aryllian: (Default)
I declare this experiment ended. I am at 43,082 words, the story is finished, and I just can't persuade myself that filling in is anything but a waste of time at this point. I know what I need to do next, and it doesn't involve adding more words to what I have now. It involves sitting down and figuring out what I have and how it ought to be put together, and making models so when I write it for real I'll have something sensible to work from.

As an experiment, I think NaNoWriMo was a success. It forced me to try something new--writing with much less continuity than I usually do (and much, much faster). The result is that in my mind I have an entire book. On paper, I have a mess, but it's a mess I feel I can work with. I am satisfied with the result.

As an exercise in reaching a predefined goal (50,000 words), I think NaNoWriMo just proves that deep down I'm very lazy (I already knew that). Sure, it would be cool to win NaNoWriMo, and it's only another 7000 words--but no, I'm not doing it. The real goal is to write a novel, and this was just a step on the way, and it has done its job.

So, what's next? December is not for writing, at least not on this project. I want to do outlines, and character profiles, and fill in about a million details about the world. I want to read some books I have on cities and on the history of law. I want to go through what I've written and pick out all the little things that suggest big things about how everything works, and work out all the implications.

I might manage some fraction of that in December--this is why I get stuck whenever I do too much worldbuilding. There's so much I could do...which is why my plan is to limit this to December.

On January 1, I want to start over, and write this book for real, start to finish, at a reasonable pace, with my normal requirements for decent prose and continuity and that sort of thing. I'm a bit less sure about how that should work, since I've never managed to write a novel and I won't have a convenient daily word count goal as I did this month, but hopefully it will all work out. I think the fact that I can still get excited about this project after spending a rather crazy month on it bodes well. We shall see.
aryllian: (Default)
I'm behind again, but I'm close enough to being on schedule that I'm sure I'll be able to make it to 50,000 words by the end of the month if I care enough to put a little extra effort into it, which I probably will.

I feel like there's not very far to go in terms of ending the story--but I'll need more than that to get the correct word count. Perhaps tomorrow I'll just do whatever it takes to end the story, which will take one kind of pressure off, and then after that I can just fill in and write more words 'til the end. There are a bunch of places that still need to be filled in, which means that even if I finish the story and make it to 50,000 words it won't really be complete--but I'm not sure that I care. I'm really looking forward to the end of November so I can quit writing 1667 words every day so that I can start working out all the stuff that doesn't really make sense yet, but which I haven't had time to work out while writing so much every day.

Lately, it's been harder writing--even writing junk--than it was at the beginning of the month. I feel like I should be wrapping things up and not going off on wild tangents, and even if I do go off on wild tangents there's more stuff to try to be consistent with, which limits the tangents.

The rule remains: all attempts to convince myself that it wouldn't really matter if I stopped now and had fun world-building or figuring out characters or whatever are to be taken as indications of a deep underlying laziness, and ignored.
aryllian: (Default)
The next time I do something like this, I'm going to plan for a couple of days off every now and then. I always end up doing it, and catching up is annoying.

But I haven't hit the wall yet. I didn't stop because there was no where to go, I stopped because I had other things I wanted to do more, and I knew the weekend was coming and I could catch up (and I think I actually will, mostly). Things are still coming fairly easily. It is mostly junk, but it's junk that I think I'll be able to do something with next month, which is obviously national novel revising month (that might take longer than a month, especially December, which is sort of crazy, but at the moment I'm planning to play with structure and outlines and scene planning in December and see what happens).

I think what I'm doing is writing out the stuff that I usually hold close and work out in my head--and this is probably a good thing, because I have noticed before it's easier to work things out when some version is down and captured, however wrong it may be. It's something to work against.

Even so, it is sort of strange that I'm perfectly happy with having a beginning that isn't right, that I know isn't right, that has whole chunks I skipped writing because I wanted to write the next bit more. The last time I tried something like this, I stopped because the beginning wasn't right and I couldn't stand it. Of course, this time I really have decided that any level of wrongness is okay so long as I finish, which I've never done before.

It probably helps that I know how this ends, both in terms of plot and in terms of character. I'm still worried about some middle plot bits, but the beauty of writing a mystery is that the ending is easy. They figure out who did it, and all is well.

Actually, I think the level of revisions I'm going to have to do on my VP stuff helped with the concept of writing quick junk, because it sort of hurts to go messing with my VP stuff; I know now that there is a lot I can do to make it much better, but I hate adding imperfect writing onto polished prose. I don't mind cutting, but adding the rest of the story is hard because it has to get worse before it will get better. The new writing doesn't match the rest of the writing, and won't without a lot of work.

Better start out writing junk and do all the story level changes, and then make the writing all nice and pretty. Theoretically. I'm sure it won't actually work out that neatly, but it's a nice theory at the moment.

NaNoWriMo

Nov. 4th, 2005 09:06 pm
aryllian: (Default)
I have often thought that NaNoWriMo was unreasonable and slightly crazy. I wasn't going to sign up--I wasn't even thinking about it till a random (non-writing) acquaintance mentioned it on October 31. Then, on November 1 I had a brilliant (or so it seemed) idea for a novel that seemed ideal for NaNoWriMo--it was something interesting and fun, but which I wouldn't want to spend a lot of time on, it came with a certain amount of pre-defined plot, it was something I wouldn't mind coming out at 50,000 words (not really a novel, you know), and it was a type of story for which solving writer's block by spacing down a few lines and typing "Suddenly, a shot rang out" wouldn't be as absurd as it would be in most of the things I write.

So I signed up (annoyingly, 'aryllian' was taken so I had to use 'extrapolating' -- it was what occurred at the time) and started writing. It has been surprisingly easy so far. Once I figured out that if I really paid attention to what I was writing, achieving my daily word count would take more time than I have, I started writing more quickly, and it's--well, it's much more of a first draft than I usually write, but I shall accept it in the spirit of experimentation. I'm sort of worried that at some point I'm going to run out of easy things to say, and I won't have the patience for figuring out difficult things when I have to write 1667 words each day. In related worries, I wonder if it will be more difficult when I reach the point where I have to start tying things together, instead of being able to jump to the next high point when I'm not sure what the next immediate event should be. But that's still a while off. Sufficient unto the day...

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Aryllian

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