Wednesday, December 1, 2010

NeToReMo – An Experiment in Writing!!

Happy Wednesday, everyone!! It’s the first day of December and the first day of an experiment in writing for me. Now, once you hear my little plan, you may actually think this is an experiment in reading, but I promise you it’s not. (Of course, if the experiment doesn’t work, I claim the right to retract this statement…)

A while back I posted a list of Inspirational Quotes from Writers (mmmm….s’mores….). There was one by William Faulkner that really struck me: “Read, read, read. Read everything – trash, classics, good and bad, and see how they do it. Just like a carpenter who works as an apprentice and studies the most. Read! You’ll absorb it. Then write. If it is good, you’ll find out. If it’s not, throw it out the window.”

Now, I know we’ve all heard this before – to be a good writer, you must read, read, read! Oh, yeah – and read some more.

Confession time? I’ve never really taken this to heart. Don’t get me wrong! I read. Of course I do! But, have I ever read, say 10 novels in a month? Well….ummm….no. *sees jaws dropping* (I know, I know…but please keep reading. You can throw stuff at me later…)

So, here’s what I’m going to do. I’m declaring December NEED TO READ MORE month!! Or NeToReMo!! (Pronounced in my head as “neat-oh ream-oh”, so say that out loud with me, thumbs up and in a slightly high-pitched voice – it’s fun!!)

I soo hope I’m not plagiarizing this term from somewhere…hold on, please. *googling* Nope. Well, there’s someone using this as a name…I clicked on the site and it froze my browser! (so – don’t do this, please) October is National book month, March is national reading month….but, well…I think I’m ok. Crap! Some dispute on whether September or December is Read-a-new-book month…There is a NaJuReMoNoMo thing in January…..BUT MINE’S DIFFERENT!

Anyhow, here’s what I’m going to do. The obvious – read. A lot. A ton! More than I’ve EVER read in one month EVER! And if Faulkner knew anything, I’m also going to absorb it all in. The good, the bad – all of it.

I’m going to abstain from writing my novel. *more jaws dropping* At least until Jan. 1st. I may make special exceptions when something I’ve read touches/inspires me so much that holding in my own ideas about my novel may literally kill me and I just have to get it out. But December is all about the absorption!

Here’s my list of books to tackle:

Going Bovine – Libba Bray
Demon’s Lexicon – Sarah Rees Brennan
Fire – Kristin Cashore
If I Stay – Gayle Forman
Princess of the Midnight Ball – Jessica Day George
Into the Wild Nerd Yonder – Julie Halpern
The Reformed Vampire Support Group – Catherine Jinks
The Forest of Hands & Teeth – Carrie Ryan
Lament, and Shiver – Maggie Stiefvater
Leviathan – Scott Westerfeld
Ash – Malinda Lo
Beautiful Creatures – Kami Garcia
The Ever After – Amy Huntley

But, I’m not just going to read these. That’s the easy part. I went to a Writer’s conference a few years back and part of their particular plan to make you a better writer was to have you copy, by hand, a very long passage of words and paragraphs from well respected stories, over and over and over again. Now, I’m not necessarily a proponent of this method, BUT I think it holds some merit. I’m going to challenge myself to write down things that really pop out at me as I read. Great metaphors, snappy dialogue, quirky/unique characterization. I’m going to try to pick out the inciting incidents. Make my choice for the overall best first line! Stuff like that.

Ok. Admittedly. Most of this is nothing new. No advice here you haven’t heard before. But, I’m challenging you anyhow! Anyone who would like to join me in NeToReMo this month, here’s what you’ve gotta do:

1. Read 50,000 words in ONE month!! (What’s that? OH! That’s only challenging if you WRITE 50,000 words in 1 month? My bad….) Let’s up that to: 650,000 words in 1 month. A nice round #
2. No your-own-novel writing! (Unless absolutely necessary…)
3. Jot down the best bits. (as mentioned above: metaphors, similes, dialogue, characterization, description, climax, inciting incidents, etc)
4. Make your picks for the best first line. (There can only be one winner!)
5. Post all about the experience on January 1st. (Oh, and write, write, write on this date. WRITE like you mean it!)

My expectation is that, by the end of the month, I’ll be so full of the written word that I will spew forth some fabulous ones of my own! It will be all about writing, revision and querying at the start of 2011. But, to end my 2010 with a bang, baNG, BANG!! I’m reading my way through the Holidays. Care to join?

*special note on #1 – to get to those 650,000 words, this might be an excellent time to get to all those beta-reads or critique your CP projects. Just a thought… I listed books, but I never said they had to be published ones! :)

Oh, and don’t forget to enter my GIVEAWAY! Ends midnight, Dec. 4th…


Colene Murphy said...

Great plan Donea! I wish I could join you(other deadlines already in place for December), this sounds like so much fun! You'll keep us updated, I hope?

You have some great books in that list!

Nicole Zoltack said...

Have fun reading! I have too many deadlines right now to join you.

Lydia Kang said...

Ooh, we have similar books on our list! What to do when I am torn between Need to Read More and Need to Write More???

Cait said...

Hey, I have Shiver sitting on my table and I haven't read any of the other ones so I am going to add them to my 'to-read' list.

Lenny Lee* said...

hi miss donea! im gonna try to do more reading but i gotta tell you im thinking im not gonna do so much words as you said. decembers got so much stuff going on for me. but for keeping you company im gonna do what i could do. for you i hope you could get all those books read.
...smiles from lenny

Anne said...

I could never read that much in a month. I just don't have the time! I do like taking notes as I read though. Sometimes it's just a simple phrase that hooks me.

Joanna St. James said...

I will definitely read more this month but I just cant stop writing, if i do I have to reteach myself to write again, but good luck I would like to hear all about your experience

Abby Minard said...

This is awesome Donea! Love the idea. I've read Shiver, and started Leviathan but never finished- I really want to though. Good luck, and keep us updated! I want to see how those books are too!

Abby Minard said...

This is awesome Donea! Love the idea. I've read Shiver, and started Leviathan but never finished- I really want to though. Good luck, and keep us updated! I want to see how those books are too!

Jennie Bailey said...

This is SUCH a great idea!! I heart it! I'm going to jump in with you, but I need to check out some more books or buy more because I'm short on books at the moment. I spent November writing - I want to spend a month reading!! FUN! I'm jumping in a day late, but I'm confident I can get up there with my read count!

Arlee Bird said...

If I could read 2 books in that time it would be amazing. I am such a slow reader. Good luck to you on your endeavor. I do have 2 books scheduled to read and hopefully I'll squeeze in a third and even finish the book I started back in October.

Tossing It Out

Donea Lee said...

Thanks for the comments, everyone! I'm finishing up "Into the Wild Nerd Yonder" today and will start "Going Bovine" tomorrow. So far so good! :) Yeah - I realized that springing this little plan of mine on you the day it starts wasn't exactly great timing. So, anyone who can't join in this year - TOTALLY understandable! Good luck with your writing projects. For those who'd like to give it a try - (Yay, Jennie!!!) wanna race? :)

alexia said...

Don't feel bad! Over the last almost nine years (since I had my son) I haven't read all that many books, at least compared to my other blog friends. Lately though I have had the urge to read more classics, so that's on my list.

I've already got some editing goals going on this month, but I'll try to read a few new books, too! I love the name you came up with!