NaNoWriMo conclusions

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NaNoWriMo ended ten days ago. I had time to rest, to think, to decide what I learnt from the experience of fully participating in it.

Last years, while I knew about it, I didn’t register on the site and I had no novel to announce. I was a rebel, counting for myself the words I was writing for Before the Mast and other RPGs I might have been a member of in one or another year. Usually they amounted to a little over 40,000 words. I was availing myself of the opportunity of the writing sprints and prompts organised by RPG-Directory and they helped me further the story we were writing interactively. In November it was time to catch up with character journals, to write those threads between my own characters I had never time for in the previous months, and the story went on.

This year I have been an official NaNoWriMo participant, starting a novel in my mother tongue with the characters I have Before the Mast. The setting is the same – the West Indies – just 2 years before the site’s, and the story is not exactly the same. For being only my characters, the pirate crew of the “Arrow” has components who had belonged to the privateers Before the Mast, as here we have no privateer ship to follow. Other characters’ roles and allegiances were changed too.

This is good, because the story is different, but still circumscribed to the setting I had researched a lot for. The alternative would have been to have written the sequel of my already published book, but that hadn’t been researched enough yet, and this would have blocked my productivity.

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So, what have I learnt by doing NaNoWriMo in high conditions of stress, working overtime for 3 weeks, with the week-ends between them included and being confronted also with health problems?

  • If in those given conditions I succeeded, anybody can succeed, with some ambition, determination and writing discipline.
  • Writing in your mother tongue isn’t any easier than writing in English, especially when you have written more in English about certain subjects and you realize you are lacking the appropriate terminology in your mother tongue. Dictionaries are suddenly your best friends…
  • The local NaNoWriMo team’s support is essential, and also the forum’s general support. One can ask a question and find answers to get unstuck and go further, one can find the lost determination to finish and to win.
  • The support of the family and friends to whom you have confessed your goal is also needed. Warmest thanks to my husband and my mother, who had accepted my goal and had actively helped me by relinquishing most household duties from me and asking stimulating questions. I thank my work colleagues too, who rooted for me and let me write during the last days, when things were quieter on the office front, and who celebrated winning with me. I thank also to my writing partners Before the Mast, who encouraged me and supported me in this endeavour.
  • Word sprints and prompts are helpful too. This year I got only 2 days of writing sprints on RPG-Directory. I could do none on the NaNoWriMo site, since they were timed always for USA only. And it showed in the less productive days than last years, when sprints were common every day.

There is only one more NaNoWriMo aspect to be mentioned in another post, maybe tomorrow, maybe another day next week…

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Din nou despre NaNoWriMo

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Nu s-a terminat încă luna. Chiar dacă astăzi este ultima zi, și, fiind ocupată cu NaNoWriMo  nu am avut timp pentru scris în blog (nu vă lăsați păcăliți de rebloguri și posturi programate de dinainte pentru noiembrie – că și pentru decembrie am câteva gata programate), pe Facebook, unde am atât pagina de scriitor cât și un grup NaNoWriMo București, am mai scris din când în când, iar acum voi da rezumate de acolo.

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15.11.: Nu mi-a mers prea bine pana acum incercarea mea de a cuceri NaNoWriMo. Se poate sa pierd la numar de cuvinte, avand in vedere probleme de sanatate si de serviciu care nu m-au lasat sa scriu cam multe zile (si se mai poate sa se intample), dar cu siguranta nu voi pierde prin abandon. Voi continua . Si week-end-urile ma vor ajuta, sper, sa mai castig din “scorul” pe care il am de recuperat.

Inspiratia? ” Caminante, no hay camino” de Joan Manuel Serrat, dupa versurile lui Antonio Machado: Calatorule, nu exista drum, cararea o fac pasii tai!

21.11.:Owly ma inspira ca de obicei. Sunt tot in urma, dar am trecut de jumatate (am deja 25.600 cuvinte) si mai am o sansa sa castig NaNoWriMo anul acesta, in ciuda tuturor dificultatilor…

26.11.: Aproape 40.000 de cuvinte – și încă au mai rămas destule zile din NaNoWriMo ca să am încredere că pot să termin cu succes!

Un personaj de-al meu ajunge în pelerinaj la Santa Virgen de la Regla, în Cuba. Iată un fragment (și statuia descrisă):

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            Intră în schitul modest cu smerenie, făcându-și semnul crucii. Interiorul nu era scăldat în aur, ca în Havana și în alte părți. Semăna mai mult cu bisericile de pe insulele copilăriei lui, deși erau, desigur, și diferențe importante. Nici statuia Sfintei Fecioare ocrotitoare a marinarilor, așezată pe tronul celest, nu era ostentativă, înălțimea ei nedepășind un cot și jumătate . Era făcută din lemn de cedru, dintr-o singură bucată, figura neagră a madonei cu coroană și aureolă abia văzându-se dintre faldurile albastre ale rochiei cu broderii de dantelă albă și mantiei din același material. Pruncul pe care îl ținea în brațe, în picioare, pe pulpa stângă, avea chipul de culoare deschisă, spre deosebire de al ei, făcându-l să se gândească la o mulatră cu un prunc carteron cum văzuse destule prin colonii.
Îngenunche în fața ei și se rugă fierbinte:
“Preasfântă Fecioară a Regulii, robul tău Andrea se roagă pentru odihna sufletului Fionei, moartă nespovedită și fără lumânare, de moarte violentă, Dumnezeu să o ierte. Să mă ierte și pe mine, prin mila Ta, dacă am contribuit cu nechibzuința mea, făcându-mă vinovat de moartea ei. De asemenea, mă rog pentru sănătate, prosperitate, pentru vindecarea sufletului meu chinuit, pentru puterea de a accepta moartea Fionei și de a-mi continua viața spre împlinirea rostului vieții mele… un rost despre care încă nu știu care este. Ajută-mă, ocrotește-mă și arată-mi ce trebuie să fac în continuare, cum să Te cinstesc și care este voința lui Dumnezeu pentru mine, căci numai prin Tine toți aflăm leac și alinare.”

