miriam english (miriam_e) wrote,
miriam english
miriam_e

NaNoWriMo

Doing it again this year. If I keep this up for another decade I might just produce something saleable. :)

This year I'm doing something a little different. I'm attempting to rewrite and finish a story I started back in 2008 for NaNoWriMo, Critically Damaged, but had only got a couple of chapters written. I think the problem was two-fold. I let real life intrude so was unable to make enough time to write. And I didn't think I could pull the story off.

I only realised the latter reason a few days ago when I was starting to fret. I phoned up my Mum and was worrying to her about how I could possibly create a couple of parts of the story. When I was explaining to her about one particularly troublesome part, where a main character behaves really badly, Mum simply asked "Does your character have to do that? I wouldn't." I was about to answer that the story requires it; without it, there would be no reason for the rest of the story. Then I suddenly realised that wasn't true. She need not do it. And I realised it didn't ring true for me either. How did I ever think I could write something that was so counter to my own natural inclinations?

So suddenly I was off the hook for one of the two major difficulties in the story. And the other big problem? I think I'm working it out. We'll find out this month if I'm correct.

Not sure if I'll post this online as I go...
If you'd like me to post chapters as I write them, let me know here and I'll do so.

(Crossposted from http://miriam-e.dreamwidth.org/325855.html at my Dreamwidth account. Number of comments there so far: comment count unavailable)
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  • 9 comments
Good luck! And I've done that as well--used NaNo to finish a previous NaNo's attempt. One year in uni I finished off the NaNovel I had failed to finish and additionally finished off a novel I had started randomly in high school and had already outlined. I think as long as 50k words get written--or really, any words at all!--then it's good for November.
Doesn't look like I'll hit 50K words. :(
I'm kinda stuck... technical problem in presenting part of the story. I'll solve it eventually, but I'm out of the race.
Now I just want to finish the story. Doesn't look like the story will run to 50K words anyway, so that doesn't really matter. It's an interesting idea, and I'd like to get it down in words.
I'm sorry! I hope you get enough words/get through enough story to be happy anyway. (:

Is there any way you can skip the technical problem for now and come back to it?

And yeah, that's why I always have to have a back-up story. This year I have a few I could choose from but I have a feeling this one will get up to the 150,000 mark--but I think it'll finish before 200k or even 175k so I'm hoping to just get through it and finish it.

But, alas, it is very-supporting-character fanfic so it doesn't really matter in the end. One of these days I'll get back to original. I'm just not a plotty person!
Holy cow! 150k, 175k, 200k!!! You are amazing!

My wonderful Mum suggested exactly that: jumping ahead and coming back to the difficult part later. I'm tempted, but I kinda don't think I can. Everything really hinges on this, which is probably one of the reasons it's so hard to write.

I'm normally not big on plot, but this one is quite a change for me -- the plot is important for this one. It's like a story within a story within a story (like a Russian doll) and the part I'm trying to write properly at the moment is the central story that everything else wraps around and depends upon.

I'll get it done though. Even if it isn't this month, I will get it done. I think it's too cool an idea (or collection of ideas) not to write it out, though I don't expect anybody will like it except for me, but that's okay. I'm really only writing it for myself.
*Blushes.* Oh, no, I mean it's not really anything. A long story but not necessarily a good one. I'm just putting one character through most of the Lesbian Mistakes a young dyke can make--the poor thing. Really just a long run of the sorts of scenes I wish I got to see in novels in-between the big plot stuff; only I haven't got the big plot stuff so it's just the day-in-the-life stuff. Fairly boring. I'm not sure I'll ever spread it around even within my corner of fandom haha. It's, as you say, writing for myself.

My mother often gives me good writing advice as well. (Well, except when she pushes me to write original stuff and to publish, when that's not what I want.) Sometimes I'll write out the structure of a scene--and lines of dialogue/description I really want in it, so I don't forget--but then skip ahead to write something else, until I can come back to the skipped scene with even more knowledge of it.

That's really interesting, about your plots-within-plots story! Definitely makes that innermost part a difficult and intrinsic part. I'm sure I could never manage anything like that. I wish I could be less linear--or more plotty in general.

As long as you like it, that's the only thing that counts. I've written all mine based on that alone haha. And as long as November is helping people get creative and think about/make a start on writing things, I think the NaNo programme is doing its job.
No, it really is a big deal. I'd just about give anything to be able to just sit down and write like you do. For me it's like tearing strips off me... and my work isn't even terribly good. If I was producing gems then maybe I could excuse it...

As you say, producing something is what's important. I'm hoping quality will come with practice. NaNo is such a wonderful idea.
It's funny, I guess, that we often want what others have. I can write down endless words but I would give just about anything to be able to craft a story and create a world the way you do. I tend to wonder what the point of being able to write is if one isn't much able to write a story.

I'm hoping quality will come with practise, too, since at least I know I won't be giving it up any time soon!

It came up in one of my book clubs the other week, actually--one of them mentioned my writing--and one of them mentioned that writing is what I did when I felt "squashed" by life. (This was in comparison to a character in a book who felt "squashed" by her surroundings/family/friends and made abstract dollhouse art; writing was mentioned as my equivalent.) It struck pretty close, too.

I broke my hip in April 2004. I wrote stories all through the year and heard about NaNo WriMo for November 2005, which was my first year of doing it. I've been doing it ever since and the only time I didn't manage it was when my hip was actually dying inside me and I couldn't handle it between the physical and mental/emotional pain.

So I guess writing has been my continued way of dealing with life's various "squashing"--and perhaps that's why I've never been able to do the story-telling part well: it's just been about the act of writing. I also don't do well when I'm not writing, though I can't always tell if I'm not doing well because I've stopped writing or if it's a symptom of my not doing well. November is always a way to kick me out of that.

(Before NaNo this year, I'm not sure I'd written much of anything. Not since last wintertime.)

miriam_e

November 18 2014, 00:06:54 UTC 3 years ago Edited:  November 18 2014, 00:09:06 UTC

But when I read your writings I do see a clear and coherent story. It is odd, isn't it? I think that I struggle to create a well-defined story and often fail to do so.

Mostly writing is extremely stressful for me. I wish it was as therapeutic for me as it seems it is for you (I envy you greatly). Strangely, one of my recent stories, Quicksand Thieves has little or no story, yet was perhaps the least stressful story I've written. Maybe I should abandon attempts to keep to a plot and just write to enjoy. :)

Thank you for making me think about this.
Oh, thank you. It is odd what we can see in the writing of others but not in our own.

I'm torn on my writing being therapeutic. It is that, and I like that it's comforting, but the way I rely on it to stay sane and somewhat stable in an otherwise precarious life has limited my ability to branch out with it. I can't sit down and think about intentionally trying to write a well-defined story, or a 'good' story at all, or I can't do it--and then if I can't write things get bad. It means the idea of publishing (and turning my coping mechanism into anything beyond that) is absolutely petrifying. It has also kept me from ever being able to take any sort of creative writing course or studying English. Not that I regret studying science--I love having that lens in life--but it would have been nice had it felt more like a choice.

I wrote to not panic; my panic was often attached to my grades (one thing I felt I could control). How could I cope with my panic of grades if I was graded on the skill I used to cope?

Unfortunately it still stops me now. I can write hundreds of thousands of words but I can't get them up on a website for others to read, or published into a book, or submit them at all.

So I guess, like everything, it's a mixed bag. =/