Tuesday, September 03, 2013

What I learned from the 3-day-novel contest

  • They do say somewhere (in the FAQs I think) that it is best to have a basic outline ready before the contest starts. Probably a good idea unless you're a particularly imaginative person. I'm not and I spent far too much time trying to think of what to write.
  • If you get stuck, read back over what you've done and try and figure out where it works until. I ended up starting an entirely different story on the second day because I just couldn't make the first one go anywhere. On day 3, I re-read the first story, deleted the final paragraph I had written and all of a sudden it started flowing again.
  • You really do need to be typing nearly every available minute there is. I can type at about 60-70 words a minute. Assuming about 50,000 words and a speed of 60 words/minute, you'd need nearly 14 hours. No problem, right? You've got 72, well, 50 if you don't give in to that pesky sleep habit too much. However, given that you're not just typing, you're also having to actually come up with the words to type, your typing speed after four hours is not going to be the same as it was at the beginning and that kind of thing, you can probably assume that you'll need a good bit more than 14 hours to get somewhere. 
  • It turns out that my apartment is just too distracting to really get going. I made far more progress when I went out and sat in a cafe for a couple of hours. 
  • It's probably better for me not to follow the twitter hashtags for the contest. I'm not the competitive sort and reading that others had reached 10k, 15k, 35k just made me feel more and more like a failure.
  • Boggle is great when you want to make up a word for something. But when you've made something up, don't forget to google it, just in case it actually is a real word (in Polish, for example).

1 comment:

Fiona said...

Did you find at the end of it that you still had something you could work into shape (even if it takes a year or more?)

I do like the idea of a "marathon" just to get words, ideas and a shape on paper. We had an author visit at our school recently and he said he starts the writing process like that, but then does up to 14 drafts over 18 months before he has a finished copy! The 14 drafts floored me!