National Novel Writing Month (a.k.a. NaNoWriMo) run through all of November. During this month, aspiring writers are challenged to complete a minimum 50,000 word first draft of a novel. There is encouragement, community support, badges and even prizes.
I've never done it. The closest I've come was writing the 100,000 word Oakdale Confidential in six weeks, but that came with no encouragement, community support, badges or prizes. Just a deadline and a workaholic fog. But the resulting book did spend two weeks at #3 on the NYT best-seller list. So, uhm, yay fog?
When I decided to write my latest book live online at http://alinaadamsmedia.com/live/, I didn't set either a time or a word count limit. My objective was to take readers behind the scenes and let them watch the process of how a book comes together - typos, misspellings, plot dead ends and all, as well as collect reader feedback along the way. Some sample feedback from last week: NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO! (If you want to read more, you can go to the above link and click on Comments.)
However, it occurred to me that those participating in NaNoWriMo might enjoy watching me struggle live as I type, delete and retype every word. And then delete the entire paragraph. Maybe the whole chapter.
Once you see what I'm working on, I can't imagine you not thinking, "Aw, hell I can do better than that!"
So, please, use me for your own needs.
And if you ever feel like you're the only writer stuck staring at a blank page, check out my notes from last week:
So, once again, I am trying to write a sex scene with people watching. And it’s going pretty well. And then the doorbell buzzes. It’s Con Ed. They need to turn off the electricity and check the meter. Kind of a mood killer. So, yeah, I got it done. But with enough stops and starts to make it challenging. Search the date and see if you can spot where the inadvertent breaks came up.
Kissing versus sex. I don’t know where you fall on the spectrum in real life but, when it comes to fiction, I know for sure which one is easier for me to write. If you’ve read my previous books, you probably know it, too. (And if you’ve read my previous updates, you know the last time I tried to write a love scene in public, I froze up. Let’s see what happens today!)
When in doubt, cut it out. I solved yesterday’s problem (see below) of lacking the words to say what needed to be said by having the characters say as little as possible. (That’s always my solution when I fear a scene isn’t working. I make it shorter. Sometimes, when I feel a chapter isn’t working, I cut the whole chapter.) I figured there was no need for characters to restate what readers already know, so I cut to the chase. (You all know how much I love to cut to the chase.) In addition, in the next scene, I don’t know if what happened surprised you, but it certainly surprised me, as I didn’t know it would until my fingers typed the words. (Search by the date to go straight to it.)
The problem with writing is that it hinges entirely on words. So what do you do with a scene where words are absolutely inadequate to what everyone in it is feeling? You use different words. But how do you still convey the words underneath? That was my challenge today. You let me know if I pulled it off.