Good luck with NaNoWriMo this year!

NaNoWriMo starts again for another year tomorrow (the day after for everyone living in the past – being an Aussie is great). Good luck to everyone going crazy trying to write 1666 words per day.

Unfortunately I won’t be able to join the November madness. I really enjoyed last year, especially the part where I actually managed to write 52,000 words in a month. This year I have a 6 week old poop machine to look after. Have fun everyone!

NaNoWriMo 2011 – Community Service Announcement

I just received a letter from the NaNoWriMo organisers. They are still a bit short of their fundraising goal – only by $200,000. Okay, I’m not asking for cancer research money, nor funding for a school camp to somewhere cool, that you will never get to go to, and the kids will never appreciate. I guess I’m just asking my fellow readers, writers and friends to think about chipping in a bit of money.

Think of it this way, imagine school kids around the world actually writing something that is legible (A41A14A) because of NaNoWriMo. Imagine a November were you don’t receive a single tweet asking you to buy an author’s book, because they are too busy doing NaNoWriMo. Isn’t that worth a couple of bucks?

Dear Office of Letters and Light Superhero,
I have many things to tell you.
First off, THANK YOU. The fact that you’re getting this email means you’ve earned the superhero moniker by making a donation to one (or many) of our programs. Because of your support, NaNoWriMo and the Young Writers Program grew again this year; we had 250,000 adults and 80,000 kids and teens in more than 2,000 classrooms writing with us. Your contributions also helped 500 public libraries transform their spaces into community noveling zones.
You inspired so many stories, and unleashed a life-changing creative confidence in writers around the world.
This has been a big year for all of our programs. We launched the brand-new Camp NaNoWriMo, and rebuilt the entire NaNoWriMo site in order to keep it speedy during November’s monster traffic spike. For the first year ever, we had a year-round, full-time Young Writers Program Director to expand our free curriculum and resources for schools, and a year-round, full-time staff member dedicated to supporting our libraries and 500 volunteer-run chapters around the world.
All in all, November capped an ambitious, heartwarming, and expensive year for OLL.
And this is why I’ve turned on the bat signal. As of today, we still have $200,000 left to raise before we hit our organizational break-even point for the year. If we miss our fundraising goal, we won’t shut down, but we will have to cut back on all the programs you so generously supported this year.
I hesitated to bother you again with a fundraising appeal; you’ve already done so much for us. This moment, though, is such a crucial one for the future of our programs that I’m asking you to please consider making a donation to the Office of Letters and Light today.
If you’ve already given all you can this year, we understand, and we’re so grateful to you. But if you can make an additional donation, even a very small one, it will have a huge impact on the lives of the 400,000 writers we hope to inspire together in 2012.
Warm regards,
Executive Director
The Office of Letters and Light
Donate via credit card or PayPal through the OLL Donation StationSkip the thank-you gifts and donate directly through PayPalDonate by check or money order

NaNoWriMo 2011 – Day 30

Yes, that is correct. I managed to write my 50,000 words this month, and with a whole hour to spare!

It reminds me of my undergaduate days, I don’t think I ever started an assignment until a day or two before the deadline, and I pumped out that assignment just before the deadline every time. Although it did also explain some of my less than excellent grades. I think the main thing is that I got to spend more time drinking and playing guitar than I would have if I had worked diligently. What good is a Bachelors degree if you don’t have a huge education debt and alcohol induced memory loss?

Fortunately I love writing, so I can do it any time, not just when I have a deadline.

Words Written: 1,740 (per day average)
Total: 52,204

Of course, my goals weren’t just to write 50,000 words this month. I also wanted to achieve a few other things. So how did I go?

1) Write daily.
Failed. But I did write most days of the week.

2) Get into good writing habits.
I think I’ve moved towards this. Regular writing, thinking about what I want to write and laying out scenes in my head prior to sitting down; all good habits. I got some good tips here.

3) Use writing as an excuse reason to stay up late and sleep in.

4) Put off household chores to write.

5) Get a large chunk of first novel written.
Success. I’m still a long way from finished with Overturned Stones. It is a thriller (synopsis below) and I now have the first third and the last third written. Another month and I should have a good first draft ready for rewrites.

I suppose that will be the next challenge on my path to becoming a novelist: rewriting. Whilst most of what I have written is pretty good, I did find some sections that are very bare on details. Some chapters are almost completely dialogue, with very little exposition. That may have been my intention initially, but I have a feeling that when read with fresh eyes it may not communicate all that I was hoping.

NaNoWriMo has been good fun. I’ll definitely be signing up again next year. Hopefully by then I’ll have a rewritten, edited, designed and ready to publish, manuscript.

Overturned Stones Synopsis
You never expect to stand trial for the murder of your wife, let alone if you didn’t do it. When you find out that your wife may not be dead but rather kidnapped by human traffickers for sexual slavery, you could be forgiven for being a little annoyed. Proposing lead therapy for the traffickers in an effort to help them reform and free your wife isn’t appreciated, by the traffickers, the police, or potential future employers. Can one man, dubbed “The Husband” by the media, take down organised crime, avoid the police and traffickers, and keep his gun loaded?

NaNoWriMo 2011 – Day 27

Okay, I’m so close I can taste victory. What doesn’t help is that I happened to write 1200 words on a different project today and yesterday I had a great idea for another story that I had to get the basic synopsis written down before I forgot it.

Regardless I have hit 42,000 words and this last week of writing indicates I can have NaNoWriMo conquered on my first outing. This is, of course, assuming my procrastination fairy doesn’t arrive with a hilarious site filled with internet memes.

