November 13, 2012

NaNo NoGo...Sort Of

Progress (word count or general status update)
Yeah...so... (*crickets chirping*) I'm sitting not-so-pretty at roughly 15,000 words right now. For those of you even mediocre at Math, that's not quite where I should be with thirteen days of NaNo under my belt.

Current Mood
BUT I'm surprisingly not all that stressed about my paltry word count. As I've already mentioned, my goal was never to 'win' NaNo by writing 50,000 words. I'm finishing a WIP, and that many words would make this thing a surly beast. There was a day recently where I found myself falling back into bad habits again: using multiple words when one would do (to meet my target word count for the day), writing a whole string of rubbish that bored me to tears (again, to meet my target), and just generally spewing pure suckage onto the page. I'm not okay with that. I refuse to set myself up to rewrite thousands of words post-NaNo. I like revising, but not that much. I plan to keep going, but at a pace of my own choosing.

Inspiration
“We are cups, constantly and quietly being filled. The trick is, 
knowing how to tip ourselves over and let the beautiful stuff out." 
- Ray Bradbury -

 ...And to keep the crap from pouring out onto the page along with it.

Goal as of Today
To continue working seriously and regularly on ONLY ANNIE. I want to love what I'm writing, and if I find that the opposite is true, I will step away for a while. This story is supposed to be heart-wrenching and romantic, and I don't want to settle for anything less. This first draft will still need tons of revisions, but I plan on lessening the stress of that process by writing mostly good words now.

Recent Favourite NaNo WIP Line Snippet (Again, this hasn't been revised yet, so it's very rough.)

“Where are you going,” I manage to say between gasps for air.
He won’t meet my eyes, but stares at the polished floor instead. “Home. I just remembered this isn’t exactly where I want to be tonight.”
“But you just got here. Aren’t you enjoying the art?” I air quote around ‘art’. Air quote. Ugh. It was meant to remind him of the suggestive chalk scrawl we mocked only moments ago. It fails. I try to smile, but the effort is too much for my face to sustain.
“I was. And then I wasn’t. I just want to get out of here, away from all this.” He nods toward the crowd, eyes cold once more. When they meet mine at last, the hurt I see tucked around the edges nearly breaks my heart all over again. He’s slipping away. We were finally making strides, finally approaching a place where we could begin to heal this rift between us. All of that feels useless now. Two steps forward, twenty steps back.
“Went, I—”
The air shifts next to me and I know who it is without looking. “Is everything alright? You need to stop taking off like that. Walden’s going to be pissed.” Will. Again.
I whirl around, irritation rippling off me in waves. “Just give me a second, okay?”
Will backs off, hands raised in surrender. I turn to face Went, ready to do what it takes to keep him here, to seize my opportunity like I promised Lyddie.

But he’s already gone.

Non-NaNo News (because life DOES go on)
I started querying last week. Cue racing heartbeat. No, not really. I'm actually kind of stunned by how chill I feel about the whole thing. I fully expect that there will be rejections, but for some odd reason this isn't bothering me like it probably should. I guess I figure that rejections are part of the process. We'll see once they start rolling in, but for now I'm A-OK.☺

In My Downtime (ha!) I'm Reading
The most excellent THE BOOK THIEF by Markus Zusak. What a phenomenal read! Really. Of course, this isn't exactly news to any of you who have read it. I'm regularly amazed by the new ways in which authors tell familiar stories. We all know about the Holocaust, but Zusak manages a unique take on these events. I'm impressed, moved, and humbled.

You Should Read This Blog Post
Love Is a Verb by Ellyn Gibbs (via Lauren @ Word Art: Painting With Words) because it talks about why we keep on writing even when we don't feel like we love it.

Gratuitous Photo
Look what showed up in the mail yesterday! Yay!

Many thanks to Katy Upperman for coming up with this NaNo Update template. Thanks, lady!

26 comments:

  1. Don't spew pure suckage onto the page sounds like a good writing rule. Might have to copy that one down as a reminder for those off days. Love the excerpt from Annie (as usual) and I also love your approach to NaNo. Whatever works right?

