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It’s the first Wednesday of the month, which means it’s time for another action-packed installment of the Insecure Writer’s Support Group, y’all!
If you’re reading this, I do assume that you’re already familiar with the IWSG, but if you’re new and/or interested in more information and/or a complete list of participants, please click on the above link.
This month’s (optional) question is…
Albert Camus once said, “The purpose of a writer is to keep civilization from destroying itself.” Flannery O’Conner said, “I write to discover what I know.” Authors across time and distance have had many reasons to write. Why do you write what you write?
I’m going to attempt to answer this question, but me being me, I’m probably going to attempt it in some weird, roundabout way that may or may not actually answer the question. And me being me four days into November, and those four days being in November 2020, this weird, roundabout way may end up being even weirder and more roundabout than usual (And may or may not involve more vodka…) If you choose to keep reading, I hope that (wherever this ramble ends up), you enjoy the ride.
So, it’s been mentioned a few million times on various social media sites, I know, but in case you maybe missed it, I am participating in NaNoWriMo this month. It’s the ninth time I’ve participated in the November event. Thus far, I have six wins and two losses under my belt, but win or lose, I love the challenge. Which is why I pretty much sign up for every session I possibly can.
My first NaNoWriMo experience was back in 2009, when I wrote the first draft of what would eventually come to be known as the Terrible Romance Novel. When November 1st came around, I didn’t have a plan in place. I didn’t have character charts or a storyboard or a scene list or anything. I just thought, “Hey, I wonder if I can write a romance novel” and set out to see what would happen. (And with a name like ‘Terrible Romance Novel’ you can probably guess what happened…)
On November 2nd of that year, I sat in front of my computer, looking at the monitor and thinking, “WHAT THE HELL DID I GET MYSELF INTO?” because I was working without a safety net, or a parachute, or any sort of metaphorical rock-climbing gear designed to keep me from plunging into the rocky gorge of failure or whatever (Seriously, y’all. Day Four + Insomnia + 2020 + Vodka + Well, you know = rocky gorge of failure or whatever).
I got through those thirty days by just constantly asking myself, “What happens next?” And when I had no what what (what what? Thanks, brain.) happened next, I asked myself, “Okay, what could happen next?” Because I didn’t know and there was only one way I would find out.
By writing it. (I knew I made a mistake not being clairvoyant or whatever. My brain is so good at the words-putting-into-sentence-doing thingy thing.)
This November, I am working on the Terrible Romance Sequel (I’m sooooo good at naming books, I know). I am currently crushing the word count (as of the moment I wrote this sentence, I am sitting at a whopping 14,006 words) and—even stranger still—I am enjoying the hell out of discovering this story.
Sure, the plot is…extremely problematic (to put it mildly) and I seem to have made it pretty damn impossible for my main characters to have any sort of romance (the Terrible Romance series is aptly named), and my daily word counts are dwindling drastically because of the aforementioned problematic plot and romanceless romance, and I will very likely not write another word the entire damn month AND have to throw out the whole damn thing on December 1st and start all over again.
And I’ll do it. Maybe not right away, but I’ll do it. Because I want to know what will happen.
I don’t know if anyone else wants to know what will happen (and I don’t see why they would) but that’s cool. I want to know, and that’s enough.
So yeah…I don’t have lofty aspirations when I write. I write what I write because I have an idea and I honestly just want see how it’ll turn out.
If it’ll turn out.
It may not.
But, you know, I won’t know until I try. (Once again, I say SUCK IT, YODA.)
So, for now…You know what? I honestly have no idea if I answered the question or not, or got even close to an answer. But my brain is completely fried at this particular moment in time, and I am done in every way possible. So instead of me trying to make this post work, please enjoy this adorable photo of my adorable little Snoop Dogg practicing his favorite yoga pose—downward sleeping dog.
On that note, I’m outta here. Thanks for stopping by, all. I’ll try to do better the next time…
Stay safe and well.
It’s the first Wednesday of the month, which means it’s time for another action-packed installment of the Insecure Writer’s Support Group.
(If you’re new to the IWSG and looking for additional information and/or a complete list of participants, please click on the above link…)
This month’s (optional) question asks, “If you could choose one author, living or dead, to be your beta partner, who would it be and why?”
But I’m going to skip the question to instead ramble on about…well, killing our darlings. Or, you know, killing my darlings anyway. You can kill your own darlings.
This year is, strangely, the first year in…well, ever, that I’ve even come close to following the writing schedule I set for myself at the beginning of the year. Meaning, during which months I would work on what WIPs and when those WIPs would be finished and so on and so forth. It’s loosely sketched out in January and traditionally has fallen apart by March. It is then endlessly revised throughout the rest of the year to reflect my actual progress (or lack thereof…) on each project.
But this year I haven’t had to revise that much (and even managed to publish a book), which means that over the next two months, my main writing focus will be on finishing the first draft of Full Circle (aka, Book Three in my fantasy series).
What I have had to revise, however, is my confidence in my ability to actually do this. For a while, it seemed as though I was getting closer to the end, but now I’m kind of…stuck toward the end of the second act. And the more time I spend staring at my computer monitor and/or storyboard, the more I fear I may have to do the unthinkable…
Kill my darlings.
I do assume that anyone reading this post is familiar with this concept, but in the event that it’s new to you, killing your darlings is when writers cut things they love from their manuscripts. It could be a beloved character, a plot line, a snarky dialogue exchange, some quirk you bestowed upon a character that’s now causing more problems than it’s worth, whatever. It’s stuff that we, as writers, love and cling to and try everything we can think of to make it work in our WIPs because we don’t want to get rid of it.
In my case, it’s most often dialogue (you know it’s not killing characters. I love to kill characters.). I love writing dialogue and will occasionally (translation: always) get carried away when writing it. Then it occasionally (translation: always) takes me a few rounds of revisions to accept the fact that maybe—just maybe—my characters don’t need to have a five-paged conversation about goats when goats serve absolutely no purpose in the story whatsoever.
(Side note: some of you know why I’m mentioning goats here, and to those of you I say…THAT STUPID CONVERSATION IS STILL IN THIS STUPID WIP.)
But until I reach/accept that realization, I will copy and paste that conversation (Other conversations. Not the goat conversation. That stupid conversation is apparently here to stay.) in every damn scene I can, trying to find the place where it fits. Even if it doesn’t fit anywhere.
Which is, sadly, what I think is happening here.
I don’t think I’m going to make it to the revision phase. This time, I think those darlings are going to have to go before the revision phase because I’m just not getting anywhere.
Despite all my plotting, this WIP has taken a few turns that has made some storylines obsolete. It happens, and I know it’s going to happen, but I guess I am just stubborn enough to think I can out-stubborn my characters (ha.) and that they will relent and just do what I want how I want and say what I want while doing it.
(Spoiler alert: they won’t.)
So that’s where I’m at right now. Torn between wanting to achieve a goal and wanting to cling to the last remnants of gone-but-not-forgotten storylines.
Which will win?
Thanks for stopping by today. I’ll try to do better the next time.
Stay safe out there.