Excited for NaNoWriMo

2009-October-01

One of the things I have been doing this year is preparing for NaNoWriMo. Since I first did NaNoWriMo in 2006, I have oft used September and October to do a little bit of preparation for the event, which is (if you don’t know already) where I spend November writing a novel of 50,000 words or more.

My first year, I decided sometime in September or October that I would participate, and I decided on October 31st what my plot would be. I didn’t win, but boy was it a lot of fun, writing my heart out between segments in lectures, between classes, late at night, and in general, all of the time.

In 2007 and 2008, I worked on my plot a little bit before the month started, but I still had an extremely vague idea overall of what I was going to be working on, and 2007’s efforts were damaged by the fact that I tried to do a re-write of the 2006 story.

It’s 2009 now and not only am I preparing for NaNo incredibly early, but I’m also doing it from the standpoint of being the Municipal Liaison for the United States :: Arizona :: Flagstaff region. Let me just say that in my time in Flagstaff doing NaNoWriMo, there have been some great MLs, specifically Stephanie, Brandy and Michelle, who in 2007 formed the ML Trifecta, with Brandy and Michelle forming the ML Power-Duo in 2008. This year, Brandy moved away, Stephanie is still reacclaimating to the United States after her year in Japan (where she ML’d for an entire country, or at least like… half of it) and I’m told that Michelle is simply not sure if she wants to participate this year.

Upon hearing that news, my reaction was simple: Well who will be the Flag ML? Rather than wait and find out, I decided to find out about the application process from Michelle, and then apply to become the ML. It worked out rather well, I’d say, because (out of an extremely competitive pool of applicants, I’m sure) I was selected. Needless to say, I am extremely pleased about this, not only because I love NaNoWriMo a lot, I think it’s a great idea, but I also really love helping out, organizing things and creating stuff. Dare I say it, if I were willing to deal with the same group of very young people for very long time on a very regular basis, I really would just get it over with and become a teacher.

Anyway… NaNoWriMo. Up to this point, I have already created the actual document I’ll be writing my novel into, created at least a pair of my characters, and given them a few situations to work with, and places to work within, and started conceptualizing a few more of the characters, as well as some more of the situations that’ll help move the plot along. I’ve even started creating and working with some of the organizational tools I’ll be using in November, such as my self-created NaNoWriMo statistics spreadsheet, which dynamically calculates everything I need based on an entered word-count goal, which for me, right now, is sitting at 60,000, but may be adjusted later on, based on what happens at work, in classes and in my personal life.

What I need to work on from this point forward is stuff to give to the NaNoWriMo participants in my region this year. I’m looking forward to creating and printing various silly things like character sheets, examples of past regional and forum dares, and resources that are available on the Internet to help with writing. I also need to start scoping out potential write-in locations, and contacting the management of such establishments, so that a random group of novelists knocking down the door on the first of November doesn’t prove to be too much of a surprise. Not that we’re a very surprising group, based on my past three years with them, just that we’re… enthusiastic.

In terms of my own novel, I need to find out if there is any good way to create a timeline with Office 2007 or Creative Suite 4, or even something else available from The Internet. A timeline or a web or even a virtual stack of notecards, at any rate, is something I’d like to try to use this year, in order to help keep my plot in line, and prevent any disasters, such as last year’s “all of my filler...” incident. I know that there are a few very good pieces of software that are written specifically for the Mac and PC with the intent of helping novelists, screenplay writers and the like work their way through a plot with some glimmer hope at maintaining continuity and ultimately, making sense. My main problem with using a piece of software like that, which is part of why I write in Word instead of any other format, is that I will be using several computers for my novel writing activities, as I move throughout my day, from home where I’ll use one of my personal laptops to work where I’ll be switching back and forth between a Mac and a PC, to the College of Business where I use one of their thin clients, and back onto one of my own laptops for the time between work and classes, or for write-ins.

Another thing I’d like to note is that I have der Vorlaeufer ready to go as a computer I can let other people use during write-ins, as one of the most common problems I encountered in past years was participants (and other MLs) who wanted to but couldn’t come to write-ins (easily) because they didn’t own a mobile computer. While I’m not ready to give up any of my spare machines permanently, to add to the official NaNoWriMo loaner laptop pool, if such a thing exists, I’m definitely pleased to allow someone to use one of my machines for an evening or so of writing fun. I may even see about getting another old laptop from NAU’s surplus sales, or from The Great Wide Internet, so as to have yet another machine available, just in case. (Also, for SETI work units in the off season.)

And that brings me to all of my friends. I’ve heard so far from quite a few of my friends that they are looking into participating in NaNoWriMo this year, and with luck, most if not all of them intend to go to the write-ins as well. What this means for me is that I get to plan weekly parties with all of my old friends and with all of my new friends, in one place at one time, and that there’s a support system and an “in” group of people who know me when I’m doing NaNoWriMo stuff. Double bonus for me!