Sunday, November 28, 2010

Discovering the Truth

I didn't finish NaNo last year until the 28th. This time last year, I remember writing this really awkward, longwinded attempt at closure to a novel that I knew wasn't done. However, last year, I couldn't wait to be done with it, and not because of all the epic stuff you get for winning NaNo. I hated my novel last year. The characters were flat. The setting sucked. The themes I knew that I wanted to write into the story weren't appearing. I wanted to totally revamp it. I wanted new characters, a new setting, and a new history for them. But people told me that I was just tired of it. People told me that I should wait and see, because certainly I couldn't be wrong about something as huge as character and setting.

Mostly, those people were my parents who, fortunately, are incredibly supportive of my writing, if not my chosen subject. They thought that I was just being fickle. What they and I (is that grammaticality correct? It kind of sounds funky) didn't know was that I was right. I wasn't being honest to my story as I wanted it to be; I wasn't being honest to the characters or the Corps or anything that my story was supposed to be about.

And that was a problem.

It was such a problem that I've abandoned this story at least three times. I abandoned it once to do Screnzy in April, once just because I hated it, and then in July of this last summer, for When the Storm Birds Fly. 

This NaNo, I knew (even if I didn't want to admit it) what I would write. My affair with Gunmetal Gray wasn't and isn't anywhere near done. This NaNo, I had new characters. Including a new main character without whom I now cannot imagine the story. I have new plot twists and scenes. I have what's probably the worst written, most grammatically incorrect, 'first draft' I have ever written. I don't know if I can even call it a first draft, it's so bad. But there's life there, in the first draft, in the scenes and characters that  I never thought I would end up writing. What I wrote for NaNo is the first 50,000 words of the story that's dictated my life for the past two years. On the third of December (a date picked by a friend) I'm going to begin writing the second half, which I anticipate will be about as long as the first.

That gives me a week to plot.

And sleep.

And read.

And do everything else I didn't have time to do during NaNo.

Honestly, though, I'm kind of sad that I have this week. I'm sad that I don't have to be working on my NaNo right now, because I've met the goal, even if the story isn't anywhere near completed. It feels weird, not writing my story. 

Except I wouldn't have it any other way. Missing the story this much has to mean that we're both going to make it. 

That's the magic of NaNo, and that's what I missed out on last year, even though I won.

Friday, November 26, 2010

On Winning NaNoWriMo


I've been a terrible blog-owner for the past few weeks because of NaNoWriMo. I apologize. However, I JUST WON NANOWRIMO HOLY SHIT. Last year was my first attempt at NaNo, and I distinctly remember being deliriously sick and pounding out 14,000 shitty words on Black Friday. Today, I wrote 3,486 to push me over to the win. 

Towards the end (like the past few days) I was feeling incredibly non-inspired. I would have to wordwar to get anything done and didn't meet my word counts for a few days in a row. I would always write, but I wouldn't enjoy it. Now that I've finished NaNo, the enjoyment is back. The pressure is off. I can keep writing and not worry about needed to meet my self-imposed deadline of sometime this weekend.

I wrote 50,000 words in 26 days and I'm no where near done with my story. In fact, I just started to write where I know the story should start. It might not make a lot of sense to other people, writing what I know won't be in the book because it happens so far in the character's pasts, but I enjoyed it. It was like 50,000 words of character study and development. Something incredible that I've never done before, that I don't know if many writers ever bother to go through.

People are always so concerned with getting the story out that they never take a change to let it grow. They never let it become something of its own. This year, this NaNo, I let my story breathe. With the help of a friend who shall not be named, I now have a second main character who is just as important as Lee and Cam. I never would have had him in my story without NaNo. I never would have written anything that involves him without letting myself go and write whatever came on the page.

I'm not saying that people shouldn't outline, shouldn't attempt to marginally control what becomes of their art. Because I think that's awesome. I just think that it's a skill you must learn. It's a skill that I was able to hone and refine with the help of NaNo.

Now I'm letting myself take off from writing (but not character developing) until Monday. Then I'm going to start seriously outlining and figure out where what I wrote falls. I don't know what I'll keep and what I'll toss. I do know that I'm rewriting all of it into the past tense  (I wrote it in present because that was how the first sentence went) but I don't know what themes and general scenes I'll save.

I do know that I'm happier with my characters, setting, and general plot than I've ever been.

That's what NaNo did for me this year. 

Now I just have to keep up the writing pace of at least 1,000 words a day and remember to update this thing at least once a week.

(also, I find it incredibly ironic that Echo Taps is playing on my iTunes throughout the writing of this post)

I hope everyone enjoyed their Thanksgiving!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

the way this is going, I'm expecting this draft to end up somewhere around 80-100,000 words.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

In Between Word Wars...

NaNo's going very well. I feel like it's a lot easier than it was last year, like I'm not as frenzied as I was, but just writing and more comfortable with the quality of what I'm writing. I'm anticipating another massive rewrite of the story -- I'm pretty sure I'm going to need to switch verb tenses and the style in which I'm telling it-- but I like the story right now.

Three new plot twists have already been thrown into the story by NaNo and I can't wait to find out about the other ones yet to have materialized.