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Threat Level Midnight: Northern Attackers write novels
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Nov 6th 2006 edited

I don't want to flood the "Pretzel Day" thread with writing-related posts, but I'd love to hear how people are doing on their novels!

If anyone think this is un-Office-related, both Brian and I started doing "The Artist's Way" after Jenna Fischer posted her blog about becoming an actor, and that's what led me to sign up for National Novel Writing month. When I posted in the Pretzel Day thread, a few other writers revealed themselves, too! Synchronicity, baby.

I'm 79 words away from crossing the 9,000 word mark...The weekend was hard, but enthusiasm is kicking back in.

How about you?

Nov 6th 2006

Tough weekend. I thought I'd catch up on my word count but I'm only at 5,500. I made a quick spreadsheet to reference where I need to be on daily basis to keep pace. Let's just say I better get cracking. No worries though. It's amazing how fast the words come when you just tune out and write.

For now I'll just say enthusiasm is high, even if the plot is a little muddled.

Nov 6th 2006

I've heard of NaNoWriMo before, but have never had the ambition to try it myself. That's very cool that there are some participants on the boards. Do any of you authors have excerpts on your bio page?

Nov 6th 2006 edited

Wow, there are NaNoers here too? I'm 10,000 words in after a writing frenzy yesterday. There's a big group of us from the Television Without Pity fanfic thread who have joined together to keep each other going and you're more than welcome to stop by too! We're in the Writing Groups section or you can just follow this link.

TWoPpers Unite!

It's amazing how many people are writing this year. Keep it up!

Brian -- It's ok if the plot it muddled. It's all about quantity, not quality this go around. And yes, mine is having the very exact same problem.

Nov 6th 2006

I'm going with the "To the Lighthouse" approach where there's exceptionally little plot and not much happens. Aren't you all just dying to know what happens? Can't muddle a plot you don't have.

Although I have already entirely diverged from the only concept I had when I started this thing. But that's okay! I'm trying to embrace big, messy art, at the NaNo webpage says.

Nov 6th 2006

Pan, I love the "To the Lighthouse" approach. It's so much fun to just go and then when people read it and say, "this doesn't make any sense!" or "I can't believe Ms. Hendry is making us read this the last week of school!" or "I've read 100 pages of this and I have no idea what's going on," you can just say, "it's supposed to be like that. "

Nov 6th 2006

Errr....To the Lighthouse???? Hold on a minute. I have to update the list of Things I Don't Know and References That Sail Over My Head. There, item no. 1,457,311 has been added. OK, sorry. I'm back.

I've got two people. One's an Iraq War vet. The other's an investigative reporter who lives in the East Village. He's got a closet full of demons he's setting out to deal with. She's an overachiever who's conflicted about what she wants in life. In 7,000 words, they have yet to cross paths. They're probably gonna. Then it's really gonna get interesting. I hope.

sharky, I'm going to check out the TWOPpers link now.

Nov 6th 2006

I had a couple supposed-to-be-marginal characters who have totally ended up being the main characters in true Pan style. My "oh wouldn't it be funny if these people existed" are always more interesting than my supposed heroes.

"To the Lighthouse" is likely my favorite book ever. There's not much in plot. The first 80 pages or so all talk about how nice it would be to go to the lighthouse, but the family doesn't go. That's pretty much how my book feels now. Let's hope that brilliant characterization and word play carries it off....

Or I'll just take finishing the novel by Nov. 30. Whichever.

Nov 6th 2006

Ooh, where in the East Village? I vote they meet at Moishe's.

Nov 6th 2006

Just an FYI, "To the Lighthouse" is a novel by Virginia Woolf, lesser known than of course, Mrs. Dalloway. It takes place over something like 1 day, and then a fast forward to twenty some odd years later. I was forced to read it in high school, but never actually finished it. Three attempts and four years later, I finally finished it this summer. 'Tis not for the faint of heart.

