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What's cheating, precious?

(Edit, 00:45 CDT Fri 28 Oct 2005 - cross-posted to nanowrimo.)

In Nanowrimo, is it cheating if you:

  • 1. Write notes (timelines, lexicons of constructed languages, biographies, geographies, family trees with genealogical notes) during November that were intended just as working notes, but get pasted into your appendix in order to make the word count?

  • 2. Write timelines before the beginning of November, that are not used in your word count but describe events from your novel that you then write about?

  • 3. Draw maps or illustrations whose captions are part of your word count?

  • 4. Plan things out in your head and don't write anything down?

  • 5. Write details or synopses in your project blog that make it into your novel, but are retyped from scratch?

  • 6. (Edit, 10:15 CDT Thu 27 Oct 2005) Continue a story from the previous year, starting with a new plot thread?


I ask because everything I wrote last year, I wrote in November, but this year, I'm continuing the story. I did do #1 using my timeline and some notes from the appendix about my major characters, which were not intended for Book 1, but took me from about 49000 words to 50200 (I actually could have written another 1200 words in that last hour and a half, but I was tired, having written for 10-12 hours a day for the last 4 days of the month). Needless to say, I won't be counting any of those notes this year, though I may edit and clean up the old ones this weekend and add new ones during Nanowrimo proper.

Also, I have tons of maps, diagrams, etc. that are now sitting on my hard drive and which I will refer to this year. I don't consider Book 2 a "sequel" per se; it's literally Chapters 9-16 of the previously-started book, a continuation of the story.

Opinions? (I think #1-4 are not cheating, but #5 is a fine line and I personally consider anything actually committed to writing before November to be cheating, even if it's heavily edited and substantially different.)

--
Banazir

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Comments

( 31 comments — Leave a comment )
gondhir
Oct. 28th, 2005 02:21 am (UTC)
Yes
banazir
Oct. 28th, 2005 02:22 am (UTC)
Yes, WHAT?
To all five?

--
Banazir
gondhir
Oct. 28th, 2005 02:25 am (UTC)
Re: Yes, WHAT?
Yes
banazir
Oct. 28th, 2005 03:00 am (UTC)
*sets you on fire*
*runs like hell*

--
Banazir
dsthenes
Oct. 28th, 2005 03:25 am (UTC)
Re: *sets you on fire*
YES!

*cough*

Dem.
banazir
Oct. 28th, 2005 03:30 am (UTC)
That's a nasty cough there, Nemo
You cold?

*sets you on fire too*

*runs some more*

--
Banazir
figgylicious
Oct. 28th, 2005 05:08 am (UTC)
Re: That's a nasty cough there, Nemo
I'm with them

Yes.

To all.
dsthenes
Oct. 28th, 2005 05:09 am (UTC)
Re: That's a nasty cough there, Nemo
WE HAVE THE HIGH GROUND!

wibble ...
banazir
Oct. 28th, 2005 05:12 am (UTC)
High ground is overrated
*strafes the high ground with a thousand fire-breathing, semi-intelligent wyverns*

--
Banazir
banazir
Oct. 28th, 2005 05:20 am (UTC)
Brun, bebe, BRUN!
*fooosh*

FLAMES EVERYWHERE!

Lal j00 Nanon00bs r b pwned!

--
Banazir
gondhir
Oct. 28th, 2005 05:32 am (UTC)
Re: *sets you on fire*
You'd BEST run, hobbit!
banazir
Oct. 28th, 2005 05:45 am (UTC)
Re: *sets you on fire*
I run BEST, dwarf!

--
Banazir
gondhir
Oct. 28th, 2005 06:12 am (UTC)
Re: *sets you on fire*
The lion only has to run faster than the slowest gazelle but the gazelle must run faster than the fastest lion.
banazir
Oct. 28th, 2005 06:22 am (UTC)
Now, that's just vacuous on the face of it
Think about it!

The analogous statement is:
The dwarf only has to run faster than the slowest hobbit, but the hobbit must run faster than the fastest dwarf.

You "natural sprinters" can have Will Whitfoot!

*runs on ahead*

--
Banazir
(Deleted comment)
banazir
Oct. 28th, 2005 03:21 am (UTC)
Hee!
Thanks for the opinion.

This has me considering switching to The Stream of Memory, though that would be quite a challenge at this late stage. I stopped at exactly the midpoint last time, modulo a little wrapping up. It's about analogous to Frodo and Sam drifting down Anduin in a boat, where I stopped.

The problem is: if you take the analogy literally, LoTR is one book (not that my meager attempt at a fantasy novel bears any comparison). JRRT only split it afterwards at Ballantine's behest. And "Books 1-6" is even more post-hoc fiddling by the editors of end-table editions.

I really want to do the "sequel", but I'm flexible.

--
Banazir
tabula_xrasa
Oct. 28th, 2005 02:39 am (UTC)
From the nanowrimo.org FAQ:
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.

Does that mean I can't use an outline or notes?
Outlines and plot notes are very much encouraged, and can be started months ahead of the actual novel-writing adventure. Previously written prose, though, is punishable by death.

Does that answer your questions? Or some of them? And I'm pretty sure that anything written during November is fair game to be added to your word count, in response to the first.
banazir
Oct. 28th, 2005 03:29 am (UTC)
Actually, it rather raises a bigger question
... one I hadn't asked: does a continuation of a story, mid-plot (or in the middle of the major plot, before a new thread begins) count?

