Waiting for inspiration

Lots of writers just sit there and wait for the perfect story to write. As many of us know, this is a huge mistake, as inspiration doesn’t like whacking us on the head on a regular basis with ideas. I’m guilty of it; it’s why I quit the first draft of my very first novel and why I stopped writing a lot of things. The deadline (read: motivation) does help, though.

Cue the writer’s morality play, which could have been written as a part of Wrimonia. Admit it. It really could have been. In the meantime, we’ll see who really will show up to Mia’s aid (and downfall).


The countdown to the edit

I finished my first NaNoWriMo 2009 novel on the 14th. Even without rereading it, I knew that what was there was definitely not perfect, but salvageable. The basic story is there. That’s what matters. The prose is definitely far from perfect (those of you who have been reading Adventures in Wrimonia now know what one of my typical first drafts looks like), the characters are ragged and immature, and even the story is standing on one leg, but it’s standing, and that’s what matters.

I set the story aside after finishing it, telling myself that I couldn’t start editing it until the new year. Then I realized that my birthday is in the first week of January (on Thursday, in fact), so another week of non-editing freedom would be nice, but that was only a technicality. January eighth has been planted in my mind since the day I finished the novel: the day the editing adventure begins.

But unlike all those other NaNo drafts I’ve written over the years, this one has stuck in my mind. I’ve thought of ways to change it. I’ve been pondering the timeline, the characters, the backstories. The ideas just won’t leave my head, and tearing into the draft now is sorely tempting.

I won’t do it, though. The countdown to this edit is like Christmas or NaNoWriMo or my birthday or lots of other things: the buildup is half the fun.

And we can’t go into this without the buildup, can we?


My NaNoWriMo novel, autosummarized

I’ll get back to the 20 things I need for survival list tomorrow. Today is special, though. I finished my NaNoWriMo novel at 73,006 words, and in honor of that occasion, I opened Microsoft Word. I don’t particularly enjoy using Microsoft Word (or most Microsoft applications for that matter). In fact, one of the few reasons I’m still using Windows is because I haven’t found a suitable Linux replacement for RoughDraft, a free word processor for writers complete with a side notepad. The side notepad is what I’m trying to replace. Any suggestions are welcome.

However, I opened Microsoft Word because of a feature it has that most other word processors lack: autosummarize. I posted a 100-word summary of my novel-in-progress to the NaNoWriMo forums. Now that it’s finished, it’s time for a slightly longer summary.

Derek had none. “Derek!”
Derek knew him. Derek didn’t listen. “Bye, Derek.”
Derek shot back.
Derek asked. Derek stared at Alicia and at his pumpkins.
“Oh,” Derek replied. Derek stared back at the happy pumpkin. Derek asked himself. “Morning, Mom,” Derek said.
Mom turned to Derek. “My pumpkins,” Derek told her.
“Morning, Derek. Derek exclaimed. “Someone stole my pumpkins,” Derek said.
Derek nodded. Derek nodded again. Derek asked.
“My pumpkins were stolen, Alicia,” Derek said. Derek nodded.
Derek gulped. Derek kept going. Derek saw this. Derek sighed. “Derek? Derek LASTNAME?”
“Okay,” Derek said. “True,” Derek conceded. Derek sighed. Derek 867-5309

