Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Nano: Day 30... oh crap.

After slogging through 30 days of writing, thinking about writing, dreaming about writing, talking about writing and complaining about writing, the month is finally drawing to a close. Where did all that time go?

I managed to annoy my wife to no end, use up all my vacation at work (no Christmas time off now), and piss off my children by ignoring them. Hell, I'm pretty sure my dog is mad at me (I got her a rawhide last night, I think we're cool now). Was it worth it? Check this out:

I'm pretty sure my family would agree. It's awesome, and therefore I am awesome.

In case anyone is interested it the boring details: I think I've made it known so much in the past here that it does no good to bother repeating it, but I love science fiction. So when I start to write I always will have a science fiction(ish) story to tell. I don't think I'm capable of anything else.

A quick synopsis of this years Nano novel: A guy has no idea what is happening, but things just seem mysterious. So he wonders around the city commenting to himself about how mysteriously creepy everything is. Then aliens, zombies and sociopaths just start crawling out of the woodwork. He then proceeds to defeat them.

I know what you must be thinking. Wow. But believe me, if it were really as awesome as it sounds I would be living in a tropical paradise drinking the fruity alcohol of the natives and smoking cigars that were lit with my discarded one-hundred dollar bills.

I'm being written out of your novel? 

If my previous attempts at revising a novel hold true then by the time I'm through with a second draft the story will be about a homosexual alcoholic that moves to a country town and battles prejudice, all while mending his relationship with his estranged father.

Then, before it's over, the main character will become a 9 year-old girl who gets lost at the circus and befriends a chimpanzee. Together they track down a pair of jewel thieves and decide to open a detective agency.

The point being that in order to make this disaster I have in my hands now into a real story I still have a lot of work to do. I love writing a first draft. That part is fun. I can do whatever I want and not worry about it making sense, it's the 7 year-old in me that gets to come out and play.

I'll maintain my excitement for a few weeks and then I'll start that ugly process of trying to mold it into a real story. It'll sap my will to live and I'll give up.

But I don't want to give up this time. That stack of manuscripts in my closest has gotten big enough. Maybe it's time I finish something.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Nano: Day 26

Well, I've only 4 writing days left and I'm about 6k behind schedule. By the end of the day I think I'll be about 2 - 3k behind where I want to be. Funny though, in years past to fall behind wasn't too worrisome because I could pump out 5k words in a couple of hours if I wanted.

Now days, not so much. I think what I write is more readable now certainly, but it ain't fast. I figure that going so long without writing anything at all has dulled my skills somewhat, but also I have found that it takes some effort for me to figure out what happens next.

And that is my real frustration, in my younger days of writing I had the opposite problem, stuff was happening all over the place and I had to reel it in a bit to avoid overwhelming things. Now it isn't unusual for everyone, good guys, bad guys, folks in between, to all stop and use the restroom, eat, take a nap. Whatever they need to do, they do.

I'm sure that it has much to do with how much of my day to day existence boils down to my desire to do those sorts of things. It wasn't that long ago that staying up all night, going straight to work and then back out again afterwards wasn't too abnormal for me. Now, as soon as it hits 8:30 I'm wondering if I took my pills or not.

Oh the woes of a thirtysomething.

So, I've complained about my lack of advanced plotting already and I won't rehash it here again. But I feel that I've changed in the past few years. I'm just not the person I was not so long ago. I would like to say that I'm better all around, but I feel more like if I could have looked at myself a few years ago and seen who I am now I would be a bit disappointed.

C'mon self, be cooler. Write better. Nothing like Nanowrimo to take my soul and crush it.


Til next time.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Nano: Day 22

Wow. Hard to believe the month is nearly over. I've enjoyed this year of Nano, as I always do. However, I have been close to 10,000 words behind schedule it seems from the very beginning. I just hit the halfway mark last night, two-thirds of the way through the month. Looks like I'll have a busy week ahead of me if I want to finish.

I would like to think that despite my chaotic process for writing that I've finally hit my stride. Unfortunately, that would be a lie. I'm still struggling to figure out what my story really is about and am constantly having my characters stop what their doing and ask one another what's going on.

So I send in a bad guy to shake things up, whip out a gun and start shooting things up. That'll really jump start my story, right? Nope, my characters simply cajole him into joining them all for tea and then asking him why he is trying to kill them. He drinks the tea and grumbles nonsensical answers about an employer and then they all talk amongst themselves some more.

And it goes on and on and on. Page after page of stuff like that. I can smell my Hugo award already. So I promise myself that in the future I will have my story plotted out BEFORE I write it... if that fails I will at least have a premise.

Of course, if having a premise seems too difficult for me then I will, if nothing else, at the very least, have something that resembles a romantic interest. Then I can whip up some tension or love triangle or... or something that would at least be entertaining to write.

Wish me luck.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Nano: Day 1

November is National Novel Writing Month. Or, NanoWriMo for short. I love this time of year, it seems to be the only time I ever buckle down and make an effort to really produce something. After taking last year off, I was bound and determined that this year was going to be a really good one for me.

I succeeded in finishing in 05, 06, 07, and 08. None of those novels are quite ready for publication as of yet. Although I feel the 06 version was about as inspired as anything I've ever managed to do. But I haven't really written anything of substance in quite some time. I've edited some old stuff, written a short story or two, but otherwise, the past two years have been really sparse.

One thing I've always lacked though, is a tightly plotted story, I've felt that my past writing, no matter what it was about, has been a fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants sort of thing. Again, when inspired, it can be a thing of beauty. But it can be a messy process. This year I had hoped to have detailed outlines and character bios ready to go.

No such luck. I don't know how a day can really sneak up on someone, but today did sneak up on me. I have nothing more than a desire to make it happen. Sigh.

I did manage to crank out a few thousand words. But I don't think I've often written crap like I did today. I hope the ol' inspiration bug hits soon. Many more days like this and I'll be hitting delete pretty quick on this year. I just gotta hang in there.