Friday, November 30, 2007

Nano WHAT?

Nano – What?
by Billie A Williams

I mention NaNoWriMo to my friends or family and they say “Nano WHAT? I tell them it’s the National Write a Novel in a Month challenge – and they roll their eyes and say “right”.

It may sound funny, but its some dead serious writing with a lot of fun thrown in. Can you write 50,000 words in 30 days? Sure you can. You could take the dictionary off your shelf and copy words steadily until you reach the magical 50,000 words and then you could cut and paste it into the NaNoWriMo challenge submit page. Since you scramble the page anyway, it might work. I haven’t had the time to test that theory. But hey, all the words you’ll ever need you’ll find in the dictionary – so you could conceivably do just that as long as you formed them into sentences and paragraphs. Question is, why would you want to. That would be like writing the worst trash you could think to write in the length of a novel manuscript and submitting it to Publish America just to see if it would go through. Or doing one of those lovely graffiti paintings on the box cars you see going by. Why not instead channel that talent and make it pay off. Do the real thing and test yourself against -- who? Your own self of course.

I learned a lot from my fourth year of doing NaNoWriMo. The most important thing is that I can do anything I set my mind to. I also learned to let the editor sleep late while I get the words down on paper. I learned that I can compose at the computer; I really don’t need to write it all out in long hand first – which cuts my writing time nearly in half.

Is the writing as good or better? I haven’t edited the first 54,000 words yet so I can’t say for sure. What I can tell you is that it felt incredible when I got the letter from Chris Baty (whose dream child this whole program is) that says CONGRATULATIONS you made it. The whole letter makes me want to giggle. It does a lot of saying you are one of a kind, you beat the odds when others didn’t. He’s right! Not every one who entered made it to the end, some didn’t even get half way—I did. That says something about my responsibility, my commitment, my perseverance—that says I have what it takes to do what I say I am, to do what I really want to do. It says I AM A WRITER!

I’m guilty of having an inferiority complex, an introverted sense of myself and I’m shy beyond all belief. NaNoWriMo gives me courage. I’ve had two books published from the three years I’ve done NaNoWriMo so far. I plan to submit the one from this year too as soon as I finish it. That should take me a couple more weeks.

If you don’t do the NaNoWriMo challenge, try this instead. Challenge yourself to write just one page a day. Do you realize that in 365 days you will have enough pages for at least two novels or one 365 page Harry Potter or regency romance type novel. Pick up the gauntlet, challenge yourself. If you are a writer, put your fingers to the keyboard and prove it.

A writer writes, that’s all there is to it. A writer doesn’t talk about what s/he’s going to write. A writer doesn’t say s/he has this great idea for a story s/he’ll write when the kids get bigger, the weather is better or worse, the job slows down. A writer writes over, above, around, under, beyond, or through whatever is in her/his way. If I did it you can too! WRITE ON!
Tomorrow I will post an unedited chapter from The Capricorn Goat. My novel from NaNoWriMo this year. Come back to read it and let me know what you think.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

November Madness

Happy November Everyone!
Brand new month, brand new chance to make me number one best seller for the month of November and beyond. I read about Amelia Earhart (pronounced airhart)today when I was reading my Biography of 100 Most Influential Women of All Time – was her name a foretelling of her future – her destiny or a coincidence? A woman of many firsts , especially in aviation, it makes one pause to wonder.

Then there was Murasaki Shikibu first woman novelist from Japan in C. 978 – 1030 Deborah G. Felder says of her...masterpiece is the crowning acievement of a period in Japanese history notable for the predominance of literary women. It would take another eight hundred years before the distinctive voices of women would again be heard as clearly in fiction as was Murasaki Shikibu's in The Tale of Genji." She compares Shikibu's efforts to other great novelists that deserve to be read such as Proust. She had a dream, she had a vision, she stepped toward it.

Fascinating how these diverse individuals made their mark in history. It would appear they never planned for any notoriety only finding ways to do what they wanted to do. Perseverance, determination, vision all of it directed their steps. They did not leap the Grand Canyon in one step – they knew they needed to take that first step and the next and the next in order to get where their vision was.

I also received my boxed set (in a treasure chest type box) of Harry Potter books. Never Mind what JK Rowlings announced about one of the characters, the fact that she wrote these books and the mind boggling sky rocket to the top of the charts that these books took--is enough to amaze anyone. I have not read any of the Harry Potter books yet, but I plan to. I have a friend who hates to read and wants to be a writer (she has since published two books) She has read very few books since she left high school--but she read these cover to cover, beginning to end, book one through book seven. If JK can do that, I must discover her secret - I must read them. And so I will as soon small step to becoming famous is over.

Today my small baby step was to begin my novel for National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo – to those in the know) a 50,000 word novel in a month. That’s only a little over 1,600 words a day for 30 days. It’s an exercise in commitment. Not being committed to an insane asylum for daring to try, though during my first attempt three years ago I thought I was vying for that option. {grin} As it turns out, I could do that and more.

So far I have published two of the novels I wrote during former NaNoWriMo challenges – So this year January Flannel (Working title of the book and name of the accidental sleuth) will unfold as the owner of the small gift shop The Capricorn Goat and mystery writer writing under two pseudonyms Dixie Dakota – and Amber G Store. I’m off to a good start.
If you are interested in the challenge check out and see what you are facing. There are only 90,000 other writers participating according to my last visit. Imagine all the incredible energy put forth by such a large community of writers. My 1,989 words today is a drop in the bucket, but I’m still counting and one drip at a time that bucket will get full. WRITE ON! I say.