1. Infinitytruth
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    Infinitytruth Senior Member

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    50,000 words in a month challenge

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by Infinitytruth, May 18, 2011.

    Anyone else heard of this before? Basically, you write a novel in a month, and it's supposed to improve your writing 10-fold.

    I'm think I'm going to try it.
     
  2. StrangerWithNoName
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    StrangerWithNoName Longobard duke

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    I see it tough if you're employed...good luck however.
     
  3. popsicledeath
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    popsicledeath Banned

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    Go for it, sounds like fun. Though one point I'll make: you're writing 50k words in a month, not necessarily a novel. In fact, I've often wondered if NaNoWriMo started as parody, as at one point their slogan was that you could then boast you're finally an novelist and with all the people wishing they'd written a novel, you can now say you have! Ummmm, no. Now you'll just be a person with 50k more words typed out than before. Producing 50k words does not a novel make.

    But hey, looks like fun, and many people use it as a motivator to write, so it has to be good, right?
     
  4. Banzai
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    Banzai One-time Mod, but on the road to recovery Contributor

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    So, it's NaNo, but without the particular month?
     
  5. Infinitytruth
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    Infinitytruth Senior Member

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    Ye! Exactly! That's what it was called. I didn't even realize that it was a particular month though. :eek:

    F*ck that lets just start immediately! I'm beginning today. Only thing is is I had a 1993 word headstart and I'm not sure how to address that. :confused:

    Either way. Why not? :)
     
  6. Infinitytruth
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    Infinitytruth Senior Member

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    Ah, just realized what I will do. Instead of writing 50,000 words I'll write 51,993 words. :D

    I'll keep my progress posted! :D
     
  7. popsicledeath
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    popsicledeath Banned

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    So, basically, just be a writer and write stuff. Gotcha.
     
  8. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    NaNoWriMo! I've done it twice. (Well, I've done it three times, but I dropped out the first time.) The end product was certainly not a novel, but writing more words is always a good thing, IMO.
     
  9. Infinitytruth
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    Infinitytruth Senior Member

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    Good to see someone has done it. I'm going to try it at least once. I wrote a little today. I still need to write more today though.
     
  10. Yoshiko
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    Yoshiko Contributing Member Contributor

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    These challenges are what keep me motivated to write. I've taken part in and won NaNo five consecutive years so far and until December 2009 I took part in the spin-offs every month. Now I only participate in two of them (July and November) but continue to help with running several of the others. There're several hundred of us already committed to taking part in JulNoWriMo this summer and you're more than welcome to come and join us if you don't want to go it alone. :)

    In the short-term, you're not going to produce the most amazing, well-written novel this way. However, in the long-term it does have it's benefits. Each novel I've written this way has been much better than the one preceding it - it's a fast way to learn what works and what doesn't, where your strengths and weaknesses are, etc.
     
  11. aimi_aiko
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    aimi_aiko Contributing Member

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    I like a challenge. Sounds like a great idea.
     
  12. katica
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    katica Senior Member

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    I've written novels in longer period of times, but I'd really love to do this and then edit the final product afterwards until it becomes more like a real novel.
     
  13. James Scarborough
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    James Scarborough Member

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    I visited the NaNo website: http://www.nanowrimo.org/eng/whatisnano . It's quite a challenge but I can certainly see how this sort of execise could help some writers increase their output. As they explain:

    "Because of the limited writing window, the ONLY thing that matters in NaNoWriMo is output. It's all about quantity, not quality. This approach forces you to lower your expectations, take risks, and write on the fly.

    Make no mistake: You will be writing a lot of crap. And that's a good thing. By forcing yourself to write so intensely, you are giving yourself permission to make mistakes. To forgo the endless tweaking and editing and just create. To build without tearing down."

    For me, 50,000 words a month would be an almost impossible challenge unless I was willing to write absolute crap, with no real thought to it and no effort to write well. As such, it would be pointless to me and only distract me from my real effort to develop and improve my fiction writing skills.

    I'm fairly self-disciplined. My work schedule calls for me to write for approximately five hours a day, six days a week, for a total of thirty hours a week. Some days I can't make five hours but others I can squeeze in an extra hour or two to make up for it. If I'm still short of making my thirty hours, I write on my day off as well (seven days a week). To me, this is a rigorous schedule and I don't think I would be very productive trying to write more hours than this.

    Furthermore, not all of this time is actually spent writing. Some of it is research, some is journal entries or note-taking, and some of it is posting here on this forum.

    Taking all of this into consideration, the best I can hope for is about 6,000 to 8,000 words a week, or perhaps 25,000 to 30,000 per month. My goal is to finish the first draft of my novel in about six months. I'm shooting for about 75,000 to 80,000 words for my final draft (300 pages or so). The way I write, I know that I need about 120,000 words in my first draft in order to end up with 75,000 words after re-writes.

    This tells me that if I maintain my current work schedule, with no interruptions or distractions, I'm on track to finish the first draft within the six months I've allowed myself. In reality, I know I can't maintain this pace for a full six months and it will may take longer.

    I'm sure there are writers who can work faster than me, but this is about the best I can hope to achieve.
     
  14. The-Joker
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    The-Joker Contributing Member Contributor

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    Now I have nothing against someone swept by imagination and inspiration to such a magnitude that they write 50 000 intense passion-driven words in a month. It happens. But I would assume not to 99% of NaNoWriMo writers.

