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Wordtrip Writing Week

What’s in a…?

October 16th, 2005

Today we’ve got two parts, both inspired by No Plot? No Problem by Chris Baty.

What’s in a Day:

Unless you’re sitting on a LOT more spare time than I am, you’re going to need to find some time to do all this extra writing next week. So what you should be doing this week, is figuring out how you’re spending your time.

First off, pick a couple of days this week and log everything you do throughout the day (you can do it in half-hour increments to keep it easy). Next, before you go to bed, sit down with your list. Take that list and a couple of highlighters and mark off the things that are essential (Work, eating, etc). Everything else gets yanked!

OK, FINE… take it another step and highlight in a different color the things that are highly desired. Now anything that isn’t highlighted gets dropped. If you’re trying to write a novel in a week though, you probably should consider dropping quite a few of these (FYI: ANY TV shows get the axe, sorry, use Tivo).

You want to eliminate anything you possibly can that won’t cause your life to collapse if you give it up for a week/month. Plan ahead for your binge writing period and schedule all that extra time for writing. If you can, re-arrange some of the essentials to give yourself larger blocks of writing time. If you’re only going to have an extra 15 minutes after work because you’re giving up that last trip to the snack machine, have your notebook with you and get in a few words by crikey!

The key is using your time to write and for little else that won’t get you evicted, fired, or divorced. This goes double if you’re commiting to writing a novel in just a week.

What’s in a 50,000 Word Novel:

So you’re wondering what your 50,000 (or 49,000) word novel will look like? How about this list of classics that all weigh in at about 50K words:

The Great Gatsby - F Scott Fitzgerald

Brave New World - Aldous Huxley

The Catcher in the Rye - J. D . Salinger

The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy - Douglas Adams

Of Mice and Men - John Steinbeck

The Adventures of Tom Sawyer - Mark Twain

You’ll add a few words in revision, take a few away… but you’ve got enough words to have a classic (though if you write the next classic in a week or a month… you probably don’t need us or NaNoWriMo to kick you in the butt).

Discuss this at Wordtrip.com

Keep Writing and Happy Wordtripping!

CharlesP

Pick a Plot, Any Plot

October 14th, 2005

With just a bit over a week till Novel Writing Week starts, some of us are looking for a plot. If you’re writing a Short Story you may have a simple plot already in mind. But if you’re more ambitious and working on a Novella or Novel length entry, well you may be in need of a bit more… inspiration? guidance? organization? Tie this in with your scenes from the last entry and maybe you’ll make it through.

I’m going to give you a quick run down of the 20 Master Plots discussed in 20 Master Plots and how to build them by Ronald B Tobias.

1. Quest

2. Adventure

3. Pursuit

4. Rescue

5. Escape

6. Revenge

7. The Riddle

8. Rivalry

9. Underdog

10. Temptation

11. Metamorphosis

12. Transformation

13. Maturation

14. Love

15. Forbidden Love

16. Sacrifice

17. Discovery

18. Wretched Excess

19. Ascension

20. Descension

Discuss this topic at Wordtrip.com

Novel Preparation

October 12th, 2005

This is a bit of advice from the book “From Where You Dream” by Robert Olen Butler. We’re going to try and do some planning before tackling Novel Writing Week, or NaNoWriMo, and his advice should work well.

The idea is to take some time each day leading up to your binge writing session, and get yourself into the “creative” zone (”dream state” if you will). Once in your zone, visualize scenes that might fit into the story you’re wanting to tell. Have a stack of 3×5 cards handy to write these scenes down. They have no need to be in any order, just small scenes that might occur to your characters. The key will be writing down a simple one sentence description of the scene (”The dog gets hit by a car”,”Tom and Janice kiss for the first time”,”The family moves”, etc) and forcing yourself to not try and write any pithy verbage or dialogue yet.

Pace yourself so you can come up with 100-200 scenes if possible before you start your writing, and leave a day to pre-edit. The last day or two before your writing binge, organize your scenes. Pick out the ones you still think will be in the story, winnowing down to 80-100 for a novel. During that winnowing process keep your eye out for an opening scene. Once you’ve winnowed and found your opening, go through and organize them in an order you think they might appear in your book. Once you’ve gotten this far you’ll want to fill in other scenes where you have unnatural jumps (maybe writing new ones, maybe pulling from the pile of rejects).

During the writing process you’ll want to grab 3-5 scenes at a time, write those out, and then do a quick re-assessment of how well the next batch will mix in. Obviously at some point you’re likely to need more scenes or at least re-organize the ones you’ve got, but hopefully this will give you enough to work with so you’re main focus during the binge writing period will be on the writing and not the coming up with what the story should include.

CharlesP

Novel Writing Week

October 10th, 2005

I’m not sure who all has stumbled on this aside from regular Wordtrippers. But what we’re going for is a middle ground from the insanity of the Three Day Novel and the also isanity of National Novel Writing Month with a Novel Writing Week. We’re also not being as dogmatic about it and giving you an option of a Novel, a Novella, or a Short Story. Get the rest of the details on the Wordtrip message boards.

Keep Writing and Happy Wordtripping!

CharlesP

Coming Soon

October 9th, 2005

Welcome everybody to Wordtrip’s first Novel Writing Week. Check the main forums for more information. Updates here soon as well. http://www.wordtrip.com/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?t=5470 is the original announcement.