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Friday, November 28, 2014

A Ridiculous Article



 So a friend of mine alerted me to this article, which complains all about NaNoWriMo.
I read the article, and here is my response: 

For the author of the article (and an author of several books), the end of October is tinged with dread for NaNoWriMo. For me, the end of October is tinged with nervous excitement, a lot of novel planning, and candy. After all, Halloween is at the end of October.
She proceeds to talk about the history of NaNoWriMo and how there were lots of winners. I guess this is because most people who don’t write haven’t heard of it. This paragraph is pretty objective.
She continues to talk about the concept of NaNo. This all seems fair enough as far as I’m concerned, I mean, you have to let innocent, non-writers know what NaNo is really about. Writing.
After that, she points out that first drafts are often crap. I’ve covered that in a previous post, and I should say, that especially since this woman is an author, she of all people should know that first drafts are crap. Any author should know that.
Even though she would know that first drafts are crap, she complains about how writing a lot of crap sounds like a waste of time. She also complains about how some WriMos turn in their novels in November or December. 

This is the only remotely good points she makes. Sure, your first draft is crap, but you know what, you shouldn’t turn in your crappy first draft while it’s still a crappy first draft. That makes sense.
The second part of the article sends everything downhill. She starts the next paragraph with ‘As someone who doesn’t write novels, but does read rather a lot of them…’ This basically implies that she doesn’t have any experience writing. I don’t think I believe her anymore. Goodbye, author’s credentials.
She complains that no one will want to read whatever you/authors publish. But right before that she says she loves to read, but complains that no one will read what you/I publish.
I am not writing for fame or fortune, although that would be wonderful, I am writing because I like to write. I do not give two soggy sugar cubes to what most other people think. She complains about ‘bad books’ a lot. But most writers rewrite their books until they’re not bad. Even if they don’t, an editor will help them to do this. I don’t understand why she’s complaining about this. She talks about ‘slipping a manuscript into a drawer.’ I have no idea what this means. If one of you does, let me know in the comments. I’m confused on this bit.

She says ‘NaNoWriMo is an event geared entirely toward writers, which means it’s largely unnecessary.’ I don’t understand why it’s any less necessary than any other event. She then complains about how ‘narcissistic’ writing is. However, from her tone about how humble reading is compared to writing, she’s making reading sound a heckuva lot more narcissistic.
The longer she goes on about how wonderful reading is, the more narcissistic she’s making that sound. It’s like she’s making the point opposite of what she was trying to make. She complains about how an author (Ann Bauer) told her that people would ask her about story ideas and she would divert the conversation to what the potential author was reading. They would often reply with “Oh, I don’t have time to read, I’m just concentrating on my writing.” This was true of me during NaNo, but other than that, I read a lot! In fact I have so much to read I can hardly keep up with all the recommendations I get.
Of course she whines about how how-to books on writing are selling. I don’t get why she complains about this. It’s not hurting her, is it? 

Then she says ‘there are already more than enough novels out there.’ Who says there can’t be more? She is not queen of book land. It’s none of her business how many books there are in the world. It shouldn’t concern her. But of course, she’s happy for more novels by her favorite authors. Who’s to say that someday someone will be happy for the novels I write? I don’t know about you, but neither me or her can tell the future. She says that even if NaNo were to vanish, books would still get published. However, I am a bit of a slow writer. NaNo motivated me to actually get it done.

She keeps using the fact that there are a lot of novels out there and that people won’t read them. But she doesn’t know that. I really don’t get what point she’s trying to make here.
Then she says she sees no reason to cheer on would-be writers. That, ma’am, is the fastest way to shut down a new writer. Or anyone new at anything, in fact. My advice to this woman, and really any of you readers out there, don’t ever shoot down a newbie. That’s just like in a top ten list of things terrible people do. Or something.

She says that ‘rather than squander our applause on writers – who, let’s face it, will keep pounding the keyboards whether we support them or not…’ Heck yeah, we will. We don’t give a slimy lizard tail what you all think. The point of writing, like I said above, is a personal enjoyment. I don’t care what anyone else thinks (much). She says that we should celebrate readers more. Which I would understand. Sure, for heaven’s sake, celebrate readers too! Go crazy with it, I don’t care. Have reading parties! Heck, that’s what book clubs are, aren’t they? Reading parties? What she says next is relevant and true. “…there’s not much glory in finally writing that novel if it turns out there’s no one left to read it.” Okay now that makes sense. It’s nice to actually have readers for what you’re writing. 

The last paragraph just makes me laugh. She wants us writers to embrace a ‘quieter triumph.’ Though I may be an introvert, I like my celebrations big and loud. I want to crow to the world that I wrote fifty thousand words over the course of 17 days. That’s huge! I’m proud of that and I want people to know it!
What she suggests is read ten different books in ten different genres from January first to October 10th. Heck, I could probably do that without trying. I read a lot. She adds in one last try to say that all 50k words anyone writes during November are crap. But maybe a lot of it is crap. I won’t deny it. But even if there’s 49,900 words of crap and one hundred really golden words, that’s what counts. That’s what editing is for.
I think she doesn’t understand quite how much revision really does go into a book. Or at least, how much will go into my NaNo novel. Maybe some WriMos don’t edit, but I’m sure as heck going to. As do most WriMos. 


So what do you think? Did you find anything funny that I missed?
Happy NaNo!
-Ranger

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

One-Shot Wednesday

This one's a bit longer, but I really like it.
I’d been with the troops for months now. My hands were worn down by loading guns, crawling across thorn bushes, and gripping my thin, ragged blanket at night. They ached so badly I had to wear special gloves to protect them now, keeping my aching palms constantly cool with a coolant system that resided around my wrist.
I sat, looking at my hands with a heavy sigh. I wasn’t allowed to do much physical work since my hands were out of commission. The rest of my squadron was helping to re-enforce the village. I, on the other hand, was in charge of watching children.
They didn’t do much, just sort of sat there and played with their toys, giggling and laughing, completely unaware of the war going on outside their door.
A young girl walked slowly up to me.
“…excuse me, sir…” I looked up.
“What do you want, kid?” I snapped, glaring up at a little girl in a white dress.
“…I picked this for you.” She handed me a small yellow flower in her delicate hands.
“….it might heal your hands.” She looked at the ground.
That was a few days ago. Now, as I rub the salve I created on my healing hands, I remember the girl again. I never knew her name, I never saw her again, and I don’t even know if I said thank you, but she gave me my hands back.

Happy NaNo!
-Ranger