Monday, May 12, 2008

A NaNo Journey

Hi All,

I thought I’d share with you my NaNOWriMo journey. First off I should tell you unlike Suzanne, I don’t plan my novels. I get my ideas from different places. Sometimes it might come from a name, a title or an idea. With NaNo it was an idea. My son’s dog Bear had arthritis and last year during winter he got that bad he could hardly walk. Poor Bear had to have a course of needles and he was put on tablets during winter. So you might ask what that has got to do with NaNo. I have a thing for needles, I HATE them. Just the thought of having a needle I break out in a sweat. I had to take Bear up for his needles, I’d sit there waiting to take him in nerves in my stomach and feeling very sick. When I went in with him I covered my eyes so I didn’t have to watch. Sam the young vet thought it was quite funny, but he was very nice. This was when the idea came to me.

What if there was this big, tough hero who had a thing for needles? How would he react when he had to take his dog to the vets because the dog was crippled with arthritis? What if the vet was a sexy as hell young woman? How would he deal with it? That’s where it started and it grew from there. Then I thought, what if said he had inherited this dog form an eccentric aunt? He could have any old dog it had to be something completely removed from what you would expect a horse stud owner to have. So I gave him a Chihuahua, who loved to sleep in a big basket with a big blue ribbon.

For my heroine all I had was a young vet moving to a small country town to heal after the death of her husband.

So I had an idea, this was what I wrote for my plan.
HERO: Hates needles, inherits Chihuahua with arthritis.
HEROINE: Vet recovering from death of her husband.

Come November 1st I sat down at my computer and started to write. My story flowed easily, by the end of day one I had 6,615 words and was happy with how my story was going. Day three and I thought the whole thing was crap. I had 11,524 and no one was doing what I wanted them to do. My heroine, who I had thought would be timid, shy and reserved was turning out to be stronger than I thought. Her Aunt who I had pictured as a sweet caring person was an old cow. And my bloody hero, was not playing nice at all. I had this idea that he would take Ashley (heroine) to bed they would do the horizontal Tango and she would have this big guilt thing going for betraying her dead husband, right! WRONG! Isaac (hero) gets to the good bit, then asks her if this is what she really wants. I’m sitting at my computer screaming NO, NO, NO, NO you are not to do this. Too late, she’d pulled away. No tango tonight. DAMN.

I’d also come to the conclusion that the whole story was CRAP!!!! But I plodded on hoping that it would all work out.

I think my biggest problem was that I didn’t know my hero and heroine. With my other WIP’s, I’d been working on them for so long I had a feel for the characters. I hadn’t planned any of my WIP’s but I’d taken the time to know my heroes and heroines. With NaNo I hadn’t, this is where the no planning was a problem. But there is nothing I can do about that, I just can’t write that way. If I try to write a plan, storyboard etc my characters go on strike and I get nothing.
Anyway back to NaNo.

By day 13, I was half way through my novel, Ashley who thought her deceased husband was her soul mate, finds out he was a no good two timing jerk. I’m like where the hell did that come from? I was getting pretty down, life outside writing was moving in on my time. Characters were not being nice, I hated most of the secondary characters and it was hard to sit in front of the computer and write each day.

Miss Procrastination came round to visit and had me off doing all sorts of wonderful things. Anything was better than having to face this story I was growing to hate. I’d been sick, my mum was in respite and not very happy and I’d hit the saggy middle. Boy did that sucker sag. But I pushed through. I cheated I wrote the end. Hehehe. I needed something to cheer me up. I love the endings where they find their HEA.

So don’t go thinking that you have to things in sequence, you don’t. Just write whatever comes to you. If you have a scene that you think should be somewhere else move it, write it get it out there but move it to where you think it fits best.

By the time I’d hit day 28, I had 47,862 words and had no idea where I was going to get the last 2,138 words from. There was nothing. Diane sent her word fairy over for a visit (Hehehe, yes I was quite insane by the end. Well I was insane to start with, I was just more so by the end), anyway word fairy helped. Before I dragged myself off to bed at 1 am I was finished. I had 50,026 words, and some really good writing buddies. That was the one constant through the whole journey. We were there for one another, through the highs and the low’s offering support.

So my advice for June, If you’re a planner plan, if not don’t put pressure on yourself. If you reach the 50,000 words great. If you don’t, but you have given it all you can, than you are winners. The word count is just a number. This is all about doing the best you can in the time you have, we all have lives outside our writing and sometimes those lives need to be come first. So if you feel you’re slipping DO NOT beat yourself up over it. If you feel like having a rant because things aren’t going the way you want get on the loop or come to the blog and tell us. If you’re over the moon because you have excelled your word count or you have just written the best damn scene you have ever written, tell us. Hell, shout it out, we are all here to help, encourage and cheer. The Topless Table Dancing Tarts may even do the Can Can for you. Hehehe.

One last thing to remember. WE ARE ALL DAMN GOOD, NO GREAT WRITERS.



Angie said...

Great post, Sandie. I love your honesty about your NaNo experience - the good times and the bad. Your post describes perfectly the roller coaster ride that NaNO is.

Thanks for an inspiring and illuminating post. I'm having a problem with the sagging middle too at the moment. LOL.

I also found that I didn't know my characters that well, which was problematic when I re-read the manuscript after I'd finished the first draft. Like you said, getting to know the characters a bit first helps with that hurdle, and I'm finding that now in my current WIP.

Great to hear the process of another pantser!

Sandie Hudson said...

Angie I think November was a reat learning experience for all of us. Not that I seem to have taken anything of it on board because I'm doing exactly the some thing with CataU. LOL, I think I'm trying to fool myself into the fact that it is only 25,000 words. Yeah right.

Thanks for the reply.


Anonymous said...

We're in good company with the pantsing. I'll have to do my tale of woe for everyone soon. Got a few things going on that need my attention first but I will get to it. Just have the tissues ready.

Eleni Konstantine said...

Thanks for telling us your tale Sandie, especially with us who haven't been involved in NaNo or equivalent. So I'm expecting some good and bad days ahead with the challenge -- but hey, that's life right!

Sussan Marz said...

Sandie, loved reading about your NaNo experience. I'm just surprised all your other WIP didn't get in the way of your writing this one.

How much time did you spend writing everyday? I'm a planner - I like to know how much time to put aside each day, even when the plans go out the window :-).

Sandie Hudson said...

Now Rachel are you going to make me cry? Too late girl you've had me doing that for a while, can't wait for your news though.

Eleni just take one day at time and you'll be fine.

Sussan my writing time depends on my characters. Be I normally write for 2 to 5 hours over the day. During NaNo some days were better than others. When I do any challenge I write as much as I can in the first few days or week that way when or if things slow down for some reason I have something up my sleeve so to speak.

If you plan your story out and have a clear picture of where you're going you'll be fine.


Amanda Reynolds-Smith said...

Oh Sandie I just love your story telling!! I am a frustrated pantser I have decided... I would like to just go with thoughts, however, if I haven't planned then Miss P takes over regularly... so I really have to be planned...

I have my hero down to the letter and am really struggling with my heroine... she is wanting to remain a mystery to me!! I also have the idea for the beginning of my story - the how they end up and NOTHING inbetween!! I am hoping it comes to me in the next couple of weeks before June!!!!

Thanks for sharing...

I must say I quietly freaked out about the challenge, but also really keen to see what I am capable of!!!


Amanda Reynolds-Smith said...

OOOHHHH - I have just seen my name with the word counter beneath it.... WOW - it is really happening!!!!!