Wednesday, November 10, 2010

NaNo - Writing in the Cracks

I've surprised myself. I'm up to 21,000 words and still going with NaNoWriMo. I'm not even sure how! Maybe because this is a book that has been in my head for 2 years, and I'd already had one disastrous attempt at it in another form. I can sense that, as I write, I am padding enormously. Putting in heaps of description and character stuff - thoughts, dialogue, emotional reactions - that might well come out later or be trimmed. But isn't that the whole point of NaNo?

It is for me. It's the chance to break new ground, to get stuck into a whole new project or even (although I know it's kind of cheating) to finish that book-of-the-heart that you've never been able to before. About three years ago I used NaNo to rewrite a novel I've been working on for about 9 years. I didn't look at the old draft at all. I sat down and started it as if it was completely new. Lots of stuff came out that ultimately was really useful. That book is now on its way to being published. No, it's not a NaNo book as such, but NaNo helped me get a whole new perspective on what it could be.

I'm about to head off to Hong Kong. I have (by my calculations) about five days in which to write as many words as I can. After that, teaching and consultations take over and I am so brain-dead that writing is almost impossible. But I will keep trying. If I can get past 35,000 by Monday night next week, I might have a hope of snatching time and head space to finish the big 50.

Often that is what NaNo becomes - a frantic search for the cracks in your life. The 15 minutes or half an hour in which you can madly type (like I did in my lunch hour the other day), or that hour before bed when you firmly turn off the TV and write. If nothing else, I think NaNo teaches you that you can write anywhere, any time, if you really want to!


Snail said...

Good luck! That's trememdous output. I'm amazed at some of the NaNoWriMo-ers who have almost finished.

Sarah Towle said...

Thanks for the inspiration. I'm plugging along myself! Best of luck!

Sherryl said...

Snail - I know someone last year who did 160,000 words! But she doesn't work.
Good luck to both of you!
(And my word verification today is pirkslit. Hmmmm....)

Lisa said...

Well said Sherryl.

Good luck with it. I'm ahead of word count thus far and also padding but it's fun to be writing again. NaNo is just the kick start I needed to redevelop the habit of daily writing :)


Sherryl said...

The daily habit is very enlightening, I think. If you are determined to fit it in no matter what, you suddenly find you really can write 1500 words in an hour, or break it up over a day.
I've just realised most of what I'm writing is backstory and getting my head into the world of the story - the main bit hasn't started yet!