Category: Uncategorized

National Novel Writing Month, redux

The art of crafting a good story and the goals of the National Novel Writing Month are completely at odds with each other.

What I discovered of my writing process was that I needed a significant amount of time to develop a character and create a name for that character, and more time to map out story arcs. The aims of the National Novel Writing Month are unabashedly write with reckless abandon: generate quantity over quality, and use rewrites after the 50,000 word month is over to polish up the novel. So for three weeks I wrote with reckless abandon, giving no heed to naming my characters, or spending too much time on assembling together the intricacies of interlocking story lines. Even with my stream of conciousness writing, I entered the last week of the National Novel Writing Month about 10,000 words behind schedule, and with the traveling I was about to do for Thanksgiving, I knew there was no conceivable way I could produce 20,000 words in the final week of November.

So, what I have now is a rather messy 30,000 word outline of what my book could be, stripped of all except the single main storyline. It’s been a good experience, and has allowed me to explore the story space of my yet to be written book. I’ll be using this outline as the basis for fleshing out a more complete outline of my book, and then using that re-outline, I will write.

National Novel Writing Month, revisited

My original intention of writing War Gods for Nano was largely influenced by the fact that it was my newest and freshest idea, which also meant it my most undeveloped idea. My thinking was that since this would be my first real concentrated foray into writing anything substantive, and having only a month to do so, I didn’t want to waste one of my “good” stories for which I had bright hopes. Thus, War Gods would be my throwaway attempt, ready to be sacrificed to ignominy should my Nano month turn out less than good. War Gods would have been about tribes on an island, waging war, and praying to their respective gods, who seemingly omnipotent, have a weakness which may expose the tribes to their destruction.

Over dinner tonight, a friend of mine, having long been subjected to precis of my stories, might have convinced me to instead use another, more cherished story for the Nano. This is a complex story, but without a compelling title, which for the moment is sadly The Dreams Stuff is Made of or perhaps Dreams of Stuff. The story is no less than finding a doorway that lead out of our universe, and the discovery that our universe is a construct, but one that is flawed.

Three more days for me to decide, and then to start laying down the words for a novel.