Friday, October 25, 2013

Throw a Ninja at it

We're one week away from the beginning of National Novel Writing Month so by now you're doing one of two things: sitting back and waiting impatiently or freaking the HECK out. If you're sitting back and waiting impatiently then I congratulate you. I (like a good handful of others) and freaking the HECK out.

Why? I'm not quite ready yet. I've still got to answer a bunch of questions for my first novel, type out the planning I have for novels two, three and four, get new tires for my car, do some laundry (it lasts a month. Yes I have THAT much clothing), clean the house, and help a friend move during the first three days of November. Yeah. I'm not in a good place but here I am sitting around online. I'm special like that.

ANYWAY. Enough about me and the woes that if I buckle down would only take a day or two to complete but I probably won't because I'm easily distracted and a huge procrastinator. Deep breath, there we go, ready? Good. This is supposed to be about ninjas. Ninjas are fun and your biggest friend during NaNo.

Why ninjas and why are they your biggest friend? Well, for one, ninjas are freaking awesome. For two, er, there is no two. One is enough. It should be noted that when I say ninja I don't just mean this guy:

I've always wanted to include ninjas in this blog
That guy can be included, don't get me wrong. But ninja also means a random and unexpected plot point, character, sub-plot, scene, place or basically anything else you didn't plan when writing your novel. Those ninjas are sneaky, aren't they?

Ninjas are meant to be these shadowy beings that tip-toe around in the dark then BAM! Attack. It's a good thing. Well, it's a good thing for you as a writer so long as you're not actually walking around in the dark and get attacked.

A ninja means that you're adding word count and (hopefully) another layer to your story that without said ninja would not exist. It might not make sense when you write it but later on you could have hit upon something that tied up a loose end without you realizing it. And if it really doesn't make sense then you can edit it out.

Basically, in order to fully utilize the ninja, you have to get to a writing Zen. My best writing is done when I'm not thinking about what happens next and I'm going with the flow of the story. I call it subconscious writing, or throwing ninjas at it. It's the writing that happens when you let the story come out of its own free will instead of forcing into some cookie-cutter you plotted out for a year.

Now, you can write successfully without a ninja. It's not as fun but it can happen. And depending on the type of writer you are (go check out this blog post for tips on that) you might not even need a ninja.

But for those of you who are truly stuck, panicking and have no idea what you're going to do for NaNo: throw a ninja or two at it. Heck, toss a whole ninja clan at it if you need to. Don't be afraid to open up a new document (or notebook if you're handwriting) and just start writing. It'll come. It might take a while and a lot of ninjas but you'll end up with something that could turn out to be really cool.

And for those of you that do have a plot in mind but still find yourself stuck: ninja. It doesn't mean that you have to veer away from your plan. BUT, if you find yourself so stuck that you can't continue on the nice, neat little path you've got set out: it might mean your characters/story subconsciously wants to go in a different (most time better) direction and you should follow the ninja.

In short: Ninjas are freaking awesome and you should follow them more often. Let your story go where it wants and learn to write subconsciously. Remembering: you're telling a story, not forcing it. Until next time: comments, questions, rants, rage and everything in between can be directed to the comments.

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