Last post, I said that you really should read the pep talks. Don’t do what I did last November and disregard most of them. Yes, some of them may not impress you, but some of them can also put a huge smile on your face. There were some YWP pep talks that I read this month that made me grin and then type at double speed for as long as my small fingers could hold up. (Curse genetics for giving me midget features!) Oh, I should add that not all of the pep talks are out yet on either website. For example, I’m looking forward to Marissa Meyer’s because her now-published book began as a NaNovel, but her pep talk hasn’t been posted yet.
In particular, I want to thank Lois Lowry and Kate DiCamillo. Lowry’s pep talk reminded me of her novel The Giver because she kept suggesting alternatives for words as the main character, Jonas, does. I love that book and that character. I also love her point: just get your story down first; choosing exactly the right words can wait until a little later. Although Lowry is my favorite author out of all of 2012’s pep talkers, DiCamillo’s pep talk was my favorite. She tells us to write for all the people who doubt us and say that NaNoWriMo is stupid. She says, “Write for all of those people who are not brave enough to try to do this grand and wondrous thing themselves. Let them motivate you.” I mainly write for myself, but I also write to amuse and inspire other people. Some people have to be authors – otherwise, we wouldn’t have any new books. But I don’t feel like I have to be an author or that being an author is a chore, just that if I can write decently and am motivated, I’m going to use that talent and that thought.
I think that an update on my NaNoWriMo progress is long overdue, seeing as how I haven’t written anything about actually writing my novel since the first day of NaNo. Things are going well for my novel and I. I suspect that the final draft of The Strange Ones may end up being around 75,000 words instead of 50,000 because I have quite a lot of explanation about the magical world. I’m also finding that some of my scenes are a lot longer than I imagined they would be. Eight hundred words for a really big scene isn’t realistic – eight thousand might be more like it. Well, so I haven’t written any scenes that long, but I think that my battle scene at the end will run long.
I like my main character, Amanda, much better than I’ve liked some of my other protagonists. However, my favorite character is unexpectedly my evil guy, Chuck. I know that Chuck isn’t an evil name; that’s why I picked it. He’s a buffoon with weird quirks/compulsions. He’s paranoid. He’s awesome. I think that my Chuck scenes are the best in this whole entire parody. Another reason that my novel might end up being longer is that I may write a bunch of Chuck scenes because I love him so much.
I meant for The Strange Ones to be an epistolary novel, told in multiple formats. However, I think it’s easier to write all in narrative form from either Amanda’s or Chuck’s perspectives. When I revise my novel, I’ll change that. So – I’m having a lot of fun this month. I have a much better of what I am doing than I did last November. I have over 30,000 words now and that’s five thousand more than my entire novel was last year.
Hey, I just realized that tonight is the Night of Writing Dangerously! It’s this NaNo event in San Francisco that sounds like a lot of fun. However, it costs quite a bit of money to go there and I’m kind of halfway across the country without my own private plane. (Or a flying carpet.) I think I’ll settle for a local write-in; but first, I need to look up when the next one is and see if my parents will take me.
Now, I’m going to try my hand at writing a pep talk!
“I guess you can do NaNoWhatsit, but why do you have to write a novel all in one month? You can write a novel any time and it doesn’t have to be all in a month.” So go many of the NaNoWriMo-related conversation that my mother and I have. (No offense, Mom! [Insert a winning smile here.] I’m not mad at you, just using you to make a point.) First, she never get the name right, or pretends not to know what it’s called to pull my leg. Second, she raises a good point. I’ve asked myself that question many times.
Why do we do NaNoWriMo? I mean, when I really think about it, there is no point. Right? I’m sure that some authors can write a novel in a month; their books might even be good. But most authors take months or more often years to perfect a book. So why are we even bothering with this? Do we all have a death wish to go crazy while balancing schoolwork/a job/both, NaNo, and whatever else?
Well, my fellow NaNoers, I think I have the answer! I wrote that most authors take years to perfect a book. NaNoWriMo is not about perfection and anyone who thinks that it is needs to realize this.
So what is NaNo about? It’s about getting a story out of the dark. When I participate in NaNo, I take a story that’s been dwelling inside the cave of my head for a while and I take it for a nice walk outside. (How’s that for a cool metaphor? Actually, it’s making me think of my novel as Gollum, which is icky and not what I wanted. Argh, I can’t get that image out of my head now!) I put that story on paper – or rather, in a computer file – and I see where it goes. I write. And write. And then, guess what I do? I write some more. I write until my story is finished, until my brain doesn’t have anything more for me to spill out onto the computer screen.
I do need NaNoWriMo. I have many story ideas in my head and a penchant for leaving things until the last minute. Just ask my parents. NaNo gives me a kick in the pants by forcing me to actually write the story. I have various stories that I wouldn’t have written were it not for NaNo.
NaNoWriMo means many things to many people, but one thing that it should not mean to anyone is perfection. NaNo is about getting a kick in the pants to write a story that otherwise may never have been written. The point is to get your story down on paper or onscreen; the really important work of revising and perfecting your story takes place after November. However, you won’t have a NaNo story to perfect if you never do NaNo.
So, NaNoers, don’t worry if your story isn’t shaping up to be quite what you dreamed it would be. Dreams are just that – dreams, not reality. Congratulations on making your dream of writing a story come true. Focus on that, not on whether your story is perfect. It probably isn’t, at least not right now. Just concentrate on writing it and when you’re finished, you’ll have something to perfect and make into a dream.
And thanks, Mom. By the way, thanks for giving me a kick in the pants to finish that online English class. I’m heading off to do that right now.
What did you think? Tell me in the comments below!