Finished early. I planned to be done tomorrow night, but I was really on a roll with my writing tonight, so I just pressed on.
So yes, I’m officially a NaNoWriMo winner, for the first time ever. It feels great.
For those of you who are writing in OpenOffice, I HIGHLY recommend using the wordcount validator early, because you WILL end up with a lower wordcount than what OO gives you. Mine was about 800 lower.
Probably never ever publishing this. But I want to fix it anyway. I’m letting a few friends read it.
First edit cycle (before sending it to the people who want to read it): Change Scott’s occupation in Part 1 to fit the occupation he has in the rest of the book. Also, change Mike’s death date, and Cara’s hometown. I wrote super-fast in the beginning and forgot how I’d even established those.
Second edit cycle: I want to elaborate on Cara’s work-based storyline. Also, I need to flesh out the characters of Emily, Cameron, Jennifer, and Rick. Need to introduce Phillip earlier in the story (Rick too, probably). And there was this one scene between Kurt and Bobby that I wanted to include, but another scene took its place and I think the other one was better.
Other random things I think to myself: Does Scott not have any friends? I don’t seem to have given him any of his own. Cara has hers, Kurt has his… where are Scott’s?
Where are all those blog posts I was going to include? There are only like, five in the whole book.
Anyway, I’m happy to be a successful WriMo for once in my life.
I passed the 45,000 word mark tonight. I’ve known since the beginning what my last chapter was going to be, and have been over it a thousand times in my head, but I was seriously against the idea of writing out of order. Well, tonight I got home and just really wanted to write it. So I did. And then I wrote a couple of other chapters, meaning that I’m now over the 45,000 mark, and I know exactly what’s going to happen in the story to connect where I am so far with what I’ve written to be the ending.
What this means is two things. 1) I can’t get caught up on word count, I just need to write and make sure all my ground is covered, and 2) I can no longer count on the final chapters filling out words. Everything I come up with now has to be original.
Also, though, I need to remember: editing comes later.
I’m actually very proud of what I came up with tonight, especially the second scene featuring all three main characters. It’s the first time I’ve captured that dynamic from Kurt’s perspective, and while Emily isn’t a “main” (POV) character, I like what I’ve done with her, but also feel I’ve under-used her. She will definitely be fleshed out a lot in my second draft because I like what she’s become.
Now that my Point A’s and Point B’s are established, all that’s left is to draw a 4,800 word line. Four more days, but I think I can do it in two. Here’s to that idea!
So, there’s an online application that has you paste some text and it will analyze what famous author shares your style. Since I’m writing from four perspectives, I pasted pages from each character.
Maybe it’s accurate, maybe it’s not (I don’t consider my style in Cara’s and Kurt’s chapters to be remotely similar), but it was a fun little experiment.
My friend Aine wrote a great post about her NaNoWriMo project, which is part of a larger series she’s been working on for several years. I’m writing this along the same vein with a different premise but similar conclusion.
I have bad news.
I have good news and bad news.
I’m not writing this book for you. I don’t know you. I have no idea what you’re looking for in your fiction. How could I ever predict it? How could I possibly reconcile your list of “musts” and “musnt’s” with those of every other potential reader?
I am writing this book for you, but you may not like it. Even though I don’t know you, and have no idea what you’re looking for in your fiction, I recognize that you probably don’t either. Who could have ever predicted the successes of many novels? Who polled potential readers before writing about a boy wizard going to school, a girl fighting to the death in an arena, or a Connecticut Yankee traveling through time? Who would have said they wanted those stories before they were published?
I can’t, but as arrogant as it may sound, neither can you.
It would destroy me, and everything I am trying to make.
To write this based on what you think you want would destroy everything I am trying to make for you.
So, here is the only guarantee I will ever give you: I will not publish a book I do not love. Because my only audience is myself. I am the only target I am trying to hit. It’s the only barometer I have. If you love it too, well…I sincerely hope you do. But I can’t guarantee that, and I will try my hardest not to be offended if the fruits of my labor just don’t do it for you.
So here is the only guarantee I will ever give you: I will not publish a book that is not the story I want to tell you. Because though you are my audience, this story is mine. You are the target I am trying to hit, but my own satisfaction is still my barometer. If you love it, I sincerely hope you do. If you hate it, then I have failed you, but maybe not others. This book is for them too. I will not be offended if the fruits of my labor just don’t do it for you, but if they do it for someone, then I have succeeded. Because this story is for them too. If this story was just for me, I wouldn’t bother telling it. It’s already in my head. I’m committing it to the page for you, not for me.
It would be easy, I think, to fall victim to the disease of satisfying the many at the cost of one’s identity. I resolve to keep the pitfalls present in my mind. I resolve to choose plot points based on what I like, rather than what would sell. I resolve to listen to the music in my ears, not the doubts in my heart.
While I write for you, I will not fall victim to the disease of satisfying the many at the cost of one’s identity. Many of you will not be satisfied by this story. But I will choose plot points based on what the story dictates, not what you think you want. I resolve to listen to the music in my ears, and to share that with you in the hopes that you will like it.
I will reach backwards, pulling forward the pillars that have made me what I am. I will reach forward to pillars not yet cemented, tethering them together with nouns, verbs, and adverbs (if too many of those) creating the best thing that I can at this moment.
I wrote this for you, and with you in mind, but not according to your specifications. I will reach backwards, pulling forward the pillars that have made me what I am, and reach to the connections between you, the reader, and me, the writer, and tether universal human emotions together with nouns, verbs, adverbs, and way too many convoluted synonyms. Creating something for you to enjoy, or not enjoy.
That is all that I can promise you.
I am writing the story I want you to read. Regardless of your feelings, I promise you that much.
