Monday, November 21, 2011

NaNo-Why it's Winning and I'm Not (so far)

Hi, friends. It's Week 3 of NaNo. Week 3 is supposed to be easier, but you see, I'm still at the work count expected in Week 2. You know what that means? It means I'm still in the Week 2 slump. I hate my story, I hate my characters, and I want to throw my laptop out a window.

I've had days where I've cranked through 2,000 words in a day and I've had nights where I've fallen asleep mid-word while typing my first sentence of the day. I've had days where I was able to dedicate large blocks of time to my story and days where I've been at Disneyland with the kids and not written a word. I've been at this for 21 days and I'm pathetically behind.

I've written 18,000 words. I've slogged through the last 3,000 and, from what I understand, I'll be trudging through the next 7,000 to get to 25,000. The good news is "they" say it's a down hill sprint after that. What do "they" know anyway? Have "they" ever written 50,000 words in 30 days? Oh, wait, "they" have. Anyway...

Have you seen "Julie and Julia"? You know the scene when Julie has a total breakdown and cries on the kitchen floor like an overtired toddler? Ya, that's me today. It ain't pretty.

Alas, I soldier on, determined to finish. I will find a way to write 32,000 words in the next 9 days. I will. Right? RIGHT? Right. You know why? Because I'm not a quitter. I don't give up and I don't go down without a fight. I will finish, even if I end up pulling an all-nighter like an irresponsible college kid; I will finish this challenge. I refuse to surrender and I will win this challenge, if not for myself, then for you, my readers.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Writing by the seat of my pants

I'm what's referred to as a "pantser"in the world of writing. I don't typically have every chapter outlined, or even any idea how I'm getting from beginning to end, but I always have a beginning and end. They come to me simultaneously when I get a plot bunny. NaNo is a pantser's dream. Permission to write without looking back, knowing the first draft will be crap; full of holes, overwriting, underwriting, repetitive and overused adjectives and serious adverb abuse. We also know that if we work hard at refining, polishing, and tightening this first draft, there is a chance that we will have a pretty darn good book when we're done.

It's been a really fun project and I'm loving the experience. I've had a few other work related projects that took precedence, as well as a random short story that insisted I write it (seriously, I spent all day Friday on a piece that I wouldn't show you guys if you paid me...well, you know what I mean), that set me back on my word count, but overall I'm doing okay. Since I don't have any serious writing advice or epiphanies for you in this post, I'm going to give you an tiny excerpt from my NaNo project, Frozen Heart (working title). This excerpt is a tasty little morsel of what I've done thus far.

     I longed for the beautiful log fueled hearth that had enveloped me while in the safe hideaway of his cabin. The rich smell of woody smoke still permeated my clothing, a mix of sentimental feelings from childhood and sensual memories of being in Beckett’s arms. I increased the number on the digital screen, knowing it still wouldn’t bring the warmth I craved. What seemed to be a perfect existence, only a few days earlier, with just me an the boys, was now lifeless and empty. For the first time since my parents were taken by the Affinity, I felt the extreme cold of our frozen environment in every part of my body. Not just in my fingers or my toes, not in the frost against my skin, but deep in every fiber of my body. The very air that filled my lungs was frigid and biting. It hurt to draw it in, to try to sustain on it, and I found it even more excruciating to force it back out. 

I stood, chasing the warmth that floated from the glowing orange coils in front of me.  The change made the pain worse, instead of better. The wafting hot air felt stagnant and suffocating. I moved across the room searching for cleansing breaths. The tightness in my chest intensified, fear spiraling in my mind. Panic rose from the base of my spine and I clutched at my throat. The boys closed in around me, their instinct telling them to protect me from my invisible assailant.
Instead of quelling my fear, their presence only intensified my suffocation. I ran, fumbling, to the access door and slammed my hand against the button until it jerked open. Out in the snowy expanse, I gasped and sucked at the open air, falling to my knees as I succumbed to the knowledge that it wasn’t the air in my cabin, nor the air out in the wild, that was insufficient. Beckett had breathed new life into my soul, and without him, there was no air.

  I screamed out into the desolate white landscape, sending a lone owl fleeing from the disruption. For the first time in ten years, I gave myself over to the loneliness and the sorrow, crying tears for everything I had lost, for everything that was taken from me, and for the unending isolation that served as the price of freedom. There was no point to liberty if the cost was love. My parents gave up everything to avoid me being Matched, but the alternative was this life of solitude.