I’m taking a brain break today.
At the time I’m writing this post, I have decided not to push myself. I am currently at around 36,500 words. The par on this day should be 31,666 words. I’m well over, and so I am going to allow myself a day of goofing off and ruminating as to what the next scene should entail. Will I continue with Phillip’s P.O.V. now that he is imprisoned in order to save the girl he loves?
Or will I switch to Para who is being sent away by her guardian, Lord Henry, in order to protect her life from the evil Lord Raimun?
It is a day of ease and enjoyment, finally, and this is why I feel comfortable enough to allow a day of “hookie”. After all, I’m not tortured by a lack of motivation any longer. I just need a moment to breathe and ponder. Reflect. Digest. And after 18 days of averaging almost 2000 words a day, I think I deserve a sigh.
Tomorrow will likely be better because of it.
Day 17. I hit 33,000 words just a little bit ago. Par for NaNoWriMo on this day should be around 28,300 words. It hasn’t been easy, but I’ve still managed to push myself forward, averaging around 1,900 words per day.
As of yesterday I was still fighting motivation issues, which is odd because I love writing about Para. I have since 2008 when I first began this series as part of my NaNoWriMo adventure. Based on a table-top adventure module designed by my husband, it was a way for me to draw him into the chaos of my NaNo experience. 2009 found me writing the continuation of the story, this time delving more into Para’s comrade, Munwar Meek.
But 2012 finds me starting at Para’s beginning. And with no Mun, that might be what is causing me to balk. If there was one thing I looked forward to writing, it was the banter between Para and Mun. Instead, I’ve been learning about who Para was before she knew Mun. More than that, though, there is the challenge of learning about her childhood friend, Phillip, who is a character of my husband’s design.
That is the cause of the flagging motivation. I don’t know Phillip, nor this young Para, as well as I knew the Para and Mun of book 1 and 2. That leeches my confidence and makes me reluctant to write. What if I get it wrong?
But there is no wrong with NaNoWriMo because all of it is a rough draft. It is simply getting the roughest of the rough onto paper so that you have fodder to work from/with – or not to. Even if you only hold onto the idea and chuck everything else out the window, you have still explored the story and the characters, and that gives you a better – and more informed – place to start.
That is a position of strength and power.
My goal is to write practically all weekend, with brain breaks here and there to ruminate and brainstorm, or maybe to simply add to my outline. Regardless of whether I write 2,000 words today or 7,500 or something in between, at least I am no longer entertaining the idea of tossing in the towel. I’ve hit well beyond the halfway mark and am nicely above par (no pun intended on the name of my main character). So what’s to keep me from finishing with a bang?
On day 7 of NaNoWriMo, my motivation and inspiration began to lose steam. My word count was ahead of schedule. My outline was barely touched.
While I had tentatively tossed my hat into this year’s NaNoWriMo ring, there was never any doubt I could finish the race and hit that 50,000 word goal at the end of 30 days. I had no reason to doubt, because I had hit and exceeded the goal every year since 2008. In fact, when the motivation began to wane, I expected it to rear its ugly head based on past experience.
What I did not expect was for the lack of inspiration to continue on for a week.
So now I must ask myself the question: Do I continue to press on?
Pressing on will mean defeating the writer demons of lethargy and indifference when it comes to building a story. Strengthening the muscles of discipline and determination.
The other alternative is to quit. To admit defeat. My entire being cringes at the thought! I written a lot of novels and novellas that exceeded the 50k word mark, so why should I allow myself the luxury of not completing this task?
Writing is hard! That is why only a select few can call themselves writers! Because they face the challenges and press onward. And yet I still want to allow myself the option of passing on victory this year.
Why? Because not all stories should find their way to the finish. There comes a point in time when we need to say “I’m sorry, darling, but you’re going to stay in the ‘Workspace’ folder.” It’s hard, yes, but sometimes it must be done.
With writing this post, I come face-to-face with that possibility for this particular story. Not the entirety of it, but this first portion. Where I previously thought this tale must be told, now I’m not so certain – and I understand why.
Understanding is the best result from anything. It allows growth.
As always, NaNoWriMo reminds me of the challenges to writing as well as the importance with having a daily writing goal. To produce something, anything, moves you forward toward a goal of completing a manuscript. Sometimes, that forward motion is the best remedy for the reason you have never written a book before, or since. I haven’t yet decided if I will continue to the end, but since I have nearly crested the half way point, I find it a sad state of affairs to entertain the idea of quitting.
Perhaps, instead of quitting NaNoWriMo, I need to quit the mundane storyline and throw the characters into some adventure!
This month, as some of you know, is National Novel Writing Month. We dedicate ourselves to writing 50,000 words in a month. Not a complete novel, mind you, but a good chunk of one. Of course, most of that chunk might never see the light of day, but it pours words onto a page and gets us into the minds of our characters or the conflict of the story. A way to let us know whether or not the storyline is worth investing all the revisions and rewrites in its future.
But I digress.
Because of the fact stated above, I won’t be doing much posting this month. I might post an excerpt here or a rumination there, perhaps an epiphany that comes from this journey, but for the most part there will be utter silence.
This month I am writing the prequel to the fantasy series I started back in 2008 with my first NaNovel, To Save A Soul
. Book 2 of the series, Silver & Iron,
stemmed from my 2009 foray into NaNoWriMo. In 2010 and 2011 I wrote 2 romances, so I thought this year I would get back to my fantasy series, especially since the main character type seemed to fit so well with the chaos that is NaNoWriMo.
