“I’m a writer, you monsters! I create for a living!”
Ah, if I only had a dime for every time I’ve screamed that, Barton Fink style, to a bunch of soldiers and sailors at a USO club and ended up getting my teeth knocked out. We’ve all done it, haven’t we? Because the sensation of finishing a writing project—let’s call it “that Barton Fink feeling”—is one of the few measly pleasures of the writing life. Which is why the Camp NaNoWriMo experience of writing a novel in one month is so…is there a word with a combined meaning of “agonizing” and “contains some surprisingly satisfying moments?”
Posted by Rick Chillot
Okay, quick recap: Last week Blair manipulated me into trying to write a 50,000 word novel in one month following the Camp NaNoWriMo protocol, and then she promptly went on a two-week vacation.
Now that one week has passed, I’m glad to say that my word count is on track, I have spilled very little blood, and I’m only crying very late at night when no one can see or hear me. I’ve also learned a few things that I hope will help me on this and future writing projects, and maybe they’ll help you too, so here they are:
1: Quit wasting time on stuff that you can figure out later. For example, I have always hated coming up with character names. I just don’t have a knack for it. Some of the names I rejected for my story include: Endicott Ramblesby. Pete Bott. Martha Refrigeratorface. Parker Halmurmisson. I just can’t do it. But with the time limit imposed by this project, I decided not to expend precious temporal units on inventing names, I just did my best and moved on. It was quite liberating.
2: Get organized. Reading the NaNoWriMo message boards and corresponding with other, uh, NaNoWriMoers, I’ve been amazed at how much prep work some writers do before they actually begin writing their manuscripts. Lots of people create note cards with character info on them. Some do the same with plot points so they can shuffle things around and try different combinations. Plenty of writers invest a significant chunk of time compiling research so it will be on hand and easy to access when they’re writing. There are software packages like Scrivner that can help you do all this digitally. As we discussed last week, I personally am not prone to a whole lot of this type of frontloading. But I am starting to rethink that. I do know that if I hadn’t hammered out an outline before starting this venture, I’d be lost by now.
Posted by Rick Chillot
A few weeks ago, Ajsa Zdravkovic, a graphic design student from Geneva, Switzerland, posted a stunning photo on our Facebook page and emailed Quirk’s associate publisher and creative director, Jason Rekulak. After forwarding her email around and sharing the image, everyone at the Quirk HQ was blown away. Why? She had shared a page from the inside of her doodled-in copy of Walls Notebook.
After asking her to share some more of her gorgeous creations, she sent over a couple more pages that really show off her artistic skills. Have a look at some more of her doodles below, and be sure to check her out on Tumblr and follow her on Twitter.
Thanks for sharing with us, Ajsa!
Posted by Eric Smith