This post first appeared as a NH Regional Message Pep Talk by NH: Municipal Liaison, Yvette Couser
[USA :: New Hampshire] Week 2 Pep Talk: Shoveling Sand…or Something
Welcome to Week 2!
First of all, a big thank you to everyone who donated on Saturday during the Double-Up Donation event. HQ had hoped to raise a total of $60,000 for their Young Writer’s Program and you helped blow that number out of the water to help raise a whopping $110,000! Here in New Hampshire you raised $795!! Zoinks! That just about doubled our last week’s total! And congratulations to Amithyst67 who won the raffle I sponsored and will be receiving the 2014 “Boundless Novel” poster designed by Elizabeth Doyle.
If you haven’t heard about the Young Writer’s Program, you should take a peek at their pages on the NaNoWriMo site – it’s an opportunity “for 12-and-under authors and those taking part in NaNoWriMo as part of a K-12 classroom to learn about and explore creative writing. In addition to motivation-raising goodies for the young writers, NaNoWriMo provides teachers, youth librarians, and homeschooling parents with free curriculum and lesson plans to help get kids and teens excited about writing.” Read more here.
I don’t know about you, but I was definitely one of those kids who could have benefitted from having my creative endeavors supported by a few trusted adults. Let’s just say that my home life put the “fun” in dysfunctional…not. And I was expected to grow up to be a doctor or lawyer…which I didn’t. Enough about that – I’m saving writing about my past for a future NaNoWriMo novel!
But maybe that’s what you should think about during Week 2, Wrimo: the Past. Think back, to…oh, 10 days ago or so, (or, if you’re a plotter, a few months or weeks ago) back to that moment when you realized you wanted to write this story. When you realized you NEEDED to write this story. Think of that moment, and grab hold of it. Take a good look. It’s probably fairly unformed but shining bright with an Idea or a Question and it’s your responsibility to bring that Idea or Question out into the world. It doesn’t do you or the World any good staying in your mind or in your heart (and if you let it continue to sit in your mind and heart it will just burn in that annoying “Hey, I’m here!” way that stories tend to have), it needs to be out and on paper. Stories are meant to be shared. Remember what I said last week? The World Needs Your Novel.
If you’re behind (like I am), don’t fret – just write a couple extra words a day. My stats chart reminds me that I need to write about 1800 words per day to stay on track. You can do this, Wrimo. During Week 1, your characters and your novel probably started to surprise you, and that’s great – how can you develop some of those new ideas? My characters, I discovered, are of French origin and live in a town that used to mine granite…I mean, who knew? So adding some background pages about these facts to round out the setting and character studies will both help me understand my characters’ motives and beef up my settings. (I am always woefully thin on settings and other descriptors, because I was educated as a playwright! One the plus side, I really kick it on dialogue) And here’s the cool thing – I discovered these things about my story during one of our weekend sprints, because I was forcing myself to stay focused (this is a real challenge for me, can you tell?) and pushed through my outline to get from point B to point C.
And you’ll find out more things about your characters this week as you keep going.
I’ll leave you with a quote I came across recently from Shannon Hale:
“I’m writing a first draft and reminding myself that I’m simply shoveling sand into a box so that later I can build castles.” Never heard of her? Let me introduce you: Shannon Hale is the author of a whole pile of books including the NYT Best Selling Princess Academy and the text to the graphic novel Rapunzel’s Revenge, which was nominated for the NH Isinglass Teen Read Award a few years back. If you want to know more and get super-inspired, check out her bio here.