Coming unstuck

Something about NaNoWriMo- it’s both harder and more enjoyable than I imagined at the start.

Seriously, guys, this month is going to be tough. To juggle assignments with reaching the daily wordcount, while stopping the plot from wandering back into the woods, is a positively Herculean task.  One I don’t always think I’m succeeding at, particularly the plot part. There are so many unresolved aspects of it I don’t even know where to start, and I kind of hate my own story by now.

But I keep going. Not just because I’ve told people I would. It’s because I realize – every day, so far- how much I love writing this. I love my characters, who keep surprising me. I even love some of the lines I come up with.

Normally, I think I would’ve given up by now, and –shocker- I’ve realized that’s the very problem with my writing anything longer than a short story; it just never makes it to the finish line. Because there’s always a reason to hate it.

So, for my blog this month I’m doing something a little different. I’ll be back every few days to share something about my writing process: unload all my struggles and hopefully a small victory or two. I’ll share tips to make things easier on my fellow NaNo-ers this month, I’ll even share some of my favourite lines (among the dozens of nonsensical ones) ,and I warmly invite you all to do the same.

Favourite lines I wrote (from 2nd November):

She got the impression he had woken up that day to find the world subtly but irrevocably changed, and couldn’t find the words to explain to anyone why the shift had unsettled him. It hurt, like it often did to think of how things had been better when they were all still living together as a family.

How are you surviving November?

Countdown to NaNo

So it’s Halloween today and I’m flailing around trying to get through a research paper proposals and two other assignments before I finally, finally, get to start on this year’s NaNoWriMo.

Oh god, guys, I’m scared and strangely excited. I have a hard time explaining why I want to join National Noveling Month so badly, other than just to say that I could start a project and see it through. There’s something about a solid deadline that helps me get through projects I wouldn’t normally attempt. And, so far, I’ve enjoyed spending time fleshing out characters and settings instead of just starting the writing blindly (and stumbling inevitably due to a total lack of preparation).

I’ll  be here during the month with stories of panic, tears and (hopefully) some outtakes from my progress.

Remember, kids, have fun. Even if it's awful.

Remember, kids, have fun. Even if it’s awful.

In the meantime, I’ll leave you with a tip or two gleaned from my last minute preparations:

Keep your ideas, don’t edit your outline too much. Don’t run out of tea or chocolate after the shops close.

And also: Start Small. 

The writing advice I’ve encountered most often around the web when it comes to creating a story is to ramp up  the conflict. High stakes make a story, right?

Well, yes, until you come on the NaNoWriMo forums and realize half the people there have interpreted that to mean that, at the very least, the world should be on the brink of destruction in your fictional universe, either as a result of the zombie apocalypse or due to a 4,000 year old vampire criminal mastermind’s evil plans.

That’s not tension, but – in my opinion anyway – a bit of bore. Because you haven’t given me a reason to care for your characters (and ‘they’re immortal with a dark and troubled past and that’s awesome’ is not a reason.)

Everyone out there with a non-vampire/werewolf novel, you guys are winners to me already! Let’s write ourselves some really awesome (or at least hilariously crappy) books.