Tuesday, November 12, 2019

How's your NaNoWriMo going?

November is National Novel Writing Month, and I have an inkling some of you are taking part.

The goal of NaNoWriMo is getting a certain number of words on the page by a certain date on the calender.

To accomplish that, don't stop for ANYTHING, particularly not tinkering with sentences.

Just pass directly to the comments section today and tell us how you're doing.




For those of you who are revising, the topic today is over-writing. Also known as why you have to revise even when you are insanely talented and brilliant. 

Consider:
Grumpy, frumpy, jumpy Felix Buttonweezer was insanely jealous of Steve Forti's dexterity with prompt words. He walked to his desk, and clicked The Forti's profile where he found an email, and better yet, a Twitter handle.  He created a new Twitter account and proceed to stalk Steve, intent on discovering the details of his deal with the devil. He must have deal, right? No one can be that deft without some sort of demonic assistance.

You really don't need grumpy, or frumpy, or jumpy. What we need to know is Felix is jealous, and that he's insanely jealous.

We don't need to know Felix walked to his desk or what he found.

We might not need to know he created a new Twitter account. This is one of those places where I take it out, then if the paragraph feels off, I put it back in.

We need to know Felix is stalking Steve and why.

 Revised:
Felix Buttonweezer was insanely jealous of Steve Forti's dexterity with prompt words. He proceed to stalk Steve, intent on discovering the details of his deal with the devil. He must have deal, right? No one can be that deft without some sort of demonic assistance.
You can see that taking out some of the words requires further revising:

He  proceed decided to stalk Steve, intent on discovering the details of his deal with the devil

Proceed doesn't work cause nothing has happened yet.

Revision #2
Felix Buttonweezer was insanely jealous of Steve Forti's dexterity with prompt words. He decides to stalk Steve, intent on and discovering the details of his deal with the devil. He must have deal, right? No one can be that deft without some sort of demonic assistance.

Revision #3
Felix Buttonweezer was is insanely jealous of Steve Forti's dexterity with prompt words. He decides to stalk Steve, intent on and discovering the details of what surely must be his deal with the devil. He must have deal, right? No one can be that deft without some sort of demonic assistance.

 It's only after clearing out all the underbrush that we can see how to really energize the sentence (the italics.)

This example is four sentences. It took about four passes, ten minutes total. You can do the math if it won't send you scurrying to the couch, weeping.


This is why you revise, let sit, revise, let sit.

You see things on that third pass that get all the pieces in the right place, and pump up the energy.

Are you doing this with your flash fiction?
Blog posts?
QUERIES?????

 I will be glad to gnaw on your delicious queries!



But really, how's NaNoWriMo going?



51 comments:

nightsmusic said...

I'm at 17.5K right now. And stuck. :( I'm such a pantser though, it's no surprise. I need to let it perk for a day or two. I have a writing buddy I never expected however. With 46 novels under her belt, she's probably the most encouraging buddy I could have.

As far as editing goes, I can't do that while I'm writing. If I stop to do that, then I lose my rhythm. Editing has to wait until the story is at least, almost finished. Hey! I'm watching a movie in my head. Stopping to edit is like changing the channel.

Or...squirrel!

;)

Kitty said...

I am not doing the NaNoWriMo cha-cha-cha. I want to talk about how even the best of writers are sometimes guilty of overwriting. I am reading #22 in a crime series, featuring a beloved detective, by a very famous writer. I expected to love it because I loved his previous 21 books in the series. But I don't love it. In fact I don't care about any of the characters. The problem is OVERWRITING. The book is 370+ pages. Cutting a third would improve the story and my pleasure immensely. Elmore Leonard said when you overwrite you're writing for yourself, not the story. I've slogged halfway through #22 and I'm done, at least for now. Janet Evanovich's TWISTED TWENTY-SIX will arrive today (weather permitting) and I can't wait to read about Stephanie and Joe and (be still my heart) Ranger. No overwriting; just pure pleasure.

E.M. Goldsmith said...

I am in the barrel of the cannon waiting to take my shot. I am revising my query and short synopsis. Trying to find 250 or so words that will stand out to an agent reading queries on his or her phone on the subway is super challenging. I wonder if Mr. Forti would help me?

I have terrific comps. I think. However, one of my authors has released a new book in the last few days. For the class, in the query, do I refer to the series of books by author or just the latest specific book? My feeling is that I will cite the series. Yes, no? Does it matter?

Anyhow, good luck to all of you working on NaNowriMo.

Carolynnwith2Ns said...

