NaNoWriMo :: Day 20

Nanowrimo 2017

This post has taken a week to make it to this space: not because there’s been an issue with keeping to my plan (see the post coming up next) but simply because, yet again, time at the time wasn’t available. This was one of the reasons why NaNo’s failed for the last few years: I’d hit 50k and all impetus/ability to complete the work would vanish. You see, for me, this word count has always been restrictive, and I’ve been unable to pace myself to complete things once I started them.

Fortunately, a lot has changed in the last 12 months.

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So, Day 19 had me at 40k and confident for the first time I could finish when I’d said. Then, came a problem, mistake I realise that had been made back in the narrative at about the 6k mark. I was devastated, because it had effectively ruined a key section of the flow, that quickly stopped me in my tracks. I left the file open on my PC going to bed Sunday night, and had no idea how I’d fix the problem. The solution, at least in my mind, was something that NaNo suggests you don’t do: go back and correct your work. This is supposed to happen in the revision stage, but there was a realisation that if I didn’t plug the hole, all my hard work would simply leak through.

So, today ended up being about going back to the start and retracing steps. Once the issue was addressed, work recommenced at a fairly swift rate and, all things being equal, I would have hit 50k by Wednesday… were my daughter not unwell Monday night. That stopped me originally writing this post at the time, and meant I was up at 5am on Tuesday morning and on a mission… and you can probably guess what happened next. What also transpired between that point and Wednesday (where we’ll pick up the story again) was a realisation that an awful lot needs to change so I can not simply write more fiction, but do so in a far less stressful fashion.

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In this regard at least, NaNo has been an awesome experience. I got over my fear of commitment, and will finally have a work in December to revise next year. That’s a MASSIVE step forward 😀

NaNoWriMo: Day Six

Nanowrimo 2017

Firstly, apologies for the backdated nature of this post, but scheduling is becoming a bit of a lifeline, both forwards and backwards through my existence. I have, effectively, become a time traveller, which I’ve often thought would be the only means by which everything I wanted to do would get done. Amazingly, this now proves to be 100% accurate. This post should have been written on Monday, but that was the day I rewrote a ton of other stuff, scheduled a bunch of pictures and had a PT session. Instead, it’s being fitted in between more Gym time, poetry and some Instagram faffing.

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The main point of NaNoWriMo every year is to get people into the habit of writing consistently, to a deadline and to a word count. After you learn these techniques, nobody is then telling you that’s how to write everything. It is the same mentality that states there is more than one way to bake a cake, take a holiday, eat an apple or wear a shirt. Some things such as flying aircraft or splitting atoms require a very precise and well-documented set of directions. Writing, for a lot of people, is as much about instinct as principle. Once you ‘get’ what works best for you, being told this is bollocks and you have to do it this in a different manner is… well, not optimal.

The trick, as is the case with most things in life, is knowing yourself well enough to find the place and space that works for you. However, and this is vital, there are basic principles that need to be stuck to. This is the same framework that I remind my daughter of when she complains that her art teacher is being unfair when insisting she sticks to the principle of proportion and perspective. Once you’ve learnt the rules, then you get to break them. Understanding grammar, sentence structure, what’s surplus to requirement and what fiction needs to survive all have to be understood before you start fucking about with the presentation.

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If I wanted to be more mainstream, for instance, the casual swearing would have to go, but I’ve spent so many years having to put up with that restriction that frankly now I don’t give a fuck. I’m not an educational website here, this is what I am, and that includes adult language and a Restricted rating on pretty much everything I write as fiction. Once you grasp that this is simply my means of taking the rules I was taught and setting fire to them? Everything’s cool. That means that I’m here to point out that this week I’m on schedule to complete earlier than anticipated, and that I’m not prepared as yet to let too much plot into the world.

However, I will be offering some asides to the process, which includes this one. If I’m too busy writing to write about writing, it is no longer an issue to go back in time to remind you how important scheduling can be, and that nobody is perfect. As long as everything gets done, you don’t let anybody down and everyone is happy? Frankly, in my mind, it doesn’t matter what order stuff gets done. If there are things that are utterly unavoidable then you use those as your markers, and simply work around them.

That’s what I’ll be doing for the rest of the month.

NaNoWriMo: Day One

Nanowrimo 2017.png

I decided to go all stream of consciousness on your arses this month. Clearly, I’m saving all the best words, the biggest words and the strongest words for the novel, because YOU KNOW THAT’S THE POINT. This morning there was unexpectedly satisfying yoga pre-session, which amazingly helped with the formation of the opening salvo of action. I have my plot laid out: the major protagonists are already placed, their lives are drawn with more accuracy than has normally been the case.

I’m trying to imagine what everything would look like if this was a movie. I write my best work when it is clear and precise in my head, and in that regard, the opening feels the strongest of any I’ve written. Hopefully, there is enough mystery to keep potential readers engaged, without the need for further exposition. The main thrust of the action takes place in East London, which was where I spent a lot of very happy times as a child and where one of my best friends still lives. It’s a rich backdrop that works well with the incongruity of my real stage.

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This is a story which, from page one, asks you to accept a completely different worldview than the norm: in that regard, messing with your head is one of the best things to do with words. I will completely screw you up, readers. It gives me an intoxicating sense of control that would never be possible in this bland, uninteresting reality. This is also a disaster story… homage to all those brilliant movies where you know what’s going to happen… except who survives to the end.

The plan each day is to keep going until I a) run out of time or b) get bored, because that never makes for good content. I’m certainly not sticking to a strict daily count either. If the urge takes me, away I’ll go.

This is the best start to the month I’ve ever had.

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