Next month is November and every November since 2007 I’ve tried to write 50,000 words in a month, aka taking part in NaNoWriMo. Posting about this insanity here isn’t new, in fact I just created a category for it. I attempted to spread the insanity around and do the challenge in April for Camp NaNoWriMo, but I failed that miserably as the word count meter to the right has betrayed ever since.
So if I’ve posted about it before, which I have, why am I posting about it again? Well, because I feel like it. I’m not going to disappear for the month, I’m still going to post here if I get a topic in mind, I’m still going to raid with my guild, in all probability I’m going to get blizzcon virtual ticket. November isn’t going to just be about words, but I do hope that it contains a lot of them.
The past year
Last November I wrote the story that I’d been mentally developing for a decade, it was THE story. I’d had a stab at writing a first draft in 2009, I’d got 50k words and typed The End, but the story on the page was not the one in my head. I was pleased with this draft that I wrote November 2012, it was closer to the story that I’d been imagining than any of the other attempts before it. Finally I felt a step closer to finishing that story.
In April I eventually picked the sequel to my November novel to pen, which in retrospect was a mistake. I hadn’t edited Perfidy then, still haven’t for one reason/excuse or another, and when I started to write the sequel I ran into a few issues. As much as it was close to the story I wanted to tell, it still had issues, logic holes etc. which bugged me when I found them. Trying to build off faulty foundations is not a sound idea, and so it’s a good job really that I failed, as otherwise I’d likely have more words to trash when I do get round to editing. Lesson learned, I really need to stop being lazy and get round to redrafting/editing the damn thing.
I had trouble in November getting started, as I wasn’t enthused about Perfidy anymore, I guess I’d worn it out by thinking about it so much, it had been living in one form or another in my head for 10 years. So I just started typing and something magical happened, something that had never happened to me before, I just came up with an idea. If I’m honest, most of my ideas are based on ‘what if?’ from a TV/movie that I like. I change almost everything, I honestly do, as it’s usually just one aspect that sparks the idea, but the point is my ideas don’t spring from nothing. I can, if I’m honest, pin point what TV show/movie sparked the idea, I just hope no-one else can do the same. With this idea, last November, it just came of nothing. I only wrote about 5k words of this, as I hadn’t plotted it out, there was no bare outline to follow, and I can’t write like that. I went back to Perfidy and that turned out well, so I left the Throne at World’s End for another day.
Well, this November is another day so I contemplated plotting out and having a go at that magical idea, that just came into being somehow. I’ve always doubted that I am actually a writer, as other writers say their characters talk to them, they say that they demand things, that they are seized with rampant plot bunnies. I’ve never really had that, so just coming up with something it amazed me, and for one magical moment I actually had faith that maybe I had something. I don’t delude myself that I have talent, as I’m sure that I don’t, I don’t delude myself that I’ll ever be published, beyond the odd daydream. I have always liked writing, but I knew at an early age that I could never do anything serious with it. Writing wouldn’t pay the bills, especially as I had no talent for it. Still, the Throne at World’s End means a lot to me.
So what’s the plan this time?
I have 10 unwritten novel ideas, some of which have been knocking about for some time. They say that if you don’t write an idea then it isn’t a good idea. I disagree as sometimes circumstances prevent you, although whether they would prevent a real writer is a debate for another day. I do like all these ideas, but as I struggled last October finding an idea I was enthused enough about to write in November, I am struggling again. Enthusiasm isn’t something that comes easy to me I admit.
I wrote on the NaNo forums that I think my muse is sulking, if it is I wish it would get over it already. Back in 2010 I decided to do a half re-write/half sequel to my 2009 novel, which was my first attempt at the story I more successfully wrote last November (2012). I plotted it out, and two days before I had a different story bang on the door going “write me”, I told it no, I’m going to go with what I planned. I failed miserably reaching 50k in 2010 and I haven’t had a story go “write me” ever since. Now I don’t necessarily believe in muses, and I doubt my brain has sulked for three years as I told it no once, but sometimes I do wonder whether anything would be different if I’d said yes, and written that new story.
So what should I write? Watchtower, the sequel to Perfidy is obviously out as I’m not making April’s mistake. That still leaves me a lot to choose from; Adrift, Fading to Black, Infinity Moments, Memoria, Nexus, Tracer, Fool’s Game, The Throne at World’s End and Eternity in the Mirror. The last one, Eternity in the Mirror, that’s my newest idea. I had to write something on the NaNo page to enter as a participant and so I chose that. I haven’t outlined it yet, I haven’t outlined anything, so which story I run with is still very much in the air. Part of me is almost hoping that I’ll get to the 29th, or the 30th, I’d even take the 31st and something will jump up and down ‘write me, write me’, that didn’t happen last year though however much I hoped it would, so I can’t bank on it and need to choose.
What makes it harder
I have successfully completed NaNo 3x. It has never been easy but that doesn’t help with the feeling of achievement. I remember winning in 2008, it was such a rush, I jumped and danced around my room and grinned like an idiot for days. 2009 I still felt the rush, it wasn’t as marked but it did make me happy for a day before I came crashing back down to reality. In 2012 all I could think was “so what?”, that could just be my health problems talking, but even though it’s still a struggle to get to 50k I have already done the challenge, so I know that I can do it. The sense of achievement is gone as the challenge is gone, yes it is still challenging but once you’ve climbed that mountain it doesn’t matter if you do it again.
In 2010 flush from my success in 2008 and 2009 at reaching 50k I decided to go for broke, two novels and 100k seemed like a good extension of the challenge. Well, I’ve already mentioned what happened in 2010, I failed miserably, not even making it halfway to 50k, let alone to twice that. I didn’t take part in 2011, I missed it as it didn’t feel right not even trying, but I had my reasons, I regret it now but I may well have been right that it wasn’t a good idea at the time.
Well, I want my sense of achievement back. True, I struggled to make 50k in 2012, it isn’t easy, at least not for me, but it’s no longer enough. I don’t want a repeat of 2010, but I want to feel good about what I manage in 2013. I need to do more than 50k. Last year I insisted I wrote 50k on the one project so I wound up writing just over 57k. I still insist that I manage 50k on a single story, but I want to write 75k in November, minimum. Will aiming higher make me more likely to fail? Will 75k feel like enough? Will I finally feel a sense of achievement again? I don’t know, but I want to try.
50k is not enough for a proper novel length, but novels do tend to grow when redrafted. Plus, my first drafts usually come in at 50k, or just under and then I have to add in scenes to make it to 50k. I know that I won’t make 75k with one story, so I have to write something else next month regardless of what I wind up picking.
The point of this
Well I’ve now stated publicly that I’m entering the insanity again. It’s a good thing to state it publicly, as it does mean that you run the risk of people asking after your progress, which in theory should make you write more. Plus, it’s my blog and while it’s Warcraft based I can write what I want. I’m going to write a novel next month, though the exact one has yet to be finalized. Anyone else feel like joining me? Essays will never seem intimidating again and the community is lovely.