For me today, the will is gone. The train has left the station. I'm standing next to the tracks and the station is empty.
And
I
don't
care.
With no destination in mind I wander to the shore. The dock is empty. That ship has sailed too.
What's left to write?

To you reiders who are passion-ing an idea into a novel, go for it, good luck, don't stop. Seats on the train and ship have your name on them.

Steve Forti said...

Felix, old buddy - good luck with the stalking. I'm not on Twitter, and my devil dealing is always done in strict secrecy. I leave no trace. And more importantly, no witnesses.

E.M. - Not sure I'd be much help, but happy to give it a try. I'm better at catching things in others' work than my own (stupid degree of remove and impartiality).

I actually didn't delude myself into thinking I could do NaNo this year. I have in years past and always fall way short. Life has been too hectic the past month. I got 1,000 words yesterday, though. Does that count at all? I'm torn on my current WIP, deciding whether to wrap it up then tighten it as a 25k story or expand into a full novel. I may need help.

For those of you sticking to the NaNo pace so far, my major kudos. It's impressive.

Aphra Pell said...

I was going to attempt my first NaNoWrMo, then my body decided that massive disability flare-ups were the in thing for late 2019, so coping with minimal hours in the day job is sufficient.

However, I do have a new zoomy wheelchair which is quite cool. I'm restraining myself from doing Mr Toad impressions on campus.

The day job shuts down in early Dec, so I'm eyeing the Christmas season as replacement writing time.

Lisa Bodenheim said...

Thank you Janet for those examples. Always helpful. So easy to see how it's done but to apply it to my own writing? argh.

No NaNoWriMo for me. I'm revising. Trying to catch any overwrite and put some (small bits of) flesh on underwriting, as I figure out the focus of each scene. And...yes, there are some new scenes to write.

Best of luck to the people who are NaNo-ing. Tremendous admiration for all of you.

Timothy Lowe said...

Carolynn -- We've all felt that way. Hope it comes back for you. Sometimes a little stroll down the tracks leads you to surprising things. Sending you good wishes.

LynnRodz said...

No NaNo for me. I'm still trying to get a query together. The synopsis was easy peasy, but as far as I'm concerned, query is a four letter word.

Carolynnwith2Ns said...

Thanks Timothy Lowe. Maybe a walk along the tracks or the shore is what I need. Where the hell are my shoes?

Colin Smith said...

I almost entered the NaNo fray for the third time, but I have other priorities that I know would prevent me finishing. However, I'm cheering participants from the sidelines. Y'all go for it! Yaaaaay!! :)

Did I miss the final contest results, or is it still Monday...? ;)

Jennifer R. Donohue said...

I'm doing both! National Novel Revising Month!

See, a few years ago, I wrote (most of) one novel, which was meant to be a very thriller-y modern female Hamlet. And then I wrote (most of) another novel, which was set in 1979 Asbury Park (no I don't remember why 1979) but also within the witchy world that some of my published short stories have been set ("Sugar and Spice", "Be Careful What You Wish For", "The Pearls That Were His Eyes"). At some point after that, I combined elements of the two novels to make what is now (most of) a draft of witchy girl Hamlet.

So this month, I'm revising and rewriting what I already have, and writing to done. I'm actually far closer than I remember being, and I'm frequently delighted by what I am rediscovering during this project.

As a kindness to myself, I am not trying to tease out the bookkeeping of tracking only my newest words, so right now I'm at 37,529 revised words. No title of course. No end yet, but we know how the Hamlet ending is supposed to go anyway, n'est-ce pas?

Sandra J. said...

I considered NaNoWriMo for a hot second and then I laughed and laughed. While I love the idea of writing 50K words in 30 days, my schedule this month does not. Instead, I'll be standing by and cheering on those of you taking part.

Aphra Pell - do not restrain yourself...do the impression.

Brittany said...

I didn't really want to do NaNoWriMo because I've been working on this same novel for 3 NaNos and 2 Camps and never really had anything to show for it. But my progress had slowed way down and I need help making my (somewhat but not entirely self-imposed) deadline on this rewrite, so I figured I'd jump in for the motivation and not stress word count.

Just hit 18K for the month/62K for the draft and still trucking along. A few months back I somewhat foolishly pitched to a publisher on Twitter and got a request, which forced me to sit down and write a detailed synopsis in lieu of a fully finished manuscript. And I'm so, so glad I did. The biggest problems with the previous draft were structural, and it made me resolve the remaining question marks I had. For all the charm of pantsing, I think I do work much better with an outline. The question is figuring out how to actually write one in a way my brain doesn't rebel against. Lisa Cron's Story Genius helped me solve a lot of problems with this story, so I'm looking forward to trying her developmental technique from scratch on my next project.

