Wednesday, November 6, 2013

IWSG November 2013

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I was going to write this month's edition about the woes of finding readership for indy literary fiction in the States, but instead chose something more immediate, which would be that most regular of writing challenges, NaNoWriMo.

I participated in NaNo in 2004-2006, successfully completing it each year (and subsequently ended up with my first novel, The Cloak of Shrouded Men).  Since that time I've written novel-length manuscripts around this period, one a year, from 2009 to the present.  I say "to the present" because I have a new WIP, In the Land of Pangaea, and owing to how my year has developed, I waited until this month to begin writing it.

And I had a good mind to bang out at least the required 50,000 words for November.

I've done that several times with the previous manuscripts.  I know, I know, I know I can do it.  And that I can complete whole 100,000+ word stories.

And yet I'm still apprehensive about the whole deal.

My week is kind of screwy.  I've determined that the best days to write are actually the days I work, because I want to leave weekends to other purposes.  The ability to modify the number of words I write in a given day is not a problem.  Thanks to NaNo I learned long ago what I was capable of, and have played around with that to such a degree that it's just not a concern.

And yet, technically I am already behind, and that still leaves me in a kind of panic.

For instance, I've just used the last two days to further develop the outline rather than write the actual story.  This is a good thing (and keeping with the spirit of NaNo, which dictates you leave the whole process inside the month), and harks back to the extensive outlines I did for my Space Corps stories for years (although not, surprisingly the one Space Corps manuscript I've actually written, last year's WIP Seven Thunders).  At the time I was doing those, I wasn't necessarily thinking of them as novels, but I've since realized that I did myself a huge favor in that regard.  And this is the first time I've knowingly done the same for another manuscript.

That much is good.  That much is great!  In fact, I borrowed plenty from the Space Corps outline experience, including my favorite way to tell a story.  I've done the aha! character moments in other manuscripts, but this will be the first time I see it coming.  This will be the first time I haven't left myself with a lot of potential surprises.  I see this as a good thing, because there was plenty of that in the outlining process itself, and all the time I spent developing the literary landscape of Pangaea.

But still.  But still!

I no longer feel the need to prove to myself in any way that I can accomplish the NaNo goal, but it's still there, sentimentally.  If I don't do it this year, I'll feel bad.  Sure, I might get over it, but it just feels right to keep the tradition alive.

So that's what's making me feel insecure this month.

...stupid, stupid NaNo...

15 comments:

  1. I'm also competitive and it's difficult not to want to win every time. But careful planning now will mean less mess when you finish. That might be even better.

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    1. Because of all the outlining I'm feeling better about this WIP than any other I've done, and that's not to say I'm speaking ill about any of my babies. But this one feels about as rock solid as it gets.

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  2. I'm behind where I could be just out of sheer laziness. I do most of my writing on Saturdays since I have little else to do. We get a day off for "Veteran's Day" (aka the start of hunting season) so I should get some stuff done then too. And maybe I'll do some at work if I get bored enough.

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    1. Don't you write a new book every other week anyway? Aren't you certified as the indy James Patterson? Don't be modest!

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  3. Wow. Three NaNo wins!? That's impressive. Best of luck with this one. :)

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    1. I still have three weeks to go! As well as the rest of this week! Technically I'm sound. We'll see.

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  4. I don't know, Tony. I mean, life is busy, and if you don't get in your 50k words in November, I think you're better served by getting in whatever words you can with the best quality you can manage. The world isWas flipping madly through songs on my phone & finally realized that the problem was that I didn't want to be on the subway anymore. Thank God it's Friday.Was flipping madly through songs on my phone & finally realized that the problem was that I didn't want to be on the subway anymore. Thank God it's Friday chock-full of bad fiction, and frankly, I think NaNo encourages the hopeless. Write well and don't worry about the page count.

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    1. That too, Dan. That's something I realized especially earlier this year.

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    2. Only you know what is best for you. If it what gets you motivated and into a good routine, then it's the right thing. Good luck.

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  5. Wishing you every success this year! I hear you about weekends being more than a little busy.

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    1. Weekends: not just fun and games anymore!

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  6. Go Tony Go!
    You can do it...You can do it all night long!

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    1. Well, I currently work a night job, so technically you are correct, sir.

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  7. Tony, this is a huge effort, but you're such a prolific writer we know you can do it. Stupid Nano indeed. ;)

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    1. Prolific unless you count someone like Pat Dilloway. Or James Patterson. That guy redefined the term. Well, him and his league of co-writers...

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