Saturday, November 21, 2009

Finding my Writing Rhythm

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It's Day 21 (gulp) of Nanowrimo, and I'm only just over 21,000 words (double gulp). This is the 7th year that I have participated in Nanowrimo and each year is a different experience. It seems that I'm still finding my writing rhythm.

Some writers write fast.

Some writers write slow.

Some edit as they go.

Some spit out a dirty draft and edit later.

Some take years to write a whole manuscript.

Some never finish their manuscripts.

Some work on several stories at once.

Some can't even begin without a title.

Some are pantsers.

Some are plotters.

In ten years of serious writing, I think I've fitted in all these categories. There seems to be no true formula for me to finish a manuscript, though Nanowrimo puts a bomb under me and helps me to write fast - even more now with the added desktop software of Write or Die. For a couple of Nano attempts, I started with only the briefest idea of what I wanted to write -- a concept, a feeling I wanted to capture -- and still ended the month reaching my 50k goals.

But last year, I outlined every chapter first before I started Nano. It was my best Nano year ever and I finished the month with over 65,000 words. I finished the first draft in February the following year at 136, 000 words (so it needs a lot of cutting).

This year...I feel like I'm trudging up Mt Sinai.

(And there's no camels around to buy to make the journey much easier)

But I'm going to keep trudging. Because I know the view from the top (the point where you can type THE END) is magnificent.

How are you faring on your Nano journey? Have you found your writing rhythm yet?

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Editing With A Pack of Pens

Hi everyone, while you've all been slogging it out pushing the word count boundaries near and far this month I have embarked upon a slightly different NaNo experience. I'm editing, this whole month, editing, editing, editing. I have taken Margie Lawson's "Empowering Characters Emotions" lecture packet and ..... Lightbulb moments galore!
I'm a cliche-aholic... I admit it, but with Margie's 5 step program I'm ridding myself of it. I do love traitor words, things that seem innocent enough but are pulling away from the emotional depth of my story, darn it all to heck!
I have almost coloured an entire scene in yellow! (Not good, so not good).
I'm half way through, I did one round of editing thinking "ha, I'm good"... and then a little birdy who likes to wear bat wings a lot told me that I have to include more visceral responses and deepen my characterisation. That my WIP was really just a skeletal mass, kind of like a runway model, it needed more muscle, more drive, before it was ready for the big time.
Righto, I accepted it, and then said little bentwing bat told me to go look at Margie Lawson's editing courses.
So I will say right now, for the world to hear.... Thank you Bentwing Batperson! You have put me on the path of enlightenment, and whilst there are no happy little monks dancing around me chanting, there are lots of ideas and power words flowing out of these fingertips.
I'm going to share something with you. It's embarrassing so please don't tell the world... oh, well actually I am telling the world aren't I? Yeah righto, well anyway, here's a before and after. Baby steps Bob, baby steps.

From this:

Something about him grated on her and now they would be stuck on the same ship for four weeks at sea. Her knuckles started to whiten as she gripped the wheel tighter.A large thump to the side of the vehicle brought her back to her senses. The body of the car shuddered as one of the back tyres deflated.

To this:

Her hat bumped the roof of the carriage, she should have ditched the feathers they were so last season. Gwen took one hand off the wheel to readjust a pin and heard the collective gasps of both men.

“You wanted to come along,” she shouted over the crunch, crunch, crunch of the car. “Sorry, forgot to change gears, this should give us more speed.”

A large thump to the side of the vehicle stopped her fun. The body of the Imperial shuddered as she slammed both feet on the brake. The stench of burned rubber and dust pervaded the car. Her stomach lurched as the car skidded to a halt on the gravel road.