Tag: editing

NaNoWriMo Is Over… Now What?

With the month of November drawn to a close, so too does NaNoWriMo end. NaNoWriMo, for those who might not be familiar, is the month-long writing challenge that pushes writers to write 50,000 words in thirty days. For some, this is a good way to help crank out first drafts of projects. For others, the act of writing so much is exhausting and it will only end in burnout. This challenge is not made simpler by the fact that November is by no means an easy month. For students, this month means working on final papers for class or preparing for exams. For folks working in retail or any position that is holiday sensitive, this is an extremely stressful time of year as well. If you are both a student and an employee, it gets even more difficult. If you happen to be a parent, a student, an employee, and anything else, NaNoWriMo becomes a serious task and commitment to take on.

 

 

All the same, that doesn’t mean that NaNos can’t keep pushing onward and continue working on their projects.

 

So where do NaNos go from here?

 

Well, there are several directions that NaNos can take after November ends. NaNoWriMo was originally meant to help writers create first drafts for projects that they would like to pursue for the remainder of the year. For the writers who completed their drafts, the months following NaNoWriMo are meant typically intended for rewriting, revising, and reworking their current projects. The hardest part for some writers, after all, is getting words onto the page, and that is why NaNoWriMo encourages the idea of writing with abandon. So now that these writers have made it to 50,000 and completed their stories, now is the time to review and revise and decide where to go from there.

 

 

BUt what about the writers who didn’t finish their drafts?

 

Image via yale herald

 

Just because a NaNo didn’t complete her project doesn’t mean that she can’t opt to start a new draft or begin to edit what she already has. It isn’t uncommon for a draft to not be completed prior to a writer beginning another. It also isn’t uncommon to edit as one works on their story either. Writer Zadie Smith edits as she works on her stories, so it isn’t unheard of to take what one currently has and edit it as it is. For some NaNos, that might be exactly what they need to do. One of my dear friends started a project this past November, and she decided that she didn’t like the direction that the story was going. She knows that now, and she can now begin the process of reworking her draft when she feels ready. She can either edit what she has, or she can start anew. Regardless, she knows what things to avoid when she begins her new draft.

 

 

Regardless, this is a time to consider where your story is going and if any changes need to take place

 

Image via hbs digital initiative – harvard business school

 

The end of November is the prime time to review what one has written and consider the direction that one would like to take from there. Do you like where your story went? Or would you rather the plot go another way? Maybe you found out that a character that you thought would be extremely insignificant would make an amazing protagonist and a new point of view to follow. Based on that, you can choose to restructure your story in a way that appeals to you more than it may have originally. Perhaps these decisions will lend a new level of complexity to your narrative, and in doing so, it will help you craft a story that is more well-rounded. This is the ideal time to sit back and ruminate on your story and make a plan of action (if you are a planner when it comes to writing).

 

 

Remember: it is okay to set a story aside

 

image via youworkforthem

 

NaNoWriMo is really good for writers (like me) who have a hard time finishing the projects that they start. We have a clear goal in mind and a month-long window set to complete it. However, I will be the person to say that you, as a writer, will probably not finish every story you start. And that is okay. You might get halfway through your idea and realize that it has no foreseeable end. You might realize that this project doesn’t make you happy. You might have another more promising idea grab you by the wrists.

That’s okay.

Just because you opt to not complete a project doesn’t mean that you have failed. In her book Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear, writer Elizabeth Gilbert tells her readers that there are going to be stories and projects that they start that will never be finished, and that is okay. 

Does this mean that you, as a writer, should abandon every project you start? Absolutely not. This also doesn’t mean that you can’t take these early ideas and incorporate them into another story later on. What it does mean is that you have permission to put an idea on hold or, again, recognize when a story isn’t going anywhere.

 

 

The most important thing is to keep writing

 

image via Scripps college

 

Your work is important. Your ideas are important. You may have no plans of ever sharing either with another soul. You might want to get it published. What matters is that you keep writing. The NaNoWriMo website isn’t only available during November, after all: you can create a new goal and use the same interface to work towards it in the coming months. Ultimately, you should take what you learned from this last month and make something of it. That doesn’t mean take the same project that you had for this year and run with it, especially if you realized that you didn’t enjoy working on it, but it does mean sit back and consider what you liked about the process and what you disliked. What would you change? What worked best for you? Now that you have a better feel of things: keep writing.

