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*SQUEEEEE*!

I got a surprise gift!

aaaRoooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo

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( 19 comments — Leave a comment )
epi_lj
Sep. 10th, 2003 08:21 pm (UTC)
Whoo! It's surprise gift day!

What was the surprise gift? (Or am I being dense?)
firecat
Sep. 10th, 2003 08:31 pm (UTC)
You're not dense, I'm cryptic
The Wolves in the Walls by Neil Gaiman
How to Write Science Fiction and Fantasy by Orson Scott Card
Characters and Viewpoint by Orson Scott Card

So I guess reading my present will take me longer than solving your present.
firecat
Sep. 10th, 2003 08:31 pm (UTC)
You're not dense, I'm cryptic
The Wolves in the Walls by Neil Gaiman
How to Write Science Fiction and Fantasy by Orson Scott Card
Characters and Viewpoint by Orson Scott Card

So I guess reading my present will take me longer than solving your present.
epi_lj
Sep. 10th, 2003 08:35 pm (UTC)
Re: You're not dense, I'm cryptic
I wouldn't be so sure of that.

So..


What are you writing? *bounce*
firecat
Sep. 10th, 2003 08:43 pm (UTC)
Re: You're not dense, I'm cryptic
I'm not sure yet...

This past winter, I did all the exercises in Ursula K. LeGuin's writing book, Steering the Craft, and then I tried to set up a schedule for regular fiction writing. It worked for a while, but the schedule kept getting knocked off track, and it's still off track right now. But what I've worked on most recently is something character based and more or less in the fantasy genre.

So the books should prod me into getting back on track.

NaNoWriMo isn't out of the question this year.
epi_lj
Sep. 10th, 2003 08:45 pm (UTC)
Re: You're not dense, I'm cryptic
Until I read your last line, which I did *after* clicking the reply link because I'm impatient like that, I was all set to suggest that you do NaNoWriMo this year! :)
firecat
Sep. 10th, 2003 08:59 pm (UTC)
Re: You're not dense, I'm cryptic
And I put the line in because, as I was writing the reply, I remembered that you did NaNoWriMo last year... :)

Advice or pointers would be welcome...
epi_lj
Sep. 10th, 2003 09:06 pm (UTC)
Re: You're not dense, I'm cryptic
Advice: "Don't do what I did last year."

Well, other than meeting a fellow writer and falling madly in love. That part turned out pretty cool.

But really, it's not as hard as it seems, as long as you actually pay attention to the principles and tenets that they remind you to pay attention to repeatedly. They are:

1. Have fun.
2. It's about quantity, not quality.
3. ??
4. Profit!

Only one or possibly two of those are actually endorsed by the NaNoWriMo people.

I'm very tired. ;)

What I did was to divide up the number of total words that I had to write (50,000) by the number of available days (30ish), to arrive at the magic number of 1,667 words a day. Then I rounded up. Way up. To 2500 words a day. I figured that if I wrote 2500 words a day, then I could suffer to just completely mental block a few days.

After a few days of doing that, I did blank for about two days. Then I figured that I actually preferred to write a chapter a day, and my chapters were usually slightly longer than that. So I stuck to that. I actually ended up hitting about 4,000 words a day for a good bit of it. It ended up taking me fifteen days to complete, if you discount the two days of slack time in the middle.

The key thing to absorb was that it's mostly supposed to be an exercise in overcoming the things that stop you from writing normally, not an exercise in having something publishable at the end. Self-editing and the "someday" concept are huge stumbling blocks for many people, myself included. The whole point is to get yourself to write, and make a mental note, "Well, maybe that could have been better," but then to just leave it be. "I'll get that in editing," and move on. Don't let it stop you from finishing the project. Don't let, "Man, this is terrible. I better stop now and cut my losses," thinking take over.

As long as you bear that in mind and forge ahead, you'll be fine.

I don't know what your local area is like, but the other thing I would say for Toronto people for sure and probably other places is to make full use of the forums and go to all the social gatherings. I didn't get any writing done, but they were fantastic!

