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All articles from the Nanowrimo category




sTEpHan hOPpE won Nanowrimo in 2014. Woot! Woot!  

Nanowrimo 2014 begins

It's on!

Stephan Hoppe's Nanowrimo 2014 dashboard

Stephan Hoppe's Nanowrimo 2014 progress bar

Once again, it begins...

NaNoWriMo 2010 logo  

National Novel Writing Month 2009 Results

I'm baaaack!...

I won!....nothing really.

On November 1st, 170,001 people (including me) set out in friendly competition to write a 50,000 word novel in less than 30 days for National Novel Writing Month. I entered because I always wondered if I had a novel in me. Today, I entered in the last few hundred words of my novel bringing me up over that magical 50,000 word mark. I'm not going to say it was particularly tough, but it did require some discipline. I'm glad it's over. Tonight, I am going out to celebrate! (which means: "eat chinese food buffet then get drunk") But for now, I post for you below an excerpt from the end of my terrible, horrible novel - entitled "eight". You can use this excerpt as a sleep-aid or as an object to ridicule me with - whatever. It's all good.

What's next for me? Well, first I am going to go back through the novel and cut out all of the stuff that would make you probably call the cops on me if you read it. "I think Steph's boss at work is in mortal danger!" Then I am going to spellcheck and edit for a couple of months. Then I am going to have just two copies of the book printed. One will go on my bookshelf, right in between my Penthouse autographed by Ashlyn Gere and my copy of Never Cry Wolf autographed by Margaret Atwood. The other copy I will raffle off to one (un?)lucky commenter. How much is a raffle ticket? Nothing. Just visit my site and leave a comment below this post. It don't have to be flattering; I would actually prefer brutal honesty - I just want to know if the excerpt below is interesting or not. If you are already on my mailing list (meaning you got this post via email) you don't even have to leave your email. Just leave your name and a comment and in February, the lovely Elllie will draw single name for half off the print run of the hot new novel - "eight."

This will be the very definition of limited edition folks, don't miss out on the opportunity.

The inspiration for the excerpt that follows came from my son, Nik - age 6. Not too long ago, we gave him a camcorder and let him film whatver he wanted for a day. Together with his friend Ryan, they came up with the idea of "The Boring Show." Essentially, they simply stood in front of the camera and quietly ate a cookie for 5 minutes. There was no dialogue. They kept their facial expression to a minimum. It was fascinating! I've wondered since, if I wrote something and tried to make it as boring as Nik and Ryan's Boring Show, would it somehow become perversely interesting?

I sat in my chair and ate a cookie. My mind was blank. As I ate, a couple of crumbs collected at the side of my mouth where the top lip meets the bottom lip. These crumbs would not end up in my mouth, nor were they going to fall on the floor. These crumbs were not going anywhere.

"How is the cookie?" asked Jane, my wife.

"Good." I said. I wasn't lying either. It was a good cookie.

I sort of absentmindedly looked down at what was left of the cookie in my hand. It was a plain cookie. I mean, it was a chocolate chip cookie but it came from a cheap bag of some generic brand of cookie so it had no chocolate chips at all. Other cookies in the bag may have some chocolate chips on them, but I guess the manufacturing process for these generic brands is so lax that entire cookies make it through the system without picking up a single chip. Like this plain cookie with no chocolate chips.

I sighed. Jane asked, "Can I have a bite?" but I was putting the last piece in my mouth just as she asked it, so I shook my head and mumbled "No." I then took another cookie out of the bag.

I think this one had chocolate chips. I didn't look because I was really tired at that moment, but I was pretty sure I could feel some chocolate chips with my fingertips. I would know for sure in a minute just as soon as I finished chewing and swallowed the cookie in my mouth and took a bite from this new cookie. Then I would know for sure.

It was taking a long time to finish this bite of cookie. My mouth was pretty dry from the two previous bites of cookie. I wondered if maybe that was the purpose of chocolate chips in cookies, to lubricate the mouth orifice so as to facilitate the swallowing of the cookie. And because the cookie in my mouth had no chocolate chips, that was maybe why I was finding it so dry and hard to finish. That then, would be the purpose of the chips, to act as a lubricant, and the taste of the chips would be the benefit. Not that this cookie was the dryest cookie I have ever eaten, that award would go to a shortbread cookie I had several years ago. Shortbread cookies have lots of cream of tartar in them and I think that dries the heck out of you mouth, like if you ate a spoonful of alum or something. Though alum would kill you I'm pretty sure.

This chocolate chip cookie was nothing like that old shortbread cookie from several years ago. I sighed again.

"Does your cookie make you sad?" asked Jane.

I shook my head. "It's just a cookie" I said.

"Yeah." said Jane. "Can I have a bite of the cookie in your hand?"

"Sure." I said, and I gave her the cookie in my hand. "Hey, does it have any chocolate chips?" I asked.

"I think I see a couple of chips here." she said. I sighed and rubbed my finger and thumb together on the hand that had just been holding the new cookie. Sure enough, it was well lubricated with melted chocolate. Jane took a bite and gave me back the cookie.

Finally, I was finishing chewing the last bite of the chip-less cookie. I swallowed it noiselessly. After a moment of waiting for my saliva supplies to regenerate, I took a bite of this new chipped cookie. The difference was obvious.

"You have a couple of crumbs stuck to the side of you mouth," said Jane. "You know, where your top lips connects to your bottom lip."

She sighed, then paused, chewing and enjoying her bite of cookie no doubt. She said, "Would you like me to get it?"

"What?" I said "The crumbs?"

Jane said, "Yes."

I said, "No, it's OK. I've got it." And I wiped the crumbs from the side of my mouth. You know the spot I am talking about.

