Thinking About Writing…

I’m currently in the middle of Camp NaNoWriMo session 1. If you’re familiar with me, then you already know what NaNoWriMo is.

If you’re not, let me sum it up: NaNoWriMo is National Novel Writing Month. The goal is to produce a 50,000 word novel in 30 days. In November. It’s a free program, you can find the info at the NaNoWriMo website.  

Camp NaNo is the same thing, just in June. Session 2 begins in August. You oughta try it. Really.

Usually, I will write a 50,000 word novel is about 8 days. Assuming I have allotted myself the time to do it, and have built a bit of an outline, it can take less time. I write a lot. I write fast. My average is normally 1400 words in 15 minutes. That’s 5200 words in an hour. Not that I can actually write that much in an hour. After a bit, the words start to taper off and it becomes a matter of making the plot work. (My record for a day is 20,000 words in 8 hours of writing interrupted by the Internet, chats online and food.)

But this time is different.

I have allotted myself the same time to write this month as I have in November. I’ve stopped most of my other hobbies. I don’t have 3 separate jobs. I’m not getting ready for a convention. There’s no reason why I shouldn’t be done the novel already.

However, I’m sitting at 12,000 words when I should be at at least 25,000 to be on track to finish on time.

I sit down at my computer and am unable to write. I stare at the words and they don’t want to flow from my fingers like magic, like they usually do.

It’s frustrating.

I’m not usually a planner. Usually, I have a vague idea and then I sit to write it and the words begin to flow. Usually I’m what we NaNo’ers call a ‘pantser’, one who flies by the seat of one’s pants. Last year During November, however, I planned my works. I ended up writing over 150,000 words.

And this brings me to my point.

I wrote my first novel in 8 days or so. I have since gone back to reread and edit it. I love my story. It’s unique, it’s spunky, it’s amazing, it blends genres you wouldn’t expect to blend… And I hate it. There is nothing really salvageable about it! The entire thing needs a rewrite. A major, massive rewrite. And I’m pissed off about it!! Why did I write so many words last year? Because I was competing with someone else who ended up writing 300,000 words.

I pity that person. If my perfectly planned, plotted and outlined works suck that hard, I can’t imagine what HERS must be like.  I’m pissed because I basically wasted an entire month. The story needs a complete rewrite. Why did I bother then? I have to rewrite it anyway, I might as well have taken my time.

I’m not gonna lie either, I’m suffering a little bit of self-doubt. I had a very bad experience with a critique group earlier in the year. I was kicked out because I had familial duties to attend to and my loyalty was to helping my mom and my sister — who was sick at the time and looking at surgery — one night instead of attending the critique group. I offered to email or to meet with them another night but I got a email telling me that I was unwelcome if my priorities were not to the group.

In retrospect, it’s a damn good thing I was kicked out because my writing style is not what they want in their group. In retrospect, the critique group is essentially trying to make all their novels sound the same. And that’s not the point. The point is to improve your skills, not to sound like everyone else.

Coming away from that now, I’m VERY comfortable with my writing style. I love the way my words sound. I love the way my story flows. My NaNo novel that needs to be rewritten? Yeah, it’s partly because I was using it in the critique group and their standards significantly changed the way my story flows.

But I’m a little off my point right now. (Thank you for indulging me in that rant.)

The point is about the speed writing that I’m usually really good at, the need for rewrites and the flow of words.

If you remember about four months ago (maybe six? I can’t remember anymore.) I wrote a blog about how to deal with a story that was emotionally draining to write etc. Well, that’s what I’m writing now. I’ve completely started over. Not that there was much to start over from. Just a few sentences and an idea.

Now I’m writing this book and the words are less flowing than I usually like. But I think that’s okay.

This story is gonna be 50,000 words. I don’t think that I can draw it out any longer than that. It’s written from the first person perspective and drawing it out any longer is going to make it become repetitive and boring. If it wasn’t my intent to submit it later, I’d make it shorter and plug it as a novella. It might end up as a novella, not gonna lie. And I’ll start a second book to get to the 50,000 word mark for Camp NaNo.

The point of this all is that I went back to read my 12,000 words of this story.

I love them.

Like, love love LOVE these words. They are amazing, well thought out, well put together words. Editing is going to be a breeze when it’s done. I’ve never felt this way about a book. Everything just fell together so well thus far. I’m amazed. And impressed with myself.

Is it because of my slow and steady attitude? I dunno. Is it because this book is so hard and so emotionally draining to write? Maybe. I think that subconsciously I know that the less time I have to spend picking at this wound of a book I’ve created, the better it’ll be for my mental health in the long run. So the words are flowing slowly but beautifully and eloquently.

I just hope that my editors and beta readers feel the same way!

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About kaikiriyama

I'm a writer. I write everything from shorts, to novels to screenplays and then some. I like comic books, ponies, zombies, pokemon, monsters, demons, vampires and mythology. I walk a fine line between badass, scary and girly. View all posts by kaikiriyama

3 responses to “Thinking About Writing…

  • Wicked Julia

    My fiction writing is so much slower than yours. I also edit as I go, which, I have been assured, is a really bad habit.I have also had the experience of burying a really good idea in a mountain of crap and then wondering how the hell I can make it work. Sometimes the ease of writing on a computer is not your best friend.Stop and think about what you want to do next. Maybe try to outline the direction you want to go in or write out some ideas in a separate file so that you can look at them before forging ahead.Either way, you will be brilliant.

  • jimlwright

    Sounds like you've come through a "bad patch" pretty well. I don't understand the group mentality of trying to make everyone speak with a single voice. We aren't alike, our writing styles aren't alike and certainly our tales should be different! I envy you 'pantsers' and wish I could write without all the endless planning, plotting and outlining…

  • Kai Kiriyama

    I find that I can do both planning and pantsing relatively well. I think that both processes have their merits, and it really depends on the scale of the story and the context of what you're writing that determines if you need to plan on an epic scale. I imagine that George R.R. Martin has several notebooks filled with plot and character outlines. I have seen the brilliance of thorough planning, but I am definitely an "instant gratification" kind of person. Planning kind of ruins the illusion of that for me.

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