Wednesday, December 02, 2009

View From the Phlipside - NaNoWriMo 4

These are the scripts from my weekly media commentary program on WRFA-LP Jamestown

My name is Jay Phillippi and I've spent my life in and around the media. TV, Radio, the movies and more. I love 'em and I hate em' and I always have an opinion. Call this the view from the Phlipside

Well it's finally done. The National Novel Writing Month has come to an end. So has my experiment in trying to write fifty thousand words of a novel in 30 days. I'll tell how I did in just a minute. Looking back I have to admit that I really wasn't sure that I could pull it off. I knew that my daughter, a much more dedicated writer than I've ever been, had failed on her first two attempts. I also knew that because of work related projects November was a terrible month to try and get through a project like this.

But hey, my daughter wanted me to try. So I said yes. It would be a fun kind of daddy and daughter thing for a month.

Along the way I discovered or make that RE-discovered one of the great joys of my life. Story telling. With training as an actor and a career in radio that had always been mostly about story telling anyway it was such a fundamental part of my life I'd kind of taken it for granted. Now I was challenging myself to really go for it, to create a story and spin it out. Radio is designed for the short story form, a couple of minutes tops and a cloud of dust. At least the kind of radio that I did for all those years. So I'd gotten pretty good at the quick hitting story. Set the bare bones scene, find the emotional center and make your point. The NaNoWriMo challenge took me to a whole different place. The novel needs more depth, more nuance and a longer build to the climax. It has stretched me in new directions and given me back a joy in story telling that I hadn't felt in some time.

The format of the contest is interesting too. By creating a culture that doesn't encourage editing you are given the push you need to move past that carping critical internal editor. The one who points out all the misspellings, who reminds you that your concept is dumb and questions the quality of every sentence you put down. For a month I've sent that nasty inner voice on vacation. And the words have come pouring out. Sure I'll need to do a rewrite, I already know that several points from early in the writing have been changed a month later. I'll do that in the second draft. A place I've almost never made it to before. Thanks NaNoWriMo.

So how'd I do? As of 11:25 Sunday night I hit fifty thousand, one hundred and forty words. I did it, with a full day to spare. Of course my daughter beat me by four days. But that's OK. And it makes a great story.

Call that the view from the Phlipside


Cheryle said...

That's great, Philip! I've always thought I have a novel in me (don't all writers think that?) but I've always been good at procrastinating. Maybe I'll put this on my calendar for next year, with this encouragement from you!

StarlitDestiny said...

Cheryle - NaNoWriMo is a fabulous way to get a jumpstart into (or back into) writing. For someone who excels in procrastination (like me), the month-long deadline is a perfect tool!

And yet again I reiterate: I'm so proud of you, Padre. :) Told you that you would do it.