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NaNoWriMo 2011


Camy

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I've been pondering this year's NaNoWriMo and trying to decide what I'm going to write. What I want is to end up on December 1st with a finished 50,000 word novella, rather than 50,000 words of a novel I'll never get around to completing.

I write short stories and I like to think I'm not bad at them; but novels are a different beast altogether. Novels require more than my skittish self seems to want to give. They require serious thought and planning - especially if they're good. Whereas, for me, a novella might be a good length to try for.

I've just finished 'Spartan Gold', a Clive Cussler (with Grant Blackwood) Fargo Adventure. It was a real ripper! A page turner that kept me up at night. On the other hand I probably won't ever want to read it again because it didn't touch me. It wasn't remarkable in any way. It was true pulp fiction. Don't get me wrong, there's nothing wrong with pulp fiction at all. It's just I want to write something better. Ha! I should be so lucky. If I could write a good pulp novel that people couln't put down I'd be over the moon. But still I'd yearn. [guffaw]

There's nowt wrong with a good dollop of hubris! :armwrestle[1]:

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Novels are a different beast altogether, and I think it makes great good sense to recognize them for the block they impose on a short story writer's kind of writing. I love your short stories, and if you can spin your particular brand of imagination out into a novella that would be peachy keen with me. I think distinctions based on word count are pretty meaningless anyway; doesn't it have more to do with how you best progress from a starting point to a finish that makes it all work? James

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Novels are a different beast altogether, and I think it makes great good sense to recognize them for the block they impose on a short story writer's kind of writing. I love your short stories, and if you can spin your particular brand of imagination out into a novella that would be peachy keen with me. I think distinctions based on word count are pretty meaningless anyway; doesn't it have more to do with how you best progress from a starting point to a finish that makes it all work? James
You're right, James. They are totally different beasts. But I still really want to write long fiction. I've got five, maybe six, attempts I could finish - each I like (I would say that having written them), but I either can't seem to get to grips with how to finish them or I see a shiny thing.Perhaps starting out with a novella in mind will be the key. Maybe then I'll go from novella to novel. Stranger things have happened. ;)
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Everyone who writes will have a different slant on this, but is seems to me you're putting the cart before the horse. You're looking at the number of words you want instead of what story you want to tell.You have to have an idea you want to explore and develop. You have to decide the characteristics of the folk you'll people this tale with, what is needed to allow you to best tell the story. You have to know where the story is going. For me, that's the element that's most elusive; unless I have that in mind to write toward, I never finish what I start.But, when you have the story ideal, some idea of characters and what the end will be, then you're ready. How you structure the story will determine how long it will be. Writing a short story demands a tight focus, not much peripheral material being added, and a race to the finish line. A novel takes a slower approach, a stroll rather than a race, and a lot of looking at the countryside as you walk past it. You get to introduce interesting side issues that can illuminate facets of the story that wouldn't get revealed if this were to be a short piece.If anyone is capable of this, Camy, it's you. Everything you write sparkles and draws the reader in. Don't change your style, your wit, you endearing feel for humanity. Do it all the same. But expand your focus, perhaps include more characters, and don't begin by rushing toward what your end is. Be relaxed, know you'll get there when the time is right for your characters, and have faith. Let the story play out as it will. There's no doubt at all you can do it.C

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