I was mentally and emotionally drained today. Last-minute “must be done today” project at work that I didn’t find out about until I came in this morning. I finished it, I’m proud to say, and I think I did a decent job.
But the drain was almost enough to make me take a “no writing” break for the day. I’m 5,000 words ahead of the goal, so that wouldn’t put me behind. But I pulled out the laptop and started writing anyway, and guess what? It came more easily.
That could be because I was writing a fairly simple Scott chapter, one that I’ve had in my head for a few days but didn’t want to get ahead of myself. I’ve spent the last three days on a more difficult Cara chapter that was important for story reasons, but hard to write accurately.
Anyway, I guess it’s not that I had writer’s block… it’s that I lacked motivation. But the way to push through that lack of motivation was just to write. And guess what? It worked!
“Peter Rabbit is this stupid book about this stupid rabbit who steals vegetables from other people’s gardens. One, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, ten, eleven, twelve, thirteen, fourteen, fifteen, sixteen, seventeen… Eighty-three to go!”
– Lucy Van Pelt, “You’re a Good Man Charlie Brown”
I’m trying incredibly not to artificially inflate my word count for NaNoWriMo by throwing things in that aren’t really part of the story, or that I didn’t write. But it seems to be happening anyway. Part of this is because I’m not telling my story in straight prose. Blog posts, text messages, e-mails, funeral announcements… I’m including them verbatim, because I find that to be an important part of the story. However, I’m also including the header information on the e-mails, texts, blog posts. The reason I’m doing that is to lend visual authenticity to the passages. But it does feel a lot like cheating. Even so, it’s still original content that I’m producing.
I also want to include quotes from famous people at the beginning of each chapter. And I will, but I will not count them in my word count. I won’t even add them to the document until after the story is finished, to avoid accidentally having them counted.
I’ve also decided to write an “Author’s Note” at the end, but as I will most likely be well over 50,000 words before the story is finished, I’m not worried about that being dishonest.
For those of you participating in NaNo this year… what are ways you feel you might be cheating on the word count?
“The end… ninety-four, ninety-five… The very very VERY end!”
So, like I wrote the other day, I’m trying to listen to music that captures the emotions of the characters I’m writing. For that, I put together 4 Spotify playlists.
Word count is over 13.6K, so I guess I’m doing well.
I ended up changing Scott’s occupation from architect to journalist, but that doesn’t require rewriting more than a sentence, as his job has only been a setting so far and not a plot point. It will be a plot point later, though, which is why I changed it.
Kurt is increasingly both hard and easy to write, as I can very easily use the kind of religious lingo that would dominate his inner monologue, but I also have to resist the urge to define the logical rebuttals to his thought process.
Let’s talk about what kind of music to listen to while writing a novel.
The first three days, I listened to Explosions in the Sky while writing. Mellow instrumentals seemed like the best idea… not loud enough to grate my nerves, and no lyrics to distract me. Today I decided to change it up. Since I’m writing from three different perspectives (Four if you count… well never mind, you’ll find out) I tried listening to the kind of music that would be on the iPod of the character I’m writing at the time. I needed something angry to finish off Scott’s chapter. I started with Greydon Square, but rap is to lyrically focused and that’s distracting, so I switched to Megadeth.
Kurt’s chapter is a bit easier, though. He’s deeply religious, so I needed some inspirational Christian music. Unfortunately, I fucking HATE Christian music. I dug into my childhood via Spotify and ended up listening to a Rich Mullins album that I grew up enjoying.
Cara’s are going to be tough. I got through the initial Cara chapter already, but when I re-explore her, I need to have figured the character out enough to have a playlist for her. I feel like Silversun Pickups would be appropriate, but that’s something I listen to pretty regularly anyway, so I don’t know if it would aid in putting me in someone else’s mind.
As for the Josh pseudo-chapters, I’ll probably stick with stuff I listen to anyway, or go back to the Explosions in the Sky tracks. The pseudo-chapters won’t be incredibly long anyway.
Didn’t get as high a word count as I intended today, but I’m still ahead of the goal, even if behind on my personal one.
First off, though I haven’t blogged in a few days, that doesn’t mean I haven’t been writing. In fact, I’ve dived (diven? doven? who knows?) head first into National Novel Writing Month for I think the fourth time. But those first three times, I never took it seriously and didn’t have any actual story ideas to write. So I ended up with a 1200-word stream of consciousness the first day, and never took it any further. This year, I actually had a story. I came up with it a year and a half ago, envisioned as a screenplay, but later realized ways in which it would work better as a novel.
Am I ever going to show it to anyone? Probably.
Am I going to show it to everyone I know? Probably not, unless it goes through some serious edits first. I don’t really know what I’m going to do with it. The point of NaNoWriMo isn’t to be come a published author, it’s to write. If I like what I come up with, I’ll consider it a first draft and edit it. If I don’t, I’ll scrap it.
Another option is to hold onto it until April and then adapt it as a stage play for Script Frenzy. Unlike my novel writing talents (which I have no faith in), I feel that I could do something with a script, even if it’s just have it produced by a community theatre company somewhere.
But all that is up in the air. The point is, I’m writing fiction. I know it’s only Day 3, but I’ve pumped out 500 words more than my personal goal, which is about 350-a-day more than NaNoWriMo’s suggested goal. So I feel kind of accomplished right now.
Winners of the Chips and Salsa contest will be announced this week, and I’ll publish the drawings here. Spoiler Alert: It’s a five-way tie, between the five people who actually responded.
I will continue to blog, but the blogging may be “personal project status update heavy” for the next month or month and a half. Between marathon training and novel writing, that’s where my brain dwells for the time being.