoWriMo day 4

Yeah, so, I’ve just had diner, which was a simply scrumptious affair of pie, mash and sweet corn, followed by coconut yoghurt for pud. Today I’ve been in a much more positive frame of mind, and though I’m still taunting myself with artificial deadlines I’m doing it with wry good humour. Add that I’m happy with what I’ve written and it’s no wonder the cat is purring.

Also, this afternoon was the Formula One Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. It was won by Kimi Raikkonen, and was an excellent race filled with excitement! If you don’t follow F1 you really should. True, it’s not a mandatory part of NaNoWriMo, but it should be. Ludicrously expensive fast car racing and novel writing: what could be a better mix? 😉

What I haven’t done on day four is write as much as I should have. I’m going to be a tad behind going in to day five, but not so much that catching up isn’t doable.

Blimey, the English language is wonderfully rich and infinitely malleable, isn’t it? Maybe, for clarity, I should have said: I’ll be behind on day five, but I can catch up. I love it! There are so many different ways to couch a thought. Actually, that’s a very good point….

Note to self: NaNoWriMo is all about the 50,000 words. Write, write and write! Do not carefully construct each and every sentence while writing or, unless your name is Stephen Fry, you won’t get to 50,000 words. Re-writing comes in December, and then is the time to tweak, primp and tartify your prose.


NaNoWriMo day 3

I’m feeling lackadaisical and pursed.

Pursued by this daft ambition to finish 50,000 words in 30 days – which I gleefully signed up for – and a creeping negativity and ambivalence that keeps trying to persuade me to watch TV, have a snooze, or anyone of a thousand other things rather than buckling down to write. I’ve failed twice since I started doing NaNo in 2006 and I’m wondering if this might be number three. After all, aren’t ‘things’ supposed to happen in threes? I seem to be justifying failure before I’ve failed, which is odd. I should be outraged by this lack of oomph.

Honestly, I don’t care. Meh. Either I will or I won’t write, and I’ll find out on 1st December.

Super! Now I’ve got that out of my system I feel so much better. 🙂



NaNoWriMo day 2

Ironically, I find I have work to do for the next few days. Not that I’m complaining in this awful financial climate, but it would have to happen just as NaNo kicks off. Still, I managed a reasonably healthy 2,149 words on day 1 which meant I went to bed smiling.

A normal day involves a lot of frittering and I can seldom put my finger on where the hours went … which is not to say I’m narcoleptic! It’s just that it’s so easy to visit a website, follow an interesting link … and another one, and another one … and find an hour or three has vanished. Add all these interweb adventures together and the days roll on by – bye.

The obvious solution is to give up everything else but work and NaNo for this month. Yet, here I am blogging. Is blogging a waste of time? Dunno. Surely no more than going to the loo. 😉


NaNoWriMo day 1

So, it’s begun – quite a few hours ago, actually. I’m set up with Scrivener on the old ppc (obsolete thanks to Intel) G5 Mac, and have finished all the lists of characters and places, etc. On one NaNo a few years ago I wrote the beginnings of a novel called ‘Worth.’ I got to 20,000 words and then started writing a series of short stories. So for this NaNo I’m picking up where I left off. ‘Worth’ will end up close to 90 or 100,000 words, and by 1st December I’ll have over 70,000 of the dear things. 🙂

It seems sad but non of my friends are writing this time. I’ve no idea why. Too busy, maybe – lucky them. Still, the cats are staunch supporters so all should be well.

I’ve also joined a site called ‘Scribophile‘ which seems to be a good place for unbiased critique.

Now I must be off, perchance to get my first 1667 words written in time. Wish me luck!

NB and NaNoWriMo 2012

A note to myself reminding me I must get it together (man) and crack on. Not that I’m a couch potato, but I do tend to fritter the hours away.

If I dropped dead tonight – not that I have any intention of it – I’d leave behind unfinished songs, unfinished short stories, and several unfinished novels. ‘Unfinished’ seems a recurring theme.

This morning I got up (as you do) bright as a button. Made coffee, put the rubbish out for the dustcart, staggered upstairs and checked my emails. An hour later, tormented by a HUGE list of things to do, I espied my bed. It beckoned, I resisted: it insisted … a wee snooze never hurt anyone.

So here, as it’s near the end of the day, I can sum up:

  1. I’ve changed this blogs appearance: the previous theme was ‘Modularity Lite’ and now I’m on ‘Quintus’. I also discovered I have 60 categories and, somehow, have to prune them and use tags instead.
  2. I haven’t published the short story I promised myself I would.
  3. I haven’t finished my work web-site.
  4. I haven’t even hoovered. 😉

If I was into that sort of thing I’d give myself a damn good spanking, and stand in the corner for half an hour.

The truth we all face is that we’re only here as sentient beings for a brief smidge of time, and a third of that we waste by being asleep. When we’re gone all we leave behind us are – hopefully – a few nice memories that others have of us, and whatever ‘art’ we’ve produced: be it music, prose or painting.

I don’t want to shuffle of this mortal coil without leaving something behind. Do you?

So … why not have a bash at this:

National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) challenges you to write a 50,000-word novel, from scratch, in the month of November. It’s a global, uproariously fun endeavor, where participants exchange advice and writing tips on the NaNoWriMo? website and in real life, with group write-ins held in coffeeshops, living rooms, and libraries all around the world. In 2011, more than 250,000 people took part in National Novel Writing Month.

I started doing NaNo in 2006, and although I’ve missed the 50,000 twice I can honestly say it’s probably the most fun you can have fully clothed.

If you’re a writer, or even if you’re not a writer but have always wanted to ‘give it a go’, sign up for NaNoWriMo and enjoy!

If you are still unconvinced here are 10 reasons you should do NaNoWriMo