Yesterday, on Thanksgiving, I struggled to write the 800 or so words that I needed to reach 40K on my NaNoWRiMo novel. I was already behind, unable to make my word count every day for a week, at least. I tried to use weekends to double or triple my word count, and for a while that was working. I started the month ahead of the game. I hit the halfway mark earlier than I thought I would. The words were flowing easily. The story was interesting. I was finally getting back into the groove of writing on a daily basis. And then – nothing. That week of forcing the words. Of opening my notebook or the document on my computer and then finding anything else to do except write.
I decided a week ago that I wasn’t going to keep working on this after November 30. Maybe it was too early to make that decision. Maybe it still is too early. Maybe I need to set it aside and wait until I want to write instead of forcing myself to write. It’s an interesting novel. I have no idea where it’s going. Of the three voices I’m following, two are easy. The third is where I can pinpoint this month’s failure germinating. I chose to try the third voice, follow that third character around for a while. I hated it. Those were the two days when I struggled the most, and since then, even picking up with one of the other characters, it hasn’t been any better.
Honestly, the thought of writing 10K words in the next 5 days (that’s only 2K words a day and not impossible at all), makes me want to cry. I hate that. Because I hate giving up. I want to get to 50K and be “successful” at NaNoWRiMo. Not that writing 50K words in a month is the only measure of success. It’s not. I’ve done it before just fine. This was just an excuse to get back into writing. It was an excuse to push myself into doing something I haven’t felt inclined to do in a while. At the beginning, it felt good. Now, it doesn’t.
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I decided quite abruptly that I’ll be attempting NaNoWRiMo again this year. That means 50K words in a month. All right, so I’ve been successful before. Great. I can do it again, right?
Easier said than done, of course. For instance, this year, I don’t have any ideas for a novel. Actually, that’s a lie. I have a lot of novel ideas, however they are all for YA novels and at the moment, I am done thinking about YA novels. I want to try writing literary fiction. I simply have no idea how to do that.
What do I have? A title and a cover.
Yes, I created a cover for a book that only has a title, but that’s because the NaNo website claims that participants have a better shot of “winning” (writing 50K words in the month of November) if they upload a cover to the website. I don’t know if this is true or not, but I like designing book covers, so that’s what I did. Honestly, the cover is beautiful. I’d pick up that book and give it a read without knowing what it was about, wouldn’t you?
So I have a few weeks to come up with some kind of plot. I have a few tendrils of one sliding around, but nothing concrete. Nothing that might jump-start 50K words in 30 days. I have a story line that I’ve wanted to explore for a while. I have another story line that could be interesting and tie in to the first. And I have a third story line to tie in as well.
However, I’m not certain narrator-wise how to deal with it. I’m leaning to third-person narration, somewhat limited. But I don’t want just to have three characters without any connections, unless the connection comes through the story lines. I was thinking of using three sisters, but that won’t necessarily work. And I also don’t have sisters. Which isn’t a huge problem, but there are also a lot of sisters books out there written by women who have sisters. But I want it to be women-focused.
I guess I have more than a few tendrils. I guess I just need to take those tendrils and figure out the whatever that they are all a part of. I guess I just need to write.
Word count: 1,255
Went back to Artie’s POV for a little while and still feel like I’m repeating myself. That’s really what’s happening in my journey to 50K – repetition. Of one thing I’m certain: Artie’s voice comes a lot more easily to me than Penelope’s. This is one of the things I was afraid of when I decided to do a dual-POV novel. However, I don’t think it can be told the same way if I just stuck with Artie’s voice.
Word count: 1,023
I’m starting to regret attempting a time travel novel. This is HARD. I keep wondering if I need to explain better how time travel works or if I’m already over-explaining it. Or if I need to talk about it at all. I guess I never really stopped and considered what it would mean to write a time travel novel. I also have no idea where to go next. That’s no surprise but it is frustrating.
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Word count: 2,144
Today I started the second POV in my dual POV novel. I’m a little nervous about being this far in before the POV switches, but it makes sense. Once I got to this point, it was natural to switch over, and thankfully I found Penelope’s voice just as easy as Artie’s. I’m worried, however, that they sound too similar. Hopefully this is something I can fix in my revisions.
I am doing something different with my POVs, too. With Artie, his narration is in present tense because it’s his present. With Penelope’s, forty years earlier, her narration is past tense. It’s not easy jumping from present to past and back again, but I really like this choice I’ve made. Hopefully it works too.
Word count: 1,464
Everything about this is bad.
That’s the point I’m at today. The writing is bad. The story is bad. The word count is bad. I don’t want to do this. Why did I decide to do this? I want to give up. The revision necessary to make this even just good is already overwhelming me and I’m nowhere near that point. Ugh.
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Word count: 1,289
I knew I wasn’t going to make it very far today because I had tickets to the Steelers game, which took up the entire day and exhausted me. I wrote before the game at my parents’ house, but it was a struggle. At least I managed over 1,000 words, which has become my goal any day that I feel like I can’t quite make it to the actual target goal.
Word count: 2,490
I had a day off today, a flex day from a Saturday I had to work last month. Though I had the day scheduled a while ago, I ended up having to take care of my car. I was hit a few weeks back and today I had to drop the car off and get a rental car. This was first thing in the morning. For some reason, I was so exhausted afterwards that I spent most of my writing time alternating between nearly falling asleep and writing. However, I still busted through and got more words than usual written. Not quite the doubling of my word count that I wanted, but enough.
Word count: 3,490
Well. I have no idea how this happened, but I went on a writing spree. The words just came out and out and it was wonderful. Of course, it helped that I had the worst after work evening ever when my rental car wouldn’t start and I had to wait over 2 hours for the tow truck then had to go all the way to the airport to get a new rental and then the parkway was closed 5 minutes before I got onto it and I had to go home the long way around … well, I wrote a lot during that time period. So that was good.
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