The Write Experience

So the basic premise is to capture the experience of participating in National Novel Writing Month (hereafter, NaNoWriMo) for the very first time.  Some of you may be aware of the fact that I have been writing for a while… since I was a wee bastard, and that my writing has, at times, acquired me a certain notoriety… I’m thinking Malo here (Malo was an independent comic book I wrote back in the early 00s, and it was a chauvinistic masterpiece of paranormal mayhem).  I’ve written an uncountable number of short stories over the years, none of which are in any way, shape, or form suitable for publication… but then, publication was never the goal – expression was.  Really, publication still isn’t the goal but the desire to write stories that will someday be read by at least my friends and family has finally won out.  Would I publish?  Sure, if the opportunity presented itself.  Can I publish?  Probably not with what I have right now – my written expression is more art than craft, so it’s not exactly what I would consider accessible or audience friendly.

Enter NaNoWriMo…

Like most wanna-be writers I have been kicking around the idea of writing a novel since the first time I held one; my immersion was so complete that I thought, “I have to do this.” (and I owe a debt to Ray Bradbury for that)  Well, the back-burner is so full of false starts and never-be’s which have accumulated over the years it’s embarrassing… especially since I got so spoiled writing comic book scripts (especially lean comic books scripts, since I was often dialog-ing pre-illustrated pages) the idea of long form prose really got sent way down on the priority ladder.  Actually that didn’t do as much damage as the self-imposed word economy I exercised while writing poetry… it was a deliberate deconstruction of the what little prose techniques I had learned up to then; an exercise in lyrical storytelling with little regard for form – this after I learned to write poetry in traditional schemes, and found it made me feel claustrophobic.

I digress (and I do that a lot)…  Oh yes, NaNoWriMo.  One evening, at work, I saw a poster laying on a book truck announcing National Novel Writing Month in November, and it intrigued me enough to search it in Google which brought me to the NaNoWriMo site (http://www.nanowrimo.org).  I read all about the premise of the competition (which isn’t a competition) and just got excited.  I’m working on another novel (a paranormal novel) and I decided that I would put it aside to participate in the NaNoWriMo event (one of the rules is that you start with a fresh idea)… I mean, what the hell, right?  I wanted to write a novel, and here was a chance for me to devote the month of November to do exactly that.  That thing that I kept putting off for every reason under the sun… now the opportunity, the right excuse, was staring me square in the face and I had no choice but to hunker down and do it – “shit or get off the pot,” so to speak.  So I signed up, created an account and visited the website daily to watch the timer count down to November 1.

I didn’t sit entirely idle: I picked a topic, did some research, defined a cast of characters, and wrote the loosest outline I have ever produced (considering that I rarely produce an outline in the first place, this was an indication that I was taking this seriously)… aside from that I decided that I would write by the seat of my pants… and I also decided that I would attend the kick-off event at the Central Library; and I’m really glad I did.  It was chaotic – there was another event taking place that night and the NaNoWriMo Kick-off write-in got booted around a little (finally coming to rest in the Story Time Room), but I got to sit next to J-Neg (NaNoWriMo handle), a 2010 winner; and hang with my chum, Liana.  I also had the pleasure of making the acquaintance of Amaikokonut (NaNoWriMo handle), a swank cat named, Ben (with the grooviest iPad skin I’ve ever seen), and Handsome Jim (NaNoWriMo handle), the NaNoWriMo area rep.  Knowing that you’re not alone in the crazy shit you decide to do is the best thing that can happen when you embark on a dumb thing like writing a novel in 30 days.

So that brings me to the purpose of this blog: I wanted to capture the experience for posterity, and in the hopes that it might encourage someone else to give NaNoWriMo a shot (next year).  I also wanted a repository for the stuff I learn along the way.  I’ve read a few books here and there on writing, and for the most part I find them to be so completely full of shit it’s almost unbearable.  Writing is art, art is creating, and creating – the best kind of creating – is instinctual.  Yes, you have to learn how to write in the mechanical sense, but I’ve found that trying to learn technique is futile.  Things like plotting and structure and characterization and descriptive techniques can be learned, but writing is one of those miraculous little things you just feel.  Hopefully someone will benefit from my journey; at the moment eight days and a little over 16,000 words old (the NaNoWriMo goal is 50,000 words by November 30).  I’ll see where this journey takes me, and you’re invited along for the ride.

By the way: the stuff I write in here is going to be raw… there will likely be instances of triumph, and instances of abject misery; I have absolutely no intention to sugar-coat anything… fair warning.

Cheers!

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