A WIP thing

So a friend of mine, Shannon, did this and talked me into it.  I’m not really sure how applicable it is to my only concrete work in progress, since Færie Patrol is so very much a “I’ll jot down a few words if I suddenly get a bug” status right now.

Still, it’s cute, it can’t hurt, so what the hell, right?

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How serious should I be?

Perusing NaNoWriMo’s forums I keep coming across variations of an interesting, and generally unanswerable question for all artists – but one I swear seems to come up more and be more vehemently … argued? among authors (writing advice books, other writing forums, etc.):  how seriously to take the writing?  What priority should it hold in your life?  And other similar veins of thought.

Now, really, as with all things – no one can tell you what works for you; they can only say what works for themselves and you may take it or leave it.  So I offer my advice, my ‘what works for me.’

Take the story seriously.  Not as in ‘the story should be serious’, just that you should care about staying true to your setting and characters.  A criticism I saw once of Twilight is that the personality and behaviour of the characters is what it must be to satisfy the whim of the moment – to visit the realm of hyperbole, for the sake of make a point, if you have someone a professional dancer in chapter 3, they ought not be unable to dance when asked in chapter 33, or in chapter 3 of the next book.

The work itself?  Writing is a labour of love.  Writing pays worse than waiting tables.  I’ve seen it argued that slavery is a higher paying job.  Unless one is the proper mix of prolific and lucky (mostly lucky) wealth will not be yours; you will want to keep that day job.  As such, treat it, maybe not so much as a hobby, but rather as … a joy.  Take pleasure in it.

Family, and life should take precedent.  If you truly love telling the story you have to tell, then you will tell it eventually.  Keep your promises, certainly.  If you have promised your fans a book a year, put out a book a year – or else apologise and give them a good reason for tardiness.  If you have made no such promise, then write as you may.  I tend to find myself in a point between these to places; I have made no specific promises to my readers regarding the frequency of Now & Forever’s releases, but I have made a promise to myself – that can be just as important.  So far I’m keeping that promise, but I fear sometimes I shan’t continue to do so.  We’ll see.

Even if you are so fortunate as to live on your writing – if you force yourself to write in such a manner as to impact your quality, what favour have you done your readers?  What favour have you done yourself in the name of word count, to sacrifice happiness, health, and time with those you love to stress over a chapter simply because you’ve decided that writing should be a 9-5 job the same as any other?  Or, as I’ve seen it suggested on a few of this year’s pep talks, a 365-day a year project – weekends, holidays, sickness and health; being married to your work, be it writing or banking, is not healthy.  Writers of that sort are infamous for dying young in suicide or drowning in a bottle of whiskey.

I am motivated by my own curiosity of what happens next.  I am motivated by my characters’ clamour that I tell their story.  I am motivated by a personal sense of perfectionism that hates to leave things unfinished unless it is absolutely indisputable that they cannot be finished.  Not everyone is.

I know a woman for whom NaNoWriMo is the biggest boon to her word count.  She writes throughout the year, but does far better during NaNo events.  This has to do with her own personality and the presence of the NaNoWriMo.com progress graphs – she has OCD, graphs make her very happy apparently.  Still, 50k words in a month – 1667 per day – is not really so much, an hour’s work or so when feeling inspired, a few hours if you sit down and put your mind to it … if your issue isn’t writer’s block so much as a need for an excuse to put aside the browser and stop wiki-surfing.

We’re all different.  A writer I adore rents an office, one she goes to for 8 hours a day, 5 days a week, in order to write.  Why?  Because if she doesn’t, she forgets to write; she finds an hundred other things to do besides write.  She wants to tell her story, and she likely would tell it eventually, but it may take her decades to write a single novel – and she was writing for contract, this was not an option, nor was it personally one given that she had more stories afterward that she wished to tell.  Some writers have an office at home, a place to shut out distraction and find a little peace to work – understandable, it can be very difficult to produce quality work if you can’t keep a coherent thought for 30 seconds running.  Still, office, or a hammock in the backyard with pets and children running and screaming – write as you will, and as you may, but don’t forget to live; one who forgets to experience life, is one who will have a harder time expressing and illustrating life in her work.