Want to GO PRO? 10 Ways to Own NaNo (And the Other 11 Months, Too)

Kristen Lamb's Blog

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Today we launch NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month). This challenge is to see if we can write 50,000 words in a month. Though 50,000 words is not quite a novel, it IS a professional pace and for those who are new? This is probably going to feel like running a marathon the day after making a resolution to actually use that gym membership. It will push you.

Whether or not you are doing NaNo, these tips will help you go pro because for the pros? Every month is NaNoWriMo.

Most of us are going to have to work a day job and write. We also have a family and like me, you probably have spoiled them by actually feeding them every day. The world is not going to pause because we are writing a book.

Other writers frequently ask how I somehow manage to get a lot of…

View original post 1,398 more words

NaNoWriMo starts tomorrow!

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For those who didn’t know, National Novel Writing Month is an annual, Internet-based creative writing project that takes place during the month of November. NaNoWriMo challenges participants to write 50,000 words (their minimum number of words for a novel) from November 1 until the deadline at 11:59PM on November 30. The goal of NaNoWriMo is to get people writing and keep them motivated throughout the process. There’s no limit on how many people can win!

The website provides participants with tips for writer’s block, local places writers participating in NaNoWriMo are meeting, and an online community of support. The idea is to focus on completion instead of perfection. NaNoWriMo focuses on the length of a work rather than the quality, encouraging writers to finish their first draft so that it can later be edited at the author’s discretion. NaNoWriMo’s main goal is to encourage creativity worldwide. The project started in July 1999 with 21 participants, but by the 2010 event, over 200,000 people took part and wrote a total of over 2.8 billion words.

Writers wishing to participate first register on the project’s website, where they can post profiles and information about their novels, including synopses and excerpts. Word counts are validated on the site, with writers submitting a copy of their novel for automatic counting. Municipal leaders and regional forums help connect local writers, holding writing events and providing encouragement.

National Novel Writing Month has become international many years ago. A thing I haven’t known for many years is that you’re welcome to write in the language you’re most comfortable with, not necessarily English how I had been thinking!

I joined this year. These are my details, if someone is willing to add me as buddy:

http://nanowrimo.org/participants/elenitsa

I used to say that I don’t believe in NaNoWriMo: I don’t do NaNo per se because I think it is a reason to motivate yourself to finish what you start. And I have done it several times, without the deadline of one month. I have written (in my mother tongue) stories between 19,500 and 203,500 words. I can do better without the stress of a deadline more. I have enough of it at work. Why hurry? If there was the prize of publishing the story for free, yes, this was an incentive. But just to show I can – I can do it any time of the year, taking as long as necessary.

However, the support groups, I think they are wonderful for any kind of writing/ writers. I wish there would be more of them all year long. I have taken part in some, even if my writings weren’t destined to be a NaNo novel, but the regular posts for my interactive story Before the Mast. I availed myself of the writing sprints the RPG resource sites organised, to write more posts, to write quicker and better. I used the prompts for new ideas. I used every November to open a new Word file for everything I wrote then, without ever joining the NaNo site, and to collect them the whole month, just to know how much I write, and I always got to something around 42,000, give and take a couple thousands.

I might still not believe in NaNoWriMo; but I believe in challenging myself, and this November I need it. I need to focus on something creative, literary, to achieve something and to measure my success. So it is well. I can write at least 1,667 words/ day for 30 days. I wouldn’t finish the novel, because I am not a person to write as concisely as 50,000 words/ novel. Mine are always much more.

I will be writing a spin-off of “Before the Mast”, using only my characters and the NPCs I have created. So, swashbuckling adventures at sea, but not following the plot of the site. Who would expect a pirate captain and a pirate hunter mercenary would become sworn brothers? Of course it is possible, but only in unique circumstances… which will start unfolding during November. 🙂 I have also the title – “The price of freedom“. Pirates consider them free at sea because they have no allegiance. But this freedom has a price of blood…

I have planned writing this novel for a long time; I need NaNoWriMo’s kick-off in order to actually start doing it. And once started… I always finish what I start.

I also need the support group. I have always looked for a group of similarly-minded people. I am glad that I attended the first meeting and that we had found each other, with questions, answers and resource sharing.

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This above is the draft cover. And some day I’ll quote, for those who read Romanian, fragments of it… For now, I have only a few chapters outlined.