NaNoWriMo’s Talking Fish

9 11 2010

Okay, this is the second week of NaNoWriMo—the week which some people often say to be the most difficult of all. Do you feel weary of writing what’s left from your 50,000 words? Do you not know what else to put into your already messy story? Do you think your story sucks?

Well, don’t worry about any of that. I know your story completely sucks, and so do mine and all stories of NaNo participants all over the world. You’re now in what we often call “writer’s block”. You just meet a dead end in your story and start thinking about it negatively.

Writer’s block is natural. Every writer will face it in one way or another—even a professional writer. And what you have to do is simple: destroy it! Destroy, conquer and win over it! And for that, I just got a “helpful” tip from one of my friends in Writing.com (which my apologies for forgetting who said it):

If you’re stuck somewhere in your story and don’t know what else to write about, put in a talking fish into the story and see where it will bring you to.

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Sounds like an absurd blabber, isn’t it? But, why, it’s completely true! For now, the only thing you have to be worried about is how to write that 50,000 words. Try everything you could to reach that goal, and “talking fish” is just one possibility for it. And you know what? I used this secret technique before (though I used “a million chickens falling from the sky” instead), and I get through that writer’s block! That trick is just adorable!

HOWEVER, still don’t forget that NaNoWriMo intends to make draft. By December, DO NOT forget to remove all of these useless ideas and edit, reedit and re-reedit your story until it’s more perfect than perfect. Don’t forget that editing is even more essential than writing, especially if you’re aiming for publication. Remember: Writing is fun; editing is professional.

But, of course, that’s for December. For now, hurry up and put all of those talking fish before this month’s over! 🙂

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Handwriting for NaNoWriMo

27 10 2010

Okay, guys. It has been the last week of October. NaNoWriMo 2010 is just around the corner.

If you guys participate in this year’s NaNo, have you prepared what you’re going to write? Have you outlined everything or you’ll just write the first thing that will come into your mind? Well, if you can do the latter, then good for you. I honestly can’t, and I’m amazed some people really can do that. You’re awesome! 🙂

For this year’s NaNo, I have decided to use handwriting. And I suppose I must be nuts: I even rarely handwrite anything lately, ever since I gain a 24/7 access to personal laptop, and yet I’m planning to handwrite everything. Yay, I’m doomed! 🙂

On the other hand, when I handwrote everything, it feels like the story can flow more naturally, nearly as if I don’t even have to think about it. Personally, I think it’s because of two things. First, handwriting indeed is more natural for us. We learn handwriting ever since we’re so small, even before we learn to use computer’s keyboard (well, I just say this in general, though). And even though there’s no significant difference between them, what’s more natural to us is usually easier to do, just as we’re more accustomed to our mother language among the others (except if we spend more time using these “other” languages).

Secondly, well, handwriting is slower than typing. Not much, but just approximately 25% slower for me. And because of this extra time, too, we will get an extra time to think what the story will go on, how the characters will behave, and which scenario will be the best for it—all that sort of things. So, by the time we’re about to write the next sentence, we don’t have to wait anymore; the words have been there!

But that’s just a brief about handwriting for NaNo. If you’ll use typewriter or computer, that’s cool—your choice suits you the most. More importantly… NaNoWriMo is coming to town! 🙂

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yWriter for NaNo!

7 10 2010

Today, I’d like to introduce you to a new program I’ve just found: yWriter5.

 

Now, following my previous post about NaNoWriMo 2010, if you’ll be joining the fun too, perhaps you should start thinking about what program you should use this year. Yes, I know it can be a good idea to stick with Microsoft Word, especially if you’ve already used to it, but it doesn’t hurt to try something different. And indeed, yWriter has a completely different system of writing that you’d have to experiment before NaNo began.

The beauty of this program is only one thing: It’s thousands times more organized than Word. If, for example, in Word you have to write everything directly in one window, and when you notice that this scene does not stick with the others, you’d have to search the parts you think would be more suitable and then cut + paste it again. And then, just as you try to read it again, you notice they just doesn’t work at all, and you then have to rewrite all over again until you get the result you want.

Well, I’d just say to you that it’s exasperatingly exhausting.

I’m sure, by the first time you open yWriter, you would start thinking, “Hey, wait a minute! Is this a word-processor or what? Why does it look like Excel and Access?” Believe me, that’s the first thing that comes into my mind, before I start practising with it.

Now, the first thing you must understand about this program, is that yWriter sticks with scenes. Yes, scenes. When Microsoft Word sticks with writing, this one sticks with scenes and chapters.

What does it mean? Well, in short, before you start writing the contents, you have to decide which scenes go first, and after that it’s followed with which scenes, and which scenes, and like that until you finish the story. And after you make a draft of what kind of scenes you want to happen in the story, you can start writing the contents, following the cue cards you have had before: your own scenes.

Of course, considering in NaNo you really shouldn’t edit anything, yWriter can be a good choice if you want to move one scene to another. It’s very simple; you just have to drag it up and bottom, depending on where you’d like it to be placed. And after you put it, you don’t have to write it again to make it fit with the story—nooo, you can always do that later. First, stick with what you’ve made for your cue cards, and follow them until your target has been gained.

And another best part of yWriter is this: you CANNOT see what you’ve written in the previous scene. At the first glance, it might be considered a fatal disadvantage, but if you rethink it again, by not being able to see what you’ve written before, your internal editor is dead. He/she doesn’t remember what garbage you’ve written before, where you’ve made mistakes, and which scenes need to be improved. It can be very useful if you think you’re not so easy to be motivated.

Lastly now, think about what you’ll do after NaNo. Since you’ll barely edit in November, mistakes and errors and garbage cannot be avoided, and if you’re using the usual word processing program… well, you continue what I want to say. It can be very difficult, except if you’re taking advantage of the easy scene-changing system in yWriter like I’ve mentioned before. remember: better to make your scenes friends, than enemies.

Okay, folks, so here is the summary of the advantage in yWriter:

1. Easy to make the story scene by scene. You can always prepare the draft before NaNo starts, so if you love to arrange things, yWriter is the best choice for you.

2. Easy to move scenes you think is wrongly put. It saves time—really.

3. You can’t see what you’ve written before—your internal editor is therefore died.

4. Consider editing months later! If you want to make it all easy, yWriter can be a fun choice!

5. …And have I mentioned it’s free? 🙂

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You can download yWriter here. I’d suggest you better practice with it a bit, or else you’ll get stuck with the system usage this November. You won’t want to get stuck by then…. 😦

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