“I am Derek,” Derek said.
Derek nodded. “Thanks,” Derek said.
“No,” Derek said.
“Just some pumpkins.”
Derek looked up. “Derek,” Marta whispered. Derek asked himself? “Derek!” Derek turned around. Derek told him. Derek asked.
Derek’s insides shuddered. Derek panicked slightly. “Derek didn’t care. Love knew Derek’s story.
Derek said rhetorically.
Derek sighed. “No,” Derek lied.
Derek never did. “Silly talking pumpkins? Derek’s heart jumped. “Good,” Derek said. “Thanks,” Derek said. Derek announced. Derek paused. Derek sighed. Pumpkins. Derek thought. Shit, Derek though. My name’s Derek? “You’re a pumpkin.”
“Have you ever seen Derek’s pumpkins?” “Nobody,” Derek lied.
Derek asked.
Derek asked.
Derek asked. “Yo, Derek.” Derek nodded. The pumpkin master. Derek paused. Derek nodded. “Wait,” Derek replied. Derek asked. Derek sighed. Derek had his pumpkins. “Derek’s pumpkins?” Derek’s mother asked. Pumpkins don’t talk.”
About Derek. Derek’s mother asked. Derek’s mother paused. Derek nodded. Derek asked them. Derek pointed again. Derek asked.
Derek sighed. Derek asked.
Derek asked. Derek exclaimed. Derek sighed. Derek asked. Derek asked. “A pumpkin?”
Derek’s heart jumped. Derek asked.
Derek asked. Derek asked. “Uh,” Derek replied. Derek nodded. Night, Derek.”
“Hi Alicia,” Derek said.
Derek nodded. Derek asked.
Derek nodded. Floating.”
Derek admired his newly carved pumpkins. Derek stopped short. “Night, Mom,” Derek said. Derek LASTNAME?”
Derek said. Derek looked away. “You’re Derek’s pumpkin. Derek would ask.
“Your kid’s pumpkins? The pumpkin? “Derek? Derek was stunned. Derek shrugged. “Floating pumpkins?” he asked. Derek sighed. Derek said, pointing. Derek said. Pumpkins don’t talk. “You’re Derek’s friend. Derek yelled. Derek stopped short. Derek shrugged. Derek asked. Nothing about floating pumpkins. Derek asked.
Derek nodded. Derek asked.
Derek nodded. Derek asked.
Derek stared blanky. Derek asked.
Derek asked.
Derek asked.
“Oh,” Derek said. Derek yelled. “What, the pumpkin?” Derek nodded. Derek asked.
Derek nodded. Derek though. Derek asked.
Derek asked. Derek gulped. Derek wondered.
“The pumpkin’s fine. “A floating pumpkin!” “Derek!” Derek looked up. Derek looked around. “That includes floating pumpkins.”
Derek gulped again. Derek exclaimed. Derek nodded. Derek asked. Derek nodded. Derek gaped. “No, Derek. Derek was the true pumpkin master?
Derek nodded. Derek asked. Raymond walked toward Derek.
Derek asked. Derek asked.
Derek nodded. Derek looked around. Derek asked Raymond.
“Thanks,” Derek said. Derek nodded. “Derek!” “Derek,” Louisa said. Derek gulped. “Derek,” Louisa said. Derek nearly jumped. Derek ran toward the pumpkin booth. Come here, Derek.” The pumpkin master ushered Derek to the pumpkin booth.

Based on this alone, anyone want to guess what my novel’s about?


Writing at a turtle's pace

Writing is hard. As much as I love it, and as seemingly sane as writing keeps me, it’s hard some days. Writing wasn’t hard today because of the content I was writing. I actually had some idea of where I was going with the story, or as much of an idea as someone without an outline can have.

The problem was the candy in front of me. Write a few words, grab a piece of candy. Write a few more words, grab some candy. Next thing I knew, I had only written 300 words and had eaten more candy than I’m willing to admit. It didn’t help much that I bought two bags of candy this weekend because they were 75% off. Mmm, Mounds and Heath bars.

An hour later I had written a thousand words. This is not my normal pace of writing, and it’s especially problematic because I have to be awake again in eight hours–and alert at that. I was already falling asleep at my desk at four in the afternoon. What’s a writer to do but fix some hot chocolate and bring it back to the writing station?

Okay, this didn’t help either, but it was yummy, and it was a good distraction from my writing. Another three hours passed, and I wrote only two thousand words. I slowed down even more, but at least I hit my personal quota for the day. Despite having written at what feels like my slowest pace since my first few years of NaNoWriMo, hitting quota is a good thing, right?

Let’s hope tomorrow is better.


Excerpt of the Week: NaNoWriMo 2009 Week One

I’m still awake. Therefore this counts as the November first post.

NaNoWriMo has begun. My region has a dare to include a peach in our novels. (Your challenge: guess my region. It shouldn’t be hard.) Here’s my excerpt.

He poured himself a bowl of Cheerios, grabbed a peach, and sat down at the kitchen table. He fished a different knife out of the drawer before peeling the peach and sliced the peach. One cut, two cut, three cut, four, he thought to himself as he cut around the pit. He bit into the peach. Mmm, peachy goodness.
Mom entered the room. “Morning, Mom,” Derek said.
“Morning,” Mom replied. “What are you eating?”
“Cheerios and peaches,” Derek said, holding up his peach. “This is the last one, by the way.
“Well, they’re out of season anyway, so they’re going to be expensive,” Mom said, sifting through the cabinet for her oatmeal. “I’ll get some apples when we go to the store.” Mom turned to Derek. “What’s wrong?”
“My pumpkins,” Derek told her.
“What about them?”
“They’re gone.”
“Now you’re talking madness. Did you put them in the entrance like you always do?”
“Yes, I know I did. I did it before I went to bed last night.”
“Then they should still be there. Have you checked?”
“First thing this morning, but I told you, they’re gone. Look.” Derek got up, peach still in hand, and led his mother to the entrance. Sure enough, his pumpkins were still gone, not that he expected them to return magically. “They’re gone.”
“Well, that means someone must have broken into the house,” Mom said. “They can’t have just floated out of the house. The window would be broken.”
“Oh, I don’t think they broke out of the house,” Derek said. “I think someone took them.”

Admittedly, it is very bad and of course, very rough, but what do you expect from a 20,000 word day? For those wondering, I plan on writing at a much more reasonable pace for the rest of the month. I’m aiming for 66666 words, not anything really crazy.