Friday, November 14, 2008

On writing a novel

NaNoWriMo is an odd thing. I'm working on a story idea I've had for a few months now. I still love the idea, and the characters, and I still think I have a good story here, but the thought of opening up that document and working on it makes me want to walk away from the computer completely.

I have no idea if this is something I should work through and write any way, without worrying how good or bad the material is, or if I should, as I always do, put it away for a while and work on something else.

The trouble with putting it away is that I do that a lot and I have a lot of unfinished work on my hard drive. Things are never going to get finished f I keep doing this. However, is it better to write drek in the hopes that I will actually get to the end, and worry about fixing it later? Will I finish it later if I do put it away?

I have no idea. Thirty or so thousand words, (give or take) seems to be my limit. Short stories around 10 to 15 k the norm. But I do have novel length ideas, and they are good ideas. They are half finished ideas. I thought NaNo would be a good way to take at least one of them to the end. Even if it sucked, I could say I finished it, or at least broke the thirty-thousand-word barrier, and worry about the rest later.

Thoughts? Advice?

For now, I have to keep going, if only because it's the opposite of what I've done in the past, and what I've been doing obviously isn't working for me. I'll keep you posted on how it goes.


MJK said...

I know exactly what you mean, and I'd say the right thing is to push on and just get it written, rather than get it right. It would be lovely to think we can all churn out first drafts that need nothing more than light editing but frankly, if it's a new departure, it's going to be a longer process to get it all down and play with the shape and how everything comes together.

Novels give you more space to play in, but they also demand more attention to detail (in a way) than shorter fiction. But you can - and will - do it. Think of it like a painting. You're likely to be screwing around with it for a long time, but get the full outline sketched out first, and you can spend as long as you want filling in details and painting extra bushes.

Um. Yeah. ;-D


Janice said...

Hi Jaime,

You got to push through it and do it. Keep to the daily word quota and keep working on it and it'll happen. The nano is really good for that. Don't worry about the finished product yet that's what revisions are for.


Jaime Samms said...

Thanks, gals. I know there's no way but just to do it and not give up, but it gets tricky when I'm sitting there stareing at a blank page after writing my poor boy into a corner. :-(

Getting encouragement from friends and making sure people know I'm doing it kind of makes me feel like I have no choice now.