14 November 2018
So for a few days, I was stuck - horribly stuck - at best, my nano word count was falling behind. At worst, I had lost my voice as a novelist and all of Orana had abandoned me. Same thing, really, if you throw a panic attack in the middle over a poorly elbow in your dominant hand when both of the things that define you (interpreting and writing) involve the pain-free movement of your right hand and arm.
I did what any rational adult in my shoes staring at a blank page would do - I hit the panic button and freaked WAY the heck out for a little while, and then I started thinking about my support system as a writer. You may think that we sit at our IKEA desks all alone in our writing sheds, surrounded by lovely greenery and sipping a mug of tea as the ideas just flow out of our heads into our novels, but I am here to tell you this: if that is the truth, I'm not sure what it is that I am doing because it involves sitting on my worn leather couch, laptop on my knees, wolfhounds clambering about on clobberpaws and crying. Lots of crying. Anyway!
I have recently gotten to know someone that I'm fairly certain I already knew from another time in my life - a fellow novelist who attended the same college I did in the mountains of northern Georgia. So after all the crying and panicking, I sent him a simple text that said that I was struggling to find an antagonist and that my protagonist was stuck, sitting on a horse in the Outlands and watching someone ride toward her. For two days, I literally did not know who it was that was riding toward her. His responses led me to my antagonist, and to the rider who is merely the catalyst for the main story arc. Since then, I have written more than 10,000 words, and even though I am not at my daily wordcount target it is in sight. I still am not sure what the antagonist's story is, but at least I'm back heading in the right direction.
So writers, lean on each other. It doesn't mean that you don't know how to write or that you are a phony (impostor syndrome, anyone?), it means that you are using the community we find among like-minded individuals. You are doing the work, and you do not have to do it alone. Now, get your characters off those lonely roads and into some good plot points!
12 November 2018
It has been going relatively well until I was sidelined by an outrageously strained elbow over the weekend (it's a thing, y'all, and I'm almost certain it came courtesy of my day job but moving on...). I'm now 4,000 words behind the target for today, but that's not the worst of my troubles.
THERE ARE NO BAD GUYS IN THIS STORY SO FAR. No bad hombres. No tortured and vengence-seeking souls. So far there are three characters. Let's not dwell on the fact that I've written 16k plus words with only three characters, shall we - FIND MY VILLIAN! While this sort of pantsing - a nanowrimo term for writing by the seat of your pants, with no outline or anything - is fairly normal for me, this is the first time that I haven't been able to come up with any sort of climactic plot point...so I'm scared, really scared.
Okay, not really. Maybe a little. My point here, though, my Brave Lettuce Readers, is to heed the words of your English teachers (or, in my case, my mother) and DO THE WORK - in this case, an outline ahead of time. My main character has been begging for an origin story since before Wanderer so I give it to her and what does she do? Wander around in the Outlands on her magical horse and THINK DEEP THOUGHTS.
I'm telling you what, if she doesn't stumble into something awful soon I'm gonna have to start killing off characters, and since I only have three - three and a half, actually, since one is only writing letters - it isn't going to be pretty.
Are you working on a nano this month? How's it going? I'd love to hear about your projects in the comments - maybe that would help me kick her in her robes and get this story going.
01 November 2018
Dull FB status. Exciting and potentially life-changing real life. For once I am not working on a revision or sequel or prequel related to the Orana Chronicles or Clobberpaws/Proud Racer. I know that I said that Clobberpaws 2 would be this year's Nano but I just can't make it a daily project. Daisy has been gone for almost two years now, but it's still too raw and the last book had her in it and - you know what? It doesn't matter why, really. It is happening, and more will happen with it after the first of the year, and that's what needs to be said about that.
Nope, this year's Nano is another attempt at something that doesn't exist in a fantasy world or have talking animals. Boy, that's one heck of a description of my writing, huh? Nancy Dunne, you say? Oh, yes, she writes about dogs and cats that talk and elves. You know, no big deal.
Boy, I hope no one is really saying that about me as a writer. Anyway, moving on...
This year's Nano is a crime novel first and foremost. I've tried that before and failed miserably. But try, try again, as they say. Because it's me as a writer, there will be supernatural characters. Because it's me as a person, it's set in a theatre and there are both Deaf and hearing characters - though that part may fall through because I'm nervous about portraying genuine Deaf characters. The theatre part will hold, though. It's going to be a play within a play, like one of my favorite One-Act Plays, The Real Inspector Hound. Watch this space. I'm sure that it will get weird before it's over.