Wednesday, October 18, 2006

NaNoWriMo 2006: Ready, get set....

Thanks to a note from Inez, I got reminded of National Novel Writing Month, lurking just around the corner some two weeks away. Am I joining again? You bet! God alone knows why, especially after the insanity last year.

If you're up to the challenge, try writing a 50,000 word novel (or more appropriately, novella) in 30 days. It doesn't have to be a masterpiece, it's more a matter of developing a writing discipline.

Because it's no fun writing alone, you can register at the NaNoWriMo web site and join hundreds of other authors around the world (including several dozen from the Philippines) in getting that novel done. From the web site, you can track your progress as well as those of other NaNoWrimo participants.

I hit the 50,000-word mark last year, though I was only halfway through my story. Excerpts of my half-novel Oripun last year are here. Not a work of art, not by a long shot, but rereading bits and pieces of it now, I can see some good bits worth expanding on. Writing Oripun helped me gain a better appreciation of Magellan, the Spanish, the Filipino character, and Philippine history.


  1. Hi Dom. Something tells me this excursion into Philippine history is the bigger context behind your post about our lingering "alipin" mentality.

    I recall that post very clearly: Manolo pointed me to it, it was the very first time I read you, although it took sometime for me to start commenting here.

    Something also tells me that Nanowrimo thing is worth taking a stab at. What do you think?:)

  2. Hi, Willy: hoo boy, this will be a somewhat long explanation. It was an interplay of a number of factors. I was dissatisfied with the Philippine history that I remembered being taught in school -- too many dates, too many isolated incidents strung together in hindsight, too left-oriented -- that I started looking for additional materials. Too often, the Spanish have been cast as villains in our history, and I was thinking that it might have been more complex than that.

    The impetus behind this, strangely enough, was my dissatisfaction with Filipino fantasy stories, which always posited a "Golden Age" that was destroyed by the coming of the Spanish.

    The late William Henry Scott's "In Search for the Pre-Hispanic Filipino" was a great starting point. Scott had a chapter on the alipin (or in his words, oripun) culture in the land. Reading that short essay struck a chord.

    It was also in Scott's book that I read of one of Magellan's sailors being stranded in the islands and going native. That sailor was eventually rescued by a subsequent expedition, but was poisoned by a jealous native woman.

    Finally: there's a collection of Scott's works on sale at National. I saw it yesterday. P650. Wanted to buy it but I think my luggage is already over the weight limit so I'll have to get it next time.

  3. P.S. NaNoWriMo is a challenge, and can be a drain on time. I found myself getting sick of my story sometime during the second week of the contest. :-) Anyway, I persisted. But I do think it's worthwhile.

  4. I'm reading your novel excerpts.. erm, is there a first chapter somewhere? :) your writing style in that novella reminds me of Umberto Eco (he doesn't have the same writing style all through out his books though; yours mostly resemble that of his latest novel). when did you first start writing? what made you want to be a writer?

  5. Hi, Tobey: Aaah! Umberto Eco! Oh, no! I'm...I'm...I'm flattered. :-D Thank you.

    Unfortunately, there are no chapters 1-3. I started the story in media res, hoping to write the backstory involving the friar. It turns out I was too ambitious for someone who had never written a novel before. It was going to turn out to be a multi-layered story. I can still post the intervening chapters, however.

    As to when I decided I wanted to be a writer, it was because of Carl Kolchak, the Night Stalker. But that's a story for another time.

    Thanks again, Tobey!

  6. you can finish that novel if you'd force yourself though. hahaha keep it up! :p I'm trying to register in that NamWritTaWhateverYouCallit, I forget. Can't seem to get in, drat. It sounds like an adventure. I want to join the wagon and write my first novel, however sophomoric it would be. It's the experience that counts anyway. Thanks for the link.. hope the site registration would work some other day. :D

  7. I'm taking part in it this year. I heard about it years ago but only remembered it after reading your post. Thank you sooo much. It would be only a legend to me if you hadn't had reminded me of it. Good luck this year. I hope I can actually get close to 50k words.

  8. Hello! Was blog hopping and saw your post on NaNoWriMo! I am anxsious to see if I can finish it again like I did last year.
    Heheheh see you then!

  9. Hi Dom!

    You may want to check this out:

    It's for those who already won in the past NaNoWriMo events. :)