Wednesday, October 26, 2011

NaNoWriMo Time

contributed by Nancy Swanson, Editor

NaNoWriMo  http://www.nanowrimo.org/  is coming up, and some of you are going to try again to put together the requisite number of words per day and by the end of the month. Well, good luck to you, and here are some quotations to help and encourage you, mostly from and about famous writers..

Elmore Leonard has written more than 40 novels — as soon as he finishes one, he starts on another. He's famous for his advice for writers. In 2001, he published a piece in The New York Times called "Easy on the Adverbs, Exclamation Points and Especially Hooptedoodle." He gave 10 rules, things like "Never open a book with weather"; "Never use a verb other than 'said' to carry dialogue"; "Avoid detailed descriptions of characters"; and "Try to leave out the parts that readers tend to skip." He wrote: "Think of what you skip reading a novel: thick paragraphs of prose you can see have too many words in them. What the writer is doing, he's writing, perpetrating hooptedoodle, perhaps taking another shot at the weather, or has gone into the character's head, and the reader either knows what the guy's thinking or doesn't care. I'll bet you don't skip dialogue. My most important rule is one that sums up the 10. If it sounds like writing, I rewrite it." 

He said: "I feel that I learned to write Westerns by reading and rereading
 For Whom the Bells Tolls. [...] But I was not influenced by his attitude, thank God. My attitude is much less serious. I see absurdities in serious situations, influenced in this regard by Vonnegut, Richard Bissell, and Mark Harris, and this shows in my writing. It's your attitude that determines your sound, not style."

When Leonard started writing, he was also working as a copy-editor for an advertising agency. He woke up every morning at five to start writing — he wouldn't let himself turn on the coffee pot until he started to write. At work, he would stick his hand in his desk drawer and write in a blank notebook. He wrote five books and 30 short stories that way, before he quit to be a full-time writer. ~from Garrison Keillor’s The Writer’s Almanac for October 11, 2011
  
"I would encourage you all to read, read, read. Just keep reading. And writing is another skill. It's practice. It's practice. The more you write, the better you get. Drafts--our kids are learning the first draft means nothing. You're going to do seven, ten drafts. That's writing, it's not failure, it's not the teacher not liking you because it's all marked up in red. When you get to be a good writer, you mark your own stuff in red, and you rewrite, and you rewrite, and you rewrite. That's what writing is." ~Michelle Obama in a speech on May 25, 2011

"Keep on writing, no matter what! That's the most important thing. As long as you have a job on hand that absorbs all your mental energy, you haven't much worry to spare over other things. It serves as a suit of armor." ~Playwright Eugene O’Neill

20 comments:

Alana Lorens said...

I'm signed up! I'm writing a science fiction/romance with a shapeshifter. Can't wait to see how it comes out!

Lynn Romaine said...

TWRP author trying NaNo for the first time since I've been stopped around writing. Thanks for reminder that all there is to do is keep writing. Coming from Detroit, as Leonard does, I love his gritty approach to his fiction and his writing of it. Reminds me that my dad ran into Leonard once in Detroit where they were making one of his books into a film.

Jennifer Snow Books said...

I would love to do this, but I'm in the rewriting stage of another manuscript currently. Next year for sure!!

Judy said...

This is my fifth year with NaNoWriMo, and I'd recommend it! The thing to remember is--just get the words down. First drafts are notoriously bad--rewriting and revising is a given. But just having those words in front of you is a great motivator!

Calisa Rhose said...

*waves at Nan* I wrote for my first Nano in 2005 and got 40K in that month. I'd been writing seriously at that time for about 6 months. It was awesome to discover I could write every day no matter what was going on in the house around me. My kids learned that "Mom is writing- do not bother" for that month. Wonderful experience. I haven't been able to join since, except once with a previously started ms that has yet to see an ending. I want to do this but it seems like I start a new wip weeks before Nov 1st every year! Maybe one day I'll learn to sit on an idea and save it for Nano. :)

Mackenzie Crowne said...

Giving it a shot, since I'm ready to go on my next WIP. We'll see how I do with an actual time frame.

Cate Masters said...

I signed up for my third NaNo this year. Even if I don't make 50k, I'll have a good start on a novel!

Mimi Barbour said...

Decided to sign up this year because I've been so focused on pronmoting my books, I've been bad and haven't started writing the next one. NaNoWriMo should get me back on track. Last year I wrote my Christmas book and edited in two months so I think I'm a good candidate and I do have the characters and some of the conflicts they'll face nicely tucked away in my head. Now just to find where I stuck'em!...sigh!

Theresa Stillwagon said...

I've had a sequel in mind since I released my one and only book with TWRP. Hopefully I can get the first draft written finally.
I'm so looking forward to NaNo.
Good luck everyone.

Larry Hammersley said...

Hi Nan: I've never tried NaNo. I'm not sure as I have six novels already, none of which has made it out of the slush pile. I waste a lot of time daily when I could be writing. I have five days in which to mull over a novel possibility if I'm going to do this. I wrote my last novel in four months. It is being considered by Wild Rose now.

LaVerne Clark said...

I'm signed up too! Yay - good to see some potential writing buddies here : )

I'm one of those writers that needs a deadline. Not so good on a self-imposed deadline, so NaNo, here I come!

Good luck everyone!

Debra St. John said...

I tried this one year, but didn't get very far. November is shaping up to be a busy month, but I might add one more thing to the to-do pile every day and sign up this year again.

Maybe this will be the kick-in-the-pants I need to get going on a new mss.

DebraStJohn

Babette James said...

I love NaNo! I've participated each year since 2004 and it's an energizing experience every time. I'm looking forward to getting another nice rough draft this year for a contemporary romance I have in mind.

stanalei said...

It's all about deadlines, whether you're planning for NaNoWriMo, getting pages ready for a contest, or polishing for the editor. Decide and do it. Good luck to all those giving it shot this year. May it be your best year yet. I know I'm going for it.

Margaret Tanner said...

Hi Nancy,
Very interesting and informative blog. Some great quotes there.

Regards

Margaret

L M Gonzalez said...

Hi Nancy and everybody,
I'm joining NANO this year. In 2009 I wrote 30,000 words of a novel. [Which I have yet to finish. Don't laugh at me, Rhonda.] LOL

I know you're supposed to write "new" stuff, but I want to finish what I started in 2009!!

Clare Austin said...

All great advice. I'm one of the rare readers who read the long paragraphs, so I have to rein myself in when it comes to not writing them!

Rebecca Grace said...

I signed up yesterday. I'm working on a new suspense and hope to have it done by the end of the month. For the past two years November has given me a forward push to continue on into the new year. It's liberating to keep writing new words every day instead of constantly re-writing or editing.

Sherry Gloag said...

Love the sense of comeraderie that you get during NaNo. Even if I had no one on my buddy list just knowing several hundred thousands of other people are aiming for the same goals at the same time gives me a buzz.
An added bonus? Had two of my NaNo efforts published - The first by The Wild Rose press!

Rhonda Penders said...

I wish all of you happy writing this November!

Rhonda