There are those who will argue with me:  “But Ray Bradbury siad you must write every day” and such like.  Yes, he did.  He also said to read things, any random thing that strikes your fancy, pick up books on anything that interests you, and to live.  He may have been speaking hyperbolically.  Also, maybe that worked for him – he seemed to recognise that, sometimes, you spend a few hours staring at the page trying to write and getting nowhere, but at least you tried, and other times you write 200 words in 12 hours of endless struggle, and then the next day erase it all to replace it with 3000 words of the most fantastic prose you ever saw.  No one, no one, no one, can tell you how to write, when to write, how much to write, what to write … well, I suppose if you write for hire, then the person who drew up the contract can, but then there’s the argument that you can refuse to sign said contract … never mind that, though, only you can tell yourself that.  Just as it’s your story, it’s your life that you’ll be writing it around; what is important to you?  If the story is more important than your children, or your spouse, your health, or the state of your home – then, so be it, just be sure you are aware that such an attitude will have consequences.  Be sure that your novel, or poetry, or screenplay, or whatever, is worth it to you.

Maybe the NaNoWriMo bits aren’t so bad

Well, I’m pretty sure, now, that I’m editing bits I wrote during November’s National Novel Writing Month event.

They’re not half as bad as I remembered them being.  Things are going amazingly smoothly.

know the Camp NaNoWriMo portion near the end is going to make me cry.  I wasn’t happy with that while I was writing it.  Hopefully a solution will present itself before I get there.

Regardless — I’m done with them.  No more writing challenges for me except the ones I set for myself … which generally amount to things like “have some word count before going to bed”.

WriMo: Help or Hindrance?

Now that I’m in the process of editing Ready or Not I’m getting a chance to really reflect on the benefits, or even if there are any, to participating in NaNoWriMo and Camp NaNoWriMo.

For me at least, not such a wonderful thing.  The motivation it provided, the impetus to get words on paper was nothing that a little determination on my own part couldn’t have achieved and the effort — even not taking it seriously and not caring if I made word count goal or not — to make the word count goal led to what I now see, as I delve into editing the results, substandard writing.

I won’t say that the project itself is a bad thing.  I really think there are potential authors out there, ones with talent and good stories to tell, who lack … a certain something, perhaps self confidence, to even try to get their novel rolling.  For them, it’s definitely great.  For those who want a vacation from their usual writing load to just churn out any ol’ nonsense as fast as they can, it’s good.  For anyone who needs that external push, or possibly just some little bar graphs showing their progress, it’s good.

For me?  I’ll pass from now on.  If I get another nasty bout of writer’s block I’ll simply go to the park and stare at a lake for a few hours in the sunshine.  Seems to be more productive.

For those looking forward to the series, no worries, I’m fortunate enough that what I wrote is quite salvageable; I’ve no need, yet, to do any massive rewrites — just far heavier editing and more drastic rewriting of some paragraphs and pages than I did with the previous book.

Wish me luck.

And for those inclined to keep giving WriMo your time and attention, good luck yourselves and have fun.  I must say, the forums were an interesting and fun distraction now and then.

God help me, I didn’t learn my lesson.

So, Camp NaNoWriMo is coming up.

For those who don’t know, it’s a set your own word count goal event in April from, yep, the folks who bring us NaNoWriMo.

I’ve no idea what I was thinking.  Still, I’ve set myself a loose goal of 25,000 words with the expectation that it might be to the end of Ready or Not.  To be honest, I’m not sure the book actually has that far left in it, so I’m thinking of changing my goal to 10 or even 5 thousand.  Or else making up the missing word count with Book 3.

In any event, Ready or Not should be ready for editing and proofreading by the end of April.

Wow more word count than I’d thought!

Winner-120x90-2Just finished typing the bits of Ready or Not I’d written during NaNoWriMo and discovered that the actual final tally is 56,598 words!

