Tag Archives: Writing Exercises

100 Words, 100 Days: Day 90. On NaNoWriMo (via Quantum Leap).

Theorizing that one could write a 50,000 word novel in 30 days, Writer James McShane turned on this laptop and typed.

He wrote until he found himself stuck in the zone, facing words and  images that he had created, and driven by an Unknown Force to change plot points for the better.

His only guide on his journey is You, a reader that James can neither see nor hear. And so, Writer McShane finds himself leaping from chapter to chapter, from character to character, striving to put down one word after another, hoping each time that the next word will be the last.

 

 

100 Words, 100 Days: Day 42. On Frenzy.

The writer Dorothy Parker is famous for saying, “I hate writing, I love having written.” Last night I knew exactly how she felt. After scrubbing pretty much everything I wrote for Mandy Ward’s Welcome to Wherever website, I started a new story from scratch.

Working to a deadline is not my strong suit but at a frenzied pace, I wrote a 2,200 word short story in less than two hours. It was hard work, but damn if I didn’t feel an extraordinary sense of achievement once it was done. It may not be my best work (what is?) but it feels good.

I’m a Writer, Damn it!

Okay, the fun’s over, people. There’s work to be done here. No laughing at the back, you hear me? I’ll not have any messing while I give this little talk to you all.

I’ve been sick, all right? Not as sick as some, I grant you – but still, I’ve not been at my best. I’ve been a bit shitty, if I’m to be honest. Sneezing, coughing up a lung or two, running a temperature, quietly putting together a broken heart; the kind of stuff all members of the human race go through in life. I’m no different.

But while I’ve been inactive, I’ve felt that I haven’t been me. I thought I was going mad. Franz Kafka wrote, “A writer who doesn’t write is, admittedly, a monster asking for insanity.” Writing, for me, is therapy. Any kind of writing. God, how I miss writing letters to friends and family. It’s all texts and emails nowadays.

But I digress. I am angry at myself for letting things get to this point. I know we’re allowed to be unwell. At some point we’re allowed to indulge in a little bit of “poor me” thinking, too. The trick is to see it for what it is – and get the hell over it. You see what I’m saying here? Writers write, okay?

W.R.I.T.E.

If you don’t, you’re a fraud. End of story.

In sixteen days’ time, NaNoWriMo kicks off. The thirty days of madness, loved and hated in equal measure by all who’ve taken part in it, is once again upon us. And you know what? I’m going to have another go. Last year I gave up after 13,000 words. Lethargy kicked in and I let it get the better of me. To this day I still get people asking me what happened to the rest of the story. To them I say, I will finish it – but not just yet.

This time around I want to try something new. A friend suggested an outline to me and I liked it so much I decided to take it and throw a different spin on it. For the first time in this writer’s short career, I will attempt to write a comedy adventure. The title of the story is Bucktooth, and if I have my way (and if I do my job properly) it will be a rib-tickling roller-coaster of a ride that homages, of all things, The Blues Brothers and James Bond.

I have a plan, an outline, a list of characters, and a reason to start enjoying my talent again (yes, I believe I have one). 50,000 words over 30 days sounds like a lot, but if I break it down into three sessions (morning, afternoon and evening, 566 words a session), it is more than doable.

Not anyone can do it, but any writer worth his or her salt is duty bound to give it their all. I will, you can bet your life on that.

Will you?