ON WRITING

“It’s very easy to quit during the first ten years of writing. Nobody cares whether you write or not, and it’s very hard to write when nobody cares one way or the other. You can’t get fired if you don’t write, and most of the time you don’t get rewarded if you do. But don’t quit.” Andre Dubus

Saturday, 5 November 2011

The End is Nigh (of week one NaNoWriMo) - how far did I get with my new novel? Well, I did some research...

I've received one or two snide remarks about why I do NaNoWriMo every year, but I have one answer - I love to research! And every November I get all fired up about a story idea, then I dive in, finding out all I can. Well, this is my favourite part of story writing. How about you?

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First thing, I struggled home with two bursting library bags of goodies.

Then, I was helping one of my students do a Comedy assignment this week. We were looking for examples of one liners. I found a beauty - 'When we steal someone's idea it's called plagarism. When we steal a lot of ideas it's called research.' Don't you love it?

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Next, I spread the books out on the bed...

Unfortunately the research I'm doing for this novel  is depressing beyond words. You might see a woman in a blue burqa on the cover of the book in the foreground. Well, that's often how Afghani women are referred to: 'There go the burqas down the street.' And the war books, the journalist's reports, the soldier's blogs - "killing a hillful"...man, this is so tough!

But I've managed to get over 3,000 words written, way behind the amount expected. My research is changing my original premise. What I've written may be pretty vomitus, but editing can wait. That's what NaNo's all about. Get the words down, worry about that inner editor screaming at you later!





40 comments:

  1. Just get as many words down as you can. :o)

    I'm not doing the challenge, but I AM trying to get the true story book done. I just had an epiphany this morning, and will have two "novelette" length stories instead of only one. The first is our Russian friend's story that I'm ghost writing. This will be the only ghost written story The others are mine, including another "novelette" length memoir, the one I was going to do about my brother which is all but written and fits in the collection beautifully, as I realized this morning. There are two short "stories" called, guess what, On the Road, the book's title, and another "story," my "Ozark Memory." I'm seeing bright light at the end of the tunnel. My friend Maureen will read the manuscript next week for content (I know how busy you are) and then it's to formatting for Kindle and Smashwords. It comes to 40,000+ words. I'm excited. Relief is in sight!

    Happy, happy, happy writing to you too, sis!!!
    Ann Best, Author of In the Mirror, A Memoir of Shattered Secrets

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  2. Ann: Say all that quickly and you sound like a writing machine! I'm so pleased your writing projects are coming together so well! Good for you! I would still be happy to read for you! Never too busy for that delight!

    Denise

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  3. Really not too busy? I don't really believe that, but I would love to take you up on the offer. Can I send it and you squeeze it in when you have time? I just need you to read for content/does it make sense (did I stick anything screwy into it with my cutting and pasting) and not the "little" stuff which I can fix. I would LOVE it if you could do that for me.

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  4. Send it over on the next plane! D

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  5. I'm not doing Nano this year but I did it last year and yes, research is a big part of it and the fact that I take on projects that I don't normally take on. Hope you have success. Have fun researching.

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  6. Clarissa: I will eventually!

    Denise

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  7. I'm also doing Nano but not officially. I'm aiming for 2,000 words a day 6 days a week. I punch away in the morning, then research any time after that. If I don't get the 50,000 down, It's still a good motivator.

    Oh yes, that editing hat keeps landing on my head. Have no idea how it gets there. ;)

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  8. ACERTAINBOOK:Go you. It's too hard to ignore that editor! D

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  9. I'm doing Nano this year. I'll crank out as many words as I can and that's all I can do. Not too concerned about hitting 50,000 words. If I do half that much I'll be very happy.

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  10. Nano would send me stark raving...

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  11. Stephen: You have the right attitude. I hope you do well!

    Al: Ha, you only think that!

    Denise

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  12. I'm not doing NaNo this year (after five novels in two years, I'm tired!), but I do love it. Right now I'm researching, and I'm starting by reading books set in and written in the time period I'm focusing on. So much fun!

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  13. Amie: I'm with you there. Love the research. I might just keep on researching and forget to write!

    Denise

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  14. Hi Denise! Good to hear you're cranking along. I'm pretty happy about NaNo so far. Starting to get into the groove. Best of lucky to you and happy researching!

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  15. Meh. I'm supposedly doing NaNo for the first time this year. Had a storming first day, then changed my mind, deleted it and haven't written anything since. I'll catch up :-)

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  16. not doing nano, love research!

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  17. I wonder why I can't see the images in google chrome. Meh...I loaded them in internet explorer.

    Anyway I'm not doing nano but I appreciate the research the people like you do on it.

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  18. Cathy: I'm sure with your journo no-nonsense skills you're cranking out them words!

    Sarah: You just want to justify the name of your blog, don't you. Please tell me you've started again.

    mshatch: You and me both. NaNo's not everyone's idea of fun.

    michael: They were loaded on Chrome but when I checked last night they looked blurry so I reloaded. Who knows?

    Cheers all!

    Denise

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  19. I'm doing NaNoWriMo as well. I'm moving along at a good pace, and have been getting new ideas for plot and characters. :)

    I enjoy research--though after too much of it, I find a lot of the original enthusiasm for the project dies out.

