Posted by : Wendy B Friday, 15 November 2013

I’ve reached the halfway point of NaNoWriMo and am pleased to report that I’ve successfully managed to track on schedule, give or take a hundred words. I’m pretty proud of that, but the problem is, I dislike what I’m currently writing, which has made this past week a bit of a struggle to maintain my word count.

Week two is apparently where many people give up on the process for various reasons. For me, the reason would be this ugly manuscript sitting on my laptop.  The problem is that I’m not used to this process. When I write, I am all over the place with my ideas and if I don’t feel like writing one day, then I don’t. If I don’t feel like writing a scene I’m not happy with, then I don’t write it until the ideas have properly come together in my head. That way, what I get down on paper is something that pleases me, even though it might change in the future. And on top of all that, I’m editing constantly as I go. Editing is my number one form of writing procrastination. I like to think that it’s productive procrastination so that makes it okay.

I could follow my usual writing style and make this a more enjoyable process right now, but I’ve opted to force myself to stick to NaNo’s rules of just shut up and write. I’ve accepted the challenge as is because I want to see how it works and what I can produce within those constraints. Forcing myself to continue something I’m not enjoying is terribly masochistic, but I’m sticking to it because this is a story I’ve wanted to write for over a decade and NaNo is making me finally do it. It might suck in its current form, but by November 30, the idea that has been sitting around tolerating all my excuses for not taking it any further than a three page outline and partial script, will have become a complete first draft.

Don’t worry. This process isn’t all bad. The first part of the story was a very enjoyable writing experience. I finally got out all these scenes that have been prancing around my head and I’m quite happy with them. They are not perfect, but I’m resisting the urge to edit. I’ve also got another big writing project going on where I’m able to follow my usually writing style, since I’m not bound to NaNo’s rules. It provides a nice balance and prevents a burn out on writing all together.

The parts I’m at now in my NaNo novel are not making me happy and will obviously undergo significant changes if this story is to ever go further, but I am already seeing where I can make changes to strengthen my story. Hell, I’m even considering sacrificing a character I once thought to be pivotal. And, since I’m working from a solid outline (which is how I work best, rather than just free writing), I know that I have some more good scenes to look forward to writing and already have ideas sketched out.

Art by Trisha C
The other motivation for staying the course is that this isn’t a solo project. I’d originally planned this story as a graphic novel, working with my friend Trisha. We’re both responsible for the decade long delay on this story, but life gets in the way. Still, like I said, this idea has been sitting around for a decade as outlines and half a script at my house, and as paintings and sketches at Trisha’s house. We’ve been threatening to publish at least one of the three stories we’ve come up with over the years, so maybe this will be it.

I still have fifteen more days to go and I know that at the end of the month, I will have a manuscript that’s still going to need a helluva lot of work, if publishing actually is our goal. But the important thing is that at the end of the month, I will have a manuscript. Which, after ten years, is a pretty big step forward.

WHAT IS THIS?

This is my mindspill. Mostly about comics, books, video games, movies of the science fiction and fantasy leanings. Sometimes recipes and parenting stuff will sneak in, along with a real world rant or two.

I also write about geek culture at Women Write About Comics, and I review genre fiction at The BiblioSanctum.

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