NaNoWriMo 2016: Writing Playlist

nanowrimo_2016_webbadge_participant-180If there’s one single thing I’ve learned over the course of the past several years participating in NaNoWriMo, it’s that a writing playlist is absolutely essential. I write best to a soundtrack, and over the past couple of years that we’ve been brainstorming, my writing partner and I have come up with soundtracks for each book in the series we’re working on.

This month, though, we’re working on A Night Full of Red, and

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NaNoWriMo 2016: Day 7 Complete!


Create Your Own Visited States Map

Day 7 of NaNoWriMo is complete! Final word count: 15,334.

Emi and I are still pretty far ahead of our goals, even though we barely wrote today — the Day 7 goal is 11,667 words. I finally hit the point where I’ve started struggling, although I think it might be due to outside stressors (Election Day) rather than anything inherent.

Still, I’m pretty pleased with some of the stuff we’ve written so far, despite getting stuck mid-scene and needing to walk away or hand off to Emi for a while. Ironically, the most difficult character to write is Dani, who’s the main protagonist of this book. We’ve made good progress, though, and I think it’ll only get better.

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Today’s photo: A generated picture from MapLoco to show what states I’ve been to. You can clearly see approximately where I live based on this map! (Technically, I’ve also been to Georgia, but it was a layover at the Atlanta airport, and I don’t feel like that should count, because I didn’t breathe any of Georgia’s outside air.)

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NaNoWriMo 2016: Day One Complete!

Day One of NaNoWriMo is complete! Final word count: 3,363.

This is about twice the number of words for Day One, so we actually have already gone past the Day Two goal. It’s a good, strong start to this year’s novel, but both of us plan to write more today.

[ Challenge Page ]

Today’s photo: My first successful version of garlic fried rice, although I used a little too much canola oil. Garlic rice is a pretty classic Filipino breakfast dish, although my dad never made it growing up. I learned to make it from this article on Kitchn.

NaNoWriMo 2016: Launchpad

nanowrimo_2016_webbadge_participant-180Every November for the past 8 years, I’ve participated in NaNoWriMo, or National Novel Writing Month. It’s the beginning of November 2016, and today I’ll embark on the first day of my ninth NaNoWriMo project.

NaNo is a 30-day challenge to write 50,000 words, which for a lot of participants is quite a feat, but its real purpose is to bring together writers of every age and type. Continue reading

[Guest Post] Survival of the Easiest

As a veteran Nano and first-time Screnzier, I’ve been thinking a lot about the differences between National Novel Writing Month and Script Frenzy. Mostly, I’ve been thinking about which is easier.

As a seasoned Nanoer, you’d expect me to go with Nanowrimo. After all, I’ve never even written a script before (barring a few five-minute skits I wrote for high school theatre class), while I have roughly half a dozen half-finished novels floating around my bedroom and ideas for at least half a dozen more.  On the Script Frenzy site there’s a forum for Nano-turned-Screnziers, where novelists share the woes of trying to write a script.

Most of these woes have to do with formatting, but I think that’s just silly. Sure, I don’t really know what I’m doing, but that’s what the free version of Celtx is for. Admittedly I still sometimes have questions about how to imbed a flashback in a scene or how to cut away from one room to another room to show simultaneous events, but generally speaking, formatting is pretty easy if you don’t try to do it yourself.

(I did do it myself in class one day when I was handwriting more of my script rather than paying attention to “Death of a Salesman,” but by then I had been using Celtx for a few days and knew what the script should look like. Later that night I brought the paper to Biggby for our write-in, and it made Feliza’s diaphragm contort in hilarity.)

(For those of you who don’t know, that’s the pseudo-scientific way of saying it amused her.)

And then a lot of Nanoers say they have trouble keeping in their head that it’s page-count, not word-count, that matters in Screnzy. To me, that means these people just like doing things the hard way. I mean, come on: 50,000 words (roughly 175 double-spaced pages filled with writing) vs. 100 pages (with lots of space due to formatting). Being the lazy bastard I am, I’ve had no trouble at all thinking in terms of pages instead of words. Consider the difference, here. If you write five words during Nano, you look like this:

Whereas if you write five pages during Screnzy, you look more like this…

Remember: Pages > words.

