Monday, November 8, 2010

NaNo Day 8

Greetings from the battlefront. I'm raising my head from deep down in the trenches to share my thoughts on my NaNo far.

  • On the plus side, I have discovered I can write without having prepared a complete outline and character histories.
  • On the minus side, making up character names on the fly necessitates a great deal of 'search and find'. Do you think I can remember what I called so-and-so? That would be a no.

  • On the plus side, seeing other writers' word counts spurs me onward.
  • On the minus side, seeing other writers' word counts contributes to my feelings of inadequacies.

  • On the plus side, my plot is coming together and I know whodunnit and why - even if I don't remember their name.
  • On the minus side, I'm questioning every sub-plot and worrying if my characters have sufficient depth or if I'm playing with paper dolls.

  • On the plus side, the pressure of trying to write 50,000 words in a month is forcing me to create new curse words which I hurl at my keyboard at the smallest provocation.
  • On the minus side, I've yet to figure out how to add these curse words to my manuscript and therefore add to my word count.

  • On the plus side, I'm fairly sure this forced period of writing is sharpening my skills.
  • On the minus side, I've finished this blog post and now have to climb back into my trench.


  1. Sounds as if your writing budget is balancing nicely. When you figure out how to spell your new curse words, you'll be able to add them at the correct appropriate moments, I'm sure :)

  2. Elspeth - I admire you more than I can say for doing NaNo. I know of myself that I couldn't manage to do it. You've learned some impressive lessons and you continue to impress me with your perseverance. Now, here's some chocolate to get you through *hands you a bar of fine chocolate*.

  3. Hi deario - I'm with you in the trenches only you're front line and I'm a tinkerin'. Keep it up - it is good to finish what you start and I know you will...
    mucho lovo, my mysteriousing pal

  4. Carol; One of the problems seems to be they contain very few vowels; when I write them out they look like Czech expletives. Which is very interesting, of course, but I don't know Czech. I don't even know anybody who knows Czech.

    Margot; As much as I love being admired, I'd suggest saving it for someone who isn't cranking out a manuscript as crinkled as mine. Serious ironing will be called for. Maybe starch. However *grabs chocolate and retreats into corner*

  5. Jan; I know you're there - and I'm aware of your awesome numbers -well done, you! Is there cake in the editing trenches? Here in my writing trench there's only weak tea and stale crackers.

  6. I have a down and dirty spreadsheet I keep of character names, both first and last. Keeps me from repeating things like Mike, Mack, Mick and Mark. But ... if I have a new character who needs a name, I'll often simply put a ^^ in the manuscript and deal with it later.

    Now, since it's 1:30 here, I suppose I ought to open the manuscript and start working. I'm not doing NaNo, but I still have my own word count/progress goals to meet.

    Terry's Place
    Romance with a Twist--of Mystery

  7. Terry; I usually am far more prepared than I was heading into this debacle; but I have noticed with each project I get hung up on names starting with certain letters - or even worse, rhyming names. This time it appears to be rhyming - time to start some sort of cheat sheet.

  8. Congrats on all your progress with NaNo!

    I know it's not as much fun, but I've even written first drafts with characters A,B,C,D...and then named the characters at the end of the book. Don't know if that'll help...and it is kind of boring, but it helps while I'm writing it. :)

  9. Elizabeth; What a brilliant idea. I'm stealing it. Thanks.

  10. Great plus and minuses that apply to non-Nano writers, too. I’m not doing NaNo and I have trouble remembering my characters names! I like Elizabeh’s idea. Good luck in the trenches.

  11. "On the minus side, making up character names on the fly necessitates a great deal of 'search and find'."

    I find myself using a lot of place-fillers or vague references.

    "What are you doing?" asked his assistant. His assistant handed him a stack of papers.
    "You look nice, assistant."

    Fictional band name: Avalon. But I'm positive there's a real band by that name.

    I actually called two characters Frick and Frack because I didn't want to stop long enough to think of names.

    Can I hang out in your trench? Yours is the cool one.

  12. Can you put a really bad guy in your manuscript and make him spew profanity? I tried that with my suspense novel and found it tremendously satisfying (even though I'll probably tone it all down before I get to a finished draft).

  13. Go Elspeth! Nano definitely has its ups and downs, but hang in there. It's worth it.

    As I write my Nano novel, I create a name list in a separate file, when I actually come up with a name. Then, when the character reappears pages later, I can just check the list to remind myself instead of searching through the actual book.

    As suggested, I also use different sorts of place holders as goofy as NAME in all caps so I can find it later. I recommend Elisa's approach, especially for minor character who may never appear again. I was just saying "the king" and "the queen" for a while, and it worked until I had more than one king floating around. Then it got confusing, so I stopped an named everybody.

    Happy writing everybody!

  14. *giggles* I keep a spreadsheet that I put characters into each time I add a new one... or I do that for about the first four chapters, but it helps... it DOES have all my suspects (planned them ahead of time) plus my MCs class schedule (she is a high school student) with her teacher and a key classmate or two for each subject.

    For your convenience, Swear Word du jour: PANTS!

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  16. I feel for you! I have to write down everyone's name the moment I use it or they become whatsitsname.


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