Before I get into my post today, I want to give a shout out to Kathryn. Most of the posts out of the this blog have come from her lately. Kathryn’s informative posts about what music inspires her and where she has been focusing her writing on a day-to-day basis have provided me insights of my own, as well as links to some beautiful music. Great work Kathryn.
My Current NaNoWriMo Status
- Suggested Daily Word Count: 1,667 (Works out to 50,000 words in 30 days.)
- Words Written Today: 1,800
- Suggested Cumulative Word Count by Day 8: 13,336
- My Actual Cumulative Word Count: 17,807
- Average Words per Day: 2,226
- At This Rate I Will Finish On: Nov 23
- Days Remaining in November: 22
- Total Words Remaining for NaNoWriMo: 32,193
- Words per Day to Finish on Time 1,464
- Current Page Count of (Mostly) New Material: 64
The short hand of these statistics is that I am well ahead of schedule. I have a comfortable buffer that I can build on to make certain I actually do 50,000 words in 30 days.
A Song That Inspires Me
Song of the Seahorse by Miriam Stockley is a song which I listen to often. Its sweeping melody and melancholy lyrics makes me think of many different things, but with regards to my story I feel it captures something essential about my character, Artemis Arrowsmith.
The lyrics dwell on the death of a lover and the how the person feels because of their loss. This is central to Artemis’ character and the subplots that revolve around her. The music also captures a sense of beauty and even wonder, other elements central to her character.
A Lesson Learned From NaNoWriMo: JUST KEEP TYPING!
Seriously, don’t dwell on anything. Just keep typing.
“What am I wanting to accomplish in this chapter/with this character?” Don’t worry about it, just keep typing.
“Wait…isn’t this character supposed to be dead already?” Don’t worry about it, just keep typing.
“What color did I say her eyes were a few pages back?” Don’t worry about it, just keep typing.
“Wasn’t this character a different sex in and earlier chapter?” Don’t worry about it, just keep typing.
The Result Is An Interesting Mishmash.
On scenes I have reasonably well mapped out in my mind, I blend descriptions and actions and dialogue together in reasonable proportions. Not great, but workable text.
Then there are areas where I know I want or need a conversation on a subject, but I don’t have the details well thought out.
This writing tends to be various people talking in an undefined area with characters appearing out of nowhere. Where are they? Who knows? What led up to the scenes? Who knows? All I know for certain is that there are elements in those scenes that I definitely want to keep somewhere in the overall story.
A Funny Thing Happened While Trying to Write A Story
Along the way, I was forced to deal with the motivations for the character of Demiurge in a more concrete way. Given that the title of the second book is …Demiurge, Unbound,…, this was unavoidable.
But his origins are located behind a shroud of the distant past, which meant I needed to think about that past in the way he would. I.e. Discovering the voice of Demiurge required thinking about my story’s mythology as he remembered it.
This led to a multipage “tell” that turned into a surprisingly clean summary of events explaining how the world ended up in its present state.
Details became clear to me that I had glossed over in my mind, and with those details I realized I needed additional information about the world’s geography that I had never considered before.
The downside: The new geographic details affect what I have already written in the first book. On the bright side, what I need to add, while major, can be done by placing a few key sentences in a handful of areas. One particularly vivid description in chapter seven in the first book could be the foundation for significant reveals in the second book.
Rather than add those elements to the first book, I noted what I needed as part of my NaNoWriMo efforts. i.e. I just wrote it in a a major, ugly, info dump.
And while I was doing that, I had a second major insight to the working of my world.
How magic works and what its limitations are is a subject I have wrestled with often. Now many of those details are clear to me, and I see how it has affected the path of Artemis and Damon both.
These insights led me to know how the second book will end, and what scenes will comprise much of the third book of the series, …And Damon Roth,….
In particular, I now know why Damon first became interested in Artemis, and what he had to go through to find her. Once again, I decided to jot down these thoughts as part of my NaNoWriMo efforts.
After these insights, I was able to return to a more linear narrative focused on scenes I had long thought of but had written little about. Once again, I am writing less mythology and info dumps and more of a blend descriptions and actions and dialogue together in reasonable proportions
Insights Learned During NaNoWriMo.
The pace of writing has forced me to abandon quality for quantity. To pour words onto the page as fast as they appear in my head. Misspellings abound. I use the same word in sentence after sentence, creating a repetitive feel that is, frankly, boring to read. Grammar, the bane of my existence, is sacrificed for rambling sentences that often make little sense even to me.
Fast and furious writing forces you to make decisions that ripple through your overall work. Earlier text that you think has settled and needs nothing more must be modified. Plot strands for the future become clearer and more defined.
Good ideas also end up on the page as details I hadn’t considered until now become facts of the world. The story evolves and becomes substantially better.
I must admit to a temptation that this style of writing has inspired in me. Namely to write my whole seven volume story in one gigantic effort as fast as possible.
Yes, the final product would be craptacular, but it would also be a complete first draft. After that I could focus on the long slow editing process where turgid text is replace by compelling prose.
I’m not certain this would be a better approach that my normal style of write-edit-edit-edit-edit-edit-edit-edit-edit-write some more. But my experiments with NaNoWriMo makes me wonder if writing the whole story at once wouldn’t yield rewards I can’t fathom at this time.