New words: 1,702
Total words: 30,920
NaNo notes: I sometimes wonder what people must make of my entries on writing, assuming they make anything of them at all. I must appear to have the most convoluted writing process ever. I can’t just do as other writers/NaNoers seem to do, say, “I have this idea for a story…” and then sit down to write it, challenged by coming up with good characters and plot to fit my idea. That is such a logical, top-down, blueprint-for-a-forest approach. No, I have no forest blueprint, no idea for a novel, I have only this urge to write that needs an outlet, and no idea what I want to say.
I must simply start planting trees willy-nilly, trees and rocks and random deers and other things one might find in a forest, then test my feelings about each of them and eliminate the things I don’t like, then generate some more. Eventually, a forest will emerge, and it will have some sort of theme/story to tell/thing to say that was buried deep in my subconscious in a way I have no direct access to.
Or if you prefer another metaphor, writing for me is like an archeological excavation. A Neolithic archeological excavation. I have to pull my story up out of the ground, piece by piece, and be able to tell the difference between stone tools and plain old stones that can be tossed away. After many years, I might have a story/ancient dwelling site. Or I may end up with a pile of rocks.
“What do you want to write about?”
“I don’t know. I’ll figure that out after I write it.”
That about sums it up.
New words: 1,928
Total words: 23,889
And when she came down, when she had her mind back, when things weren’t torment, restlessness licking like flame under her feet, crawling under her skin, buzzing in her head, not leaving her alone, she could see the havoc she’d wrought, and feel only supreme helplessness to stop it.
Because all the medications in the world couldn’t stop it–not the ones the so-called ‘professionals’ gave her, and not the ones she found herself.
NaNo notes: Well, it’s finally happened. I’ve marinated in the story this month long enough for words to come to me spontaneously *after* I’ve shut down the computer and closed the laptop and wandered away from my chair. Yesterday morning, I scribbled some stuff on a notepad at work soon after I arrived there, just because my laptop wasn’t up and running quite yet. Then, yesterday evening as I crawled into bed, another scene (dialogue, it’s almost always dialogue) played out in my head, forcing me to head back out to my writing chair, find a paper pad, and scribble it all down before sleep took most of it away. Sure enough, this morning, I’d forgotten I even wrote it, and only went looking for that pad as fatigue made me cringe in despair at the thought of having to feed the damned word count today. But my hastily scribbled bits could be typed into the computer and expanded on. A lot. I do really write too much. Which makes NaNo a Big Giant Enabler.
But honestly, writing stuff that isn’t pure crap is hard. It’s really hard. So you take those moments when the quality is effortlessness as a gift, because they come from a part of your brain that won’t perform on demand and that is much more intuitive and in touch with what you want to say.
So in the shaking-loose that is becoming a theme for NaNo ’10, I came up with this notion in the wee hours of this morning that I should merge two characters. Two major characters. I have this one character who is more than likely going to be the main character of at least the first book in what I hope will be a series, and my biggest hurdle with her is she is, frankly, dull. A couple of days’ writing of her going through her deceased grandmother’s belongings with warm sentimentality is making me cringe at the thought of being shelved with the feel-good chick-lit.
I needed to make her more interesting, give her complications, and the thought occurred to me for story-line reasons that she could have rejection issues. But I already have another, much more interesting character, with rejection issues. So then, I thought, “merge.” But then the question becomes, how?
The new hybrid character would be an archeology grad student like Boring Girl. But Boring Girl is white (possibly Jewish?) and Interesting Girl is asian. I’ve written Boring Girl as straight. Interesting Girl is gay. If I merge them, I either lose a POC character, or I lose one of the only straight characters in my novel. Having at least one major character be straight is sort of important to me so my story doesn’t get pigeon-holed as lesbian lit, but I think her straightness is part of the reason Boring Girl is boring. To me. I really don’t care about her love life or love life issues, unless she were to get together with a really unusually interesting guy character, which I did sort of have planned for her (but I haven’t gotten there yet).
Okay, so maybe she’s a bisexual asian archeology student with rejection issues. But then I’m stuck on her rejection issues. Some are family-related, but in Interesting Girl’s old back story, it was mostly that women were constantly breaking up with her. If I make her straight or bi, and have it that men are constantly breaking up with her, suddenly, it’s a romance movie cliche. Or maybe, both genders are constantly breaking up with her. That would be pretty pathetic. In an interesting way.
I have had some issues with my new story that have made my work on it…intermittent over the past two years. One of the biggest hurdles has been I don’t like my antagonists. Somehow, they have become paranoid minute-men taking potshots at invisible spirit-folk they fear just out of fear of what is unknown/out of their control, and no matter how justified I tried to make my antagonists (there really *are* some bad spirit-folk out there!), or personal their motivations (“I saw my own bruthah kilt by one of them!!1!”) they still seem horribly boring to me.
It’s like I just need there to be bad guys for my good guys to fight, and so I have set up these prop bad-guys, but I don’t care about them. And you know that will mean the reader won’t care about them, either.
Honestly, my story is going to turn into a Disney movie with a general “Ignorance leads to fear, fear leads to the dark side!” moral.
So I try to take a cue from other writers, say, oh, Joss, and make my villains personal (“my heroine falls in love with a guy who is one of the antagonists and starts to see his point of view…whatever that is….”)
But I still…can’t get myself…to care about these people. They’re still props.
New words: 1,981
Total words: 8,793
He was just a guy Nathan ran into in a club. All tattoos and piercings, with a couple clones at either shoulder giving Nathan looks that bore right through and beyond him.
Interesting words used: grumbling buses. I’ve used that phrase before, because they really *do* grumble.