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GRAPEMO 2011: DAY #1

Welcome to GRAPEMO 2011! I see a lot of faces from last year, and a few new ones besides. I'm already geared up, sitting at Borders with my lap top, guzzling coffee (I notice some grounds floating in my cup, but I'm not complaining) and preparing to give myself a good kick in the butt.

Not before i post something, of course.

Quote of the day: "And so, in order to be a good writer, I have to be willing to be a bad writer. I have to be willing to let my thoughts and images be as contradictory as the evening firing its fireworks outside my window. In other words, let it all in—every little detail that catches your fancy. You can sort it out later—if it needs any sorting."  Julia Cameron, The Right to Write.

This is the theory behind NaNoWriMo—to throw yourself freely into your writing, to write whatever comes to mind, and then build on it till you’ve reached your word count without breaking your pace. If, along the way, you’re able to make some sense of what you wright, all the better. If not, no big deal; as Cameron promises, you can sort it out later.

The first time I participated in NaNo, I figured it’d be a waste of my time. How can you pound out paragraph after paragraph, page after page, and not at least try revise your (sometimes nonsensical) sentences as you go along? Those blatant typos jump out at you each time you glance at the page, and the less you try to look, the harder it is not to. I used to be an edit-as-you-go kind of writer; every sentence had to be perfect before I could move on to the next. I was not very good at it. No wonder it took me 8 years to complete a novel. :)

But I bit the bullet and did it the NaNo way. Later, after hitting my 50K (moments before the deadline), I discovered I could salvage…hmm, maybe half of the manuscript. A waste of time? Nope. I still had roughly 25K words—GOOD words, once revised—completed in 30 days, words I probably wouldn’t have written without the excitement and camaraderie of NaNo.

Since then I’ve resurrected that old NaNo project (which languished in my hard drive for three years) and rewrote what I had, transforming it from an adult paranormal to YA. This is the ghost story that’ll be published in 2012, my second NaNo project to be published.

So, for my GRAPEMO project, I’m going to continue in this tradition and write another 50 pages for my current WIP. Will not stop to revise. Will not stop to edit mistakes or typos. I’m giving myself permission to be a bad writer first, knowing, once it’s completed, I’ll find a way to make it shine.

For those of you who find it mentally agonizing to write this way, remember: a slower, more methodical writer may, in the end, have a great deal less to “clean up”; you won’t be faced with the seemingly insurmountable task of what pretty much boils down to rewriting your whole project. I have a friend who edits and revises as she goes, meticulously evaluating each turn of phrase. It takes her a very long time to complete a project, but what she ends up with is pretty close to perfect. With this type of writer on one end of the spectrum, and the typical NaNo writer on the other, in between there are as many ways to write as there are individuals like us breathing life into our stories.

I hope this challenge will help you find your way. :)




( 9 comments — Leave a comment )
Feb. 1st, 2011 06:09 pm (UTC)
I didn't know it, but I've always written the NaNo Way. I turn on the music, shut my eyes, and listen for the characters to start speaking. The next morning I'll come back to see what they got up to.

Enjoy the coffee, and the words. I finished collating my research and did my first chapter this morning. 4108 words into a completely different story. It's amazing.

Thank you.

Feb. 1st, 2011 07:36 pm (UTC)
Feb. 1st, 2011 06:25 pm (UTC)
Thanks for the pep talk. I'm off to write!
Feb. 1st, 2011 07:37 pm (UTC)
Bout time! ;)
Feb. 1st, 2011 07:00 pm (UTC)
Uhm, go Grapes? :)

Good luck to all.
Feb. 1st, 2011 07:38 pm (UTC)
Thanks, Susan. :)
Feb. 1st, 2011 07:36 pm (UTC)
I like to write my first draft always like Nano, let myself flow with what the characters want to say.
Feb. 1st, 2011 07:38 pm (UTC)
Me too!
Feb. 2nd, 2011 04:47 am (UTC)
I've always been a firm believer that you have to write the "bad words" before you can uncover the good ones. Even though I'm more of an edit-as-you-go person, if I'm stuck on a scene and can't figure out how to fix it, I continue on with the next scene anyway, knowing I'll have that light-bulb moment for the other one eventually!
( 9 comments — Leave a comment )


Jeannine Garsee

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