NaNoWriMo 2010: Who’s a Champ? I am!

I get it. It’s December 9th and NaNoWriMo ended over a week ago. I should have posted this then, but my immune system seems hell-bent on taking me down before Christmas. You will forgive my belated post on the matter, I hope!

When I wrote about NaNoWriMo before, I talked about how I hit the ground running. I followed that up by talking about how I survived a long weekend away and managed to write quite a bit. So here’s how it all turned out. Continue reading

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Case of the Week Twos? Nah.

Now that I’ve made it past Wednesday of NaNoWriMo Week 2, I think it’s safe to blog about it.

All of the “pep talk” emails I’ve received from NaNoWriMo this week have been about overcoming “The Week Twos” as though it’s some kind of a rash, and if you just keep rubbing some kind of ointment (don’t you just hate that word?) all over it, it’ll clear up in five-to-seven days.

I say this as though I have no idea what they’re talking about, but I do. Last year, Week Two was an uphill battle for me. I got to the middle and I started to struggle with my characters, the story, and my abilities as a writer. That’s when I started having a crisis of faith. I know that people struggle through that “mid-point” (it’s not the true middle, but it has that feeling). Last year, I struggled in the middle of NaNoWriMo. I struggled through the actual middle of the novel, I struggled through the middle when I was editing the paper copy, and now I’m struggling through the middle of the second revision. I totally understand the concept of “Week Twos.” Continue reading

Editing Woes and the Run-Up To NaNoWriMo ’10

At first I didn’t care about it. It was to be a one-and-done deal.

Then I cared a little more. Two. That’s it.

Now I’m seriously considering a third round of edits to my NaNoWriMo ’09 novel, not because I feel like this book is moving anywhere toward a publishable realm, but because as I’m working my way through writing the second draft (which I expect to grow nearly 50 pages from the first draft), I keep telling myself there are things that I will focus on next time through. I’m finding that, at least for me, focusing on one or two specific trouble areas (showing vs. telling, say) is what I’m going to need to do. I’ve been able to fix some of the show vs. tell problem spots, but certainly not all of them. This round of edits has been about organizing and clarifying. It’s about getting things where I want them to be (and moving things around, which I talked about in a recent post) and then working on more fine-tuning.

My pacing was pretty good. The past few weeks, however, have slowed me down considerably as I’ve had a number of engagements and obligations and other things to keep me abnormally busy. My goal since January has been to have the first/second edits (in my mind they’re different, but to some people they’d be the same) completed by the end of October – ideally well before the end of October – so that I could put it aside and move on to my next NaNo project.

But alas.

Continue reading

Getting My Editing Groove On

Being that I never really took my writing all that seriously before (at least, not when I was old enough to *actually* take it seriously. Sixth grade doesn’t count), I didn’t really have a method in place for editing. In college, my idea of editing creative writing was to take all the copies of my work that were given back to me in workshops, go through, and make a few changes. I really didn’t put a lot of time and effort into it. I attribute this to many things, and as I’ve mentioned before, a lot of it had to do with losing that spark (on account of being a busy college student and also coming to despise the egomaniac who was teaching the majority of my fiction classes). I never went back through and took a good look at what I’d written because I never cared much about most of it. I only really remember a handful of pieces.

The whole time I was writing my NaNoWriMo novel, I didn’t think about editing. My goal was just to get to 50,000 words. Once I made it there, my goal became to actually finish writing it. I was a little unsure for a while, but when it became clear that I was going to finish writing it, I started thinking about editing. I guess my pattern of decision-making has been kind of linear in that respect. I ended up leading myself right into a process of editing that I hadn’t considered, but it’s working out really well for me. It’s forcing me to not only go back through my work, but to interact with it, as well. Continue reading

Oh, right. I’m writing.

First of all, before I get into the meat of this post, I’m proud to say that I’ve been forcing myself to edit my novel again after a relatively lengthy hiatus (call the hiatus a crisis of faith in myself). I have 50 pages left to mark up of the paper copy, and then I’ll be able to move into the computer document and start making changes there. I’m not sure which I feel is the more daunting task.

Now…

When I was in college, I took the majority of the classes I needed to satisfy my creative writing minor requirements with the same professor. He was forever going on about how he woke up early in the morning and did his writing for a few hours before getting on with his day. I thought that he was trying to encourage us to get up early in the morning and write because he was also forever trying to get us to be just like him. To this day, I’ve never once decided to wake up early in order to write.

I am, by nature, not a morning person. I cannot, for the life of me, figure out how some people naturally wake up anywhere from 4:30 – 7:30 a.m. My “morning” starts somewhere between 9 and 10 generally (if I don’t have to be up for something). Part of the reason that I don’t wake up early is because I stay up so late. That’s always been more my pace. I like being awake past midnight when everyone else is asleep and it’s quiet. I can focus better. In college, this is typically when I did the majority of my homework (and even in the end of high school I could get away with staying up until 1 or 1:30 a.m., and then getting up at 6:45 for school). If I really must work during the day, I can make it happen. I just prefer working at night so much better. Continue reading

Someone’s Writing Again (Hint: It’s Me)

I told you last week that I’d be back with new posts about writing. Lucky for you, I make good on my promises. I have this post to write now, and another one already working its way to the front of my brain. Look for it in a day or so.

A while back, I got all excited because I finished my novel. To be more exact, I finished the first draft of it. I had and continue to have the best of intentions regarding the editing process, but despite my initial enthusiasm and the purple editing pens that I love, I have a hard time getting myself to actually actively edit. I’ll go on editing sprints that span a few days, and then nothing for weeks. I just haven’t been able to find my stride with it. I had it printed and bound because I can’t edit directly on a computer screen. I need to flip back and forth between physical pages and put sticky notes all through it. I like being able to see what I’m changing. It’s helping me develop an eye for my own work, which is something I’ve always struggled with. It’s helping me gain more confidence in myself as a writer. It’s helping me understand Craft (with a capital C).

It’s making me hate my novel.

Recently, I was talking to a friend about this. He told me that he and other writers he’s talked to experience this. As they revise, they hate it less. I’m hoping this happens for me, because I’m starting to fear that I’m going to abandon my beloved novel. As soon as I write that, I know I won’t do it because I don’t typically quit that easily. I will whine and complain and bitch and moan about it to anyone who will listen. I’ll shed tears. And then I’ll stand up with Beyonce and keep on survivin’. Continue reading

Blog Recommendations

I’m taking a break from my normal babble to do a little unsolicited blog promotion. I like reading blogs because I feel like there’s always a lot to learn from other people and often times I find that they offer ways for me to readjust my own perspective. They can be quite educational. There are a lot of great blogs – by people I know and people I don’t – that I could tell you to read. I’m only going to start with three of my personal friends’ blogs, though, because I don’t want to be overwhelming. When I go to a blog, I like to click on other links in the blog roll (a good reason to establish one), so if you haven’t checked out these blogs on mine, please do (all links in this post will open in a new window). If they don’t strike your fancy, feel free to pass them on to anyone else whose fancy they might strike. I just used the word “blog” a lot. Bad writer.

Please note, however, that I can’t do these justice in a short blurb. You’ll just have to check them out for yourself. Continue reading