NaNoWriMo Approacheth

Guess what? November is almost here. You know what that means. Aside from an ill-advised a proliferation of creepy mustaches, I mean. Seriously guys….ew. A mustache without a beard just screams “I’m a pedophile who traveled here from the 1980s.” Unless you’re Tom Selleck. He might just be the only man on the plant who looks more like a pedophile without a mustache than with one. Not that I’m saying we should start profiling sexual predators based on their facial hair…mustaches are just creepy and it annoys me a bit that they get to share a month with the bit of insanity I’m actually excited about: NaNoWriMo.

That’s right. National Novel Writing Month. I skipped it last year, but this year I’m back, and I have goals, baby!

The first year I participated in NaNoWriMo was awesome. I won. I wrote a book. A book that is still haunting my pile of things to finish editing, granted, but it has a beginning, a middle, and an end. A conflict, complicating events, and a resolution. The main character grows and changes from word alpha to word omega. It’s not a particularly good book, no genre-redefining behemoth of immensitude, but I learned a lot about storytelling in the process of making it and I don’t completely hate it.

Year two was a bit of a drag. I did not win. I was working on the sequel to book one, and let me tell you something about sequels: you have to know how the first book ends to write them. I hadn’t really finished with Autumn’s Daughter and as I was trying to write the sequel, I realized that the ending of the first book did not work. It completely killed my momentum on Autumn’s Sister and I still haven’t regained my footing there, which is more or less why I skipped last year.

This year, however, I have a story I love the hell out of. It’s probably rubbish from beginning to end, but it’s my kind of rubbish and it is unspoiled by uncertainty about my previous work. I have an outline and a cast of characters. And, as I said, I have goals.

Hitting a specific word count during one month has, to me, become equivalent to trying to fit into a bikini before summer. It’s completely possible, but if it requires me to make drastic life changes that are too far removed from my current life habits, I will not continue with the actions that led to change once my goal has been met. So…instead of trying to meet a specific word count, these are my personal victory conditions for NaNoWriMo 2013:

1. Get up with my alarm.

Even on weekends. Getting up at 6:00 am is my best chance for getting some writing done before I have to interact with John, before I start my busy list for the day, and before I wear my brain out writing copy for other people.

2. Work on my writing every day.

Seven days a week, folks. Something valuable to the progress of my current projects needs to be done.

3. Add words to my novel 5 days a week.

The plan is that most days I need to be writing actual story stuff in my book file and on those days I’m not allowed to waste my precious writing time doodling around the internet doing research or writing for the blog. I will set aside two (probably non-consecutive) days each week to do things like editing, connecting with other writers, researching agents, and learning more about self-publishing. So unlike other years, there’s a chance that this NaNoWriMo will actually see me adding more to my blog than I have been lately. Exciting stuff, right?

As always, I’m happy to connect with anyone else who’s playing along.  My username is MWalshe. Come be my friend and let’s meet our creative goals together!



3 thoughts on “NaNoWriMo Approacheth

    1. Something completely new. I’m working on what I’m planning to turn into a serialized ebook. The best description of the genre is science fantasy–in other words, there’s tech and future and a commitment to an internal logic, but there’s also a campy disregard for those pesky things we theoretically know about the universe that might get in the way of time travel, the warping of space, the improbability of light sabers, and all that jazz. I would like my female main character to become the sort of hero that guys and gals alike wish they could be, uphill as that battle may be.

      Here’s a question for you: have you ever read a female main character you could identify with enough to wish you could be her to any degree? This is a thing that bugs me about watching kids in particular and I wish I knew how better to combat it, but while girls have no problem roleplaying Spiderman or Luke Skywalker, I have never seen a boy (school-age and up, mind you–the gender thing doesn’t usually register until they’re spending a lot of time with other kids) react to the suggestion that he play a girl-character with anything other than utter disgust. There was one exception in my program–one boy was cool with playing the pink Power Ranger…until it was pointed out to him that she was a girl, at which point he went from adoring her to thinking she was the stupidest.

      So how do you write a universally kick-ass female hero in a world where being a woman is still somehow more shameful than being a man?


      1. I’ve seen the word “space fantasy” being tossed around (used to describe Ginger Star and the Books of the New Sun)and I think it’s great. Also, you know, tyrannosaur-riding particle-beam-toting nomads. There’s realistic, but then there’s interesting.

        There’s an assumption there that in order to like a character you have to imagine yourself as that character and I very rarely do that. I do imagine what *I* would do if I stepped into the story, but I stay myself. I may have wanted to be the main character of Dragonsong, but even as a kid I usually wanted to meet role models rather than be them.

        I do remember in our middle school recess games I pretended to be a shape-shifting alien who assumed the form of a beautiful woman, though, so…there?

        So as far as books with female protagonists. I got no problem with ’em: Paladin of Souls, The Bonesetter’s Daughter, The Orphans of Chaos, the Garden of Iden, Three Parts Dead…there was one about a trailer trash zombie who was annoying as hell, but she developed a lot and was part of an interesting story so thumbs up. And I’m reading an autobiography right now about a female sociopath. In no way do I want to be her, but her story is very interesting and useful for idea- and character-generation.

        I think you’re right that women and girls enjoy stories about men and boys far more than the reverse. I could but on my evolutionary biology hat and say that it makes sense for both men and women to be interested in the exploits of men, to size those other men up as either potential rivals or mates…but that’s just a just-so-story. It may simply be that it’s easier to imagine that a rootless adventurer (the kind of hero that’s easiest to tell an exciting story about) is male.

        But whether they come from society or biology or economics, these gender roles are getting weaker every generation. In some far-flung space opera future? Sure, you can have a woman as the hero. Strength disparity? Blaster gun or exo-suit! Biological clock? Uterine replicator! Lack of killer instinct? There’s medication for that. The real issue is whether she has anything interesting to say or do, and I know that won’t be a problem.


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