Category Archives: NaNo Experience

Wrimo India Meetup 2016 – Delhi takes the lead

A report on the first Wrimo India meetup of 2016 which was held in Delhi this evening,  by Wrimo Piyusha Purnima Vir.

The first Wrimo India meet of the year was held in Delhi, this evening. It was a fun event with seasoned and newbie writers and even non-writers joining us for a fun-filled chat about writing, expression, stories and experiences that shape our lives.

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Rain and a lack of space may have resulted in a change of plans from the original meeting place at India Habitat Centre but we quickly figured out an alternative and upon selecting a beautiful green spot in a shaded area, squatted on the ground in front of the Information Centre and got talking. In fact, when it started pouring again, we all huddled under umbrellas and continued talking, attracting amused looks from curious spectators.

The Craft of Writing

The discussion started with veteran  Wrimo, Arjun S Menon, sharing some light on NaNoWriMo and Camp NaNoWriMo for the benefit of those who were not aware of them.

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We then got talking about the craft of writing and the processes and methods each of us use. The meanings of being a plotter and pantser and the benefits of each were discussed; with some participants sharing which method they preferred.

We rued the absence of a mind-reading app that could convert thoughts to words and spoke about speech to writing apps and handwriting reading apps. That took the discussion in the direction of a very interesting topic – which was a more effective and creative way to write, by hand or by typing.

Telling Stories and Making Friends

Opinions were shared and personal preferences talked about. The conclusion was that though writing by hand has its own charm, typing is more convenient and widely used. One of the brilliant suggestions, which found concurrence with all others, was put forward by Aashi. According to her, those who wrote by hand could bribe their siblings into transcribing their written notes or manuscript to computer.

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Our favourite topic of discussion was each of those present sharing their best and worst stories – some of the incidents were hilarious, while others thought-provoking.

Madhulika told us about a story she wrote on the twin atomic bombings while Esha shared how she wrote a horror story which she herself hated.

Prayank shared how he would meet up with friends and then write stories about them. They would read it on his blog later and hound him into telling them who it was based on. We all collectively gave him permission to make us characters in all his stories while threatening him to make sure we were all portrayed as heroes.

We were privileged to have been joined by a professional dancer who drew some wonderful comparisons between writing and dancing as a form of expression.

Let’s Meet Again

It was a great way for strangers to catch up over a common love for writing, and become new found friends with numbers being quickly exchange and Facebook friend requests sent hurriedly.

Delhi meetup

We were all so benefitted by this meet that all have agreed to meet again next week, this time for a writing session. The next meetup is planned for Saturday, 20th August, 2016. Please follow this blog or join the Wrimo India group and ‘like’ the Wrimo India page on Facebook to get advance information and further details about the meetup.

Some of us stayed back to enjoy the ‘coffee’ part of the meet-up, while others opted to stroll in the rain and headed to another event – the book launch of ‘In Light of Darkness’ by Radhika Maira Tabrez.

 

Piyusha is a sometime sane reader, part-time crazy writer and full time wacky alien. She blogs at https://wanderingsoulwriter.com/ She has successfully completed two Camp NaNoWriMos and is eagerly awaiting November.

HOW I FINISH WRITING 50K WORDS FOR NANOWRIMO IN 3-4 DAYS by Zubin Garda

Since the last three years, Wrimo Zubin Garda has been completing his 50,000 words by the second or third day of NaNoWriMo. All have congratulated him, some with a tinge of envy and most with an incomprehension, wishing for some answers.

The cat is now out of the bag. Here’s Zubin, as he reveals to us his secret method (hint: it involves a LOT of writing):

HOW I FINISH WRITING 50K WORDS FOR NANOWRIMO IN 3-4 DAYS

I have been doing NaNoWriMo since 2013. Every year, I complete my novel (aka 50000 words) in only 3-4 days. It gets a lot of compliments, a few surprised faces and a rare few, with whom I’ve shared how I do the same, slapping their thighs as enlightenment dawns and shouting “A-ha!”

What I would like to do today, is share with you, dear reader, how I do this. Remember, this is how *I* do it. As always, your mileage may vary (but I doubt too much).

Firstly, there are no secrets. No magic formulae. Yes, there is a dependency on a particular piece of software. Other than that, anyone can do it.

So, rather than sound all preachy and patronizing, without further ado, here’s how I do it:

1) I take NanoWriMo seriously. Very seriously. Just how seriously? Well, every year, I take leave from my day job to work on writing the novel for a full week. Yes, I take leave for a full week, just to focus on writing the novel.

2) Wait a minute, did I say “writing the novel”? Actually, I don’t write novels. I don’t type them either. All this is done using Dragon Naturally Speaking (a speech recognition program). What, you’re still WRITING and TYPING those huge chunks of paragraphs instead of dictating them to your butler (ahem…your PC)? On a good day, I’m blowing around 110-120 words per minute. On a bad day, I’m clocking around 80-95 words per minute. Since any day is good and bad combined, I hit around 100 words per minute as a long-term average. Human beings are built evolutionarily such that the rate at which you speak, is EXPONENTIALLY higher to the rate of typing. Speaking is in Human DNA. Typing, well, you get the idea. So, an average speaker, will ALWAYS overtake even the world’s fastest typist. It’s simply the way humans were meant to be. Makes sense to speak to the PC then, rather than type it out, does it not?

