NaNoWriMo ground rules

OK, I’m taking the plunge. National Novel Writing Month starts Monday! Jonathan believes I can do it–a necessary-but-not-sufficient test. I’ll talk about the novel itself another time, but here are the rules I’ve set up for myself:

  • No whining about being behind!
  • No fiction reading, except to analyze structure/scenes/dialogue
  • I’ll do my level best, but I won’t beat myself up if I fail. However many words I write is more than I would have without this crazy scheme.
  • If I start waking up with a sore throat (my body’s sign of too much stress), I will take it easier.
  • Minimize time on the forums, which are clearly a great way to fritter away time.
  • Get up, stretch, do something else briefly every 15 minutes.

I didn’t make much progress on my book blog this week, nor did I get anywhere near my theoretic target of 10,500 words, but oh well. I CAN do this if I’m willing to make the sacrifices that it will require. We’ll see whether I in fact am!

Reading Randy Ingermanson’s advice, and reviews of the books he recommended, made me realize how little I know what I’m doing! All I have to carry me through this is 35 years of voracious reading. I’ve written a couple of (pretty terrible) short stories, but that was almost 2 decades ago. I don’t even have an educated appreciation of narrative; I recognize what’s good and bad but I can’t say why. I can’t explain why I like deeply flawed writers like Dornford Yates, Robert Heinlein, and Frances Hodgson Burnett; I know there’s something about their stories that works despite the major things that don’t work, but I can’t put my finger on it. Ingermanson and his recommendations make me realize that I could learn to analyze those things if I wanted to. But it’s too late for NaNoWriMo, and if I don’t “win” (50,000 words or even close), it might not be worth learning (what am I saying? of course it would be, I love learning no matter what!)

I had hoped to “catch up” (I should just ban that phrase from my life…) with various things like email & household chores before NaNo started, but that’s unlikely to happen. So I’ll just do it the way I do everything else: control what variables I can & then fly by the seat of my pants. Wish me luck.

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