Monthly Archives: November 2011

Jumping Ship

I’m now over 10,000 words behind in NaNoWriMo, how daunting!  I think that what this process has taught me this year is a simple lesson: I am not a non-fiction writer.

In novels when you get stuck, or you find the narrative failing, you can add a new twist and get it all going again.  And often those last-minute twists are the best things that can happen to the narrative, because not only do you surprise the reader but you surprise yourself.  And if you can surprise yourself, as the author, than that makes for very exciting writing and reading!

But in non-fiction you just write what happens.  You can tweak it a bit for better narrative flow, you can gloss over unimportant things, but there’s very little imaginative leeway.  And that’s where I’m having problems.

So for the rest of this slowly-dwindling month I might jump ship on my non-fiction project, which is basically finished anyways, and move on to a 20k fictional short story/novella to add to the 30k I’ve written already.  That way I can complete my 50k goal, or at least attempt to.

I hope to write a lot today, since it’s a miserable rainy Friday.  I don’t even have work until Monday so this can be a power weekend.    I usually have the best wordcount from the first day of a new story anyway, I just have to find something fun in my head to write!

Wish me luck, internet.  I think I might need it.


I hit 27k on Nov 16th, and was ahead of schedule.  Since that time I have written nothing else.  This has been due to work, work-related parties and life in general taking over.  HOW RUDE.

This may be the first year since 2009 that I don’t complete 50k by the end of the month.  I’m not sure how I feel about that.  Firstly, I tell myself, ‘Meh, it was just a personal goal afterall.’  And then I tell myself to shut up.  Personal goals are just as important as any other.

Besides the work and life commitments getting in the way, the other reason it’s been hard to sit down to write is that I’ve come to the end of my narrative.  I wrote myself an ideas chart at the very beginning of this venture, and apart from the narrative there are several points I haven’t yet included, but those are non-narrative and generally a bit random.  They just don’t seem to flow.  But I’ll probably write them anyway.

Even including those points, however, I’m not at all convinced I can nearly double what I’ve written by the end of the month and hit that 50k goal.  Maybe I’ll have to start writing something completely else and add up word counts just to say I wrote 50k in total?  Is that cheating?  Can you cheat in NaNoWriMo??  Well, you probably can by stealing someone else’s 50k+ work and calling it your own, but what’s the point in that I ask you?  Fools.

Well I shall persevere, but I just might not make 50k.  I suppose I can live with that, providing I end the month with a completed first draft.  That shall be my personal NaNoWriMo goal, regardless of its wordcount.  I’ve only ever used NaNoWriMo as a tool to facilitate daily writing, and in that respect I’ve been doing alright … apart from the last week!  So I’ll just have to ignore the competitive side of me which seethes when I see other people with enormous wordcounts (say what?  you’re doing THREE 50k novels in November????  BASTARDS!!!) and just focus on what I’m doing.

It’s tough, people.

NaNoWriMo Week One and Being Disillusioned By Favourite Novels

I’ve been remiss in posting once more, but this time I don’t feel so guilty!  Because I was working fairly constantly, in what free time I had I needed to decide between either writing this NaNo novel or writing about writing this NaNo novel.  I don’t think I’d be much of a writer if I’d chosen to do the latter over the former!

It’s been going pretty well, though!  I’m not sure how much of what I’ve written these past few days are going to remain in the final editing stage, but this is exactly the kind of splurgey writing NaNo was made for.  When I get stuck about what to write, I include a chapter purely about a rant I’ve been thinking of for the past few months, or a list of technical terms and explanations.  It definitely fills up the wordcount that way!

And wordcount is such a big deal in NaNoWriMo, I get obsessed with checking mine and then if I hear that someone else has written some exponentially higher number than mine, even if I’m surpassing the daily goal every day, I get stupidly competitive.  Sometimes it’s good because it forces me to write more, but other times it just annoys me.  Which is why when I go on the forums on the website, which I do only rarely, I choose to go to the “writers in distress” board because I can crow (to myself, mind you) about how much further I’ve gotten than other people!  Isn’t that terrible?  I’m shocked, myself!

I’m finding it a bit difficult to write in one respect, which is that I have forgotten a lot of the more interesting stories I had from my first few weeks volunteering!  I’ve resorted to reading my own blog and even tried to search through old chats on gmail to see what I’ve told people as it happened!  I’m sure it’ll come back to me, and if not I’ll just take authorial liberties with the truth.  No one else will ever know, anyways!  Except that I’ve just told the internet…

Oh well.

The other thing I’ve been doing in my limited spare time has been rereading a fantasy trilogy I’ve loved since I was a teenager.  This is part of Mercedes Lackey’s Valdemar series, namely the Vanyel story arc.  Some of you will perhaps know which books I mean, but most of you will be like, eh whatever.  Regardless, I was obsessed with the whole series as I reached age 12 or so, and then continued to be obsessed well into my university years.

Only now I’m becoming disillusioned.

The problem is mainly to do with how Mercedes Lackey writes and not the characters themselves so much.  Firstly, it sounds really pedantic of me, but can she write anything without obscene use of italics?  It’s like every single sentence has about five points of emphasisSheesh.

And at the points in the story we find ourselves in generally, the characters seem to almost always be at the point of melodrama about any given situation, even if the situation is one that happened well before the narrative began and one could assume that the characters had resolved themselves to it before now.  But no, everyone must be overwrought at all times.  I suppose the argument could be made for this being a ploy to keep the reader interested, but I just get irritated.  I’m like, “hey this happened years ago, get over it already.”  But no one ever listens to me in these novels.  Surprisingly enough.

I think I loved that as a teenager because when you’re at that stage in your life, every situation is at the point of melodrama, and everyone must be overwrought at all times.  But perhaps I am a bit more sensible these days.  Only a bit.

Also, in this series there’s a very rare condition, i can’t think of a better word to use to describe it than that, when two people are so much in love that they’re called “lifebonded” and it means that they’re soulmates and generally it’s a big deal.  It’s oh so rare, but wait – everyone is freaking lifebonded!  Come on now.  It gets to the point when, as soon as you meet another couple and suddenly they realise they’re lifebonded, you’re no longer like “aww true love” but merely “pfft not another one.”  I don’t think this is what Ms. Lackey intended.

And then, just when you think you’re on saccharin overload, you then get to the part where Ms. Lackey decides to put her characters through torture and death – often literally.  She doesn’t hold back in that respect, and sometimes it has the desired effect of shocking the reader but when she piles up the bodies you start to get inured to it.

So basically I don’t like these novels so well as I used to, but I still enjoy rereading them.  As I said, it’s mainly to do with how she writes but the characters themselves are still my old friends.  And it’s nice to visit every once in a while.

But honestly could they be anymore melodramatic??