Sunday, October 31, 2010

All NaNoWriMos Eve

It's the night before NaNoWriMo! It's also Halloween, but I was told I couldn't go trick-or-treating because I'm a grown up (or something) so I'm celebrating the former, and not the latter. I still have a ton of candy though, so it's not all a loss.

My blogging break was great, but I'm happy to be back. I was good about not reading blogs (okay, I peeked a few times) but I didn't spend all day reading and commenting and replying. There were some days I didn't even turn my computer on. CRAZY.

It was nice to take a break from internet land. It's hard sometimes being an aspiring author because we all want this so bad. As happy as we are for our writing buddies, it hurts when they get an agent or editor interest or a book deal. And then comes the spiral of despair, when you can't help but think, "Why not me? Why them? Do I not have what it takes?" It's enough to set the computer aflame.

When I read about book deals and getting agents, I can't help but compare myself. It's natural. Two people in this race together and one wins, you start questioning what you did wrong.

But that's just the problem. A very wise friend reminded me: it's not a race. I'll repeat that. IT'S NOT A RACE. So there's really no point to break yourself down and make the journey miserable.

Anyway, NaNoWriMo starts in a little over 5 hours, and I have all my supplies. Music, candy, snacks, coffee, notebooks, ideas.

I'm doing something a little crazy this year: I'm starting two novels on the first. I couldn't decide which idea I liked better, so I'm starting the month with both, trying to reach the 1.7k/day word goal with each. At some point I expect to lose this crazed motivation, and then I'll make a decision on which idea to drop and which to finish NaNo with.

Last year I did something similiar, in that I worked on two novels. One was already started and I wanted to finish it, one was new and fresh-- my legit NaNoWriMo novel. About halfway through the month it got too overwhelming so I stopped working on the first one and finsihed out the NaNo one.

This year I'm writing a YA contemporary fantasy told in first person present, but it's new for me because it has lots of secrets and twists that are revealed gradually. Most of my other ideas have been very upfront, but with this one I'll be slowly chipping away at the mystery, giving away bit by bit. Should be interesting.

The other idea is a high fantasy story, very cowboy western-y with limited government, a harsh desert setting, and crossbows and magic instead of guns. I have a general plot for this one, and then lots of little events I want to include: shady deals gone bad, old fashioned shoot-out, getting attacked by desert raiders. This story also has an element that is new for me: third person subjective from multiple viewpoints. Most of my stories are first person, and the few that aren't are told in third person limited, so I'm excited to work with the many povs of this story.

The countdown to NaNoWriMo is going going going. I'm staying up until midnight to kickstart the month with some words, but I'm not sure which story I'll start with. Better decide soon! For now I'll spend my last few hours browsing the NaNo forums, eating snacks, going over my notes and dosing myself with caffeine so I'm good and ready.

Who else is doing NaNoWriMo this year? (The site is down temporarily, but when it comes back up I'll make a link for my profile so you guys can add me!)

Monday, October 11, 2010


I haven't been writing very much lately, and in a therapeutic email to a writing buddy, I sort of figured out why.

I'm thinking about it too much. I'm obsessing too much. As I'm drafting I'm worrying that I'm using too many adjectives. I write a paragraph and I start editing it and changing it because I'm so paranoid that reviewers are going to hate my first chapter. I don't know what to name my characters because I'm worried about following trends, or breaking trends, or choosing a name that a particular editor just really hates for some reason.

So I gave some of this advice to my friend, and now I think I need to follow it as well.

I need to step back. I need to write something actually for me, not "for me" and secretly I'm compiling a list of agent names in my head. Not "for me" and I'm thinking about how awesome my crit partners will think it is. Actually FOR ME.

See, the problem is, I know too much. I know the first chapter is the most important. I know that agents are sick of certain paranormal creatures. I know that a debut novel needs to be followed by something similar. These things are all affecting my writing, and if I didn't know any of this, I would write my drafts with far less stress, and with far more happiness.

But I know all these things and I can't un-know them. I can't go back to when I first started and wrote freely because I loved it and I didn't know it was bad to have a prologue that didn't move the plot along, and I didn't care that I abused adjectives, and I didn't care that my fantasy characters had crazy unpronounceable names.

And I've got to get back to that point.

(I think I sounded much wiser and more eloquent in the email to my friend.)

But anyway. I'm going to take a short break from blogging, and unfortunately I'm also going to take a short break from reading all of your blogs. I can't exaclty un-know all of the writing advice and information in my head, but I can stop myself from reading and refreshing it every single day.

I'll be back in November, clear-minded and ready for NaNoWriMo (I still haven't decided on a story.)

See you all in a couple weeks!