NaNoWriMo 2011

For anyone who stumbles across this post in the distant future, here is the start of my story.

In an effort to try to start writing more (and at the insistence of a number of annoyingly persistent friends), I’ve decided I’m going to participate in National Novel Writing Month this year. Yes, it’s a lot of work. No, I don’t really have time for this. Yes, I’m going to do it anyways.

For the uninitiated, NaNoWriMo is an exercise whereby you torture yourself write a novel in a month — for the purposes of whoever came up with this thing, a novel is defined as 50,000 words. That’s approximately 1700 words per day, or just under four pages. It’s entirely unclear whether I’m going to even come close to that goal, but at this point, I’m not going to stress about it that much if I don’t reach 50,000 words. My primary goal for the month of November is to write (and finish) a story that is longer than my norm. I have only ever finished short stories — about 5-10 pages max — so I think it will be good for me to try to take a story through a longer arc.

Now, here’s where it gets interesting: I’m going to be “live”-blogging my story. Basically, once I’ve finished writing for the day, I’m going to give myself a few read-throughs to proof-read and make sure I’m not doing something completely stupid, and then I’m going to post it up here for the world to read. So, for the month of November, you can basically expect one update a day (I’m going to be traveling for a few days here and there, so I may not be able to stick to that schedule exactly, but in theory it should be close).

Now, here’s where it gets really interesting: I don’t have the faintest clue what my story will be about. No plot. No characters. Nothing. My plan is to create a few (between four and six, I don’t know exactly yet) characters, place them in some kind of interesting (translation: uncomfortable and conflict-generating) setting, and seeing what happens. I’ve never done anything like this before at all, but I have several ideas about how I’m going to make it all work without pulling my hair out. If all goes well, I will post one (or more) NaNo deconstruction posts sometime in December after I glue my typing fingers1 back on.

Here is all of the information that I currently do know about the story:

  • The setting is going to be some kind of fantasy setting, because that’s what I know best. I’ll probably be making the rest up as I go along.
  • I have it on good authority that there will be a Troll named Percival
  • I will use English words most of the time

Sounds intriguing, right? Oh, do real writers have more of a hook than that? Oh. Oops. Oh well. One final thing for any of the readers that made it this far2: I do have a couple of tiny requests:

  • Please leave me comments! Part of the goal of this exercise is to improve my writing, so anything you say will be very helpful for me3.
  • If you leave me comments asking what will happen next, chances are good that you will know about as much about what’s going to happen in tomorrow’s story as I do, so don’t expect a useful response.
  • If you leave me comments telling me what I should do next, I will probably ignore them and do the opposite. If you try to use reverse psychology on me and tell me the opposite of what you think I should do, I will use my ESP powers to hunt you down and make you write “I do not like green eggs and ham! I will not eat them, Sam-I-am!” 800 billion times.

So that is NaNo for this year. You can look for your first post next Tuesday, November 1! In the meantime, you can read this short story that I wrote a few months back about space invaders.
1 That would be all of my fingers.
2 Shame on you. I’m not that interesting.
3 Don’t be mean.

6 Comments

  • Tessa S wrote:

    Sounds awesome! I look forward to reading your results – if your DM storytelling skill is any indication, they will be good. I think you’re still my favorite DM ever, as far as story and weaving together of characters and plot goes.

  • Thanks! This experience will be a lot like DMing for me, except that I’ll be in control of both the characters and the plot. So that should be interesting — I actually have plans to utilize a lot of my DMing tricks to make things go faster in terms of story development. Will be interesting to see how it turns out.

  • Ummmm… The use of footnotes is deplorable… :D, but I suppose you can use them.

  • Your mom is deplorable.

  • You better watch what you say about my mom…

  • Yea, or what?

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