Friday, October 22, 2010

Writing update 1: OctAnNoNaNoWriMowithNoGuilt-o

I promised I'd keep you updated on my OctAnNoNaNoWriMowithNoGuilt-o pursuits (yes, that's October and November National Novel Writing Month with No Guilt. Don't you love a good acronym?)

Word count as of this morning: uh... 5,062. *sheepish look*

I was aiming for 10K a week. That way, in six or so weeks, I could finish my novel plus have time to think things through as I write. But it's been eleven days since I started this challenge, and I've been averaging under 500 words a day.

It's not for lack of trying or time. I've been working quite hard. It's just that I don't know what I'm doing. The past eleven days have been a struggle.

First, I wrote the beginning two chapters of Project Demo. They were absolute crap and made me doubt everything, my story, my characters, my talent. I was ready to scrap the whole idea. Then, as a last ditch effort, I decided to give up on writing in chronological order and to instead write the one scene I could see vividly, the scene which which had inspired the whole novel. I wrote it in an hour. It was really good. My writing partner thinks so, too. She told me I better not scrap anything.

From there, I was inspired to write another three scenes. Then I outlined my story, tried to figure out where in the novel these disparate scenes would fall, and if there were any other scenes I could write while I was avoiding the beginning. I thought about my character, how she would tell her story, and suddenly her voice was speaking in my head. It was amazing. I knew exactly how she'd start the novel, and generally how she'd structure everything. She's a little uptight like that.

So I went back to the beginning, and rewrote it with the character's voice.

There are still quite a few holes and unknowns. I'm not sure I'm ready to tell the story in chronological order yet. I'm certainly not to a place where I can write 10K a week.

But there's a reason I'm calling this challenge "NoGuilt-o." Hopefully at the end of all this I'll have a novel worth saving. I'll keep you posted.


  1. Sounds like you've opened a door into your novel. The fact that your character has showed up is great. Even with holes and unknowns, you're on your way. :)

  2. Thanks, Andrea! I hope so. It was another difficult writing morning today. But I've been thinking about what you said on an earlier post about writers being temperamental creatures. Maybe I just need to trust myself a bit more and keep working at it?

  3. Anne, I also think it goes back to the 'don't think, just write' principle. I was rummaging around my files and found a project I had been toying with. I had written an opening—just poured it on the page—then saved the file. Fine. But then I started thinking about the idea, the protagonist, the story, and proceeded to flesh things out, or so I thought. Only I mucked it up. The original file was so fresh. And GOOD. It stunned me when I went back and read it. (It also showed me how far off the track I was when I tried to write the story instead of letting the story show me the way.) I know it's REALLY hard to do, but sometimes just writing and getting it all out is the best approach.

  4. Guilt is definitely over-rated.

  5. he-he-he. I'm so with you, Anne!

    Thanks again, Andrea. I think you're right. I think I need to sit down tomorrow and just write the next scene, and then the next, and go as far as I can on the idea I have at the moment. I think I'm second guessing a lot, where the book should start, how funny I want to make it, etc, and instead I should just write and not worry. Thanks for continuing to remind me to stop thinking so much! =)

  6. Hey Anne!

    Thanks so much for stopping by my blog! Love that you like the Video!

    I read your post and think that it sounds like you're on your way to finding the means to successfully attack your story. Bravo!

    Is it normal for writers to have writing partners or would a Crit group serve the same purpose? Which would you recommend?

  7. LOVED the video. Thanks so much for sharing it. Thanks for the encouragement.

    To answer your question, I think most writers who are hoping to reach a publishable standard in their writing are part of some sort of critique group or partnership. I think it's hard as an individual to have enough distance from your work to be a consistently good judge of what works (at least, I know it's hard for me!). I have both a group and a partner at the moment, but I'm always meeting with different people and looking for opportunities. I guess I have yet to find the perfect group, which is at my same level, aiming for publication, and able to give me the type of feedback I need. That's what I'd recommend for a group or partner, people who have the same goals and writing needs as you do. Similar genres and age-ranges are helpful, too. It also depends on what stage you are at with your current project. Some people don't like to share anything until they've finished a first draft, others like feedback on a weekly basis. So it really depends on your needs. A partnership can be more flexible and immediate, but of course there's only one person providing feedback.

    Hope that answers your question! Maybe I should write a whole post on this...

  8. Sounds like a great idea Anne! You put so much information in that one paragraph! Can't wait to see what you'd do with a whole post! Thanks so much!!

  9. Aw, thanks for the vote of support, Wilson. I guess I have a fair amount to say on the subject. Consider a post forthcoming. =)


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