Friday, October 30, 2009

Friday Forays in Fiction: NaNoWriMo 2009 Intentions

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This will be my 6th NaNo and partly because of the stress factor I seriously considered not participating this year. But the biggest factor weighing against is that because of NaNo I keep putting off working on the stories I really have my heart in because 1) I don’t want to ruin them by making a mess & 2) I thot I shouldn’t because the story already has several K of words and 3) because of anticipating NaNo each year I shy away from working on virgin stories btwn NaNos because I might want to use them for NaNo this year or next.

And then a few weeks ago a writer friend whom I respect declared on her blog her intent to keep working on the novel she'd begun several weeks ago, counting for NaNo only the words generated after midnight November 1st. And I started thinking outside the box. Who would I be harming if I were to work on a WIP as long as I didn’t count words written before Nov 1st? It's not like by 'winning' I'm taking anything away from anyone else. And to not participate would deprive me of one of the joys of my year--the sense of being part of something; of dreaming my stories and writing while knowing for certain I'm not alone in the world in what possesses me; the feeling of belonging while not denying those very things which define me.

And I went further. Why do I have to confine myself to one character’s story and POV? Just because their story might make a separate novel? After all these characters all grew out of one original story that I first thought was a single novel. And this is where continuing to participate in NaNo is a detriment to my output because in the eleven months between NaNos I resist the urges to work with certain character's stories because I'm saving them for NaNo. So in this way my continued participation in NaNo goes against the spirit of NaNo which is to facilitate the output of more stories not less.

And here's the rub. For the last two months I’ve been working intensely with the entire 100 year timeline and 100+ character roster again ‘as if’ it were a single story and I am intensely engaged in it and champing at the bit to start writing scenes but holding back because of NaNo.

I have been dreading having to shift my focus which has been to establish the time line of events for each of the major characters and their individual stories and that of the cult founded in the generation before Faye’s birth. That cult and its various branches and leaders acts as the primary antagonist for nearly all of the potential protagonist characters. And the fact I lack clarity on it is the main reason I have so many partial stories.

So I’ve just decided that I’m going to continue working with the entire story world. Even previous NaNo ‘novels’ for why should it matter if the words of my 50K ultimately belong to one, two, or twelve novels as long as I don’t include words in the verifier written before Nov 1st?

To facilitate keeping track of word count and also to allow me to feel as though each day of NaNo is a fresh start, I've created a separate WhizFolder called NaNo 2009 with one topic containing a minimal number of links to the FOS related files and my NaNo profile for daily word count. One topic contains a statement of my intent for the occasional refresher. And I will add one topic per day with that date as it's title in which I will put all of that day's word output. Sometimes I will write off the cuff in that topic window and copy/paste it to whichever FOS Whiz it most belongs. Other times I may have written inside the Whiz of the FOS worksheets or one of the currently separate novels and will then copy/paste those into the day's topic in Nano 2009. Over at NaNo on my profile I'll soon be updating my novel info and using the title By Their Fruits. I may be setting up a separate Whiz to collect all things Shakespeare and bring the scattered material over from all the FOS Whiz and if so will probably add that link as well.

This will give me a place to store the entire text of some selected Shakespeare plays as well. Beginning with Macbeth the play Faye, Julia and Wilma will be producing with high school students in one planned story. Then, of course, there is the Estelle character who speaks only in Shakespeare phrases taken from plays and sonnets. Her comments are always cogent and pertinent to what is going on around her.

A screen shot of my NaNo 2009 WhizFolder

The four links:

To my NaNoWriMo profile where I'll update my word count each day.

To my Xmind mindmap of my FOS story world which has been my playground for the last month.

To the FOS worksheets WhizFolder topic 'Novels" which contains the links to each story's Whiz.

To my Story Garden Whiz topic Harpy Shampoo where I keep antidotes to writer's block and inhibition, like suggested exercises and inspirational quotes. Story Garden is also where I collect advice gleaned from books, blogs and etc on all aspects of story making (plot, dialog, theme, metaphor, voice, etc.) and have recently added publishing info sections.

Story Garden is also set up to collect my new story ideas but hasn't been used that way much because I've been so overwhelmed with the WIP I already have going I've been squashing new ideas. I have really been feeling bad about that and believe it is a bad impulse, showing ingratitude to the muse. And as mentioned above, I traced the problem to NaNo participation. If my compromise with the NaNo 'rules' doesn't work to enhance and encourage my work output this year, including in the next ten months, I may have to rethink my involvement again next year. I've come to the point where I need to give my devotion to my stories. The rest is peripheral.

0 tell me a story:

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