Posts Tagged With: NaNo

The End of the Road – Sort of: NaNoWriMo comes to a close but the story goes on.

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So. I finished almost a week ago now and seeing as my ‘victory dance’ was rewarding myself with Dragon Age: Inquisition, i have been hanging out in Thedas since then. If you need me you’ll find me wandering more or less aimlessly through The Hinterlands, or some other bandit choked place.

But that’s not why you’re here are you? You’re here to find out how it all shook out and when you’ll be able to read my Nano masterwork. At least that’s what i hope you’re here for. Well… it’ll be a while now. This is my fourth completed Nano and this year i’ve had a big year in terms of writing. I finally finished working on the draft of The Stonemaidens Cup and have been up to my eyeballs in editing the massive thing. I finished writing and MOST of the editing of Meg Brown number 6: Meg Beats Cancer. I wrote a teleplay for the Nano group for Castle. I wrote a short story that i’m working on editing for Wattpad or somewhere similar, then there is Meg Brown 7 – last year’s Nano project which is just about finished in draft form and now The Normal Zoo. So really, in a weird way, Nano is a bit just like a day at the office.

But i love my office. And i love Nano and all the nano’ers reaching for their dreams.

The Normal Zoo isn’t finished. In fact, it’s gotten a bit bigger since ‘finishing’ the word count goal and will get bigger still as i work to complete it. It’s hard to see right now how much further i have to go. What i should do is take a breath that isn’t filled with Thedas air, take a gander at what i’ve got and start mapping out where to go next from here to finish it. Planning ahead this year (which i confess i didn’t do much of last year) really set me up well to coast on the word count for the first week or two and then it became another heavy slog where the story just puffed out like a popcorn kernal.

In the end, i’m starting to think The Normal Zoo MIGHT just become a series. I hope not. I have too many series already and aside from my Meg Brown Books and the Longmire novels i love by Craig Johnson, i’m just not into series. The trouble is that the book ballooned a little larger than i thought it would. I had more ground to cover than i figured. It’s possible that i’ll be able to chop it down in the end and get it under the word count for publication but it’s really hard to see that right now seeing as i’m at 55,000 or so and i think i JUST rounded the middle.

But again. It’s hard to tell.

So how was Nano this year? In some ways it was fantastic. I got to really tuck in to a story. When you tuck in like that you start with these people and you’re really sort of nervous around them. You don’t know them. They don’t know you. LIke any first time conversation, there’s a little awkwardness and unpleasant silences you or they desperately try to fill. Just like reading, though, you come to know them and they start surprising you and you start to love them a little more and loving them is what you need. Even the bad guys. Yes. I sort of love the Worsteads. I hate them, because they are awful people but they’re very vivid to me. But nothing beats Ashley and Lola and Mia and Emily. I didn’t expect Lola to be into old movies and film noir. That was lovely and we bonded over The Thin Man and My Man Godfrey. I didn’t expect Ashley to be so… funny. She’s really brave but doesn’t believe it at all and she’s… well… hopefully you’ll see. Yeah. I got to know them and for the moment anyway, i’ve left Lola in a bit of a low spot but she’s already trying to work her way out of it and i expect she’s going to get herself into a bit of trouble before then.

I miss the Chateau of Soot. I didn’t spend enough time there and would very much like to – when i rewrite it – give it it’s due. It’s a grand place, full of dust but very homey. I don’t know why it’s called the Chateau of Soot. It’s not actually sooty.

There’s nothing quite like having this thing bubbling and toiling in your head for a while – an idea that is pretty bizarre no matter which way you look at it – and finally sitting down and cranking out on it. It’s a flood like you see in a gum commercial, full of cool blue waves stanching the embers in your head that are threatening to get out of control. It’s a sudden cool ocean breeze on an otherwise sweltering day. It’s a lot of things. And that’s what Nano is all about in my opinion. You get to tell the world, for a full month, go screw yourself, i’m going to let my brain frolic like a deranged sweater-wearing bunny in a field made of minty evergreen grass. You get to put that imagination to use, sometimes for the first time since grade school recess. And yeah. It’s grade school recess.

And that’s a beautiful thing.

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The Long Delayed NaNo post.

The last time i got through NaNoWriMo i tried to blog every day while i was working on what i shall now euphemistically call ‘The Thing’. This year i’m just lollygagging my way through and enjoying the view from the lofty heights of novelling. What’s the difference? Well i’m a heckuva lot less neurotic about the whole thing for one thing. Last time it was a brawl. A fight. An epic battle. I’d never done one before and i was sort of out of the writing game seeing as i was recovering from… well… recovering from something.

This year i’ve been there before. The novel i worked on never got finished. it may someday, but it’s doubtful. It wasn’t about finishing the novel, though, and that’s the big thing. I was stuck. A lot of things had happened since the last time i scooped up the pen (or keyboard) and i didn’t quite know how to get anything kickstarted. Nano changed that, in a good yoda-on-your-back, yeah-just-you-try-to-pull-that-xwing-from-the-mud, sort of way. So good, but brutal.

NaNo isn’t supposed to produce Ulysees. Any idiot who thinks that is the point had better not start or they will risk thirty days of madness probably followed by thirty days of rehab. It’s about doing it. Just doing it. Putting words on the page. Making characters, listening to their stories and working furiously to get it out before those characters disappear and you never even get a postcard from them. Unfortunately i’ve been hearing a lot of garbage to the contrary this year. I’ve been hearing about the aspirations of the young and the writerly are unworthy – how they should just stop, reconsider, do something else, play tennis, sing karaoke, anything but bother with struggling over words.

I’ve read at least three different articles from three different twits complaining that NaNo deluges the literary world with an army of wannabes and neverwills. Now these articles are awfully clever, well written, crammed with the zingers and belly-rumbling witticisms we’ve come to expect from the legions of post grad lit scholars who’ve bombarded the interwebs with their polished artillery shells. They’re so. much. fun. to. read. And even more fun to blow raspberries at and ignore entirely. ’cause basically, who gives a rats ass? Well… folks who’ve dumped a stupid amount of money and ten years of their lives studying words and the construction of literature do, of course. Because if anyone could do it, what the hell did they spend all that money on?

Well i spent about half that studying words. I work in a cubicle farm. I get paid in peanut shells (yes, shells – no peanuts inside) and bile. And dammit i’m a writer. Yeah sure. He’s a writer. I made a grand total of thirty five dollars writing last year. But you know what? I write. I write because that’s what i do. I get home from my awful job after an awful commute through awful clogged, dreary, usually dark streets and i put myself in my awful little writing studio and i sit down and write for nothing. NOTHING. Why? Because i have to hit 50000 words in a month. I have to write. I have to. There’s just nothing else. It’s that or an awful lot of drinking.

So to those of you who made it and shove your anvils of caustic wisdom from the clouds of your brilliant precipice upon which the literary light shines, congrats. Kudos. Clap. Clap. Job well done. Now do as you’ve always done in times of high literary stress – devour each other. The rest of us schlubs have work to do. We’ll write our Nanos. Our silly little fiction about dragons, and wizards, and oversexed ninja gargoyles, our Doctor Who Fan Fiction. Why? For the same damned reason people sing Karaoke. To sing. Not to be a damned professional with an opinion. I think the world has quite enough of those.

Categories: Fiction, Uncategorized, Writing | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

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