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Realmies and Dead Russians

Photo by Gretchen E.K. Engel

Photo by Gretchen E.K. Engel

Realmies and Dead Russians, or how to get words on a page. The whole point of NaNoWriMo is to write 50,000 words in 30 days. It won’t necessarily be your best writing, but it’s words on a page. Bonus points if you write:

  1. A cohesive story that moves forward.
  2. Develop interesting characters.
  3. Gain insight into the characters’ world (more so if you write speculative fiction).
  4. Actually write good stuff that won’t require heavy editing later.

I think I’m doing a good job at 1-3, 4 – I’ve had moments. Realm Makers has been a boon to my NaNoWriMo success so far. I am right on target halfway through the month. What has helped me more than anything is an on-going thread or two (or more) from writers I met at Realm Makers that goes something like this. “Who’s up for some sprints? (insert tagged friends) Let’s start on the :00.” My typical reply “I’m in!” Fellow NAF’er Avily Jerome has been a consistent player in these friendly competitions.

Another help has been listening to The Brothers’ Karamozov. Only the Russians (Tolstoy and Dostoyevsky) can get away with upping word count by inserting long dissertations on politics, religion, and culture. Works for me. Being a twenty-first century American, my added commentary will end up as deleted sections but these rabbit trails serve two purposes. They’re upping my word count and helping me figure out how my characters would respond in certain situations. I’m writing characters from outside of my own culture (they live in another era on different planets) and socioeconomic situations (no middle class Midwesterners).

As I press on with my NaNoWriMo project, I know that it will need a fair amount of editing, but it’s shaping up quite well. At least I didn’t take cues from James Joyce’s Ulysses and devote paragraphs to outhouse activities and frying kidneys.


About Gretchen E K Engel

Chemical engineer by day, spec fiction writer by night

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