Friday, May 31, 2013

Friday Forays in Fiction: JuNoWriMo Begins

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Are you ready for JuNoWriMo?

It starts at midnight.  Similar rules as for NaNoWriMo.  50K words in 30 days.  Except it doesn't have to be a novel. It can be a collection of short stories or creative essays.  It can be a memoir.  And it can be the latest 50K in a WIP.

As a nine year veteran of NaNo I've developed a few tricks for getting the word count which I'm going to share here as much as a reminder to myself as anything:

  • no editing
  • no backspacing
  • no stopping to look up words 
  • if not sure of the [correct, relevant, best, right] word put list of [possible, potential, maybe,] words inside brackets
  • or forget never mind scratch the brackets and save them for the edits next month
  • use tiny font.  too tiny to read from comfortable typing position.  for me that's size 8 or smaller
  • blow off capitalization.  it wears out the pinkie fingers too fast
  • blow off quote marks.  it wears out the pinkie finger but it also takes extra time.  tho sometimes i use a double apostrophe instead ''that should do it'' she said.  yeah takes some time but not the shift key.  are you picking up i have issues with the shift key?
  • use the full name of the character every time--Wilhelm Henri Fendorf the Third= five words instead of one. i saw this on someone else's WriMo tip sheet and seldom actually use it as I forget what the character is saying or doing while I'm busy typing out the name but a few times I've used search and replace when wordcount came up short for the day
  • use a font color that is the same or just a shade darker than the background color.  the trick is to keep it unreadable while you type so you aren't tempted to correct redo rethink fix.  
  • if you loose track of what you just said and aren't sure you completed the thot then say it again.
  • wax wordy in descriptions adding including every one of the senses--sight, touch, hearing, smell, taste 
  • describe the scene again from each character's viewpoint
  • focus on one element--dialog or description or stream of consciousness, action--at a time.  when characters are talking just let them talk back and forth without stage directions.
  • info dumps are good very good for shitty rough drafts.  pile the words on for each character's backstory, talk about the scientific or historical aspects of anything
  • when a thot related to a different scene or a different character occurs hit enter several times and start writing it then when done return to via the up arrow.... or not.  can just hit enter a couple of times again and start 
  • take your character to confession--a priest, therapist, friend--let them talk about themselves and whoever else and relate their history, confess their sins, admit their desires, meander down memory lane, plan their future
  • the characters can have bizarre surrealistic dreams that reveal things you didn't know you knew about the story, their motives, their fears, their desires
  • give one of your own recent dreams to a character.  often the dreams one has during an intense writing time like a WriMo are quite relevant to the story in play
  • introduce a brand new character out of the blue--more description, more monologue, more backstory, another point of view to incorporate
  • have a character tell a story to another character or their pet or their stuffed animal or the photo of their ancestor or loved one or or or.... such stories can be revealing

What I end up with at the end of the month isn't really even the first draft of a novel it is more a pre-draft.  It is talking about the novel, talking about the story, talking about the characters, talking about the setting, talking about the plot, talking about the theme, talking about the motivations, and letting the characters talk and talk and talk until they find their individual voices.

Yeah.  All of this leads to one whopping mess by the end.  The drawback of course is that nearly every WriMo novel I've begun has set in its file untouched since the last day of its month.  But there are always things that get written this way that would never have found a way out in the more sedate, perfectionist, way I tend toward whenever I'm not doing a WriMo.

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