I am kaitco

a writer's log

NaNoWriMo 2015 – Day 2 Monday, November 2, 2015

Filed under: Writing — kaitco @ 10:07 pm
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I’ve decided to take a different approach to NaNoWriMo this year. In previous years, I’ve started by writing and writing, but end up failing to follow through with this venture because, as I’ve learned the hard way over the years, I have a very specific method for constructing my novels.

I can’t simply begin with Chapter One and proceed with the story until all is done. If I start “pure” writing, I will definitely get lost along the way. I get bogged down by the craft because I have no idea where the story is going and, as my short-term memory is shot and I get bored easily, I lost interest in the idea and fail at the NaNo project. This year, as I proclaimed to myself last night, will be different.

I liken my writing process to old scanners. The first wave over the image looks distorted, but has some shape and each consequent wave over the image brings about more and more detail until it’s complete. I’m going to approach this year’s NaNoWriMo the same way I approach any novel, just doing it a bit faster. I’m going to spend the first 15 days of this month outlining my project and then spend the last 15 days of the month filling it out and adding the relevant detail. With this method, unlike past years, even if I fail to reach 50K words by November 30th, I will have a strong outline and partial draft of a complete story. Rather than a chapter or two of a story I can’t bare to even glance at a year afterward because I recognize I’d got lost early in the unnecessarily deep prose, I’ll have a project that I can revisit and even flesh out to completion.

It’s the little experiments like these that make life interesting, I suppose. On I press!

 

The Telltale Failure Monday, November 17, 2014

Filed under: Writing — kaitco @ 4:14 pm
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Once again, I’ve attempted and failed at NaNoWriMo. True, there is still half the month to go, and if I really wanted to do it, I could 5-hour energy my way through to the 50K word goal, but I’m well aware that’s just not me.

What intrigues me about this most recent failure is how indicative it is of the way I write. Despite the pleasure that comes from pure imagination, I realize that I cannot write forever in chaos.

Without the boundaries of an outline and progressive drafts of a project, imagination turns into a chaotic fervor of flips and bends to the point that all I have left are almost journalistic horrors of my subconscious.

A year or so ago, a fairy tale I’d attempted for NaNo turned into a dark story about abuse and this year’s story was supposed to allow a dark protagonist to turn from his ways, but 3K words into it, I’d Hannibal Lecter-ized him and removed any possibilities for redemption. I’m not sure why pure imagination keeps leading me down these dark paths, but I’m ready to acknowledge that pure freedom in my writing leads to utter chaos.

The chaos exists outside of the storyline as well. Jumping into a project with no rhyme or reason gives rise to horrible writing and since NaNo seems to be a race against word count, I’m pushed to ignore everything I know I’m doing wrong.

If I learned anything in writing Damen it’s that writing chapters of trash that I’m well aware will have to be scrapped even as I write them does me little good. NaNo’s freedom urges me to forget all the hard lessons I’ve learned over the years and, in the end, the resulting chaos leaves me without the will to even look at meaningful writing, which is where I’ve been for the last week.

All this notwithstanding, I’m glad to have tried and failed once again. In general, I despise failure as it seems so similar to weakness, which I hate even more, but in every failure I rise stronger and ready to accomplish even more than I’d originally set out to do.

And, so…though I acknowledge my NaNoWriMo failure, I’m readied in my zeal to continue and finish this phase of Anne. Onward and upward, indeed!

 

The Case for NaNoWriMo Friday, October 31, 2014

Filed under: Writing — kaitco @ 10:24 am
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I’ve said in the past that I dislike the idea of NaNoWriMo for giving the false illusion that a novel can be written in thirty days. A deep dive into the project would show anyone who was really interested that the goal is not to have a complete work at month’s end, but to have a preliminary draft that could edited and re-written a dozen times into something remotely publishable. In the past, however, a lot of people haven’t looked at NaNoWriMo through that lens, or if they have, they have extremely myopic vision.

What has saturated the market for emerging authors is the plethora of people who take the 50K words they’ve written in November, spell and grammar check the project, re-read once or twice in December, and then start sending their work to agents in January. As one who has catalogued the years it takes to have something even worthwhile for rejection, every year NaNoWriMo distresses me.

I actually attempted NaNoWriMo a couple years ago and I never got past the first day; I simply can’t write like that. Despite my reservations, however, I’m going to try this in my own way.

I attended church this past Sunday after missing for a few weeks for various reasons, and my attendance kick-started a lot of inspiration. I’ve been putting real effort into my workouts, I’ve been accomplishing all the goals on my daily to-do lists, and I’ve been really writing. I haven’t been spitting out 100 words a day just to say that I’ve written something, but I’ve really put in the effort that Anne deserves.

So, I’m going to do some form of NaNoWriMo. While in its current form, Anne is far greater than 50K words, but as I go through my re-write process, I’m going to ensure I write at least 1700 words a day throughout November. Rather than retain my pessimistic outlook on the entire NaNoWriMo project, I’ll participate (sign up, check in, badges, the whole thing), and see where it takes me.

Also, in other news, I made the reddit front page last week. I probably waste more hours each week on reddit than I do sleeping, but still…the front page is the front page! 🙂

 

 
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