Monday, October 13, 2008

Another 24 Hour Read-a-thon

<--Click the image for the Read-a-thon FAQ

The next Read-a-thon sponsored by Dewey at The Hidden Side of a Leaf is coming up this weekend. I've known about this for a month and kept forgetting to post an announcement. Shame on me!

Check out the great list of prizes to be awarded to the intrepid readers.

I'm referring you to the FAQ for details because I'm just wiped out this evening and I need to make this as quick and easy as I can. I started feeling better today and probably overdid--part of which overdoing was a trip to the library. By car not foot and yet still demanding of more energy and stamina than I have to spare. But I needed to pick up the last of the books I sent for for the Read-a-thon.

This time, in order to make the Read-a-thon do double duty, I am devoting the day to short stories as part of my NaNoWriMo prep. See this post for an in depth explanation but, briefly, (hahaha as if I can do brief) my NaNo project this year is to be a collection of interlocking short stories all set in the same trailor park between July 4 and November 4 of this year and featuring upwards of fifteen different households each in a different crisis that is either directly caused by or significantly impacted by the current crisis in the global economy. And no it is no accident that I chose Independence Day and Election Day to bracket the story's timeline. I may though, continue working on the exercise right on through Inauguration Day, adding stories and households to the collection as I go.

And I am looking at it as more of an exercise than anything at this point. The idea is to practice the techniques of story making starting as many stories as possible in a limited time frame. Ideally I would like a story per day for a total of 30 but I will be plenty happy with 15. I was thinking of these as analogous to the finger exercises of those piano lessons from the dark ages of my pre-teen years. But now I'm thinking the analogy of speed dating is more apt.

I'm not going to making finishing any of the stories the goal during the NaNo challenge. Nor am I going to worry about the interlocking of the stories until afterward. The goal is to generate the story characters, situations, conflict and resolutions, voice and tone, and in a variety of styles and lengths--from under 500 words to just under 3000. I hope to do a few first person as I've never attempted any since a semi-autobiographical one I wrote in high-school. Before starting this blog I was very uncomfortable using first person for anything. Four years of blogging has helped me acclimate somewhat to using first person in the casual personal essay cum personal journaling which blogging is. But writing an entirely fictional story in first person still feels alien to me.

I have been wanting to study the craft of short fiction for some time now. And I learn best by immersion in a subject and in the case of writing fiction it isn't enough to read about technique and craft, I must also read a lot of fiction in a huge variety of styles and types.

So I decided to combine my NaNo prep with the Read-a-thon.

It starts at GMT 12 NOON which is 5AM for me. I am usually laying down to sleep between 3AM and 6AM so the only way I can make that work is if be sure not to go into it already sleep-deprived like I did last June. I wussed out with only an hour to go because I was starting to hallucinate.

Well, I have rambled on way too long. I'm practically sleep writing.

Watch for a list of the thirteen short story collections and anthologies that I have gathered for the combined Read-a-thon and NaNo prep project in my TT on Wednesday.

0 tell me a story:

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