Hope everyone else is having fun with their writing. For those of you who are just plain old readers, I hope you’ve been laughing heartily at your writing pals. Remember to tempt them with time wasting activities from now until the 30th.

Words Written: 1,502 (per day average)
Total: 42,068
Remaining: 7,932 – very doable.

10 Things You Probably Didn’t Know About This Blog

This blog has been running since the middle of February this year. One hundred odd posts later, and a few thousand views, I’d like to share some information with all of my friends here.

10) Despite my lack of a second language – unless you count being able to do a passable Scottish accent and order a newspaper and a sandwich in French – a fifth of my friends here are not native English speakers.

9) This blog has not been assessed by the FDA.

8) Only 17% of my friends here are Aussies. The rest of you are all honorary Aussies at heart!

7) This blog is 99% fat free.

6) 77% of you really have to question why you are using Windows OS. All the cool people are using Mac (10%), Linux (4%), iPhone (3%) and iPad (1%).

5) This blog is currently being tested as a cure for cancer. I’m hoping to make Chuck Norris cry from laughing so hard.

4) This blog’s level of awesome – measured in nanofonzies – has been increasing over time. Your little bit of cool helps us all, thankyou!

3) This blog post is mostly a procrastination effort when I should be knocking out the last 15,000 words for NaNoWriMo.

2) The opinions and reviews expressed in this blog have not been paid for, no bribes have been received, nor does this blog receive any sponsorship. Please email me to rectify this situation.

1) Being a friend of my blog and I entitles you to one free business class flight to Perth, Australia*.

* Tyson Adams is unlikely to actually pay for your flight to Perth, let alone business class, so it would be a miracle if being a friend of his and this blog would ever eventuate in you receiving that free flight.

NaNoWriMo 2011 – Day 18

All of the NaNoWriMo masochists are 60% of the way through challenge 2011. I have just disowned one of my writing buddies for having already passed the 45,000 word mark.

1667 words a day didn’t seem like that much of an effort at the beginning of the month. Now I’m realising it is quite a demanding effort to be consistently creative when you have a day job, travel for work, and a lazy streak wider than a truck. Being a professional writer is no easy task, I have even more respect for them than ever.

So with 12 days left to write ~23,000 words I’m still confident, but know there are some big writing days needed. Also I may just start taking the advice of many and just write and give up on that silly idea of making sure flow and research are complete. Not that I’m blaming the internet and its plethora of interesting information for my slow writing progress, that would be rather shallow of me. Instead it is proper to lay the blame at the feet of my dog, curse her and her need to sleep on my feet in such a cute way.

Words Written: 1,505 (per day average)
Total: 27,097
Remaining: 22,903

How has everyone else fared so far?

NaNoWriMo 2011 – Day 10: Writing is overrated!

So I’m travelling through this first fortnight of NaNoWriMo at a less than stellar pace. I’ve technically had most days free to write as much as I please. I’d imagined this would result in 10,000 word days and that I’d have that pesky 50,000 word total done before I go back to drudgery next week (or the day job, which ever term you prefer).

The reality has been much too horrid for me to bear. All of those professional authors who talked about how hard it was to hit writing targets were right. I guess that is why they are the professionals and I’m still the amateur, they must use better whips on the room full of monkeys.

Of course I have still been achieving the required writing goals, but the problem with having a day job is that it will suddenly rear its ugly head and swing me around in its mighty jaws as it seeks to devour me whole. Being on schedule might be a bad thing at this point. Maybe I should think more like a blogger or self-publishing slime-ball and just write rubbish: who actually needs the chapters to fit together?

Either way I’m enjoying writing every day, and I am actually achieving my primary goal of sitting around having fun. My secondary goal was to get into the habit of daily writing and getting sizable chunks written. That is my achilles heel as a writer, not finishing the larger projects. My writing itself is actually quite good – IMHO – and I’m continually working on aspects that need polish. As Stephen Leather said, writers do need to focus on becoming better writers.

Words Written: 1,698 (per day)
Total: 16,985
Remaining: 33,015

How has everyone else fared so far?

NaNoWriMo 2011 – Day 1

The month of writing madness has begun!

This is my first attempt/entry into NaNoWriMo (NaNo details here). I am a virgin who doesn’t know any better, a lamb to the slaughter, a bright eyed idealist…… Blog posts count towards the word total, right?

The story I am writing is tentatively entitled Overturned Stones. It is a thriller with humorous overtones to subdue the dark subject matter. I had previously started this particular project but had to bin it in June and redo the outline (stupid characters didn’t do what I wanted them to!): I’m new to novel writing, live and learn.

Outline: You never expect to stand trial for the murder of your wife, especially if you didn’t do it. When you find out that your wife may not be dead but rather kidnapped by human traffickers for sexual slavery, you could be forgiven for being a little annoyed. Proposing lead therapy for the traffickers in an effort to help them reform and free your wife isn’t appreciated, by the traffickers, the police, or potential future employers. Can one man, dubbed “The Husband” by the media, take down organised crime, avoid the police and traffickers, and keep his gun loaded?

My journey has begun with a nice lead in. Yesterday and Sunday I managed to write a few short stories, plenty of writing to pique the creative juices. Currently they are with my trusted critique providers and then edits before submission – I’m thinking Crime Noir, Wet Ink and I have another paranormal story that I’m still thinking about which publication would suit it.

Today my writing was done while Australian’s were stopped for a horse race. Given that all I care about is buying the glue and dog food after the race and not throwing money into a void prior, I was able to get a sizable chunk written.
Words Written: 1,771
Total: 1,771
Remaining: 48,229

Who else is slightly mad this year?