Tuesday, November 1, 2011

NaNoWriMo, Timing, and Metal

Just a quick post here since NaNoWriMo started today, and I've been furiously working on a new project. It's a YA fantasy starring ... my granddaughter. This is going to be her book. My hope is to present it to her for her birthday in July when she's no longer a child but an adolescent.

Speaking of NaNo, John Waverly had a fabulous suggestion for mastering your use of time in his blog post here, using the Pomodoro Technique. Even if you're not doing NaNo, you ought to check it out.

Last weekend I downloaded the Focus Booster and practiced with it on some editing I was doing.

Um, can I say THRILLED?

Having that little 25-minute timer sitting at the edge of my monitor really did help me focus. I blew through a ton of pages whereas I'd been struggling prior to that.

I'm so going to kick NaNo's derriere this year.

Just sayin'.

Now, for the metal part of my post. Anyone who's read this blog much knows I'm a huge Brandon Sanderson fan. That's a caps lock HUGE.

Brandon's got a book coming out this month ... one I'm not going to be reading until December because he's part of the reason I was a NaNo Epic Fail last year (he'd released the next to the last Wheel of Time book last November--total sabotage, and I'd have cried foul except I was so engrossed in the book that I forgot).

Satan, get thee behind me! No temptations allowed during NaNo this year.

But really, I'm excited for this book which is set in his Mistborn world. It's called The Alloy of Law. Brandon speaks a bit about what's he's done in this fantasy book and wonders whether his 14-year-old self could approve.

I really liked what he says about our tastes in certain genres:

Perhaps we fantasy readers sometimes mix up correlation and causation in our fantasy novels.  In fact, I’m more and more convinced that taste for a specific genre or medium is often built on shaky ground.

An example may help.  I have a friend who once claimed he loved anime.

Over the years, he consistently found anime shows superior to what he found on television.  But as he started to find more and more anime, he told me that he discovered something.  He liked the anime he’d seen at first because these were the shows that were successful and well made, the ones with the quality or broad appeal to make the jump across cultures.  He found that he didn’t like all anime—he only liked good anime.  Sure, the medium had something important to do with it—but his enjoyment came more from the quality of his sample than the entire medium.

Likewise, I’ve come to find that what I enjoy is a good story.  Genre can enhance this—I’m probably going to like a good fantasy more than a good thriller or romance because worldbuilding and magic appeals to me.  In the end, however, it isn’t the lack of guns (as my young self assumed) that draws me to fantasy stories.  It’s the care for setting, pacing, and character development.

This is actually a correlation/causation fallacy, and I wonder if I’m the only one to have made it.  Many of the books in the fantasy section we love (perhaps because of the setting attention or the types of writers attracted to fantasy and SF) have dragons.  Do we therefore make the assumption that we only like books with dragons?  These two things (the dragons and our enjoyment) are parallel to, but not completely responsible for one another.

You can find the rest of the article on the Tor blog here.


  1. EEK! It's NaNoWriMo and you tempt us with an awesome fantasy idea. Wait, I'll relax since you've done so in peril of tempting yourself as well. :-)

    Good luck NaNoing!

    from dragonfang77 at NaNo.

  2. Good luck with NaNo. I'm really not sure I'm going to be able to find the time this month but I'm going to give it a try. I shall check out your hints on time management.


  3. I'll be cheering you on in NaNo!! I'm in it too and I've got a really positive outlook this year! Good luck!!

  4. Hey, what's with distracting us with links when we should be writing? It's noon and I'm already behind.

    Good luck!

  5. I still haven't read Brandon Sanderson *blush* but I intend too! Good luck with NaNo!

  6. Love the bit about quality transcending genre preferences! Sounds like you've got NaNo in the palm of your hand :)

  7. First time at Nano and off to a good start,I hope. Taking a break for lunch and just browsing around.

    You have some of the most thought provoking ideas. I love your recommendations. Will read in December. Will not be distracted in November.

    Thanks and good luck.

  8. Will tell my daughter about the focus booster. It will really help her with her school projects.

    Happy NaNoing. Am trying to do 500 word chunks here and there. It helps me. On to 3rd chunk (1442 words).

    All the best.

  9. What an awesome gift for your grand-daughter! :)

  10. Good luck and I agree a wonderful gift for your grandaughter.


  11. Thanks for the link to the focus booster, I'm going to give it a go.

    Moody Writing
    The Funnily Enough

  12. That sounds like a wonderful project, Donna!

  13. Great Heavens, I had no idea you'd posted. And here I just stopped by to wish you a Happy Halloween. What a wonderful idea, a fantasy for your granddaughter. She must be spoiled rotten and well-deserved. Happy NaNo to you. I'm sure you'll do great. :)

  14. Have fun with NaNo! You certainly have the right attitude. I hope it goes as well as you plan!

  15. Good luck with NaNoWriMo! I'm doing it this year, too.

    It sounds like your project is going to be a great story. :)

    Thanks for the links!

  16. First of all, you better not be reading this. You better be writing. :P

    And second, what a great quote. I think that's true for me as well. It's all about a good story. I'll read any genre, if the story is good enough to keep me hooked.

    Now back to work and good luck!

  17. I think it is wonderful you are writing a book for your granddaughter for Nano. She will be so thrilled.

  18. Good luck with NaNo. Hope you find time to keep us posted on progress. And writing a book for your granddaughter is such a cool idea too!

  19. you're cracking me up! that was a quick post?
    you go kick that nano bootay!

    happy november!

  20. Donna, Donna, Donna. You can do NaNo, I know you can. No distractions...that means you can't go to thanksgiving.

    Just kidding you can go. You should get the calendar from my post today to help you stay ahead for NaNo. Good luck :)

  21. What a super cool thing to do for your granddaughter! She's going to love that book. Good luck with NaNo - you can do it!

  22. Power to you on the nanowrimo, it's a tall order, but I';m sure you'll rock it!

  23. I just read up on that Pomodoro technique and it sounds interesting, albeit a little stressful for me-- Good luck with your new Nano month and your new book idea. Sounds like a lovely gift.

  24. KICK that Nano's behind, Donna!! :) I decided to throw in, myself, this morning. I know how easily distracted I can get - but, I'm hoping this is my year. We'll see.

    Best of luck to you!!!

  25. Ditto, Kick that NaNo, butt. I am afraid I will not have any extra time to read this month, but I will put Brandon's book on my TBR list. I like the idea of a timer and I even have the pomodoro (I am sure I spelled that wrong- app on my iphone, I just have not used it yet. This is a perfect time to startd

  26. What a wonderful idea to write about your granddaughter. I'll bet you've got the character typing down pat. Good luck with Nano.


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