Saturday, November 20, 2010

oh right, i have a blog

i discovered this nifty little site called i've been throwing the randomest of my random thoughts out there, so i've forgotten about the blog a bit.

the idea of the site is to give you a bit of an incentive to to some freewriting, random idea dumping, creative stuff, 'morning pages', whatever you like. what you write is totally private and you can even password protect it if you're on a shared computer. but after you write, you get this neat analysis of the words you use and how they reflect your mood, and the topics you tend to think about... i dunno, i find it kind of neat. and i'm using it as a place to brain-dump so that i can get on to the real writing.

so how's that real writing going? well...

on the plus side, i have 47K words, so there's no way i won't meet the NaNo requirement. that's good, right?

on the not-so-plus side, i really have realized that the amount of salvageable content is severely outweighed by the unsalvageable. it just is. nothing to be done about it, no point in whining or complaining that i suck (because i mostly don't) or worrying that i'm wasting my time (because i mostly am). the thing is, i set myself a goal, i'm going to meet it, and for better or worse, i had a lot of fun doing it. plot twists and turns that came out of nowhere, characters that sprung fully formed from my head and refused to go away until i'd given them a major role in the story- that's the kind of stuff i love about this frantic writing. just because i'm not picking the prettiest, most eloquent ways of saying it, doesn't make it totally worthless.

but true to form, i've gotten a new idea. speaking of characters dropping into your head fully formed- it's alarming the clarity with which this story has formed itself. i also know that it's going to require real research on my part, because i'll be writing about real issues, things that i can only make up and extrapolate so far without a good solid understanding first.

right now, when i'm not NaNoing, i'm fiddling with the character profiles, googling madly, jotting down random snippets of dialogue, and trying to resist starting the writing until i'm 'ready'.

three days into december, i'll have an opening scene. not a promise, just a prediction.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

declaring suckitude, right on schedule

okay, not total suckitude.

actually, on the whole i'm still feeling very positive about this whole novel business.

so why haven't i written anything on it in two days? hmmm.

see, i got to about the halfway point, and i got stuck, plot-wise. basically, i wasn't sure if my reasons for having the characters in that particular situation even made sense. and i thought of another way to get them into a similar, though more sensible situation, but that would require some re-writing of scenes. and i'm refusing to actually delete any more work, because it's nano, and nano is not for deleting.

so i can either forge ahead, and write the stuff that makes more sense, and just pretend that it fits in with what i've already written, that there aren't enormous plot holes to be filled, and that my novel isn't going to collapse under the weight of all the crap i keep tossing in there.

or, i can go back (not deleting, mind), and i can write the scenes in the way that might make them work better, so that i can write on knowing i've got the holes at least patched up a bit.

the problem is that the second option feels a little like cheating. writing more words/new scenes without deleting the old ones. 'fixing' mistakes, but leaving the mistakes there just to keep my word count up.

but trying to write it the first way, i keep getting stuck, losing track of what's actually supposed to have happened.

i'm so confused by my plot. i'm even confused by this blog post. geesh.

Monday, November 08, 2010

blogging does not add words to my nano wordcount

but it does help me get out some of the random fluff that seems to clutter my mind, so that i can get on with writing. so...

yeah, yesterday sucked. mostly, because it was sunday so everyone was home and i didn't have the nice quiet house to lull me into the writing zone. and i had started to come up on a roadblock in my plot (in that, i ran out of it) so even if i did sit down and try to write for five minutes, i'd keep questioning my writing, striking through the last bit i wrote, over and over...

the husband got home around 6:30, and while we were making dinner, i started to toss out some of my issues. he's a fantastic sport, and he usually lets me blather on until i get an idea, or until he's about to fall asleep, or until his brain feels like it'll explode (i try to get an idea before either of the latter happen). and it worked, he gave me this really awesome idea, a totally new twist on the story, an opportunity to add several more characters, a new setting, a whole new perspective on the overriding issue of the story, really. and i was so excited, and it buzzed around in my head while we ate, and while the kids wound themselves down for sleep.

so in the quiet house, i start to jot down notes on what's happening now, with all these new brilliant idea. and i find a hole. it wasn't a big hole, in fact it was really minor, sort of 'oh let me just get a needle and thread and stitch that up'. but even the tiniest bit of pressure on that hole made it spiderweb out, spreading in all directions into a chasm big enough for my whole story to fall through. clunk.

talked through the issues with the husband, who conceded that these holes were in fact insurmountable (without me rewriting the whole thing, which... are you crazy?). and so i pouted. and i stared at my computer. and i wrote a sentence. and then two more. and an hour later i had written 1500 words, met my daily word count, and had introduced a minor twist that just might carry me through to the end of the story. here's hoping anyway.

so i guess the point is not to give up. i truly believe my little brainstorming session paid off, even if none of the ideas we came up with actually made it into the story. just throwing the ideas out in the air makes them open up in new, unexpected ways.

