Lara Nieberding

The Purple Lara

Winner – Oh Yes!

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I am sitting here looking at the NaNoWriMo winner badge and thinking “I cannot believe I did it!”  I also cannot believe it is December 5.  The last day I remember is October 31.  From November 1 to November 30, I lived in the world the characters in my story lived in.  Although I had ideas about what I wanted to write, the work took on a life of its own.  It was a lot like reading a story.  I wanted to keep writing to see what was going to happen.

I ended up writing over 68,000 words. When I first started, I had a concept, a couple of characters and a thin plot line that I thought I could follow.  At that point, I was not sure the story I wanted to tell would reach 50,000 words.  In order to “win” NaNoWriMo you have to write a minimum of 50,000 words.  For the first three days, I had a daily quota.  I would write 2,000 words a day.  When I had written 2,000 words I would stop.  Then I went to my first write in.

There are participants in NaNoWriMo who volunteer to coordinate write-ins.  NaNo calls them Municipal Liaisons.  The ML for my area was so kind and so full of advice that truly inspired me.  At my first write-in, the ML told me do not hold back. “Just write your little heart out.” She advised.  From that moment on, I wrote…and wrote…and wrote.  I carried a notebook with me everywhere.  Whenever a character spoke to me, I wrote it down.  I sat for hours on end in front of my laptop living in a self created world.  It was facinating. It was frustrating.  I stalled often.  Whenever I stalled, the ML gave me a jump start.

I also liked going to the once a week write-ins because I met other writers.  I live in a college town.  Most of the attendees were college students.  Some of them were English majors. Some of them were in Creative Writing classes.  That brought back memories.  I took a couple of writing classes when I was in college. It also reminded me that I barely earned a passing grade in those classes.  College professors did not like my colloquial and lack of proper grammar writing style.  It forces me to admit my writing isn’t the greatest.  My stories are flat. When  a reader gets to the end of the story they may say “What was the point?”  Well, my stories are slice of life scenarios.  There is no point.  Except entertainment.  Since I live in a beach town, my stories are good to read to wile away the time on the beach.

I followed the ML’s advice and I wrote my little heart out.  To my surprise, the story poured out of me.  I think I reached 50,000 words at the end of week two.  Just because I reached the NaNo goal, I did not stop. I just kept writing.  There is another element to NaNo-challenges.  NaNo is divided into regions.  You can join as many regions as you want.  The regions have forums.  The forums are full of chit chat, writing cues, ideas for scenes…it was endless. Evidently writers like to write-ALOT!!  When you set one of the regions as your home region, all the words you write contribute to the total words written in that region.  I live in Maryland so I set the Maryland region as my home region.  Maryland writers wrote 25,743,637 words.  We came in second to Seattle, Washington in overall word count.

In the Maryland region forums, there were invitations to write-ins all over the state, ideas for inspiration, and things called challenges.  Some one would post they were at say, 5,000 words and they would like to write 4,000 more by the end of the day.  They would challenge forum readers to also write 4,000 words by the end of the day.  It was fun trying to meet the challenge.  At one of the write-ins, we had a word war.  Some one set their watch to beep in ten minutes.  We all typed as many words as possible within the ten minutes. I ended up typing around 500 words.

That is how I kept writing, and writing, and writing.  That is how I spent my November.  Now what?  From what is written on NaNoWriMo web site, seems as though peopele are feeling the let down after that intense pressure of writing.  Seems people are returning to their regular lives.  I have not felt the let down yet.  I did not bring my story to a conclusion so I am still working on it.  I also am starting to write down story ideas for next year’s NaNo.  I have begun to strategize my time for next November.  I also cannot wait to reconnect with local writers at the write-ins.

With NaNoWriMo 2008 under my belt, NaNoWriMo 2009 look out here I come!

Written by The Purple Lara

December 5, 2008 at 11:58 AM

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