NaNoWriMo

So we have entered October, which means that NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) is only one month away. Yes, I know that one month is actually a fairly substantial amount of time, but this is my first NaNoWriMo and I am desperate to be as prepared as humanly possible for it. Plus, October is due to be an incredibly busy month for Real-Life Me, so between one thing and another I may not have much work to post here over the coming months.

I already have an idea for my novel though, which is something. Let me tell you the story of how I came to it.

I recently tried to write a piece with a lot of dialogue for the WritingPrompts September Contest (which I did not submit because my Senior Proof Reader though another piece was better. I may post it here, not sure yet). I picked and picked away at this dialogue until, in my efforts to perfect it, I actually picked it to pieces. As I re-read it over and over, with increasing frustration every time, I thought to myself: “hmph, maybe I should write a mute character so that I don’t have to deal with all this dialogue crap.”

Now I only thought this sulkily, out of bitter frustration, but it got me thinking: a character that cannot speak would actually be an interesting one to write. They would have a very different life to us able-bodied people even in the here and now, let alone in some medieval-styled fantasy world. Language in general was not very standardised in those times so sign language would be even worse unless there was a large deaf community, which would make it incredibly difficult for the protagonist to communicate, be part of a community, and generally live their life. So I decided that I’m going to take the task on!

(And no, it’s not to reduce dialogue! I promise!)

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A Prompt A Day Keeps Writer’s Block Away…

Okay, so one prompt per day is just a tad ambitious, but you get the idea. I tend to work on one prompt or another every day, so that counts! Right?

Anyway, I am really enjoying the reddit prompts at the moment. One prompt that I came across fit perfectly into the story from “A Medieval Tavern”, so I decided to write that prompt using that world. This happened again with another prompt, so I took the story further yet again.

Then it struck me: while I do not feel confident enough to actually begin telling the story I wish most to tell, why not tell another one?

I plan on telling a whole new story using only prompts from the WritingPrompts subreddit, picking and choosing the best and most appropriate ones as and when they come along. I have no idea what will happen and where the prompts will take me, but I think that’s part of the fun!

I figured it might help me begin to approach each chapter as its own miniature story, and I hope that the prompts will help get some variation going through the different themes, settings, characters and lines that are given as prompts. Of course I am also hoping to continue improving my overall skill.

Hopefully it will go well!

The First Lines

Starting to WriteMy first post on this blog serves a dual purpose, in the same manner that my title can be read in two ways.

The first of these is obvious: these are the first lines that I am writing in this place. I intend this to exist mostly for my own purposes – basically for recording my writing process – but if friends, family or even strangers find some use or entertainment in it then they are welcome to read.

I will keep a record of everything of any note that I write: any experimentation, miniature tasks, challenges and projects that I set myself, and hopefully the chapters of the novel that is my final goal in all of this. I am also hoping to collect resources that I have found useful. In the end, I want this place to be the story of my story.

The second meaning of the title and the second purpose of this post concerns the first hurdle that I am struggling to overcome: actually getting started.

Every night when my head hits the pillow the ideas swirl and dance through my thoughts. I picture the protagonists, antagonists and cities I have yet to name, I build the history of a people who have yet to come into being, and slowly but surely I fall in love with the world I wish so badly to bring to life.

But that is where it ends. Although I can put fingers to keyboard and create something of which I am relatively proud, I seem unable to do so with the one thing I wish to create most.

What confuses me is that I never really had this problem at University. In fact, I was almost the total opposite. Whilst Anna would sit in her room next to me and knock out an essay overnight, I would always have begun mine and perhaps even finished it weeks in advance.

Unless perhaps what I and everyone else considered to be procrastination and laziness in my younger years was actually this very same thing? After all, I only changed my ways once the consequences of failing to began to grow greater and greater. It also took proof of these efforts being beneficial for me to behave this way continuously – I certainly did not believe in the benefits through all the years of my parents telling me to.

Whatever the case, whether this is new or old, it is frustrating me. I feel lost and confused about how to even begin this mammoth task. Do I start at the beginning? Of course that makes sense from some perspectives, but an equally valid point is that the beginning, being of such high importance, should be left until my skill has been honed and I can write the most intriguing first chapter possible. Then again, what is proof-reading and re-writing for if not to revisit old work with older, more experienced eyes?

All I can do is begin my journey and hope that I get somewhere in the end. And, on that note, I end this post to return to more creative tasks.