Freedom From The Mundane - A Writer's Blog

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

No Pressure

Slept through my 5am, which really pissed me off as I missed a whole morning's writing. On the bright side it meant I could have breakfast and watch a cartoon with Laura, which we only get to do on weekends, and then I walked her to school.

I felt quite sprightly and fresh today after a slightly longer kip though. I say long; long compared to my recent starts but not to 'normal' people. Last night I finished Rankin's The Flood but I had to force myself to the end I was so tired. Such an exciting and alarming twist to the book's finale though, which I never saw coming. To be honest, as a Dad of a wee girl myself, it made my skin crawl and I felt quite uncomfortable with it from that point of view. That said, it was fabulously written and a good lesson in plot and character development and how to trick the reader then hit them between the eyes.

Looking at my stats for NaNo so far, I've done an average of 2507 words per day, 500 more than I aimed for. Obviously that's including the lows and highs, but still pleasing as an overall average. It also highlights the main thing I reckon I will take from this experience, and that is that I have absolutely no excuses for not attaining this level of writing every day. Mix that in with everything else; research, promotion, web work and the imagery side, and it will obviously have an impact, but I should be writing more per month than I have been. It's been an eye opener and proof that I have it in me to stretch to such limits, even with a family and child - and rabbits and guinea pigs and fish and so on.

The good thing is I can relax with the manuscript now. There's no pressure to get to 50k anymore so it should, theoretically, get easier. The trouble I have when writing is that I want to see it down on paper sooner rather than later. Even if I end up sacrificing some amount of quality I can always go back and edit. Getting it down is a huge first step and allows you to then step back and look away for a minute before analysing. It's the old lump of clay analogy. You can't really begin until you have constructed that initial lump of clay. That's how I see it, anyway.

I'm approaching the traditional sticky area for me in the novel - that bit where you begin to head towards the conclusion and tie everything up. I'm through any form of middle-sag - NaNoWriMo saw to that - but I always get the "am I doing the right thing here?" syndrome. We'll see how it transpires. I believe I may have done enough preparation and I know I am a more experienced writer since I was last at this stage with a novel, so you never know.

Got nothing written until after work, but I sat down with the laptop and got stuck in to make my daily target. It wasn't my best. I was writing a vital scene between two vital characters with some major issues, and t came out as almost all dialogue. The main thing was to progress the story and explain some history through their voices so I achieved that. I can, and will, go back and pad it out with the rest later on, probably a morning when it will come out easier.


NaNo words today: 2148

NaNoWriMo Progress

Colin 10:24 pm


Suggestion -- when you go back to revise the all-dialogue scene -- read it out loud. That way, you will automatically begin to do the physical movements, hand gestures, little quirks, etc. of the character. Jot them down as you go, and then keep the interesting ones and cut the rest.
I always used to tell my students that it didn't have to be perfect first time. Get those words down as fast as you can or want, and you can always go back and polish them. Mostly dialogue is good if it's obvious who's talking and, as Devon said, if it sounds right when you read it out loud, then it's fine.

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