Continuing my musings in reply to the_wanlorn above, I hadn't thought to call it Book 2 as such, but neither did JRRT. The ford of Bruinen, the trek into Mordor, the ride south to Gondor, the gates of the tower of Cirith Ungol, and the climax at Orodruin were just stopping pointa.

Anyhow, I could start a new story from scratch - I have plenty. I'd just rather work on Sorcerers because that's where my heart is. It's not so much the investment in the characters or previous writing so much as the interesting plot that's just starting to flesh out. I really have a lot more in the way of character growth and especially interaction and relationships to develop here.

Truth to tell, I was going to finish Sorcerers as a Jannowrimo, but I got too busy. I like it better this way, though: Nanowrimo helps me focus, keep continuity, and build up writing momentum. My plot structure, dialogue, history, and character development have all benefitted as a result, and IMHO that's the whole point of Nanowrimo anyway.

FWIW, I edited in the relevant question as #6.

--
Banazir
figgylicious
Oct. 28th, 2005 05:12 am (UTC)
Re: Actually, it rather raises a bigger question
But see, the point is that you're writing something for NaNo that's completely off-the-cuff and you haven't thought about a lot. If you really want to write this story, why not just write it any other month? then you'll have the benefit of time and not have to rush something you so obviously care about a lot, and you can revise and plan and do a great job instead of being rushed to write 50,000 words of something you've got completely planned.

I think the challenge of NaNo is seeing what you can come up with in 30 days and write it all out, and have fun making it up as you go, with no set plan so you have fun with improvisation and creativity under pressure.

But that's just me.
banazir
Oct. 28th, 2005 05:24 am (UTC)
Planning
Well, see, now you're just saying that you don't believe in planning (as in explicitly writing notes out), either. I do, and that's just me, as well, so in this case we'll have to agree to disagree.

My reasons are simple: without planning, I can't keep a story world that has its own geography, history, cultures, and conlangs straight myself. It's just not going to come out. With planning, OTOH, that part of the story writes itself and it frees me to focus on the more human side: the characters, their motivations and inner thoughts, the "way they would react" to a situation - and yes, even the unplanned plot twist.

--
Banazir
(Deleted comment)
figgylicious
Oct. 28th, 2005 11:03 pm (UTC)
Re: Planning
I think that would suck the fun out of Nano ;D
But ok, to each hobbit their own mushrooms. Or osmething.
flemco
Oct. 28th, 2005 02:42 am (UTC)
Quelle coincidence! I just did a post about NaNoWriMo.

None of it's cheating.
It's all, however, retarded
banazir
Oct. 28th, 2005 02:59 am (UTC)
Stupid is as stupid does, Mrs. Blue!
OK, OK, so... no Ebenezer and Snooch nano icons.
;-)

--
Banazir
jadziadax
Oct. 28th, 2005 04:42 am (UTC)
I say it's fine if you start the word count over again.....
banazir
Oct. 28th, 2005 05:45 am (UTC)
No! I'm FINISHED!
W00t!

J/K, of course I will start fresh on November 1st. But I will use my preestablished characters. It's a new story, a new antagonist, completely new locales, and a fresh plot, so why not?

--
Banazir
hellboy
Oct. 28th, 2005 08:13 am (UTC)
I think #1 to 5 are not cheating, while the 6th item is a bit iffy. The rules say "Start a new story, or die from radioactive gerbil bites" (or something like that) so I'm not sure how you could go about that without getting grief from people at NaNo.

Of course, as long as it is new material, they can't say anything, so yeah *shrugs*

And now that I look at it, I should go join that community >.< *is a procrastinator supreme*
banazir
Oct. 28th, 2005 08:33 am (UTC)
Continuations
Well, it may be against the spirit, but it isn't against the letter: I've got ideas for a new plotline, though the overall story concept was outlined last November. As I said, it isn't really "Book 2", but I'd have no trouble splitting it that way if it were publishable.

--
Banazir
cretaceousrick
Oct. 28th, 2005 09:32 pm (UTC)
1. If it was good enough for Tolkien, it's good enough for us. Although I don't think he had NaNo in mind when he included his appendices. Not cheating.

2. I believe NaNo is about writing 50,000 words in one month. Not necessarily doing all the planning and plotting around those words in the same month. Not cheating.

3. Hey, whatever works. Starting to stretch my sensibilities just a tiny hair, but I won't judge. Not cheating.

4. Don't write anything down? Sounds counterproductive, given the spirit of the month. Not cheating.

5. I would justify this one, too. If they're in rewritten form, then they're newly written words, and they fall within my idea of acceptible shortcuts. I'm not saying that wholesale copying-out of older material with only a few cosmetic alterations is okay, but I see nothing wrong with getting ideas down ahead of time. Questionable, but not cheating.

6. I see absolutely nothing wrong with that. If other people can write nonsense words, you can continue a story. Not cheating.
discoflamingo
Oct. 29th, 2005 04:48 am (UTC)
I just have to say that I really like the icon.
banazir
Oct. 29th, 2005 10:27 pm (UTC)
In Soviet Russia, icon author credits YOU!
So do I! Isn't it great?

--
Banazir
( 31 comments — Leave a comment )

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