So this is just about the time that I run out of steam and start slacking off…in fact, I probably wouldn’t even be writing this if it wasn’t for the fact that a bunch of people just started following me (you guys are AWESOME)! It was so much easier not to finish things when nobody else knew I was doing them… 😉
So I was talking to someone I met on the NaNoWriMo forums, and they suggested that I pick up Chris Baty’s (the NaNoWriMo founder) book. Since I am someone who just loves to over-prepare, and bought 15 different reference books for a book I am only 20k into (and haven’t used a single reference book for), I thought….”Well, duh…of course I need to read this book.”
So I did.
He has a very adorable style of writing…very witty, very self-depreciating. He also made a lot of good points, that make me feel my current system is on the right track. He did have a lot of ideas that I am not really down with, and that is why I am “rebelling” this year. He believes that in order to write 50k in 30 days, you need to go in completely fresh. Maybe a week of thinking about it, and then you just let loose and see where it takes you. I have tried to write books like before, and it has never worked out for me. Somehow my characters start writing themselves into circles (hey, didn’t we pass that landmark..like 2 chapters back?), and I end up with a tangle of knots and zero patience to unravel them. This is why I have a file on my computer with a bunch of false starts. 6k to 15k of sheer rubbish. The precious John Green calls this his “follies” folder, and he claims that he has all these abandoned stories, because finishing one is a hell of a lot less fun than starting one.
Preach it, dude.
When I was in my planning stage, everything was so shiny and new, so full of potential… Now that I have wrestled these characters into this war zone of a rough draft…the possibilities have been reduced…the personalities are forming…the plot is traveling in a specific direction (not very quickly, mind you) and I am supposed to somehow keep everything on track. To fangirl on John Green some more: “All of us harbor secret hopes that a magnificent novel will tumble out of the sky and appear on our screens, but almost universally, writing is hard, slow, and totally unglamorous.” Seriously. I’m sitting at my desk in mismatched pajamas, three-day hair, and sporting a constant grimace.
But I am going to keep going. You know why? I’m not entirely sure myself, but I do know that when things start to get the tiniest bit inconvenient, I quit. Not the things like grad school, or work (I grab hold of those things like grim death), but the things that I do for me. The things like learning to sew (I made one skirt, and ceremoniously dumped my machine in a closet), or guitar lessons (I’m tired…I can’t be bothered to put on real pants and go meet my teacher), or photography (I just dumped $300 on photo editing software…oh wait…maybe I should learn to sew). I am a perpetual quitter when it comes to actually creating something, and who wants to be that person? So I am going to finish this damn novel, even if it kills me. I don’t give a shit if it’s crap, or I end up too embarrassed to show anybody. I just want to type out the words “the end,” and know that despite it being incredibly inconvenient and maddening…I rode it out.
Since I started this post talking about a book I just read, let me continue in that vein and talk about a book that I plan to read soon:
I just joined this book club, and this is unofficially our first book. It looks really interesting, and I’m already loving this club, because I am not sure I would have ever picked it up otherwise! We were supposed to be suggesting books to the group, and I actually ended up feeling a little embarrassed because all of the fantastic books that I have read recently have been YA. This is, of course, because I write YA…and also because I just really love the genre. You all remember the teenage years (or may still be teenagers yourselves), and everything you thought or felt was turned up about 10x higher than normal. I remember trying to explain to my mother why I wouldn’t give up my boyfriend (whom she disliked), and saying the words “I will never love anyone else in the world as much as I love him.” In that moment of my life, that was completely true and I believed it with all my heart. Looking at the big picture…growing up, moving away, going to college, meeting other people…it seems impractical. However, at that stage in your life there are no rules to follow or logic to worry about. It’s just passion. I love that in a character, and I love writing those moments and those feelings, and that is why I write and read YA. However, I tend to forget that, and feel cheesy that I am not suggesting some wordy autobiography about Thomas Jefferson. I’m not very good at pretending to be something I’m not, so I imagine they will learn my tastes soon enough. For the record though…some of the most powerful books I have ever read have been YA (Laini Taylor, Elizabeth Wein..), and they don’t all include love triangles with vampires and werewolves. 😉
That’s enough rambling for today.