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To cheat or not to cheat - Light One Candle

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November 1st, 2006


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09:37 am - To cheat or not to cheat
...that is, apparently, the question regarding this year's NaNoWriMo.

For me, anyway.


Last year's NaNo, I worked on a fanfiction novel for The Sentinel, tentatively titled "Senseless". I got nearly 30,000 words written on it--not enough to finish it, or to "win" NaNo, but considerable for me.

I haven't been able to work on the story since, and after a couple of months I decided I should wait till this year's NaNo, and pick up the story right where I left off. I've reread what I wrote, but haven't done any revision work.

Then, courtesy of fernwithy's own mild freakout over having written her prologue early and whether that disqualified her, I went back to the NaNo FAQ and found this:

"Do I have to start my novel from scratch on November 1?
Yes.

This sounds like a dumb, arbitrary rule, we know. But bringing a half-finished manuscript into NaNoWriMo all but guarantees a miserable month. You'll simply care about the characters and story too much to write with the gleeful, anything-goes approach that makes NaNoWriMo such a creative rush. Give yourself the gift of a clean slate, and you'll tap into realms of imagination and intuition that are out-of-reach when working on pre-existing manuscripts."

They have a point, but this is a NaNo novel, and I'm not going to be doing any revision work, just writing new stuff.

But it's still clearly "cheating," as defined by the above rule.


So should I cheat, or not? Please, I need some help on this. (And don't bother telling me "it's not cheating," because technically, it is, and my brain can't let go of that sort of stuff.)
Current Mood: distresseddistressed

(9 lit candles | Light a candle)

Comments:


[User Picture]
From:superversive
Date:November 1st, 2006 06:24 pm (UTC)
(Link)
It’s only cheating if you claim to ‘win’ NaNoWriMo with it. There is absolutely no reason why you should not continue a work in progress in November, after all.

You have my official permission (such as it is) to work on last November’s project, and I shall take great interest in your progress; and we can call it NaNoFiMo — National Novel Finishing Month. There can be more than one game in town.
[User Picture]
From:izhilzha
Date:November 1st, 2006 06:55 pm (UTC)
(Link)
Nice icon. :-)

It’s only cheating if you claim to ‘win’ NaNoWriMo with it. There is absolutely no reason why you should not continue a work in progress in November, after all.

True. I guess my bigger problem, then, is just that I enjoyed being part of the NaNo experience last year, and I would feel like a fraud if I did it this year, knowing that I can't claim a win. I mean, the reward would be finishing the story, of course, but it's nicely movtivating to have the idea that one might reach the same mark others are attempting, and get that recognition.

*sigh*

NaNoFiMo. Heh.

Well, we'll see. If I can get my brain to accept that over the course of today, maybe that's what I'll do.
[User Picture]
From:amberdulen
Date:November 1st, 2006 07:00 pm (UTC)
(Link)
Chris has a really good point about coming in already invested; but if you're willing to risk it, that's your call.

You could win without cheating if you treat the continuation as its own novel: start with a prologue summing up the action of the first 30k, then finish out with 50k for a total of 80k. Then it's not a continuation of the other book, it's a standalone sequel to an unfinished work; and you can patch them back together fairly easily after November.
[User Picture]
From:jd3000
Date:November 1st, 2006 07:12 pm (UTC)
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I like this idea.

Especially since I've got a honkin' 30k Obsy pastfic rustling around at home, and it'd be awesome to get it done someday. Impossible now, since I'm fully in another reality-frame, but someday.

-JD
[User Picture]
From:izhilzha
Date:November 1st, 2006 07:20 pm (UTC)
(Link)
There's no "risk." Any story where I get to the point where I'm actually writing, I am already deeply invested in, emotional or mentally or what have you. If I'm not invested, the ideas go away and I don't write them. Period, full stop. Maybe if I'd been working on this for years NOT during NaNo, there'd be some of what he's talking about. But this? Pfft.

You could win without cheating if you treat the continuation as its own novel

*eyebrow raise* Nice semantic runaround. *sigh* Maybe. (Though at the moment I feel more like saying, "Good grief, I'm a failure before I even start," and then making like Charlie Brown and crawling under my covers to hide from the world. *facepalm*)
[User Picture]
From:jedibuttercup
Date:November 1st, 2006 07:53 pm (UTC)
(Link)
I'm going to participate-without-participating, myself. No way am I going to be able to start a new novel and write only on that all month; I have Book's Legacy to work on, which is currently at 21,800 words, and no way can I just put that aside when all the ideas are so fresh. So, kind of in the same boat.

(Plus, I get bored easy-- ADD, and all. I'll have to take breaks to work on other stuff or I'll die off halfway through the month).

So, I found a site that does word counter graph-thingies without having to be in NaNo; I'll calibrate one to 50,000 words and just update it all month with total words written, period. =)
[User Picture]
From:izhilzha
Date:November 1st, 2006 08:00 pm (UTC)
(Link)
Well, perhaps that's what I'll end up doing. I'm in a transition regarding my writing--I'm moving from writing a lot of fic on a non-standardized schedule, to writing two night out of the week and focusing on my original and spec scripts. (Not ditching fic entirely, of course, but it's a shift for me.)

So it's hard for me to justify finishing a long fic when I could/should be working on my CSI spec.

Except that I'm sick of not finishing things, and I wanted to back off from fic not with a whimper, but with a bang--with a long plotty novel for the peeps in my first major online fandom. I want to finish this.

So maybe that's what I'll do this month.
[User Picture]
From:mistraltoes
Date:November 2nd, 2006 02:11 am (UTC)
(Link)
Well, FWIW, I'm having pretty much all the same thoughts. I do want to participate in NaNo, but I hate to start yet another thing that I won't get finished (I've never hit the 10,000 mark in November, that I can recall).

On the one hand, I'm okay with working on something that's started, since I know I won't be claiming a win this year. On the other hand, part of the reason I want to do NaNo is just to let go and write quickly, which I think I can only really do on something I don't care about. On the third hand, if I get past about a half a page, I start to care, and then I don't want to keep going without stopping to figure out the plot.... Aaauggh!

I'm just confuzzled. And if I don't decide in a day or two, I'll feel like I'm too far behind to do it at all. :(
[User Picture]
From:izhilzha
Date:November 6th, 2006 06:56 pm (UTC)
(Link)
Stupid LJ didn't notify me that I had this comment. *eyeroll*

On the one hand, I'm okay with working on something that's started, since I know I won't be claiming a win this year.

Yeah, I'm a lot less worried about "cheating" now that I'm 5 days in and still don't have 1,000 words. Sheesh.

On the other hand, part of the reason I want to do NaNo is just to let go and write quickly, which I think I can only really do on something I don't care about.

That's what NaNo taught me last year and this year, I think: that I *can* (wonder of wonders, and if I really have to) let go even with a story I care about. I hadn't thought I could. And to be honest, that lesson actually carried over into a non-NaNo fic (my Numb3rs/Sentinel crossover), which I'm writing chronologically by scene, and figuring out the plot as I go.

On the third hand, if I get past about a half a page, I start to care, and then I don't want to keep going without stopping to figure out the plot.... Aaauggh!

Yeah, me too, which is why I have < 1,000 so far--I got myself stuck at a point where I need something to happen, but all my major plot points would be too soon. Then my brain told me something, which I'm still not sure about, but I'm going to run with. We'll see. There'll definitely be restructuring on this one.

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