Craig F said...

I am querying one book and trying to loft up a plot for another. This one will be the first look at a new planet and some initial work on an environmentally friendly colonization.

I have three directions I am considering on the local flora and fauna. That is what is making the plot process so difficult. Breaking new ground is a beach.

Madeline Mora-Summonte said...

I started NaNo having a blast, writing something just for the heck of it, using exclamation points all! over! the! place!

That idea has since fallen apart, but I am still having fun, now hopping around from idea to idea in my NaNo manuscript. I think I'll have some good stuff to work with next year. If nothing else, at least my creative muscle is getting a strenuous workout. (One of the few muscles of mine that actually do.)

And I love this part of the post - "It's only after clearing out all the underbrush that we can see how to really energize the sentence...."

Good luck to everyone doing NaNo and to everyone working on big creative projects!

Claire Bobrow said...

No NaNo for me. As Austin Powers would say, "That's not my bag, baby!" Instead, I'm hunched over my kitchen table writing, revising, and querying picture book manuscripts. An agent asked for more two weeks ago, then passed. But a nibble is a nibble and it gave me hope.

Good luck to all of you doing NaNoWriMo. I am rooting for you!

NLiu said...

I'm "not doing Nano" BUT I started something at the end of Oct when I should have been revising my WIP for the 5th time. It's now 28,000 words. So, um.

KariV said...

I'm not doing NaNo because I NEED to get my edits in. My pub date is creeping ever closer and my updated ending will not write itself.

(I've looked into this - the science is impossible.)

Maybe next year?

The revising tips are bang on.

CynthiaMc said...

I'm not officially doing Nano this year, though I still get the emails and read the pep talks. I was going to finish the novel I started last year (?) but I ran across a screenplay contest with attaractive prizes and a tight deadline so I may do that instead. The previous project turned out to be HUGE and intense. This one is a comedy.

I may still do Write Around Disneyworld this weekend. That was fun.

Beth Carpenter said...

No NaNo this year. I'm expecting revision notes just about the time I need to be frantically cleaning house for Thanksgiving guests. The editor said revisions would be minor, though, and called it a great book, so I'm smiling. And cleaning.

Brittany said...

KariV - If that was a Megamind reference, you're my new favorite person for the day.

CynthiaMc - Write Around WDW sounds fantastic! I really miss writing at Disneyland. I used to set up camp in the courtyard of the Disney Gallery (back when it was over Pirates of the Caribbean) and it was a glorious place to work. We also had weekly write-ins for NaNo in the lobby of the Grand Californian. I think they were talking about arranging for an in-park write-in event, but I don't know if anything came of it. (That was, oh lord, nearly ten years ago.)

Adele said...

My writing buddy and I use NaNo to work on projects - not necessarily novels - at our own speed. We like being able to message back and forth and to look at the graphs. Neither of us will get anywhere near 50,000 words; I'm around 6,000 right now which is pretty good considering the rest of my life. The library runs a NaNo Write-In twice a week for a couple of hours; I only write there and average just under 1,000 words an hour. The average would be a little bit more but the library provides tea and snacks.

Adele said...

I get lots of editing practice with my emails. When I'm writing to my friends, I mostly just let go and gab, but afterwards I edit, punching up the substance, toning down the negative, accentuating the positive, re-casting awkward sentences; generally trying to craft a reading delight. Sometimes 200 words becomes 75 words and then I decide to forget the whole thing.

Fearless Reider said...

No NaNo for me. I've come to accept that there's only one way for me -- slow and agonizing, with frequent bouts of Staring Out the Window, Getting Up to Change that Flickering Light Bulb. and Running to Target Because We're Getting Awfully Low on Light Bulbs. I can't wait to be done with this draft so I can get to the fun part: revising! I love it.

Good luck to all who are NaNo'ing, querying, polishing, or searching for inspiration!

Kate Larkindale said...

I'm doing NaNo (rather foolishly). It's going okay, considering how busy my day job is at the moment. I'm close to finishing a major project there, and once that's done, I'm planning to take a week off work and do the bulk of my NaNo writing then. Fingers crossed I can write 30K in a week...

Theresa said...

Nanoo Nanoo, everyone! No NaNo for me. The copy edits (or copyedits) for my book on Dr. Mary Walker just came in, and they will keep me almost busy enough. So far most of them are very minor, but it's still a very humbling process. Editors of all kinds are essential to producing a good book. And when I'm not working on these edits, I'm writing in hopes of making my deadline for the Dale Evans biography.

Heidi Kenyon said...

