Wildflowersinohio's Blog

From The Write Side of My Brain

Observations about NaNoWriMo Writing November 6, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — Birgit Nazarian @ 9:35 am
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Well, I am on my 6th day of NaNoWriMo – National Novel Writing Month and I can already see how it’s affecting my writing. Getting into this I knew I would not be putting out spectacular fiction so I feel a little uneasy about the way I am going about putting out a story but on the other hand, if I remember my own advice in the last post, that not all writing needs to be salable to be important, it’s all good.

Look, EVERYDAY I’ve been in my chair in front of my laptop writing a story! Before that I was hemming and hawing and not sure and flip flopping between ideas and stories and just not diving in and being bold. NaNoWriMo is forcing me to do what I don’t do – JUST GO FOR IT! Who cares if it sucks or if there is a problem up the road into the middle of the story. This is about problem solving, writing your way out of a dead end, keeping momentum going, establishing a habit to write no matter what.

So if you’re one of those writers who can’t decide what to write or can’t stick with a plot when it goes a little sideways it could be a great exercise for you to write a novel in a month. 

I have some words to get down in my story right now before I go and vote. But I’ve been busier than usual writing and I thought I would update you on how it’s going. 

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Why I’m Doing NaNoWriMo October 31, 2012

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In case you never heard of it. November is National Novel Writing Month – that’s right, NaNoWriMo. And Nanowrimo.org is the place to go to sign up for a month long novel writing cram session. If you want to do it, hurry and sign up, it starts tomorrow! The website gives you forums, encouragement, a place to upload your work and just that general kick in the pants motivation you need if you’ve been hemming and hawing about writing a novel.Of course there are critics.

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Won’t a novel you force yourself to complete in 30 days be a pile of crap? Oh, well there’s that. Maybe. Maybe it will. But then again I’ve been on deadlines to write articles of 1 or 2 days and I don’t think my resulting work was crap. Some of those articles were good some were not my favorite, but overall they were decent. And what if your NaNoWriMo novel is crap? So what.

The reason I am going to try out NaNoWriMo for the first time is that I feel that need to have a goal, to establish a habit, a routine. A boot camp if you will. I feel like it will do me good to just jump in and see where the challenge takes me. I have one idea and it might make a decent novel. If it doesn’t I will keep writing anyway and keep trying to work it into a good story.

Yes, okay, in the real world sometimes ideas should be abandoned if they just don’t work – I brainstormed this idea recently that I think will make a good novel length romantic suspense story. Forcing yourself to make something and release the creativity is a good thing! NOT EVERYTHING YOU WRITE HAS TO BE SALABLE!

Sometimes, sad to say for some, writing is practice. A gymnast who is practicing vaulting doesn’t get a perfect 10 the first or even the 10th time! They fall they really mess up a lot, but once in a while – with practice – they get a perfect vault. That’s how I look at writing. I realize most of my work will be just okay. Some will stink. Some will be brilliant. It’s only the brilliant things I intend on sending to a professional editor for consideration.

NaNoWriMo is for people who have an idea they want to turn into a novel but need practice. It’s practice and practice is good. It might even result in a very well developed good idea that needs just a little more work when the deadline of November 30th midnight wraps up National Novel Writing Month. The sense of accomplishment might be enough to just encourage a new author to explore writing further.

 

Obsession: Hunters October 29, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — Birgit Nazarian @ 11:37 am
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Now that I’ve done a few pieces of writing. A magical realism based on an Ojibwa myth, a ghost story and the beginnings of a novel in addition to brainstorming some other stories I noticed that I have an obsession that I can’t get out of my head. Typically when I am not sure what to write I have different ideas that don’t really relate in theme or subject, but this time they are related by a common thread.

I seem to have an obsession about hunters. I began to run into them literally when I started trail running a few years ago. They scared me. It’s alarming to have one or more big men come up upon you on a trail heavily armed with guns, bows in head to toe camouflage and possible even dark face paint. I even had a nightmare or two about it. I felt a bond with the deer. On some trails I’d be quite close to bucks and does, even talk to them – sounds crazy. One evening as it was getting dark I put my hand the back of a doe and we ran side by side for as long as I could keep up (not long). Gun shots nearby frequent during hunting season would startle me and make me nervous. I identified myself with prey.

This year is different. Though I will never hunt, I took up archery when my son did. We have a compound bow on loan from a friend and it’s a nice weapon. It can bring down a deer. My son is enrolled in a national archery program for target shooting. But the archery supplier we had to go to get equipment is a hard core bow hunting club in a very small rural Ohio town nearby.

I was so out of place there that even though I dressed very outdoorsy they smelled an outsider right off and were suspicious. Being a woman didn’t help either. Other than the owner’s wife, there weren’t any other females around. I played it humble and admitted I was completely clueless and that I’d appreciate a little help but they were guaranteed a good laugh.

An older hunter practicing on the range was kind enough to give me pointers – a master’s class on marksmanship with this borrowed bow I had. I only felt foolish for the first couple rounds and then I was shooting okay and helping my son. A couple of other younger men in camo stood back watching. They appeared to have come straight from hunting. They had the tailgate of their truck down in the parking lot with some game in it. This place is also certified by the state to check in game so while waiting, they watched me. I felt kind of self conscious but no one was laughing. I think it was the fact everyone was so quiet and just watching me try to hit target that unnerved me.

After an hour and a half of practice and meeting regulars I think I passed the test. The old timers were friendly and the owner’s wife offered me a cup of coffee and a brownie. She said “We’re family here.” I asked some questions, thinking about maybe investing in my own bow, for what though? I won’t hunt animals…but I feel an attraction to the hunter culture. It’s a strange place to be. I don’t need to hunt, I would hate to kill but I like the idea of being out in the woods, stalking, working at getting a prize, even eating it (but not so much the cleaning and gutting part). If only nobody got hurt. Maybe I should try paintball.

But hunting is cropping up obsessively in my recent writing projects. I can’t get hunting and hunters out of my head. A half dozen ideas have included hunters or hunting in the scenes. How long will the obsession last? Maybe until hunting season is over.

Do you get obsessed with any particular subjects in your writing? Do you try to push them away or do you exploit them and see where it goes?

 

Exploring Genres October 17, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — Birgit Nazarian @ 2:35 pm
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For a few years I wrote freelance articles. Before that I wrote novel length YA fiction, mostly of the adventure and fantasy variety. Returning to fiction after being essentially a journalist covering technology is harder than I thought. I began what I thought might be a romantic suspense novel only to find myself a couple chapters into it, feeling overwhelmed. I’d written five novels in the past and I knew just how much time it was going to take. 

When you become used to writing a 500-750 word article and having it published 3 – 5 days later, the thought of how long it will take to see your novel completed (let alone published or shared!) can be crushing.

We all know that when creative expression isn’t born of passion it’s going to pretty much suck. So I put those couple chapters aside. One night I had a dream. I remembered the dream well enough the next day to see potential for a story. So I wrote it in a few days time. It turned out decent. I won’t say I am in love with it, but I like it. 

After that, I got an idea. Why not write only short stories for a while? Why not do ANYTHING I want with them? Why not let myself write ANY GENRE at all? The idea of jumping around different kinds of stories and genres really excites me. I think it’s because that’s where I am at right now. I need that. It’s like trying different jobs out before you find your true profession (if only we could have done that more during high school and college, right?)

Next up, I am going to write a ghost story. Because it’s October and I am in the mood for trying my hand at scary. My goal is to write a story a week for a while until I have a collection of them. Then I will pick the best ones to share.