LJWorld.com weblogs The Line of Letters

November Is For Writing


Hi, I'm Jason.

I'm working on writing a 50,000+ word novel completely in 30 days as part of NaNoWriMo or National Novel Writing Month. November is what everyone who's not playing along calls the month. Those in the know call it 'NaNo' and those who participate are 'WriMos'. (I think of myself as a NoWri {pronounced nah-wry}, but that's just me. I'm a little different.)

I've always had some artistic intent in my life. I've been an artist (I can sketch passably well, even won a half-tuition scholarship to KU), a musician (the best band I ever played in opened for STICK one very icy New Year's Night at the Bottleneck) and even tried my hand at making comic books (one of which garnered me a couple of nice reviews).

I never really understood color and my sense of design was too personal, so my art was pretty half-hearted most of the time. I really wanted to be a rockstar, but the kind of music I wanted to play wasn't popular during the grunge/alt movement of the early to mid-90s and then there were the disparate personalities.

I learned it was impossible to break into comics as a writer, so I went back to a real drawing board and worked hard on trying to tell stories I wanted to tell. A respected professional in comics who had become a friend told me matter-of-factly that I had great ideas but that I was hurting my stories by drawing them. He told me to find a collaborator. There was a lot of mistrust at the time about writers seeking artists who wanted to share in revenues after publication. Artists genuinely believe they must be paid up front for work, and they should. I couldn't do that, though.

Frustrated, I looked for other ways to get the ideas in my head OUT.

I'd tried writing fiction any number of times before, but had always stumbled and never completed anything. I couldn't make the words do what I wanted them to, which was to emulate Robert Heinlein. I despaired.

Then I heard about NaNoWriMo in mid-November 2007, too late to play along. I liked the idea of a challenge, of seeing if I could do the work and write a novel of only 50,000 words. It sounds like a lot (looks like a lot, too, written out like that), and it is. However, it's not an amount that one can't reach. I'd have to try, really TRY, to make it.

So I planned. I remembered some sage advice that "a writer must be a reader" and I read about NaNo, about the rules, about the participants. I read books I had been meaning to read and started reading fewer comics. I began to pay attention to how words were used, the construction of sentences and then how all those lines of letters were placed into paragraphs to tell a story. I knew I could not only participate in NaNoWriMo, I knew I could win. I knew I could write 50,000+ words. I even had a plot that I had meant to turn into a comic book and had never scripted. I kneaded it into a story.

Last year was the first year I tried. I won. Then I wondered what to do next.

I had the bug, I had to write MORE.


Leslie Swearingen 8 years, 7 months ago

Good blog, Jason. Being Irish i come from a long line of story tellers and writers. I have a vivid imagination which is both good and bad. I am glad that you won. What happened to the book? Was it published?

Jason Arnett 8 years, 7 months ago

Thanks, Irish. I've done nothing with the book. I haven't edited it or anything. I wrote it to put it away for another day when I don't have so many ideas competing for my attention. I just needed that idea out of my head.

Mel Briscoe 8 years, 7 months ago

i, too, have entered the contest this year. i never knew about it until this year-- had never heard of it before. it sounded like a super fun thing to do. i love contests-- even if there is no actual "prize" because i am a very competitive person at times (usually i am more competitive if i look at it as me v. myself). i am a prolific procrastinator as well so when i do get that fire under my backside, its like the active, creative part of me is competing against the complacent, lazy part. so it makes it more of a personal challenge but at the same time, makes it all the more fun.

good luck, dude. i wish you all of the creativity and positivity there is! i know we can both finish those books. i would love to read your finished product.


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