Sunday, November 08, 2009

NaNo #4

Aahhh. It is officially Day #7 in NaNoWriMo-land. I haven’t written on Nano yet today, but that time is coming later this afternoon. I did promise to post about it, so that’s what I’m here for.

On most of my blogs, you can find a little blue icon that will show you my updated word count. For those of you who don’t want to search it out, the count stands at 21,345 words. I am officially on-target for my unofficial goal of 90,000, and I’m way ahead of where I need to be to meet the NaNoWriMo goal of 50,000. Go, me!

Here’s the thing: I don’t find it that hard to sit down and write this way. Since I work part-time, and since I find it incredibly easy to ignore mundane things like housework (note to old friends: I am getting better at doing my housework as a rule, really!), spending the time is easy.

Even more so since we are all computer friendlies at our house. It’s common for hubby and me to be in our office, back to back, working/playing on our computers. We share interesting information we find, TV stuff (hubby has a TV card), and swap pictures and writings. It’s one of the cool things about our marriage. Teenage son is also on the computer a lot. He’ll wander in and out of the office occasionally, but where many families spend an evening with the TV or games, we spend it with computers (okay, TV, too) and books.

As for the writing itself, I’m making myself only write. I have to plot, yes, but much of the book’s direction is dictated by a map. Literally, since this story is about a road trip. I compiled a lot of material before Nov. 1st, too, so a lot of general planning was done. I knew the premise for so long that it’s pretty well embedded in me. Subconsciously that seems to be driving things.

I’ve found myself foreshadowing almost without thought. Nuances of character and dialogue have crept in. Conversations between characters have naturally flowed in the direction I needed.

Now, there was a plot turn that took me by surprise, and to be honest, I had to write it twice because there was a fundamental discrepancy that needed correcting or it would just confuse me. But other than things of that sort, I’ve not gone back to change – or even re-read anything. I do have an unresolved POV problem. I keep trying to write in third person, and the book keeps tricking me into writing in first.

Forcing myself to move forward and simply keep going seems to be the key to making NaNoWriMo work. As for finishing the process and turning it into a ‘real’ book, I’m not that daunted by it. I know how easy it is to work with material already written and reshape and revise it.

Okay, maybe easy isn’t the word. But, revising is working with something that already exists. It has become tangible, and it cries out for modification, polish and completion. That is different from the story simmering inside you that can be ignored for a while, or the one partly written down that can be dropped for months because ‘you’re already working on it.’ There is something about getting a complete draft down that compels you to work on it until you have the final version.

That is why NaNoWriMo works, children. It motivates you to do one thing: get words on paper. Those words take on a life that demands attention until it is full-grown. And then, if you’ve done a really good job, you can demand that it go out and earn something.

[*okay, okay, apologies to those out there who think I’ve oversimplified the process. Of course, I did. I want those who are seriously thinking about writing, seriously, mind you, to move past the fear and enter the realm of adventure and possibilities writers inhabit. There is a great deal of work involved in those simple steps I described. However, if you’re serious and willing to put the work in, it is eminently do-able.]

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