It Doesn't Have To Be Right…

… it just has to sound plausible

Nanowrimo: fail

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Oh well. The nanowrimo novel stalled at 15,715 words a week or so ago. It was the wrong month for it. Not only was I putting together the TOC for Rocket Science, but I also had a 650-page anthology to read for review. Plus spending a weekend in Nottingham at Novacon. And November seems to be an especially good month for gigs, with four bands I want to see playing locally during the four weeks.

Also, the novel needed structure and, well, a bit more of a plot. I still think Into The Dark is a workable prospect, but writing it from the top of your head is not the way to go about creating it. Too many people – and nanowrimo fosters this attitude – think writing is about words. It’s not: it’s about the right word. I like to live with my story and my characters during the writing process – and “writing process” doesn’t always mean sitting in front of the computer and banging on the keys. If you know what you’re doing, if you have it all plotted out, if you’ve done your research, if you’ve got your notes ready… then yes, bashing out the words is what you need to do. And should I attempt nanowrimo again, I’ll make sure I’m clear in my head what I’m writing.

For the time-being, those 15,715 words of Into The Dark will go into the bottom-drawer while I think about how I want to structure the story. And, given that it was intended to be the first in a series, I shall also think about the next book and the series’ story-arc. Meanwhile, I have plenty of other stuff to be getting on with – not just the aforementioned review, or line-editing the contributions to Rocket Science, but also some other writing projects I’ve been working on for considerably longer than a month. And I really need to get those finished.

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One thought on “Nanowrimo: fail

  1. This is why I’m a little ‘down’ on nanowrimo. I can see how it has some motivational value for some people, but it has reduced the concept of writing down to spewing words. I’ve encountered many people who have ‘won’ nanowrimo, and even have t-shirts to that effect. However, none of them had edited their ‘novel’ after finishing it, none of them have submitted it for publication, and none of them have gotten it published (though I’m quite sure there are people who have done all these things, and who would not have done it without the ‘help’ of nanowrimo). If they’ve not done re-working and editing of the manuscript, then I wonder if these people have really written a novel, it’s a bit like saying you’ve ‘built’ a car, even though when you turned the ignition the engine didn’t run and the car never moved. You built something, yes, but if it doesn’t fulfil the vital requirements of being a car, is it really a car? If it looks like a duck, but doesn’t walk like a duck or quack like a duck, is it a duck?

    I’ve also seen a number of people collapse under the burden of nanowrimo and get disheartened. This is mostly because they are doing it wrong, trying to write a quality work when they could ‘pass’ nanowrimo by simply writing the work ‘eskimo’ 50,000 times. I mean, who’s going to know?

    Overall I find nanowrimo a very strange concept, a way to claim you’re a writer that’s akin to the ‘diplomas’ you can buy without ever having studied for them. It reminds me of the decline I percieve in graffitti art (Banksy nonwithstanding) where initially you were expected to show some artistic ability, (or so it seemed to be) but later it was enough to ‘tag’ a building, spraying your name on it. This allowed everyone to get in on the act, but the results were not very edifying.

    Colum

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