Thursday, November 13, 2014

(Almost) Halfway There

We're two days from the middle of November, aka the halfway point for National Novel Writing Month. which means I'd better be at 25K on my NaNo novel done by now (yes, I'm writing this post in advance.) I've been gently nagging some of you who were foolish enough to let me be your writing buddy (and I'm actively blackmailing Keita), and I've even replied to a couple of posts in the NaNo forums. It's the perfect time for a pep talk -- because everything is going great, yes?

For me, 100% great, eh. I'm at about 64%, maybe. Naturally I'm trying to stay positive, but I had hoped to get more words done every day and finish about a week early (now I don't think I can because I'm divided this year between my writer-for-hire day job and NaNo. I am getting a lot of words done; they're simply not all for me.)

Then there is Publishing -- Lord, yes, I know about the award nomination; I've gotten about a thousand e-mails from my romance writer pals. For those who don't know, I'm up for an award I won't win for a novel that is now out of print in a series that the publisher cancelled. I know, I can hardly contain myself either. But seriously, I think I know the reviewer responsible, and if it was you, T., I am genuinely touched. Thanks for thinking of me.

Then there are the novel-related problems. The more I write my NaNo novel, the more I think about the first chapter, which I don't like anymore. Okay, I hate it. If this were a regular writing project, I'd probably rewrite it or delete it or just take it out in the backyard and roast marshmallows over it. But I don't have time to rewrite that chapter and keep on schedule, so I have to hold onto my lousy first chapter. Until December 1st, when I believe I will quite ready to rip it out of my manuscript and drop-kick it into the backyard firepit.

I'm stil not shaking the pom poms very well, but stick with me, there's a point to all this whining. After writing and publishing 51 novels you'd think I could do this in my sleep, right?


Every book is different, but writing them is always and forever work, work, and more work -- and not always successful work. I plan ahead but then for some reason I fall behind. I fail to meet my expectations, often daily. I write scenes and pages and sometimes entire chapters that I think are utter crap. What was bright and shiny and exciting thirteen days ago now often seems more like an annoying, tiresome, plodding, dragging, why-did-I-go-with-dumb-idea millstone tied around my neck. I've already thought about dumping this story entirely and starting over with another idea -- twice since November 1st, in fact.

Here's why I don't: I know to keep going, to keep writing. Yes, I have doubts, the bright and shiny is wearing off, I'm tired, I'm writing two stories simultaneously and I'm disappointing myself. It doesn't matter. This was a great idea, and every problem I have with it can be solved once I finish the book. I'll edit what I doubted and fix it or rewrite it. The bright and shiny never stays but always will come back with the next idea. Then I will rest my brain and recharge my batteries. Maybe I'll even take a little me-vacation and only write one story next month.

I know what you're thinking. What if after all that I discover that it is hopeless, and I can't fix it, and I really should have dumped this story and started over? If that happens, I'll accept what I can't change, stick it in the file cabinet and move on to the next story. Problem solved.

No matter what I do with a story, I know I will always disappoint myself because I'm never satisfied with the work. I think if I ever was, I'd be done and I wouldn't write anymore.

I'm not done. How about you?


  1. I've said it before and I'll say it again, I couldn't write a book to save my life. Well, that's not entirely true as I have half a one already written, but its rubbish. Its a flat, one dimensional, boring, dull piece of ***p, but I'm OK with that because I'm a much better reader than I am a writer. So I rise up and applaud all the writers in the world who brighten my life by taking me on epic adventures and offer my admiration to your commitment to writing a whole book in month. (all the while thinking ... you must be crackers!!)

  2. If I hadn't sabotaged myself last week, I'd be looking good for half done at the halfway point. Too bad for me then. But, with some serious effort and no sleep, I might get to 25K by mid-month--fingers crossed and the creek don't rise... ;D

  3. My Nano numbers are where I want them to but my characters, plot and setting are lacking. It's a wonder I carry on with the novel but I always and forever am learning how to write even if it makes me a bit ill along the way.

    Thanks for the pep talk. Maybe I can edit this pile into something okay... after November of course.

  4. Keita Haruka3:12 PM

    Yes well...your kind of blackmailing is the kind I can live with. :p

    I really don't know how you do it. Writing two things at once would drive me schizo. I know, because I tried it once. Respect!

    I do kind of feel the story itself is flatlining, but on the other hand, I must say my writing is improving. I'm not happy with the first 20,000 or so words. I have no hint of chapter division as yet, viewpoint shifts all over the place and I have the nagging suspicion that I'm going to have to rewrite large parts of the start because the more time I spend in the cultures I created, the more I realise that some of the initial motivations I had for some major plot points simply won't work as written. I know how to fix it, thankfully, but it'll take a lot of work.

    If I didn't love my two boys so much, I'd have deleted this by now. But I do love them, and besides, I'm being blackmailed to keep doing, so I better to exactly that!

    30,052 words as of 20 minutes ago...

  5. I had high hopes. Then spent the first 5 days of November flattened out with a bug, then a major illness in the family ( my mom, recovering but still.) Throw in a toddler. And a book event for 4 days and oh, who am I kidding, like every nano, November seems to be a perpetual you-know-what, with scheduling and free time. At this point I've done 5k. Still better than nothing. Still could hahaha pull a win if I just get some time, but right now I've been in a dead run and two changes of clothes, bags, luggage and my pants are on the other side of town and I've been awake for about 18 hours now and I am "going to deal with everything tomorrow."

    ( i'm at a 4 day book fair/event with a booth with my books so its not like I'm slacking!)

  6. :shakes pompoms at you: You can do this! Yes, after however many books, you still need a cheerleader of your own from time to time. And yes, feel free to burn that first chapter, but for now, forget about it. Burn it up in your head and move on. (Which you've probably already done, but hey, I'm just adding my rahrah to it.)

    No, I'm not done. I'll never be done. And now that I've finally made the choice to self-publish, I might finally see something come from my efforts. ;o)

  7. Anonymous10:15 PM

    Not doing as well as I would like myself. Currently sitting at 9898 words. Not giving up though, have every intention of getting this done. It's been a challenging two weeks.
    Saille :)


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