“And now for something completely different.” – Monty Python
Today I’m taking a different approach to writing by interviewing myself about online word processors, NaNoWriMo, and word counts. Keep reading for a fun and quirky read.
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I’ll start with a little bit of background on me and online word processors.
Two years ago, I competed in National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) and completed 50,000 words in just under a month using an online word processor called Write or Die.
Q: What’s Write or Die?
It’s a free online processor with an at-home version you can purchase if you want ($10.00 at that time). It doesn’t save any of your writing for you but it has a negative stimulus to keep you writing — first garish colors, then obnoxious sounds. If you’re doing the hardest “level” of writing difficulty, and you get distracted, then it actually deletes what you’ve written. Ouch!
I like to support artists and designers that create tools that work. When I bought it in 2012, I had used it on a daily basis for NaNoWriMo, and have used it sporadically since, when at all.
Q: So, did you waste your money then?
Not at all! I got more than $10.00 in value out of the program during the month of November than afterwards. Participants in NaNoWriMo are encouraged to donate to the Office of Letters and Light (NaNoWriMo’s founder organization) and since I’d have donated at least that much to them, it was money well paid.
Q: It’s almost September. Are you participating in NaNoWriMo this year?
I have no idea. I’ve got a couple of ideas that I’m mulling over, but not developing in writing, that could be USED for NaNoWriMo, but since I’ve got a larger series I’m working on, I think that working on a side project right now would be too much of a distraction.
I’ve been spending a lot of my spare time developing a kernel of a story that’s evolved from short stories (unpublished), the manuscript I finished in 2012 through NaNoWriMo, and a screenplay that I wrote back in college. They’re all the same story world but it’s a high concept that I need to narrow down and introduce slowly to readers.
As I’m working towards figuring out HOW to do that, I’m learning more about the characters themselves and how best to present the story. Each incarnation of the story has brought me closer to a protagonist that is sympathetic and compelling, familiar and unfamiliar. I hope that he/she will be relatable to people but still odd enough to be interesting.
Right now, I think I need to focus on developing this story, even at the exclusion of participating as a FULL member of NaNoWriMo.
Q: Full member? Am I sensing you still might participate?
I’ll still be supporting NaNoWriMo through some programming at the local library, and I may end up attempting the competition but set a smaller goal for myself (like maybe 22,500 or something?) if I can get to the point where I know enough of the plot structure to attempt it, I will.
Q: Let’s get back to online word processors. … (Yes please!) What are you using now?
Well, over the past couple of months I’ve been experimenting with a program online called 750words.com.
Q: Let me guess. You write 750 words?
Yep, every day.
It’s a subscription service at $5.00 a month and it keeps track of how much you write, keeps it private, and has an export option if you want to save it to a flash drive/hard drive later. My favorite part of the system is that it keeps track of my overall word counts, WPM, typing time vs. time idling on the computer, and analyzes my writing. Basically, it’s all the sexy stats.
Yes, I just called writing stats sexy.
Q: This isn’t a question. It’s a statement. You’re kind of weird.
No, I just like quirky, and the fun and quirky element of this website is that it also awards badges each time you hit a major milestone. Here’s a full list of the badges.
“Gotta catch ’em all!” – Pokemon
I also like that they send me daily reminders called “The Daily Nudge.” Here’s what this morning’s email looked like:
Right now, you can see that I’ve got a Flamingo badge. I’m working on trying to get an Albatross, which is the badge for 30 days of consecutive writing, and a Blue Pony, which you get for signing up and completing a 1-month challenge. Only a couple of weeks left!
Q: What are you using the program for write now?
(Groan) You know, it’s kind of bad when even as an interviewer, I resort to puns. Anyway, I do some journalling, sure, but I’m also creating first draft content for future blog posts, articles and reviews; brainstorming, outlining and jotting down research for story ideas; and yeah, the occasional griping.
Overall though, it’s really helped me focus in by having a platform to keep my writing all in one place. I’m working on developing what’s called metadata to easily index my content over time. I haven’t attempted to graph anything out yet. That’s just too complicated for me.
Q: Okay, last questions here. What’s the overall goal?
What I’m working towards is a series of books set in my story world, and as of it’s current incarnation, it’s a science fiction romance YA trilogy. Right now. At one point, it was a noir hard-boiled detective story in a futuristic Metropolis. I told you, it changes with each draft.
Q: It sounds to me like you’re still trying to find the story. Are you using this program for background work or will you actually write a draft at some point?
Hopefully both. Yes, I am trying to find the story (as I hinted earlier). I’d like to do a draft because I think it’d be fun to document the process and have live stats.
To sum up, I like the story concept, I’ve started doing some research and talking to people with special knowledge related to what’s discussed in the novel (part of research) and I’m actively trying to re-focus in on getting a firm 3-act disaster structure.
Once I’ve gotten that, I plan on sketching out the plot for the entire trilogy and then, I’ll start writing book one. What I’d like to do is hear back from you guys.
Are you interested in sort of a daily update of what I’m working on and how much I’m writing?
Leave a comment with your feedback and let me know!
Thanks for reading today. 🙂