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"Do it right and do it with style." - Author, Designer & Project Lead of the story-driven DLC Gardens of Equestria: This Coming Storm - (Patreon)


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Nov
8th
2017

NaNoWriMo Week 1: For the the Alliance! · 7:19pm November 8th

Of course I play Alliance. I’m a good guy. Good guys play Alliance. Fite me IRL. I’m not ruled by an undead monster. Instead, my King is a badass warrior priest who wanted nothing more than peace… only to be forced into war. He didn’t start this. But Anduin is going to finish it.

Oh wait, this is supposed to be about a writing thing, not about how you should roll Alliance because the undead actually want to kill all living things, including the Horde because you know Wrathgate (don’t tell me the Banshee Queen didn’t know about that) and they were party to nuking Theramore and…

Sorry. I get distracted sometimes.

For the Alliance!

WORD COUNT TIME!


Current NaNoWriMo Word Count: 21,917

Current Project:

On the Brewing of Saddle Arabian Teas & Secret Project

Daily Word Count Breakdown
November 1 - 2,517
November 2 - 2,808
November 3 - 1,109 (Blizzcon Day 1)
November 4 - 1,105 (Blizzcon Day 2)
November 5 - 2,627
November 6 - 5,282
November 7 - 5,089


So, unlike last year, I made a serious effort to get a thousand words in on both Blizzcon Days. It was freaking hard, but the nice thing was, once I broke the 500-800 word mark, the words started just flowing.

Believe it or not, on both days, I ended up writing on my iPhone in Scrivener, which was then automatically synced to my MacBook Pro. Now, on the first day, I only did 100 words, while the second I only did 88, but still, if push came to shove and I simply didn’t have the energy to do more, I had something to show for it.

I want that “Wrote every day for 30 days” badge this year!

So let’s take a look at the Scrivener Word Counter, eh?

Uhhh… you know, something just occured to me. Below is my Word Counter for last year on November 6, 2016:

Only 247,819 words in my “Wavelength Theorems” Scrivener file. I’ve done over half a million words in the last year.

The one catch is that I was technically behind when I first wrote this because my daily goal is 2,500. I’m going to need to get some heavy-hitting days to make up for those two Blizzcon days. They were freaking hard, I’ll tell you. But I did it.

That’s why today’s post is about PERSEVERANCE. But first, I made a tradition last year about posting a piece of something I wrote during NaNo every week. So let’s see what I can post without spoiling anything…

Sunset elbowed Twilight and nodded toward Little Song. Twilight blushed a little and smiled at the filly. “No matter what anypony tells you, it’s always okay to cuddle books.”

“Hey!” Little Song protested. “I told you! I… I wasn’t—”

“I wouldn’t be surprised if Twilight still does it,” Sunset interjected.

“I do not!” Twilight cried. “I just… fall asleep with them in my forehooves!”

“Or fall asleep with your face in one.”

“That was once.”

“You mean once that I saw. I know you, Twilight. You’ve done that more times than either of us can count.”

“Shut up,” Twilight pouted.


Below, you’ll find a copy of the post I just did for NaPoWriMo. You can find the original on EqD here, but I’d like you to get it without another click, so check it out below!


"Well, Cadance seems to enjoy writing these shipfics... I guess I could try it..."

To start us out, let’s go with one of my favorite writing quotes of all time:

“Anyone who says writing is easy isn't doing it right.”
― Amy Joy

Can I get a show of hands (and/or hooves) of everyone who agrees with Amy Joy? Yeah, that's what I thought.

Now, at this point, some of you may be way ahead of your goal. Kudos to you! Some of you may be struggling to get in those words since real life decided to rear its ugly head and attack the moment November arrived!

I’m here to talk to both of you, because, believe it or not, this has been a hard month for me. During most NaNoWriMos, I’m blasting through words at top speeds, knocking out up to 8K in a day! Not this time. This time, I’ve started the month with BlizzCon, something that turned out to be exhausting. I’m struggling to make my daily 2,500. I’ve got plans for every single weekend this month. In fact, I had to do 5,000 words yesterday to catch up to where I should be!

"So many shipfics, so little time..."

So, why am I mentioning this?

Because writing is often really flippin’ hard.

“You don't start out writing good stuff. You start out writing crap and thinking it's good stuff, and then gradually you get better at it.
That's why I say one of the most valuable traits is persistence.”
― Octavia E. Butler

There’s this myth going around that authors are these magical, mystical creatures who act as conduits of literature. They place their fingers on a keyboard and the story appears without any effort.

I’m sure none of you believe that myth right now.

“I hate writing, I love having written.”
― Dorothy Parker

There are going to be days where writing is the last thing you want to do. There are plenty of times I’d rather be playing Destiny 2 than writing On the Brewing of Saddle Arabian Teas. Pretty much every night, in fact. And by the way, most of those big name fandom authors? They often feel that way… if not worse!

In the end, it comes down to a choice: are you serious enough about this challenge to make it a priority?