All of a sudden, the cookie bag fell over. It was very exciting.

"That was exciting." said Jane.

"Mmm mm." I said. Though this new cookie had far better lubricating properties than the previous one, it was still much drier than say, a cup of oil. But I had to agree, the bag falling over in the quiet room was very exciting, even though no cookies fell out of the bag.

"That was a close one." said Jane. I nodded, picked up the bag, and motioned to her in the universal gesture of cookie-offering - because my mouth was still full of cookie. I couldn't really talk if I didn't want more crumbs to collect at the side of my mouth, or worse, to fall on the carpet.

She shook her head. "No thanks." she said. So I closed the bag securely and stood it back up on the table.

NaNoWriMo 2009 Progress Report

Believe me, it's not literary gold.

Nanowrimo logo

Well, I'm19 days into this 50,000 word novel-writing competition. So far, I have a grand total of 32,124 words of (what I am going to optimistically call) prose, which puts me 470 words (about 3/4 of one page) ahead of the game. Yay!

Surprisingly, many people have expressed interest in reading the book once I finish it (I guess people enjoy angry and disjointed profanity-laced rants.) But alas, just as you wouldn't in one sitting eat a pig that once saved your life, you also shouldn't expect to be able to read every masterpiece that ever flowed from the word processors of the gods.

I'm not saying I'm a god...I'm just saying....

It's NaNoWriMo Time!

See you in December

caution sign: novelists at work>
  <i>I exclaimed in horror after stepping on the scales this morning,
My name is Estefan and I am the Mexican attache to the United Nations. Not the actual United Nations in New York City mind you, but the United Nations Waffle House in St. Louis, Missouri where we got a nice sausage and waffles special every Monday.

These are possible openings for the novel that I will be writing over the next 30 days as I participate in /www.nanowrimo.org">NaNoWriMo - National Novel Writing Month. Billed as a literary orgy of "really big" proportions by its organizers, NaNoWriMo is an opportunity for fledgling wannabe writers such as myself to deliver hurried, disjointed, and poorly edited prose to the world, whether the world wants it or not.

Here are the rules: competitors must produce a 50,000 word novel in just 30 days. That's 1666 words or 6.6 pages of copy for each and every day of November. It doesn't have to be Theodore Shakespeare, with NaNoWriMo it's quantity over quality. You can't start until November 1st and you can't finish after the 30th. That's it.

The prize? Nothing, except the satisfaction of being able to say that you finally wrote that novel you've always been meaning to write. And a web page badge for your home page. Because of the dearth of prizes, I guess that's why there will be little verifiable cheating amongst this year's 150,000 plus participants - because what's the point?

I've tried NaNoWriMo once before and failed. Back in 2006, I wrote down barely 2000 words before unceremoniously quitting and then furiously rationalizing excuses for why I quit. My one big reason, and it's the one I'm sticking to, was that I chose a plot that required research, which I did not do, and then when I got stuck on one small point, I had neither the time to research or the ability...ah whatever. This time, I have no plot idea. The words will be the thing. And to help me succeed I am going to drop out of sight until the end of November - I will host no fabulous dinner parties, I will do no web site updates, no checking email; I'm not even going to do dishes, take out the garbage, or beat the children (though Patti doesn't know that yet...) I swear on my mother's grave that I am going to do at least the requisite 1666 words per day even if I must resort to: "It was a rainy, rainy, rainy, rainy, rainy, rainy, rainy, rainy, rainy, rainy, rainy, rainy, rainy, rainy, rainy, rainy, rainy, rainy day, yet strangely, I was dry..."

And I know that the only way I will be able to generate that many words in such a short time will be if I minimize all distractions while writing. I think I have found the most beautiful tool with which to do that. It's called Q10 and I'm actually writing this post with it right now. Q10 is a minimalist editor. It runs beautifully on a USB key. It has a fully customizable auto-save that actually works. It has spell checker, it has word counts, it has a notes feature, it has auto-correction. It has quick-text and alarm timers. It even has the ability to make a typewriter sound as you type. Including the carriage return bell! (It's funny, my kids have no idea what typewriter even sounds like...) It has been custom-designed for NaNoWriMo. It's well documented, and it's free. You can tell it was programmed with skill, certainly more skill than I have. And it works perfectly. Beautifully. It's pretty light on instructions though, so I've created my own Q10 Reference Card and printed that out to refer to when necessary...

So! Wish me luck! Pay me a visit at some point during November to see how I'm doing, and I'll talk to you in December!

NaNoWriMo 2009

This year, I'm gonna do more than 1,200 words...


November is National Novel Writing Month

See you in December.

November is National Novel Writing Month

NaNoWriMo 2014

National Novel Writing Month

What is NaNoWriMo? National Novel Writing Month is a fun, seat-of-your-pants approach to novel writing. Participants begin writing November 1. The goal is to write a 175-page (50,000-word) novel by midnight, November 30.

Valuing enthusiasm and perseverance over painstaking craft, NaNoWriMo is a novel-writing program for everyone who has thought fleetingly about writing a novel but has been scared away by the time and effort involved.

Because of the limited writing window, the ONLY thing that matters in NaNoWriMo is output. It's all about quantity, not quality. The kamikaze approach forces you to lower your expectations, take risks, and write on the fly.

In 2005, NaNoWriMo had over 59,000 participants. Nearly 10,000 of them crossed the 50k finish line by the midnight deadline, entering into the annals of NaNoWriMo superstardom forever. They started the month as auto mechanics, out-of-work actors, and middle school English teachers. They walked away novelists.

Sounds real glamourous, don't it? :-)