10 October 2008

November planning

Here it is; my first blog entry...FINALLY! I've been in the grip of writer's block, or so I tell myself. It seems more likely that I'm wanting to write something that "has meaning" or some such nonsense; something that's more than me just talking about my life. Then, I realized, again...for about the billionth time in my life, I'm sure...that all that matters for me is that I write. As my mom always says "you have time for what you make time for; make time for what's important" and "you have to repeat a task until it becomes habit." That's what I'm trying to do: make writing a habit. Why? Well, I'm glad you asked.

Writing is something I've always wanted to do. However, I've never been able to actually finish writing a story. As a result, my computer is bogged down with old stories, some of which will never see the light of day no matter how much potential they might have because, really, after five, seven, ten years, who cares? My storage unit also is (was) drowning with spare scraps of paper, extra spirals filled with random scribblings and sporadic stops and starts of story after story. In '05, I discovered National Novel Writers Month (NaNoWriMo) which can be found at www.nanowrimo.org and which I'll likely be plugging for all of October. NaNoWriMo is a world-wide event in which authors, both hopefuls and already established, work to compose 50,000 words in the month of November. I've participated since '06, but have never completed a work or even broken 10,000 words. This year, I'm changing tactics. Here's how.

#1 To get into the habit of daily writing, I'll be keeping this blog. (Duh.) What I'll wrote about remains to be seen.

#2 As a part of my blogging, I'll be keeping track of my word count so that I'm ready for NaNoWriMo. This necessity for word count might lead to a lot of repetition on my part, unneeded sentences, etc. (Much like this one.)

#3 Checking my schedule, I've noticed some very fortunate scheduling, which may help me succeed.

A. November starts on a Saturday. Hooray for weekend writing!

B. The one play TSU performs in November is scheduled for the first week of the month. Since I'm not cast onstage or placed backstage for anything, I'll only have to show up Saturday for strike (and to see the play, of course - hooray for free theater major tickets!) Better yet, my theater classes have no real mid-terms and my history mid-term was yesterday. This means the only exam I'll be studying for is in my English class.

C. My family already knows about my goal, as do several of my friends. My best friend (I hope) will be participating this year with me. Hello, word wars!

#4 Halloween candy goes on sale November 1. I'll be tearing off to the dollar store to buy large goody bags at half-off, which makes it .50 to 1.50 per bag! Hooray for cheap sugar!

#5 I plan on getting up earlier in the mornings, which will be my writing time. This will guarantee that I don't fall behind in classes and can do my homework and studying in the evenings.

That's the only plan I have so far. Now, I just have to figure out a plot... Already, the forums at NaNoWriMo have opened up to be flooded with participants as well as posts. I'm bumming around as scagamer, reading up on tips and tricks left by past winners of NaNo. A few things I need to remember:

1. School work > NaNovel

2. Delete key is off limits. Typos are okay.

2A. Re-reading is off limits. Typos are still okay.

2B. Visit NaNo forums, check BDV as reward. 1000 words = 10 minutes online goof-off.

2Ba. Use reward time during the day instead of in the a.m. so as to not be late for school.

3. If net wont' work, use M&M/candy reward method.

3A. Freeze candy when possible so it'll last longer. (Charleston Chews, York Peppermint Patties, generally anything that starts as "chewy;" no Bit-O Honeys though - must avoid breaking teeth)

4. When hit by writer's block, skip to next scene/next exciting scene.

5. School work > NaNovel

6. Coffee, Cherry Coke, etc. is your friend, but water is great too.

7. Snacks/meals are better when prep time is brief and/or someone else can fix it and/or it can be eaten with one hand.

8. Keep notebooks by bed, in backpack, in car, in pocket, etc. at all times. Writing utensil behind ear. If no utensil can be found, check green room/call board or hit up friends. Writing in blood is a last resort. ;)

9. Chain up and gag inner editor in late October. Feed editor intravenously while allowing muses and characters to feat in sumptuous fashion. Only release editor for school related projects. Ignore muffled screams.

Hm... I know there was supposed to be more here. Ah well. That gives me something to write about in my next blog. So, does anyone else plan on joining me in this madness? It's a lot of fun; I promise!

Now, for my plot ideas. Which one should I use!?

Idea #1 came to me in July/August. The story centers around a group of 20 something college students who will be better described below. They're all screwed up in their own special ways as they try to navigate life in the real world. The first character to talk to me is likely to be my Female Main Character (FMC). As I stood at the bathroom mirror, she appeared out of nowhere in all her OCD glory as she studied the counter top. "Would it really kill me if I moved the brush? It's been on that side of the sink for so long," she wondered. Slowly, with a slightly trembling hand I know she was trying to hide, she reached for the brush as if it were a bomb. Her fingers wrapped around the handle, moving as if she expected a snake to strike, the brush flying to the opposite side of the counter. As she moved her hand away, I saw her look up and smile wide, a look of simple victory. "Yay, me!"

The next character to appear, the Male MC, stood with smart military carriage, looking straight into the mirror. Slowly, slowly, he sighed, shoulders relaxing as he looked down. "I don't want to be here. This isn't for me," he whispered, posture still ramrod straight though he had relaxed. It took nothing for me to study him and realize he was in the Navy at his father's demand. He grew up in a military family, seemed more mature than several of the other characters, and didn't want to admit how scared he was, how much he wanted to get out. I saw him escaping the base only to be told he could leave anytime. An OTH discharge will cause his family to disown him as he tries to find his feet in the civilian world.

The supporting characters came next, one of them still trying to steal the spotlight. He's older, a sophomore or junior who acts as resident adviser to Navy boy and plays teacher's assistant in several freshman classes. This guy has both sympathy and attitude to spare, loves wearing all black, and is always two steps ahead of everyone else mentally. Quick witted and impatient of stupidity, he wont hesitate to tell a freshman their concerns of who to date are stupid. He's an academic through and through and loves that people judge him by appearance, expecting him to know nothing just because he's got a lip ring. This guy is the one I've got to pull from the spotlight a bit. The other SCs are pretty straight-forward cardboard characters at this point. The self proclaimed 60s flower-child is rooming with FMC, trying to get her to loosen up, do what feels right, etc. while the spoiled rich kid and the scholarship case who took a year off to work and save up more $ just might kill each other down the hall.

Idea #2 was inspired by the famed "play within a play" scene in Shakespeare's 'Midsummer Night's Dream.' It's fairly straightforward, but has more room for the random insanity of ninjas, zombies, et. al. that seem to infest NaNovels when the word count drops or the plot bunnies go on strike. For this idea, my MC is participatin in NaNoWriMo. It's a novel within a novel, or more to the pint, a NaNovel within a NaNovel.

Well, I've babbled plenty about my plans for November. More to come later, I'm sure. NaNoWriMo, here I come!

Word count: 1467; approximately 200 short of minimum daily word count for NaNo.
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