NaNoWriMo 2010 – Day 1

The writing event of the year is finally here

Although I don’t have specific storyline for this year’s NaNoWriMo (I guess I will start with some gibberish storyline before fine tuning later), here is an interesting article I picked up on the event that might inspire you:-

If I were asked to guess the number one obstacle that stands in the way of a person finishing a novel, I wouldn’t choose writer’s block, a busy schedule or running out of ideas. I wouldn’t choose lack of a laptop or quiet writing space. I think that the main obstacle to a completed novel is simply the act of not writing.

Sure, the above list of reasons will get pulled from, but in most cases they’re just used as excuses to not write. If a determined person wants to, and really tries, I believe that he or she, under almost any circumstance, can write a full novel, simply by sitting down and writing it.

This way of thinking is put to the test every November, during National Novel Writing Month. NaNoWriMo was started by Chris Baty in 1999, with less than two dozen writers, and has taken off like a rocket since.

For the twenty-one participants in 1999, as well as the eighty-thousand in 2006, the goal is simple. Starting November first, write a fifty-thousand word novel in one month.

It’s by no means easy, but it may be a little easier than you expect. What Chris Baty did was create a writing environment where the focus is on speed above all else. Words, pages, chapters as quickly as possible, and barely time to take a breath.

This may sound like a terrible idea. A novel, after all, isn’t just a string of words. Sure, maybe a person could type out fifty thousand words in a month, but if it’s poorly thought out, then they’ve just typed out fifty thousand useless words.

To make a good novel, some might tell you, you think, you plan, and you outline. You look before you leap. If you get writer’s block, maybe you should take a break from it, and go walk in the world. See if inspiration hits you. You don’t just hurry through.

Read further here

That was an inspirational read – a good start for NaNoWriMo 2010. My third run in a row and hope to complete the finishing line on time as how I did in 2008 & 2009.

Read Also

In just 30 days, you too can write a masterpiece

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The Unexpected Mission

(All for the love of writing a good story – Image source:

“….He knew that he was asking a very hypothetical question. He knew what would be the consequences if he does not deliver. Deepak did not say anything but instead he stood up and put his hand on John’s shoulder. He just looked at John, smiled and said that he will be contacted in one week’s time or perhaps sooner, depending on what John is doing to get his money. Deepak said John will be of course, watched at all times, just to make sure that the police are not involved in this.

Deepak walked away and John was left still sitting down at his place. John took out the paper and looked at the list again. Two of the banks listed are located in Accra, one in the New York and two more in Malaysia. It is not going to be easy to arrange for the transfer of the money within a week especially the banks are located in three different countries and governed by three different banking rules…”

The Unexpected Mission is the title of my entry for the 2009’s NaNoWriMo and it has taken me about 11 months (in between my regular work and my laziness to open the file to complete it) to complete the short novel (with revisions to style, grammar, spelling mistakes, expansion of the nameless characters and additional twist to the story). The final tally is a short novel of 50,203 words (ya, delete quite load of them especially the x-rated part), covering over 93 pages.

I had intended to publish it once the rough edges of my book has been cleaned out – after all, since I put a lot of sleepless night into the story, the last thing I want to see is it collecting “dust” in my laptop folder.

But recently as I went shopping for new books, I realised something – a 93 page story is going to end as a really short story. 93 pages was nothing in the novel world. So, I looked back at my “piece” and I realise why some good novelist can write a really thick book (they write good stuff there and not for the sake of getting the book thick). They expand on the current storyline – perhaps with some sub-plots, explanation and further expansion of the characters. It ends up something brilliant.

And as I went through my 2009 NaNoWriMo entry – I realise that there is plenty of “holes” in the storyline. The main storyline and the main characters are there but sub-plots were missing and some of the background actions were not explained properly. So, whilst it is good to complete the 50,000 words finishing line within the NaNoWriMo month (it is not an easy task considering that 81% of the participants did not finish the 50,000 words finishing line) but to make sure that the storyline is tight and interesting, it is better to put more time and effort.

So, I am holding back the “publication” of the 2009 NaNoWriMo entry for now – there is plenty of time to improve on my “masterpiece” (as least, that is what I see them as). Another 2 weeks and I will be busy with my entry for 2010’s NaNoWriMo entry (title yet to be confirmed but I have some plots in mind) and perhaps another 11 months, fine-tuning the content.

15 days and counting…

NaNoWriMo 2010

NaNoWriMo 2010 is still 3 months away…

(It is not easy to do a NaNoWriMo but once you have started, you are in an exciting ride. Cartoon source: Copyright @ 2006 Debbie Ridpath Ohi)

I have been participating in NaNoWriMo since 2008 and thus far, the experience has been one heck of a ride. Imagine the pressure of doing up 50,000 words in 30 days – where one can find the time to write down 50,000 words when you have very little time for work, family and pleasure. It is a good challenge for anyone (not necessarily for good writers).