I'm officially trying NaNo again, but I've only got 9845 words so obviously I'm way behind. I thought it'd be a good distraction for me while I'm waiting for a freelance editor to finish with my first "completed" (ha ha) novel. My new project is YA, which surprised me, and although I totally pants-ed my first, this one is roughly sketched out. Yet it's still coming very slowly. I guess I'm finding it hard to put myself in a 17-year-old's shoes. Only 30 years' difference...I keep expecting a huge surge of words to just splat themselves on the page, but so far, it's a trickle. Must keep going though...

Gabe Szabo said...

Revising two queries, each for an MS I'll start submitting soon. Also, beating head against keyboard for one query as it's gone through multiple (30x) revisions over a span of months :(

Brenda said...

Not doing nano. I took some posted advice from Liard Barron and am concentrating on getting down quality work every day. I’m determined to finish this draft by Christmas.

Congrats on the nibble, Claire. May the next bite be a chomp.

John Davis Frain said...

I'm doing FraiNoWriMo, a distant cousin of NaNo.

I have a goal of 800 words a day, and I post my tally on my door. I can't imagine anyone reads it or cares, but I know it's posted there. So every night, I turn Julie Weathers (wait a minute, that's sounding all wrong--I merely named my sand timer in honor of the person who gave me the idea, but it's coming out all wrong now!) over and get in my 800 words.

I'm pantsing for the first time ever and NOPE. Not gonna work. Now, I have to outline and get my word count down, which is why I'm only averaging 607 words, so I'm outta here--

CED said...

Doing Nano proper for the first time in years (I've been using it for other goals recently, like writing for 50 hours). I have the major beats of my novel all mapped out and am fast drafting. It was going well until I got sick. I'll just have to do the best I can and play catch-up at the end of the month.

David said...

I'm doing NaNoRunMo, which is when I write 50,000 words in a month while still maintaining my marathon training, running about 50-55 miles per week. The cold isn't making this easy, but things that are worth doing are often hard. (I have several big, early races next year, including the Boston Marathon in April.)

I got about 12,000 words in when I realized my main character was too perfect, so I actually did a quick edit pass on a few early chapters to see if the change I want to make is going to work. It is, so I'm pressing on. Currently at 22,521. Should hit the halfway mark tomorrow.

Jennifer Mugrage said...

Naming no names, but I once had an English teacher who would have taken Revision #2 and turned it into the original.

I do feel we've lost some information in the revisions, though. Specifics about how Felix plans to stalk Steve electronically. I guess that is going in the next sentence where we find out that the Twitter handle was a decoy?

This is my problem with revising queries too. I am great at leaving out extraneous stuff, but then I'm left without any vivid details and I've left out about 80% of the plot and I honestly don't know how much of it needs to go in the query.

Karen McCoy said...

With nightsmusic. Indispensable writing buddy pointed out some major world-building flaws, so for the rest of the month it's back to the drawing board with STORY GENIUS by Lisa Cron to iron out plot before drafting further.

Jennifer Mugrage said...

Just went back & read all the comments. Good luck to everyone, and Aphra Pell, I am sorry about your health flare-up.

No NaNo for me. I revise iteratively while I draft pantsily, and so I have got my characters good and stuck. And I sometimes make better progress taking out and redoing 700 words worth of plot than I do slapping down a brand-new 2000.

Plus there are things like children, fevers, road trips etc.

Katja said...

I'm not doing NaNoWriMo, even though it's EVERYWHERE and I do suffer from FOMO ;). But, still, I'm trying to not let it get to me and stay calm.

It is not for me.
I couldn't, and wouldn't attempt to, put 50K words down within 30 days, because I believe I would have a problem afterwards with insufficient quality. I wouldn't want to have to untangle the mess I'd most likely have created, which might result in the same time (or more?) spent on the whole thing.
Quality is more important to me than quantity. OK, I'm extremely slow (my 2nd novel is only 24K words long so far), but I'm also translating my first one at the moment.

To those of you guys who are doing NaNo, I wish you ALL THE BEST of course :)!!!

Lennon Faris said...

I did NaNo last year for the first time. I had a blast! But, I think you have to be in the right stage. At the time, I had sent out a mss to betas and was just starting the next WIP.

This year, I'm focusing on that first mss. Down to 104.5 K (from 111K) so far.

Also, I am reading our own Kelly Garrett's THE LAST TO DIE which is keeping me up at night.

2Ns - "What's left to write?" - I think that all the time about not just stories but songs and even people. Is there really a real-life character I haven't met, yet? But I am always surprised because there always are. (Also, I am still waiting on your novel, so don't slack off too long please.)

