Wednesday, November 2, 2011

NaNoWriMo 2011

I’ve done this challenge twice now. The first year, I attempted a novel. The story was great (in fact, I still like it!) but the writing wasn’t very strong. At all. Okay, it sucked pretty badly. In order for me to go forward with that story, I’m not even sure I’d edit; it just needs a total rewrite.

The second time I did this, which was last year, I decided I’d write 50,000 words worth of short stories: you know, something I could actually use. It worked like a charm, and I got quite a few written. Some have even been polished up and sent off for contests.

So, why not this year?

Well, I’m not going for the novel, or for fifty-grand in shorts, but I am challenging myself. In fact, I’d like to make this a monthly thing. Here’s how it works: My wife gives me some vague writing theme, and I have to make a story out of it. The game is quite fun, and I love the challenge. However, writing 1,667 words a day, every day, by force, gets old to me. I’d rather do 500 quality words a day than triple it but have to go back and edit like a demon.

In my opinion, NaNoWriMo is mainly geared toward would-be novelists who aren’t writing regularly. I do write regularly. I’ve also “won” the challenge twice, so I know I can do it. Maybe, sometime in the future when I can haul ass and still write pretty strongly, I’ll attempt another novel in four weeks. Ain’t for me right now, though.

So, my November goal is four polished, ready-to-send-out short stories. That’s only one a week, which Ray Bradbury says we should be doing anyhow. Of course, there isn’t anything catchy or cool about my personal contest, so it’ll just be for me. It’s a goal I can reach, and I’ll have stories I can send out at the end of each week. Can’t beat that for cool!


Frank said...

I've wanted to do NaNoWriMo for a couple years now, but never attempted it for the shear mind numbing seeming impossibility of it. I like your short story collection idea though. I think I'll give that a go.

Derek Odom said...

It's a LOT easier, really. 50,000 words really isn't so much once you get down to brass tacks, but it sure isn't easy. :P

Frank Martin said...

So, could you give an example of a writing theme you've been given to work with?

Derek Odom said...

Last week was "Falling Down", this week it's "A bird in the hand". I've had themes like Mind your Manners, Dawn, Fire and Ice, Chinese Water Torture, Middle of Nowhere, The Honeymoon is Over, Ashes to Ashes, Party Like a Rock Star, etc. They are really fun!