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    1. I think I might have to post that in giant letters above my computer monitor: Don't Spew Pure Suckage. :P I think sometimes you can force it, and nothing good comes from doing that (in my experience, anyway). I know a lot of people can push through it, but that's not how I like to operate. I just need a few days to regroup and then I'll be all over my WIP like a boss. :)

      I'm glad you liked the snipped from ANNIE. I was nervous posting it (as usual).

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  2. I think you're choice to step back is a great one. You have to do what's right for the story. I do a lot of spewing in my first drafts, but if I can get a skeleton to work with, I've succeeded. I love your snippet, by the way.

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    1. You're right about having to do what's right with your story. I've never been able to write something completely bare bones and then pack all of the meat on later. I always end up writing something as close to how I want the finished product to be as possible. Obviously, I end up revising and changing stuff around and it looks different, but I prefer to do more of the work up front. All that aside, all of you folks who have been getting some serious NaNo work done—you amaze me!

      I'm glad you liked the snippet. I'm always nervous posting my writing. :)

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  3. So far, the NaNo brain-dump approach is working for me. I spend way too much time planning and what-if-ing and think about a story... and never actually putting pen-to-paper/fingers-to-keyboard. Once the work has a tangible form, then I can start molding and shaping. When it's just neurons in my head, there's not much I can do with it, and not much more will happen to it. So forcing myself to write the story, create the characters, and develop the scene *right now* is actually helpful.

    In the end, what matters is that the story gets written, however you go about it. NaNo certainly isn't the only way. :)

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    1. I know what you mean about spending too much time on planning. I can lose hours and hours just researching things online that have to do with my story and making charts and tables with details of plot, characters, and whatnot. That really helps me get everything out on paper a lot easier. :)

      I think you're right—it doesn't matter how you do it, just as long as you actually do it. :)

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  4. Eeeek, I love that I can really see the PERSUASION influence in that snippet! So good! Sounds like you've made a good choice for you with NaNo. This month is giving me a newfound appreciation for people who can write the other eleven months of the year, without a fancy graph and tons of peer pressure! (I hope to become one of you in December!)

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    1. Oh, I'm glad you can see the PERSUASION influence. There's one particular scene that I think you'll like even better. :) It's so challenging writing a retelling and finding a balance between just regurgitating something practically verbatim and not hitting those elements that make the original so special. It's very important to me that Austen's themes are present in this story.

      I think come December you'll just keep on going like a boss with this story. I know you can do it! :)

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  5. I love that Ray Bradbury quote... I hadn't heard it before, but it's perfect for NaNo. And I loved your snippet. It made my heart hurt in the best of ways. So, yeah. Hurry up and get that book on the shelves, would ya?

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    1. Thanks, Katy. :) I'm glad you liked it. It's always a little nerve-wracking sharing this stuff. Though, all of you are so encouraging that it makes it that much easier.

      The Ray Bradbury quote really resonated with me, so I just had to share it. :)

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  6. Good quote!

    Good luck querying! And as someone who just rearranged her spreadsheet to see she had several more rejections than she thought, the only advice you (*cough* we all *cough*) need is NEVER GIVE UP. You will feel bad and it will get to you when you think you're handling it all really well, but your agent is out there somewhere. You just haven't found them yet ;)

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    1. I'm sure I'll eventually feel much less chill about the rejections thing, but for now I'm just glad that I'm a giant stressball. Look at us with our too-geeky-for-words querying spreadsheets. :P

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  7. I didn't even bother to NaNo because I'm mid-WIP and knew that November would be a bad month for me, but I love being inspired by everyone else's word count and general writing fervor. 15K is nothing to laugh at-- that's more than 1K a day, which is so much more than a lot of writers can produce.

    I need to seriously get my butt back into querying this week. I've been slow because I wanted to hear some feedback before moving forward, but I think it's time to get back out there. I'm like you in that the rejections don't hurt too much and it's definitely because I expect them (and have a wonderful WIP to keep me company.) Keeping my fingers crossed for you!

