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NaNoWriMo Challenge Met

I didn’t think I’d ever make a proper start on this story. It’s been kicking around in my head for years, and aside from dabbling in the idea for my Honours project (a work of interactive fiction, coded in PHP/MySQL/jQuery, combining the stats of an RPG and the choose-your-own-adventure format – damned awesome stuff, albeit too labour intensive for a single writer), I haven’t had the time to invest in any real effort. I mentioned in an early entry how Novembers tend to be busy-as-Hell months, and how I keep really wanting to participate in NaNoWriMo, but generally get swallowed by everything else.

I’d like to see an Antipodean NaNoWriMo (and Halloween, while I’m putting in requests with the powers-that-be – our Samhain is April/May, a much better time of year for costumes! And Christmas in June would make traditional wintry imagery less ridiculous, and I’d feel less sorry for the fat guy in red flannel in the middle of Summer). A NaNoWriMo in May would be good. May is a slow month.
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Halfway there!

I’ve made it halfway through my NaNoWriMo challenge for this year, actually on time and on target for a change. This is novel – pun intended – but I don’t want to jinx myself, because there’s still half a month to fall behind and fail. Which I’ve done in several Novembers of the past.

Before I started I had ideas about sharing it, thinking it might motivate me to write more and better if someone was reading along, but I couldn’t bring myself to trust anyone with it, and as I got started… well, I haven’t written anything much worth sharing!

I’m juggling a lot of different character perspectives, and not sticking with any of them for any great length of time, so the story itself hasn’t actually progressed very far. I haven’t even started all the characters waiting to be written, so I’m definitely not going to be short of things to write. But I’m already running into silly narrative conflicts and having to retcon or earmark for fixing later down the line.

But there are a few things really bothering me about this whole experience that never bothered me before. First, I’m just getting the thoughts down without any sense of detail or emotional commitment to anything or anyone. It’s never been an issue for me to connect with any character I write, to get into their thoughts and senses and contextualise every scene with descriptive prose. I’m even pretty good at it, when I get going (read: have a bottle of something on the go). But I’m also working between writing sessions, so I can’t indulge in my usual bottled muse, and I think my writing is pretty bland and boring as a result. The process is a lot like writing my dissertation, getting it all down, notes, ideas, brainfarts, knowing all the while that the next draft will look nothing like the current draft.

I can’t look at what I’m writing as being anything like the end result, otherwise I’ll be so wretchedly depressed with myself I wouldn’t have made it even this far. Get all the ideas down, even if it reads like a robot wrote it, GET IT DOWN!

The other thing that’s bothering me is the realisation that one characters is a lot like me at a particular point in my life, sharing my resentments and bitterness – albeit with better issues and a grander supporting narrative – and it’s making it really hard to push through to them. All of my other characters are getting solid (if not especially committed) third person perspectives, but I keep defaulting to omniscient person perspective for just this one character so far. It bothers me that I can’t seem to give them a voice. :(

But, like I said, get it all down and come back to it later. The next draft will look nothing like the first draft, and the final draft will look nothing like the second draft.

I’m juggling a few challenges this month, including some 30 day fitness challenges that my cats are enjoying more than I am (ever tried to plank for a minute and a half with two cats sitting on your bum?), and AcaWriMo, which is the academic writing equivalent of NaNoWriMo. AcaWriMo is falling a bit behind as I’m back to doing more reading, but I think I’m going to count the pages I read into my progress, because it’s still progress! And there will be a burst of writing coming up as a result. (Also, marking essays, which is occupying most of my time, but isn’t nearly as engaging as griping about my NaNoWriMoWoes.)

Procrastination for Creative Writers - Tom Gauld


Every year I’m filled with an urge to participate in NaNoWriMo, yet I’ve only managed to do so a few times, and completed it fewer times than that.

Something about November being a stupid-busy month for me makes it damned hard to sit down and write creatively. November is my ‘Murphy’ Month. If shit is going to happen at all through the year, it’s probably going to happen in November. Though a few other months are starting to compete for the title.

Still, it’s half way through October, and I’m getting that urge again! So much so that, when I logged on to the site and updated my details, I even went so far as to throw together a rough cover image to inspire myself!


Made from stock by Rafael Vasconcelos and Dimitri Elevit. Via DeviantArt.

It’s quick and dirty, and not really a good snapshot of the story I have in mind, and credit where it’s definitely due, I sourced component parts through DeviantArt. Much thanks to Rafael Vasconcelos and Dimitri Elevit for their lovely stock images.

But! Maybe with a cover image – such as it is – I’ll feel that much more beholden to the story that needs to be written. You can buddy me on my newish NaNo account under ‘amyty‘. :)

I’m kinda sad that I lost my original account, circa the second year NaNo existed. I’d be like a grand dragon of the NaNo failures if I could have recovered it!

Please nag me to write this!