Wednesday, August 02, 2006

No Time Like the Present

Honey, I've got a confession to make:

I'm seeing another blog.


Well, okay... I'm not having a relationship with another blog or anything like that. I just spent the whole of this afternoon setting up a new one, that's all.

You see, I got this informal invitation from Charo, a friend in one of Mensa Philippines' SIGs (Special Interest Groups) the other day. It turned out that their Creative Writing SIG was planning to hold a NaNoWriMo event for the whole of August, and the name of a certain non-Mensan writer came up as a prime candidate to fill out their roster. That name, of course, was Dominique Cimafranca. But because they needed somebody who could make everybody else look good in comparison, they decided to let me in on it as well.

NaNoWriMo, for those who haven't heard of it, is a semi-acronym for "National Novel Writing Month". It's actually an international event that usually takes place in November each year, and you can think of it as the "Iron Man" competition of all writing competitions. The object is deceptively simple: Write a 50,000-word novel in exactly thirty days.

Yes, you read that right: 50,000 words in thirty days. That's about 1,600 words per day, folks. If you want a good measure of comparison, my posts on this blog usually number about five hundred to seven hundred words a shot.

Now, don't get me wrong: I'm a short-fiction man, and nowadays there's the everpresent deadline for Dean Alfar's Second Speculative Fiction Anthology. But I've long considered joining the event just to get an idea of what it's like to have to burn through more than a thousand words a day, and the Mensa Philippines event is about as good a method of practice as any. That, and the Mensans only require people to write a minimum of 25,000 words, which is a far more reasonable total.

My entry in the event, of course, required a place to store my writings. While Microsoft Word still makes for a viable tool in this regard, I also wanted to place my stuff online so that I could continue writing even when I was out of the house. This eventually led me to this afternoon's activities, a long and complicated set of affairs where I spliced code, consulted existing copyright disclaimers, and fussed over the appearance of a new blog.

That blog, by the way, is right here. You're welcome to peruse it at your leisure.

I only warn you, however, that the writing standards there probably won't be of the same level as the ones over here. Novels and short stories are two completely different animals -- you'll find it very difficult to write one of them if you're thinking in terms of the other. One of my efforts now will most certainly involve keeping the two approaches separate.

For that matter, there's also the issue of schedule. I originally took into account the fact that I don't have any work at the moment, which should theoretically leave me with lots of time to write. It usually takes me a while to nail down a story, however, and I only had a grand total of eight hours to prepare a plot before the event officially started. The long-term planning isn't particularly easy, especially when you've got a plotline full of holes to deal with.

As of the time of this writing, I've got about 739 words down on (virtual) paper. That already puts me about 874 words behind the rest of the pack. And I'm still planning to write something for that Spec Fic collection, too.

At this point, it's kind of obvious that I might be spending some time away from this blog. I'll probably end up posting my notes in one way or another, however, so I don't think I really should worry all that much. I'm also fairly sure that I'm going to be sick of that other blog by the 31st of August when the event finally ends, and all my thoughts on the matter will most likely end up being written here eventually.

Now if you'll excuse me, I'm going to attempt to pick and sneer at my "other" workings. I don't want to reach a point where I'm five thousand words behind with nothing but writer's block in sight.

And if you're still pondering the situation: Yes, I'm writing for another blog. Yes, it feels as though I'm cheating on this one. No, it doesn't do anything for my insomnia, either.

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