Tuesday, September 13, 2016

My Thoughts on NaNoWriMo

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I had a couple of interesting discussions to say the least with a couple of friends about NaNoWriMo and generally, they were quite pissed off at me at the end. Let me explain...

What is it?

First, if you don't know what it is, NaNoWriMo is basically this ritual during the month of November where writers take a pledge to write and finish an entire novel. Yeah, one month, one novel. It couldn't be better than as if you were ordering food from your favorite restaurant (what? I'm a bit hungry at the moment, don't mind the metaphor).

So, my friends asked me if I was going to "take the pledge" this time seeing as I'm already working on my second book and stuff, and they were next to shocked when I told them "I hate it."

Look, I get it, the whole idea and concept behind this is to motivate writers to simply write and get them practicing and whatever. But the fact of the matter is, a good novel cannot be written in one month! Holy shit, if you could do that why not write a book every single month as opposed to focusing on only one? And don't start with the "that's not the point" bull...

I write about 1.5K words a day (and on a good day I write about 3K), so in theory I should be able to do this quite easily. But my problem with this is, that writers who plan on participating often plan the book ahead. They plot it out extremely well and then it's simply a matter of finishing a draft. Good? Yeah I guess. So if you can plot a book so well as to finish it in one month, why are you not doing it as a standard practice?

Why I hate it?

I think it's really demeaning for other writers when they hear about NaNoWriMo. Shouldn't every month be considered a month of writing? It seriously belittles the amount of research, hard work, re-write and editing that authors do when it comes to writing. It is just not as simple as they make it sound to be. Finishing a novel in one month? Seriously? And the excuses that you get "I would write a book every month if I had the time" - Ah! They lose simply by pleading to that excuse.

In the end, I'm really not against NaNoWriMo or anyone who participates in it, in fact power to them for actually getting a draft completed in such a short time but I just don't see myself putting that much pressure on myself (books... you see are really evil). I just have a problem with the message that they portray to the rest of the world.

These are totally my own opinion, and if you disagree with me, then let me know. Leave a comment, or tweet me. Let's talk about it.

Until next time,
Write on.

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Prologues - Are They Important?

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I've been receiving a lot of messages and questions from family and friends who gazed upon the book that is Dragon Tooth, and the first thing that comes to their mind is: why is there no prologue? Isn't that essential? 




Well, I thought I could discuss it in this week's post (I know I missed a post last week, I'll make it up to you I'm sorry) so here goes.

The short answer is: yes and no. Basically, prologues have developed this sort of reputation that they are used by authors simply to 'info dump' the reader and get them familiarized with the world they're creating, and this couldn't be further from the truth.

First, you have to consider if your story even needs a prologue (I hear you... 'but Mo, how on dear planet Earth am I going to explain my world then?' I'll get to that in a second). The thing is, most books can do without it, and a good question to ask yourself is "if I take the prologue away completely, does it change or alter anything important?" if the answer is no or even a maybe, then yours is not that important.

Second, don't get me wrong, it could be used to drop the reader in the world and have them hooked straight away from that, or completely turn them off by it. The prologue has to add something to the equation, whether it happens way in the past, or way in the future.

One of the techniques I've seen writers often pull, is that they'll have the prologue take the reader through a very important event lore-wise and that without reading it, the true ending would not be unlocked. How? Let me explain with an example:

Let's say, your story revolves around Simon, who is a good old fashioned hero who goes on an adventure to save the princess from the evil dinosaur Bibo (just go with me, right). And the ending would be Simon butchering Bibo and saving the princess, but at the end, the princess notices a scar shaped like an 'S' around his neck and asks him about it, to which he replies "It's an old wound that you don't need to worry about."

Perfect right? Yep, except for the part, that in the prologue, the princess's grandfather summons a witch to predict the future, and the witch says "Your granddaughter will perish at the hands of S".

Now, who was the bad guy? And just who exactly was this... Simon fellow? It offers a lot of perspective to the story, and trust me, while some may not make the connection, others will. Readers are exceptionally smart and will pick up on every little clue you leave them.

So, that's it for this week. If you enjoyed going through this, I'd appreciate it if you could share and spread the word, it really helps.

Until next time,
Write on.