Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Nanowrimo Stats





9,500 words a day or...

Estimated Finish Date: December 17, 2016

I can live with that. :)

Monday, November 28, 2016

Three Days Left

Today is November 28, 2016. This last week has been tough. One of my brother-in-laws passed away unexpectedly on Tuesday the 22nd. The kids had high fevers and colds and sleepless nights. And to wrap it up we had no running water for three days. Needless to say, there has been no Nanowrimo writing for quite some time.

Three days. 20,000 words to go. I may not finish on November 30, but I will not give up. One of my favorite writing quotes goes something like this:

The only difference between a published author and an aspiring writer is that the first didn't give up.

So off I go into the messy world of novel writing, after a few games of Plants vs. Zombies with my son, 7 years old and wearing a Santa hat while my husband and daughter sleep on. I won't remember the sleep I didn't get, but I will regret not finishing this novel. I think. At least on the days when I feel like it's actually worth it.

Impossible. That word floats around my head. Not good enough is another phrase I have to ignore. Keep writing. My goal was to have a working first draft by November 30.

Maybe I'll put my name on my books as RAG. :)

Friday, November 25, 2016

Writing Quotes

"Above all, Fantastic Four was about the strength of the family unit, and how crucial these close bonds are to holding onto your humanity in the wake of unimaginable transformation." Alasdair Wilkins

"Writers have a reputation for being distracted. That's because writers are distracted." Elizabeth Berg

"Some failure may be necessary so that the child can develop some modesty." Saul McLeod

"The truest test of character is how you treat those who are beneath you." Joe Bunting

"...what is most personal—our brokenness, our insecurities, our jagged edges—is most universal." Gabrielle Earnshaw, preface to Love, Henri

"I’m certainly not surprised that my book did not change your life. Writing it did not even change mine!" Henri Nouwen

"(Thomas Merton) was a genius, an artist, novelist, poet, painter and sparkling mind. I am plodding my way through life with much less." Henri Nouwen

"It is His story that makes our story worth living." Henri Nouwen

"The story is the place where we can feel at home." Henri Nouwen

Monday, November 21, 2016

Nanowrimo Again!

I wrote this a week ago when my husband took the kids into town...

It's odd to think that someday this, a day to myself, will not be the exception but the rule.

I am 28,000 words into the 25th draft of my novel. Only two of them saw completion, so perhaps I should call this my 3rd draft after 22 false starts. I am a bit daunted by the prospect of coming up with another 22,000 in 16 days. My average inspiration is 600 words a day. I need 1375. But there's a question nagging at the back of my mind, "Is this a novel that I would enjoy reading more than once? Or even once?"

Like Robert Louis Stevenson, I just want to write a story. He said about Treasure Island, "It was to be a story for boys, no need for psychology or fine writing; and I had a boy at hand to be a touchstone..." For not, I am my own touchstone, but I agree, no psychology or fine writing.

I tried to listen to the music today that I used a year ago, but those same songs no longer capture the feelings I am looking for.

I think my main character needs more voice. I have plenty of negative events but little conflict since even I don't know what Tea wants. Maybe to find the changeril?

I had no idea that writing a novel was so much work.

********

Today I would like to add that actually I need 80,000 words for a finished novel, not 50,000. My basic storyline without setting (which I usually skim or skip when I'm reading, which is probably why I'm extra bad at writing it) is 28,000 words, so basically I need to add in two more novel's worth of words when it was all I could do to come up with 28,000. So an improbable task now seems impossible.

I looked up how long it took JK Rowling to write her first novel. She got the idea on a train in 1990, and her first book was published in 1997. I'm not sure when she actually finished it. But I figure if it took her 7 years from start to finish, it's okay if it takes me a few years too. I'm a little more than one year in and happy with the order and basic characters. Now they just need to be fleshed out so it sounds like an actual story. I figure that may get me to 40,000.

Thinking about those next 40,000, perhaps I'll do what JRR Tolkien did, and have two separate stories that run through and merge. Except when I was reading the Lord of the Rings trilogy, I always wanted him to get back to Frodo and I didn't much care what happened to anyone else. But now that they've been made into movies, I prefer watching Aragorn's storyline. Hmmmm. I have about half of Der's story sketched out, but can't figure out how to make the timing work if I weave them together.

So on with the crafting and writing. There are 9 days left. Barring a miracle, I won't be finishing Nanowrimo this year. But I think of a summer I went to visit my parents, and instead of spending time with them, I worked on an essay for a contest I didn't win. The essay wasn't very good and I wasted time on it that I could have spent with my family. I don't know if, in the end, this novel will matter or not. But I know that my kids will. So I am setting aside my dream, for now, to play doctor with my daughter.

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Against All Odds

I did it!

 
 
 
In this moment of celebration, I don't care that it may be the worst novel ever written, because the important thing is that it exists. I have pushed myself this month, sometimes beyond endurance, through late nights and packing and moves and no internet. I have written on my computer, my husband's computer, my phone, my whiteboard, and every scrap of paper I came across.
 
Now I am done. DONE. The novel that has existed in my head in bits and pieces since 2007 has a first draft. It exists. What an amazing feeling. Thank you, Lord, for leading me to Nanowrimo! It's amazing what a little competition can do, even if it's just with yourself. :)
 
So happy.
 

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

The Worst and the Worst and the Awful

"...in order to create a world and populate it and make it real, we have to believe that we’ve got something amazing on our hands.

But it’s hard to sustain that belief through the grind that is necessary to actually make the idea real.

And if it helps, remember: this is what makes you a writer. Yes, this. The sick feeling in your stomach, the weariness you feel, the utter conviction that you are the Worst and your novel is the Worst and everything is awful."

- N.K. Jemisin, author of The Fifth Season, in a Nanowrimo pep talk.

That about sums it up. 10k words to go and I have no idea what to write. I'm down to describing my setting and characters. Remind me again, why am I doing this? My story is one gigantic mess. Even my husband's computer doesn't know how many pages long this draft is. Eventually it settled on 93. As a fan of fat books, I may only be 1/2 there, especially considering what I'll probably delete. Technically, I'm on draft 8 or 9. My very first draft was so pathetic not even I could stand it. This glorious idea in my head seems to disappear when I try to get it onto paper. I never knew what a terrible fiction writer I am. Thank-you ambition and Nanowrimo.

I had no idea how much work it takes to:

1) Write 50k semi-coherent words
2) Figure out a plot
3) Describe characters and settings and rules in non-boring, non-dumptruck ways
4) Show not tell
5) Just complete the crazy thing
6) Rewrite and
7) Not just delete everything I've ever written

So this is me, facing the Chasm of Doubt, as Jemisin calls it.

Will I jump or walk away?

Monday, November 23, 2015

Netflix My Nemesis

NCIS... Twelve seasons!

Bones... Season 10

7 days left of Nanowrimo. 12k words to go. No laptop. A different country. Thanksgiving. I can do this. Suck it up, Buttercup, one more week.