Monday, November 18, 2013

NaNoWriMo day 18

Wind/Water/Salt looks on schedule -- barely -- to be finished typing on the end of the month, though that may fall apart because of SFContario on the last two days. I have 20 chapters to go, and 13 days, and 265 pages.

Regardless of whether it gets done, this has been a really worthwhile exercise, because I've learned something about my first drafts.

To understand the problem, you need to know how I produce most of my drafts. Every morning after I put on some clothes and brush my teeth, before I go to work I write a page. This is about 250-300 words, and each day continues from the day before. The problem is, sometimes page after page I kind of cover the same material. Over and over, I rehash the same thing rather than moving forward. And then, I wind up with a draft that's probably going to be 140,000 words, so I'll want to cut about a third of that.

So in future, starting now, I need to actually remember to move the story forward. I know where it's going, really I do. I start without an outline, sure, but I do have an ending in mind. And each scene or chapter does have a point to it, they aren't marking time. So neither should the words I'm putting down. Maybe the night before I should read what I wrote the previous morning, and that way I can put the next words in my head, rather than having to come up with something starting from nowhere.

I mean, it's a draft it can suck, true. But that doesn't mean it should suck more than necessary.

Wednesday, November 06, 2013

Nanowrimo -- day 5

I mentioned a couple of posts ago about my nanowrimo plan for this year. I have plenty of unedited novel drafts around, so making a whole nother one this month might be less than useful for my burgeoning fiction career. Therefore, I'm typing up last year's brilliant page-a-day instead.

I had three chapters typed already, so maybe 5000 words. There were 47 chapters (I skipped to the end to look) and 30 days, so if I typed one chapter per day and on 14 other days typed a second one as well, I could get it done. A perfect plan! If I typed two on each weekend day, and two on each vacation day I've scheduled for the month, that's 12, and I only have to come up with two more. Easy, right?

Yesterday was one of those scheduled vacation days. I got to the end of chapter 11, only to find...

Chapter 10.

Oh, fuck me.

Typing 120,000 words in November, where I don't even have to think about it, that should be easy, right? Way easier than writing a 50,000-word novel, and I've done that three times. Now it seems completely unsurmountable. How am I going to make this work?

Planning sucks.

Monday, November 04, 2013

What I read -- October, 2013

“Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy” by John Le Carre. Margaret Atwood had mentioned it, and someone in an article about the ongoing failures of spies, and I’d heard that he was a good writer, so I got it out of the library. This might not have been the best place to start – the first 100 pages were full of characters with backstory that I didn’t totally get. However, I knew I’d be able to get through it because I passed p. 60 without a problem. I guess I raved about it enough, because Ed picked it up when I was done.

“All These Things I’ve Done” by Gabrielle Zevin. Another library book. I wasn’t really clear on how the world got this way, but the exploration of the results of prohibition was excellent. I loved the somewhat incompetent crime family. The way chocolate made people behave just because it was illegal was an interesting statement about drugs in general, I thought. Some of the characters were stereotypical, but the important relationship – that between Anya and her brain-damaged brother Leo, was really well done. I didn’t realize it was part of a trilogy until I was trying to quote it and had to google.

“Late Eclipses” by Seanan McGuire. The boy negotiated with me that I had to read this before I read the books I got for my birthday, suggesting that I read faster than him so I’d be done this and them before he finished book five, since he plays more tanks than I do (!). The thing that was remarkable here was something she’s probably been doing all along – you know something bad is going to happen, but it’s never quite the bad thing that you expect.

Friday, November 01, 2013

In Process -- October 2013

First Draft
“Limering”. This was going to be my nanowrimo project, but then I started writing it so I guess I’ll do something else (probably actually type up Wind/Water/Salt or revise Clairvology or both) 
“Foundling”. Short story, finished.

“Imp Face”. Fifth draft -- improved the beginning and ending.
“Selkie Girls are Easy”. Fourth draft almost done, way better. I'll call it done after I go through the first four pages again. I still need to get rid of a bunch of words, but it’s much tighter. The problem with writing things in small chunks is I get repetitive, and then when I also edit in small chunks I don’t notice. I think I’m a small chunk first draft writer, and a big chunk editor.

2 out there.
8 rejects for 2013 so far.

“Ceremonial Armour”. Ignored it.
Penzance. Done!
Hella Fair isle dress in Kauni. A lot of other things would have gotten done if I hadn’t become obsessed with this project. I’ve got about 20 inches.
Carousel socks. Started the first one. Gift.