Nov 6th 2006

No clue, to be honest. I don't know the East Village from the West Village except that they're both really far downtown. I like to make stuff up and write about it like it not only exists but that I'm intimately familiar with it.

Nov 6th 2006

No time for it this year, I have way too many things to read for class to have any time for writing a book. I am, however, taking a short-story writing class, and am set to give out my second story to the class this week for peer review next week.

Someday I'm going to write my novel...though I'm not sure I'd want to try and do it in about a month.

To those about to rock (or write complete novels), I salute you!

Nov 7th 2006

I have to update the list of Things I Don't Know and References That Sail Over My Head. There, item no. 1,457,311 has been added.

and

I like to make stuff up and write about it like it not only exists but that I'm intimately familiar with it

Brian is always good for a swift punch in the I-can-relate-to-that funny bone.

Nov 7th 2006

I'm going with the "To the Lighthouse" approach where there's exceptionally little plot and not much happens. Aren't you all just dying to know what happens? Can't muddle a plot you don't have.

This has been my philosophy, too. Mine's more of a memoir, though. Realistic Fiction? Fictional Realism? Stuff that's really true but I've probably embellished and I don't want to be sued over? I'm not sure what to call it yet. It's highly autobiographical, but hopefully I'll see some of the "characters" make wiser choices than people I've known in real life. Including myself.

Nov 7th 2006

Two-Hole Punch Jim, your comment about not thinking you'll write your novel in a month just reminded me of a reporter I knew at my old paper. He told me he'd become a reporter because he was "the kind of writer who writes best when there's a gun to his head."

He also moved to Thailand by buying a one-way ticket. He had to get enough stuff published freelance to earn his ticket home. Only took him 10 months...If I were in his shoes, I'd still be in Thailand.

Writing as an extreme sport is not for everyone.

Nov 7th 2006

Brian is always good for a swift punch in the I-can-relate-to-that funny bone.

Beats the grief bone, though, eh?

Writing as an extreme sport is not for everyone.

Good point. For me, though, this is the swift kick in the rear I perpetually need. If nothing else, though, it's fun.

Nov 7th 2006

Yeah, me too. I need a deadline, but not to be stranded in a foreign country.

Nov 7th 2006

He told me he'd become a reporter because he was "the kind of writer who writes best when there's a gun to his head."

I used to be the same way. Then I sold out to media relations.

That being said, I feel like I'm cranking stuff out so I'm doing ok. I tried this last year and only made it to 25,000 words. This year, I'm still on track to finish the first week in so I should be good.

And it sounds like there are a few of us going the "James Frey" route by embellishing/retelling real-life stories. Just don't try to sell the book to Oprah as fact.

Nov 7th 2006

Sounds totally reasonable to me!

I'm trying for a healthy mix of fact and fiction -- fictional characters in places that exist. Scenes happen using friends' apartments as layout, or my parents' house, or my own place. Memories bent to become useful. I find the detail of not inventing an entire location adds weight. But then again, it's nice to discover things out of nowhere.

I do love the imagination.

(I adopted two rabbits over the weekend. And their pen is so close to my desk. I have to remind myself to not while away my hours petting them. So tempting! So soft!)

Nov 7th 2006

Mine's more of a memoir, though. Realistic Fiction? Fictional Realism? Stuff that's really true but I've probably embellished and I don't want to be sued over? I'm not sure what to call it yet. It's highly autobiographical, but hopefully I'll see some of the "characters" make wiser choices than people I've known in real life. Including myself.

That's me, too, LT. I was actually 2K into much more of a fictional story when I decided I hated it. So I ditched it. I know, I know, I should have just plunged ahead and perhaps killed off the characters I hated so that I wouldn't have lost my 2K words. Oh well. I'm a little over 4K words now, and very behind. Tonight, though, I write!!

How is everyone staying motivated?

Nov 7th 2006

I have to remind myself to not while away my hours petting them. So tempting! So soft!

That, my dear pan, is what she said.

