Imma Rebel

Here we are, 1 October, and I hear the refrain starting:  “One more month until NaNo!”  Yep, it’s that time again.  If you haven’t been scrambling to get your novel figured out, you have about four and a half weeks to get yourself ready for the Friday when the First of November rolls into town demanding your words as a sacrifice.

One sees a few people broaching the question, “If I work on an old novel/write my novel backwards/draw a graphic novel/do anything that doesn’t look like I’m writing a novel from scratch, is that gonna be cool, or am I gonna be a rebel?”  Good question there, Little Timmy.  There aren’t any hard and fast rules other than to write fifty thousand words in thirty days.  There aren’t any others, and the NaNo Police won’t come for you when you break any of these imaginary laws one may think exists.

It’s all about writing.  There were people who worked on the same novel over the course of two NaNos, and a couple of them published.  People have worked on screenplays.  People have done a version of a graphic novel.  Didn’t matter what they did, they were writing.  In the end that’s the important part.

After a few days of contemplation, I’ve decided I’m going to be a rebel as well.  I’m going to do NaNo by not doing it–  Wait, what?

Allow me to explain.

Other than the short story I wrote a month ago, I’m not dong much of anything else.  Part of that reason is because I’ve done two moves in a month, part of the reason is I finished up the edits on a novel.  But a big part of the reason has been waiting for November to roll into town.  You don’t want to start on a project because, hey, NaNo is coming and you don’t want to be in the middle of something when that happens.

So I’ve been puttering around doing other things–the same thing I’ve been doing most of the summer when I’m not, you know, writing.  I’ve been preparing and getting myself into the right mindset to burn through fifty thousand words in thirty nights–mostly nights because my days are already taken–and I’m betting my Is and Ts in their proper places–

In the meantime I’m not writing.

I’m pretty much at the point where with another week of prep work I’m ready to begin.  I’m ready to start my first scene with a young girl standing under the branches of a tree growing upon the shore of a lake, thinking about the day ahead while the sun rises over the Bulgarian mountains.  It’s there, baby, ready to become great or suck to high heaven.

For either of those events to happen it has to get out of me.

Screw it, then.  When I’m ready to go, I’ll go.  I’ll start writing.  When I get to 1 November I’ll begin keeping track of my word counts.  If I do fifty thousand words over the course of the month, I’ll post it and collect my “win”, which means I’ll have all the winner’s codes I’ll give away once more.  If I don’t get my fifty, groovy, I’ll set the novel aside for later editing and move onto my next project.

But I gotta get writing.

‘Cause if I don’t I’m gonna lose my mind waiting to write.

Firsts of Firsts

Last day in the hotel, first day in the new apartment.  The rest of the year is pretty much figured out–or should I say, plotted?  I have everything set:  get ready, quick pack up, check out; drive to new place; unpack; go to work.  Tonight I have a few items to get before I call it a night, and then, tomorrow . . . well, it’s time for exploring.  I’ll wander around the area I’m in and see what’s what, maybe head over to the river since it’s only one block from me.  First time living in a city area, and it’s different from anything I’ve known.

Writing a novel is a little like this.  You get ready, to start writing, you finish writing, you move on to something else.  It’s always a first time when you start a new story, even if you’re using characters you’ve already developed.  Just as with life, your characters grow as you grow as a writer.  And unless you’re writing the same story over and over (that would never happen, right?), you’ll never new and exciting events to wrap around you characters.  Or maybe you want to write a novel about them cleaning house all the time.  Whatever:  it’s your story.

I find that, right now, I want to get back into writing.  The last few months have sort of pushed me into a spot where I’ve tried hard to find something that will pay the bills, and at the same time continue with my writing.  My output is down from last year, but throwing in edits on a couple of novels tends to take away from creating new material.  And once you create a new story, you have to start thinking about editing and publishing.  Oi.  It’s constant, it’s always there, and it’s always a new adventure.

I’m looking forward to NaNo 2013.  I know it’s going to be a grind:  five hundred words blogging in the morning, working during the day, two thousand words a night, with time for food and sleep in there someplace.  I can do this, and I know I can do fifty thousand words by the end of November.  I also know that I likely won’t finish the novel during NaNo, because there will be far too much going on, and I’ll lose two days in November to travel.  But I have set my goals and expectations, and none of this worries me because I know the NaNo Police do not exist, and the idea that there are “rules” to follow for NaNo is a lot of happy horseshit.

You write, you keep writing, and you hit fifty thousand words.  It’s not done for money or prizes:  it’s all about doing something creative and feeling good about it.  And if you happen to take that novel and add more words to it, and polish it up and slap a good cover on it (this being an example of a not-so-good cover), and put it up for sale.  Or not, if that’s your thing, but I have this urge to share my stories with others, in exchange for them sharing a little of their hard-earned cash.

