Monday, November 16, 2009

Loving the Process

I'm a short story's length within the 50,000 word Nanowrimo goal. How long the book will turn out to be, I really have no clue. Normally I have all kinds of clue by the 40,000+ word mark. I think I'm about 2/3rds done, but depending on how the plot twists and turns, I might only be halfway, or I might be within 20,000 words of The End.

Nanoing this year has felt a little weird, but a good weird. I feel really free. I've accepted the idea that I have enough writing skills that I don't have to rewrite something to death. If I go back through, it'll be to clean up details, not to 'polish.'

If I think about it in terms of rice, I like brown rice way better than the super-polished stuff anyway. Wild rice is full of awesome too. Somewhere along the way I stopped learning and improving when I rewrote something and started making my writing worse. I've had this proved to me many times now. So, enough.

That gives me much more time to develop new work and play in new stories and revisit ideas that I loved but sadly polished into a little bead that had about as much life in it as expired corn starch. That allows me to move on to the next story, whether it's the next in a series or the next in a whole new universe. And if I want to enrich a story with details or something, I'll have more time to do that if I'm not obsessing on the line by line on an extensive polish.

It's made me a little more careful about how I write those words as they land on the page, but it hasn't slowed me down all that much. Again, I've got over 43,000 words on the 16th day of Nanowrimo, and I haven't been writing non-stop. We've done housework and gone to meetings and such. I've been living a pretty normal life. I've been sick too.

I can do this. I can be a full time writer with this process, and produce more good stuff that I've ever dreamed I could. Plus, I'm not going back and ruining what I do write. Bonus!

But I'll always need my critique group, I think. I need to keep a sharp eye on what I miss, and what doesn't work, especially if it's a pattern with me. I already know I could do a lot more with setting. So as I go forward, I'm going to keep hunting for those weaknesses, and I'll depend on the Lucky Labs and INKers to help me out (and keep me motivated too.)

Done and Not

By nano standards, the book is done. Broke the 50k mark yesterday. It's not actually done yet. I am not quite halfway through the last chapter. I think two days for that... then bibliography, acknowledgements, a table of contents. Possibly indexing. Go through looking for all the little places that say "XXX Research and cite XXX" (XXX makes a 'find' function very easy.)

Then the choice- send to first readers or directly to my editor. It's strong enough to go out, but I have some very fine first readers, subject matter experts who can add a lot in terms of insights and supporting anecdotes. Decisions, decisions.

Hats off to Nano and the INKers. It really got me off my ass for this project and potentially put me a year ahead on my goals.

Saturday, November 7, 2009


Over 19K on the new book in the first six days and wrote a flash fiction piece last night. Things are rolling.

I don't usually write fiction. The non-fiction that I write is personal, exploratory and digging into things that are off the map for most people- 'Here be Dragons". Think Charles Darwin and "The Voyage of the Beagle."

In 19,000 words, in the rush to get the ideas onto paper the process has really streamlined. The book, "7" expands on one of the themes in "Meditation on Violence". I think it may make most of MoV and most of everything written on the subject of the genesis of violence obsolete. Connections and classifications are falling together in a way that I knew was missing form MoV. The process, the ability to see the connections at speed has been a gift of grace.

This may just be the first blush of passion. With a few weeks to re-read and consider I may find the holes, notice what is missing. But this second it looks good. Very good. That doesn't mean it will be a good book- "The Origin of Species" was quite a plow- but the idea seems critical and solid.

Yesterday I spoke at a local college for a Criminal Justice class- mostly on how to recognize and avoid when your ego was getting sucked into a Monkey Dance. The new material let me teach it with more depth and more utility than ever before.

This has the potential to be very, very good.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Ready, Set, NaNoWriMo Begins.

4188 words this morning logged in beginning at the stroke of midnight. Naturally, as the past three years tradition holds, I can't log into the website to register anything and countless email requests for a new password has been sent. If this year is anything like last year, come day eleven, I'll get a flurry of email replies with countless password resets. Anything received earlier would just get lost in the typical NaNo server crash(es). So typical. So NaNo season!