Thursday, 30 December 2010

2011: SB's YeoWDam't

I was wondering how to explain something this insane and eventually settled for doing it in interview format. My alter ego often helps me out with character interviews and getting out of plot holes, so I thought she was the best one for the job.

Although I did think about turning it over to one of my characters... Anyway, read on.

Interview of Siana Blackwood done by Siana Blackwood's alter ego

Date: 30th December 2010

Subject: Siana Blackwood's Year of Writing a D*** Lot

Siana Blackwood's alter ego: Hello and welcome to a world exclusive interview with Siana Blackwood, author of the phenomenally brilliant 2010 NaNoWriMo novel The Frozen Tear.

Siana Blackwood: Er... Hi, everyone. Sorry about the intro – my alter-ego is a bit on the weird side sometimes.

SB's AE: Hey, who are you calling weird? You're the one who had the bright idea about writing a million words in a year!

SB: Aren't you supposed to be interviewing me?

SB's AE: Oh, right. So... the first question all your loyal fans would like answered is this: where are you going after The Frozen Tear?

SB: Well, I've already been somewhere, actually, adding just over 31000 words and finishing my vampire story during NaNoFiMo this December. During that I decided I like having finished stories lying around and that's how I came up with my current plan.

SB's AE: YeoWDam't, right? I'm going to ask you to explain that, but first can you tell me where you came up with that name?

SB: Well, in the tradition of the various WriMos it's made by squashing together the full name of my plan, which is 'Siana Blackwood's Year of Writing a D*** Lot'. It also sounds kind of like someone experiencing pain and then swearing about it, which pretty much encapsulates my own reaction to the plan.

SB's AE: All right, let's move on to the plan itself...

SB: It basically boils down to this: One million words in a year and twelve WriMos in twelve months. Well, actually, eleven WriMos and one EdMo.

SB's AE: That's insane.

SB: I know, but it's going to be fun.

SB's AE: So what's your workload going to be like for the year?

SB: The target word count each month is 83334 words. I'm aiming to knock over 75000 of that in WriMos, leaving just over 8000 that has to be covered by side projects, planning and maybe the odd homework task.

SB's AE: Homework? You're going to be studying at the same time?

SB: Yeah, I'm doing a course on Library services. It seemed kind of vaguely logical for someone who's got qualifications in computing and web design but really just wants to be a writer.

SB's AE: Well, good luck with all that. It sounds like a lot of fun... if you're insane.

SB: Which we just decided I was a moment ago. I'm pretty sure I wouldn't recognise Sanity if it bit me.

SB's AE: Sanity isn't going to bite you. That's the kind of thing insanity does. As in 'bitten by the insanity bug'.

SB: Or the writing bug. Therefore we can conclude that I would know writing if it bit me.

SB's AE: This interview is getting a bit off track, isn't it? To resume... it's only one more day until the start of Milwordy and JanNoWriMo. Are you ready?

SB: I think so. I've got a cool spreadsheet for tracking my word counts and a few ideas to get me started. I've got a plan as well, where I start planning the next month's story halfway through the current month. I'm also deliberately inviting myself to work on side projects, although they're going to be covered by some kind of formal word count agreement as well.

SB's AE: So what's your strategy for WriMo success? You do have one, don't you?

SB: Hey, be nice. Yes, of course I've got a strategy. It's like this:

1.Two weeks before the start of the challenge, start planning the story. This is nothing elaborate, just a general plot outline and a bit of an idea about what the characters are like. Physical descriptions are good, though, because it saves time when they first appear in the story.

2.Start writing at midnight on the first day of the challenge. Even if it's just a couple of hundred words before bed.

3.Never stop to correct spelling mistakes. If I can't type at 100% accuracy I have to leave it for editing time. On that subject, turn off the red underlining for the spellcheck. It's distracting.

4.Keep a notebook of all the ideas, questions, answers and discussions with characters. Everything that gets typed up has to be printed and glued into the notebook. The notebook easily goes everywhere I go, while the computer is a little more difficult to cart around.

5.Keep hitting the word count goals. Getting ahead is great, because it means the story is actually moving along willingly. If it's not and I have to fight for every word, I have to hit the goal anyway. Word sprints are a good idea for this – set a goal and then try to hit it within a certain amount of time. For really desperate times, Write or Die is a good tool to have handy.

6.Actually, there is no 6, unless paying more attention to the scenery is an important final point. It's not just a good way to boost the word count, either – scenery is really important to the flow of the story and how the characters behave when they're moving around.

SB's AE: That's a pretty long 6 for there not being one.

SB: Yeah, yeah.

SB's AE: So do you have a rewards strategy?

SB: Not any more. I had a really good one for NaNoWriMo and didn't end up eating many of the treats I got myself. I had enough left over for random snacking as well as NaNoFiMo rewards. I figure I'll get myself a block of chocolate at the end of the month if I hit my goals. Maybe there's a separate reward for WriMo success and Milwordy success – probably some kind of treat for each goal.

I think it's going to be chocolate for hitting the WriMo goal and then some other kind of treat like a gadget or something for Milwordy success. Maybe a small shopping spree at the cheap shop...

SB's AE: Well then, it looks like you're all set to go, Any final words of encouragement for anyone who might be planning the same kind of venture?

SB: Words of encouragement (not serious): "Are you insane? Yes? Well, go for it!"

Words of encouragement (not serious again): "This year's motto is 'Write it anyway!'"

Words of encouragement (serous this time): No, I can't think of any. Stick with the not serious ones for now. Oh, okay. Try this: "There is no such thing as an idea that is too good to write."

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