Thursday, October 31, 2013

The Scariest Night of the Year - NaNoWriMo Eve

It's finally arrived, the moment so many have been waiting for2013's National Novel Writing Month begins at the stroke of midnight. Those of us participating have only a few hours more before the time for outlining and organizing comes to a close and a month's worth of writing can begin. Judging by the activity on Twitter alone, it's obvious that there's no shortage of excitement and anxiety amongst this year's participants, and the Fane is certainly not exempt!

It's been a busier week than I anticipated; despite my best efforts to prepare over the course of the entire month, I entered this week to discover a mountain of work yet to be done. I knew better than to think a dramatized memoir would be easy, but I hadn't realized that my source material would amount to over 200 pieces of writing, to say nothing of the journals reaching back nearly a decade. Attempting to collect them in chronological order seemed an impossible task, until I stumbled upon a solution while preparing for the WriMo elsewhere by updating Scrivener.

For those of you who've never heard of Scrivener, it's essential a writer's dream word processing program, capable of so much more than default software like Microsoft Word. More than a simple word processor, it's customizable in ways you may always have wanted, but would never have imagined. Scrivener includes outlining and storyboard functions that make compiling the many scenes and chapters of your novel unbelievably easy. Friend of the Fane Jamie Todd Rubin has covered the virtues of Scrivener far better than I could, in a convenient Tumblr list as well as numerous posts to his blog.

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Its creators at Literature and Latte offer a special NaNoWriMo trial edition every year, to make the month's writing that much easier. There's still time to download, install, and become acquainted with this fabulous program. If you manage to reach the goal of 50,000 words by month's end, Literature and Latte will take 50% off the selling price, so that WriMo participants can continue working on their novels after the trial period's completed.

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For the week's work, I was confronted with the problem of a jumbled list of notes listed out of sequence, and a desire to compile them into a single, printable document. I found Scrivener's option to click-and-drag "scenes" to be the perfect answer to the question of how I might best arrange my source material. It's a laborious task, owing to the amount of material being assembled, but I'm positive it would be ten times more difficult were I to do so using Word. 

Beyond this business of preparing the materials necessary for the month ahead, it's been a bit of a scramble to get my house in order. I'm a bit of a cliche when it comes to clutter, my desk littered with notes, books, coffee cups, etc., and I strongly believe a clear workspace makes for a smoother writing process. I also remember that, during my first attempt at NaNoWriMo, I found myself suddenly much more interested in cleaning than I was in writing, at least as a distraction. So, today I'll be facilitating the month's work by decluttering, vacuuming, washing every last dish, and organizing work materials like the many reference books I plan to keep on hand during my novel's writing. Then there's shopping for the month's provisions, bittersweet farewells to friends and loved ones, last minute touch-ups to my outline...So much to be done, and less than 12 hours to go! 

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