The Writers Circle: NaNoWriMo 2017

TWC
One of our goals here at Today’s Author is to help all of the writers among us to do what we love to do: write. One of the best ways to accomplish this is by talking to each other and learning from each other.  Our Writers Circle series is designed to do just that – provide a chance for us to discuss writing, editing and publishing questions.

This week’s topic is:

National Novel Writing Month begins again on November 1! Many members of the Today’s Author community are annual participants in NaNoWriMo or the Young Writer’s Program (for students in high school or younger), so today we’d like to see how many folks are planning to participate this year.  Some rule changes a few years ago opened the event up to works-in-progress as well, so if you haven’t participated due to the old requirement for a new work of fiction, you may want to take another look!

Please take a moment to let us know if you are participating and what you are considering writing for NaNoWriMo 2017. Additionally, if you have any questions about NaNoWriMo, please ask — some of our members are staff volunteers for the event and can help you get the answers you need.

Let’s discuss this in the comments and see what our community thinks.

Advertisements

The Writers Circle: NaNoWriMo 2016

TWC
One of our goals here at Today’s Author is to help all of the writers among us to do what we love to do: write. One of the best ways to accomplish this is by talking to each other and learning from each other.  Our Writers Circle series is designed to do just that – provide a chance for us to discuss writing, editing and publishing questions.

This week’s topic is:

National Novel Writing Month begins again on November 1! October is NaNo Prep month.  Many members of the Today’s Author community are annual participants in NaNoWriMo, so today we’d like to see how many folks are planning to participate this year.  Please take a moment to answer the poll and leave a comment about what you are considering writing for NaNoWriMo 2016 or with any questions you might have about the event.

Let’s discuss this in the comments and see what our community thinks.

The Writers Circle: Writing Events

TWC
One of our goals here at Today’s Author is to help all of the writers among us to do what we love to do: write. One of the best ways to accomplish this is by talking to each other and learning from each other.  Our Writers Circle series is designed to do just that – provide a chance for us to discuss writing, editing and publishing questions.

This week’s topic is:

The July edition of Camp NaNoWriMo has started.  Are you participating?  Whether you are participating in Camp or not, today we would like to know which writing events you have tried in the past or are planning to try in the future. What do you see as the benefits of online or in person events geared toward getting a lot of writing done? Do you find any major drawbacks to participating in these events?

Let’s discuss this in the comments and see what our community thinks.

Just for Fun: Halloween

Pick a character from a current work-in-progress, a past story you’ve written or one you’ve thought up but never used.  In honor of the upcoming Halloween holiday, imagine someone has invited this character to a costume party. What do they dress up as and how do other people react to their costumes? Write a quick scene with them at the party. You can do this in the comments here or write a quick story and leave a link to it here in the comments.

Just for Fun: Holidays

Pick a character from a current work-in-progress, a past story you’ve written or one you’ve thought up but never used.  In honor of the upcoming Labor Day holiday, think about what this character does when they have a day off from work or school for a holiday. Do they go somewhere or follow any traditions?  Describe your character’s favorite holiday and how they spend it.  You can do this in the comments here or write a quick story and leave a link to it here in the comments.

Just for Fun: Vacations

Pick a character from a current work-in-progress, a past story you’ve written or one you’ve thought up but never used.  Where do they go on vacation? What do they do while they are on vacation?  Do they go alone or bring their family with them? Describe the vacation in the comments here or write a vacation scene or story to get to know your character better.

Just for Fun: Traveling

Pick a character from a current work-in-progress, a past story you’ve written or one you’ve thought up but never used.  Stick this character in an airport, bus station, train station, space dock or other transportation hub where they are awaiting their departure time.  Now cancel their flight/train/bus/etc.  Describe in the comments here where they were going, how they felt about going there and how they react to this change in their travel arrangements.

Just for Fun: The Playing Field

There are many occasions in history when the world comes together to compete in sporting events (The Olympics, World Cup, etc.).  These events have many reasons for existing, of course, but the end result is that teams or individuals who differ ideologically come together to compete in sport.  How might such an event be held in your current (or past) works of fiction?  Describe what you’ve done in your works here in the comments, or put together a quick paragraph or two giving an example of how sports or other competitive events (spelling bees or chess matches, for example) might level the playing field amongst your characters and their societies.

Self-reflection: Character Vs. Plot

It took me a long time to understand why I didn’t like some books that other people raved about. The Foundation series by Isaac Asimov, for instance.  (Dale may be writing another blasphemer post after reading this.) I see its strength.  I understand it is impressive in its scope of imagining.  But I didn’t like it and didn’t read the third novel in the series. Let me explain this is unusual for me as the only series I haven’t finished—but which was complete by the author at the time I read it—was one my husband demanded I stop.  He hated hearing about why it was such a bad story.  The Foundation series, though, I just didn’t care to finish.

We all know stories need both character and plot.  I bet we’ve all read the extremes: stories which revolve around character and contain a slight blip for a plot arc, and stories which revolve around plot and contain characters that are more sketched than fleshed out.  I wonder, though, if many of us have taken a look at how character and plot really impact our reading preferences.  Not to mention how our reading preferences and choices impact our writing preferences and choices.

I certainly never did until recently. It’s embarrassing, actually, how long it took for me to realize what hooked me into a book– good, bad, or mediocre.  It’s the character-centeredness of the book.  The Foundation series is event-driven.  Don’t get me wrong– I LOVE action in a book.  I read the Games of Thrones series, what was available of it, years before it became an international phenomenon.  I loved the Da Vinci Code, although I probably would have been more into it if I had read it before the rest of the world announced What A Great Book it was.  It was also very event-driven, but still character-centered.

Characters drive all my stories, now that I think about it, except one.  Well, they drive that exception as well, but the story revolves around an event not the characters.  That’s the story that I never could get to flow.  It’s choppy and confusing in places, and that’s after two workshops and three rewrites, one of which gave it a single character for readers to follow.

I didn’t consciously write an event-centered story; it makes me wonder what would happen if I did.  Would it be any good?  Would I spend as much time staring at the computer screen and cussing out the events that won’t resolve that I spend cussing out the characters who won’t make up their minds?

I want to be the strongest writer I can be.  Of course, I defeat myself in the sheer lack of time I give to my so-called craft.   My goal this summer (when my summer actually starts, in July) is to write a short story different from what I have done in the past.  I think writing an event-driven story would be an interesting challenge for me.

I know the writing stance of a few – very few, sadly – Today’s Author contributors, but little more.  Which are you: an event or character reader?  An event or character writer?  Or both?  What do you like about it?