stinglikeabee: classic denny colt  (NaNoWriMo 07)
[personal profile] stinglikeabee
This post I wasn't planning on making. I had in mind a post based on the offerings of this week's excellent and fun comic moments from DC. Especially since I've just arrived home ten minutes ago from work and found the SDCC International Update letter with Darwyn Cooke's *sighs* The New Frontier on the cover! OMG I'm soooo psyched, I have this humongous smile on my face. (also reminded me Sal still has my Darwyn Cooke *sighs* autograph with a little sketch of Hal Jordan).

The long comics post will have to wait until Sunday. What I did want to post about was word wars. Since this is my first year with Nano, I had no idea what these were. To sum up, word wars are when writers decide to write the most amount of words within a specified amount of time. Whoever writes the most, wins. Word wars are also known as sprints, because a lot of the time the point isn't to win the word war but to up the word count (the finish line of the sprints).

Yesterday I was feeling a bit unsatisfied with my word count, which was lower than the 2000 I had set myself for since I attended a work-related happy hour earlier that evening. Although the experience of writing tipsy was fun (more on that later), I still couldn't do more than 1700.

Today, I decided, I would try to double that. At exactly six pm I signed on the wrimowars AOL chat room and spent four hours, alternating the wars with chats and more writing in between. There are many chat rooms dedicated to nano out there, and the two I spent the most time on are nanosprints and wrimowars. Nanosprints (out of the [community profile] nanowrimo  comm) is the more structured of the two - there are times specifically set aside for the sprints, and the golden rule is not to chat first lest everyone is warring and you're interrupting their writing time. In my experience it's great but there are those who come in demanding a war, without reading the rules, and generally ruining it for the others. See Ramdonomo's recent post regarding her feelings on running the sprints (she just did ten hours!). Wrimowars is more relaxed; often times you come in and ask if the room is warring (don't forget the golden rule). Then you and the chat members can decide on how long the war is (10 mins or 15 mins) and the time to start. It's the democratic nano chat room, in that way.

While sprints/word wars should not be used as the catalyst for your writing, it's a fantastic tool. Today's wars netted me 4k for the nano, which is a mind-boggling amount for a weeknight. Instead of the chat rooms where the topic is most often characterisation or boastful statements about how many words they've written, the chat room is serious about word wars. As in, usually three an hour. The atmosphere is friendly and supportive, which in turns helps keep my stress levels down and my writing flowing. I've been in chats where everyone is following one conversation, and you feel excluded from the chat because you have no idea what it's about. Not very conducive for nano.

Knowing that someone is working just as hard as you within the word war allotted time is definitely a good feeling. When it gets too late for AIM chats, I head out to the NaNoWriMo website's forum for 30 min word wars. For me it's a treat to know that someone halfway across the world in Australia is also struggling to get in as many words as possible in that time period. Almost, you know, unifying. Did Chris Baty know when he started Nano that he could save the world for one month? :P

And finally: mixing drinking and writing. In university I went through the Hemingway period where I drank, smoked, and cursed at my typewriter-- I mean computer whilst I tried to type out the next great novel of our generation. Didn't happen because the drink actually caused me to freeze up. Last night, I returned from the happy hour buzzed (don't worry, the designated driver colleague drove me back to the office) and ready to write. And sure the grammar was terrible and there were an awful lot of spelling mistakes, but I wrote a surprisingly coherent interrogation scene worthy of 24. Amazing! Maybe the alcohol helped let go of my writing inhibitions? Tonight's wrimowars also mentioned drunk writing Tuesday nights, which sounds very much my alley (except not on Tuesday because that's my telly night). While I'm not about to have a glass of tipple beside my laptop when I write (I'm so not Ed Reardon, even though I love the series - which is back on Radio 4!), I think it's a great stress releaser. And of course, a great hoot the next day when you reread what you've written.


I hope any of what I've said so far helps the nano writers out there, and good luck everyone!
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