Writing is an exploration. You start from nothing and learn as you go. ~ E. L. Doctorow

Monday, November 15, 2010

NaNoWriMo-Day 14

Current word count: 24,051

The weekends. A time to sit down, shirk all other responsibilities and write. Let’s be serious. Melting into the couch with my boyfriend Kevin is far more appealing. Although, I found time on Saturday morning while he worked to update 13 more attraction listings for my internship and scribbled a few drab words for my much-neglected blog, but still no NaNo writing.

My goal was to reach 20,000 words by Saturday so that I could get myself back on track, but I fell short of my goal. BUT, I did manage to make it up today by writing over 5,000 words! I’m a writing animal. 3,200 of those words were written in two hours at my weekly Write-In at Borders fueled by Alex’s (fellow Wrimo) yummy brownies and chocolate chip cookies that smelled like Christmas and cold-brewed marble mocha iced coffee.

As the Write-In came to an end, we discussed our concerns and dilemmas with our novels. Alex asked me and one other participant, Greg, to put excerpts of our story on our NaNoWriMo website homepage. Make my words available for readers? I felt the cold, icy hand of fear squeeze my heart, making my eyes bulge. Of course I immediately declined the suggestion. There is no reason my terrible words should be thrust upon unsuspecting readers. She assured me that writers are much harder critics of their own work than readers. I came home and checked over a few sections and concluded the only thing I would accomplish from publishing an excerpt of my novel is shame.

Once I got over the mini spasm attack, I took a look at the amount of words I’ve written so far, and I can’t believe it. 24,000 words. I’m finally connecting with my story and can’t wait to write each scene. I’m having a lot of fun writing, watching my story and characters evolve. It’s just not ready for public eyes.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

NaNoWriMo-Day 11

Current word count: 13,061-17,341

One caveat for NaNoWriMo participants: Avoid bookstores. Seeing the shelves of new writers, wishing my name were there, is defeatist. It leaves you in a desolate place where doubt and fear swallow you whole.

Crap. All I have written is crap. Literary junk food is the only level my novel might attain, and literary is overly optimistic.

The dialogue is suffocating the narration. There is too much and it’s starting to annoy me. Lexi is a silent main character. No one, including me, knows what she’s thinking. Clearly, balance does not exist in my writing toolbox.

Revision is an inaccurate word to describe the next stage once I’ve finished writing. Complete overhaul sounds better. Reading my words brings on fits of despair. Don’t even get me started on the lack of interesting in my sentences. You would have thought I was a first grader just learning to put words together to make sentences. Quantity over quality. Wait, I think that was the goal of the challenge. Either way, my writing is awful, but at least my word count is catching up.

I…must…keep…writing.

NaNoWriMo-Day 10

Current word count: 12,197

I didn’t get any NaNo writing done until 10 o’clock tonight. I worked on my internship and web design class earlier. Theresa Hegel from The Intelligencer newspaper (http://www.phillyburbs.com/news/local/the_intelligencer.html) interviewed me regarding my participation in NaNoWriMo. I’m excited she’s going to plug my blog in the article. Since I waited until the end of the day, I only wrote about 800 words.

Fear kept me from writing today. Fear of the words needed to get back on track. How silly. I am truly enjoying the writing experience and the creation of my novel. Fear shouldn’t be able to wiggle its way into my psyche. One attempt to block fear: I place index cards with statements and words of encouragement around my writing area to spur me on. It still finds a way to paralyze my fingers and confuse my thoughts.

My inner editor has been whispering through the cracks in the box its been locked in, too. Apparently my characters are in service to my plot, when the plot should be in service to the characters. What?!?! Basically, my characters are the main attraction in a novel, and the plot should reveal details and provide insight to them. It should lay the path the characters will grow, evolve, learn, or remain stagnant. Right now, the characters just decorate the plot.

The whispers continued, exposing more flaws. I need more internal monologue from Lexi, my main character. The setting needs development to ensure my words will create images of Willow Hill in the minds of my readers. I can hear wind shaking the stubborn yellow and orange leaves on the trees outside, but weather is almost completely absent from the novel’s existing pages, not so realistic. Currently, my novel takes place in a forgettable two-dimensional world. Crap. Unfortunately none of these problems will be fixed until the revision stage. Ahhh! Where the hell is Nov. 30th?

I’m tired and my eyes won't stay open. Tomorrow is another day.

