9.06.2011

NaNoWriMo needs more Blasian stories and authors

As you've seen during the various Blasian Lit threads compiled by the awesome Eccentric Yoruba, Blasian lit is sorely lacking. Let's save this genre by jumping in and joining Ankhesen and Amaya, who are constantly hammering out new tales.

Every year, there is a national writing contest in November called NaNoWriMo. Contrary to popular belief, this contest isn't just for "white folks." It and its resources are for us, too. In fact, our very own Neo-Prodigy wrote the first draft of his novel, Hollowstone, in this contest. In addition, The Hunger Games and Water for Elephants began their lives as NaNo novels.

NaNoWriMo is a contest that requires each person to write 50,000 words, approximately 175 pages of a story from 12:00:01 a.m. November 1st to 11:59:59 p.m. November 30th. It's very simple. If you're so focused on typing this many words, then you shouldn't have time to go back, edit or second-guess yourself. Just sit down and type. It doesn't need to make sense. Just go with the flow. Output and QUANTITY, not quality, matters in November.

You also don't even need to worry about others reading your stories beforehand. When you upload your story for the word count verification, it'll be scrambled. No one will have access to it unless you give it them.

Remember, if we don't write our own stories, THEY'LL continue to write them for us! **shudder**

If you're not ready to write original blasian fiction, by all means, please write blasian fan fiction. Audrey/Dre, Zoey/Demetri, Alice/Kenji, Mika/Raizo, and Uhura/Sulu could all benefit from better stories and better characterizations.

If you think you're ready for original fiction, but feel a bit unsure about things, I have some links that might be very helpful for you.


You could try this tutorial I found at Youtube called "Lesson Story Structure and Plot." It has 12 parts. Before you click on the parts, get your copy of the plotting guide. It isn't exactly the same as the video though (unless he changed it). I like this guy because he's a computer programmer and efficient.

Story Structure Plotting Guide

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4
Part 5
Part 6
Part 7
Part 8
Part 9
Part 10
Part 11
Part 12

In my opinion, characterizations are far more important than the actual plot. Rich Hamper's character profile might work well for beginners. He also has a good metaprogram to help you get to the core of your characters.

While you're creating your characters, don't forget the lessons we learned in How to write about Africa by Binyavanga Wainaina and How to write about Aboriginal Australia by Jennifer Mills.

Although I am married to a Japanese man and I know him and his society very well, I opted to not write about an ordinary Japanese male. Instead, I chose to write an Ainu protagonist. This means, the character would be BOTH Indigenous and Japanese. This also means that I'm operating far beyond the scope of my current knowledge.

To HELP solve this problem, I found books about the Ainu people and I sat down and started reading. While doing so, I tried to maintain a careful balance between that of the viewpoint of the scholars/researchers and that of ordinary Ainu people. As expected, I will probably only use 1% of the information I've learned from ANY of these books. That's research for you. I also enlisted the aid of a colleague with ties to the Ainu community. She'll introduce to me to as many Ainu men as I need to capture my character.




At the same time, I decided to think outside the box when writing about a Black woman of African descent as well; hence, I went searching for more books and found a collection that would allow me to write a Black female protagonist whose experiences were vastly different from mine. Right now, creating this character has become somewhat of an obsession. Instead of writing about a young woman from a small Alabama town, I'll write about one who is part-Alabamian and part-Geechee (Kissi). This means she'll have a tangible connection to her African heritage beyond that of skin color. And yes, she will be DARK, extremely dark and beautiful!!!



Admittedly, I'm a geek; therefore, it's probably logical to conclude that my characters would be equally geekish. My Geechee-American female protagonist will be a physicist, perhaps an astrophysicist. I love Neil deGrasse Tyson in the way many of our members love K-Pop idols!



Despite this young lady being so different from me, I thought she also needed to legitimately speak to the universal Black woman's experience in America, so in addition to the discussions we have here, I found books to help me in this area, too.


My Ainu-Japanese male protagonist will most likely be a (marine) Biologist. No pictures for him because I'm only a biology geek while watching documentaries.

Knowledge is power. The more we have, the more powerful we'll be. As far as I'm concerned, I think we should spend more of our time focusing on us, rather than the mainstream.

12 comments:

  1. Is there anyone here who has experience writing dual protagonists? I don't just mean dividing the story into individual points of views. Has anyone written two FULLY realized protagonists in a story that wasn't romantic or erotic? If so, could you share your experiences?

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  2. In Hollowstone, Cal and Noah are dual protagonists.

    What questions did you have? I'll be more than happy to share my experience.

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  3. Let's save this genre by jumping in and joining Ankhesen and Amaya, who are constantly hammering out new tales.

    Speaking of...

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  4. Hateya, I thank you so much for posting this. Not nearly enough people know about the benefits of NaNoWriMo. It would have been a GREAT benefit to me had it existed many years ago. Nowadays, there are far too many good resources for people who want to write. There's no excuse for not taking advantage of them.

    I've written stories with multiple, fully-realized protagonists. I can't really share much about the experience, other than what I always say about what and how I write. If that's what I see, then that's what I write. That there are multiple protagonists is an afterthought.

    But for those who are interested in trying to write multiple-pros, I suggest you "interview" your main characters. Find out what you need to know in order to start the story, and then let the rest unfold naturally. The "interviews" are useful in that you find out tidbits about your characters that you may not realize at first. This helps you flesh out the characters and make them real.

    So that's my $.02.

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  5. I am really looking forward to your finished work Hateya.

    I participated in NaNoWriMo last year and will be taking part again this year. I don't know if I can (or should?) classify my some of the works I've written so far as Blasian as I am into speculative fiction and world building.

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  6. I often write multiple-pros. What helps me is this character questionnaire

    Here's the link:

    http://thescriptlab.com/screenwriting/character/creating-characters/23-character-questionnaire

    Sorry I don't know how to do that cool click thru thingy :(

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  7. @Javan

    After you sign up, you'll receive an email explaining how to upload your story through the writer's area. The story will be encoded; thus, no one else can read it.

    If you come intend to write, let Eccentric Yoruba and me know your user name. We'd love to have some company this year.

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  8. Actually, I'm trying my hand at NaNoWri. Using a Nam dude and a black female.

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  9. I tried writing for Nano this year and "failed". I might try for the one in April or whenever. I think I'll be better prepared then I think. I don't know what I'm going to write about yet though. More likely than not, it'll have some kind of romantic element to it.

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  10. I won NaNo 2011... it was hell, but worth it.

    @Delicate Wisteria

    Some would argue that ScriptFrenzy is much easier. For certain it is different as scripts generally do not contain character introspection. Actors truly must translate and interpret the words for themselves. 100 pages in 30 days isn't so bad as a good script usually has approximately 100-150 words per page. The format will help as well. In most cases, the script are too long. One page = 1 minute of screen time.

    I will use approximately one-fourth of my NaNo novel for the script. I never fail to add romance to my stories. There's always a place for love.

    If you decide to do it, please drop by this thread again and let us know.

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