Monday, November 30, 2009

Take a Rest!!

At last, NaNoWriMo is offer! And at last, you can rest!

What should you do?

1. Do not edit your novel. Step away from it and allow your plot to still simmer in your head. Do nothing with it. Have nothing to do with it!

2. Attend a Thank God It's Over (TGIO) party and share war stories. Get tips from the veterans and mentor some new enthusiasts. Whatever you do, do not write your novel! Step away! Rest!

3. If you can, DO NOT READ YOUR NOVEL. You might think that this will be a harmless process that will allow you to enjoy your month's efforts. It will either force you to edit or leave you going "Huh?" at your story. True, some writers can produce a masterpiece in a month, but some will simply come up with drivel. Resist the urge to read your work because you might be tempted to judge yourself too harshly and too early.

It's time to reward yourself with free time. Rest, and you'll find yourself happy to jump into any kind of fray again.

Friday, November 27, 2009

A Not-So-Last Sentence

You have your choice of characters and plot, and you can use as many words as you want. You only need to come to an ending so that your story will end with the following sentence.

"It was not finished yet."

Last sentence exercises always aim to make you focus your story and to find the many ways to reach an ending without looking like you are forcing the words out. Happy writing, and good luck with the story!

When you are done, post your work in the Comments section, or provide readers with a link to it.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Love Can Move Mountains (Or Make them Land On You)

Having a love life can build up your writing life or break it down. Your husband or wife can bring you a surprise gift, or they can insult you without speaking a single word. Your boyfriend or girlfriend can be indifferent one day and affectionate the next. You can be on an emotional rollercoaster, and the stories that you tell could be affected by your love life.

That isn't to say, however, that every writer has to give up his or her love life for better writing. In fact, you need to think of the exact opposite. A love life - or, for that matter, a real life - can only enrich your writing and make it more poignant, more real to you and your readers.

You can actually take advantage of the emotional rollercoaster that you may find yourself in. Boyfriend not paying you any attention? Write about it. For added vindication, construct an imaginary boyfriend who can teach your boyfriend a thing or two about relationships.

Girlfriend sent you a sweet text message that made your day? Write about it. Better yet, send her a sweet text back.

Husband cooked you dinner? Write about it. Make it a happier occasion by writing an actual novel about the struggles that your husband went through to put the dinner together. Feel free to add fight scenes with other cooking-for-their-wives-husbands and negotiations on vegetable prices that end in cursing and shouting.

Wife didn't kiss you goodbye this morning? Write about it. Get some bigger revenge with a short story about how your day still goes well - and even better than any other day - even without the kiss.

A lot of people will tell you to ignore the emotional rollercoaster. Try riding on it - and you may find yourself rich in more plots, more characters, and more stories.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

An Ebay Search Can Buy You a Story!

It's time to get on Ebay and buy a story! All you need to do is follow the steps below.

1. Visit - you don't need to have a log in.
2. Look for the search window.
3. Do a general search: type in the first letter of your first name and search for it.
4. Pick the first object/product that you find. Take note of it.
5. Do another general search: this time, type in the first letter of your last name.
6. Pick the very last object/product on the first page of your search results.

Now, construct a story around these two objects/products. You can pick your characters and plot, but make these two objects/products pivotal to your story. You have only 5,000 words at your disposal. When you are finished, post your story in the comments section or provide a link to it.

Good luck and happy writing!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Back to School!

Raphael's School of Athens is painted on one of the walls of the Vatican Museum. Filled with various characters from history, this painting could well be embedded with stories and legends.

What story can YOU pick up?

Look at all the characters and pick at least 3. Set your work in the School of Athens. What was life like? What are your characters like? What are their motivations? Where did they come from? Where are they going?

You can use up to 10,000 words for your story. Be as true as possible to how the characters appear in the painting, and if you can, do some historical research! When you are done, post your work in the Comments section, or provide a link to it.

Good luck and happy writing!

Saturday, November 7, 2009

The NaNoWriMo Plunge!

Life bites.

Writing a novel is difficult enough when you have to do it over a period of years, but when you have one month to do it, it can be disastrous. A lot of writers who do the NaNoWriMo exercise every year will tell you that the best way to write is to lock yourself up in your personal dungeon (attic, basement, broom closet) and stay away from the world.

But how realistic can your novel be when you are cloistered and kept out of reality?

If you are planning to join National Novel Writing Month, prepare yourself for real life. Prepare yourself for the interruptions of school, work, home, and friends. If you are prepared for interruptions, then you may be less likely to respond insanely to a well-meaning friend/family member/boss, and you could successfully juggle writing a novel and your non-novel-writing life.

After all, won't winning NaNoWriMo be even more exciting and rewarding when you get past the 50k word mark, complete all your household tasks, finish up at school, and still keep all your friends without any of them worrying about your sanity?

Good luck with the race this year - and don't be afraid of real life! It may bite, but you can always bite back.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

The Abridged, The Shortened, the Condensed, Part 1

A few decades back, Reader's Digest decided to put out large volumes of condensed works, where they whittled down novels to their barest minimum so that people could still read the classics without having to sit down for hours (days, months) at a time. But how do condensed/shortened/abridged versions compare with the original?

Your job right now is to read a condensed version of a book that you have never read before, but whose full, unabridged, and complete copy is within reach. The objective of this exercise is to get you to see the difference between the condensed and full version of a book, not just in how the story flows, but what apparently editors hold in higher regard. Do editors go for character development but not the actual plot, or do they go for plots and then leave you to find out the characters' lives and motivations?

Your job is to read the condensed version of the book, and, as you are reading, write your thoughts down. In particular, write how the book makes you feel, how it strikes you, and what you are looking for. What are the questions left unanswered? Which characters do you want to see more of? What assumptions should you be making about the characters or the plot? In other words: speculate.

When you are done reading and taking notes, do not write a full review yet. Keep your notes and wait for the next exercise on book reviews. Good luck and happy reading (and speculating)!