Writer Quirks

You hear a lot about gamers or comic book enthusiasts being characterized and stereotyped based on some “strange” characteristics that they have. As far as I’m concerned, we all have quirks that make us individual. When you read those “relatable” posts, however, it’s scary how accurate some of them are – no matter the label. Here are a few writer quirks that I think fit the bill:

Strange conversations

No matter what genre you’re writing, getting together with other writers always leads to strange conversations. Some writers will argue that there is no such thing as a strange conversation in the writer community; no topic is abnormal, and overhearing a snippet at random can be equal parts entertaining and terrifying. For example:

If I kill off the crush too fast, she won’t be crushed enough, so he has to stick around for a few more chapters. Maybe I could, like, cut off his leg or something in the mean time…she’d have to fall in love with him then, right?

That’s one of the mild examples of ordinary conversations. Anyone else would be confused or perhaps freaked out, but us writers get it.

Scolding your characters out loud

When a chapter, intense scene, or plot twist just isn’t going well, it’s usually because a character isn’t behaving correctly. When we’ve re-written the same sentence five times and it still isn’t right, our characters tend to get yelled at or scolded, and sometimes just doing it in our heads isn’t good enough:

Just cooperate, will you?!”

“Stop complaining, I’m working on it!”

“Okay, that’s enough. Go to your room!

It doesn’t always work, but it makes us feel better most of the time.

Grief at saying goodbye to our characters when we finish the novel

These characters are our creations, children that we watch over as they grow up and get their fairy tale endings (or not). When the time comes to type “The End” on the last page, a real grief leaves us in a funk for a while. These characters are real people to us, so living without them can be really sad and hard, even when the time comes to move on to new characters and plots. Saying goodbye to our characters is the same as saying goodbye to family or close friends. It hurts!

These are some of the quirks I find to be universal amongst short story and novel writers, If you’ve got some of your own, feel free to share them in the “comments” section!

Image Credit: http://www.fimfiction.net (via Google)

Camping Season

A couple of years ago I discovered NaNoWriMo, an online place for writers to unite and write a novel in a month. NaNoWriMo stands for National Novel Writing Month and in the span of 30 days, all participants are challenged to write a 50 000 word novel. It’s a free challenge and is open to anyone around the world.

That summer I discovered Camp NaNoWriMo, which is the same as NaNoWriMo, just during the summer months. After the first time I participated in NaNoWriMo, I was no longer able to in the following years because my school work became too demanding. So, finding about Camp NaNoWriMo was great, because it took place during the summer months when school was no longer in session, and I got the chance to participate.

This past July, I participated in my third session. This year, there were some changes that enabled the participants to change their word goals from the preset 50 000 word novel to whatever they wanted. I decided to put mine at 100 000, knowing it would be a challenge, but it was something I wanted to try. With a goal of 100 000 words in 31 days, I had to write 3 226 words a day in order to finish my novel on time, which was a steep amount when I was used to only having to write 1 600 words a day for a 50 000 word novel.

I started off on track, writing 5 000 words on the first day, and managing to somehow keep myself on track for the first week and half. On day 19, that’s where everything fell apart. I didn’t do any writing that day or on day 20, and I had already been behind by 1 000 words or so. It didn’t seem like much when I thought about it, and I wrote a couple thousand words over the next three days. By day 24, I was in real trouble. I was 15 596 words behind, and it was quickly rising. I wrote frantically for days after, and by day 28 I was somehow back on track again. I stayed on track, finishing my novel on July 30th, much to my pleasant surprise.

I look back on the month now and I am proud of all I have accomplished. I made a couple of new online friends from the challenge from all over the world, and I wrote a novel in the process. I look forward to it every summer, and it’s my ideal kind of camp. It’s a safe place for writers of all ages all over the world to come together and write a novel, helping each other along the way. And, now I have this to share proudly:

My badge that I can share on social media. It’s part of the “Winner Goodies” package that all Wrimos get access to when they pass their word goal at the end of the month.

That’s my experience with Camp NaNoWriMo this year, you can find out more information about NaNoWriMo here, or Camp NaNoWriMo here.  If there are any fellow Wrimos reading, feel free to share your experiences!