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Entries in NaNoWriMo (9)


NaNoWriMo Chronicles: Post mortem

I topped out at 5250 words.

Multiplied by 10, that's a victory! But no one, including and especially me, multiplied it by anything.

5250 it remains—another failed experiment in extreme output.

But the month wasn't a complete waste. See above re: 5250 words... that's a decent start!

And even more exciting is that, while it wasn't such a great month for the nonfiction book project, it was a goddamn stellar month for playwrighting:

Because I couldn't let a Boston Theater Marathon deadline slip by without submitting something, I expanded, revised, and submitted two plays from this August's 31 Plays in 31 Days effort: GOING VIRAL and THE FORMATIVE YEARS.

Now I had two more complete ten-minute plays, so for kicks I also submitted them to the Long Island City One Act Festival.

And then I learned about an opportunity that would be a perfect home for another of my plays, THE GAME, so I expanded, revised, and submitted that, too.

And, lastly, I joined a playwrighting workshop group called Write On! that meets once a month in downtown Boston. I met some supportive like-minded folks, workshopped THE FORMATIVE YEARS with them, and got terrific feedback.

(All the while, mind you, beating myself up because I was "failing" NaNoWriMo.)

So then! There's an announcement here about how one of those submissions turned out. And just last night I discovered an oblique mention of my play, THE INTERVIEW, in a review for Bridge Rep of Boston's newest play, NOT JENNY:

Bridge Repertory Theater was founded by a consortium of some of Boston’s most talented young actors and directors. Olivia D’Ambrosio, the Producing Artistic Director, directed what I thought was one of the most successful, and hilarious, productions in the Boston Theater Marathon earlier this year.

"Successful"? "Hilarious"? Well. WELL. Olivia, as I've mentioned before, did an incredible job with the material, as did the actors, Deborah Martin and Adam Lauver. The play, of course, started here on this blog as Week Seven and it keeps coming up now and again.

But better, even, than this praise (which I just now co-opted from a review of a play that I did not write) is the sense of momentum my playwrighting seems to have at the moment. It comes more naturally to me than other forms of writing do, and people are really starting to respond to my work. It's an exciting time.

So anyway, sucks to you, NaNoWriMo!

...And see you again next year.


NaNoWriMo Chronicles: The Choice

So I've been stalled out, per usual, had a strong start but am now discouraged by how behind I am, per usual, and I realized why this happened, and why it's happened every year I've attempted NaNoWriMo:

I don't like to choose.

Every year I've tried to do this near-impossible challenge, I've also tried to do everything else I would typically do in a month. I go out with friends, I have people over, I binge-watch Netflix with my girlfriend. 

A coworker at my day job is also doing NaNoWriMo, and now we're "writing buddies," so I can see her word count rising in a way best described as "meteoric." Folks, she is killing it. And how? She writes. Every night. We had a farewell party for another coworker recently. She came to the in-office part and skipped the raucous dive bar part. Instead, she went home. She wrote.

I went to the dive bar. I did not write that evening, nor the next morning, on account of the hangover. It was a great night, don't get me wrong. But I lost more of that momentum, while my coworker reinforced a good habit and added another 1,667 words to her already staggering word count. 

When you commit to something you have to make it a priority. And the only way to do that is to choose it over something else, over and over again.

I'll get there.


NaNoWriMo Chronicles: The Wordening

We're twelve days into NaNoWriMo, which means that I (and you!) should have jotted at least 20,004 words by midnight tonight.

I have written 4,716.

I am of two minds about this. One mind is all "4,716 words! That's pretty good! It's 4,716 more than zero, which is what you had written before November 1st."

The second mind is like "If you can't sit still long enough to write 1,667 words a day why the hell would you ever want to be a full-time writer?"

Second mind has a point.

And yet... you don't run a race to beat everyone else, but to beat yourself. (Okay, so some run to beat everyone else too; these people are, however, insane... and not to be trusted.)

This morning I wrote just under 700 words in about an hour. This means I'm getting close to the magical sweet spot of 1,000 words per hour. And if I can achieve that, and sustain it, was this year's NaNoWriMo still a failure?

(Here I am assuming, it would seem, that the full 50,000 words are not going to happen. Way to call the fight before it's over, Me!)

Anyway, I'm doing much better this year than the two years previous. The difference is that, twelve days in, I'm still forcing myself to that chair.

How's your writing going this month?


NaNoWriMo strikes again!

Distinct lack of updates? Calendar says "November"? Oh God... he's doing another National Novel Writing Month.

While I'm busy composing my 50,000-word masterwork, I'm going to try to focus on giving you more reflective, shorter entries like those that Independent Clause regularly posts.

If you're also attempting NaNoWriMo this year, add me as a "writing buddy!" My username is brandon.crose.

And be sure to keep your eye on the Facebook page for more regular quotes, interesting/funny articles, random blabbing, etc.


