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Tuesday, October 23, 2012

The Chocolate Frog Challenge - Preparing for NaNoWriMo

This is a Chocolate Frog. Not just any chocolate frog...This is a Haigh's Dark Chocolate Peppermint Frog and  let me tell you he is delicious!

This is the first year I have signed up for National Novel Writing Month. It runs from 1 - 30 November every year and the rules are simple - You must write 50,000 words of fiction by midnight on 30 November. That's words of NEW fiction. 

Now I've looked at my diary. I have days when I attend a place of paid employment and other days with 'huge commitement' written all over them. To accomplish 50,000 words I need to average 2500 words a day. Holy excess of words, Batman!

Now you might think because I am a published writer, that I don't need a challenge like NaNoWriMo but take it from me, I am:
a) the world's slowest writer and
b) the world's greatest procrastinator.  (Social media is the worst thing that ever happened to me...)

So these are my NaNo commitments.

  • There is to be no more than 1.5 hours internet time in total per day...that includes checking and responding to emails, writing blogs, Facebook etc. etc. In other words the "business" and the "busyness" of my writing life MUST  be conducted in that time frame. I anticipate 1/2 hour in the morning, 1/2 hour at lunch and 1/2 hour in the evening.
  • If in the course of my writing, I encounter a research problem, it is to be passed over with a "Check this fact". Blockages are to be met with "more stuff here". 
  • There is to be no playing of Spider Solitaire.
So what am I hoping to accomplish? 

It's time to start something new  and at the end of November I hope to have the rough draft of a new story...the first in a series of mysteries set in early twentieth century Singapore - the Harriet Gordon mysteries. I've done the world building for Harriet so now all I need to do is start telling her story.  

Harriet leaped out of a 1903 copy of The Straits Times I was perusing in the Singapore Library. There in the classifieds I found the following advertisement...

“Shorthand and Typewriting. An Englishwoman undertakes casual work as a stenographer and typist. From Monday to Friday after 5.30pm daily. On Sunday after 3pm. She guarantees rapid and careful work together with ABSOLUTE SECRECY..."

How could I not write a story around that???

Harriet Gordon
Meet Harriet Gordon...stenographer, typist and possibly - amateur sleuth.
So back to my chocolate frogs.  My froggie has 9 little friends. That is one chocolate frog for every 5000 words I complete in the NaNoWriMo Challenge! Here they all are.



So to keep myself honest, I thought I would bore you all with my progress over the next 4 weeks with a weekly frog count. Like Agatha Christie's "Ten Little Indians"...my hope is they will gradually disappear until by 30 November there are no little frogs!

(NOTE TO SELF:  Schedule regular exercise into NaNoWriMo to work off the evil influences of the chocolate frogs!)


If there are any other NaNoWriMo participants reading this post...what are your plans for keeping yourself on track?

7 comments:

Emmie said...

I LOVE your chocolate frog motivation plan. I am so stealing it. And I'm doing NaNo too! Like you, I'm a little scared about meeting that huge word count, but even if I don't make it, I'll get close and that will be good. :)

Valerie Parv said...

I did NaNoWriMo a few years ago when I was stuck on a new project, and I was amazed how much I could do - even without chocolate frogs. Hope you have a great time both writing and munching. Love your new character. Now hop too it (sorry).

Alison Stuart said...

I'm really hoping it will free the girls in the basement - are they easily lured by chocolate I wonder?

Harriet has been haunting me for a while now but jumping into writing mystery (even "cosy" mystery) is quite a different discipline to romance. As a warm up my last two books have had a mystery woven in and they seem to work.

Imelda Evans said...

I am going to Haigh's tomorrow to purchase myself some matching motivation. Pure brilliance! And I can't wait to read Harriet, she sounds like great fun. Best of luck and wish me luck too!

Alison Stuart said...

Indeed, Imelda. Not just ANY chocolate frog. It must be a Haigh's frog! Goodl luck.

J.T. Webster said...

Those fogs look delicious. I wish we had them over here. And what a wonderful idea to reward yourself.
I'm doing NaNo too and so far it's going very well. Fingers crossed.
Your new novel sounds good. Can't wait to read it!

Alison Stuart said...

The fourth frog dies today, JT! (which means, hopefully I will have ticked over 20K words).