The only real problem I’m having with Screnzy is the writing itself. The reason being that when I write a novel, I usually have at least most of the scenes and dialogue planned out. Not in a wrote-a-detailed-outline way, but in a daydreamed-about-it-in-my-head way. I visualize while doing the dishes at work or driving. But with this script, I have done very little visualizing, which is probably a bad thing since scripts are extremely visual. So I keep getting stuck because, although I know what’s happening, I don’t know how it’s happening – I don’t have a clear idea of what the setting looks like, how the characters are interacting, or what the characters are saying. But I think that’s a personal problem.

As of Day 10 I should be on page 33.3 (if my math is wrong I’ll use the excuse that all good English teachers use: I don’t teach math), but without any script-writing yet done today I’m on page 40. This is my deciding factor on whether Screnzy or Nano is easier: I am NEVER ahead on Nano. In fact, though I won Nano 2011, I spent most of November behind. I had days when I had to force myself to write at least 2500 words just so I could be almost caught up.

Whereas during Screnzy, most of my tweets are like this one:

I rest my case.

Elizabeth Anderson is an education major at the University of Toledo, specializing in language arts and sciences.  She is a two-time Nanowrimo participant, a first-year Screnzier.  In her spare time she likes to read, write, draw, sing, play piano, take walks, garden, and be generally weird and nerdy.  Check out her blog, Twitter, or Facebook page.

31 October: Current Progress

Happy Halloween!

As I gear up for NaNoWriMo with the rest of the UT Writer’s Guild, I’m wrapping up a few of my long-term projects before November.  Most of them will start over again in December.

  • I’ve decided to work on a new, as-of-now untitled screenplay project.  All I can really tell you is that it’s related to The TECH Project and my first attempt at Script Frenzy in 2009.  And that it’ll be much better than both of those things.
  • This month, I’ve been making some excellent progress on my novel The Final Experiment, which is a direct sequel to The TECH Project and takes place one year after TTP’s conclusion.  I’m more than three-fourths of the way finished transcribing the novel, but I also have to write two full scenes – including an intense battle scene – and there’s a lot of editing to do before I can do anything else with the manuscript.
  • I’m also working on Knitting, a prompt for my Screenwriting class that’s growing into a slightly larger story.  It may go on to do bigger and better things, but for now it’s a 10-minute short film.

And now on to NaNoWriMo!  Here’s what you can look forward to as I update with fair regularity about my progress:

Augustine is a little old-fashioned.  His whole apartment is decorated in neo-Victorian style – but he’s felt for some time now that something’s missing.  He finds that missing element in a back-alley antique store: an ornate brass-framed mirror, faintly scratched.  Thrilled with his find, Augustine hauls it home only to find himself sucked inside – into a strange, almost Victorian world filled with oil-driven and steam-powered machines.

That’s just a brief summary – I have much more outlined!

You can also see in my current sidebar a NaNoWriMo widget.  I’ll keep my word count updated there, too, so you can check my progress as I make it.  I plan to win NaNo for the first time this year!

Will you be participating in National Novel Writing Month this year?  If so, add me as a friend!  You can find me under the username xxfourthelement or in the Toledo regional forums.

NaNoWriMo: Support the Office of Letters and Light in 2011

National Novel Writing Month is a 30-day challenge to complete a 50,000-word novel during the month of November. This November, I’ll be participating in NaNoWriMo as a writer and as a facilitator for my campus writing group’s NaNo activities.

This year, members of the UT Writer’s Guild will be participating in NaNoWriMo through contests, fundraisers, and events held on- and off-campus.  We hope to raise awareness of ourselves as a group as well as awareness for NaNo and the Office of Letters and Light, the non-profit organization that sponsors NaNo.

Each year, the Office of Letters and Light sponsors the Young Writers Program, a writing and educational program for kids and teens to encourage them not only to participate in NaNo but also to become better writers overall.  The Office helps educators participate by offering free educational kits to those who apply for classroom NaNo kits.

But we all know there’s no such thing as a free lunch.

In order to keep the educational kits – and the NaNo website – completely free, the Office of Letters and Light runs almost exclusively on donations.  This year, I’m helping raise money to support the Young Writers Program as an individual and as a UT Writer’s Guild officer.

Please help support my campaign for the Office of Letters and Light – and, through them, their Young Writers Program campaign – by checkout out and donating to my fundraising page.  You can donate in any amount, from $1 up.

Thank you for considering sponsoring OLL on my behalf.  Know that if you participate, you’re helping writers across the world reach their dreams.