Wednesday, October 20, 2010

A Trick to Fool My Inner Editor

I'm prepping for NaNoWriMo and came across a great little idea to stifle my inner editor. See this blog to get the complete picture, but the premise is this: When I'm writing a first draft and that little inner editor pops up to say, "Hey, that sounds really stupid and I know that's not what you meant. Why don't you go back over that sentence, or maybe those last two or three, heck the whole paragraph! And the one before it! Just give them another look and polish them up a bit before you move on," whenever that happens, instead of actually following Ms Inner Editor's instructions, I'll just acknowledge her with a # mark and then go on.

Just a little, "Yeah, ok Ms IE, you're right, that needs work" # nod and then keep writing. Because the important thing of NaNoWriMo is to keep writing. Keep writing. Plenty of time to edit later. For those 30 days hath November, the writing is the thing.

Then, when the work is finished and I can go back through it to make it shine, a simple Find Word function will bring up all those # marks that show the spots I recognized as needing improvement. Of course, the whole document will need a good editing, not just those specific spots, but knowing, while I'm in the midst of the writing madness, that I'll be able to find those exact locations again will ease Ms IE and allow me to progress.

Many thanks to blogger Andy Shackcloth for that brilliant bit of trickery. I think it will really do the trick for me.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Choosing a Project

I always have a dozen or more ideas floating around in my mind, fighting for space, enticing me with their possibilities. This one, no, that one, no, maybe that one is what I should work on.

So I've been choosing one and starting it, then abandoning it in favor of another. For NaNoWriMo 2010 I'm committed to finishing a novel. It's just over 2 weeks away, and my writing time will be limited during the month due to other commitments (such as the dreaded job), so I'm trying to get my ducks in a row somewhat before the party starts.

I have a basic idea, but am torn between writing it as a YA or Adult novel. Same basic characters, with a few changes, same basic premise, with a few changes. I can see it going either way. I've never written YA and maybe now is not the time to start. If I truly want to finish this project, I need to be more sure of what I'm doing.

And the other ideas floating around will have to wait until December. Then the fighting for mind space can continue.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Seat-of-the-Pants or Outline?

Oh, the eternal question, asked over and over on writing forums: "Do you outline your novel ahead of time or just make it up as you go?"

I've always been of the make-it-up-as-you-go mind, also known as being a "pantser," but with the current WIP I decided to do an outline. Too many times I've gotten a good start and just not been able to keep with it. Somewhere I get stuck, get bored, don't know where to go and abandon the project. So I decided to try the outline method.

And promptly got stuck on that.

I read some blogs about how to do it, bought the book "The Marshall Plan for Novel Writing" and printed up the worksheets, but I'm stymied by it. Probably because I'm starting it in bits and pieces rather than taking a day and really getting into the groove. This week, when I have some time off, I'm going to set aside time to figure it out.

Some critics say templates like this turn out drab, unremarkable stories. Maybe so. We'll see how it goes.

Another method I've been dabbling with is in between a full outline and pantsing. A member of the writer's group I attend posted about her style in her blog here. That seemed to be a good approach for getting some work done in spare minutes, here and there. As I think up different scenarios I jot them down and then add them to the long list of bullet points. Right now I'm putting them in chronological order, which I will then use to fill in the Marshall plan worksheets.

Although this morning, when my job duties were all caught up and I had some spare minutes, I was looking at the bulleted list and wondering if it would be easier to do index cards, as many writers do. Then it would be easy to shuffle them around into the right place.

And then I wondered if all this wondering is just another way to think about writing, rather than doing any actual writing. And I remembered that quote by, who was it, Dorothy Parker? "I hate writing. I love having written."

I don't want to be in that situation. I want to love writing again, as I used to love it. I don't want it to be a chore; I want it to be a delight. I hope to find that joy again in November, during NaNoWriMo, when I'll give myself permission to just write. Just write. Just write.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Taking the NaNoWriMo Plunge

So I've signed up for NaNoWriMo. If you're not familiar with it, head over to their website and learn all about National Novel Writing Month. The premise is to write a 50k word novel from scratch during the month of November. Little concern for character development, plot construction or making sense, just get it down on paper, for fun, practice and a chance to break through any writer's block you may have constructed. 

I first heard about it a few years ago but this will be my first go round. I have an idea in the back of my head that I think I'll use, although I have a month to think about it. Or maybe I'll pull out an abandoned WIP and start over with that idea. Can't use any previously written sentences - has to be all virgin wording - but an outline and plot notes are ok. 

I spend a lot of time worrying over my current WIP, which is proceeding very slowly due to this state of mind, so NaNoWriMo will be good for me. As their website says, "Make no mistake: You will be writing a lot of crap. And that's a good thing. By forcing yourself to write so intensely, you are giving yourself permission to make mistakes. To forgo the endless tweaking and editing and just create. To build without tearing down." 

Sounds like just what I need. 

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Jungle Kat

My mind is like a jungle. Ropy-vine thoughts running up, down, sideways, crossing and thwarting each other in their eagerness to reach beyond the present.

The rest of my life is a jungle, too.

I admire orderliness in others and sometimes aspire to it, but usually revert to the jungle state.

I'm going to try to tame the jungle.