Skye Falling

Skye Falling

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Winding down from #NaNoWriMo, or 30 days of hell

NaNoWriMo is nearly over.

Hooray if you’ve already won or are soooo close you can taste it! If you are only at 30,000 words right now Ohmygodhurryyouarealmostoutoftimebutyoucandoit! If you are at 10,000, um, well, can't sneeze at 10K, it’s a good start and you are now 10,000 words closer to the end of your novel!

It’s not for everyone, this panic-filled mad rush to 50K. Would you do it again?

I’m unsure at this point. I cracked the magical 50K finish line a little bit ahead of schedule. Hey, who threw that?! I didn’t say it was GOOD. 

There. That's the crux of my issue with NaNoWriMo. What I wrote wasn't good. I don’t think I am especially OCD about my writing - a little, maybe - but I want what I write to be great. Isn't that the point? 

I started out with a general outline. I knew how the story would end, had prepared some scene ideas and character back stories all before November 1stIn case it's not clear, I am a planner, NOT a pantser, a seat of her pants writer.

At around 20,000 I started fizzling out but found my groove by shocking myself and pantsing it all over the effing place (and that sounds way dirtier than it should), ending up with some decent scenes including a biker gang fight that came out of NOWHERE. Then I threw her in jail at 33K. By 39K the fizzle beat the crap out of sizzle. Coffee, junk food, more coffee, lots of staring at the computer screen, lots of dramatic sighs and face palming.

Maybe it happened earlier or later for others. I tried checking #NaNoWriMo and #amwriting for ideas, did a couple word sprints but the sizzle, the fire, the drive, was gone. I got it back at around 45,000 after writing some pretty shitty words (I'm being kind here) by coming up with a better motivating back-story for my main character. But still, those shitty words taunted me, “fix me, I’m terrible” they say. "You're gonna leave me hanging like this all flat and awful?  There's a typo RIGHT NEXT TO ME."

I pushed on. I’m so glad I did. The first half is way better than the second half where my goal became word count not story, meeting the deadline instead of fleshing out the characters. The crazy deadline that is NaNoWriMo leaves no time to select the perfect word or come up with the perfect sentence. You have to put down good-enough-for-now words and eh-f*ck-it-I'll-change-it-later sentences and I found that surprisingly difficult.
BUT, here's the important part, hence the caps, NaNo taught me to follow the characters as they flipped me the bird and marched right off my outline and that the story is (mostly) better for it. Words can be changed, sentences and paragraphs can be improved later.

Today, as I write this, the sky is a canvas of gorgeous deep orange and pink. I hadn’t noticed sunsets all month because…Nano (also November which is typically very gray here in the Midwest). The very day I cracked that magical threshold at 50,716, the heavy pressure eased. Is my novel finished? HAHAHAHAHA. 


But the bones of a pretty good story are there, in JUST 30 DAYS. So maybe, possibly, next November I will go through this again. Until then, I’ll be revising, rewriting, and occasionally watching a beautiful sunset.


Saturday, November 8, 2014

BOOM - First week in the can #NaNoWriMo

Holy crap, the first week of NaNo is in the can.

And I’m still writing.

I'm so not a write-by-the-seat-of-my-pants kind of gal. I WANT to be a pantser but I'm not. I planned, I researched, I outlined, I read, I attended the prep sessions in my region.

By the 30th after changing the idea THREE times I was ready to write a 50,000 word novel in 30 days. HAHAHAHAHAHAHA

No. That's a big, fat lie. I was scared, giddy, WTF-ing all over the place. But determined.

As a first-timer taking on this challenge it find it has freed me. As I said I’m not a pantser. Honestly, I can't see how this ridiculous deadline can be done by true-blue pantsers but I’ve read that it’s been done. *Cough* bullshit *cough*

I’ve got ideas on where I’m headed, I know how my story should end, but how I get there is surprising me. That’s sort of pantsing, right?

The act of creating the story where ANYTHING can happen has been joyous. For Pete’s sake I massacred a bunch of people in a ballroom and KILLED THE MAYOR OF CHICAGO! (jk, I love ya, Rahm, you mad, bro?)

It’s fiction.

BOOM! That’s the power of Nano. I get it now.

Did you write your MC into a literal corner and are now spending hours staring at the computer trying to figure it out? BOOM have the floor open up or the building explode or the MC flying through the window.

You can't figure out what your MC would do next? BOOM have him/her do the least expected thing possible. MC is honest, upright citizen? Suddenly he runs down grandma in the street. You get the picture.

NaNoWriMo has freed my inner monster (in a good way, mostly, I think)

I’m at just under 20,000 words as of last night.  To be honest I thought I’d be biting my nails, racking my brain, swearing, maybe even crying when I’m stuck after the first week. I'm sure that will happen but then I get to tell myself BOOM anything can happen.

I’m not sure what’s coming up the pike to bite my characters in the ass in Week Two but I’ll figure it out.

BOOM giant lake monster actually bites my character in the ass. Hmmm.


Saturday, November 1, 2014


November  1st - IT’S NANO TIME

Before I get into opining on #NANOWRIMO I should point out that for a long time I was a medical transcriptionist, working out of my house. Yeah, it was awesome.  In medical transcription we use lots of short hand in Word, like sob automatically spits out shortness of breath, MI is myocardial infarction, tpi is The patient is. You get the idea. 

It strikes me today, writing the headline, that nov is nausea or vomiting. Yeah, funny right? Because November 1st, the start of NaNoWriMo, probably elicits some that nov in participants, especially first-timers like myself.

I changed my story idea three times.  THREE! First it was a YA Urban Fantasy.  I had character back stories, scene ideas, plot ideas, research. Then I switched to a contemporary YA about a troubled teen who tries to solve her mother’s murder. More character back stories, scene ideas, plots, not so much research.

Then some of the panic and nausea (sans vomiting, thank goodness) set in;
1 - I’ve never written YA. What am I thinking?
2 - I’ve never written first person POV. What the hell am I thinking?
3 - I’ve never written a novel in 30 days. WTF am I thinking?!?

A day after that I switched back to Urban Fantasy and made it an adult,  tightened the plot, adultified (all right, I made that word up but it FITS, doesn't it?)the characters, etc. And that’s the novel I’m sticking to, swear. Thankfully, I can use the research already done for Idea #1.

So for me, chucking one-third of my panic and nausea – the YA part – calmed me enough to trick myself into thinking maybe okay possibly I could do this. Could I squeeze any more qualifiers in that sentence? I think not.

What also helps in the support of my Twitter buds encouraging me, my new friends on the regional Nano website competing on word counts, the funny writers at @Nanowrimo making me laugh, and the support of my friends and family.


*batman voice* (Bale, not West – I mean, come on, people, Bale clearly has the best batman voice of all the Batmans)  “Day one. Done.”

My word count currently sits at 3602, so I've met my 2000 word goal and then some. I’m going back tonight to wring out some more words.

Now that it’s begun I’m excited but not nauseated. Nervous but not vomiting (again, thank goodness because…gross).  Day one is nearly over and I’m feeling pretty confident.

I’ve read the blogs, attended the local prep sessions at the library, learned a lot.  I plan on attending a write-in tomorrow with some of the people from my local Nano group (they’re a fun group, many who have participated in Nano for years, some wins, some incompletes, a portion of us are first-timers)  Everyone’s warned me about the week two drag and I’m ready for that, too, by banking some words in week one.

I’m ready.
*batman voice* “Bring it, Nano. Day Two.”
*chugs Pepto*