26 December 2012

more NaNoWriMo news

A slight update on my NaNoWriMo story. I'm up to 135,000 words, though seeing as I'm still on a first draft, I suspect that will go down to around 100,00 with rewrites (unless I go the other way and end up adding more, which i think is doubtful at this point...), though i suspect the first draft to easily go up to 175,000 - 200,000 words...

I tend to write a lot of purple prose. To those who don't know what purple prose is, it's the use of extravagant flowery prose where simpler shorter words would suffice. I tent to over-describe things (at least I fear I might), so a good re-read and second draft will be used to snip some of the worst offenders. I can also use a second draft to polish themes that I came up with while writing, solidifying them in the plot; as well as deciding what knowledge my main character possess. The story is about the protagonist learning more about his past and the world around him, and since I sometimes write scenes out of order, I have to go back and alter what info he comes across as it can sometimes be inconsistent, with him knowing less in later scenes than he does in earlier ones.

One thing I've realised over the years is that my writing is mutable: i never stick to a single plot or theme, it's always changing as I write. Even with this story, where I had a pretty decent idea of what it was about and where it was going, with a bullet-point walkthrough of what happens, the actual writing almost always throws a spanner in the works. new characters, revelations through dialogue and other chaos all come together to change my well-laid out plans. in the case of this story it ended up making some plot changes about 40,000 words into it. Since I was still deep in NaNoWriMo, I decided to continue, taking the changes into account and then going back to rewrite that which had come before. I've currently paused progressing the story in favour of revisiting the opening parts to get them in line with the rest (this is also while I figure out how I'm going to get to the conclusion and climax, which I've been putting off for a while now).

I am enjoying writing this one, though still get doubts every so often - particularly related to plot and characters, though I'm not worrying too much at this point. The goal right now is simple: to get a raw story down on paper (or pixels, at least), beginning to end. Worrying about pacing, plot etc comes with later rewrites. I wonder what other changes will take place then...

I do think that NaNoWriMo has helped me keep to a timetable or deadline - during november itself, the 1667 target per day is what kept me going and i do think that without it I would have given up (I had more than a few days where i simply did not want to write but was pushed by targets and fellow NaNoWriMo's taking part in my region, leading to not only acheiving and surpassing my goals for the day but also churning out some of my favourite parts after a rocky start (which can be polished later on).

I'm hoping to get the first draft done by mid - late Janurary, which is great, as I'm going on holiday for a few weeks in early February. This will let me take a break (since I've been spending at least a few hours a day on this since the first of November) and allow me to get back to it with (hopefully) a fresh mind. I'll spend any free time i have taking ideas and other snippets that I mentioned in the story (which I've collected while writing, in a seperate document for ease of reference) and elaborate on them and add to my ever-building encyclopaedia. I might even give the raw first draft to a few people to read to give me a general idea of what they like (so i can reinforce those parts) and what they don't like (so I can rework them or scrap them entirely in favour of maybe something else).

Only time will tell!


  1. Congrats! Way to keep pounding the keys :) I'm happy to read anything you feel like sharing. Good job on just getting words down everyday (revision) can wait. There is something to be said for outlines, but I say keep them loose and let the story carry you. Ideas, characters, timelines are dynamic - let them change if they want to. Ironing out the wrinkles is what the editing process is for. The writing process is just to get ideas down.

  2. I know what you mean about the outline; the more I write the more I realise I tend to only stick to outlines vaguely, so I just jot them down and do what feels right as I'm writing.