Day 15

So for the last few days, writing has been flying along great, but my anxiety has been through the roof. I think it’s kind of related.

With the writing going by so quickly, I don’t have time to make sure I’ve gotten everything right, and I think that’s triggering my anxiety. When it first hit, I was able to work though it and realize that I’d included an trigger event that never gets resolved in the story. I’d never even thought about it till I was writing it down, lol. So that was haunting me. I figured it out (if there’s a second story, it will come into play), which should have relieved the anxiety, right.

Wrong. Sigh.

I also hit a section that I don’t have thoroughly plotted out. I know the next major scene, but I need all the bits to line up. Except, this is nanowrimo, you’re just supposed to write and figure out the fixes later. I’m having a surprising amount of difficulty with that this year.

So I’m writing the grey area, trying to pull details together, and I’m not sure if I’m going in the right direction with this, or if I’m missing something important. You know that feeling like you’ve forgotten something important, but you can’t quite put your finger on it? That times a thousand.

I do have the option to skip ahead. I’m just not sure if that will ease the anxiety, or just make it worse.

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Day 12

I haven’t been updating, but I have been writing!

I went with my snippet from a previous nano, and so far, so great! It’s flowing pretty well, and I’ve finally hit the scene that gave me the inspiration for the story, so the writing for the next few days should really flow.

I have had to fight off the inner editor a lot, though. Writing outside of nanowrimo requires a completely different mentality; you figure out what exactly you want to say, you write, you think as you write, and you edit a bit as you go along.

Writing during nanowrimo involves turning off that part of your brain. You write, you ignore how you feel/think about what you’ve just written, and keep on trucking. Any kind of critical analysis is for after November 30th.

Needless to say, it’s been a bit difficult to switch back to nano writing. I probably still spend a portion of every day actively reminding myself that it’s okay to ignore problems or mis-written sections. The point here is just to get shit written.

10 days left…

Until NaNoWriMo and I still don’t know what I’m going to write.

I’ve been procrastinating, focusing a lot on the story I’m writing for my critique group, and now I’m hitting the panic stage, lol. Well, it’s more of a nervous titter than an actual laugh, but ‘lol’ will do.

So first the positive; my critique group story is going really well! I’ll call it CG story for now. I haven’t titled it, as I can’t think of a goddammed thing. I’m sure something will turn up. Anyway, it’s inspired by scenes from two movies; The Ninth Gate and The Devil Rides Out/ The Devil’s Bride. My story is basically ‘guy tries to stop cultists from summoning a demon’ with a few twists.

Thanks to Halloween being so close, I recently rewatched The Devil’s Bride, and it made me rethink one of the fixes I’d planned from of the critiques I’d received.  Namely, I’d unintentionally introduced two of the MCs as a couple/coworkers. Since they barely know each other, I’d intended to make it clear that they weren’t. Now however, after refreshing my memory of the source materials, I’m going to take that unintended link and use it to write a ‘one week earlier’ scene that I hadn’t realized I needed until now.

But before I can get working on that, there’s NaNo. I know I could rebel and work on bits and pieces of various stories, including my CG story. I’ve done that before. I just really wanted to do a traditional NaNo this year.

I’ve gone over my list of unwritten stories and can feel a bit of a zing from a few of them, but mostly it’s been a bit… meh. I was feeling frustrated about it and started analyzing it over the last few days. I think I know a few reasons why.

  1. Most years I use NaNo to escape from life. Lately though, I’ve been pretty happy. I’m the healthiest I’ve been in twenty years, I’m writing on a semi-regular basis, and nothing crisis-like has happened in at least six months. I basically don’t have anything to escape from, so I need to work on how I think about writing.
  2. A lot of my story ideas have some pretty dark and heavy elements. I’m just not feeling it; my inner monster is feeling rather sleepy these days. I want to write something happy, dammit.

So I either have to take one of those unwritten story ideas and rework it, which makes me anxious, or come up with something brand new, which also makes me anxious. I’m leaning toward the first; if I can’t fix/adapt an old story, I shouldn’t call myself a writer!

Things I learned from NaNo 2016

Now that Nanowrimo is officially over, you’d think I’d want to not even hear the word for the next thirty days. Instead, I’ve been pondering it, lol.

