Okay, so nanowrimo is starting to make me feel a little like Jekyll and Hyde. This weekend I was filled with optimism.
Then this morning I spent fifteen minutes staring at a blank page.
I don’t like what I’ve written.
I’ve begun this book all wrong.
And this idea!?
Okay. I still think the idea has merit. But it’s like having this very specific, vibrant, colorful image in my head- but when I go to paint it, everything is ‘off’’. The colors are dull, the lines blurry- it’s just a shadow of what I’d hoped to capture and not coming out at all the way I’d imagined.
Now comes my inner conflict- After getting almost 4k into it, should I trash it all and start from scratch? 4k isn’t that much, after all. Or in the spirit of Nano- should I just keep writing from the point I’d want to see things change and tell myself I’ll go back and cut at the end of the month?
To be honest, the second idea makes me cringe. Just like old habits dye hard- all the new writing habits I’ve acquired through hard work and study of the craft are making it difficult to just let things slide and move on. My inner editor, who was duct-taped to a chair over the weekend, has broken free and is now gibbering loudly in my ear.
It’s saying : ‘Katie. You’ve tried pantsing a project before and look what happened. It’s still sitting in your closet. You might work through it, with it, or around it but you can’t deny it- you are a revision hater and therefore you can’t give yourself the liberty of spewing out a first draft as it comes. And at this rate, this thing is going to end up needing more editing than you’re honestly willing to deal with. Pull out now and save yourself the heart ache. Abort! Abort!”
So it appears Nanowrimo and I are at a stand still.
Okay, that’s not exactly true. It’s more like:
These are the kinds of situations that have me wondering ‘WWJKRD?’.
Either start with the changes where you are at now or start anew but count those first 4000 pages. After all, you did write them during NaNo, even if you're not going to use them.
Tackle the revisions now before you end up hating the manuscript or burying it in a deep dark hole. You can recover from this.
Ooooh, I've been there. I'm not NaNoing this year, but have many times in years past. I say just keep going! Although, I agree w/ Alex...if you do start anew, count those 4K words regardless. And good luck!!! :)
Oooh, good thinking Alex! Okay, I feel a little better about trashing the 4k now. True, I did write them during Nano- even if I didn't use them:)
I've had to trash 5k words before and it's not easy. But it did affect the rest of the manuscript. Start over but count the words!
I'm so envious of all you brave NaNo-ers! My word count is slogging along and I've been at it for what feels like forever.
I say listen to your inner JK!!!
Don't delete the other words. Just start from the beginning one page down and write! Those words should still count...you'd have deleted them in edits anyway.
I think Alex deserves a star for the day for bringing the sunshine.
Sorry you are at a standstill, but keep pushing on. Alex offered great advice. The words count regardless. I'm beginning to wonder what words I'll be cutting, but I can't focus too much on that, otherwise the flow will stop all together.
First, congrats on even doing Nano! That's an accomplishment in itself. I agree with Alex: start anew, keep the pages you've already written and count them towards your total. :)
Hang in there. You got this.
I had the same thing happen. I stopped and edited until I loved it and then moved on. I'm behind, but I love what I have completed.
At least you aren't alone....
I'm sure JK had a lot of inner conflict going on inside her when she was writing Harry too, not that it showed in the final output. Seriously, that series rocked. Which means, your book probably rocks too. A little jeckyll and hyde syndrome is good for a writer. At least I hope so, or I'm in big trouble too!!
Keep the word count!
And don't make any rash decisions either way. (Spoken by someone who gutted a first chapter because I got discouraged--only to discover that I'd edited out the heart and soul of it.) Maybe ask a beta/friend to take a look and see if it's as bad as you think.
I'm so glad you got such good advice -- I'm having the same problem, and I intend to steal a lot of it ;)
I say go with your gut. If you don't quite make NaNo's word count, that's ok. Just write what you're excited about writing.
In your heart, you know what you need/want to do. Go with that.
I agree with Alex! 100%. :-)
Alex is spot on!
I definitely agree with Alex. And I know what you mean about the colors being all wrong but still liking the idea. I feel like that a lot with my NaNo novel too. :(
Maybe you could jump to the middle of the story and start writing there, come back to the beginning later.
Not to be a party pooper, but this is why I don't like NaNo. Following the rules and making word count ends up being more important than your own writing process -- which may differ with every book.
Just FYI -- I started VOLTAGE three times. It wasn't until the third attempt that I realized my protagonist had a younger brother to worry about. This one change catapulted him from a selfish character into a more likable one -- and the brother (as Katie knows) turned out to be extremely important.
That said -- I didn't trash ALL the words from the first two attempts. I incorporated some parts of both drafts. They were not wasted words, and they helped me pinpoint the problem with my plan. (I DID have an outline for V. But after this discovery, I trashed it.)
I know I couldn't keep writing if the first part of the story is all off; that's why beginnings are so tough for me. Until I find the voice and characters, I can't move forward. And I'm a rewrite queen. So count the four thousand and do what you must.
This is one of the many problems I have with NaNo. I don't have any advice for you, but I'll cheer for you any way you decide to go! :)
I like Alex's idea. But if you're going to be focusing on that 4,000 word start that isn't quite right, you're not going to do as well when you're trying to finish NaNo. I say go ahead and re-write it!
Stick with your gut feeling as what to do.
But by golly count those words in nano! You wrote them!
I think there was something similar about his in the NaNoverse. The chick who wrote The Night Circus apparently had something similar happen to her so she sent her characters to a circus. Her book is published and has multiple fabulous reviews. Maybe you can try something similar?
Don't do what I did and delete those words, even if you don't need them. Starting from zero is harder the second time :-)
I hope you win this battle. If your inner editor is telling you it's not working - that's who I'd listen too.
I say keep chugging along. You have to get out all the crap before getting to the good part and this is it. Good luck!
I have to say I came over to your blog b/c I love your Creepy Query Girl name! Definitely been there, queried that, myself. Two novels, as a matter of fact! Also interesting to see your NaNo post--I've done one recently, too. I'd planned to do one book (a YA)--got started with a bang in November, but after the first chapter just fizzled on the whole PLOT thing.
Oddly enough, I figured out another novel I want to write even more (not YA this time, don't think that's my audience right now), and so far, so good. It's truly like love at first sight for those first couple of chapters...then I seriously have to work out an schedule for plot action.
All that to say, I get your sitting there looking at the blank computer screen. Also, I relate to your query stalkiness. So I'm going to follow your blog! Nice to "meet" you!
You know how you work best. Don't let NaNo dictate if it's going to make you miserable - what's the point.
NaNo is a great idea to get people writing, but enjoying it and coming up with something you're happy with are primary to that.
Don't delete those 4,000 words! You wrote them during NaNoWriMo, so count them. Just keep going. Write down everything you come up with and then edit away AFTER the month is over. I'm not crazy about a lot of what I've written so far, but I keep plugging away at it.
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