Novel-in-a-Day (NIAD)... Day

jr
jravan
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Tue Oct 18, 2011 5:27 pm Post

[quote] 1) Would you rather have an idea of what the basic plot outline is and where you fit in it, or did you like having to wait to find out what happened to set up your scene, or what happened next? [/quote]

Given my posts early in this endeavor, I think you can understand what my take on the plot mechanics question might be.

(a) I had a zillion questions that I sent to Pigfender about details I didn't know given the plot summary of my section. That could have all been worked out ahead of time and the extra stress on Pig could have been likewise reduced. And I think the story would have been better for it.

(b) Because I didn't know those details, I had to, as others have noted, take a light touch. And although I did know at a high level what the plot function of my chapter was to be, I didn't know how to best craft it because I didn't know character motivations at a deep enough level. That is, I couldn't answer either of these questions for either of the scenes I wrote: What is the reason for this scene (in character arc terms, not in plot terms) and What is the conflict in this scene? So I had to imagine what the conflicts might be and write from there. And I had to pretty much ignore any idea of character arc. Again, that could have been worked out ahead of time.

For example, I didn't even know who the main character of the plot was supposed to be. I couldn't advance the story arc of the main character because (1) I didn't know who that was (I made an assumption that it was Nick, but that was my arbitrary decision) and (2) i didn't know where my chapter fit in the plot arc of the story.

From my perspective, there is nothing in the intent of NIAD that precludes the participants from knowing everything they feel they need beforehand so that they can write the best chapter of which they're capable. I think it's the writing that happens in one day, not the plotting and the planning. I think we'd produce a better story working out all necessary details (especially character arc) ahead of time. And for me, "the best story we can write" is the point.

[quote] 2) Would you rather have had more character sheets for secondary characters, locations etc? Were the briefs too restrictive, or not detailed enough? [/quote]

See (1).

[quote] 3) How did the different timezones work? [/quote]

Well, there were technical problems. I don't know the specifics, but I received my materials at about 10pm local instead of 8pm local. Okay, I dealt with that. And many thanks to Pig for working out the issues so that I could get them at all.

But as to whether having multiple writers in multiple timezones affected me and my writing? Nope. I wasn't concerned or affected in the slightest. However, I can only imagine the stress Pigfender endured. And the endless night of endless questions.

Even though it turned out that I had another commitment on Saturday, as many of us did, and had to pull an all-nighter on Friday to get my chapter written, I thoroughly enjoyed being a part of this first NIAD. My congratulations to Pigfender for an absolutely stellar job on the whole idea.

Based on our experience from our inaugural NIAD, one topic for the next one would be what do we do about no-shows. Do those chapters simply get left out? Do writers in the group who finish early volunteer to write them? Do they get written after the fact? Something else?

But in the end, all questions and comments aside, it was a fabulous experience for me, Rog. Heartfelt thanks to you.

ba
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Tue Oct 18, 2011 6:17 pm Post

We could try a "Four Rooms/ RPG" approach. The movie Four Rooms, was about a hotel, and four vignettes, each independent of each other, but tied in with the bell hop of the hotel. Quentin Tarintino then tied in the bell hop through each of the four stories. We take an item or person and tie it in with all the short stories, thus creating "a novel"...

Let's take Percival Q. Genarro. He wants to make it big in Hollywood, but right now works as a pizza delivery boy. One day, Super Bowl Sunday, he is the only delivery boy who shows up to work. He has to deliver pizzas to Schlomo Kleinberg, one of the most respected directors who shot to fame with a film about a crazed bear attacking campers; Steve Walton, an ex-porn star known as E. Normous Richard, who is trying to clear his past by starring in Christian films; Jennifer Wright, an ex-child star/ singer who sold billions of records under the name Chastity, but fell into disgrace after she was found in a $30 an hour motel room with the twins from the Disney Channel and more drugs than Hunter S. Thompson could ever dream of; The Goldstein Brothers mansion, the hottest producers in Hollywood and so on... each author will write the story of the locale they are given and its characters, they only mention the delivery boy arriving and his interaction with them...
The "game master", the master author, will be last.. he takes the short stories and ties them in with what happens to the delivery boy from pizza run to pizza run and what happens at the pizza shop..

what are the benefits? well, since there is only one common character everybody uses, and rules are set, it may flow better.. time zones don't matter because we are just tying up loose ends, the last author only needs to get the delivery boy from house to house, the end of one chapter to the beginning of the next.. what one author does (or does not do) will not affect the story as a whole..

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Foxtrot
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Tue Oct 18, 2011 6:35 pm Post

[quote="pete340"]Pigfender: PETE SAID: (I didn't know that there was soap in the water in Claire's lungs)
I didn't know there was soap in the water either! I have to give credit to Barry for that one.

Aha, I had the wrong culprit. And mine was right![/quote]

Pete, it could be that my medical examiner was simply mistaken. I mean, she even failed to spot that Claire had been boiled alive, as outlined in Chapter 1.