And don’t forget: Camp NaNo takes place twice a year (during the months of April and July). So if your November was hectic, maybe Camp NaNo will be a better alternative? After all, you get to choose your writing goal during these months, so you aren’t beholden to the 50,000 words that NaNoWriMo challenges you to reach.

It doesn’t matter if you another month or if you another five years to complete a project: keep writing.

 

Featured Image Via the Irish Times

 


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Apple Hiring Writers and Editors To Improve Siri

Ultron was a dick. Hal 9000 was a liability. Wintermute + Neuromancer= bad. The eternal struggle of man vs. machine has inspired a plethora of literature regarding the topic. If there is one thing we have learned from the cautionary tales of science fiction—it’s that artificial intelligence is probably not a good thing. Worst case scenario, human beings create self-aware machines that ultimately rebel and replace us as the dominant species.

think artificial intelligence GIF by Massive Science
IMAGE VIA GIPHY.COM

The sometimes swift and other times comfortingly slow (if the predictions that exist in popular fiction are any indication) advancement of artificial intelligence has startled some of the greatest minds in history. People who rely on technology. Stephen Hawking wasn’t pleased, Bill Gates has expressed fear and Elon Musk once urged people at the highest levels of government to slow the f down. Still, no group of people has been able to better articulate the growing concern of artificial intelligence than writers. Stan Lee, Samuel Butler, William Gibson, Frank Herbert, H.G Wells, Arthur C. Clarke, Orson Scott Card, Ann Leckie, Martha Wells, and Mary Shelly; all of these writers and MANY more played with themes of technology and the danger of playing God.

IMAGE VIA SMITHSONIANMAG.COM

Ironically, things have now come full circle. Writers are needed to aid with the development of Siri—the “chick” is a dial tone (I’m going to put every pronoun in quotes because she’s technically not a she). Apparently, the female-voiced ominous agent of societal collapse lacks relatability. In an article published on Thinknum Media‘s website, it was reported that Apple is looking to hire teams of writers and editors to help improve the way their virtual assistant, Siri, communicates. The goal is to make Apple’s low-key mischievious “madame” more engaging. Siri’s popularity is in peril as she lacks the amount of sports knowledge, anecdotes and incidental information necessary to succeed as an A.I. I guess people are just doing things themselves due to a lack of interest in Siri’s narrative? God/secular tyrants built by us forbid. The adjectives “witty” and “funny” were used to describe the way in which they would like “her” to be improved.

Thinknum Media has tracked hiring data over the past few months and found job posts that revolve around making the digital assistant more entertaining. Various job listings aim to recruit engineers with a deep knowledge of and appreciate for particular subjects; however, the top postings are of the literary variety—-a Siri Editorial Manager and an International Creative Writer, as seen above.

Siri, along with her cohorts Alexa and Google, have helped us play our favorite songs, schedule various appointments, and order food (for which we are forever grateful)…It’s worth mentioning that I am more of a Droid fan and have no idea what Siri is capable of…Should the literary community lend “her” a pinch of the quirkiness that is invaluable and unique to human beings? Maybe we owe it to “her.” I for one think that this particular form of magic should not be lent to a potential threat. The kind of magic that is often a beautiful result of chance or sometimes something that took hours of hair pulling, chain-smoking, and rewriting to lend to a fictional character conceived in our mind.

So I implore writers and editors reading this to harbor their wit. Don’t apply to those available positions. Save it for your friends, family members, and star-struck groupies who follow you on your book tour when you inevitability publish the next great cautionary tale of scientific corruption. Save it for the page.

…but if you are unemployed and REALLY need some income…I guess go for it. I mean I did apply; although this article probably offsets any good my brown-nosing cover letter did.

Featured Image Via Apple.com/Images Via Media.thinknum.com