Things I learned this year:

  • Plantsing is fun. I had no plot, no characters, and it took me the entire first day to figure out what I was going to write, which was fucking scary. It took off from there, though, and it was really fun to write. By the end of the first week, I knew the plot, but didn’t write it out. It was freeing, but I know that if I didn’t write out plot ideas, I’d eventually forget them; not fun.
  • I stole from other stories (mostly mine, lol) to shore up gaps. I named my main characters after some of my favourite book characters so I had a mental image for how my characters would behave/look. I grabbed concepts from my own stories (technically I wasn’t using them anyway, right?) so my characters had things to do.
  • Finishing a story feels weird. I know where the story goes next; but as it stands, it’s done. I feel odd, like I should be doing the next story of it already. Maybe it’s the fact that it’s only 50,000ish words; I’m used to my stories taking twice that to reach the climax. Of course, I do have a couple of sections that didn’t get written; I realized certain areas were too thin, and needed more, but didn’t want to backtrack during NaNo. And there might be one extra scene to throw in at the end… so it’s 95% done, lol.
  • I still get a lot of words written with sex scenes. This is good for NaNo, but extremely discomforting when your kids ask why they can’t read your story.
  • While I was trying to pick a plot, I ended up really advancing several of my more vague story ideas. They may not be written, but now they have a concrete shape. Nothing works better for the creative process than desperation!
  • Working with a rather free-form plotline, and succeeding,  has reinvigorated my desire to write. I am going to try and start having regular writing nights, maybe three a week. I’m terrible at daily writing; I burn out too quickly. But three a week might just be doable.
  • Writing buddies are necessary. During Nanowrimo I’m competitive enough to keep pushing my word count if others are ahead of me. We also had local meetups, and being able to chat about the story as it progressed really helped. I got some very excellent ideas from the brainstorming, and hopefully didn’t bore them too much with my own suggestions. The locals have decided to do a monthly critique group, which might just help keep me going.

Nano, Nov 8 – 15

The 8th – I finally get in the flow. Nothing much happens, but I sure write about it. I finally catch up. It helps that I wrote at work during lunch; who needs to get out and go for a walk?

The 9th – Another excellent day. I knew where I wanted to go, and actually managed to get there.

The 10th – I wrote one sentence. 😦

The 11th – I made up for screwing around on the 10th, and wrote enough for both days. A lot of it made me cringe, but it got written.

The 12th – Lots of snippets rather than a linear progress. Doesn’t matter, I made the day’s word goal.

The 13th – I finally got to another section I was looking forward to. Maintaining pace, yay!

The 14th – same section, still having fun. Still on track for word count.

The 15th – still in this section, am thinking editing is gonna suck, but oh well. Nano!

 

Nano, Nov 2 – 7th 2016

So, where did I leave off. Right.

The first day of November, I wrote next to nothing. I was too busy trying to figure out what the hell I was going to write about, so that by the time I actually wrote anything, midnight had passed and half of it didn’t count till the next day.

The 2nd – Everything I wrote on the 1st? It truly sucked. It didn’t hit the right note. So I ignored it (never delete during nano) and started over again. Much better.

The 3rd – I still wasn’t happy with what I’d written, but what the hell. The one joy of pantsing is ignoring everything that you’ve already written and moving on. I wrote a conversation. I’m also 2500 words behind.

The 4th – I rewrote the conversation. Aargh. Stupid conversations! But finally, wheels of plot are chugging. Add in a descriptive scene and I’m only a thousand words short!

The 5th – Annd I’m behind again. There’s nothing like ending a sweeping scene and having no idea what comes next. I just churned out words, slowly and painfully, but I wasn’t going to let the story die.

The 6th – I almost caught up to the 10k mark! I introduced a new character, lots of fun, and a sweeping dramatic background. Basically, I gave myself a huge amount to write about, so I did.

The 7th – Trudging again, but not as badly. Still behind on the daily word goals, which is really annoying, but not the scary ‘I’m thousands of words behind, I’m ready to cry’ sort of behind.

Whoops

I kept meaning to post about my nano progress, but I kept putting it off. I really am nano’ing. So I’m just going to post this and throw together a few more writerly posts about how it’s been going later today. I swear, today!