That’s very inspiring.   I’m still not sure how much the experiment can be dubbed a success — I feel rather strongly that this story is going to wind up needing far more intensive editorial work than Love or Lust did, but we’ll see.  With luck I’m just being too hard on myself.  I did, after all, think rather poorly of Book 1 until I’d given it two or three read throughs, my editor had seen it and made her comments, and a few friends had taken a look at it.

Well, wish me luck.  I now embark on the grand adventure of figuring out what happens in Chapter 20 and how far it is to the end of this one.

Status of Love or Lust, by the by, is that my editor is about to do her final proofread on it.  Depending how fast that goes (read just how terrible my spelling and grammar wound up being) I could, conceivably, publish it by Valentine’s day (a rather lovely date to start since that would be approximately the 1yr anniversary of me starting to write it, though I think that actual date was 8 February), otherwise we’re looking around Early march barring any major catastrophes.

I won!

Well, it took me to the last day to accomplish it, but I’ve got my 50k words for NaNoWriMo!  I’m still not done with Ready or Not, but I’m getting there.  Once there I still have to type all of this, normally I do that about every 4 – 8 chapters, but that wasn’t an option if I wanted to have time to get my word count.

Anyway, the migraine fairy has come to visit and I have to see if Sally winds up in hospital.  Busy day.

Nearly there!

Here I am on the eve of the 27th of November and I’m less than 2000 words away from the 50K target!  This means, theoretically, if the word count I’ve managed the past few days continues, I could finish tomorrow.

Ready or Not itself isn’t quite ready to be called done though.  Completing NaNoWriMo will put me at right around 92k – 100k words, but like with Love or Lust the final tally will probably be closer to 135k – 140k.  This story is heavier on the slice of life element and so the chapters and scenes feel a bit more glimpse in time, or anecdotal.  It’s sweet, it’s romantic, but it also has tragedy and eroticism.

I’m quite curious to see where this goes.  Especially since once I’ve found out I’ll actually know how their junior year is going to go.  Pity it’s not likely to include a week in Paris again — that was fun.  Maybe Rome or Naples next year, hmmm.

Good night all



Holiday: bad for word count

I had hoped to, by tonight, have built up a word count surplus to carry me through the next three days of Thanksgiving time off. This did not happen. I swear I can actually hear the progress screeching to a halt.

Last couple of days have been busy at work, coupled with a case of the blahs – one day’s being accidentally self inflicted. Who knew Nestle puts Sucralose in their hot chocolate? Drank some at work, and I’m essentially allergic in that I eat it and I get a headache at best and a migraine so bad I’m begging for a sweet reprieve in Hell. Luckily this one managed to be low enough dose to be the former.

In any event, instead of a week’s word count in a few days, I’ve gotten a single day’s count in a few days. Tomorrow is going to be spent cooking and eating, Thursday is going to be spent doing the dishes. Friday will be spent in bed, telling the universe to go away.

With luck I can get some few hundred words or so on each day to keep from falling too far behind, then get some miraculous boost Saturday and Sunday.

In any case, it’s only 15000 words in 10 days. I’m sure I’ll manage.

Good night, Happy Thanksgiving.


Finally, on target

Well, still sucked into NaNoWriMo.  It’s, honestly, done me some small good.  I’ve somehow learnt how to overcome getting stuck.  Honestly, nothing for the past dozen days is anything new.  I’ve written more word count by far in less time before (one point in writing Love or Lust I’d managed something like 10,000 words in a day … despite doing things like eating, being at work, having pets to care for, and so on.  Still, a deadline that isn’t self-imposed does help encourage me to write at least a few hundred words a day.  Somehow I’ve actually accomplished it.

It was a slow start.  No words the first day, 860 the next.  As of yesterday, though, I’m on track to finish by the 30th not only by my own count, but by NaNoWriMo’s.  It’s nice the damned thing finally agrees with me.

It’s been fun, I got to take the girls to Paris.