NaNoWriMo-Day 8

Current word count: 8,076-9,985

Well, I spent an hour and a half completing the murder scene. The victim, Ken, is dead from multiple stab wounds. Those almost two thousand words came quickly. Now, I have to get myself ready to tackle the police investigation scene next.

As a former English teacher, my crime scene investigation and police procedural skills are limited to what I’ve read and seen on T.V. It’s really important that it sounds realistic.

Barnes and Noble has a set of books on the shelves of the writing/publishing section covering these subjects. I could always go to the police station across the street from me and do some research as well, but I think right now I need to focus on getting the story on the page. Research, although should have been done before the writing and outlining began, will need to be done during the revision stage.

I need a break.

NaNoWriMo-Day 7

Current word count: 5,924-8,076

Well, I have slacked off for the last 3 days. The shame has latched onto my back, pulling me down. Luckily, I met up with a few other Wrimos at Border’s for a Write-In and got myself back on track. We all accomplished 2000 words in the two hours and earned the Socializing badge. Go Team!

I find working independently with other writers motivating. It was comforting to share space and talk when moved to, and encourage each other to write. A more productive environment than what is set up at my house. None of us were tempted to putter around on Facebook or e-mail for fear of being caught. We enjoyed it so much we are meeting up again next Sunday.

Unfortunately, I am still further behind that I would like to be. I might try to write a bit more tonight before I go to bed, but no promises.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

NaNoWriMo-Day 4

Current word count: 3,269-5,924

I started my day off getting my internship work and web design class completed. Now, I have all day to NaNo write. I feel more rested today, and I have more motivation.

I am not working at the moment (won’t last for long), which allows me more time to get my creative flow moving. The other day I went into to my seasonal job, Williams Sonoma, and filled out my rehire paperwork. I missed the warm holiday smells of mulling spices and pumpkin and talking with some of my favorite co-workers. Some of the characters and murder location of my NaNo novel are based on employees and the store itself. Although I might lose time to write, going back might prove helpful for development of details and scenes in my story, and I might earn another NaNo badge if I secretly write at work.

So far this challenge has taught me novel writing is extremely hard. After spending two hours of typing, huge waves of exhaustion crash on top of me. Then, the days I can't muster the energy to write I'm beat down by guilt. Feelings of failure overwhelm me and the doubt sets in. My word count doesn't move, but I'm hoping it can be made up on the days I do write.

Another source of frustration is the devilish word counter nonchalantly hanging out at the bottom of my word document window. It has thwarted my attempts to hide it on the computer, so I put an index card containing a character sketch in front of it. I am no longer tempted to glance down at my insufficient progress, and I have details about the character currently in the scene I'm writing. Two birds, one stone.

One more frustration. Ideas for the next scene pop up or my inner editor tries to get out of the box its been banished to while I’m trying to finish a chapter/scene. I tell myself to keep writing, even if things don’t fit, are misplaced or just plan suck. JUST WRITE!!!!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

NaNoWriMo-Day 3

I’m really tired today. Writing is very exhausting. Luckily, many of the attractions updates I worked on today for my internship were not in the database. It afforded me more time to get other things done, write more, and see my boyfriend.

All my grand plans were thwarted when UPS delivered my greenhouse. I was going to wait to put it together, but my mom offered her assistance. It took us about an hour and there is still one pole that is not completely in its place. It was a bitch to get together, and the frustration made us edgy. Several times either one of us would have killed someone if they stepped too close.

My exhaustion rose to a new level. Because I couldn’t find the energy to write, I put my outline and character sketches on index cards. That’s where I left the day, but it a total waste it was not.

My boyfriend, Kevin, came over and imparted a few words of wisdom. He told me to write about my fatigue, even if it didn’t have anything to do with my scene. He said I could only then really understand what fatigue felt like. He also told me to write in information that I skipped in a previous chapter, perhaps a character reflecting on earlier scenes. Then I could go back during revision phase and move things around.

Throughout the challenge I can earn badges for different accomplishments. I believe if I were to write information into places it doesn’t fit, but is pertinent to the novel would count as an attempt to pad words. I think I would buy the badges if I earn several more through the month. All the badges:

NaNo Socializing

Word-Count Padding

Procrastination

Caffeine Abuse

Secret Noveling

Creative Nonfiction

Rally Day

the Eureka Moment

Random Ending

Victory

Hopefully, tomorrow will bring more energy to write.

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