Some NaNo things I’ve learned this month

Filed in Writing

Mostly about my writing habits

I don’t write well in write-ins

I attended a MyWriMo write-in last Saturday (17 November) and managed only 600-odd words. Our ML, Erna aka eaglewing, completed the daily minimum of 1,667 words. Others reported being totally surprised by the thousands of words they churned out during that write-in while sitting across a tiny table from another WriMo. They’re so happy with the output, they’re doing it again tomorrow. But not me. I write best on my own, not necessarily in a quiet place, but in noisy public places, too, but I must be on my own, with no familiar faces nearby. If there are familiar faces nearby, I tend to want to chat, not write.

When I write on my own, I can hear myself thinking

This is very important, because a lot of times, I go into a writing session not really knowing what I’m going to write about. Most of the time, I cannot see beyond the next sentence or so. But as I type one sentence, something suggests itself in my head – not just the next sentence, but how the characters want the story to proceed, where they want to go.

I can write in very noisy places

It doesn’t matter how noisy – as long as I’m on my own, I can write.

This month, I’ve been writing a lot at the IKEA Cafe. I’d go in around 9 a.m., get one portion each of the two breakfast items available and the free coffee ( all for only RM2.08, or approximately 60 American cents), feed my stomach and get to writing. Occasionally, I’d look up and watch the other people at breakfast. Usually, the place is noisy, not just with people chatting, but also with music, and unlikely music at that, too. Earlier this month, pre 8 November, it was Indian songs heralding the Hindu Festival of Lights. Soon, it will be Christmas carols. The cafe has also played Malay Hari Raya songs, despite the fact that Hari Raya happened before November.

I’ve also been writing at Hoxe’s, a cafe within walking distance from my apartment. There, I’ve been writing with The Commodores, Michael Buble, even Queen, too, playing (quite loudly) in the background. All of which have not affected my pace. I guess, once I get into the writing, nothing bothers me. Except maybe the sight of another WriMo writing nearby.

And now for my take on the different components of a story

At its most basic, a story comprises action, description and reflection. Did I miss out on anything?

I suppose another word for reflection is reaction (to an action), but that’s what my 2007 NaNovel characters have been doing a lot of – reflecting. It’s one way to pad up the words to meet the 50,000-word requirement.

One more thing …

Writing is easy. It’s the rewriting that’s difficult.