Nanowrimo 2012

Dear reader,

I finally have the right idea for this year’s Nanowrimo. It will be about an orchestra. Not an ordinary orchestra of course. A while ago at the gym I had the first idea for it, which involved a gym (back then). The idea took hold and morphed a few times, from gym to school, to undertaker firm, to some things I don’t even (want or care to) recall, and finally to the orchestra.


So far as I can tell now, the director of the orchestra is also a librarian. All the members of the orchestra have their own background and occupation, and each one will be featured in a chapter. Well, that is the idea for now. It is not November yet and once the ideas start bubbling and boiling there is no telling what else can jump from the cauldron of my mind…

The devil and his diary

Dear reader,

Long time ago I wrote a very silly thing in 30 chapters. It was my work for Nanowrimo, and I had decided to write 30 days of the Devil’s Diary. What started out as a what do I care, as long as it’s words project, turned into a ‘story’ with lots of details about all kinds of things, mixed with my own warped fantasy of how things could be in hell.

A while ago I dug out the original manuscript and looked it over. Now I have spent time on brushing it up, formatting it into something more comprehensible, and all that comes with editing. A good thing is that reading it again after so much time made me laugh and grin in places. It won’t be very long before the book is ready to go out to Smashwords, Amazon and all the usual places, but – there is a distinct warning that comes with this book.

It is not for the faint of heart who are very religious and can’t take jokes, puns and other stabs to religions, gods and other creatures belonging to that.

The story is not limited to taking on any specific religious group, every one of them gets its share, but please heed this warning. I am not accepting any liability for people who feel offended after reading it, that is why I am mentioning this. I don’t mean to offend or hurt, I mean to make people laugh.

By the time the book approaches publication, I’ll post one or two chapters of it, so you can sample it and make an educated decision whether or not you would like it. For now, cover-making is the next thing on the agenda.

Nanowrimo 2011 for me is over.

For me, Nanowrimo 2011 is over. As is obvious, I made the official goal of 50.000 words, but that was not my personal goal. That was twice the amount, and I achieved that on the evening of 26 November. The entire story, unedited and full of errors as it is, clocked in at 101.269 words, a feat of which I am very proud.

Writing so much in so little time is more for me than an insane act of keyboard-assault, dear reader, or as the Nanowrimo site calls it: Literary abandon. It is about getting into a very intense relationship with the characters in the story, going from zero to infinity in no more than writing the first paragraph. I started the life of characters I did not know, in an environment I have in a way borrowed from the movie Blade Runner. The story took off and took me with it, for many hours and words a day. (It is an average of 3750 words per day.)

And then, 27 days after that ludicrous start and build-up of the story, the background of the characters and finally the culmination of it all, it is over. It is a very strange feeling, which overcomes me every time I finish a work of fiction. It’s done, and it will not come back the way it was. The life of the characters changed, and with theirs my life changed as well.

In a few days the feeling will go away. Until then, I know, I will not be writing a lot, even when there is so much else that needs / wants to be written, edited, and reread. That will happen.

For the fifth year, Nanowrimo took me on a magnificent journey, diving into the madness, not paying attention to the bends in the road, cutting corners and luring danger out into the open together with my characters. Them in the field, me behind the keyboard trying to write everything down in real-time.


Nanowrimo. An update and a thought.

When today is over, one third of Nanowrimo is over.

Dear reader, after doing four years of Nanowrimo, the national novel writing month, it is still an exciting journey to embark on for me. After all, this is a way of writing that defies most ‘laws’ of writing. You sit down and you start writing, often without much of an idea where your story will end (or start!), what the characters will do or if you even like them. (Or should that be “if they even like you”?)

As I am writing this entry, I have just written a part in this year’s Nanowrimo story that utterly surprised me. The story at this moment is about a meeting between Priscilla and Magdanovitch. This meeting was already a strange event for me to happen, I had not meant or aimed for this. And at this moment, they are walking (arm in arm!) through a street in the neighbourhood  where “Mags” lives, and they are surrounded by a group of children in colourful clothes.

