NaNoWriMo – 3

Current word count: 3060.

Eh. I still think it is largely garbage, and will probably go into the permanent collection at the Statue of Corrupted Endeavor’s Memorial Library.

And I still don’t feel the block lifting. Maybe it will. Who knows? Many thanks for the encouraging words from all parties, by the way. Which begs a tad of an explanation.

Anyone who has read any of my entries, here or elsewhere, or my massive movie reviews or whatnot, will wonder how in the heck I can say I suffer from Writer’s Block. My Gosh, he just blathers on endlessly about all kind of junk. If he’s got Writer’s Block, Frankenstein is my great aunt Tilly.

Well, have you spoken to your aunt lately? There is a difference. Obviously, there’s nothing preventing me from moving my fingers across a keyboard. No problem there. I’m sure I could, like Jack Torrence, write “All work and no play” etc over and over in a fine simulacrum of formatted text, and I could keep doing that until I had 50,000 words.

But is that a novel? No. It does fulfill the physical requirements, though. I am racking up word count. But I’m not writing, I’m typing. And the line between writing and typing, believe it or not, is a subtle one.

Case in point: in my NaNoWriMo project, two characters were going to agree to a contract. However, my inner editor suddenly made one character reject the offer. Why? I think the reason was, I could stretch it out a bit more if I threw that in. Now, in a sense, it worked because it allowed me to deepen some things and detail the situation. But I wonder how much of what I wrote was simply typed to add word count. Who knows? It may turn out to be a key passage. (I have, as of now, done almost no revising. I have a feeling the best revision would be Edit, Select All, Delete, Save.)

When I write, I want the writing to matter to me. I want the writing to be good, to be something where I might consider reading it (if I weren’t the author). And I definitely don’t want to see the machinery. I recall reading a Dean Koontz book a couple of years ago. Somewhere early on, he had his protagonist walk through a neighborhood, and Koontz started detailing the architecture of the houses. I could see immediately what Koontz was up to–he was padding. I started seeing more and more of it, and I eventually put the book down about a hundred pages in and never picked it up again. It just felt as if none of the events were important at all. That is, I think, one of the dangers of an artificial deadline. Rather than stop when the book is done, you stop when you reach a certain word count or your time runs out.

Those of you who write regularly know that when the writing is going well, when you’re pounding out prose for hours at a time, there’s no feeling in the world like it. Raw creativity is pouring out of you, and you’re caught up in it, and you really feel you’re creating something.

I’m not feeling any of that. Will that come? Good question. There may be some kind of conceptual breakthrough, when I realise what the heck my characters are actually up to. And perhaps what the heck I’m up to.


2 thoughts on “NaNoWriMo – 3

  1. That’s really the point, I think. You write until, like in a dream, the creativity “comes”. It’s like exercising your muscles. You can always make it more relevant at some point in the future. NaNoWriMo is not about creating a finished product. It’s a psychological exercise. Keep on and the light will suddenly shine. I’m willing to bet on it.

  2. On the one hand, I’m not sure I agree with Henry. I’ve been trying to write a novel since I got out of high school. Each time I’ve jumped in without some sort of plan, I’ve sputtered to a stop.

    On the other hand, I’ve written a lot of notes. Notes on worlds, people in them, on possible stories, the whole nine yards. That has also failed to bear fruit.

    “The Crawl of Chufule” is sort of standig between the two worlds. I have an idea of where it’s going, where and how it ends. I know most of the characters that matter and a bit on the world. However I have large blank areas to fill in as I please.

    I keep thinking I should be bogging up. Instead, I’m going.

    I think it’s the nature of NaNoWriMo that’s helping. It has a structure. It has goals that must be met. And I think that’s what’s pulling me through.

    The real test, for me, is when I hit 50,000 words. I’m not sure I’ll be finished with the novel by then. Can I keep it up? And then, if I use the same methods outside the contest?

    Also, in most every writing how-to I’ve read, the advice has been not to worry about the first draft. Just run with it and worry about perfecting it in the following draft(s). Have fun. Go wild.

    Having said this, I must say that I’m going back to yesterday’s writing and rewriting the damn thing again. I can give this advice, but will I heed it myself.

    I’m such a goof.

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