About Me

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I am an aspiring writer living and working in Hull. I working on a novel, as well as writing short stories to keep my writing skills fresh. I decided to start a writing blog to connect with other writers. So please, take a look around and leave some comments - I'd love to read some of your writing blogs too. Nari X

Monday, 16 January 2012

NaNo Write-up

I suppose it's not too late to wish you all a Happy New Year. Resolutions, lists of things to get done, everything gets a new start, a new look. So naturally, we think about our writing goals, and what we can realistically get done in a year. Trouble is, I don't know what's realistic any more. My first goal for this year: write a list of goals for this year. When I have the time, of course. 

I seem to be treating time as an enemy, which it feels like most of the time. I go back to the age old question of whether I am using my time wisely enough. So there you go: 

          1. Use time more wisely.

Since I haven't actually written since NanoWriMo, I should fill you in on how it went. It won't take a genius to work out I didn't get 50,000 words. The goal for me was never necessarily to hit the word count in a month, because I was almost certain I couldn't do it (probably my first mistake - telling myself that). What I wanted to get out of it was the initial push to get that first few thousand words down on paper and to get a story flowing. I wanted to get myself into the habit of writing every day, even if just a few lines, and hoped that it might stick. I wanted to get down these ideas that have been with me for a very long time, but I never had the skills to articulate them. I wanted to take on a new genre and have a bash at creating an entire world. 

What actually happened, you ask. Well, I certainly got that initial push, and I ended with roughly 12,000 words, which no matter what it looks like in the grand scheme of things, I am proud of. Although, reading Peter Brett's blog, he has just cut about that much from his novel-in-progress, which gave me a disheartening perspective. You see, the problem is that I tried after November to continue the pace; but then Christmas hit. Only having 5 days off and hosting Christmas for the parents didn't leave me that much time. 
I have barely touched it since then.

I certainly got down my ideas, even if only in crudely formed sentences and somewhat lacking descriptive details, but that was the point, just to flipping well write. So many ideas and potlines have opened up in my head while I've been writing. It's that pressure of knowing you have to write what comes next, not whatever scene comes into my head as I have been known to do. Actually, the ideas came a lot more easily. I found it fascinating to see how far my characters had come, and how much had actually happened in the wordspace. One of my greatest weaknesses in writing has always been writing so much without saying anything. Words and words and words but very little story. When asked 'what's it about', I find myself speaking about the underlying messages and what the characters are like, not about what happens. 

Creating a world was fun, but exhausting. There are still so many details which need researching. I know the beauty of a fantasy world is that nobody can check accuracy, but actually most fantasy worlds have elements of truth to them. For example, the system of rule and the monarchy, government or leadership doesn't necessarily have to be based on or reflecting anything we know of. But my point is, I know so little about that sort of thing that I would like to research it, just to see the patterns, or similarities in various systems in order to work out a new one. 

At the moment, consistency is very overstretched. I realised when reading through my novel, that chapters 1-4 all supposedly happened in one single day. If anything, I felt that was a waste of plot, shoving it all into one day. You see I seem to have gone the opposite way and made too much happen too soon. 

So, already I am beginning to see things which need improving. However, I am simply noting them down and  plan to continue along the same path as I did with Nano. 

         2. Finish Draft 1 of The Poison Maiden.

I shan't try and conjure up goals in a single post, but will keep them coming over the next few weeks. That's as good a place to start as any, right? 

Speak again soon.


  1. I think the most important thing is that the drive and intention is there, even if you don't manage to write every day. I know it can be hard getting back into the swing of writing after the Xmas rush, I'm kind of going through the same thing myself. But the more often you write, the easier it becomes, I believe. You might be interested in a post I've just written on this.

    Regarding consistency, I'm no fantasy expert but one thing I do know is that having created a set of rules and customs for your world, then you need to stick with them. Unless they change as part of the story, of course. Also, there's nothing wrong with having the first few chapters take place over one day - there's many whole novels and films that do this. But if it's not what you had in mind, it can be changed.

    Good luck! Look forward to reading more of your goals. I think they're a good thing.

  2. Nari... Happy New Year and in the tradition of fantasy worlds, it's so good to have you back in 'The Kingdom of BLOGovia.'
    I take my hat off to anyone who joins the ranks of fantasy writers. It must be the highest order of creativity adopting the role of an almighty creator assembling a world or a universe that is unlike anything anyone else knows about. I wouldn't know where to start, unless I took a leaf out of Coleridge's book and just jot it all down quickly after an opium dream as he did with 'Kubla Khan,'(Do you believe it? I don't).
    I can understand you researching rules and customs. Laws and hierarchy need to be considered too,but I don't think that is the starting block. I think I would build my organised society based on attitudes, values and beliefs which are the building blocks for any culture. Some of these attitudes,values and beliefs are based on the eco-system that keeps us alive, i.e. climate, vegetation, harvests, the sort of thing that even in our culture has cost lives and even caused people to go to war against each other.
    I think for a young newlywed,setting up home, working girl, you have managed your time extremely well to write as much as you do. I question my own time management sometimes. Am I using my leisure time actively or passively? If energy levels are good,and I haven't got other pressing commitments then for me it is a good time to write. If not then a little passive activity does no harm (reading in preference to telly.) But everything in moderation, as they say. How can you write if you don't take some time out to just live a little.

  3. Thanks guys, very useful comments :)
    I'm finding a kind of value and belief system arising, which in itself is creating backstory and potential story arcs to come, but I think I will definitely research some more to add to what is there.
    Or maybe I should just smoke opium :P

    Nari X

  4. I've done NaNoWriMo four times and will keep doing it regardless as it's the best way to get me writing large chunks (my 2009 novel was 117,540!).

    Nari - I've just been typing up notes from back copies of Writers' Forum and found your 'Hello, writers' letter in #110. :)

    My blog's and, like me, is consumed by all things writing. :)

    Morgen with an E