Chuck Wendig's NaNoWriMo prep school

National Novel Writing Month (or NaNoWriMo to those in the Kno) is still three weeks away but suddenly everyone's talking about it. I'm getting almost-daily emails from the NaNoWriPeeps themselves, and Chuck Wendig would like you to know that you're going to want to spend these three weeks getting buff in the brain:


If you are not yet putting words down daily, you need to flex them penmonkey muscles, so that, come November, you can pop open your word processor and say, “TWO TICKETS TO THE PEN SHOW,” which will earn you weird looks because:

a) you’re saying this to the cat and b) are pen shows even a real thing?


You need to work out. You need to exercise.

You must practice writing every day.

And build on the quantity of words you put down.

Start with 100.

And add a 100 more words every day until you’re approaching 2000 per day.

Doesn’t matter what you write, though I’d advise you keep it in the “fiction” category — fiction writing is a discipline all its own, I find.

Build that muscle. Gain momentum.

Read the rest here!

Good advice, no? You certainly could start with my weekly prompts for inspiration, including (but not limited to) Week 31.

As for me, I think I will take another Don Quixote tilt at the NaNoWindMill, but (as per my revelation/resolution) I'll be writing (or attempting to write) a novel-length piece of either nonfiction or drama. Drama! 

How about you? I know this is soon, and kinda awkward, but, uh, well... will you be my NaNoWriFriend this year?


Revision pro tips from io9

From an io9 article about how to tell if your novel's first draft is unsalvagable, some excellent ideas for revising your manuscript:

7) Put the thing aside for a few weeks, and then list the most powerful moments, from memory. Not the things that are great about your idea, or about your characters in theory. The moments that actually stick in your mind as moments. You wrote the thing, so if a moment sticks in your head as being especially emotional or intense, that's probably a sign that it's closest to the story you were setting out to tell. Once you've got that list, see if there's a story uniting those moments.


9) List all of the events in your book backwards, with "because" in between them. This is also a great revision technique. "The hero won BECAUSE she had the golden apple BECAUSE she spared a witch who gave it to her BECAUSE the hero felt sorry for the evil witch BECAUSE she herself had done some bad things BECAUSE she was misled into thinking a hero needs to be ruthless BECAUSE she was young and determined to prove herself." And so on. Do those "becauses" actually make any sense, when you run it like that? Do you care about that chain of cause and effect, as a basic skeleton? If any of those BECAUSE statements are like "because I, as the author, said so," can you fix that without the whole thing collapsing?

Read the entire article here.


"Being busy is good for your writing."

Words of writerly wisdom from Chris Baty—cofounder of NaNoWriMo—from his book No Plot? No Problem!, which I am currently reading in lieu of, y'know, actually writing:

You've probably heard the old adage that if you want to get something done, you should ask a busy person to do it. I've discovered that is acutely true when it comes to novel writing.


For me the moral of the story is this: A rough draft is best written in the steam-cooker of an already busy life. If you have a million things to do, adding item number 1,000,001 is not such a big deal. When, on the other hand, you have nothing to do, getting out of bed and washing yourself before 2:00 P.M. feels like too much work to even contemplate.

As Isaac Newton observed, objects in motion tend to stay in motion. When writing your first draft, being busy is key. It may feel frustrating at first, but having daily writing periods curtailed by chores, family, and other distractions actually helps you get the thing done. This is partly because the hectic pace forces you to type with a fleet-fingered desperation. But it's mostly because noveling in the midst of a chaotic life makes "book time" a treat rather than an obligation. It's a small psychological shift, but it makes all the difference in the world.

True story.


Use every spare minute to write

Author Kevin J. Anderson with some timely NaNoWriMo productivity tips:
Too often I’ve heard the lame excuse, “I don’t have enough time to do a serious amount of writing, so I’ll just [insert procrastinating activity] instead.”  Science fiction writer Roger Zelazny used to advise authors to “write two sentences.”  Not such an insurmountable obstacle.  You may really only have time to write two sentences; in other instances, though, those two sentences will lead to two more, and then two paragraphs; ten minutes later you’ll have a page done.  A free ten minutes is ten minutes you could be writing.  Two sentences will take you two sentences closer to finishing the manuscript.
Read 'em all here, here, here, here, and here!


November is National Novel Writing Month, wherein you are challenged to write at least 50,000 words in 30 days. That's roughly 1,167 1,667 [thanks for the math assist, Nick!] words a day, every day. 

I will not be writing 1,667 words every day. I will, however, be starting the aforementioned novel-length work and hopefully using the momentum of NaNoWriMo to overcome my natural resistance to, you know, finishing anything.

My plan is to continue doing these weekly prompts, but instead of creating new characters and situations each week, they'll be used to inform a chapter or a situation from the novel. 

You can follow my progress here on the blog and also over at www.nanowrimo.org; my username is brandon.crose, and I'd love to see what you're working on!