October 2008


392418_train

My school year started about three weeks ago: enough time for me to start building a schedule that considers both study time and writing time. I’m writing today’s post while sat in the train, an alternative that I find pleasing instead of writing directly into the computer.

A few days after I made the decision of finding a mentor who’d help me through NaNoWriMo, I found her. Blessed be that “Find a Mentor!” thread I foundin the forum. Since the beginning of our interaction (a first and shy message sent by me) that she’s been a wonderful person, friendly and very helpful. In one of the message exchanges we’ve made, we talked about a subject I was anxious to explore: plots. Ellie suggest that, if I had an idea stored but never got to develop it, this was the time to do it. And I had, indeed, a few ideas, but after much thinking I prefered to keep them in my notebook. I’d like to write something new, in which I’ve never thought before: something that would occur only in this month of October, and vaguely too, so I could work on it with no big expectations and then move to my old ideas. However, the notebook in which I jot down synopsis for my future shorts attracted me and I couldn’t stop thinking that the idea of writing based in a older idea was very interesting. Which is why, during these days, in which I tried to have time for school and writing, I grabbed two old ideas and combined them in a new and much different story. While visualizing it, I added details from one idea and the other, cut several scenes and the rest I took from new, born in the moment, ideas. This process was fascinating for me because it was the first time I looked at what I had initially planned to be two different stories but, after a little tweaking here and there, can’t now tell them appart. In the end, I conclude that very little remained from the original plots: something extremely rich and fertile which will give me a tremendous joy to write. Not all the details are clear and the end is not decided yet, but I prefer it like this: it’ll give me space and I’ll be able to see how well can I improvise. Also, I suspect the original concept of NaNoWriMo was to write without any previous thoughts, deciding the story moment by moment, taking it to surrealistic and even ridiculous situations. For a 50000 story, this requires all creativity and quick-thinking possible.

One day I will be ready for that kind of liberty.

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I firstly read about NaNoWriMo three years ago, when I was taking my first steps on exploring the Internet for my writing needs. The demanding nature of this initiative made me postpone my participation for several times until this year, when I’ve decided it was the perfect time to make my premier. So, right after taking my breakfast, I ran to the computer and signed up on the website. I am, as of today, an official contestant!NaNoWriMo is short for National Novel Writing Writing Month. During this month of November, thousands of people will be writing a 50000 word novel, starting on November the 1st and finishing by the 30th. Novel genre, the author’s location, the writing language: all those aspects don’t matter at all, as long the participant writes in a text software such as Microsoft Word so they can proceed to a regular update of their word count. This is important because the word count bar will slowly fill according to the number of words. If by the end of the month they manage to write the 50000 words, the task is completed and NaNoWriMo is won.

I want to take to opportunity to collect a lot of information from this experience. I’d like to find out, for example, if the effort of writing everyday a great quantity of words pays off and, if the novel written, although not of a literary genious quality, will be, at least, an excelent exercise where we’ll allow ourselves to breathe creative vapours and release all the craziness and imagination trapped inside of us.

A good part of NaNoWriMo’s success comes from the website’s foruns. Very numerous, they are incredible active, with users posting every minute, and as soon as they are launched, on the 1st October. There are the realistic characters and plots forum, the “I’m depressed with NaNoWriMo”, forum, the ones who are excited forum, the word prompts one, the writing 101, the newbies, the horror, the fantasy, the chit-chat, among many others. It actually becomes a bit difficult to me to know exactly where to post. So far, I’ve spent a great deal of time reading the existing topic and interacting a little with the rest of the participants. People take NaNoWriMo very seriously, asking opinions about their plots and debating about varied subjects. There is also a strong component of general knowledge, with abundant and well explained message for those who are researching material for their novels.

Finding a few writing buddies to follow is important too. Writing 50000 words in a month is no easy task, and many will be the moments where, I believe, I’ll feel like giving up. Which is why getting writing buddies becomes so essential. Having acquaintances in NaNoWriMo, either real life friends or internet ones, is an extra motivation, as people support each other. In the end, you may not even reach the finish line, but all the friendships you’ve made during the month remain. Besides, you’ll get yourself some quality ideas and concepts in the meantime.

For the ones who think 50000 words in a month is too much, NaNoWriMo has another alternative for you, the Young Writers Program, who offers the possibility to set a more realistic goal, where we are the ones to input the word count we want to achieve. It is recommended for kids and teenagers and, although I’d fit such category, I confesso I’d rather do the other WriMo, which is much more hardcore ;) And, if all of this is not enough, you also have the archives from all previous NaNoWriMo’s: all the foruns are stored in there, with thousands of topics each. That is equivalent to saying thousands of subjects, thousands of writing tips, thousands of writing conversations. It is pure food for thought. I dare you to enter the 2005 forum and to leave it not eager to grab a paper and a pencil.

You have until October the 30th to sign up. After that, it’s writing until your head burns :)


Hello to all of you readers out there! Thank you so much for being here. On an inaugural post I ought to say something about my blog and its purpose on the blogsphere, so here it is:This will be my space on the Internet to talk about writing. After all, writing is one of my main passions, and a very enjoyable hobby. It eases my mind and lets my imagination take control. However, writing is so much more than just a person grabbing a pencil or pressing buttons on a keyboard: it is a way of life. Through this blog I will explore deeper that way of life, either by writing articles, launching topics, presenting my own works and many more.

I’ve created Pencil Princess for three main reasons:

a) to compel myself to write every day – I need that discipline as it is extremely important to me to do a bit of regular writing.

b) to store my ramblings on the writing world – In this blog, you’ll see many, many posts on writing. It is the essence of it, after all. And many of these posts will contain my own discoveries as I get to learn more techniques and facts on the world of writing.

c) to improve my English – My native language is not English, hence my difficulties to express myself. Hopefully, I will acquire more familiarity on the language as I blog in it.<

That is all for now. I’ll probably rewrite this first post sometime later.