NaNo Wrap up

With a bit of a last minute dash I managed to “win” NaNo this year.  I was on track up until WCFC Bout #2, which put me behind a couple days.  This long weekend though gave me the opportunity to catch back up and cross the finish line a couple days early.

Surprisingly, my novel actually wrapped up about the same time I crossed the 50K mark, which I thought was going to be at least 60.  There are some things that need to get fleshed out still but overall the story is there on the page, which is fantastic.

Now, I just need to figure out what I’m writing next… or start the editing process.  So, new project it is.  🙂

Congrats to all the other winners out there and for everyone else, keep up the writing and good luck!

Writing Group Blues

I just got home from one of the writing groups I’ve joined.  A couple are based around getting together and just writing, this is the only one that is based on critiquing.

Now, I take critiquing very seriously.  When I was in school I was very fortunate to have a series of really good english and creative writing teachers.  They really pushed me to become a better writer, and almost more importantly to be better at giving and receiving constructive criticism.  There’s almost an art to being able to read through someone’s writing, good or bad, and providing an opinion and suggestions.

When I’m doing a critique I’m reading really slowly, carefully, making notes along the way.  I always come up with a few good points and a few suggestions.  Even if I really like the piece, I always try to come up with at least a couple suggestions.  Whether the writer uses them or not doesn’t matter, it’s about giving them a different perspective.  We have to push each other if we’re going to improve.

Today, I handed out the first five pages of my NaNo project.  It’s rough, I haven’t even given it a second look since writing it I told them all that as a disclaimer.  I sat back and waited for the list of issues to roll in.

Their response, “It’s good.”

I asked if the descriptions were too heaver or too light.  “No, they’re good.”

I asked if it flowed well.  “Flow is good.”

I asked them for any suggestions.  I got one, the transition from the first chapter to the second could be a little better.

That’s it.

Now, I know I’ve improved as a writer but there’s no way I’m that “good”.  No, I think it says a lot more about the quality of the criticism than about the quality of the writing.  That’s disappointing.

Lesson learned

My word count for NaNo has dropped off the last couple days.  On days when I would have normally cranked out at least 4,000 words I’ve barely been doing half that.

Today, my NaNo region had a write in and a dinner afterwards.  The dinner was interesting because our laptops were put away and just talked about our projects.  One of the writers said something that really stuck with me.

She said: “If a chapter is boring to write it will probably be boring to read.”

Now that sounds like such a common sense thing but it reverberated in me and made me think that maybe that’s why my word count has been dropping.  I’m bored.  The chapters I’ve been writing have been so boring to write that I can barely get through them.

So, I sat down and took a hard look at what I’ve been doing.  My silly, easy werewolf tale has turned into a serious mystery/thriller, I’ve been filling in some important details but it seems like I’ve been dragging it out too much.  The details are important to the rest of the story but each one doesn’t need it’s own chapter.  The other writer mentioned how a lot of that kind of stuff can be narrated or summarized quickly between more interesting scenes that are written out more.  Maybe that’s what I need to do better instead of getting sucked into writing chapters that bore me because I can guarantee if it’s boring to write it’s going to be boring to read.

NaNo – Half way done

Honestly, I thought I would go over 25,000 words last weekend or earlier this week at the latest but that didn’t happen.  As usual, life gets in the way and complicates everything.  I could have been over the 25k mark days ago but didn’t manage it until today.

That said, I have some optimism for this project.  Summerton Blues has been going really smoothly and I’ve had a lot of fun with it so far.  There have been several times it’s surprised me, amused me, and moved me in unexpected ways.  Whether or not it ever reaches readers, it’s been a fun, educational experience so far.

In many ways, NaNo was designed for writers like me.  I have no doubt I can finish the goal in the allotted time, I’ve done more in less, but that’s not to say it’s easy.  I write really fast, I’m a pantser, I hate editing, so simply cranking out the words is pretty easy for me.  Now, whether it will be worth reading afterwards is debatable but the specific challenge isn’t all that difficult for me.  My personal challenge is writing something that is interesting for me to write, for someone to read, and completing the project on schedule.

Right now, I would be surprised if my “novel” was finished at 50,000 words.  More likely, it’ll be 60-70K for the first draft and then need a lot of work still afterwards (which is my personal goal, completing the first draft in november whatever the word count).  But first things first, passing the half way mark is no insignificant thing.  I’m happy, I’m having fun, hopefully all the other NaNo writers out there are too.

Good writing to all!

NaNo progress

Just a quick update, I went over ten thousand words today in my NaNo draft.  That means I’ve got a daily average of over two thousand words, which means I’m track to complete the challenge.

It’s exciting, I had a few ideas rattling around but nothing really inspiring.  Then, on November first, sitting down in front of a blank screen, I had a quirky idea.  I consciously decided that I didn’t want to do anything too deep or serious, I wanted something almost cheesy that I could have fun blasting out in a month.  Rather than going with something I wanted to get just right, or was too emotionally invested, I just wanted something entertaining to write (and hopefully to read).

Here’s the synopsis from the NaNo site:

A small town sheriff is faced with two sets of strange murders.  One seems like the work of a big, deranged animal, the others almost seem like professional hits.  The strangest part is that the bullets being pulled out of one set of bodies have been coated with silver.  Any other sheriff might not have any idea what was going on but for this one, he knows all too well, he’s been a werewolf for over three years.  He’s a good man, a good cop, but once a month he turns into a feral beast.  Assisted by his trusty deputies, the sheriff needs to get a handle on these murders and put a stop to them fast, anyone could be next and it’s only a few more weeks until the next full moon.

When I started writing it, it was going to be a kind of campy comedy piece, totally different than the other projects I’ve been working on, but the more I write the more serious it’s getting.  It’s still fun and pretty light-hearted but it’s rapidly turning into a thriller/mystery, which kind of surprised me.  It actually has some meat going for it, I’m getting excited.

Ten thousand words down, only forty thousand left to go!

NaNo

I haven’t been posting much over the past few weeks.  I’ve had some personal things come up and I’ve been sick for the last week and a half.  Being sick is no fun.

I’ve also been focused on a Halloween short story I was writing for my daughter.  She’s been out of town for a while and I thought it would be fun to share something with her.  I wrote a fun story with a little bit of everything in it, ghosts, monsters, bullies, and adventure.  Using Scrivener I formatted it so it could be read on her iPad and emailed it to her and her mom.  She hasn’t finished it yet but I’m hoping she enjoys it.

In other news it’s November, NaNoWriMo time!  I met up with the regional group today and got started on my new project.  In three hours with them I got almost 4,000 words knocked out.  Not a bad start, if I do say so myself.  I won’t be able to keep up that rate but I figure the more I can get done earlier the less pressure there will be later.

Good luck to all the other NaNo writers out there!