If you’re curious about the novel idea which has my full attention this month, you can read about it at the NaNoWriMo site on my profile page:
Maybe we’ll see you around?
In just 6 days NaNoWriMo begins.
“Thirty days and nights of literary abandon.”
This will be my fifth. My FIFTH, even though I’ve been writing novels since my junior year in highschool (1989). Why I didn’t start participating before 2008 was simply because I didn’t believe I needed the push to write a novel. After all, in five years time (from ’99 to 2004) I had written and finished more than 35 individual novel drafts (these can be found at mintfield.net). So what did I need with NaNoWriMo?
How little I understood about the challenge and comradeship that comes with this contest. You can read my ruminations about the aftermath of the 2011 NaNoWriMo journey at the Northwest Christian Writers Association blog.
I’m nervous this year, as usual. After all, a part of me toys with the idea of juggling two novels, my romantic comedy as well as the prequel to my paranormal fantasy (a winner of the 2008 NaNoWriMo). A glutton for punishment, I know. Always.
Then there is the wonder, have I outlined enough to get me through to 50,000 words? Is my editor ready to be silent? Or, rather, content with catching spelling errors (misspelled words aren’t counted by MS Word) and expanding contractions?
There is, also, the concern I won’t have enough energy or mental fortitude to support the launch of my inspirational romance, Searching for Sara, and its blog tour which begins Cyber Monday, Nov. 26th.
This is the first year I won’t have my Washington State writer friends to support me at write-ins and all-nighters. This year, I am in tiny Beulah, North Dakota, and it’s up to me to find out where [if any] the write-ins are hosted.
My husband, also a participant this year, will be my only support, and I his, to ensure we hit and exceed the 50,000 mark. Perhaps this year I will need to write some ridiculous scenes? If Para remains my singular focus, we all know that shouldn’t be too difficult. She says some pretty outlandish things and gets herself into some crazy situations. With my project being a prequel, the opportunity for mayhem is huge. Why? Because the prequel opens with an eight-year-old Para and her ten-year-old friend, Philip, sneaking out of the house to adventures in the nearby woods.
I might be pulling a lot from my own childhood for fuel. Oh, and of course my husband. He has a gift for envisioning the villainous.
One thing that will keep me on the upside of this chaotic adventure is my husband, as he is an invaluable resource for helping me brainstorm myself out of possible corners.
I cannot stress enough how important a brainstorming partner is for something of NaNoWriMo magnitude. Our imagination ricocheting off of another’s? Pure inspiration. Even if you don’t utilize any of their feedback, it greases your mind’s wheels and sends your brain skittering in countless directions. That, my friends, is priceless, and can sometimes lead to the best characters or story you have yet to write.
As writers, we love the physical aspect of writing, be it by hand or by typing. I still have reams upon reams of my handwritten pages I simply cannot give up to the fireplace or the shredder. My NaNoWriMo projects are the same way. I have a folder on my computer specifically for my NaNo projects, be they forever conscripted to the “back burner” or simply used as fodder for a “wouldn’t it be nice if I could somehow find a way to weave this into the sequel?”
Admit it, you’ve all had those moments.
And it is these moments which are key for our writing future, keeping us interested. Keeping us intrigued. And that is why I NaNo. For the sheer chaos of it all.
Why do you NaNo? Why do you not?
Last night, after investing an hour into only Part 1 of the 5-part Scrivener tutorial, I shifted my attention to outlining the history for Munwar Meek, the fighter hero in my fantasy series The Soul Cycle. The plan is to outline his backstory as well as his hunter/ranger counterpart, Para, so that my husband would have a place to begin outlining the campaigns which lead them to meet.
Cyrus 'Munwar' Meek, by Rin Jay
Because my goal is to utilize Para’s portion of the campaign for this year’s NaNoWriMo, as I blogged about on my other site, NonaKing.com. This is only the second year I will work from a completed outline, research notes, etc. The first year I did so was back in 2008, my first year participating in the contest. The notes and outline were from a campaign written by my husband.
But here I have written myself off tangent!
On my way home from work yesterday I made it a point to start brainstorming Munwar’s history. I wanted to give myself as much time as possible to purge any ridiculous ideas before jotting down the outline and emailing it to the hubs. Imagine my surprise when my thought process struck a wall, especially since I had been restraining myself from thinking of Mun’s history up to that point, believing it was too soon since his would be the second story and not the first.
But my creative juices struck more than just a wall, there was an overwhelming feeling of… reluctance? No, not even that is the correct word. It seemed much more, although the word escapes me at the moment. My immediate reaction was that Mun did not want to talk to me about his past.
For years I have been told that we should interview our characters so that we know exactly who they are before diving into their story. Well, stoic Cyrus Munwar Meek wanted nothing to do with that interview, being the private person he is represented in To Save a Soul and Silver and Iron. Apparently, he doesn’t like speaking of himself, nor of his past.
You know what I found myself doing? Having an internal conversation with my character – in my head without my lips moving, of course. Heaven knows what fellow drivers would have thought had that conversation been external!
It was the oddest experience, reasoning with a fictional character and having the unshakable impression that he listened! Not only that, he almost reluctantly acknowledged my reasoning and assurances of discretion! Soon after the discussion ended, his history began to flow and I was able to progress with the outline.
Has this ever happened to you?
It has been so long since my characters interacted with me in this way, and I must confess it is nice to be back in a type of relationship with them. After all, how can I say relationships and communication is my platform when I don’t even communicate with my own characters?