Ugh. I am trying to run two competing processes at all times lately: there’s Writer Brain, which keeps going YES GOOD IDEAS WE NEED WORDS WE HAVE CHARACTERS, and there’s Depression Brain, which goes “omg no opening a word processor is an unreasonable amount of effort to ask of anyone, how dare you,” and keeps on clicking the same browser game we’ve been stuck on for the last hour. Sometimes I manage to make a little progress! Yesterday I took some good advice about quick-and-dirty character building and managed to work out some important things about the main character for one of my on-deck projects, and how the action plot ought to intertwine with his personal growth arc. Last night I had an unsettling epiphany about why I’ve been having trouble with female protagonists (as a writer you really can’t afford to be in swooning-early-crush mode with your characters; you need to look at their flaws and look HARD, because that’s where interesting things happen). So there are some flashes of insight in there between the flopped-over-doing-nothing periods.
And I’m hoping NaNo kicks me over to that side of the fence more thoroughly. I’ve signed up. I’ve just put the widget on my sidebar so people can see how I’m doing (accountability helps, I hear). I don’t expect to win, and I’m pretty zen with that. The pace of NaNo is still pretty high for me, and I have a day job and family to visit and ideally kind of a social life. But if it gets me back in the discipline—write every day; keep writing; put the writing first and then screw around AFTER—then it will be a success even if my ending word count is 10k instead of 50k.
…Okay no if I’m honest I would be disappointed with myself if I bailed at only 10. But 20k, maybe. If those words are going somewhere. That would be a good start.
Bring it on, November. I’m ready for you.
Well, here we are again in the back half of October, with the caffeine-and-wild-eyed-determination-fueled juggernaut of NaNoWriMo bearing down on us. I attempt NaNo every year. I never win. I can’t seem to get my speed up high enough, consistently enough, to stay on pace.
It still helps, though. The first draft of Gabriel’s City got a lot of its words down on paper during two different Novembers. I’ve made good starts at a few other things in other years. And generally I love the atmosphere of it; for all that writing is presented as a solitary pursuit, it’s one of the few social activities I am pretty much always up for. Come November, I’ll have some friends to come with me to the local geeky coffeehouse with their laptops, and we’ll sit there together sipping lattes and attacking our keyboards. It’s nice to have somebody there to pace you for wordcount, to keep typing when you stop so that you feel the need to start again, to listen sympathetically when you just want to be writing anything but the scene you’re currently slogging through. Someone to suggest ninjas at the crucial moment.
So right now I’m sifting through ideas and trying to decide what I want to work on this November. I’ve narrowed it down to two, and I’ll probably bounce back and forth between them — my attention span also doesn’t care for NaNo’s single-project tunnel vision. I have a post-apocalyptic survivors’ society and a pretty young man with an anxiety disorder to throw into it. I also have a dusty, magic-infused wasteland city and a bounty hunter coming to town with her lipstick perfect and her shotgun loaded. I have an assortment of Cool Bits I want to throw in to make them fun and self-indulgent to write (and, hopefully, to read).
I have… about a plot and a half to split between the two stories so far. But it’s only October 20! That’s plenty of time. Right?
Bump in the Night is out this week! And there’s a blog tour on! I’m up today, and you can find me over at Sid Love, posting about the horror of a well-placed “yes.” I knew this would have to be my discussion topic pretty much as soon as we got the heads-up to start making plans for a post. I love it so much when characters enthusiastically embrace things that aren’t good for them. >3
In one of those entertaining cases of authorial blind spot, I’ve seen a few reviews now that compare “Resurrection Man” to Frankenstein — one of them even goes so far as to call it “loosely based” on the novel. And now that they point it out I can see it? But I swear it never even crossed my mind while I was writing. Somehow Frankenstein’s monster has never been one of the classic horrors on my radar. But maybe this is a sign that I should fix that.
Tis the season, after all.