Posts tagged writing
Posts tagged writing
There’s only a few days left of November, so it’s crunch time in NaNoWriMo world. I’m really far behind at 17,062 words (out of 50,000). But I am not throwing in the towel yet. I’ve put in over 4k today, and I plan on putting in around 8k more before I go to bed tonight. I’m just letting myself write the novel like a patchwork quilt. It’s not in perfect order, but I’m just putting scenes down on paper (or screen, rather) and dividing them each with a dotted line. I’m running out of steam on names, though. I just had to name a burger place and called it Moo Burger. That’s pretty gross when you think about it. Oh well, this is a rough draft competition, not a polished draft competition.
I’m falling behind in NaNoWriMo. I feel like I am at a tipping point— finish or fail. While driving home tonight I realized that I need to kill off one of my characters sooner than I was expecting, my main character will be quitting her job and finding a new one, a minor character will become even more minor, my main character may decide to go on a revenge spree, and I just need to get words on paper even though the whole thing is a mess. I like this quote about novel writing (it also pertains to life).
"It’s like driving a car at night. You never see further than your headlights, but you can make the whole trip that way." - E.L. Doctorow
Okay, back to my Word document. In another equally inspiring quote, but only indirectly about novel writing and life, “This is it. Don’t get scared now.” - Kevin McCallister
I’ll be checking in on my NaNoWriMo progress throughout the month, so you all can trudge along with me. Mwahhaha
So far my novel is being written like a patchwork quilt. I am writing micro-scenes or paragraphs disguised as story that are really character descriptions. It is quite the rough rough draft. Plot has always been my biggest creative writing weakness. I love making up characters or coming up with an overarching theme, but things have to h-a-p-p-e-n on the page. So, uh, yeah, I guess I need to brew up some conflict at this Christmas party my narrator has just arrived at. So far she has put her coat and purse in the corner of the guest bedroom. Awesome. Spellbinding. Oh, I will not give up and resort to a Zombie apocalypse so soon…
Another NaNoWriMo is less than a week away! November is NAtional NOvel WRIting MOnth, and every year NaNo participants try to put 50,000 words onto paper (or screen) to write an entire novel in just 30 days. I’ve participated for a couple of years, but I have never crossed the finish line. How sad is that? I think my biggest folly is not outlining my novel in October. The only rule is that you cannot write the actual novel until midnight on November 1st.
Plus, there are basically two schools of thought on word count. Some participants think it’s okay to count any and all words that you write down. That means your manuscript could look like this:
Once upon a time there was a sensitive Viking who refused to pillage… I just ate a sandwich for lunch. It was really delicious, but I wonder how many calories were in that? I need to remember to go the post-office later today. I hope they let me pick out my stamps and don’t just hand me a book of those liberty bell stamps…Blah blah ho hum I don’t know where to go in my story from here…
The other school of thought says most of the above would not apply to your word count. Words should only be counted if they are actually part of the story. I fall into the second camp, so my word count will never be obscene. I find it a little annoying when people say they finished their 50,000 in two days, but they just did a stream of consciousness. I also know that I cannot edit too much as the point is to get a rough draft on paper.
So I think I will begin outlining tonight. I am deciding between writing the story that’s been in my head for the past seven years or starting fresh. Who else is participating in NaNoWriMo this year? I do promise that it’s a lot of fun (win or lose) and well-known authors e-mail encouraging pep notes.
I lost one follower after the Stove Bed entry. We will not be deterred from our ingenuity!
Badass Flannery O’Connor with some peacocks and also what appear to be crutches. Admittedly, I do not know enough about her life to know why she’s with peacocks other than, why WOULDN’T Flannery O’Connor be chilling with some peacocks? She’s that kind of lady.
I just remember reading and loving her work in college. Her short story A Good Man is Hard to Find is a staple for creative writing classes. I submitted many a-story to class critiques with titles that played off of AGMiHtF, mainly A Good Walnut is Hard to Find. I don’t think anyone found my reference as funny as I did.
I always feel like such a grammatical badass whenever I use a semicolon. Fuck conjunctions; I’mma use a semicolon.
Do you ever get so overwhelmed by how many things you want to do that you end up doing nothing? Like, you get an hour or two of free time (such a rarity) and instead of organizing your closet, working on your latest art project, writing in your journal, updating your recipe book, writing overdue thank-you cards, or buying the supplies to make your own soap, you just end up doing something ordinary like getting online or shuffling around your house?
Sylvia Plath had a much more eloquent way of putting it:
"I saw myself sitting in the crotch of this fig tree, starving to death, just because I couldn’t make up my mind which of the figs I would choose. I wanted each and every one of them, but choosing one meant losing all the rest, and, as I sat there, unable to decide, the figs began to wrinkle and go black, and, one by one, they plopped to the ground at my feet."
Sometimes I like to melodramatically shake my fist and yell, “I am starving in the crotch of a fig tree!!!” But no one ever knows what I’m referencing, and they just reply with a half-hearted, “Huh?”
Of course, Sylvia (I feel I have earned the right to call her by her first name, because I did a school project on her every year from 8th grade to 12th grade. Oh, and no, I didn’t really fit in with the other kids at school, why do you ask?) means this in a philosophic, life-altering, big-picture way. I mean it in an immediate, gratify-me-now way.
But seriously, you guys. I am starving in the crotch of a fig tree at this very moment. It’s only 8:30 p.m. I could totally do something. Something productive even. I could get a jump start on my class readings, figure out what the hell my professor is talking about when she references all these “assignments,” or at least sort through all the clothes I have strewn around my room. Realistically, I’ll probably just wash my face, brush my teeth, and read in bed until I fall asleep. Tomorrow I’ll pick figs. I’ll make fig pie even. Promise.
I have my box of stationery, stickers, and stamps out. I’m writing letters, watching “You’ve Got Mail” on TBS, and using my fancy college dictionary as a coaster to my glass of Cherry Coke. I love Joe Fox (Tom Hanks) so much in this movie I can’t take it.
Reverb 10 is an annual event and online initiative to reflect on your year and manifest what’s next.
December 2 Prompt: Writing. What do you do each day that doesn’t contribute to your writing — and can you eliminate it?
Living and making a living keep me from writing. It’s that simple, and that’s what makes eliminating this roadblock so hard.
Currently, I am in a library, sitting across from my classmate and project partner. We have a huge presentation tomorrow that includes our own WebQuest and a paper analyzing the pedagogy and psychological framework of a well-known educational theorist. My classmate is diligently working with a furrowed brow and gum-chewing jaw, and I’m on tumblr. Sshhh, don’t tell him.
I am supposed to be writing away on our paper, but instead I am answering prompt number two of Reverb10. Also, I am deciding when would be an appropriate time to tell him that I need coffee, and I’ll e-mail him my portion of the project later.
Of course, writing about writing that’s preventing me from writing is a perfect example of my quandary. But even if I had a year’s isolation to do nothing but write, what good would that do? You can’t write about writing unless you’re brilliant like Anne Lamott or Lorrie Moore. You need a niche. You need a reason that compels you to write.
—Okay, I don’t feel quite so guilty about sneaking away to tumblr. My partner just showed me that’s he’s spent the past half-hour captioning funny pictures of Alec Trebek for our presentation. Still, it’s more beneficial than what I’m doing. Blogging and smiling at the little kids who skip by singing.
Maybe the solution isn’t about elimination, but addition. Right now I need a soy peppermint mocha latte and THEN I will be productive. Promise.
"Give me six hours to chop down a tree, and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe." -Abraham Lincoln