You are the only one who can make yourself write. I could get every Equestria Daily user to come online and cheer you on, but if you don't make the decision to do it, nothing will happen. The reason why you write has to come from within. That reason is up to you. You don't even have to know exactly what it is. But it needs to be there.

"Yes, yes, I'll write a shipfic for you. Again."

There’s a reason the main goal is 50K. While I know some don’t have such a lofty goal, I do hope your goal is designed to stretch you, because that’s the true heart of NaPoWriMo & NaNoWriMo. Push yourself. Go for that extra hundred words. This is how you really succeed.

“Imagination is like a muscle. I found out that the more I wrote, the bigger it got.”
― Philip José Farmer

Remember, you aren’t alone. Tens of thousands of people are right there with you. Some of them are going faster, some are going slower. The key is to remember that this isn’t a competition against anyone but yourself.

There will be parts you know are terrible and it’ll get thrown into a fire on the first edit (I’ve got about 4,000 words like that right now). Don’t delete them! The goal of NaNo is word count, not perfection. I know this is really hard to some of you, but try to keep to it. Let the editor out of his box on December 1, not before.

The point is to do your best. But you become your best by the little decisions you make with your time over the course of this month. The decision to write instead of playing a game, watching a show or doing something else.

The truth is, you can’t depend on your muses, inspiration or motivation to be a writer. You can’t depend on any of that for anything creative.

"Notes on Shipping Twilight: She's can be shipped with anypony. Especially me."

But I’ll tell you a secret… if you start writing… that’ll come. It’ll take time―I usually don’t break through my wall until 500-800 words in―but it will happen.

“Amateurs sit and wait for inspiration, the rest of us just get up and go to work.”
― Stephen King, On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft

So get to writing!

“You can't wait for inspiration. You have to go after it with a club.”
― Jack London

Go on! Shoo!

:twilightsmile:

Comments ( 23 )

How much planning do you do when you write your stories? Do you know the plot of the story before you write it, or do you start with an idea and let it emerge on its own? I keep having spontaneous ideas for stories, but they're usually just a beginning or an ending, and I have no idea what the middle is like. I write some beautiful, symbolic scene in a flash of passion, and then have no context for it. I get stuck. A lot of that is probably just laziness--I spend way too much time reading or watching YouTube videos, even though I know that I could definitely be working on whatever "brilliant project idea" I've had most recently--but I honestly don't know how to go about writing anything longer than a one-scene, one-shot story or a short poem.

4720509
I'm mostly a Discovery Writer, meaning that I write as a go. I generally have an idea for the beginning, for the ending, a few assorted scenes here and there, but other than that, I just put my characters into the situations and see where they go. A great deal of what I do is based on not forcing my characters to do anything, but let them act in a way that's consistent and natural with how they normally react.

It's going to take a serious effort of will to do the writing when you don't want to. Reading is important, but in moderation during NaNo. YouTube videos are dangerous as hell (then again, I almost never watch YouTube videos). In the end, as I said above, it's going to be up to you to stick with it and make it work.

For the Horde! I had to quit Legion fairly early on because of work, but I'm definitely resubbing soon to do what I can before it's time to spank Heath Ledger Anduin Wrynn and his yappy pet dog in BfA.

4720526
Thank you! I've heard a lot of authors say that they use the approach of just letting the characters do what makes sense to them in a given scenario, but I've also heard some say that planning is everything; that you need to have a direction to take the story in right from the start.
I am really a beginning writer. I don't yet have the level of commitment it takes to write a novel in a month, and I suspect it will take a lot of time and effort before I can even get myself to finish a multi-chapter fanfic. As for "keeping the editor in its box"--that might be the hardest part yet. I don't know how many stories I've written the first few paragraphs for, and then decided it's all trash and should never enter my sight or even mind again. Perhaps I'll go through those old ideas today and see if any of it can be salvaged.

4720531
Bring it, boyo. You want to play the losing side, be my guest! :rainbowdetermined2:

4720580

Thank you! I've heard a lot of authors say that they use the approach of just letting the characters do what makes sense to them in a given scenario, but I've also heard some say that planning is everything; that you need to have a direction to take the story in right from the start. 

Here's the key thing to remember: everyone is different when it comes to writing. Most of my friends (and almost all of my Writing Gods) are Outliners, people who plan far better than I do. But I tend to lose my passion for projects when I do that. You need to find out what works best for you.

Just remember, even outliners need to know when it's time to break from that outline. Because no matter what, you'll always end up coming with some awesome idea you hadn't thought of in outlining.

When you first start out, I'd recommend Discovery Writing and just seeing where things lead. I'll be talking a bit more about Outlining Vs. Discovery Writing in later posts!

Instead, my King is a badass warrior priest who wanted nothing more than peace…

the boy can't fight for shit, let's be real here :D

There’s this myth going around that authors are these magical, mystical creatures who act as conduits of literature. They place their fingers on a keyboard and the story appears without any effort.

I’m sure none of you believe that myth right now.

I do, and will continue to do so no matter how much it's proven otherwise, because it's easier than admitting I'm a mean, inferior sort of person with no worthwhile ideas and nothing to say.

