Monthly Archives: July 2011

WRITING ON A DEADLINE

Deadlines.

I cringe when I hear that word. It brings back horrible memories of projects for school being done at the last minute, sometimes because of my own procrastination, sometimes because of having more than one project due at once. Deadlines also reminds me of NANO, the national novel writing month where writing 50k by November 30 is the challenge.

Deadlines permeate every aspect of our lives and yet for novelists, writing that magical first draft of a novel often doesn’t have a deadline—especially if there’s no contract is involved. Writing can be done at your leisure. You can write seven hundred words between preparing dinner and putting the kids down for bed or you can write seven-thousand words over a snowy weekend.

The leisurely approach also does wonders for your creativity. The story is allowed to breathe and expand at its own pace and that can be an exciting venture in and of itself. Yet despite all that, there is one problem with this method of writing—you may or may not finish the story before your muses or another idea take you into another world.

For me personally, abandoning projects because I lost interest or inspiration was always my problem. The longer that I worked on something, the more my mind would wander and the more likely I would be to stumble upon a new idea that just screamed to be written. Additional plot bunnies would rack up in notebooks and word documents until I would either switch mid-way through or finish up my current story as quickly as possible (and often to the detriment of the story itself).

Despite the fact that I began writing at the age of seven, I could never settle down into something long enough to stick it through the first four pages or the first two chapters. However that all changed when I found NANO. When you break down fifty-thousand words it works out to 1667 words per day and while that doesn’t seem like a lot it can actually be quite difficult. Before I first attempted NaNoWriMo I was writing a thousand words over a couple of weeks and the idea of doing nearly two-thousand words every day was quite daunting yet in 2003 I dived in to the challenge and failed with a pitiful eight-thousand words.

The following year (2004) I was in grade twelve and made a valiant effort that paid off. I didn’t finish my novel (though I am in the process of rewriting it completely) but I did cross the 50k mark and learned that I could write longer pieces of fiction, especially when I had such a strict deadline. In 2005 I was in my first year of university and once again I decided to attempt this novel-in-a-month thing and I was determined that come hell or high water I would win. To my surprise I did and after another twenty-thousand words I had the first draft of my very first novel length story.

Now, I bet you’re asking yourself—what’s the point?

The point is that deadlines work. If I had never had that deadline in 2004 I doubt that I would have been able to write that much ever (maybe eventually). If I hadn’t tried again in 2005 I wouldn’t have gotten the basis for my novel. Without that deadline I wouldn’t haven been able to experience what it was like to write “The End” at the end of a hundred-plus page document. My first draft wasn’t good by any stretch of the imagination but it did lay down the ground work and it broke me (somewhat) of my habit of not finishing a project.

So to sum up, deadline can provide the motivation needed to finish a project and for myself that was achieved through National Novel Writing Month and I am a better writer for it…even though I failed Camp Nano 2011 – July.

Leave a comment

Filed under national novel writing month

CAMP NANO DAY 5

So, at the end of day five I’m past 10k. That’s a fifth of the way there. I’ve decided that the only way that I’m going to make it is if I write a LOT before I go on vacation and then work super hard when I come back to get the rest finished. I’ll write a little when I’m away, but I don’t think that I’m going to be able to keep up the pace that is needed to write it by hand. I don’t really mind, I prefer typing anyways .^_^

Excerpt from today

LeFaye said nothing, she merely smiled before casting her gaze to McKenna’s hands. The moment that the seer’s eyes were on her hands, McKenna saw that the world before her eyes were falling away. She then saw colours like a kaleidoscope of images rushing up to meet her. McKenna saw Wendy and Bryan sitting in the lobby of their chalet, watching as a storm raged outside. She saw Sally, Wendy’s mother calling her own mother and the moment that she heard her mother’s cry she was transported across the ocean to her mother’s side. She saw the pain etched on her mother’s face and the moment that McKenna reached out to comfort the only parent that she had ever really known she found that scene vanishing into blackness.

Images rushed past her sight in a sickening gaze and then McKenna saw the path that she was going to take. It was long and winding, full of twits and turns, dangers and moments of calm. She saw her end goal, a vast labyrinth in the centre of a forest. It was the place that she needed to get to. And as soon as her mind’s eye focused upon it, McKenna found herself back before LeFaye.

“I see many things,” the seer said as she traced the lines of McKenna’s hand. “You are a girl out of your world, you are lost and alone and frightened and yet you have a great power looking out for you.”

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

CAMP NANO DAY 1

Synopsis: McKenna Walsh is a thirteen year old girl on vacation in the swiss alps, who suddenly finds herself kidnapped and taken to another world known as Terra where she is charged with finding the Eternal Flame. Little does she know that her quest will lead her to a truth that reaches into her past and towards her future, and binds the destiny of her world, and Terra together.

Excerpt Day 1: She was running an tried to make sense of the chaos around her but could not. The temple was burning, the Skeletons, an amry of the undead, raised by the Black Queen, that she held dear all on their own quest to find what the temple possessed.

“Come child,” a voice rang out, reaching her ears above all the madness. She looked up and saw Priestess Huan, her mentor and friend. She looked distraught, her fine golden brown hair was hanging limp around her shoulders, her beautiful face was marred with cuts and bruises while her dress was dirty with soot.

Total word count: 2159 / 50k

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

CAMP NANO

Camp Nano is the crazy adventure of writing a 50k word novel in the month of July and/or August. Some participants for this newly created writing endeavour will do one month or the other, but there are some of us, and I am one of the, who will be doing both… and because I’m panning on going away for a week this month everything will be handwritten.

My fingers are crossed!

Leave a comment

Filed under national novel writing month