Oh, and I disallowed myself from using the internet until I had my word count for the day. That probably helped a little too. ;)
firecat
Sep. 10th, 2003 09:12 pm (UTC)
Re: You're not dense, I'm cryptic
Thanks for the advice!

Are people supposed to write at the social gatherings?
epi_lj
Sep. 10th, 2003 09:15 pm (UTC)
Re: You're not dense, I'm cryptic
I think that that was the theory.

In actuality, we just sat around and talked. A lot.

We almost always finally left when they kicked us out to close the venue. And some of those days we arrived at like 2pm.
epi_lj
Sep. 10th, 2003 09:08 pm (UTC)
Re: You're not dense, I'm cryptic
You're quite welcome to read my completely unedited manuscript that I finished the fifteen days with if you like, by the way. :) It's a pretty quick read, and is unutterably awful in places, but I think it has a few moments.
firecat
Sep. 10th, 2003 09:13 pm (UTC)
Re: You're not dense, I'm cryptic
I don't have time to read it right now, but I'll let you know when I do.

Have you kept on writing fiction since last November?
epi_lj
Sep. 10th, 2003 09:20 pm (UTC)
Re: You're not dense, I'm cryptic
No. The only thing I've written since has been my performance art project thing. I don't generally write and hadn't between creative writing class in highschool and last November. But I liked the principles and found the ideas on conquering blockage to be useful beyond just writing.

One of the big things is that I don't tend to be rife with story concepts, as most of the other people doing the contest seemed to be. My story last year was based on a dream that I had two days before the start. I had no idea what I was going to write until that point. In the dream, I saw the a split-second frame from about the middle of the first chapter of the story and the last about six seconds of the story and that's it. Every day I had no idea what I was going to write the next day. It was actually pretty stressful, and I lost a lot of sleep over it. That's the part that I recommend not doing.

This year I wasn't even sure that I was going to participate, but I'm running a NaNo brainstorming group, and I figured that it would be easier if I at least played along. Then the blackout hit, and while the power was down I got an idea that I think I will use for this year. It's similarly unfleshed-out so far, but I plan to have something a little more to go on by the time November hits.
firecat
Sep. 10th, 2003 09:57 pm (UTC)
Re: You're not dense, I'm cryptic
I usually see my stories in flashes too. I more or less trust myself to write a short story out of a flash by now, but more than that seems daunting.

Writing fiction is very draining for me. I'd like to change that.
cjsmith
Sep. 10th, 2003 10:22 pm (UTC)
Re: You're not dense, I'm cryptic
Oooooooooo! Somebody LIKES you. :-)

What's NaNo WriMo? Something North Writers' Something?
firecat
Sep. 10th, 2003 10:32 pm (UTC)
Re: You're not dense, I'm cryptic
National Novel Writing Month, aka November.

(Never mind which nation.) :-)
cjsmith
Sep. 10th, 2003 11:01 pm (UTC)
Re: You're not dense, I'm cryptic
Participants begin writing November 1. The goal is to write a 175-page (50,000-word) novel by midnight, November 30.

Wow. As my mom would say, "Bat shit, holy man."

I like their sense of humor. "...our connections to the publishing world end at Kinkos." "When is the cut-off date for sign-ups? November 30, 2003 (hope springs eternal)."

Wow. I LOVE this idea. 8-)
firecat
Sep. 11th, 2003 12:38 am (UTC)
Re: You're not dense, I'm cryptic
The more, the merrier...
cjsmith
Sep. 11th, 2003 08:27 am (UTC)
Re: You're not dense, I'm cryptic
I should think carefully about it. I MIGHT be back in town by midnight on the 30th (LA, calling gig) but I MIGHT not, because maybe I'll just leave directly for Egypt from down there. Would need to prioritize well during November. Hmmmm.

Still, I haven't been this captivated by an idea in ages. That alone should be prodding me to go for it. Outlines and notes and research here I come! :-O
( 19 comments — Leave a comment )

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