Sunday, October 16, 2011

Weekly Writing Check-In: Actually...writing?!

my magnum opus.
I was pretty flabbergasted a couple days ago when I realized that I had to like...write stuff. I mean, my brain is in editing and planning mode right now until Nano in a couple of weeks, so this whole notion of writing is like being told I'm actually expected to work when I go to work. I mean, what.

Since finishing Nano '10 I've barely touched my Revenge draft except to re-read and take notes for future plot plans. I did write like...a page somewhere over the past year, but it wasn't a very good page. After Nano '10 I still had to finished the first draft of Rebirth, start editing it, and there were some short story attempts in there too. OH and Camp, which was an entirely different story in the CROSS// series. So yes, this week I officially dusted off the chapter I left off on last year and realized...damnit, not only do I have to somehow finish this scene, but I also have to finish the chapter. How dare you ask me to write! Actually, I'm just annoyed because I have no idea what scene to write next yet. I barely know what I'm going to write during Nano as it is. Whine. Gripe. Moan.

Also always a good time killer is lurking on the Nano forums which finally have been given some new life with the new season. Of course, like somebody with a real love for self-punishment, I always read the rule and rebel forums to see what we're whining about this year. Everybody has their major gripe about Nano and this is mine:

While everybody knows what the "core" rule is (you must start a totally new story in November) the staff have always "welcomed" the ~cheaters~ who are not either 1) writing a traditional fictional novel or 2) starting a new story, but with the caveat that we acknowledge that we're not a part of the ~real nano spirit~ or can consider ourselves winners when we pass 50k before the 30th.

Which is, you know, utter bullshit.

There is nothing more extraordinary about starting a new draft from scratch and writing 50k than doing a WIP and writing 50k. The "spirit" of nano has always been about writing 50k in 30 months to me, with a lovely dose of community and squeeing and nail biting going on the other 23hours of the day we're not buckling down to write.

I also don't see what the difference is between somebody doing a WIP and a person starting a new story who is already working from an extremely detailed outline, where pretty much all they have to do is flesh it out with prose and dialogue. And with all the "tips" we see every Nano (write out contractions, be as purple and wordy as possible, etc) it seems like such a silly line to draw. Today I saw a staff member say that doing a WIP is not conducive to the creative abandon of Nano. Excuse me? Just because I didn't come up with my plot and characters until October 31st (and even if you're doing a new story, I feel like very few people go into Nano doing this anyway) doesn't mean that my creative juices aren't being pushed to their limits and I'm in the corner going "OMG BUT I DON'T KNOW WHERE THEY'RE GOING OR WHY THEY'RE IN THE CAR UGH".

In short, I love Nano, I love the communities I've found through it, I love that it makes me set aside whatever else I'm doing and work on that rough draft I've been neglecting, and I love when December 1st comes around and  I get to see that all my hard work has paid off and my writing career is on the right track. What I DON'T love is the head patting on rebels and saying "that's sweet, you're welcome here, but you don't really know about we're doing". It's especially distracting to us who don't live in a world where all novels are 50-90k. I write 300k epic novels. You expect me to write that much in a month? Maybe if I had Hermione Granger's time necklace thing. BUT I DON'T.

Anybody can start a novel. It takes a lot of dedication to actually finish one, which is what we WIPers are attempting.


/goes back to writing


  1. I'd give you a sarcastic pat on your rebel head right now if I didn't think you'd bite my hand off and spit it back in my face.

    Even though I always start something new, I don't see what the difference is between resuming a WIP or starting something new. 50k in a month is still a huge undertaking.

  2. Apparently it has to do with ~the adventurous spirit~ or whatever the buzz phrase of the week is, lol. Somebody tried explaining that it was like WIPs are too serious or something. Man, I have no idea. I was too busy going "wut".

  3. 50k in a month is serious business no matter how you slice it.

  4. I think the difference is that they're thinking 50k of a new work is expected to be junk, but 50k of a WIP will turn a good piece into junk, simply because your goal is word count rather than quality. And they don't want to feel responsible for that, so they just marginalize you off to the side so they don't have to look at you and feel guilty.

    I dunno. I've never got more than 1000 words into NaNo and it was already junk, so what do I know?

    Hey! It's my first time here ... found you on Rachael Harrie's Notice Board and the title of your blog lured me. I notice that you must take procrastination very seriously, if you finish 50k in 30 months! That's actually doable! ~wink~

  5. But if you go by the thought that most first drafts are junk, it really doesn't make that much difference. I've never noticed much quality difference between during nano and off-season-nano writing, but then again 2k a day is the norm for me when I'm really into it.

    And welcome! Always great to have new people dropping by around here!


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