Monday, November 9, 2009

The Best Laid Plans of Mice and Men Aft Gang Agley...

I've always wanted to use that quote for a blog post, and NaNo seems like the perfect time.

Not that November is anywhere close to the perfect time for me to write 50K in 30 days. Not trying to make excuses, but November is a busy month for everyone in the Crescent City, when the temperature finally drops and hurricanes are a thing of summers past (okay, maybe not so much this year, if you've been watching Ida on the t.v.). Festivals abound with art markets, music, movies and mirliton. Fringe Festival is this week, too. Overhead projector shadow puppetry, anyone? Oh, right, and there's that little thing called Thanksgiving in a few weeks which will have me in a turkey-induced stupor until December.

Then there's the New Orleans Symphony Choir, for which I will be auditioning on Tuesday. I'm giving into peer pressure and giving up my Tuesday nights for Choir. I'm not even really a choir kind of person-- really more of a showtunes sort of gal-- but it's been far too long since I've had any sort of musical outlet. And it seems like all I do lately is go to work, come home, and write. It's a life, but it isn't living. And it's a life I've been "not living" for far too long. So, keep your fingers crossed for me.

Now we come to the crux of the problem... I've stalled on my NaNo project. Completely.

In my attempt to stifle my own creativity and work on character development, I've given myself no reason to care about the story. Just the characters.

And they're starting to get on my nerves.

Not the sort of people I should be spending most of my time with until December. I want to try to work around this boredom and figure out how to fix the story, but it just feels like for every step forward, I'm taking two steps back.

Turns out I'm not excited enough about Hans and Greta to keep moving forward at the pace NaNo demands. There's something missing from the story-- possibly people, since it's just Hans, Greta and the witch for the bulk of the story. It's completely boring me in a way no writing has ever bored me before.

Boredom. The NaNo kiss of death.

I finished my WiP at a breakneck speed that I thought I'd be able to keep up come November with a different project. But the emotional attachment I'd formed with Mara just isn't there with Hans and Greta. They're cold and aloof and not telling me what they're really thinking. Maybe Rachelle Gardner's timely post will help me...

I won't abandon them in the woods with the witch. We'll keep in touch this month, and maybe get to 35K words. I am still trying to keep some distance between myself and my WiP, so any time I'm feeling like I want to open that file this month, I'll open up my NaNo instead. But there are so many books to be read, for pleasure and to research for my WiP. Maybe I'll think of an idea for a new story-- for my next novel-- and start plotting.

So I'm not giving up on NaNo. I'm still going to be typing every day. I'm just not going to kill myself to force out nearly 2K words a day on a project that I'm not feeling passionate about. So I'm going to relax and not worry about word count. I'm not going to go back to my bad habits of over-editing, and I'm still going to focus on characterization, but since I already know I'm capable of writing 50K in 30 days, I don't have anything to prove.

And I know that forcing it is no way to find the passion I need to continue telling the story.

Anyone care to share their own NaNo experiences? And don't forget to enter Lisa and Laura's contest! See the link in my sidebar. There's another Kindle giveaway here. Good luck!


Icy Roses said...

I definitely agree. It's like the creators of NaNo decided to pick the worst possible month for everyone, from students to workpeople to homemakers. I'm barely scraping along.

Your post makes me a little sad, because I love the story of Hansel and Gretel. I hope you find that passion for them. And passion is way more important than word count. There's no point in word-vomiting onto the page if you're not at least getting into the story. Good luck!

Tere Kirkland said...

LOL, word vomiting. How appropos! That's exactly how I feel, actually. I think I've actually erased more than I've written at this point. Maybe I'm just not that good a writer, but I'm starting to see the limitations of extending this story to novel length.

Writing only three characters makes me feel angsty and trapped. Frankly, the most fun person to write before they got lost in the woods was the wicked stepmother. Glad to hear you're sailing along, and I'll take all the luck you can give!

Abby said...

I know how you're feeling. I got two major scenes down, and now I feel like everything else I'm writing is just filler and I'm getting bored with it. I think a big part is I'm not really in love with my characters yet. We're at that awkward just getting to know you phase, and my MC is turning out to be kind of a jerk, and I'm not really sure how I feel about that. And I'm finding myself wanting to work on book two of the other one, instead. And now I'm rambling. Can I apply this comment toward my word count?

Sorry you're stuck. Hang in there. Maybe you'll get something in the mail today to inspire you. :) Good luck on the choir audition!

Tere Kirkland said...

"Can I apply this comment toward my word count?"
LOL, I was just going to ask that about my blog post!

I usually spend a lot of time thinking about the characters before I even start writing. This time I didn't have the chance since I was finishing up my WiP, so I think that's where I've gone wrong.

I need to take this story back to the notebook stage, a stage I more or less skipped the first time around. Then I think I'll be more familiar with the characters and what their true role in the story is.

And yay! Surprises in the mail always make me feel better!! I'll email as soon as it arrives!
Thanks, Abby!

Hardygirl said...

Ugh. That is the WORST feeling. I've had it happen before, and it made me want to dump the whole book in the garbage.

I'm not doing NaNo this year because I'm going to spend my time revising older projects. I'm actually doing some work on backstory--things that won't make it into the book--but will hopefully make my story richer.

Sarah Frances

Tere Kirkland said...

Sarah, that sounds like a great plan. Good luck with making your story richer.

I always knew going into NaNo that I wasn't writing with the intent to publish, but I didn't want it to become something I wanted to trash, and that's more or less how I'm feeling.

Is it bad that I'd rather experiment with re-writing Evangeline in the third person than write anything new for NaNo? ;)

Cause switching a seemingly infinite number of "I"s into "she/Evie"s is looking pretty good right now...

Amna said...

I had to memorise the quote for my exam XD

Lisa and Laura said...

Some stories just won't be forced. I think just the process of writing for a certain amount of time every single day with limited interruption is a much better barometer of progress than word count.

Jade said...

I was struggling with my NaNo project for the first week and I had to really force myself. Like you, my head was caught up with my other WiP which I'm editing. I kept at it and over the weekend, we fell in love. Now I can't stop thinking about it and I don't want to stop writing to edit my other one!
Hopefully the same thing will happen for you.

Good luck!

Karen Denise said...

I've just blogged about something similar. I didn't lose interest in my NaNo story, my brain was Highjacked by another story. And I agree with Lisa and Laura...some stories just won't be forced. Let it sit for a minute and you may find a seconds wind.

jessjordan said...

Ack ... stalling out sucks, doesn't it? Especially when you're under a "word crunch" ... Best of luck!!

Tess said...

I don't nano for this very reason. I'm all for goals, but killing myself and pouring words out for the sake of meeting a number goal just doesn't thrill me, you know?

I totally get where you are at.

And - good luck on the choir auditions! What fun :D

Susan R. Mills said...

Good decision. I don't think anyone will hold it against you. I've also decided that there is nothing wrong with editing as you go. It makes the writing better in the end.