Camp NaNoWritMo (Spring 2015) Update #4

Here we are once more, at the home stretch in the Camp NaNoWritMo experience (at least the spring edition), and curiously enough, some actual!writing (well, technically speaking/writing, actual!editing) has started.

Nothing like a deadline looming over the horizon to motivate the Muses and Plot Bunnies into action.

Of course, it’s not as if there hasn’t been any actual!writing happening during the month (or rather, there should have been editing and revising, as The Revision of the Draft was the original intent in participating in this round of Camp NaNoWritMo) – at least three attempts were started and quickly discarded, as those (false) starts encountered the (in)famous Writer’s Roundabout and Writer’s Speed Bump. While the Revision of the Draft was the springboard, I quickly realized that the Draft was a jumbled mess which seemed beyond revision (or at least I’d need more than a month to sift through the disjointed plot twists, melodrama and plot holes), so I subconsciously started a new(ish) story based on the Draft (which I’ve now dubbed the “Hot Mess”), with illusions of grandeur thoughts of it fitting (somewhere) in Series Two of the Series Saga I’ve quasi-planned out.

Anyway.

Too many ideas and possibilities loom large in my writing process – a lot of large scale summation and bullet points of character development, narrative arc, and causality, and not as much detailed exposition, dialogue and character interaction. Then again, I’ve been more a “big picture” plotter, as my notebooks, and files of summaries can attest.

For those who have read some/most/all (?) of my blog posts over the years (as the two year anniversary starting this blog just passed), the tone of most of these entries is indifferent, almost defeatist (and rarely uplifting, though I have made attempts to be somewhat optimistic). I suppose I’m a pessimist by nature, along with being highly introverted – despite these melancholy tendencies, I do have (moderate) hopes that one day (some day) I’ll actually!finish writing at least one of my book series and get it published (by which method remains to be seen – I suppose I’ll cross that bridge when I get there).

The novel ideas I’ve had are good (I think) and original (I hope), even though I’ve been (purposely) vague on the actual details, since they have a tendency to change every now and then.

Then again, while I struggle with actually!writing for my stories, there seems to not be so much of an issue of writing up these blog posts (which I type in directly via WordPress, and rarely ever edit or reread once I post them), which kinda makes me think that I’m writing for the wrong genre. Then again the majority of these entries are quasi-random streams of thought that pop into my head at any given moment and are more like a one-sided conversation,which for the most part consist of run-on sentences with lots of punctuation. (This last sentence being an apt example.)

On the other hand (to paraphrase a Sondheim lyric), writing isn’t easy: every minor detail is a major decision, and with all the characters, plot points and such, it’s hard to keep things in order. Nevertheless, I’ll keep at this writing thing, and hope for the best – the odds of completing the Camp NaNoWritMo goal is (as always) slim to none, but I’ve never been overly concerned with “winning” anyway.

Back to the writing board.

Again.

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Post NaNoWritMo Blues…

There’s a slight chill in the air, all the leaves have descended from their branches and the sun now sets in the late afternoon – December has arrived, and the month-long event that was National Novel Writing Month [NaNoWritMo] has ended in failure. Again. While I was determined to make an honest attempt at finishing, or at least do better than I had last year, at the start of the month, sadly once again I fell short of for the former, but at least managed to succeed in the latter – the final word count recorded via the NaNoWritMo site was 8,244 words, almost double the word count I had ended with last year.

Of course, with this quasi win (well, at best a mini-personal victory for me), comes the inevitable question/task: what to do with what has been written? In keeping with the general spirit of the NaNoWritMo objective (and as mentioned in the NaNoWritMo-themed entries last month), much of what had been written for the (still proposed) first novel in the first series of the MASC Chronicles, One More Angel In Heaven was done so as a quasi-stream of consciousness, which resulted in a diversionary tangent not originally present in my initial outline of the story. As I re-read what I had written, much of it is usable, but other parts make little to no sense, or might not fit in the overall story arc (and will probably be re-purposed somewhere else in the saga).

I’m also tempted to scrap the month’s effort (and by that I mean date stamp and archive into a separate “Narrative False Start” folder) and start over, which would make those 8,244 words a wasted effort – but then again, I have re-read through “narrative false starts” from years past and have incorporated parts of that to the current narrative effort.

Though now with the time-limit pressure removed (at least until next year) I now can return to ponder and plan and plot (and eventually write) the story I had originally thought I was writing.

Things I’ve (quasi) learned from participating in NaNoWritMo the second time ’round:

1. I have trouble (creatively) writing with strict deadlines [the “creatively” caveat added as I have been successful in my college years in writing term papers and such within the set deadlines, but then again I had to or face the prospect of not passing my classes – a useful motivator to write, absent when creating my own works].

2. I have trouble not editing when I should be writing and spend too much time checking continuity, which accounts for my only completing two chapters, consisting of the aforementioned word count – fact checking for consistency and adding missing bits (only to remove them again) impeded my ability to move forward.

3. I have trouble with writing period-specific dialogue – I had sent those two chapters to a good friend of mine, who beta reads my work (and I also beta read her work) and it’s come to my attention that my characters’ manner of speaking does not match the time period in which the story is set. Of course that could or could not be intentional, but probably not.

Anyway.

It’s back to the writing board (is there such a thing? I’m not drawing so I can’t really return to the ‘drawing board’…) to plot, ponder and think about how I really want my story arc and characters to be and how events are to unfold.

Upwards and onwards and all that jazz…

Or to start at the very beginning (a very good place to start)…