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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.)




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

Re: Yes, WHAT? - gondhir - Oct. 28th, 2005 02:25 am (UTC) - Expand
*sets you on fire* - banazir - Oct. 28th, 2005 03:00 am (UTC) - Expand
Re: *sets you on fire* - dsthenes - Oct. 28th, 2005 03:25 am (UTC) - Expand
That's a nasty cough there, Nemo - banazir - Oct. 28th, 2005 03:30 am (UTC) - Expand
Re: That's a nasty cough there, Nemo - figgylicious - Oct. 28th, 2005 05:08 am (UTC) - Expand
Re: That's a nasty cough there, Nemo - dsthenes - Oct. 28th, 2005 05:09 am (UTC) - Expand
High ground is overrated - banazir - Oct. 28th, 2005 05:12 am (UTC) - Expand
Brun, bebe, BRUN! - banazir - Oct. 28th, 2005 05:20 am (UTC) - Expand
Re: *sets you on fire* - gondhir - Oct. 28th, 2005 05:32 am (UTC) - Expand
Re: *sets you on fire* - banazir - Oct. 28th, 2005 05:45 am (UTC) - Expand
Re: *sets you on fire* - gondhir - Oct. 28th, 2005 06:12 am (UTC) - Expand
Now, that's just vacuous on the face of it - banazir - Oct. 28th, 2005 06:22 am (UTC) - Expand
(Deleted comment)
Oct. 28th, 2005 03:21 am (UTC)
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.

Oct. 28th, 2005 02:39 am (UTC)
From the nanowrimo.org FAQ:
Do I have to start my novel from scratch on November 1?

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.
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.

Planning - banazir - Oct. 28th, 2005 05:24 am (UTC) - Expand
(Deleted comment)
Re: Planning - figgylicious - Oct. 28th, 2005 11:03 pm (UTC) - Expand
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
Oct. 28th, 2005 02:59 am (UTC)
Stupid is as stupid does, Mrs. Blue!
OK, OK, so... no Ebenezer and Snooch nano icons.

Oct. 28th, 2005 04:42 am (UTC)
I say it's fine if you start the word count over again.....
Oct. 28th, 2005 05:45 am (UTC)

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?

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*
Oct. 28th, 2005 08:33 am (UTC)
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.

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.
Oct. 29th, 2005 04:48 am (UTC)
I just have to say that I really like the icon.
Oct. 29th, 2005 10:27 pm (UTC)
In Soviet Russia, icon author credits YOU!
So do I! Isn't it great?

( 31 comments — Leave a comment )

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