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Day Three: Tenuous progress November 3, 2012

Posted by thejinx in enduring chaos, nanowrimo, writing.
Tags: , , , , , , , ,

I did a lot of writing in the past few months to finish up Enduring Chaos. In fact, I don’t doubt that if you take all the writing I did in the time I wrote it, it would average out to the same pace expected during NaNoWriMo. It’s not the amount of writing that I find to be a challenge with NaNoWriMo, but the consistency. The idea that one should write every day, no matter how one’s feeling or what issues one might be having with the story, or even if one happens to be ahead in word count.

When I was working on Enduring Chaos, I wasn’t forced to write every day. If something wasn’t working or I wasn’t feeling the scene I was writing, I took a few days off, stepped back, and returned to it when I had mulled it over and figured out what the scene needed, and often ended up writing enough to make up for the days I didn’t write anything. NaNoWriMo still spurred me on in the writing, as I wanted to finish the story before November, but I wasn’t required to write every day whether I wanted to or not.

This has, however, been a requirement and an issue with its sequel, which I’m now writing. It’s a challenging opening to begin with; as I have previously mentioned, this is the first time I’ve ever reached a book two, and it’s presenting challenges entirely new to me. I have to walk the fine line between reiterating enough of the first book to make certain readers understand what’s going on and not going so in depth with it so as to bog down the story. I’m also trying to find the same line for revealing a major character’s backstory which was kept hidden throughout book one, but not too much to completely lose the effect.

Many writers I know tend to at least occasionally jump around as they write; they may take sudden inspiration for a future scene and need to write it out, if not needing that future scene to help kick-start the present one. I have tried to write this way, but it never truly succeeds for me. No matter how well planned out I have a story or even how much I want to write an upcoming scene, I just can’t seem to get into a scene until I know how it gets there.

There is some leeway for this, particularly with different point of view characters who are in different places at the same time, but largely, even if I desperately want to write a future scene, it doesn’t work out if I skip ahead to write it first. I have to write the story in order.

It does help me keep consistency as I’m writing, but of course, this poses a problem during NaNoWriMo if I have trouble writing a scene. I have not yet found my stride with this story. I have managed to make my required daily word count each day of the month so far, but it has been an uphill battle each day.

But then, it has been a while since I last participated in NaNoWriMo, and perhaps I just don’t remember how it works. The success I had finishing Enduring Chaos has made it difficult to truly get into the spirit of NaNoWriMo.

Quantity, not quality. Quantity can become quality later, but I’m out just to put words down.

Today, I think I finally started understanding it again. I had to give up on the scene I was trying to write yesterday. It’s a very delicate scene that requires a lot of forethought before each line of conversation, and I just don’t have the time to devote to it right now.

I have three abandoned scenes in the story now. I was struggling with each and don’t have the time to figure out what needs to be done with them, so I gave up and moved on. Upon further reflection, I realized that another character’s point of view would serve the story better and began writing that.

Then, midway through, I suddenly realized the setting didn’t work and needed to change it. Here is where I truly feel like I got it. My first instinct was to go back and change what I had just written to correlate with the change in scenery.

Only I didn’t. The ticking clock and the number of words I had yet to write for today weighed down on me, and I remembered that I can always correct this passage later. So I left it and simply continued writing with the sudden scenery change. This even affects a scene in the first book, but I’m not worrying about that now.

This story may teeter on unreadable when I reach the end of November. But I’m getting the words out. That’s the important part.



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