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Another NaNoWriMo! November 2, 2010

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It is that time of year again. You know, when your writer friends start to act a bit strange. Or rather, stranger than usual. You soon learn the signs, the stifled yawns, the glazed eyes, the rubbing of cramped fingers, the barely suppressed excitement.  Yes, it is NaNoWriMo time again.

In case you have been hiding under a rock, or just don’t have any writer friends (poor you) NaNoWriMo is a wonderful international novel writing adventure. People from around the world set aside November to write a novel. 50 000 words in 30 days!

150 000 people have already signed up this year. Some people have already reached 10 000 words; although most of us are happy to have hit our first day’s target of 1 667 words. And others are still hesitating, wondering why they decided to do this.

If you are still wondering – or have only just discovered this awesome concept and want to get involved, then head over to http://www.nanowrimo.org and join in the fun.

Counting down the days… September 6, 2010

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It is now less than two months until November. Which means it is time to start getting into nanowrimo mode.

Watch this space for updates…

Daily Dose of Sunshine May 18, 2010

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I walk to work. It is something I quite enjoy, particularly the homeward journey as it gives me a chance to clear my head and stretch my legs. The trip to work is a bit harder. Not only is it too early in the morning for me, but most of the way is uphill.

By the time I reach the top of the appropriately named Hill Street I need to stop for a minute to catch my breath. This also gives me a chance to read the board giving the headline for a certain daily newspaper. I have to admit that I have never read this paper, but if the headlines – and its reputation – are anything to go by it specialises in tabloid style sensationalism. (Which is why I will not mention the name, I would hate to get sued, or feature in one of their articles:)

I love reading the headlines. They get my day off to a good start. Everyone needs a daily dose of surrealism in order to maintain a sense of reality. Well, that is my opinion anyway. I am able to amuse myself for the rest of the walk wondering what the often cryptic headline actually means. Because so many of the headlines are bizarre, even when I actually know what it refers to, my imagination supplies much more interesting stories.

For example a recent headline roared: Reggae Test for Bafana. I had happened to watch the news on TV the previous evening so knew that the national soccer team had a match against Jamaica. But I rather preferred the immediate mental image of the soccer players in dreads having to sing good reggae before they were allowed on the team.

Some recent gems have included – Taxi boss crashes into himself – Gogo’s leave evil village – Win a taxi worth R300 000 – Death for breakfast.  And my personal favourite which claimed: Chicken bites cooks. That one almost made me buy the paper.

I am quite tempted to use these headlines as writing prompts and suspect they could lead to some very interesting, if slightly strange, short stories. Or even better, my next nanowrimo novel could be based on the daily headline.  I can just imagine what I would end up with.  Watch this space in November and see what the headlines have to say…

The Play’s the Thing March 3, 2010

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Having barely got back the use of my fingers after the frenzied writing and typing of NaNoWriMo, it is time to start thinking about the frenzy that is Script Frenzy

Yes, the crazy folks who brought you National Novel Writing Month and inspired 100 000 people to write a novel, in a month, are back. This time they are challenging people to write 100 pages of a play, film script, tv show or graphic novel. In a month. This time the magic month is April.

I am tempted. I have always wanted to write a play. And seeing as I watch so many movies why not try to write one. Or adapt one of my favourite books for the stage or screen. It could be fun.

It could be crazy. I am super busy at work, I have a poetry journal to edit and a writing class to teach. And I am meant to be putting together my next poetry book. Oh yes, and finishing last year’s nanowrimo novel. I don’t have time for this.

Which means I will probably end up doing it. Or at least signing up and seeing how far I go. I even have an idea. Gulp. Something I thought of last October but which seemed better suited to be a play than a novel.  Even if I never finish the play, I am sure to learn a lot about writing. And might end up with a short story if not a play. Plus – it could be fun.

To script or not to script? That is the question…

Nano News November 23, 2009

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As you might have noticed, there have not been any entries here this month.  So much for my grand plans to post daily updates of my nanowrimo progress.

Yesterday I reached 30 000 words. I am still behind, but if I can manage to write 3000 words every day I should finish in time. This would be good.

But even if I don’t reach the magical 50 000 words target, I will have a fat manuscript to work on. I have been carrying this story around in my head for many months, some parts of it for several years. Despite all my good intentions to write it down, something always gets in the way.

Which is where nanowrimo becomes so powerful. I have a month to be a novelist, to focus on my writing, to write furiously – and really fast. To get rid of my inner editor and stop worrying about wether what I am writing is good enough. If I wrote something, that is good.

And surprisingly good stuff appears, in amongst some very strange sections and several pages of writing so bad it would make me weep, were it not for being nanowrimo when quantity is so much more important than quality. If I had the luxury of long periods to think, to ponder the plot, I would become frustrated and irritated with plot and characters. But in the pressure cooker environment I can’t stop, or leave it until I feel like writing, or feel particularly inspired. Instead I just have to sit down and write. Which is when the writing starts to take over and things get really interesting.

Who knows what will happen in the next 20 000 words. I certainly don’t. But I am looking forward to finding out.

A novel way to spend November October 26, 2009

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November is almost here. Which is cause for excitement for many people. Not because it is one month closer to Christmas. No, it is because November is the month for NaNoWriMo.

Nanowhat? you might be asking.

The answer is NaNoWriMo – National Novel Writing Month. This is an international writing challenge where participants will aim to write a 50 000 word novel in 30 days.

This might sound crazy, but is quite doable. And a lot of fun. And a little crazy. But in a good way.

If you have always wanted to write a novel, but never got round to it, or have been too afraid or busy to start, then this is the ideal opportunity. Nothing like a deadline to get things moving.

This will be my fifth year of writing. I will update my progress here, but will be spending most of my time writing frantically or hanging out at the fun forums at www.nanowrimo.org. Why don’t you join me?