Wednesday, October 28, 2015

NaNoWriMo is nearly upon us!

Here it is, friends, the mother of all writing challenges: National Novel Writing Month! We've come to that time of year where we writers all realize that we are days away from Day 1 and have not come up with a single idea! Hooray, the pressure is on!
Well, let's all take a breath, shall we? 30 days to write 50,000 words is really not an insurmountable challenge. That amounts to roughly 1600 words a day, or two double-spaced pages! Who can't ramble on for two pages everyday? Even if you take breaks, fourteen pages a week is really not so bad. Remember, you're making the whole thing up! It's not a book report or research paper; we're talking about a work of fiction here! 

This is probably the right time to answer the question that several people have asked me: 
"Where did the idea for your book come from?"

Well, I'll tell you: it came to me on a walk. Ready for the full confession? I was supposed to be passing out flyers for a job, but instead disappeared for a few [several] hours and just wandered around the neighborhood. Alone with my thoughts on a beautiful summer day, I let my imagination wander, and I envisioned this scene that I feel must have been inspired by some Hitler satire I saw somewhere once. Anyway, here's the scene:

A bunch of noble-types are sitting around this table, getting chewed out by Duke Calus Grey, who simply cannot understand how it is so impossible to capture a simple pirate -- a pirate that, as my tens of fans already know, is operating in a country devoid of a sea border. The Grey Callus of Castletop was originally envisioned as this short-fused, bumbling royal strongman desperate to get any respect from those above him. The story was supposed to be a ridiculous farce, but instead became the humorous character-driven adventure that it is now. If you haven't gotten that far in the book yet, I won't spoil it, but I will say this: Calus Grey became a very competent, lethal, ruthless force of a man, and possibly one of the best villains I've ever created. Quite the turn from that original idea, huh?

Why am I sharing all of this, and what does any of it have to do with NaNoWriMo? Well, aside from finally getting around to answering that burning question about my inspiration for Pirate in Theory, I wanted to point out that the seeds of an idea likely won't match the final product. The important thing is that you start writing, because without writing, a slapstick pirate comedy will never become a rollicking fantasy adventure filled with magic and intrigue! Oh yeah, that's right: there was never going to be magic in the PiT universe. I'm glad I changed my mind on that!

So, clear your mind, pour your favorite beverage, get comfortable, and just. Start. Writing. It can be nonsensical rambling or heavy introspection; the important thing is that you start putting down some words. Fingers to keys, pen to paper, stylus to monitor, it doesn't matter; what matters is that you write! Make mistakes. Hell, riddle the page with grammatical errors! As any of the poor bastards that have been my beta readers can attest, I'm nothing if not a consistent abuser of homonyms. They're, their, there, stair, stare, its, it's, where, wear, were... I swap all of them all the time. Editing is a nightmare, but that does not matter, because the goal of NaNoWriNo isn't to complete your final draft in 30 days; it's to complete your story. And if you truly go for the long form, then it's not even about finishing that: get to 50,000 words! You can do this if you just make a little time and do it.

I'm planning on it. Right now my biggest decision is whether to complete something I've started or dive into something brand new. I think I'm going to uphold the spirit of the challenge and write something new, but the excitement to finish one of these waiting projects is too great to ignore. The point is that come December 1st, I want to look back and say, "Yesterday, I wrote my fifty-thousandth word. Today, I might as well jot down fifty-thousand-and-one!"

Who's with me?


Interested? Click here for more info on NaNoWriMo!

Small correction: my "700 words a page" calculation actually came from a single-spaced document. Still, no big deal! You can hammer out 4 pages a day! If I keep this footnote's font size small, you might not even notice the error until it's too late. Mwahahahaha.....

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