Tuesday, October 31, 2006

NaNo What Now?

The eve of October 31st has always been a special and magic time for me. I'll never grow out of my love for Halloween. But this year there's an extra special bit of excitement in the air, as it also denotes the eve of the beginning of NaNoWriMo. "NaNo what now?" you might ask.

NaNoWriMo -- short for National Novel Writing Month. It's basically a fly by the seat of your pants approach to writing a novel. The goal is to write 50,000 words by midnight of November 30th. I've signed up to NaNoWriMo to put pressure on myself to finish "A Canadian Werewolf in New York" - I've got about 10,000-15,000 words of what used to be a short story that I've decided to turn into a novel -- and for the next 30 days I'll be hammering out the next 50,000 or so words in order to complete it. No, I know, I'm not following the rules 100%, as you're not supposed to have begun work on the novel ahead of time, but I am following the write 50,000 words rule and will only be counting the new 50,000 words than I write rather than the words that came before it. The goal is simple -- finish the first draft of the damn novel (which will likely be between 70,000 and 80,000 words in total) for once and for all.

For me, it's all about the pressure. I work best under a tight deadline. I also made the promise on The Writing Show podcast during my guest spot in Paula B's "Getting Published" reality series and she'll be checking in on me to see what progress I've made. More pressure. I love it.

In honour of NaNoWriMo and Halloween, I'd like to present a postcard challenge story that I wrote when I crashed a local writing group meeting this month that my buddy Kim is in. The postcard challenge is to write a story of about 220 or less words using a theme and 3 specific words that are supplied. This month's theme: Weird Science. The words: catnip, duct tape, trowser.

Trick This Treat By Mark Leslie (220 words)

Maxwell shook his head as he wiped his hands on his trouser pants and stepped back to admire his handiwork.

Sure the entire setup was a bit messy and pretty simple in construction; held together with a nail here, a screw there, and duct tape in several places where nothing else seemed to work. But the series of booby traps he set up in his front yard would certainly do the trick, instantly killing or maiming anyone with the nerve to set foot on his property tonight

“Trick,” he muttered, enjoying the pun and glanced across the street at the grinning hollowed out pumpkin set out on the front porch. The flickering candle light was more noticeable now that twilight was settling in.

His work complete, he went inside and filled the cat dish to the brim with catnip, wanting to be sure the little furry companion was content and happy and stayed out of his hair.

It was a lot of work, he knew.

But dammit, if he didn’t do something to stop those pesky kids from coming to his door and distracting him all night, or kept the damn cat from pestering him for food and treats, he wasn’t ever going to get his bloody novel started.

He only had one month, after all.

NaNoWriMo started at midnight.


Anonymous said...

Max is cool. I can relate about the distractions...although perhaps not with his method of eliminating them!

Glad you crashed the meeting. Feel free to do so anytime!

BTExpress said...

50,000 words! That is a lot of words.

Phain said...

no doubt thats some pressure! i'd crack - totally crack... ;)