3) I dictate only 3 sessions, for 2 hours each, every day. Sounds trivial. Until you see an average of 100 words per minute * 60 minutes = 6000 words per hour. Multiply that by 2 hours, I get 12000 words in one session. 3 sessions, so 12000 * 3 = 36000 words per day! That means I can finish my novel in 2 days flat! But, reality intervenes. It’s impossible to dictate even 100 words per minute continuously for 2 hours straight. Plus, even though I dictate in 2 hours sessions each (with 3-5 hours rest between each session), I still don’t have the discipline to bang it out for 2 hours straight. All this makes me type at around 70 words per minute. Which, you can calculate and get 70 * 60 minutes = 4200 words per hour. Which means 4200 * 2 = 8400 words per session. 3 sessions means around 8400 * 3 = 24900 (approx. 25000 words per day). THAT would also allow me to hit the target in 2 days, but again, I don’t REALLY sit for a FULL 2 HOURS per 3 sessions. You know, email, food, TV, surfing etc. right in the middle of my sessions’ two hours also. (I know, I know, I take breaks, but hey, cut me some slack here, I’m only human). The point here is not to tell you how much to write, but to give you the understanding of the full power of the speed of dictation, instead of typing/writing words.

4) Outside? Visiting someone you don’t want to? Wife dragging you out for shopping? Well, whenever I am outside, and have a quiet moment for myself, I open my ANDROID phone’s voice recorder (hey, iPhone works too!) and record my story. Right there. Yes, RIGHT THERE, outside, without my PC. When I come back, the recording, saved as a .Mp3 file is IMPORTED into Dragon. And Dragon magically TRANSCRIBES it to words! No need to re-type and re-dictate things again!

5) Next, remember, its called the novel WRITING month. Emphasis on the word WRITING. So I plan, outline (around 15-17 pages), do research and build up GSU (Goals, Stakes and Urgency) and simple character sketches BEFORE I sit on my PC to dictate. Ditto with the novel’s THEME and CONCEPT.

6) Finally my sainted family ensures I am not disturbed during the 3 writing sessions of 2 hours each during the day. And though this is not an absolute requirement, it does help tremendously.

7) Dragon Naturally Speaking. Available in normal and Premium. Hits around INR 10500/- ballpark. You can buy it. Or, there are “other” avenues (wink-wink).

So, as you see, there are no alchemical solutions to manufacture, nor the need to search the world for secrets. Simple mathematics and the power of dictation and help you blow past the month of November as if it didn’t exist. 🙂

However, as a final ode, remember I do all my planning, outlining, researching and building up of the GSU in LONG HAND. Yeah, you read that right. I take my fountain pen, a 400 page notebook and begin conceptualizing. Sometimes as early as middle of September. The advantage? I never run out of words to say or get to stare at a blank page wondering what to write next.

So, what’s your recentest wordcount? 😉

BITING THE BULLET – ATTEMPTING FICTION: A NaNo Experience by Madhuri Maitra

My novel Equinox, is a NaNoWriMo baby, product of my diffidence and perseverance through the month of November 2013. I had decided to bite the bullet- attempt fiction, after my books of poetry.

I made preparations. My favorite comfy clothes were laundered and ready to wear. I threw in a quick beauty treatment a day or two before so I wouldn’t obsess over that stray hair or overgrown nail. I stocked up on dry fruit, my healthy nibbles; several flavored teas, too. Bought grocery for the month (hubby promised to take care of weekly veggies – buying and sometimes cooking them as well). He was also advised to forget that I existed except when I wanted to sound out my ideas – he was happy, or relieved , and always interested in the fate of my characters.

How I loved November 2013 – an exact year ago! I would wake up at 5am, make a tankard of coffee and hit the keyboard, get in a couple of hours of writing. I had planned my characters and I distributed the 50000 words among them. I had plotted the events on a scrap of paper. Both word distribution and plot eventually went askew, but when I woke up each morning, I knew what I had to write about that day. It was usually ready in my head, so I only had to let it spill on the screen.

Around 7 I took a break to do the daily chores, and sat down again by 9 or 9:30am. I would work again until lunch, a quick nap and back again.

I am a day person – my work day ends around 6 or 6:30pm. On an especially inspired day, I would work until 8, but never later. The research happened sometimes, concurrently with the writing, on an as- needed basis.

In 15 days or so, I had crossed 40,000 words, went out of town for a wedding.

Upon my return, the last10,000 words were not the piece of cake I had expected. While I was able to pick up my routine, I had not thought the story through and had to really chew my pen for an interesting ending.

Next time, while I shall reprise the dry fruits, the fave comfy clothes and the teas and the coffee (and occasional brandy), my priority will be to think through several alternate plots even before I begin.

Good luck to all those writing this year!

 

About Madhuri Maitra:

Madhuri Maitra is a teacher, a writer and a film enthusiast. She has written Haiku and other Micropoetry, an offering of about ninety short poems on nature, love and God. Her maiden novel Equinox (buy it here or here) is a slice-of-life that takes you all around India.

She teaches Creative Writing and Film Appreciation at Symbiosis International University; writes poetry, fiction and non-fiction; and devotedly watches as many celluloid offerings as her schedule allows.

She conducts Life Skills workshops under the umbrella of Dignity Foundation, an NGO for senior citizens. She also conducts training sessions in English and Soft Skills.

Currently, she is planning her travelogue and she continues to savor the pure joy of reading, writing, praying and living.