Monday, November 21, 2011

NaNo Days 9 - 20

NaNo Days 9 - 20. Snarl. Blarg. Meh. Glimmer.

Yes, although I haven't kept up with this NaNo blog, I HAVE kept up with the NaNo minimum of 1667 words a day. Which means I'm now at 33, 351. And very few of those words will make it into the finished novel. But what's a first draft for?

A first draft is for getting in touch with the story. Getting in touch with the story means coaxing the story to show its shy face. Coaxing the story to show its shy face means getting rid of all other writing pressures besides the pressure of showing up every day without fail. Showing up every day without fail means the story can trust me enough to reciprocate.

So that's what I'm doing.

I do have other writing pressures happening with various other projects in various stages of completion. But when it comes to this raw NaNo draft, my editor's mind is not invited whatsoever. The result is somewhat hilarious, a bit disconcerting, and rather ... well, maybe even fun at times.

And, by the way, if you stop over at --she's offering a giveaway of SEIZE THE STORY. It's a really good book. :)

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

NaNo Day 7, 8

NaNo Day 7, 8

I skipped a day of updating but didn't skip the NaNo writing. My document has 11,672 words now. Pretty much all of those words will most likely get tossed out eventually, but that's okay. That's what happens to first drafts, especially those written with no attention to form. The most important thing is just getting the bones sketched in. After that, everything's easy by comparison.

I had some fun with the awful sentences by challenging a fellow NaNo writer to a duel of suckitude. We each picked out "favorite" worst sentence(s) from the day before, and entered them. An independent judge applied brilliantly irrational standards to declare me the victor.

My winning entry: No band was playing.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

NaNo Day 6

Yes, I did the minimum NaNo words again yesterday, and finished well after midnight. Midnight isn't really so late, unless like me you wake up at 6:30 in the morning.

Is it easier to face 1667 words while tired because when I'm half asleep I just don't care anymore whether any one of those words will ever be usable? It certainly helps.

There's also the motivation of the daily deadline, a "now or never" mentality. "Now" meaning "still able to sit upright and move fingers on keys." "Never" meaning "If I get behind on word count, I'll give up."

Met with critique partners yesterday and brought 2 pages of raw NaNo spew. I watched their faces carefully. I know these people, and they can't lie to me. Not that they'd really try.

They--and their faces--didn't lie. Their words were nicer than their faces. They said things like "this new voice could work if..." Their faces said, "No way ever in a thousand universes will this new voice take off."

So, yeah, confirmation for me: OFTEN, writers try something out and it doesn't go anywhere.

But those experiments and detours aren't wasted time, either. All the writing you do improves all the writing you do. That's a quote. From me!

Onward. It's not very late, but next thing I'll do is the daily word grind.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

NaNo Day 5

I read over the stuff I had written the day before while half asleep. Expected it to be either complete gibberish or profound truth, but it was neither. It actually made sense though, and started bringing in a new voice. I'm not sure where or how I'll be able to use it, but I'm thankful that voice was able to crank out more words.

I'm suffering pangs of extensive dread, usual when writing a first draft. I could whinge for a while about it, but I think I'll just let the definition of whinge speak for itself: It means "to complain; whine" ( Whinge has such a great element of onomatopoeia --"in language, the representation of sound by an imitation thereof; e.g. the cat mews." (

Yup, it's hard to even say the word "whinge" without sounding whiny.

Stayed up late again, and met the minimum words again, but only because the idea of getting behind inspires me with more dread than actually writing a first draft. This NaNo stuff really works!

Forward, write!

Friday, November 4, 2011

NaNo Day 4

Interesting experience yesterday: It was so late by the time I started my NaNo session, I began drifting into mini-dreams while writing. It's going to be ... fun (with laughter and cringing) ... reading it over today. I have a feeling none of it will be usable in the long run.

But that's how it goes with writing a book! It's a little like sculpting--you end up throwing away a lot of chips and shavings, bits and pieces. A whole lotta words.

I've got 5012 unedited words. Ten percent done. Yeah, that would fit, since 3 days is 10 percent of 30 days, and November's got 30 days.

And today I need to come up with some usable pages out of that 5012 words, to bring to my writer's group tomorrow. The yellow-billed nitpicker will be perched on my shoulder during that part.


Thursday, November 3, 2011

NaNo Day 3

Fulfilled the minimum word count again yesterday, which brings me up to 3354. It's just pages and pages of appalling drivel right now, but that's the idea.

My goal yesterday was to write as fast as I could. By definition, that means writing badly. I powered through, sprinkling atrocious cliches everywhere. Not. Caring.

Yeah, I think I've made a breakthrough.

It isn't going to be easy to fit in the mad freewrite today, because my schedule's jammed with prior commitments.

But I will.

And if you're struggling with your NaNo draft, here's a suggestion: See if you can write even worse blather than I did.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

NaNo Day 2

Okay, so I wrote 1670 words yesterday for Day 1 of NaNoWriMo. (1667 per day is what it takes to reach 50,000 in 30 days.) I expected to detest every minute of it, but it wasn't quite as bad as I thought it would be.

Yes, it's hard to switch off the yellow-billed nitpicker who resides in my head, especially right after polishing two books--one nonfiction and one fiction--in the last few weeks. Freewriting is such a different bird. I can picture it in my mind but it isn't easy to describe. A fan tail like a peacock, big wingspread like an eagle, buzzes here and there like a hummingbird. But it's also good at hiding.

My job during a first draft is to coax that freewriter into the open. I promise not to shoot her. I really do want to hear from her.

So yesterday it was really slow going and swampy for the most part, with sparse visitations from the freewriter bird. Then by the last 200 words I noticed a bit of whimsy and fun creeping in--some lightheartedly bad writing. Just what's needed during a first draft.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011


NaNo starts today. That's National Novel Writing Month, for those who haven't heard. I've signed up formally -- for the first time. The goal is to write 50,000 words in a month, without any regard for whether those words are keepers or not. It's essentially a giant freewrite.

Why am I doing this? I mean, just the thought of beginning a first draft has me snarling and groaning. I DISLIKE writing first drafts. Intensely.

That's why.

There's something about knowing that other people are facing the same thing: Others are greeted by that blank screen, no idea what to write, but doing it anyway. Solidarity in groanitude.

I've just turned in the final draft of Indigo Magic, the second book in the fey series that began with Violet Wings. So I have no excuses, cannot linger polishing that book endlessly. It's time for the next one.

I'll keep posting. And if you want to join in the fun, it's not too late to sign up at