October 26th, 2005


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.)

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