Imogen's online presence is honest, humble and worth paying attention to. We older types can learn a lot from the young who haven't accumulated a lifetime of doubts and hangups.
Please welcome Imogen!
First off, I’d like to thank Jeff for having me on his blog. When Jeff asked me to be a guest during ‘Awesome August’ I knew at once what I would write about. I am an avid fan of the writing challenge, NaNoWriMo, and today I’d like to share my experiences with you.
November the first. First day of NaNoWriMo, National Novel Writing Month. First day of the month in which writers everywhere will be racing the clock to pound out a 50,000 word novel in a mere 30 days.
I sit down with my computer and a vague plot idea, no complex outlines or detailed character sketches in sight. Somewhere at the back of my mind I have the idea that these might help, but it’s too late to worry about that now.
The moment I touch my fingers to the keyboard it is evident that I’m not in control of the story. Almost at once the characters leap out at me and snatch control of the plot, racing away with it at top speed. I stumble behind them, struggling to keep up with the mountain of plot events, witty dialogue and incredible adventures they leave behind them.
I take a break and wander out to see the rest of my family. We’re all writing together this month, my three sisters, my mum and me. Everyone appears to have good news at the moment.
“I’ve found the best name for my villainess,” Gemma-Rose, my seven year old sister, grins. “Maelstrom. What do you think of that?”
“I wrote 200 words already,” Sophie, ten years old, chimes in. “I bet I can write thousands of words this month.”
It seems everyone has some success to report. We chat briefly about our novels, before scurrying back to our computers, focused on the stories unfolding on the screens before us. What started out as a blank white screen is now a playground for our mischievous characters and their adventures.
The first week flies past at an incredible pace. The story is coming along nicely. The characters are having fun, and so am I, as my fingers race across the keys. This novel writing business is so easy, and so fun.
And then the second week dawns. The writing pace slows down a little. Suddenly what looked to be amazing writing now appears to be dull and lifeless. Where did the fun story and amusing characters go? Maybe novel writing isn’t as easy and fun as it seems.
Maybe editing what I’ve got will help. But even as I think of this, I know there isn’t time, not if I want to finish this novel before the end of the month. And so I push on, battling the novel in an attempt to coax some life back into its pages.
The rest of the family isn’t faring too much better as problems crop up. What to name the mermaid friends? How does the hidden diary get found? What can be done about the unlikable main character?
Together we work through the problems.
“How about Anemone for one of the friends? Angelfish?”
“The dog could help find the book by knocking something over.”
“Ignore the main character and write about another character.”
And with our problems solved for the moment, we all vanish back to our fictional worlds to continue battling through week two.
Week three arrive with the characters waking up again. They’re still sleepy, and not helping much, leaving us to fix plot holes, name new characters, and add extra adventures as needed. But there’s hope yet that we might make it to the end of NaNoWriMo and our novels.
And then week four arrives. Suddenly the characters are full of life and fun, even more fun than when we first began. They bounce into crazy adventures, invent a male dwarf called Bluebell, and make fire underwater by rubbing two sticks together. There’s no time for anything except writing now. I just want to get the characters’ crazy story written up. The end is rushing closer and closer, as is the end of the month. Only three days to go now. Two. One. None.
A rush of relief and sadness runs through me as I type the words ‘the end’ on my screen. My wrists ache, I’ve got a crick in my back and I’ve hardly seen my family in a month. But there, on the computer screen before me, is a finished novel. Not an award winning novel by any stretch of the imagination, but it’s my novel.
In a way I’m relieved that I reached the end. Now I can rest, and catch up on hobbies and reading, take a break from running after characters. But I’m sad too. NaNoWriMo has come to an end. No more days of racing madly to reach the daily word count. No more writing as a family team. No more NaNo.
We meet up as a family once again, ready to share our success stories. Of the five of us who started, all five have finished.
“I wrote two mermaid stories,” Gemma-Rose cries. “That’s 1000 words.”
“I finished my novel,” Sophie grins.
Charlotte and Mum too have finished, both reaching 50,000 with time to spare. And me? I’ve reached the end too. A full family triumph this year.
“I’m sad it’s over,” Gemma-Rose sighs. “That was so much fun.”
“But there’s always next year,” I remind everyone. Eyes brighten as we think of next year. Already there are plans for new novels, unique characters, and hours of writing running through our heads. Bring on next year.
NaNoWriMo is such a great way to get writing, no matter whether you have an idea or not. It’s also a fantastic way to get a first draft written. If you feel inspired now to have a go at NaNoWriMo yourself, why not check out the website at www.nanowrimo.org
About Imogen Elvis:
|Imogen Elvis is awesome!|
Imogen Elvis is a seventeen year old Australian fantasy writer. She enjoys writing challenges and is an avid fan of NaNoWriMo. She is a two times winner of this event, and plans to win many more in the future. When not writing and blogging, she enjoys reading, singing, and running through the bush.
My blog: www.dancingdragonflysisters.blogspot.com