Should I do another NIAD?

Surely you’re not looking to pass on the baton? It looked like you had us running like a well-oiled machine this year! (Matt)

Never again. That’s what I thought when I finished the last NIAD. By the time I’d uploaded the book to the internet I was exhausted, both physically and emotionally.

He said the same thing last year – let’s hope we can twist his arm again next year. (KB)

There are a lot of reasons not to. It takes time and creative energy from other projects. It doesn’t bring in any money. It’s stressful. It doesn’t bring in any money. It gives away a good idea that I’m excited about. It doesn’t bring in any money.

Nom’s post reasonably accurately describes the process for organizing a NIAD…

I just wanted to pause & thank Pigfender again. It seems he has put in an huge amount of effort to make this whole thing work and he’s done a truly splendid job. I’m impressed that he was able to conceive of, and outline, the plot (don’t tell me how it ends, I’m still reading!). But that wasn’t enough. He then had to chunk it into 25 coherent chapters; brief 24 other writers with just enough (but not too much!) information; which meant he had to prepare those 25 briefs, plus character sheets, science briefs, set designs and a style guide. *Then* he coordinated all the offers and set a date. But as if that still wasn’t enough, on the day of NIAD he answered questions from us all during the day, wrote a chapter himself, edited chapters as they were sent, compiled them all and published the result in 4 different formats. Presumably he slept a little, ate some food and managed to include some breathing as well. (Nom)

The thing Nom gets wrong, though, is the order, and it’s the order that creates the stress. At the point when I’m setting a date and starting to co-ordinate offers to participate I’ll have only the bare bones of an idea. Maybe just a two paragraph summary of the overarching plot. Everything else is pulled together in the last couple of weeks when I know how many people are taking part.

Sure, I could plan it months in advance. I could chart out the story, break it into plot points, start preparing character sheets and such the like. But the point of the NIAD is to write a novel in a day. It somehow seems disingenuous to claim to have written a novel in a day if you’ve spent a year planning and preparing the life out of it. I won’t even know what section I’m supposed to be writing myself until about ten minutes before I send out the briefs to all the participants.

There are a lot of reasons not to do one. I certainly wouldn’t recommend it to anyone. But then, I wouldn’t recommend trying to write a novel to anyone either, and I’m doing that too. The thing is, if you’re a creative person – if your head is wired that way – the ideas don’t stop coming just because you’ve decided not to do something anymore. Yesterday, a plot idea popped into my head that has all the characteristics of a NIAD story: It’s not the sort of thing I’d typically write;  It wouldn’t require anyone to get stuck with a large chunk of exposition instead of action;  Each part of the story should be fun to write. But most importantly, it’s a story I’d really like to read.

Will there be a NIAD 2013? I’m still not sure. But if there is, I have the two paragraph summary of the overarching plot ready.

6 thoughts on “Should I do another NIAD?

  1. nom

    I do hope there will be another NIAD this year and that you will coordinate it again.
    I, for one, could not do what you did. No false modesty here – I’m insanely great at some things :p – but I couldn’t prepare a NIAD. Maybe by September you will forget the unpleasantness and stress and focus instead on the fun and creativity. It’s a wonderful thing you have created and I am proud to have participated.

    If there are things that others can do to help, you know how to reach me.

    1. pigfender Post author

      I might try and delegate more on the day itself, if I can bring myself to hand over the reigns for the cover, introduction and things like that.
      Something tells me I’ll try and do it all again this year. I mean, it should be easier now cos I’ve got twice the experience I had last time. Right?

      Right?

  2. BethCutter

    I, too, hope there will another NIAD — if not this year, next.

    What amazed me the most is how you manage to not give away the placement of the chapter in your assignments. How can someone write the first section — or the last! — and not know it? It’s a special talent, I think.

    1. pigfender Post author

      Thanks Beth!
      I strongly suspect that there *will* be a NiaD this year. It was inevitable once the basic plot popped into my head, I fear!
      I even started pulling together a couple of background documents as a way to test out Lit’n’Lat’s Scapple during the beta phase so I suspect I’m too invested not to go ahead now!

  3. nom

    I’ll take that as a (rumoured) yes. Yay! :)
    So I’ll seed the rumour that I’m willing to participate again this year and may even be able to help with some of the (rumoured) delegated stuff.

    I used Scapple to pull together my chapter ideas during last year’s NIAD. It helped give me the confidence to put fingers-to-keyboard for the actual text .

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