    I personally have never seen the point of this NaNoWriMo type of challenge. What is a fifty thousand word novel anyway? Answer: a middle grade novel. Point is its too short to be a novel. But it's not trying to be a novel I hear you say. Its just a fifty thousand word infrastructure of a novel. But I always thought when writing a novel, especially with such a time constraint, people would tend to write with more copious amount of detail because they don't really have the time to mull over whether the scene is absolutely necessary for the book as a whole. So they just write it because they have to write three thousand words today.

    Which means that a lot of those fifty thousands words are going to be pressure written scenes ie. not 100% synchronous with the novel as a whole, meaning a great deal of editing, which most likely will take the form of a great deal of cutting, perhaps whole scenes? And that would mean the fifty thousand word novel may actually be 40,000 words of usable material, which is still way too short to be a novel, and will probably still take a good few months to add on to and edit.

    Okay point is, Yes if you take up this gauntlet you would have achieved a whole lot in one month-- 50 000 words is no meagre feat, but I prefer to look at writing hours. In those same writing hours you compressed into one month, you could have written something of far better quality if you spread those exact hours over a few months. The reason for this, well for me anyway, is that when I'm writing a novel, the novel is being constructed even when I'm not physically typing on my laptop. New ideas form during the course of the day, scenes that I've written and still plan to write take on new significance, characters grow new layers, react in different ways, new events arise in the plot. Each newly written scene ripples through what has been written and what will be written. If you so quickly rush onto the next scene, you never give your mind enough time to see the effect those ripples might have. You're limiting the possibilities of your imagination and your novel.

    Sure you can change it all in the rewrite, but just how much are you going to change? Once the story is paved in Times New Roman your brain is more or less fixed on the general path of your novel, stifling the creative expansion and detours that could be possible if the ideas were still malleable building blocks in your head.

    So while most of you might disagree I don't believe time constraints are the best way to write a first draft. Give each inspired piece of your novel enough time to simmer and this will inspire more great ideas. You can't rush inspiration. And you don't write because you must. NaNoWriMo seems like a flawed concept to me. You may have written a first draft in a month, but it's a poorly invested 60 somewhat writing hours.
     
  15. Infinitytruth
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    Infinitytruth Senior Member

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    Yeah, maybe I'll do july instead so I have some time to plan it better too...I tried it and didn't quite get my limit last night. It was one where I was trying to really write quality writing though, so that kinda made it a lot harder.
     
  16. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    i'm curious... what do you get for 'winning'?... and who did the judging?
     
  17. Infinitytruth
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    Infinitytruth Senior Member

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    Damn, I didn't know it was so organized. haha. What's the site? I just seen it online as a tip or something.
     
  18. Velox
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    Velox Senior Member

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    @ The-Joker ~ Yeah, that's what I've first thought, too. But, considering I've had the idea/outline of a novel for over two years, but I've never gotten around to writing it, writing 50k of said novel would be a great relief, crap or not. After all, at least half of that would probably be salvageable, and 25k in one month after over two years of maybe 1k at the most, I'd be very happy to get that.

    Unfortunately, I haven't been able to join last year or the year before, but maybe some I will be able to. Plus there is the problem that I do like to write something that's almost perfect, rather than just write crap for a bunch of words, but I think it's what I have to do to ever finish it. :/

    I haven't tried writing it at all recently, though, so I'll have to do that soon...
     
  19. popsicledeath
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    popsicledeath Banned

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    Satisfaction and bragging rights.... that you produced more than 50k words, regardless of quality, in one month's time! Winning!
     
  20. Tesoro
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    Tesoro Contributing Member Contributor

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    I guess the credits, lol. And it seems like the word count is the judge...:rolleyes:

    I did something inofficial of this last winter and I didn't make it. The novel 'ended' when I was at about 42000 words, but it was great fun and I didn't take it seriously. I think this is meant to be something you do for fun, and who knows, maybe in the end of the month you'll have something to work with and continue building on? It isn't meant to finish with a ready novel, but as a start, a skeleton. Mine has been rewritten since and is now at 52000 words, still has a lot to be done with it but I think it might be a novel at some point.
     
  21. Chudz
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    Chudz Contributing Member

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    I've made the goal two out of three tries. The best part about it for me was the first time, when I realized that "yes" I can indeed write a story of that length.
     
  22. TheSpiderJoe
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    TheSpiderJoe Senior Member

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    I did it once. Finished about 60k by the time it was all said and done.

    I'm not sure how it will help you improve your writing other than giving you motivation to practice to meet the deadline.

    The community there is really nice. One of my best writing friends has been doing it for the last 5-6 years and she loves it. Definitely worth the time if you just love to write. I probably won't participate in it ever again unless one of the projects I'm working on happens to fall within that NaNo month (November I believe).
     
  23. popsicledeath
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    popsicledeath Banned

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    The trick is to plan an outline to a scene by scene level. Then you just write it out, already 'came up' with the story so probably have time to edit and then everyone things you're a genius because you "wrote" a coherent, high quality novel in a month while other people were just making it up on the fly. Every year there's some story heralding NaNoWriMo the greatest writing tool ever because someone did the above and got a novel published or something, when simply filling out an outline is a bit less impressive, I mean James Patterson does that like 9 times a year, with 4 months vacation, I bet.
     
  24. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    that's what i was asking about... so, yoshiko, by 'won' do you just mean you were successful in writing the required 50k words in the time allowed?... or was there some kind of contest involved, that your entries won 'first place' in, all those times?
     
  25. popsicledeath
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    popsicledeath Banned

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    Yes, first place, in a race of one, awarded for completion. ;)
     

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