Writers Write, Right?

NaNoWriMo shield logo for writing goal with november natinal novel writing month 2016
Image courtesy of National Novel Writing Month.

I have a goal! The title and accompanying image might give a hint as to what it is. I am working towards finishing my second draft novel writing course by the end of October (it has been on hold since April). At the end of the course I’ll have a solid synopsis, which will allow me to get real value out of NaNoWriMo 2016: tackling the feat of completing a novel (or at least 50,000 words of it) over the course of November.

To borrow from a tagline on Camp NaNoWriMo’s site, the event is:

An idyllic [writer’s] retreat smack dab in the middle of your crazy life.

Yes, if I can’t have a beautiful mountain top cabin with a view of a cascading waterfall, the accompaniment of bird song and fragrance of spring blossoms and a perfect coffee, I’ll take the virtual version.

In order to make this lofty goal a little more grounded and achievable, I have slowed down in participating in writing challenges. Since going into hiatus with my novel in April due to a range of other life priorities coinciding with the end of a block of course tuition time, my creative urges have been sustained by challenges hosted by other bloggers: Haiku with Ronovan Hester, Three Line Tales with Sonya, 200 Word Microfiction with Jane Dougherty and Two ‘Phrase’ Stories with Dr H. Each of these challenges has helped my writing immensely- in loosening up and just going with ideas, writing succinctly (and at times within a syllable count), and exploring genres and styles I hadn’t previously. A bonus out of all that regular poetry and short fiction writing was that a revised version of a haibun inspired by a challenge output was included in Contemporary Haibun Online. The challenges have served me well, but it is time now to shift my writing focus on achieving the goals I have set for between now and the end of November 2016.

I am up to Turning Point 5 of 7 in the course, and about a week away from enrolling in another block of tuition time. Every now and then I will post extracts with as much obtuseness as I can muster so that I do not give away the plot or key details of the story for potential future readers (hey there!). For those who are interested, the structure for the course consists of working through 7 turning points, each of which have a number of steps, with each step broken down into 3 sequences (setup, complication, pay off). The next level down from sequence is scene, and at each level of detail there is a central dramatic question and character arc. The turning points are:

  1. Prison/ Predicament
  2. Inciting Incident
  3. Moment of Awareness
  4. Midpoint
  5. Situation Desperate to Surrender
  6. Battle
  7. Resolution

NaNoWriMo, here I come! I look forward to the discipline of a daily word count target, joining the likes of Stephen King, Graham Greene and Maya Angelou in this necessary approach to maintain momentum and hone the craft (more on this with a very nerdy investigation of writer’s habits in an upcoming post).

If you’re doing it this year, I’m registered as 10000hoursleft if you’d like to interact on forums or whatever at NaNoWriMo or Camp NaNoWriMo (I have yet to explore the sites). Hope to see you at story time around the campfire!

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53 thoughts on “Writers Write, Right?

  1. hey – best wishes on all your writing – and I have always (well a few years ago….) wanted to do the November challenge – not sure if this year will work – but hoping so – either way – hope your daft gets moving along 😉

    Liked by 1 person

      1. oh thanks so much for the encouragement – and part of my hurdle is many smaller writing projects that need to be finished – a couple are so old they are haunting me now! lol
        but I am still keeping Options open!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. well thanks – and actually the projects are all outlined and even mostly written – so it is more just a matter of making the time – for example – I have a short book from a job I had in 2001 – and some garden analogies that are all written – but need to be put into either a daily devotional or some format? oh – but they were written in notebooks and so I also have to transfer them!
        then I actually have a super long book in the works – 676 small sections – for a wellness workshop series – but I digress – let

        Liked by 1 person

      1. No, I never did it. School of hard knocks. Took me forever to get thru first paragraph of novel I wrote – & rewrote – & rewrote – till learned to just get to the end, jotting notes to myself all along the way but never rewriting till it was done.

