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10 November 2011 @ 10:57 pm
Kicking and screaming towards 50K  
NaNoWriMo, day 10. Right on word count par despite a recent spate of damn it this major subplot failed to connect and why does my Cao Cao-based character have the least page presence of the bunch?

Because he didn't have much interaction, that was why, and I can only get so much mileage out of internal exposition and narrative voice. I wound up booting his ass to a card and chess room where his mahjong know-how got him to hang with the high rollers and overhear a business opportunity that will kick off his real estate arc and characteristically get him in over his head.

(And self? It's a rough draft, for pete's sake. Chill.)

Here lies the magic of NaNo. You learn to grind forward. You learn to keep going. You learn to sketch out scenes, bare and shitty first attempts just going through the motions, and then you go back and build them out after they sit and stew for a bit. You start scenes wherever you're inspired to do so, and you chuck in placeholders instead of worrying about connecting every single dot as you encounter it. You ramble for two paragraphs that might produce two sentences of useful development in a later draft. And you stop beating your ass up about the waste because you can point to multiple instances in your own polished drafts of previous work where the same sort of bloat flew right under the radar. You frantically research common ground conversation sparks and luck upon a classic painting that serves as an ideal allegory for two negotiating businessmen to discuss. I'm going to love that part when the dialog no longer sucks.

NaNo is where I'm finding that sweet spot between thoughtful writing and doing my timely business on the proverbial pot. Its daily word goals aren't long-term sustainable for me, and they do tend to push me to ramble beyond what I would do when thinking through a story at my own pace. Yet it is a challenge that's proving instructive, especially because it gets me to loosen up in ways I forgot how to do since my 2005/2006 days of a compelling opening, no plan at all, and not a care in my mind.

P.S. Go listen to my current music. You're welcome.
Current Mood: determineddetermined
Current Music: ItStartsAtDusk - Insulator (Elec Man & Wood Man remix)
See you later, instigator: Cao Caooudeteron on November 11th, 2011 03:54 pm (UTC)
We do think about writing too much when we could "just write" instead, don't we. Anyway, it sounds like you know what you're doing despite the constant drum beat of WRITE MORE AND MORE NOW NO MATTER WHAT, so all I can say is good luck! You can totally pull this off.
The Heavy Metal Matador: iSmashrydain on November 13th, 2011 04:29 am (UTC)
Thank you! I admit to stalling for word count at some points, but I at least try to keep it relevant. I'd rather make a 10-minute 500-word spew with a nugget of redeeming value than spend half an hour putting those same 500 words into a shitty, uninspired scene starter that I won't even want to keep around as generic rough draft fodder. I guess I can get everyone laid in great detail if I'm really hard up for word count. Heh, I said hard.

I've been struggling because I was so excited about this project that I expected it to pour forth like my recent short stories that Just Worked and needed minimal revision. My prose is more hit or miss than it tends to be in an early short draft, probably because I don't have time to sit back and wait for wording lightbulbs. I since learned to see NaNo as a thousand small victories, and most of them don't happen to involve inspired prose. My lightbulb moments are more about content. I'm currently basking in the joy of watching a formerly blank subplot fall into place, and Cao Cao's not-quite-doppelganger developing some quirky panache along with it.
erg_o_maticerg_o_matic on November 12th, 2011 03:35 am (UTC)
I wound up booting his ass to a card and chess room where his mahjong know-how got him to hang with the high rollers and overhear a business opportunity that will kick off his real estate arc and characteristically get him in over his head.

you know, that sounds a lot like my dream about obi wan kenobi, young fellow of business.

from 11/11/06; creepy....

(young obi-wan kenobi (think episode one but with a better haircut and a nice tan) has moved back to the big city to take care of his ailing mom (cause he's a good guy like that). he's got a job interview today, with a big international banking firm. he's waiting and waiting in the lobby, because the guys who are interviewing him are really hung over. eventually they invite obi-wan into their swanky spa/lounge/office playground so they won't have to bother getting up and going to the boardroom.

while walking through the spa thingy, obi-wan hears one of the banking dudes say something about how he's screwed up an account in the far east, and the company stands to lose a lot of money unless they do something fast. so our hero takes action, and makes a few phone calls to fix the mess. ("why'd you do that?" his mom asks later. "because i wanted to try the office phones," obi-wan replies.)

anyway, his quick thinking lands him a job with a swanky office with a sassy secretary (who rides the bus to work with her best friend - both of them have big hair) and a snarky computer. i woke up just as obi-wan (dressed in jedi business casual) was forcefully reprogramming his computer by ripping out its wires until it agreed to cooperate with him.)