Oh wait, I think I just did. Drat.

4720691
That trailer says otherwise, my friend.

4720696
Nah. Because that wasn't mean. /disproved.

4720710
The trailer I watched showed a boy not managing to kick ass with a sword, only doing well once he threw it down and called on the Light.

4720711
Apparently I'm also bad at quoting, considering I missed the very prompt to which I was responding!

The whole sense of my post is distorted without it.

4720710
Anduin wouldn't even be alive if orcs actually knew how to use axes. Garrosh seemed to think they're a stabbing weapon, and Saurfang somehow decided the broad side of it was the best way to attack the enemy commander. Alas, not everypony everyone is as cunning and beautiful as the Sin'dorei... or our new allies the Shal'dorei. We'll just have to pick up the lovable oaf's slack.

4720723
The trailer I watched saw him taking out that Troll, to the point where the final impact made a damn crater... only to realize that wasn't who he was. Instead, he did something far more important: he saved his allies and brought them back into the fight.

Groups live and die by their healers!

4720758
Pfft. Please. He's just got damn good armor. In fact, if you notice when he's on the ground, the collar of his armor is broken, so that orc got him pretty good.

At this point, no side is without evil in the Horde vs Alliance war. Sure, orcs were the first aggressors, but they were then enslaved by the Alliance for awhile after. Alliance was a bitch then the Horde regrew and fought them off and established themselves. Then Arthas comes along and throws the whole dynamic out the window.

Not the Forsaken's fault (well... until recently maybe...) that they were raised undead, and it's not as if the Alliance would ever leave them alone so poo poo to all that.


.... and I don't even play the game anymore... ahh... good times.

I still call bullcrap on the trailer. You can't use mass resurrection in combat.

4720874
Sorry, last time I checked, the Alliance never nuked any cities. They weren't great to the Orcs after the Second War, but the Orcs invaded their planet, killed their people, and burned Stormwind to the ground. Garrosh nuked Theramore. Sylvannas used the Plague on Southshore and Gilnaes. While I understand why Sylvannas abandoned the Alliance forces on the Broken Shore, she still really did screw them. :derpyderp1:

:rainbowderp:

4721127
You can use it once you've unlocked the "Cinematic Abilities" talent.

If this post was supposed to be encouraging, then I'm afraid I beg to differ.

I've never been much of a fan of the "masochistic writer" trope. Read one way, it makes it unfortunately impossible for a writer to tell whether the difficulty means they're just normal or they're actually unskilled at it. That's a level of ambiguity almost guaranteed to raise stress levels. Read another way, it implies that writing is a joyless activity that only a masochist would be dumb enough to partake in.

That's a great way to put people off it, but a terrible way to encourage them to join in. After all, no one would play football or video games if they had to break their nose every time they did it. And how can you tell those people put off by it don't include some notably talented individuals, who - thanks to an unattractive trope - have now been discouraged? You can't use the discouragement itself, because that's circular (and frankly self-serving as an argument).

I'm not even convinced it's a task you get better at the more you do it. Gradual improvement is possible for a task which isn't complex, or which doesn't demand much in the way of constant imaginative reimagining. But no: stories are complex and demand much in the way of constant imaginative reimagining. You can't properly compare except in technical stuff like spelling and grammar: everything else is just too capricious and varied to make such a comparison make sense.

You wouldn't be able to tell, much less measure, any difference. Throw in the opinions and biases of potential reviewers, and the fact that a piece of typical stock writing can get more appreciative audiences than the most carefully designed art, and it's frankly a frustrating mess.

Capricious, yes. But that doesn't mean it should be hard. If anything, the diversity should promise some writer finds a niche audience somewhere.

In such a context, it's hard to see who gains by presenting the work as a trial. The audience? One's bread is another's poison, so what do they care how much sweat went into it; they want their bread, not their poison. The writer? We've already noted that, read one way or another, it's a massive disincentive, either making it blind work or making it directly unattractive.

As for those quotations, they smack of holier-than-thou gloating. The subtext is "look at me, I'm not quotidian enough as to enjoy this activity. Good lord no, only the worst populists and hack writers do that. The only true artist is a miserable one". To which the only sensible response is, ironically, a devaluing of the art itself.

After all, this isn't emergency services. No one dies or suffers if the art doesn't exist. It isn't necessary to anyone's survival, and only conditionally relevant to certain people's well-being. If it can't even be enjoyable, then its non-existence might actually improve people's lot, especially if there's a seductive, luring myth that it's enjoyable or easy (better to get rid of such a tempting trap).

I can think of several reasons why writing is a good time - namely when its actually working, you're in the flow of the moment, everything seems beautifully clear, and there's an exciting sense that you're on the trail for some rich, rare, and rollicking good treasure - but "you have to suffer to be a serious writer and join the beautiful people at the top" sure as hell ain't one of them.

4723656
Well, sorry it didn’t work for you.

4723656
Hey, some of us just want to suffer for our art, man. I didn't need a word wall to say that, either.

4724219
Lead by Alleria? Hell YES.

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