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  20. Golden, yes, we can't overdo it. I'm glad you're chugging along well.

    Denise

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  21. I haven't started yet. I still try to finish the last novel, just the epilogue to go.

    My Darcy Vibrates…

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  22. Enid: Good for you. Hope the Epilogue goes well and you get NaNo started soon.

    Denise

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  23. Hi Denise .. I'm not doing NaNo - but do love your comedic take on plagiarism .. just wonderful. Enjoy the research .. and any tic tac typing you get done - cheers Hilary

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  24. Hilary: Hi there. I'm glad someone liked my comedy. I'm still laughing.

    Denise

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  25. This year, I did a bunch of research in preparation of NaNo, and it's paying off now that Nov. is here. But, I have surfed Google-dom a couple times since the first. I'm way behind in my word count, but I'll catch up this week. Not worried! Good luck with your NaNo wip!

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  26. Your funny take on Plagiarism? - Just hilarious!

    All the best with your research, Denise.

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  28. Nicole: I wish I'd made the time to do my research earlier but I'm not too worried either...all the best!

    Nas: Two people found the funny bit! Thanks!

    Denise

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  29. Got a frown line when I read about the snide comments. I'm muted, that such a thing could happen.

    I'd given serious thought to doing NaNo but realized I couldn't do that and get Remy out on time.

    I don't think there's such a thing as too much research. A mountain of research provides the writer with interesting did-bits and a dash of historical fact that provide depth. When I read a book, I want more than entertainment. I want to learn something. However, tossing in oodles of research for the sake of doing so is a turn-off.

    Not quite sure what you're researching, as I've just crawled out from under my rock, but a Norwegian journalist wrote a fabulous book: The Bookseller of Kabul. It's won numerous awards and is a quick read. My godson brought me a burqa from Afghanistan, the blue one that is the status symbol there. I wore the thing for an hour and OY! As much as I brushed my teeth, my breath got fetid stuck behind that burqa. There is NO periphery vision. It's easy to trip because it's long and you can't see very clearly behind the netting.

    Loved your joke!

    Good luck and write on!!!

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  30. It sounds like you're doing great.

    I don't do NaNo, but I don't fault anyone who does. I'm bad at joining group things, I don't like the pressure, I'm a panster, and I have a bunch of other excuses.

    That said, I'm so impressed with how much people have achieved in just 1 week. It's all over Facebook!

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  31. Kittie: I'm pleased you crawled from under your rock and came a visiting! Perhaps this means you have Remy ready to go! I'll come by when I can to see.

    I've read a post where it was suggested all the 'cool' people did NaNo. Well, maybe 'fool' people would be better, just kidding. I prefer to give it priority as I love to work to a deadline. That's why I never get anything else finished, lol!

    Denise

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  32. Theresa: Yep, it really gets you going. Thanks for coming by!

    Denise

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  33. Kittie: Forgot to say. My research has shown me that the Taliban closed all the public baths for women and they had no other means of washing. More than your breath would stink I think. I'm jealous that you got to try out the pale blue burqa. Even though women are no longer required by law to wear it, many still choose to as they feel safer from those lustful male eyes. No wonder when you read some of the first-hand accounts...

    Obviously my book is going to champion Afghan women.

    Denise

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  34. Hi Denise,

    Now following your blog. Long overdue, I say;)

    I find that I'm spending more time blogging these days and struggle to keep up with my own writing schedule. Networking and supporting each other is important of course. One has to find the time to do it all, I guess. I'm not doing NaNoWrimo this year. Hope to do my first NaNo next year. But I'm working on my poetry collection which I hope will be published next year. Looking forward to NaPoWrimo next April (the poetry equivalent of NaNo. I would definitely be doing that. A poem a day, for 30 days, phew! Should be fun!

    Hope you've had a great start to the week. Have a lovely week, Denise.

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  35. Forgot to add...I think research should be implicit. It underpins the story but it can enlighten the reader as well if done properly. You do it well, IMO. I would love the research side of things when I get more into prose. As you know, I would do anything including wiki for poetry. I'm kind of quirky like that, lol.

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  36. I love the comedy too! "Stealing ideas..." I'm still laughing.

    Just came over to see if you've put up any more posts. One a week, maybe two, is sufficient, I think, while you're doing NaNo, and everything else that you do!

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  37. Adura: Hi, lovely that you're following at last, lol! I met a poet yesterday who's doing a poem a day ATM. You'll be a force to be reckoned with when you get into the prose. Please keep us posted when you publish your poems. Can't wait to read them.

    Ann: You're one day early my sweet!

    Denise

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  38. Hey, Denise,

    I worked all of last weekend, so got little writing done. I'm learning to be less of a showoff. I like complex sentences and have had to unlearn all that. Still learning as I tend to want to us $10 words rather than $5 ones. Writing is a never-ending learning experience.

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  39. I am always full of admiration for the nanobots out there. I think it is a great challenge and those who are afraid of challenge and developing their skills always heckle from the side lines.
    Go girl! As the saying goes the only failure is not trying in the 1st place.

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  40. Joy: Yeah, me too. I love to wallow in beautiful descriptions.

    Madeleine: Thanks for your support.

    Denise

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