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Flying Free

Well, I did it. The rough draft of Clockwork Dragon isn't finished; there's some holes that need filling (with little red notes in the text so I don't forger) and some research to do still, and the climax and denouement to write, and maybe a prologue too, since I'm starting to think that the very short prologue is really the start of a different story--but I have more than 50,000 words that I'm happy with, as first drafts go. And I did it all in November. It feels good.

I wasn't about to follow the conventional NaNo advice that "all first drafts are crap, so all that matters is typing as fast as you can". So if I hadn't "won", I wouldn't be crying. But it feels good that I did reach this goal, and with enough time to spare that I didn't have to worry about weird inconsistencies, like the NaNo website changing the date on me at 11 p.m. instead of midnight, and the NaNo website counting my text at more than 300 fewer words than my word processor counted.

Some days I spent more time on Google than on writing new words. Or asking people things. Trying to imagine clearly how stuff I've never done looks and feels, trying to gauge what a character would find when locked in a long-abandoned spot, to try to use to escape, and reasonable outcomes for those attempts--and whether some of the attempts might prove more lethal than the plot calls for (and what to do about that).

Other times I leapt forward, skipping whole chapters when I wasn't sure what needs to happen for the plot to move forward, and going to crisis points, critical events that I knew had to happen. I found that less uncomfortable than I thought it would be.

And I reached the goal, even after deciding to go with the hardest of three potential projects. So it feels good!

Next, I think I'll spend a little time filling in the holes in the worldbuilding, and go through and make sure that the chapters are in the correct order for the timeline issues that getting the chapters actually written revealed. I'm not going to stop writing new words, but I think they'll flow better with some of this other stuff resolved.

And, of course, I want to catch up on other writing projects. The snakeskin story is my first goal; I also promised to do a 12-drummers story which is due in early December. And I want to finish the sparkly sea-serpent story too. And then there's that story I decided really was a narrative first draft of a short story, rather than a piece of flash fiction. And Fireborn, I can't forget that!

I want to organize my thoughts, what I've learned from NaNo so far, but for now--



( 12 comments — Leave a comment )
Nov. 29th, 2009 10:25 am (UTC)
Congrats! What matters most is that you are pleased with the results; that whole "first draft is always crap" thing makes no sense to me.
Nov. 29th, 2009 10:55 am (UTC)
Well, first drafts always have problems. It's why they're called "rough". But I agree that deliberately writing junk the first time around means you're at best wasting time. It may not work that way for everyone, but I bet that most of the people who don't care about the quality of their first draft never revise it into something they do care about.
Nov. 29th, 2009 10:56 am (UTC)
Oh, and thanks!
(Deleted comment)
Nov. 29th, 2009 10:07 pm (UTC)
For someone whose internal editor distracts them from writing at all, or from finishing things, that mantra can do some good.

And yes "whatever works" is the best guide, because different people have different brains, and different brains do work differently, so what works for me won't work for everyone.
Nov. 29th, 2009 01:20 pm (UTC)
Yay! Congratulations!

I'm still semi-stuck. :(
Nov. 29th, 2009 10:16 pm (UTC)
Thank you.

As to being stuck, you've been going very fast on Deadfall; it might just be time for that other part of writing (or any creative endeavor), the part where you do other things while the story comes together in the back of your mind.

It being right after Thanksgiving, I'm prompted to use the "while the food sits in the refrigerator, the flavors blend, so everything is better as leftovers" analogy.

But when you're ready to be typing new words already, that other part of the process is frustrating. Especially since it's mysterious. It's hard to know if you need information, or inspiration, or just time, until you find yourself suddenly knowing what to type next.
Nov. 30th, 2009 07:40 am (UTC)
Shoot, you mean I've got less than 48 hours to write 50,000 words?!?

Okay, I can do this...

Wait, I need to sleep at some point (I think), and I'm not sure I can type that fast. Oh well. It was a silly idea to begin with.

Nov. 30th, 2009 08:28 am (UTC)
hee! :-D
Nov. 30th, 2009 08:37 am (UTC)
Seriously, if I threw all this month's LJ entries into a Word doc, did a word count, and all that, I might even be close. Hrm, how much time do I want to kill while finding out?

Nov. 30th, 2009 09:25 am (UTC)
I didn't count my #fridayflash stories or the other short story work I did during the month, much less my journal entries! Or, for that matter, notes done on worldbuilding issues for the novel.
Nov. 30th, 2009 08:36 am (UTC)
Congratulations! It's great you've been able to meet your goal! And to have not just so many words but to have a mostly complete draft rocks!

Writing is a lot of work, you seem to spend a lot of time on research. I lose impetus about 1/4 through so I admire you for sticking with it!
Nov. 30th, 2009 09:24 am (UTC)
It's fun--hard work, but fun hard work. I don't think I'll try a book that needs this much research for this kind of sprint again.

I figure I'm close to halfway on the draft, word-wise, though I'm far, far ahead of where I was a month ago on the worldbuilding and the characters and the plot.

And thanks for the congratulations!
( 12 comments — Leave a comment )


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