Nov 2, 2015

Muscariform Monday

muscariform ~ shaped like a brush

As you may have noticed (or more likely you didn't - does anyone actually read this thing?) I did not get a post done for last week. I had two very good reasons for this. The first was that I appear to be in a creative slump. The second was that I had nothing to say.

These two reasons are not mutually exclusive. If you've read this blog more than once, you know what a boring life I lead. Work out, transcribe, babysit, sometimes throw a little baking or writing in. Occasionally I'll read a book or two, but that kind of goes hand in hand with the exercise. While it may not be the most exciting life, it's good enough for me. But it makes for rather boring reading.

Now the creative slump is something I've been going through at this time of year for the last few. I call it the "pre-NaNo-syndrome". While other people prepare for NaNo (more about that in a minute) by filling out character charts and creating elaborate story maps and plotting to a fare-thee-well, I simply do ... nothing. It's like a dam builds up in my mind, keeping the creativity at bay and then is released on November 1st in a torrent of words.

Never heard of NaNo? How about NaNoWriMo? No? Okay, then you need to go HERE.

Go ahead, I'll wait.




Have an idea of what NaNo is all about now? Okay, now you need to go HERE to find out why I'm not doing it this year.

There's another, even more compelling reason for me to stop doing NaNo. It's the NaNo Mind Set, and I have recently found it spilling over into my non-NaNo writing.

The NMS is what gets you through NaNo. You focus on the word count, on forging ahead with your story no matter what. Don't let anything stop you. You need to do research? Pfft! Just fake it and move on. You can do the research after NaNo. Need a character name? Call him Mr. X, call her Mrs. Y, worry about finding the perfect name once you're done. It's closing in on the end of the day and you have 500 more words to go? Start padding! Instead of Jane said, write Jane, who was related to Bob through an obscure cousin born on the wrong side of the blanket, heaved a much put upon sigh, rolled her eyes so far back in her head Lucy was afraid they'd roll right out of their sockets, and replied in a voice that was akin to nails on a chalkboard.

Now, as you should know by now if you've been here before - and stay with me here because I'm not going as far off track as you might think - I have a self-imposed daily quota of 500 words to write. It's a pretty reasonable amount really - two pages double spaced. However, I was appalled to learn that I'd fallen into the NMS with the four WIP I have going on.

In other words, I was focusing on the words instead of the story. I was starting to include all kinds of things that I knew were just going to get cut during the editing process, just to get my daily quota in. And while the NMS is good for completing the NaNo challenge or even to get a novel written, it makes for an editing nightmare. At least for me it does.

Take my fantasy novel Lucky Dog for instance. I wrote the first half of it for NaNo THREE years ago. And it continued in the NaNo fashion until the book was more than 100,000 words. And trust me when I say that even after cutting about 20,000 words, it's still a really big book. And it's still being edited.

So no more NaNo-ing for me until I get my words under control.

Will I ever do NaNo again? Oh, probably. It's a lot of fun and the NaNo community spirit is like no other. In fact, I was fighting the urge all day yesterday to pick one of the ideas I have on the back burner and go to it. But today, it's a bit of a relief that I only have to worry about 500 words instead of the 1667 that is the daily NaNo goal.

To those doing NaNo, I salute you, and may the words be ever in your favour. ;-)

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