Talk about surprising. Let me tell you, dear reader, that I have no plans with the two people, nor do they. Not with each other, nor with me. At least they have not mentioned anything along those lines.

And isn’t this something that happens in real life as well? You have no plan, or a well-defined plan, and suddenly you can find yourself in an entirely different situation than you aimed for? As if a higher force, the writer of your life’s story, suddenly has a new idea for you and scratches out all the paragraphs that so far were written for you.

If this is really so, I hope that our writers like us, and supply us with nice life-chapters. 😉

Nanowrimo. The madness.

“Madness?” I almost hear you think, dear reader. Please, fear not. Even when there is madness involved, I am still in reasonable control of my abilities.

But you said madness!
True. I did. Let me explain. Nanowrimo stands for National Novel Writing Month. It is an exercise for authors, or rather anyone who likes to write, to let go of standards of proper writing. Instead, you engage on a lunatic journey to produce a novel of at least 50,000 words in one month. In other words, you write an average of 1666 words each day. The month chosen for this is November. And November is about to start.

Words… words…
Oh, I understand your confusion. How much is so many words? It is difficult to give an exact number of pages, but for 50,000 words you should think of a book of about 120 pages. Yes, that makes for a lot of words. Due to the speed of writing, there is no time to make sure the writing that comes out of this month is something very nice and pretty. The produced writing will be horrible; there are typos unfixed, ideas and plots that take all kinds of turns without making sense, names of characters can occasionally change at will. But that is not a problem during Nanowrimo. It is based on the challenge to do this, to write so much, to let go of the built-in editor who wants to go back and make things look so much better.

But that leaves us with a mess!
True. The end result is not something to be proud of when you look at it as a book, dear reader. But for that there are the dark winter months. Then there is the time to re-read the novel (once the author has gathered enough stamina to face that monster again), and go over the typos, the bad grammar and all the mistakes and “unguided missiles” in the text. The only pride that is in that monster is the satisfaction of having achieved this mad dash to the end of the trail, the 50,000 words (or more) written in one month.

And what does Nanowrimo to your life?
Ooohhh… that is a nasty question… November is a month that traditionally means retreating from selected bits of human interaction. After all, there is still a part of normal life that has to happen as well. Think of work, sleep, laundry and all such forms of entertainment.

Nanowrimo is a strange thing. One hardly thinks of it through the year, but at a certain point it pops up. There is the need for an idea, a plan, a plot, a story. And from that moment on the experience is already building, which finds its culmination in November. The month that tens of thousands of people all over the world attempt to write an average of 1666 words a day, to reach that goal of 50,000 words after the 30 days of the month.

Nanowrimo online.
If you want to know more about Nanowrimo, you can visit the Nanowrimo website.

Nanowrimo 2009

Now why would I bring up something ancient like a story from 2009? And you may ask, dear reader, what is a Nanowrimo?

Last things first: Nanowrimo is a challenge to write a novel in a month. A novel of at least 50,000 words. This amounts to around 1680 words per day, and more if you slip a day. Think of a book of about 100 pages, for easier reference.

In 2009 I did Nanowrimo for the third time. The story developed from a very short story I had written on the prompt of a friend. The prompt was: “Did they use Bactine?” At that time I was not even aware that Bactine is a first aid liquid, as it is an American product and unknown in the Netherlands.

The story is about a soldier on a star base who gets hurt badly, fixed up, set up, thrown out of the military in a halfway decent manner and ends up with a ‘special assignment’. He is sent to a planet far away, where a number of interesting things are waiting for him in an equally interesting environment.

It came out a cross between science-fiction and steampunk, at least that is how it feels to me. I am currently editing the book (trust me, writing 136,000 words in one month desperately calls for editing), so it is acceptable for publishing on Smashwords and affiliates.

If you, dear reader, have an appreciation for scifi and steampunk, it might be an idea to keep your eyes open for “Bactine”. Of course, I will keep everyone informed about the progress on this book, on this very weblog.

Below is a small snippet from “Bactine”, at the point where Daniel has returned from a mission that almost went wrong. It is the point where his future will change dramatically.

Continue reading “Nanowrimo 2009”