Thursday, January 17, 2008

New Challengers Welcome

When Timothy Hallinan first proposed the Dickens Challenge, a number of you were tempted – come on, you know you were – but you held back. The timing was bad for some people and it was a scary proposition. We’re close to six chapters in, all of the writers have reported that it’s been a great experience, so for those of you who had initial reservations or prior commitments, now might be a good time to jump into the pool.

Several people have asked me questions about the rules of the Dickens Challenge and there really aren’t any. One of the most frequent questions is, “when does it end”? It ends when you’re finished or you decide you’ve had enough. Not everybody manages to post every week and we still love them and encourage them. There’s no winner and there’s no competition, just the kind of support and motivation that I’ve learned to love so much in our online writing community.

Bill Henderson, novelist, teacher and writing coach is thinking about joining us and posted about it today at his blog, TrueVoice.

In Bill’s post he talks about the Dickens Challenge as being a great way to follow up NaNoWriMo. I’ve never participated in NaNoWriMo, but every writer I know who has, said it was a great experience. They also said that post-NaNoWriMo, it was difficult to maintain that regular writing routine.

So if you’ve been following my progress on this interesting exercise and you’ve wondered whether it might give your writing a shot in the arm – give it a try. As Tim wisely told those of us who were especially neurotic about diving in, you’re not going to be banned from the internet if you start and decide not to go on.

Any takers?


Larramie said...

You're a terrific salesperson, Lisa. "We shall see" how many more join in the fun!

Charles Gramlich said...

Won't be me, I'm afraid. Way, way, way too much to write already. But it does look like a good learning experience. Maybe after I finish the contracted stuff I have now I'll give it a try.

Sustenance Scout said...

I'm with Charles, a little over-committed at the moment! And happy to cheer from the sidelines as you plow through this project, kiddo Drop me a line when it's a good time for me to do a first read-through. K.

Usman said...


missing you guys, but I'll catch up.

Leatherdykeuk said...

Okay, I'll start. Not sure what I've let myself in for.

Does it have to be on Blogger or can I use my Wordpress blog?

Anonymous said...

Wish I could because it sounds like fun. I've been busy on a hypertext project and will be taken up with that for a while yet.

I'll have to remain a cheerleader!

susan@spinning (& hypercompendia)

Lisa said...

Larramie, Hooray -- looks like we have one new taker already. I don't have to sell DC, it's sells itself :)

Charles, Whenever you clear up your projects, I'll bet you'd enjoy this.

Karen, We always appreciate the cheering!

Usman, I know you will. You have to! You have such a great group of characters and a funny story started that you can't leave us hanging now. Dilbar is just great.

Rachel, Hooray! Hooray! Yes, you can use your Wordpress blog, of course. Most of the people writing aren't using blogger either. What we do is post our chapters to our own blogs, and if you want to the Dickens Challenge forum hosted at John Dishon's web site and that's it. If you can take a look at Tim Hallinan's site (see my sidebar), he got us all to give him a short blurb about ourselves -- so if you could send that to him, then the rest of us will add you to the list of challengers on our sidebars. If you email either Tim or me, we'll get you set up. I think you'll enjoy this. Hooray! I'm so glad you've decided to go for it.

Susan, There's really no end to it, so it you decide to jump in later, you are more than welcome. One of these days I need to figure out what the hypertext project is -- I see you refer to it on your site all the time, but I don't know what it is.

Carleen Brice said...

I'll just continue to worship from afar. :)

Patti said...

i put my toe in these waters and it made me shiver....and then i looked down it it was scary!

~running away like the chicken i am~

Lana Gramlich said...

I'm out, as I'm not a writer. This post is helping to restore my discipline about painting, though...

liz fenwick said...

Lisa, I need something to set me off again so I'd like to jump in! Gosh did I say that!!!!

Tim said...

Lisa --

You really are the DC Ambassador. We should do a Challenge world map -- those of us sprinkled around the US, Nadja in Guam (at least, in spirit), Usman in Pakistan, Liz in Dubai, Rachel in the UK.

I wish I had more time to get the word out. It would be amazing to see this grow. I actually believe it's being of benefit to all of us, even me -- despite my constant moaning. (And my new chapter is 40 words long at this point.)


Lisa said...

Carleen! I dragged my semi-reclusive butt out of the house and went to the LLL and you weren't there! Missed you, but I also had a really great time. I have the next one on my calendar.

Patti, Of all the things in the universe that I know you to be, chicken ain't one of them. The door remains open.

Lana, I am so glad to hear that. No matter what you say, I think you are a painter and you need to paint.

Liz, We are so excited! I think you're really going to like this.

Tim, It is very exciting. I think you've really come up with a unique and useful writing methodology and I think it just might continue to grow. Every person who has started this has reported a positive effect on his or her writing. This all goes back to your great posts on the Writers' Resources section of your website. Finishing is everything and I'm amazed at the word count I've managed in such a short period of time. I did the math and figured out that a person could write 25 chapters at 2,500 words each and have a first draft of a 250 novel within 6 months. Writing 2,500 words a week isn't a bad goal at all, especially for people who work a full time day job. This is the first approach I've ever seen that really seems achievable for me. Thanks so much for thinking of this!

OK -- now I have 1,200 words but most of them are getting cut. Yesterday I went to a luncheon and on the drive to and from I finally figured out what should happen in my chapter 6. Going to write now -- wish me luck!

liz fenwick said...

Oh, i hope to hide in my room and get some writing done!

Thanks for the inspiration :-)

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Literary Quote

It is worth mentioning, for future reference, that the creative power which bubbles so pleasantly in beginning a new book quiets down after a time, and one goes on more steadily. Doubts creep in. Then one becomes resigned. Determination not to give in, and the sense of an impending shape keep one at it more than anything.

Virginia Woolf