Monday, November 7, 2011

NaNo Wk 1--Upping Word Count & Staying Passionate

I'm at 11,500 words on my NaNoWriMo project, which is book 3 in my Glitch trilogy. It's my first official NaNo, and I'm pretty much having a blast. I used to always write first drafts quickly. Funnily enough, I think this draft is actually going slower than previous drafts, but I'm glad for the motivating framework of NaNo. My deadlines used to be provided for me by the schedule of school semesters, but have been somewhat lacking since I'm taking a semester break just to write.

Yes, I do see the irony of taking time off to write, and then the actually writing being so much slower and more difficult than under the pressure-cooker of grad school schedule! But at the same time, I'm a lot saner ;)  So in the end, I'll take the trade-off.

I'm reading other people's updates and watching their word-counts grow, and it's mainly encouraging. But here's the thing: I hated wasted pages worse than anything! I kinda refuse to write scenes that I know AS I'M WRITING them will have to be re-written.

This hating-wasted-pages-thing started when I was just pantsing a draft of a novel a couple years ago, a retelling of Jane Eyre. I'd just been going off the cuff without an outline, and I realized after I'd written about a hundred and fifty pages that a big plot point early on needed to change (a hundred pages ago), that would negate 2/3 of the draft I'd written.

Do you know how long it takes to write a hundred freaking pages??? A long time. A lot of wasted energy.

So now, I'm learning the fine line between plotting out every little thing to the point of being frozen on a draft because you want to make sure they aren't wasted pages, and actually just getting the shitty first draft down.

For this new project, drafting Book 3, since I'm under the auspices of NaNo, I can't just take three days off to perfectly plot out a logical escape, or the infiltration, etc. This is the cool part about being at this point in my writing career, and having so much experience under my belt. I recognize as I go which parts I'll end up re-writing. So instead of wasting energy and pages at the get-go, I just put a bracket and write a place holding message like: [kidnap programmer guy here] or [break into facility here] and then I keep on going with the stuff that I've already thought out so I can just keep writing and building word count.

As I draft this new project, my other big concern is that I not lose the passion that set me writing in the first place. I lost sight of it at times during the drafting process of Book 2, and I kind of refuse to do that again. I'm a writer because I love it. Because I love stories that move me. Those are the only kind of stories I want to tell. If I lose sight of it, if I let it turn into A Job, then I'm missing the freaking point. Not to mention that people can feel the difference when they read the finished product.


  1. Heather, I so hear you about not losing the passion. That also happened to me on Book 2 (which, by the way, I am still writing but I think I got my mojo back). Anyway, I'm so glad you're having fun with NaNo and Book 3. By the way, I never knew you had a Jane Eyre retelling in the works. We MUST chat about this soon!

  2. Yay about getting mojo back!!! I never imagined that when I actually became a to-be-published writer that I'd have so much trouble actually WRITING afterwords! One of life's little ironies, but I'm glad for both of us that we are finding ways to access that passion again. And lol, my Jane Eyre retelling is one of those long-shelved, never-to-see-the-light-of-day projects that was just a good learning experience.

  3. Still want to hear all about it... :)