Thursday, November 08, 2012

NaNoWriMo, Day 8

I have terrifying news.

It is the eighth day of National Novel Writing Month, and not only have I switched stories entirely (on the 3rd) I am egregiously behind on word count. I really should have over 12k by now, but my word count is languishing at just over 6k.  Did changing story lines hinder my chances of success this year? Is writing this blog post going to keep me from my goal? When all is said and done, this will be some three hundred words or so which could have better been applied to my epic fantasy novel, right?
Of course not. When three days in I had only managed to write a meager 287 words, I knew it was time to say goodbye to that particularly uninspired plot line. I may pick it up when time is not of the essence, but for now, I need something with more fire under it's proverbial posterior. Since then I have vastly improved my word counts daily, and I think this story may just have the momentum I need.
I think part of this momentum comes from my having an idea where I'm going. I can see who the characters are and why they are intertwined. I can see a destination towards which their combined fates seem to be charting a course. I can visualize a story and a backstory for each of them.
In short, I'm taking the easy route. I'm writing something that isn't going to surprise me much, rather than something more serious where every decision is as painstaking as a real world choice.
Sure, when writing epic fantasy I have to make myriad little decisions. How many moons, what's the weather like, any beasts that aren't part of our zoological schema here on Earth? But these are easier choices than whether or not my main character is a vegetarian and how that might affect her interactions with other people Is she computer savvy, or is she a bit of a ludite. Do these things matter? Yes. Everything matters in fiction, but it seems to me that serious fiction, set in the modern day, has more constraints because the author has to address all of the ways in which the characters do or do not fit into the world around the reader, a world on which the reader is somewhat of an expert, having lived their all his or her life.
"What reader? It's NaNoWriMo, I'm not showing this to anyone," you say. Well, good for you, but I can't get beyond the notion of writing as though someone, someday, just may read what I'm writing. Why do we tell stories if not to share them?  No, not every story needs to be shared. But if I were to write every story as though it never were going to be read by anyone at all, then I'd be wasting my time, and I'd be aware of it.
So yes, I'm behind, but I'm going to keep writing as though someone out there may eventually be looking, and I'm going to summon all my whimsy and complicated feelings in order to keep this story moving fast enough to catch up. By this weekend, I shall be ahead.

So say we all.

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