(check in later for the post where i declare my suckitude once again. it's bound to happen. i'm on the NaNo seesaw here, and when i hit bottom, it hurts.)

Sunday, November 07, 2010

end of week one

okay, here's the deal. this is NaNoWriMo, and i'm going to write a novel in a month, because that's what you do.

last year, my first NaNo, i didn't know a damn thing about writing. I had never written anything longer than maybe 5000 words. i hadn't written anything i felt proud of since high school. so when i sat down and ideas started flowing, and i got more and more words, it boosted my confidence immensely. i knew it wasn't perfect. i suspected it wasn't even that good, but i kept going, because the ideas kept coming.

now after writing that, putting it away, going back to it, editing, redrafting, editing again, i realized that as much as i love the story plot-wise, from a structural point of view it's really seriously flawed. my main character is dull (sorry Ruby, but it's true and you know it), my writing is okay, but inconsistent, and the story doesn't really achieve what i was hoping it would.

is this stuff that upsets me? no, not at all. because i'm learning from it. i'm learning from all the reading and writing and talking about writing that i've been doing in the last six months.

here's where i think my problem lies for NaNo this year (did i mention i'm having problems? yeah, hence blogging rather than writing). i keep learning things, these 'rules' about what should and shouldn't happen when you write, about what you need to make compelling characters, about how to keep the story moving so people won't throw it against the wall in frustration. i'm learning these things that help when you actually have a story. i still don't have a story. i have 17k words of lead-up, i just don't know what it's leading up to. (I suspect it might be leading up to action, which is another wrinkle, because i don't know how to write action either.)

i'm doing this to challenge myself, to prove to myself that i still have it in me to finish a draft, and to get enough down on paper that it 'counts' as a novel in some way, shape, or form. i'm starting to suspect that whatever this is, it ain't a novel. i'm going to finish it, because i am, but i may just never look at it again at this rate.


(have to edit to add- do you see the problems i'm having ^ writing coherently? the fuck?)

Thursday, November 04, 2010

mixed success and various ramblings

so NaNo got off to a brilliant start. 11000 words in the first day. No, that's not a typo. No, i don't know how i did it, but don't get too excited. Day two added another 4000, though i was starting to get concerned because it really seemed like i was writing myself into a corner. Day 3, i was firmly sandwiched in that corner. there was a guy fixing the drywall in the apartment, so i left to find a quiet writing spot somewhere else. the public library was a bust, too cold, and the tables were too high to type comfortably, and it was too quiet. i used to think i needed total silence to write effectively, but it turns out i just need the right kind of noise.

That kind of noise can, apparently, be found at starbucks. by the time i got there, i had realized the problem with the writing i had done so far. aside from the plot not doing what i wanted, my writing itself was flagging because i was writing in the 3rd person. i keep trying to convince myself that i can do it, but i've never had much success. the short story i wrote for the anthology coming out later this year was in 3rd, and it was a nightmare for me to get right. i think there's a bit of a stigma against 1st person, that it's less sophisticated, less literary, or some crap. frankly, if i'm going for sophisticated and literary, the POV i choose is going to be the least of my problems.

What this meant was re-starting from the beginning, telling the same story, many of the same exact scenes in fact, only in 1st. i got 4000 words in the three hours at starbucks (before my knitting buddies arrived), added another 3000 after i got home that night, and added another 5000 yesterday, so i feel i am firmly back on track. the story is working better, though there are enormous holes, several areas where i just glossed over details i couldn't be bothered to research at the time, and 12000 words in i'm only just starting to get a handle on my MCs voice, but this is NaNo. If i come out at the end of this month with a decent story, i can work with the details come december. or january. or, you know, may. whenever i can stand to look at it again.

so if i'm doing so well, if i'm such a keener, why am i blogging and not writing? two words: no school.
two more words: kim possible. *twitch*