Barry

pe
pete340
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Tue Oct 18, 2011 6:49 pm Post

Barry: it could be that my medical examiner was simply mistaken. I mean, she even failed to spot that Claire had been boiled alive, as outlined in Chapter 1.

That's part of the fun.

PJ
PJS
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Tue Oct 18, 2011 7:12 pm Post

If it's novel-in-a-day, each participant does the best possible with minimal data; the result may be amusing or even good, but it won't be consistent or coherent.

If time is allowed to correlate each writer's work with what comes before and after, there is no way to complete it (world-wide) in a day.

If so much information is provided ahead that correlation is unnecessary, the end result will be the literary equivalent of paint by the numbers.

ps

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homeport
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Tue Oct 18, 2011 7:18 pm Post

1) Would you rather have an idea of what the basic plot outline is and where you fit in it, or did you like having to wait to find out what happened to set up your scene, or what happened next?
I liked the idea of not knowing, maybe the last paragraph and the first paragraph of each chapter could be preset, to avoid overlap?

2) Would you rather have had more character sheets for secondary characters, locations etc? Were the briefs too restrictive, or not detailed enough?
I think the description of the cottage and surroundings was perfect, not sure you need more character information, I found with Michael I had enough to work with
3) How did the different timezones work?
I am in Dorset in UK so for me it was fine, I liked the idea that there were people worldwide working on this as a team.
having multiple timelines would be quite clever, slips in time, sorry am a great science fiction fan lol

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kewms
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Wed Oct 19, 2011 1:24 am Post

I agree with PJS: the inconsistency is part of the fun, and gives maximum room for the individual contributors to apply their own creativity. I wouldn't have wanted a more detailed brief, and more advance planning would have made it too much like work.

Katherine

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robertdguthrie
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Wed Oct 19, 2011 1:33 am Post

I'm feeling like a tech neophyte, but I can't get the ePub to show up on my Nook. I've loaded an epub that I generated, but it was a single file with the .epub extension, whereas the file I download unzips to a directory tree. Did I miss something in the download instructions to turn the directory into a bundle or something?

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pigfender
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Wed Oct 19, 2011 9:33 am Post

[quote="robertdguthrie"]I'm feeling like a tech neophyte, but I can't get the ePub to show up on my Nook. I've loaded an epub that I generated, but it was a single file with the .epub extension, whereas the file I download unzips to a directory tree. Did I miss something in the download instructions to turn the directory into a bundle or something?[/quote]

It's worked fine with me - the epub link downloads a zip file with a single epub file in it, which opens on the Calibre desktop reader that AmberV kindly alerted me to.
Might be worth giving the download another try.

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pigfender
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Wed Oct 19, 2011 3:21 pm Post

RDG SAID: "I can't get the ePub to show up on my Nook"

It turns out Lewis Carroll's Jabberwocky isn't jibberish, it's an exerpt from an article on how to set up some technology that has since become obsolete.

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robertdguthrie
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Wed Oct 19, 2011 5:51 pm Post

So I was able to download and unzip the .epub to my Windows machine, but on my Mac, it unzips to a directory. Weird. I can't think of any special unzipping mac utility that I have that might exhibit this behavior, and I take it that no other mac users are having this issue? Serves me right for installing so many damned utilities, I guess.

And the Nook is doing just fine, thank you very much! As a long-time Linux and Mac user now, I can attest to the lack of correlation between quality and popularity.

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pigfender
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Thu Oct 20, 2011 12:39 pm Post

I wasn't dissing the nook, I was just noting that you can't buy Borogroves anymore, and because the .mimsy format they used was proprietary, you had to just dump it and rebuy in a different format.

It's a shame because the Borogrove was a brillig piece of kit.

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robertdguthrie
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Thu Oct 20, 2011 1:17 pm Post

Sorry, that came out strident, when I was going for fake umbrage. Actually, epub's open(ish) format is one reason I chose nook over kindle.

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Montree_Whiles
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Thu Oct 20, 2011 9:39 pm Post

hey folks. just stopping in. haven't read it yet. i'm a "hand-in-book" kinda woman. would prefer to print it out and poke holes in it then put it in a binder or some such. plan to get that done soonest. i have fought the trend towards ereaders because, well it doesn't feel, smell, nor look like a book. looking forward to reading soon though. really disappointed in the lack of spaceships, laser guns, and worm holes though. :p

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vic-k
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Thu Oct 20, 2011 9:58 pm Post

[quote="Montree_Whiles"] really disappointed in the lack of... worm holes though. :p[/quote]

How about worm casts!? There's about 3 tonne of 'em on my back lawn!! Buyer collect.:-)

I'm with you Montree, when it comes to e-book vs pulp. Kindle's great if you want to carry the Library of Alexandria, around with y', but it just don't seem right, snuggling up with a steaming mug of cocoa and a good...Kindle...!? :-(
Nahh...ain't the same.
Take care
Vic

 

 

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