Thursday, 29 August 2013

Last Minute Prep

Hey all,

So the 3 Day Novel Contest starts on the 31st, as soon as the clock ticks over to midnight. I’m going to be live tweeting the whole event, which I will give you the link to at the end of this post. I think that it’s also over there on the right hand side of the site, if you can’t wait.

I’ve been writing on my Dreamstate stuff as usual, but over the past week, I’ve been really refining the story that I’m going to put out for the novel contest. Like I said before, I want to go in with a solid outline that I can follow to the letter. I also want to set everything up with average word count markers, so I know if I’m going to need to elaborate on something, or if where I’m at is fine. Nothing worries me more than coming to the end of the story and being 10,000 words and a day short of where I need to be. I don’t know if my brain could handle having to revise the plot after two days of not really sleeping and constantly writing. In all fairness, though, my problem is generally not that I run out of content, but that I write way too much and have to cut stuff out so that I can meet a deadline.

More weirdnesses than just worrying about word count and time left happen during the writing contest—things such as forgetting to eat. It’s a sprint that lasts for days, and if I take time off to make a real meal, I just end up stressed and in a slight panic that I won’t finish whatever I’m working on. I anticipate a lot of thrown together sandwiches and other, five-minute meals. I fully expect that on the final day I’m just going to finish my book, order a pizza, and sit there, staring at the television for the rest of the night. My brain is going to be fried, but that’s okay, because I’ll be done.

The last time I did this contest, it took me a few days to get back into writing form. For a while, it was like I’d filled my head with static and could barely think, let alone form reasonably coherent sentences. Anything I tried to write became moosh. I’ve set up a bit of a buffer zone mentally this time around, where I’m able to give myself time to recover without feeling annoyed with myself that I’m not hitting daily word counts. Last year ended up being a lot of wasted time, where I’d sit, not write, and then get really frustrated with myself. Everything I did write ended up being changed at the end of the project, so really, wasted time all around. I’m taking a few days off after this to hit the gym and relax.

If anyone reading this intends to participate this year, and it’s your first time, just be ready for a hell of a ride. It’s amazing how productive you can be when you’re put under such an insane deadline. I wasn’t sure if I could do it last year, but I pulled something out of pretty much nothing. I went in with no real battle plan, and came out with a reasonable novella. It’s fun, and entirely more taxing than almost anything else you’re likely to attempt. It’ll take its toll not only mentally, but physically too (you’ll feel weird). But it’s worth it in the end; at the very least you’ll have a cool experience, a great story, and a novel in your hands.

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