Friday, October 8, 2010

665: Neighbor of the Beast

As November draws closer, I'm starting to get that panicky feeling in my gut.  You know the one.  That feeling of an impending assignment.  A project that you know will be crucial, and you still have no idea what you're even going to do, but it's hanging over your head all the same.  I get that way when I do art commissions.  I actually still have two art commissions that I owe a couple people.  Luckily, they're friends of mine, so they don't hound me.  One of them is also an artist and she knows what it's like to have commissions hanging over you like a shroud.  That's not really an excuse not to do her drawing, of course.

But I digress.  The panicky feeling I'm getting this time is, of course, about NaNoWriMo.  It's been over a year since I sat down and composed anything longer than a few hundred words, and in November I will expect myself to write 50,000 words inside of 30 days.  That's 1,666 words a day.  If I were religious I might be worried, but if I break it down into words per week I get 12,500, and that just sounds like a whole lot more.  I'll try to get cozy with the number of the beast.

 I am working on Caleb's character development, filling out the questionnaire in my last post for him.  After that, I'll do one for Jaime, and then one for Jameson.  Even though he's dead.  It's critical I know as much about him as I know about the other two as he may make an appearance, and he will be a huge part of the driving plot regardless if he's physically around or not. 

(It's 3:33, make a wish!)

I'm unsure whether I want to try to carefully plot my story out, or if I want to just... let it happen.  I get the feeling I'll be sorry if I do that.  Here I have three weeks left to plan, and I could put this time to good use.  I could give some serious thought to the content of the story.  I could do what a lot of writers do, and jot down notes on index cards.  I could write down notes for scenes that I know I want to happen.  I could tack them to my wall and rearrange their order.  I could draw story arc charts.  I could make time lines.  I could do all this inside three weeks, easy.

Or, I could do what a colossal number of writers do who just trust their creativity to get them where they need to go, even if they don't know what their destination actually is.  Going that route, your creativity is like a pair of headlights at night.  You have no map (or GPS, let's get real, who uses a map anymore?).  You can only see a little ways in front of you, but you can make the whole trip that way.

I don't know which approach I'm going to take yet.  I should probably get on that.

As a side note: anyone from upstate New York?  Or know anyone from there?  Caleb grew up in the finger lakes region, and as a result, he doesn't speak with a Brooklyn accent.  Rather, he would have an accent closer to the upstate counties.  I just want to get a handle on how he would talk, and if there are any phrases he might use in lieu of others (like the universal questions of "soda" vs. "pop," "bucket" vs. "pail," and "cupboard" vs. "cabinet").  I don't want someone reading my story and being thrown by what I would consider a small detail.  What I might consider small might mean the difference of authenticity for someone else. 


  1. Pfff, I tried to fill out the questionnaire for Josh but there are too many questions! And too many answers I haven't properly thought about yet. This is going to require more work than expected, but it'll be good. And when I'm done it would definitely be a good idea to do the same for Michael *sigh*

    As for the question about planning or not for NaNo… I know that the only time I made it, I hadn't planned anything. I just wrote and didn't think too much where I was going (and ended up in a few unexpected places). But that was 6 years ago. I think these days I prefer having at least a rough idea of where I'm going, and I found that that if I don't jot down ideas for scenes as they come to me I might end up forgetting about them.

    Hmm, not much help here, am I? XD I'm dreading this too, even if I'm only going to try doing it for 3 weeks. I don't have anything to lose and if I can write *something* every day, even if I don't meet any precise limit, that should definitely give the story a hell of a push in the right direction!

  2. I did see that questionnaire you put up, and while it's a really good exploration of your character that can help, it's daunting XD I don't even know that much about my main character yet. I don't even know his name!

    I've got a very loose idea of the plot in my head, meaning some for certain things that I know I want to happen, and nothing in between, haha. I've got the characterizations for the main character and D semi-fleshed out. I've got very vague ideas for supporting characters. Not much else :T

    You (and myself as well) shoudl read some of the topics on the NaNo site. They're very helpful in how you should approach your writing and deal with the daunting task of finishing so much in a month. Everything I've read so far seems to encourage writers to be very organic with their writing. Wrestling with things like following a predetermined, solidified plot perfectly and sticking to the characterization of your character you figured out even before you actually put them in the scenarios of your story will only inhibit you in regard to time, as you'll be too stuck on details to just crank stuff out.

    I'm going to do some character sketches, descriptions and little blurbs about my main characters, maybe a time line of general happenings, and then that's it in regard to the planning of the story itself. As far as all of the historical/lore background information, I'll be doing a lot more specific research. Ugh, only 3 weeks @_@ We can do eet!