FrenchOnion, go get those 2,000 words and put them back in. Make them a flashback, an acid trip, a dream sequence, whatever. That's more than a day's pace of writing. Don't throw a day away.

I'm staying motivated with good old fear of being a quitter. But I try to focus on the positive rather than negative incentive. It really goes quick. I can crank out 2,000 in what feels like no time. It's just finding that "no time" to do it.

Nov 7th 2006

Make them a flashback, an acid trip, a dream sequence, whatever.

Yes! Thanks for the advice, Brian. Now, if I can only remember what I named that file...

I am going to have to give myself some sort of incentive to reach 50,000 words (apart from the joy of actually finishing something, that is). Perhaps a shopping spree, or a Costco pack of candy bars. Or both.

Nov 8th 2006

I am also motivated by avoiding shame! I'm telling plenty of people about my task so that plenty of people will be disappointed if I don't pull it off.

More than that, I'd set a goal of wanting to finish a novel by the end of 2006. I thought it would be my other novel, which I'm apparently scared to death of finishing, but hey -- the New Year's Resolution wasn't specific on title!

Nov 8th 2006

Brian -- I'm the same. I'm amazed at how fast I can make 2,000 words. It does seem like no time, even if it's hard to find even no time in your schedule.

What is motivating me the most is that I'm having fun. I'm telling myself a story (that I haven't even picked an ending to) and I'm trying to write the kind of story that I like to read, except with less stress on being brilliant and more stress on getting it done.

As a friend told me in college, "Perfect is pretty but done is beautiful."

Nov 8th 2006

Okay, so I don't write novels, I write musicals, but as it's pretty unlikely there will be enough musical theatre writers here to have our own thread, I'm going to share here. I've spent my day doing articulations, which is kinda like if you had to go back through your typed manuscript and dot each 'i' and cross each 't' manually. Yikes. So I'm spending a lot of time here today.

If any of you are interested in the show I'm writing, it's going to be performed in CT in January, or you can visit the website here. I can't imagine trying to write 2000 words a day -- my entire show, which I've been working on for a year and a half now, has about 12,000, I think, including character names and stage directions. (Of course, it also has about a jillion musical notes, but that's different.) Anyway, more power to you guys, and good luck with your books.

Nov 9th 2006

Sweet Jeebus, I'm so glad to have gotten the pep talk e-mail from the NaNoWriMo people. I was beginning to think there was something wrong with me that I was faltering, that my words were coming more haltingly, that I just wrote an incomparably crappy scene that made my soul cry a little it seemed to horrifically trite.

Turns out I'm just normal!

Welcome to the Week 2 Crisis of Faith.

But I will hang on for the Week 3 something something, just to find out what happens next.

Sometimes insatiable curiosity gets you in trouble, and sometimes it gets you out...

Nov 9th 2006 edited

Wow, J1. To say that I'm impressed is a gross understatement. What an achievement. I think I remember you posting a brief "I write musicals" on the intro thread, with no follow-up... I thought it may have been a put-on. Ukranian eggs...musicals...you are one talented Office fan. The vocals on the pieces are amazing...who is the talent?

Nov 9th 2006

They're mostly Broadway folks. Nili and Cristin both have shows coming to B'way in the winter (Curtains and Pirate Queen, respectively), and Joe was most recently in Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, covering the lead. Catherine's done a bunch of West End stuff, I think, and the rest are good solid New York people who do a lot of Off-B'way stuff. They're all pretty fantastic, and a joy to have singing my stuff.

Nov 9th 2006

I can't wait to listen to the clips you have up! If only people would leave me alone at work so I can catch a bit! :)

Nov 9th 2006

I was beginning to think there was something wrong with me that I was faltering, that my words were coming more haltingly, that I just wrote an incomparably crappy scene that made my soul cry a little it seemed to horrifically trite.

Pan, in all seriousness, that was a good sentence. You should work that in. Waste not, want not (whatever that means).

12,000 words and counting! nothing like a sick day!

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