I hate writing dialogue.
I don’t mean picking out the witty phrases; I can sometimes manage that, though often it’s the usual basic stuff.
No, I mean I hate the actual process of writing down dialogue. Back when I wrote in notebooks, it was easy. Typing the quotation marks, however, always slows me down. Even after years of having memorized the location of every key on the keyboard, I still find myself pausing, hitting ctrl + ‘, and then having to get back into the mindset of the words being spoken.
It’s incredibly irritating.
Sometimes I purposefully write crap. I know there’s no judgement to Nano, and that if I wanted to, I could write ‘I suck’ over and over and over again, and so long as I actually typed it all out, it would count.
I try to have higher standards than that. I have dozens of stories in my head, and of course they all need to be written out, because otherwise I start to lose them and I hate that sensation. It’s like trying to remember the details of that really great party you went to ten years ago, but now all you can remember is how you drove that one guy home and he puked all over the side of the car.
It’s usually during the frantic pace of nano that I realize I haven’t quite filled in all the gaps in the story, and so I need to figure out how to get from point A to point C. Or that the wonderful scene in my head only took 200 words to write.
So I add crap. Hugely detailed descriptions that would have given Daphne du Maurier a run for her money*. Sex scenes where no such scene ever belonged in the history of writing. I go off on tangents which not only complicate the plot, but frequently make the actual plot unworkable.
Being the type of person that I am, having poorly written stuff in my work irritates the hell out of me. If I let myself stop and actually think about it, I’d end up going crazy. Maybe that’s why I have trouble getting to the editing stage; knowing I’ll have to look at all the times I wrote badly.
* I am exaggerating. At no point have I written an entire chapter about a driveway.
I create huge plot outlines with tonnes of details and clear sets of actions, and then get bored halfway through, but trudge on until the last damned word is written because I am going to win this fucker, like it or not!
I’ve done NaNo now since 2005, and ever year except once (2009) I’ve reached 50k words and been a ‘winner’.
But here’s my confession: except for the first one, I’ve never actually finished the entire novel. I’ll write a brief summary paragraph and I’m done, even though the story isn’t.
My 2005 novel eventually reached ~120k words, and is more or less complete, as a first rough draft. I’ve never read through it, and I actually lost it for a couple of years, moving from computer to computer.
I tried reading it last year, but it was so rough and in need of so many fixes, I stopped and left it alone again.