Tag Archives: NaNoWriMo2014

NaNoWriMo and the Road to Hell

The road to hell Phillip Roth QuoteOkay–I admit it. I have a bunch of works in progress, in three different worlds. If, as Phillip Roth has been quoted as saying,  “The road to hell is pave with works-in-progress,” then I am strapped into the handbasket and barreling down the highway toward an extremely hot destination.

But it’s not my fault.

I have to write when the mood strikes and sometime the mood strikes for a different manuscript than the one it struck for only the day before.

Doh.

Alarm clock quote ray bradburyAt times I am faced with the dilemma of NaNoWriMo–28,000 words toward the goal and I can’t think of where I want to take it just yet.

As Ray Bradbury said, “I don’t need an alarm clock. My ideas wake me.” I write what I can when I can, and write the second story in an alternate color, such as green. Fortunately–once I have the ideas down for the other world, a bolt of inspiration strikes me and I am again back on track with the new nano manuscript.

write-henry david thoreau quoteAnd then there is the annoying problem of writing the back story I will never use, but which serves to cement the story in my head as I am creating it. I write that in red. At the end of November, all these things will be easy to cut and sort out by color-code. They are important in the long run–the ideas for the shelved work-in-progress will not be wasted, and the background material for the current work-in-progress is there so that my world and my characters will have substance in my mind when I write them.

ok to write garbage quote c j cherryhThis is my month of writing madly–of dedicating all my time to the craft. My month of chicken-pot-pies and frozen pizza.  This is the month when my daughters do all the work of preparing the upcoming holiday meal and I steal a few brief hours to play with the babies.

And perhaps write a few notes in my notebook as ideas strike me. And the best part is, all this garbage I spew today will have a long journey through the editing process before it hits the pages of an actual book.

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How I came to fall off the Earth (and why I don’t care)

The Arc of the StoryWow–what a wild week this has been–28k words written on my NaNoWriMo manuscript, and a dip into a culture that is nothing short of amazing.  What a challenge–to write a great story well enough that people will want to read it, and to do justice to a whole culture.

We should have challenges in our work–if it comes too easy it’s fluff. A lot of people are happy with fluff, but not me, and I suspect, not you!

As you all know, I have written some very difficult scenes in the past, not for the gratuitous effect, but because those situations made my character who they were. They were life altering moments where the path suddenly changed, and everything that followed was driven by that incident.

A friend recently asked me how I handle writing such scenes.

When it’s a tough scene, I write as much as I can when I first know what has to be written. Then I set it aside and come back to it later to expand on it and shape to my intent. For me, a scene has to be done in stages so that it flows naturally. At the end of my my last journey though a manuscript, I will have a seamless narrative that flows from one scene to the next, always building toward the final denouement and the conclusion.

a medieval keggerBut right now I have five bodies to get rid of, so I need to get back to writing. Hero set down his mug of mead and picked up the shovel. He looked first at pile of corpses and then at the sky. They didn’t usually fall from the sky and he wondered what Author was up to now, that he should suddenly have to dispose of so many. However, Author was inscrutable and Her mind mysterious. One could only go with the flow, and dispose of the corpses as they fell.

OH the endless agony–but for a little hilarity amidst the eternal darkness of November take a look at Stephen Swartz’s blog post this week:

How NaNoWriMo is like being in Interstellar

 

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