NaNoWriMo 2013: Halfpoint Update

2013-Participant-Square-ButtonWe’re a couple days past the halfway point for NaNoWriMo, and it’s time for an update!

Sadly, I am NOT at my personal halfway point in terms of wordcount: at 9,209 words, I’m still pretty short for the month. For the day, I still have plenty of time to catch up, but I should have reached 12,500 on Friday – I’m pretty behind.

I would probably attribute my difficulties this year to two things. First off, my classwork this semester has been pretty mentally and creatively exhausting. Mental fatigue usually begets creative fatigue, and it’s really been sapping me out.

Second, this year I decided to try writing in an unfamiliar format. Maybe not the best of ideas. While I’m really familiar with screenplay and stageplay format, I don’t have a great concept of what needs to go into a graphic novel script, so it’s more difficult than it needs to be. Another problem on that front is that I’m visualizing the project more similarly to a movie or a TV show, which doesn’t help – it’s hard to figure out how to describe motions when the final product isn’t an in-motion sort of thing.

Overall, though, this first month has been a total learning experience for me, and I’m glad I decided to do NaNoWriMo again this year – even if I’m not doing as well as I’ve done in previous years.

I’ll try and keep updating a bit, though it may be difficult for this November. How are you all doing with your NaNoWriMo manuscripts so far?

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NaNoWriMo 2013: Writing Playlist

We’re ending the first full week of NaNoWriMo, so to get things moving, I wanted to share the playlist I’m using to motivate myself this year. Every time I do NaNoWriMo (or Script Frenzy or Camp NaNo), I make a playlist I can listen to that inspires the work either in terms of setting, character, or what have you.

This year, I tried to stick with songs from the late 90’s up to 2006, since my project takes place between August 2005 and May 2006. A couple later songs snuck in, but most of the songs fit those criteria.

  1. A New Beginning – Good Charlotte
  2. Bring It (Snakes on a Plane) – Cobra Starship
  3. Where Is The Love – The Black Eyed Peas
  4. I Knew You Were Trouble – Taylor Swift
  5. The Great Escape – Boys Like Girls
  6. Mobile – Avril Lavigne
  7. Holiday – Green Day
  8. Secret Valentine – We The Kings
  9. Nobody’s Fool – Avril Lavigne
  10. The Only Difference Between Martyrdom and Suicide is Press Coverage – Panic! at the Disco
  11. Pressure – Paramore
  12. Pump It – The Black Eyed Peas
  13. Take Me Out (live) – Franz Ferdinand
  14. Born For This – Paramore
  15. You’re Gonna Go Far, Kid – The Offspring
  16. Sweetness – Jimmy Eat World

My word count progress the morning of Saturday, November 9 is 5,430. What’s your current NaNoWriMo word count? What music is driving you this year?

Welcome to NaNoWriMo 2013!

2013-Participant-Facebook-ProfileAnother year means another NaNoWriMo project – and that’s always a ton of fun!  This year, I’ll do a little bit of explaining throughout the month to show precisely what I’ll be up to and different things I’m doing to encourage myself.  I hope it encourages you, too!

This year, I’m doing things differently than normal: instead of a 50,000-word novel, I plan to work on a graphic novel script with a personal word count goal of 25,000.  The project is actually a rewrite and adaptation of a project I did a few years ago for Script Frenzy – except this time, it’s not a movie script but one for a graphic novel.

This year’s NaNoWriMo theme seems to be retro video games, which makes my superhero-themed graphic novel script project even more appropriate than usual!  This month, I plan to have a few fun posts for everyone:

  • This year’s NaNoWriMo playlist
  • Halfpoint Progress
  • Influences and ideas for reworking and revamping
  • Final Update

This year’s manuscript is currently titled Project Ex: Welcome to the Academy and is the first volume in a four-part graphic novel series.  Welcome to the Academy follows six new students at an academy for supersoldiers as they are assigned to the same bottom-ranked team and strive for the top spot.  I’m not sure how long the graphic novel will actually be, and I’ve never tried a graphic novel script before – so we’ll see what happens!

What is your NaNoWriMo project for this year?  What do you think is the most exciting thing about NaNoWriMo?  More importantly, what music will you be listening to for NaNoWriMo this year?

Prepare Yourself! NaNoWriMo 2013

It’s that time of year again: NaNoWriMo is almost upon us.  Writing and literacy are some of my most passionate topics, and NaNoWriMo (hosted by the nonprofit Office of Letters and Light) brings those things together to make something bigger and brighter.

In my five years participating in NaNoWriMo and its siblings, Camp NaNoWriMo and the now-defunct Script Frenzy, I’ve picked up on a few lessons that helped make each event more fun, more engaging, and overall a better experience, and I think it’s time to share those.

#1: Write What You Can

As a graduate student (and a person who has been in school every single year of NaNo, Camp NaNo, and Script Frenzy participation), I can say that one of the most important parts of NaNoWriMo is to write what you can and not to neglect the rest of your life. It’s so tempting to ignore that homework or call out a day from your job to fit in more time to write – but putting off real-world things like your education and earning money probably won’t help you in the long run.

The first lesson for NaNoWriMo I’ve learned over the years is to write what you can, when you can.  If that means only 250 words fit into half an hour before you head to work in the morning, that’s what it means.  If it means alternating between that horrendous term paper and your novel, that’s what it means.

While I’ve been participating in different events every year since 2008, I sometimes drop out in the middle of the month or set a low word count goal for myself in order to do what needs to be done.  And that’s okay.  NaNoWriMo is about creating better writing habits and making new friends – and that’s something I always manage to do.

#2: Push Yourself

Of course, by “write what you can,” I don’t mean “write only in your comfort zone.”

NaNoWriMo is itself about breaking free of your comfort zone: it’s a special person indeed who can say they’re COMFORTABLE writing 50,000 words in a single month. But NaNoWriMo isn’t just about writing lots of words: it’s about pushing yourself as a writer and as a creative individual.

Sometimes that means creating an annoying, despicable protagonist or a misguided-good-guy antagonist. Maybe it means writing a genre you’re not familiar with, or experimenting with formats outside the standard prose novel: a novel in verse, an epistolary novel, or maybe a transition to a script for a graphic novel.

Don’t forget to go beyond the boundaries you set for yourself this year during NaNoWriMo.  What are you doing different this year?

#3: Find a Community

You can make some fantastic friends and connections by engaging with the NaNoWriMo community, which has grown bigger over time. I’ve participated in NaNoWriMo since 2008 and am going on my 5th year – since then, I’ve been able to meet some really cool people, like Mike and Elizabeth.

There are a few ways to join the community. First is the community on the NaNoWriMo forums. While there are more than enough forums to occupy all of your November, try and focus on the communities you appreciate best. Sometimes that’s your Home Region’s forums; other times, it may work better for you to get involved in discussions for your age group or in the genre you’re writing in.

Another great way to join a NaNo community is to check out physical locations or location-based groups near you hosting write-ins or other events. Several colleges and universities host events, and many a Barnes & Noble has write-ins. Other times, you can find indie bookstores or coffee shops that sponsor events. (Unfortunately, it’s difficult to find NaNo groups outside major cities at times.)

If you have your own circle of local NaNo friends, that’s fine, too! You can always host your own write-in or kickoff party, and if you’re interested in other events, you could even host your own Night of Writing Dangerously.

What events will you be hosting, organizing, or attending this year? Have you made any friends through NaNoWriMo?