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    1. I'm mid-WIP too, so I'm just using the month to see if I can't finish it. I'm stalled out a bit right now, but I think it'll pick up again in the next couple of days. It's just great to work alongside a whole group of people who are excited and motivated. That's why I signed up for NaNo. :)

      I'm going slowly with querying. I didn't want to send out a whole pile at once and miss out on opportunities to brush it up if I receive any suggestions. No sense burning bridges, right? :)

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  8. Yay for finding the pace that works for you! And for querying. I've got my fingers crossed for you!

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    1. Thanks, Meredith! :) I think that every person has a different set of practices that works best for him/her when it comes to writing. The most important thing of all: that the writing happens. Pace and word count don't matter as long as writing takes place.

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  9. YAY for querying! I still have all my fingers and toes crossed for you!
    Re. the WIP - your snippets are amazing. I really want to read this book, holy moly - it looks so good!
    Keep at the NaNo, some days won't be as good as others, but the good thing is you're making progress, and you're that many words up than you were two weeks ago :)
    As for The Book Thief, I've had that book sitting on my shelf the last three years and keep meaning to read it, I must get to it soon!!

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    1. Thanks, Samantha! I'm glad you're enjoying the snippets. It's always nerve-wracking sharing something unpolished with everyone. :) I haven't quit NaNo, I'm just giving myself permission not to stress about the daily word counts and 50,000 word grand total. I still love the excitement and accountability that I find by working on this story alongside others doing NaNo. And you're right about the progress thing. I'm 15,000 words up from two weeks ago. Awesome! :)

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  10. I do find myself occasionally spewing some not-so-useful words because I'm trying to meet my goal for the day--thanks for the reminder that goals are great, but so is quality.
    Good luck with the querying! I'm keeping my fingers crossed for you.
    (And 15K sounds pretty fantastic to me)

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    1. Thanks, Rebecca! I'm actually pretty happy about my 15K words right now. I'm that much closer to finishing this story and that's a good thing. Plus, I managed to do that while revising, researching agents, and then querying. So all in all, I think November will be a good month. :)

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    2. Any progress you make writing is progress, whether it fits Nano or not. I am also mixed on Nano because I hate not being able to revise as I go. I can churn out words if I have to but I MUST allow myself one scan-through before I move on. I don't care what all the advice says. Let me do a few edits as I go or I won't keep writing!

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    3. I usually end up doing a scan-through anyway so that it gets me into the right frame of mind to write. It's just part of my process, and it's inevitable that some revising takes place on that read-through. I have to do this or it will just drive me bonkers.

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  11. You've nailed the exact reason I quit NaNo. I felt like everything I was writing was crap - worse crap than in a typical first draft. I think you're doing great!

    Good luck with querying! I'm going to be querying pretty soon soon. I'm kind of nervous!

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    1. It's hard to keep plugging away at it when you know it's total rubbish. I haven't quit, I've just taken a step back. I definitely won't reach 50,000 words this month, but that's fine by me.

      Good luck with your querying too! So far I'm finding it not all that bad. :)

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  12. Ahh, I want that book! I'm stuck in a book that's ho-hum and really wanting to tear through that. I might need to buy it this weekend. Or maybe on ebook RIGHT NOW! haha

    What project are you querying? Have you done any of the blog/pitch contests? I technically haven't queried any agents yet but I received full and partial requests from some agents in three contests back in September. I've had one rejection but it was hopeful (strong story, not a good fit). Playing the waiting game right now and trying to distract myself with a new project for Nano.

    Good luck with everything!!

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    1. I feel kind of bad because I ploughed through the rest of THE BOOK THIEF so I could dig into DAYS OF BLOOD & STARLIGHT. I loved every second of the former, though, so maybe I was just ploughing through it because it was so darn good! :)

      I'm currently querying my YA sci-fi/romance. I entered the Baker's Dozen Agent Auction last week, and I'm just waiting to hear if mine will be put in the auction or not. (*fingers crossed*) I'm feeling pretty OK with this whole querying thing. We'll see if that changes when the rejections start to roll in. Good luck with your querying! :)

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