Fearless Reider said...

David, that's a lot of self-discipline for one person! Congrats on approaching the halfway point before the month is half over.

Aphra, I hope you'll let your inner Mr. Toad run loose, and that your flare-up will pass through just as quickly!

2Ns and anyone else seeking inspiration, I find that people-watching at any one of these rich locations usually shakes some ideas loose: the Mall of America, IKEA, an historic military fort teeming with schoolchildren and located on sacred Dakota land, a national cemetery, an international airport, public transportation of all kinds... luckily for me, I can hop on the train a few blocks from my house and hit all of the above in one circuit. Never mind that it's 19 degrees. I'm wondering where other Reiders go for inspiration.

Linda Shantz said...

After doing NaNo "for real" a couple of years in a row, I'm cheating this year – using it to rehash an older project. Every time I tell myself I'm crazy for attempting it in any form, I remind myself the first year I did it, I also did a painting a day! Sitting just over 15K right now.

Have fun everyone who's taking part, and kudos to those saner folk who are not!

JulieWeathers said...

No Nano for me. My last beta reader is about done and she is very thorough, so it's going to be a tough revision. After that, it goes to one more reader who will read to see if I missed anything and off to agents. I can't keep revising forever.

Query is done.

I need to work on the dreaded synopsis...and comps, I suppose.

While RC is on submission, I go back to work on Cowgirls. My main interview guy is available now, I hope.

Jennifer Mugrage said...

Fearless: what a good idea! Those sound like fabulous places ... Very eclectic, too! I once followed a blogger whose funniest posts were often about her bus ride to work.

Where do I go for inspiration? I've got Google trained to show me quirky archaeology news, for starters ...

Casual-T said...

Considering that producing 100 meaningful words over the course of two days is still challenging enough for me, 50K in a month seems a wee bit above my pay grade. So for me it'll be NoNoWriMo for the time being, and I'll gladly stick to FlaFiCon until further notice.

Fearless Reider said...

Google sounds like a much smarter place to go for inspiration, Jennifer! The windchill is 9 degrees now. I blame the miscreants who put up their Christmas lights last week while it was downright balmy, begging for retribution from the arctic gods.

Dena Pawling said...


I did nano about 5 years ago. Got to 35k which made me happy.

I have WAY TOO MUCH going on right now to do it this year. Who is his/her right mind scheduled nano in NOVEMBER? Possibly someone with no family????

Plus it doesn't help AT ALL that the governor of my great state [insert gag reflex here] decided to dramatically change the law in my area of practice, effective January 1, 2020. My clients are in an uproar and I've spent the better part of two months already giving seminars and simply trying to educate everyone.

I need a vacation.

Good luck to all of you brave souls who are pounding away at your keyboard!


KDJames said...

Unless I'm doing a head-down fast first draft, which I'm not at the moment, I've found NaNo to be a complete disaster that makes me feel stressed and guilty for not keeping up.

But I'm delighted when it works for others and am definitely cheering on those who participate. It is also sort of inspiring to just be around people -- in a virtual sense; don't anyone come to my house -- working so diligently on their craft.

Dena, I'm with you on the WTF November scheduling.

Mary said...

I'm querying. And getting rejected. And querying some more. No time for nano although I bet I churn out that many words in my real job.

John Davis Frain said...

1305 words.

I think that's a coffee break for Stephen King, but it's a solid chapter for me. I'll sleep well tonight.

Elanor Lawrence said...

Doing NaNo for the fourth time this year, but with a new challenge: I now have a full time job, and also a husband who occasionally requires attention. Facebook's "on this day" feature cruelly reminded me that, the first time I did NaNo nine years ago, I "won" in twelve days and finished the novel in seventeen. Now, since I actually have a life, I'm a good five thousand words behind. Still, I've done more writing in the past two weeks than I have in the past two years, so that's a victory in my books.

Also, I was just wondering, does anyone here use any writing websites to get critiques on their works? I used to be an active member of inkpop.com and I really appreciated the opportunity to get feedback on my work, but that site is long dead. Is wattpadd any good for feedback.

Pericula Ludus said...

15,000 NaNo words so far. Considering I only arrived home from a very busy work trip late last night, that is not a bad thing. Plus that nasty tumble down an escalator the other day. I needed time to feel sorry for myself. Writing took a back seat. Looking at ye olde work email today, I might never write another word of fiction ever again.

The Noise In Space said...

It is going VERY BADLY and I am like 5 days behind because I've had to pull several v v long days at work...oh well, maybe i can still catch up if i don't fall asleep on my keyboard...