        Liked by 2 people

    1. Hi! So will you be doing it this year? Do you have any story ideas already? I’d say try planning out your story by considering how your main character changes from the start to the end of the story (character arc CA), and what it is he/she is trying to achieve- their concrete goal, which will give rise to your central dramatic question (CDQ)…although your story from start to finish will have lots of mini stories each with a CA and CDQ that propel your character to their final destination and brings about the change in who they are. Also, think about the character’s weaknesses and anything in their backstory that may be haunting them- then be as daring as you can and come up with ways that other people or situations can challenge their weakness and place obstacles in their path to achieving their goals. Just some ideas…

      You csn also check out resources on NaNoWriMo- aside from signing up, I still haven’t really checked it out.

      Hope that helps! 😊 Even if you don’t do any planning and just write- remember to do just that- write! No editing or self critisising- just get the words down. Good luck!

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  2. Mek, I came here to find out how the Jamaican patois was progressing. Are you able to conduct a conversation yet? Or are you still juggling with the one or two words sentence that foreigners to a country often do when they have not yet mastered the language? Pointing to things and gesticulating wildly while mixing up their own language with a few odd (sometimes un-connected words) of the country they have travelled to? I jest. I did not come for that reason, I came to tell you that there was a programme on the TV last night about MARLON JAMES. Alan Yentob was interviewing him and it was VERY, VERY INTERESTING, not least because you and I had been conversing about this very topic not so long ago. What a coincidence?

    The second thing was I didn’t mean to leave this comment here. I was scrolling through trying to find the post about Bob Marley and the Seven Killings/Bay of Pigs post.

    But, what stopped me is the title of this post and I wonder if I am being subliminally affected by other bloggers. I swear today is the first time I have seen this post, and yet I was stopped in my tracks when I saw the title. BUT then I checked again and saw that I had left a comment, so I am lying!! I have in the last day or two written a post entitled: “We write to right, right?” So imagine my thoughts when I saw this post (for the second time, having completely forgotten that I had chanced upon this page before) with a very similar title! Love to hear your thoughts and how you are and what is new in your life? :))

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Marie! It’s late and I’m about to sleep so proper reply pending but so funny that the original title of this post, until I picked up on the typo about a week after publishing was ‘writer’s right, right?’ Haha. Mind you, that was well befor you and I were connected, so yiu would’ve only seen in in its present incarnation. Catch you soon xx p.s. this post should give a hint as to what I’ll be busy with pretty soon…

      Liked by 1 person

    2. Hey Marie! It’s morning now! Funny you should ask because I’ve found myself reading patois again, this time in Zadie Smith’s ‘white teeth’ – not between her teeth, but in her book…

      Have you read it? I’m really enjoying it and blown away and inspired by her storytelling, humour and just plain amazingness. Also just read an article by her in the guardian the other day where she dtaws comparisons between dance and writing – look it up, a long but fantastic read. I’ll have to see if that interview is available online!

      I’m generally well and equal parts excited and daunted to be starting NaNoWriMo tomortow. How are you? If I’m slow to respond over the coming weeks, it’s because im trying to get my novel word count up and keep my comment count down (temporary only as I’m a ling comments kinda person haha). xx

      Liked by 1 person

      1. No I haven’t read “White Teeth”, but I have a very vague recollection that the book was abridged for BBC4 radio sometime last year and I listened to it. I meant to get hold of the book, but with so many books/articles to read I fear it slipped to the back of the sofa (just made that up and it’s actually quite a good analogy methinks)lol. I’m fine and just taking it easy really at the moment. Best of luck with NaNoWriMo and with your novel word count. Make sure your diminished presence is only temporary or we shall have words. LOL
        I don’t know what “ling” is – is it Australian lingo or Ethiopian lingo? Or none of the above?
        Can we also sort out the time difference please. It’s 9.30pm here, what time is it there? :)))

        Like

      2. Not sure what ‘ling’ is but probably a typo – i can’t see my comment at the mo. IT is now 8:55 an here. I’m at GMT +10. when in doubt, just google ‘time in Melbourne’.

        I like you sofa analogy!!!! 😂😂😂

        Liked by 1 person

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