11 November 2007


Every year I've looked at this NaNoWriMo thing and thought, why does it have to be in November? Why not NaJaWriMo or NaFeWriMo -- months when I'm not marking. Last year I spent most of November wrestling with writes and rewrites (students') of Liberal Arts essays. I felt like my head was going to explode. This year I wasn't teaching over there -- our semester ends earlier and mine earlier still because of the Cup Day holiday, and so I really had no excuse.

I was 50 k from the end of my novel (in the rewrite) and it's a 50 k commitment, so I thought, why not? Except when I read the rules it's not supposed to be stuff you're rewriting. Originally, I thought that it didn't matter. After all, if it's my NaNoWriMo, it could be whatever I wanted, right? Right. Except that when I read the reasoning why it shouldn't be a rewrite, I thought they made a good point. So I decided to head into book 2. Now, technically, this is also a rewrite because I'm already 140 k into book 2; however, I haven't worked on it for a very long time and don't remember the ins and outs. Plus I wrote a lot of it so long ago that it needs to be partly rewritten, so I decided to tackle this and do it from scratch.

Now, this was the perfect project for my long weekend away, and boy did I make a great start at it. But I still wanted to be working on my novel too, so it became a juggling act. Normally, I can't work on more than one thing at a time, but these are both the same world and characters -- same headspace -- though there is this curious experience of writing 50 k to the end, and 50 starting at the end. Bizarre. And in book 1, I'm working on two storylines simultaneously: human and Myrad (alien), whereas for NaNoWriMo, I've restricted myself to just writing the one (Myrad).

But now I'm stuck. I was referring back to the original book 2 far more than I wanted to -- but, in any case, I've introduced a major new storyline that affects this storyline dramatically so things were about to diverge radically from what I had. I think for me that really what is needed is an hour of plotting. Sometimes, I like to write without plotting, just see where it goes, but sometimes I need more structure. I suspect this might be one of those times. Today, I'm going to spend half an hour plotting and then some time writing. I'll report back in later to say how I've done!


Sherryl said...

Whatever works for you! I always think NaNo is about the writing habit - that the only way you cope with it, whether you reach target or not, is to write every day. I figure even 200 words is better than none, so even on bad days I try for that.
However, really bad days where I come home from work with my brain absolutely frizzled, it's a no go.

ellen said...

And here's where I suggest an hour at ~6:30am. Then you've at least done *something* for the day -- and it's before you fry your brain with work stuff. It makes me feel fabulous. I never thought I could do it either. But I can. Bet you can too!

Tracey said...

Yes, some words are always better than none, indeed!

Ellen, I just can't do the 6.30 thing. Some nights I'm up till 2 or even 3 (not often is it 3 though). If I were getting up at 6.30 to write, I'd feel dead!

ellen said...

Yes, well of course you'd have to go to bed earlier.

I've been struggling with this of late. Going to bed at the "normal" time (which for me is around 12:30) and getting up at 6:30am to write. I can't really function on 6hours sleep for long.

But I reiterate: the best thing about it is that it *prioritises* writing (remember the fortune book?). If you do it first then nothing else can get in the way! At least that's the theory.