Wednesday, November 04, 2009

NaNo Blah Blah #2

1. Pages = 22. Words = about 7150.

After counting a number of pages, I was actually getting about 350 words per page, so I'm estimating 325 to give myself a broad margin of error. The stack o' paper is actually becoming a stack. And I'm suddenly nervous about it. I still have untranscribed pages from my *last* typed NaNo, which used to not bother me, but some friends recently lost their house and all belongings to a fire...which makes me think. And fret. I may see if I can create a PDF of the pages so far, without doing any OCR or anything else, just so I have an electronic backup.

Considering my fears usually run the other direction (fear of losing electronic copies despite all manner of backups), I feel a little weird about this new phobia.

2. I *love* this typewriter.

3. I really do.

4. I am once again reminded of why it's stooooopid of me to attempt pre-planning. In the initial 20 pages, sister-of-Joey has become far more essential to the plot than Joey (who, in point of fact, has been asleep for most of the story so far), and bitter-children's-writer-who-lives-downstairs is now hopelessly in love with sister-of-Joey, which was *not* in my notes. Attempts to get him together with his original intended would be really awkward at this point. And I think she may end up falling for the bass player instead.

And so on and so forth. I'm just along for the ride. *sigh*

5. This week's NaNo pep talk was from Jasper Fforde!!!!! Jasper Fforde, indirectly speaking, sent me an e-mail! I literally cheered out loud and did a little chair dance when I saw his name there. The dog is still a bit freaked out. If you haven't read any of his books, do yourself a favor and check them out. They're hilarious, especially for writers and publishing geeks and lovers of literature, though you do have to get past the heresy of his putting characters from literature into his books and putting words into their mouths. Tons of wonderful puns and word play and font jokes and...oh, they're too unique to describe. I'd suggest starting with The Eyre Affair, which I really need to reread. I actually like some of his later books better (I think The Well of Lost Plots is my favorite), but they make more sense if you start from the beginning.


deek said...

Being along for the ride is fun, isn't it?

I didn't plot anything out ahead of time, but I did think up a good premise and a few solid plot points. A day or so after I started writing, I wrote down a few other aspects of the story on notecards and placed them by my typewriter.

So, I'm still heading in the same direction as I started, but Melvin (my main) is getting there on his own, surprising me along the way and introducing me to characters I had no idea were in my story...ahem...his story:)

Mike Speegle said...

But it's so cool when characters do unexpected things! Especially when people unexpectedly do things like fall in love or hit each other with shovels or something.

And yes, you need to be backing your stuff up, kid.

Elizabeth H. said...

See, the trouble is that I was *taught* to write to an out-line or by doing other such pre-planning, and the fact that I just can't do it in any meaningful way where fiction is concerned makes me feel frantic and inadequate. When I see folks like Clemens going on about how much it helps to structure and outline and take notes ahead of time as if there isn't any other way, I want to pull my hair out and bite my knuckles and bang my head to a bloody pulp against a brick wall. Because I hate hate hate that I can't do that. I can't. I try and try, and I can't.

For me, writing longer works of fiction happens pretty much in the same way as I write poetry: there is an initial idea, a sort of kernel or seed--a word, a phrase, an image, a single clear character and moment--and I pick and pick and pick at that until all at once it explodes into something entire, like a kernel of popcorn. I can't entirely force it, I can't tell ahead of time what will be the final key or tool that causes the explosion. All I can do is carry that seed around, picking at it until it happens--and once it does happen, heaven help me if I don't have a notebook or some such thing to at least capture the framework so I can get it down later.

Poems are usually just the one kernel; longer stories may have *bunches* of them. Sometimes I can make lists ahead of time--quick scene descriptions or phrases--that may prove to be kernels I can pick at, but sometimes whole batches turn out to be duds by the time I get within reach. And trying to do a whole outline and absolutely stick to it...well, it's horrible. It's like walking down long hallway without being able to look into any of the rooms along the way. I may get from Point A to Point B, but it's not pretty, and it's flat and dull and empty.

And yes, I'm mixing metaphors. My current main character does that. I blame him. Incidentally, that characteristic too was not in the script.

End rant.

deek said...

My current concern, is that I will finish my story and not be at 50,000 words...

I'm seeming to pad my writing before I hit some of the plot points I want to hit...preparing for the worst.

But in the end, if it ends up short, it ends up short. As long as I finish the story, I'll be happy. Even if, for NaNo, its only an emotional win!