And worldwide, numbers of people participating in NaNoWriMo have been growing too:-

1999: 21 participants and six winners
2000: 140 participants and 29 winners
2001: 5,000 participants and more than 700 winners
2002: 13,500 participants and around 2,100 winners
2003: 25,500 participants and about 3,500 winners
2004: 42,000 participants and just shy of 6,000 winners
2005: 59,000 participants and 9,769 winners
2006: 79,000 participants and 13,000 winners
2007: 101,510 participants and 15,333 winners
2008: 119,301participants and 21,683 winners
2009: 167,150 participants and 32,178 winners


Thus far, things have been almost smooth for me to come up with a rough story for 50,000 words within a month and spend the next 11 months to fine tune the story.

In 2008, I wrote “The Malayan U Boat” but about 2 months before NaNoWriMo 2009, only then I started to work on my 2008 draft and finally published it in November 2009 (almost a whole full year after I started). I could have started on the fine tuning works earlier but I was lazy.

In 2009, after I have completed my draft titled “The Unexpected Mission”, I promised myself not to make the same mistake that I did in 2008. Fast forward to 2010, unfortunately my 2009 draft remained as a draft although I managed to start on editing work on the draft on an ad-hoc basis.

Fortunately recently I managed to get more free time to work on my second NaNoWriMo and I am almost 80% complete with the first review. Another few more days, I should with the rest and start with my second review of the content, well ahead of the NaNoWriMo 2010.

Whilst I am still on this topic, to my readers and fellow bloggers, how about it? Want to join me in NaNoWriMo 2010? Want to take up the challenge and see whether you can cross the 50,000 words line within a month?

The best part of NaNoWriMo is that you can write on anything topic (not necessarily on a story) and you can go on your own pace. There is no penalty for failing to finish at the “finishing line” – after all, doesn’t the best part of the journey is the journey itself?

Read here on how NaNoWriMo works and if you think you are up to it, register yourself here and join me in NaNoWriMo 2010!

Nearing 50,000 words

(Image source:

I am sorry for not writing very regularly for the blog.

It is just that I have been busy with work and during the night and on the weekends, I have been “burning the midnight oil” on my novel for the NaNoWriMo 2009. Since I have been concentrating all my free times on this venture, as at todate I have completed almost 92% of the 50,000 words which was required to win the NaNoWriMo 2009 and I still have another 8 days to complete the balance 8% words. In other words, I am ahead of the scheduled words by almost 11,000 words.

I figured that I would be able to complete the 50,000 words, probably 5 days before the official closing date.

Thinking about the plots to write on daily basis has not been easy and every night I go to bed thinking on how I can expand the novel by another 1,000 – 2,000 words the next day. Sometimes I do get some inspiration but other times, I get blank inspirations.

But as the promoters of NaNoWriMo have said, just keep writing no matter how the plot is turning out to be, no matter how bad the paragraphs may be. Just think of expanding the novel on a smaller scales rather than expanding it on a larger scales and so far it has turned out well. I need to do plenty of revisions and re-writes of the current novel and probably the long cold December (it is already getting below 10’C at night lately) will be just the right time for that.

Can’t wait for the finishing line at the 50,000 words!

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First Day NaNoWriMo 2009


(Photos – Snow peaked mountains on the way to work)

I guessed I fared better this than last year…

Despite not having a firm plot for this year, I have managed to complete almost 3,600 words on the first day itself. As I keep writing, I managed to get more ideas on how to expand the the current plot.

The mountains around Tehran have already showing signs of snow fall. So if winter comes up earlier, then staying at home means more time to churn out for words for my novel. I just need to make sure I am not distracted by other activities – such as curl up in thick blanket and sleep.

(To be continued)

Pre NaNoWriMo 2009

nano 09 blk participant 120x2401

Just one day before the start of NaNoWriMo 2009 and to tell you the truth, I have yet to firm up the plot for this year’s writing month. I have some plots in mind but yet to decide which of it will allow me to write at least 50,000 words.

In the meantime, for the last one week, I have been busy polishing up my NaNoWriMo 2008’s piece titled “The Malayan U Boat”. I have managed to clean up the spelling errors, grammar mistakes, the loopholes in the plot, define proper chapters for the sub-plots and more importantly define proper names for the characters in the plot – for the whole 97 pages of it.

After laying the re-write for almost 1 year, I finally found the inspiration and time to do the re-write. Hope to finalise the plot for this year’s NaNoWriMo by today before embarking on a very interesting writing days this month.

NaNoWriMo 2009

nano 09 blk participant 120x240

71,285 authors and counting already registered for this year’s NaNoWriMo.

The event that provides the whole of November for aspiring and sometimes crazy writers to write a 50,000 words novel within a month is back and is due to start in the next 6 days or so. If you have not registered, please drop by the NaNoWriMo website and register for free.

The response from Malaysians last year was not that appealing. Hopefully it is better this year especially from fellow bloggers.

If you have registered and wish to ‘join-forces’ as writing buddies, please let me know your username or author name that you have registered as and I will add you in (search ‘balajoe’ for mine).

Having undue peer pressure is one best way to continue writing to meet the 50,000 words limit under pressure for one month. For starters, read here on how NaNoWriMo works.

Good luck!