November 3rd – NaNoWriMo

I’m not saying it’s any good, I’m not saying it’s worth reading, I’m not saying that any of it would make a final edit, but I wrote 1,851 words today.  That gives this WIP a running total of 5,967 words.

Whew.

I will admit that I absolutely LOVE being able to tell friends and family that “I have to go write now.” Whether any of them ever read these words that are adding up to a novel or not, they are supporting the process, and for that I am ever so grateful.

The working title…

27 more days of writing and 44,033 words to go.

~Melissa

November 2nd – NaNoWriMo

My novel now has a two-day total of 4,116 words (2,343 from today).  I’m still getting the hang of all the ins and outs of this NaNoWriMo endeavor, and so I didn’t realize that I was supposed to update my profile with my word count yesterday.  Today, I updated it with the two-day total:

I have to admit that it’s still a bit daunting to think that I have 45, 884 words of this challenge remaining.

At least there are 28 more days!

~Melissa

A Little Chicken Soup in Preparation for NaNoWriMo

image

To “open my heart” and “rekindle my spirit” as a writer, I picked up this edition of Chicken Soup for the Soul.

The stories in this book offer insight into moments when great writers began their love affairs with words, defining moments in their careers, and how they overcame obstacles. There are stories in the book by well-known writers like Ray Bradbury, Sue Grafton, and Terry McMillan.

This book has actually been sitting, dusty and untouched, on my bookshelf for years.  Knowing that I have committed myself to NaNoWriMo and will be doing the thing I truly love to do for the next month — no ifs, ands, or buts about it — it seemed like the right time to wake up the wisdom living in these dormant pages.

Early in the book, my instincts were confirmed when I read this quote by Mike Price:  “More people have talent than discipline.”

Ah, discipline. Discipline is certainly the thing I’ve been lacking when it comes to my writing. Discipline is certainly the thing I’ve needed help with the most. You can’t exaxtly take a class to learn discipline. You can’t go back and edit or revise discipline…it is either there or it is not. Over the years, I have let too many other responsibilities get between my writing and me.

Now, I’m more excited than ever for the structure, camaraderie,  daily word count goals, and plain old discipline of NaNoWriMo. This month of writing boot camp is exactly what I need to keep myself focused and on track. It is exactly the “excuse” I’ve needed to put my writing first, for a change.

There’s just one more day to go…hoping my power is back on by then!

~Melissa
(Written on my Android phone because power and internet are still out.)

Posted from WordPress for Android

Stormy Weather and NaNoWriMo on the Way!

I’m in central NJ, and Sandy’s heavy winds and rains are just really beginning here.  Schools are closed, roads are flooded, people are being advised to stay in doors.

It makes me wonder how many NaNoWriMo novels will contain some sort of severe storm this year?  I wonder how many people already have their novels planned out and how many are going to incorporate some recent weather events into their still-developing plots.

I’ve been thinking and thinking about how a storm like this will fit into my current plot outline…but I don’t think it will.  Instead, I might go ahead and write a short story containing a severe storm like this, instead.  (That should keep me occupied for the rest of the day, anyway.)

Getting ready to begin, and thinking I might want a calendar of some sort to help me keep track of my progress through NaNoWriMo, I went looking for a good one online.  I came across this one by Monda@NoTelling, and can’t wait to start using it.

NaNoWriMo Calendar 2012 Fresh Ribbon A

2 more days to go…the novel wants out!

~Melissa

Planning and Prewriting for NaNoWriMo

I constantly require that my students prewrite before they draft anything.  I tell them over and over that a prewrite doesn’t need to be extensive, it just needs to happen.

I believe prewriting is helpful to a writer in so many ways, and it doesn’t make anyone any less of a “good” or “strong” writer if he or she makes a plan first.  In fact, I believe it is the opposite.  Prewriting allows you to get your good ideas down before you forget them.  It’s helpful in getting all the bad ideas out of the way so you can actually get to the good ones.  It’s a great way to just get started and avoid potential writer’s block.

For narratives, I let my students choose from a number of prewriting strategies.  1)  They can “interview themselves” and ask Who? What? When? Where? Why? and How? questions about their story.  2)  They can draw out a plot mountain and fill in the major plot points.  3)  They can fill in the phrase:   ______________ wanted ___________________ but ___________________________ and so _______________________.  4)  They can draw a diagram for the beginning, the middle, and the end.  They just HAVE to prewrite before they attempt any sort of draft.

This image I found covers a number of the prewriting strategies I teach my students to use…and a few that I’m using myself this NaNoWriMo! Source: http://teachers.saschina.org/rderozario/2010/09/30/personal-narrative-prewriting-and-drafting/ on 10/28/12

Well, with such a serious commitment — of writing an ENTIRE NOVEL in 30 days — ahead of me, I am listening closely to my own advice and using a few prewrite strategies.  I’ve completed the “interview” with myself already, and I’m happy to tell you that the working name for my protagonist is going to be Katie.

I’ve also started an outline which includes potential chapter titles.  (I absolutely love reading books with interesting chapter titles…Sharon Creech has had some great ones.  Sometimes reading through the titles alone is just so poetic.)  I know that I want to title my individual chapters…and have a couple in mind already.

Katie and I have a pretty big journey ahead of us, but at least, now, we have a general sense of where we are going.

3 more days until we begin!

~Melissa

NaNoWriMo and Me

For a few years now, I’ve been deeply envious of all of the writers participating in NaNoWriMo.  I’ve admired the dedication it takes to commit to writing a FULL NOVEL in just a month.  I’ve appreciated the camaraderie and support that NaNoWriMo offers its participants.  I’ve done all of these things — from afar.

This year, however, a friend and fellow writer has convinced me to jump in and give it a shot myself.

So, today, I am announcing my very first entry into NaNoWriMo!  I’m signed up.  I’m working on an outline.  I’m going to write a novel this November.  I’m really looking forward to this!

Writing 50, 000 words in 30 days breaks down to just under 1,700 words per day.  I’m planning to set aside two writing times each day — one before and one after school during the week, and one before and after coffee on the weekends.  I’m hoping that by breaking up the writing times into to two, I will have a better shot of actually hitting the word count goal.  I’m also hoping that by posting my progress here on this blog, I will stay committed and motivated.

There are dozens and dozens of reasons I shouldn’t do this right now, but the one reason that I should do it obviously, overwhelmingly outweighs them all.

That’s my NaNoWriMo story, and I’m sticking to it.  (At least for the month of November.)

~Melissa