I feel excitement right now, for everything is starting new again.  Come the middle of October I might be ready to chuck it all in the river, but for the moment, I’m ready to write.

I’m ready to relive that first time again.

Fear Prepping

This is the point in the writer’s story where it becomes apparent that she thinks things won’t go off as planed . . .

The Big Move Part Two is upon me, and by this afternoon the new place should have my furniture and cable internet installed.  I say “should” because we know thing never go off smoothly.  Furniture I know will be there.  Internet . . . I’m testing that this afternoon after work, when I return to pick up my entry fob and my parking spot.

Tonight I hope to sleep as soundly as I did last night, then I finish my packing, check out of the hotel, drive my things over, unload, and go to work.  Then pick up the few essentials I need for the apartment, unload and set up, and then eat.

Maybe by seven or eight PM I can return to editing, or play with characters.

Either way, I’ll be sleeping in a new spot Friday night, and if I’m in the Internets, fine, I’ll be happy.  If not, I give the cable people a call and see if they can come in for a do-over.  I’m not going to sweat this.  Getting your fear up over stuff that you can’t control is ultimately going to mess you up, which is why I haven’t slept well the last week.  You do what you can, then you let others do their thing and hope it’s all good in the end.

After my inner discussions last night, I’m reaching the point where I want to start work on my next novel.  I know I’m not suppose to do anything until November, but I fear I’m getting the writing urge now.  Maybe it wold be a good time to get out another story and get it edited, maybe even formatted for publishing–it’s feeling like that now.  All the big concerns about the rest of the year are out of the way, I’m ready to get into my other work.

Then again, I still have some world building to do.  I’ve got terminology and other things that need defining so I’m not making all that shit up along the way.  Plan, write it down, put it in a file in the novel project, and have it ready to go come a minute after midnight 1 November.  That’s how I’ve always done it in the past, so don’t go changing now.

One of the writing blogs I follow put up a post yesterday, where the writer said he did six months of research on his last novel before writing one word.  I haven’t quite gotten to that point, unless one considers that this novel I’m going to write had its genesis over two years ago as something completely different, and I’m now getting to where I’m making it my own.  Before you know it, the book will get optioned and it’ll be turned into a crappy movie with teen pop stars of the moment.  And they’ll get Kristen Stewart to play the headmistress–I wonder if she can really do a French accent?

To get to that point, though, I have to write.  And before I can write, and I to prep.

No fear, baby.  No fear at all.

The Moments of Lost Time

Yesterday was a strange one for me.  There was so many things going on, and yet, I feel as if I accomplished nothing.  I was up early and I did–what?  I can’t tell you, other than I did watch Breaking Bad, and wonder just what’s going to happen in the last few episodes as we see the demise of Walt’s meth empire.

I’d planed on writing and editing and some other things, but damned if the time didn’t simply slip away from me.  Oh, actually, now that I think about it, I do know what I did.  Oh, boy–yeah, do I know.  Anyway, that’s boring; you don’t need to hear about my makeover.  You want to hear about other things.  I think.

I was chatting with a friend who wants to write.  She told me that she’s a horrible procrastinator, that it takes her forever to get an idea out, that she finds it difficult to brainstorm.  I offered some advice to help her along, but then remembered that while I was giving this advice, I was also working on something of my own.  That’s where so much of the time goes:  distractions.  There are so many things pulling at everyone at all times that being able to find the time to take this thing so many consider a hobby and making it your work seems impossible.

Yet, the fault lay not in the stars, but in our own inabilities to filter and focus.

Yesterday a friend posted that there are two months remaining until NaNoWriMo.  I commented that many attend, few complete, and a lot are on Facebook going, “Hey, I need help, I’m looking for the name of a town . . . and a dragon . . . and my Main Character.  Anyone got any ideas?”  My first NaNo I was confused by these comments, because my novel was laid out and ready to go, with characters, locations, and definitions, before one word was written, and I didn’t understand why some people were still trying to figure those things out a week into the month of November.  (This also led to someone on a group telling me that I was a hack and my novel was going to suck because I didn’t know how to be spontaneous, but I published that sucker and he vanished, so onward–)  On my second NaNo I wasn’t surprised by this, and when I do NaNo ’13, I probably won’t venture into the group too often as my time to crank out a couple of thousand words a day will be highly limited.  I also know I’ll hit fifty thousand this time around, but won’t finished the novel until December, but that’s another story.

Writing is a time consuming effort.  For this short story I’m doing, I must have spent two or three hours, here and there, thinking about what I wanted to say.  This for something that’s likely to end up about five thousand words.  For some novels I’ve put in weeks of research and thought before writing anything, and when you lay that off against everything you’re written, the time adds up.  It becomes a living, breathing thing that can’t be ignored.

And when you’re unfocused and you have a million distractions going on about you, that lost time begins to stretch out before you.

That said, I need to get started on my story . . .