Last night I met up with a number of other local NaNoWriMo writers to celebrate our success. We discussed all manners of things, but unsurprisingly, the topic of writing came up an inordinate numbers of times.
One of the other writers there started explaining some principles of mad science that she had begun applying to her villains in her writing. Infection. Obsession. Challenge. Chase Scene. Denouement.
It truly is a wonderful world we live in.
The obvious inspiration for this philosophy, A Miracle of Science, continues to excel.
We have entered what may be the final showdown between the good guys and the bad, and our hero Benjamin is doing his best to stop the enemy with the most powerful weapon at his disposal – the power of memetics.
It’s a good comic, and it’s a good time to be reading it.
This evening NaNoWriMo 2006 draws to a close, and I get to enjoy the feeling of a job well done.
This year I managed to actually go the distance, and yes, that is a damn good feeling.
I only wrote the first third of the novel I set out to write – however, I think it ended up more coherant than it would have otherwise, so that’s a plus. And, of course, it leaves me with material to continue with if I undertake this madness next year.
In the end, it sucked up a bunch of time I likely would have otherwise spent playing video-games. It let me test my limits, and let me actually prove that I can sit down and write something extensive. One of my old writing teachers told me that every person in the world has stories in their head they could tell, but you only are a writer if you sit down and write them.
That doesn’t make you a good writer, mind you. That’s the next step.
But the first step is writing, and this is the first time I’ve produced a clearly finished work of significant length. It isn’t as long as a standard novel, it isn’t a masterpiece, and I quake in fear at actually showing it off to my friends and family who demand a chance to read it. The narrative voice is constantly shifting, I’m not entirely positive I maintained the same tense throughout the work, and the most interesting character is an ordinary housecat. The dialogue is poor, the plot resorts to exposition, and the proofreading was nonexistant.
…but it is complete, and it is mine, and I can be damn proud of that.
And that’s what the month is all about.
15,193 / 50,000
It is the fifteenth of the month.
NaNoWriMo 2006 is halfway over. In theory, were I on track, I’d be at 25k words, instead of 15k – but while I’m behind, that would worry me more if I hadn’t gone the first week without any serious progress. As long as I’m able to keep shiny distractions away, the word output itself isn’t really what worries me, especially with two more weekends in the month to crunch it out.
What worries me is the story itself. It’s not a great story, but I’m fine with that – walking into NaNoWriMo and expecting to write a masterpiece is a recipe for failure.
The problem is that I’m at 1/3 of my word count, but only 1/9 of the way through the plot in the book.
Once upon a time, I had great ideas for stories – but usually those ideas were broad and sweeping. I had the momentous climax mapped out, the dramatic showdown, the key moment… but I could never fill in the rest of the story.
Now I’m running into the opposite problem – the filler isn’t pausing to let me progress. The characters run rampant over the story, and I’m trying to decide if I’ll have to accept cutting the plot short, trying to cram the entire thing into the rest of the month, or just skipping past long chunks of the tale.
Still, NaNoWriMo is definitely providing an interesting and intense experience. And if my only difficulties so far are having too much story to write, then I don’t think I’m entitled to spend time complaining!
Tonight was a good night to me for a variety of reasons – I completed a lot of random chores and tasks, and the feeling of progress and accomplishment is always a good one. But the evening culminated, as I lay in bed with countless words running through my mind, with a realization.
I am a writer, or at least aspire to be such a creature. But in order to be a writer, I need to write, as successes in the field often tell me.
A writer must go out there every day and write, come hell or high water. Find your story, overcome your excuses, and put words to paper.
Otherwise you aren’t a writer – just some mook with big ideas.
Now, I am working on this writing thing, and plan to make sure I output content on a regular basis, whether it be heaven-sent or the foulest dreck this earth has seen.
But! I realized tonight that a big key to going places is to make sure I put down my thoughts, my words, my ideas when I have them.
I cannot wait a day… or two… or more, and hope to have the same power and emotion as when they first sprang to mind. No, I need to drop such petty tasks as sleep or food or entertainment and write my goddamn words.
It is amazing what relief this discovery brings. And to be honest, I likely will be better off than if I tried to wrestle myself to sleep while the words demanded output, dancing through my brain like a pair of drunken elephants. No, I’ll put these words down and let my mind get some rest as well.
And when I hit the sack in just a few moments, I bet that I won’t have my normal struggle to settle myself enough to sleep. No, my money says I’ll be sleeping like a child. A child pumped full of oh-so-delicious tranquilizing darts.