Monday, June 14, 2010

Things I did this weekend (some more momentous than others)

1. Went for a seven mile walk with the dog. Lots of good thinking time, and it was absolutely lovely out there this weekend: seventies and sunshine. About time.

2. Mowed the lawn. Not exciting, but it looks nice.

4. Went to the library for still more books. Mostly light-reading brain candy this time - mysteries and such. Hey, it's summer. Speaking of mysteryish stuff, how come nobody told me about that Robert Goddard guy before now? I really enjoyed Beyond Recall. A little bit of ickiness, but mostly just implied, and his writing is superb - strong characters, vivid descriptions, interesting twists and juxtapositions. I'll be seeking out more of his work.

3. Finished filling up the brain dump notebook I've been using for several years now. Bittersweet, that. Rather than starting a brand new one, I'm switching to a small black leather-look Miquelrius notebook I've used for other things in the past. It's bulkier than the pocket Moleskine, doesn't have an elastic strap to keep it together in my purse, and doesn't open flat...but it does have pretty decent paper. I think I can manage.

4. FINISHED MY NANOWRIMO NOVEL!!!!!! Woo-hoooooo!!! I can't tell you how psyched I am about this. I stayed up way too late last night finishing it, especially considering I have to be at work early this morning, but I was so close, I knew I had to press on if I was going to get any sleep. I think I wrote about five thousand words yesterday...the finish line kept moving on me, and I kept discovering additional scenes that really needed to be in there to make the whole thing make sense. It's still very short, but considering my usual tendency runs the other way, I guess I can live with a short but relatively cohesive plot.

It's a rough draft, and it has some timeline issues and scenes with major rough edges and a few loose ends that need to be woven in, but on the whole, I am very pleased with it. It's more "me" than just about anything else I've ever written - no one's style but my own, for better or worse. And I felt like I really knew the characters and, actually, rather liked them all, even the bad ones.

I'll give it until the end of the summer before I start editing. But as first drafts go, it isn't as bad as it might be.

I'm going to celebrate tonight by buying myself ice cream...and possibly a copy of this year's Writer's Market. :-)

Things I learned from this novel:

a. I work best on paper. Absolutely no question in my mind anymore. I switched to the Neo for awhile in the middle and did OK, but I'm just more comfortable with pen and paper (or, sometimes, typewriter), especially (for some reason) for dialog. Even today's long slog ended up being me writing a half dozen pages with pen and paper, transcribing, going back to pen and paper, transcribing...etc. The words flow without an issue on paper, but on the screen, they come awkwardly or not at all. I do think it's better to transcribe pretty quickly, though, or it's easy to get bogged down in a moment and lose track of the overall arc of the story.

b. I do best if I don't over plan or over think. Times when I sat down and just went with the flow turned out much better than the scenes I planned ahead of time in excruciating detail. Looking back, much of my best writing was done during NaNoWriMo, under a time crunch. That said, the best writing is the writing I was doing without a lot of planning, but with a slower method of writing - I really do like the handwritten work. I was writing spontaneously, but not so quickly the ideas came out ragged.

c. It's really better to just keep slogging through with a project. I had some major gaps between when I wrote the first part and when I finished, and although it worked out just fine, it did take awhile to get back into character, so to speak. I have a few of my other novels I want to finish up, and this is one reason I've put them off. It's a lot easier to finish a story when you're in a place where you can see the characters clearly, feel them, know their motivations and weaknesses and goals, than it is to come back years later when you have to get to know them all over again.

But it's finished! What a rush! I know it's only a matter of time before reality sets in again, but I'll ride this wave as long as I can.


Strikethru said...

Wait, wait, your template changed. And, you are spending your time in far more productive ways than I, as evidenced by your recent posts.

Little Flower Petals said...

I'm playing with different templates tonight, and trying to decide if changing at all makes me feel too uneasy to be worth it....

Change scary.