I did something crazy and signed up for the NaNoWrimo.org contest. Why crazy? Here’s the deal; The contest is to write a 50,000 word novel in 30 days. Crazy especially for me because that’s simply not how I work. I don’t draft in the typical way–hashing out a 50,000 word novel in one month is just not my style.
That’s exactly why I signed up for it.
There’s something interesting about the challenge; To see if I actually can do it. More importantly, I’m curious to find out what will happen if I’m forced to work by a method that’s the anti-thesis of my own. Hey, I might learn something.
The contest does present me with some logistical problems. For one, Quantum is not the project I want to subject to this brutal contest. I’m also reluctant to stop working on Quantum for a month just to go off on some contest adventure. So my solution is to use one of my side-stories planned for the quantum universe. I will work on details of the Quantum universe through the contest without blowing the whole shebang on my pride N’ joy.
Because I’m not fond of the creative masturbation that is the normal drafting process, I will be using my secret weapon in order to keep my muse under control.
Ok, so it’s not really a secret weapon. It’s a bit of David Siegel’s Nine Act structure hammered into the traditional three-act format. Itâ€™s also combining a bit of the twelve stages from Writer’s Journey by Chris Vogler. As you can see I’ve taken the stuff I like the best of a variety of methods, and smashed them into an abstracted three act structure.
You’ll also notice I’ve created this template as a mindmap using a trial version of Mind Manager. This is essentially how I work, creating notes within the mind map and even prose or dialogue. This is just a web exported version, so you don’t get to see the beauty of mindmap functionality, such as the placing and arranging of nodes or ‘topics’ as they are called in MindManager lingo.
Come November and the insanity of the NaNoWrimo contest, this should help keep my little side-foray under control.
When I’m done, I will return to direct work on Quantum using some of the details and ideas gained from my work on the contest.
NaNoWrimo seems like a fun exercise not only in writing but as a community. Go check NaNoWrimo out, and let me know if any of you are coming along for the ride!