NaNoWriMo 2012 Launches

Dear Readers,

Welcome to my second year hosting NaNoWriMo articles and advice!  You can check out last year’s NaNo posts to give you a taste of what may be coming up this month.

National Novel Writing Month is a 30-day challenge to write a 50,000-word novel.  Participants often enjoy get-togethers in their region, healthy and friendly competition with friends, and plenty of coffee.  Winners, on the other hand, enjoy other perks – not the least of which being the satisfaction of completing a novel.

I plan to participate this year, but I may have to quit midway through due to the whole graduate school thing.  (I love NaNoWriMo, but I also love not failing classes.)  Along the way, I’ll be posting links and advice from myself and others.

To start off, here’s a list of character archetypes to play with:

  • The Femme Fatale.  Though the idea of a femme fatale is a little – how do I put it – sexist, there are plenty of ways to change the femme fatale as a character archetype to make her more interesting.  What if the femme fatale in your noir-style novel isn’t a secondary character but the narrator?
  • The strong, dark, silent type.  Overdone.  A million times overdone.  Find a way to save it or make it fresh, and I’ll give you a cookie.
  • The damsel in distress.  Also along the lines of sexist – but what if the damsel in question is a man being saved by a woman?  A man being saved by a man?  A man being saved by his trusty dog?

If you’ve got your own suggestions, leave them in the comments – I’m sure it would help all of us.  And if you’re doing a new twist on an old character, be sure to tell us what it is and how you’re making it new.

Remember: you need to write 1,667 words per day to reach that 50,000-word goal.  With new twists on old character types or stereotyped settings, I’m sure you’ll be able to reach 50,000!

Happy writing!

Feliza

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[Guest Post] NaNoPlaMo

That’s right, folks, it’s October, aka National Novel Planning Month. For the common Nanoer that is, not for me – I’ve had a chapter-by-chapter outline done for this year’s Nano since the end of September.

(Don’t feel bad. It’s only because I finished a second draft of this novel in June and spent all summer brainstorming the plot-holes out of it until I had a workable plot line.)

But I still have some planning ahead of me, because I am the official-unofficial Nano Planner for the University of Toledo Writer’s Guild. Admittedly, that doesn’t require as much work as would befall, say, a regional ML (municipal liaison), but still: Between five classes, three jobs, a boatload of homework, and this being my first year as any sort of coordinator for Nano events, I’m swamped.

What is a Nano event, you ask? Well, the primary event would be a write-in, but in all there are three basic things that happen around Nanowrimo:

  1. Kick-off parties
  2. Write-ins
  3. End parties, aka “thank God it’s over” parties

Kick-off parties might take place before November, to let everyone touch base, meet, and hang out before their month of shared insanity, or they might take place right at the beginning of November. The Toledo-area kick-off, for example, was a week ago, whereas the Writer’s Guild kick-off will be on the first Friday of November.

Because our UTWG kick-off will be after NaNo has started, it will really be a big write-in. “Big” in our case meaning “this is the first write-in of the month, so come in and kick-start your novel before school, work, and those annoying people you live with start to bog you down,” not meaning “a lot of people will be there.” Considering we’ve had an average meeting attendance of about four students, I’m guessing a lot of people will not be there, but it’ll be fun and it’ll be productive, and if a couple of new people happen to come join us, awesome.

Our write-in will actually be a write-in, in that we’ll while away the hours by sitting at a table with our laptops or notebooks and write with that burst of speed that always accompanies the beginning of the month.

In contrast, Toledo-area write-ins are really fun, but they’re not very productive. When someone asks what we do at a write-in, I say, “Well, supposedly we’re writing all together, but really it’s more like we’re helping each other procrastinate.” Not to cast disparagement on these write-ins – I love going to them. It’s how I made friends in Toledo last year. But the only time I got any real writing done was the day before Thanksgiving: I arrived late, after work, to find that the few people who had showed up were gone. Sitting alone at the Starbucks in Barnes & Noble, I managed to get 2500 words written in just a couple of hours.

But normally I just talked to people.

At the end of the month is the traditional “thank God it’s over party,” at which you congratulate the people who won and celebrate the fact that you can stop freaking out about word-count, start spending more time with your significant other and less with your cat (who was your only company for the month, as he, unlike your boyfriend, simply slept on the table while you typed away, rather than complaining about your lack of attention), and otherwise return to a state of sanity.

I have our kick-off party and write-ins worked out for the month, but I’m not sure about our end-party. November 30th falls on a Friday, which would be perfect since that’s UTWG’s normal meeting day…but I don’t want to alienate anyone who’s still racing the clock, desperately trying to get to that fifty-thousandth word before the laptop strikes midnight.

Maybe the following Monday at Biggby. We’ll see.

Happy Nanoing to all, and to all a good novel!

Elizabeth Anderson is an education major at the University of Toledo. She works at the Learning Club of Toledo, the Toledo Botanical Gardens, and Lane Bryant and writes the UTWG newsletter. Her blog, Inkwell, can be found here, or follow her on Twitter.

The University of Toledo Writer’s Guild is open to all UT students and alumni as well as high-school students who would like to be honorary members. Any high-school or college-aged students from any schools in the Toledo area are welcome at UTWG’s Nano events.

Kick-off party: UT Student Union, room 1507 on Friday, November 2, from 3-5p.m. and 7-9p.m.

Meetings: Every Friday in UT SU 1507 from 5-7p.m.

Write-ins: Every Monday at Biggby Coffee on W. Central Ave. from 7-9p.m.

The UTWG blog can be found here. You can also check out the UTWG Nano thread.

Toledo-area write-ins are on Thursdays at the Barnes & Noble on Monroe St. from 6-10p.m. or whenever you get there. There will be no write-in on Thanksgiving.

Gearing Up: NaNoWriMo 2012

As some of you may know, National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) will be launching again in just a few short weeks.  Last year, I participated in the 50,000-word challenge and won for the first time, though my first time participating was in 2008.

This year, I’ll be participating again – but I don’t have high hopes of winning.  (Grad school is a bit more pressing at the moment.)  While I won’t be posting (or hosting guests) as much as I did last year, you’ll still find a few helpful resources on my site between now and December.

I’m aiming to post something each Thursday, starting with a guest post by my friend Elizabeth this week.  You can look forward to learning about NaNoPlaMo from her.  You can also look forward to some other NaNoWriMo-related goodies, mainly encouraging pep talks and fun/distracting links.

For now, tell me a little bit about your NaNoWriMo project.  You’ll be learning a bit more about mine when November arrives.