What Happens Next (An IWSG Post)

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 awesome co-hosts are Jemi Fraser, Kim Lajevardi, L.G. Keltner, Tyrean Martinson, and Rachna Chhabria!

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.

25 Commentsto What Happens Next (An IWSG Post)

  1. How can he breathe?
    You have your own weird way of writing but it works. Keep rocking the word count.

    • M.J. Fifield says:

      I do not know how he could breathe, but he was snoring away when I took that picture, so he managed it somehow. Snoop Dogg has many talents.

  2. That sounds like so much fun! Woot for rocking the word count! I am cheering for you from this side of my computer screen. 🙂

    • M.J. Fifield says:

      Right now, I think I’m the only person who could possibly think this story is fun, but I hope to stumble on a way to improve it along the way.

  3. Your dog is super adorable!
    And, I want to read the sequel, but I’m pretty sure your write because you’re having a little fun with it, sometimes, maybe.
    Good luck with NaNo!

  4. Jemi Fraser says:

    Can’t wait for the sequel because I loved the first one! If you ever need extra eyes, let me know!

    What if? and What next? are 2 of my favourite questions!!

  5. Kate says:

    I’m the same. I write to find out what happens next. If I outline, I know that and I don’t want to write. Sometimes it’s better just to let the characters go for it.

    • M.J. Fifield says:

      I started out as a pantser, then transitioned into a plotter, but now I think I’m transitioning into a planster. I’m hoping it might be the best of both worlds for me. A guideline to prevent complete wandering, yet still enough leeway to explore those flights of fancy.

  6. 14,000 words already? I’m jealous. I broke 4000. but I blame the lack of words on my job

    • M.J. Fifield says:

      I’m pretty sure this is my most productive NaNoWriMo ever. Makes me suspicious. But I always am when my writing is going remotely well.

  7. Writing to find out what happens keeps you going! Glad you’re pounding the keys and getting your sequel down on the page.

  8. J E Oneil says:

    Trying is the best you can do! If the challenge helps you right, then you’re succeeding.

    • M.J. Fifield says:

      I like using NaNoWriMo to help me power through a first draft. I hate losing, so I tend to be more forgiving about bad writing. 🙂

  9. I write to see what happens in a story as well.

  10. What happens next? is a very important question! And since I’m a complete pantser on the page, too, it’s what keeps me moving forward (and sometimes down weird dark alleys and side roads). @samanthabwriter from
    Balancing Act

  11. Kimberly Lajevardi says:

    Writing to find out what happens is one of the best reasons to write.

  12. Liz A. says:

    Sounds like a valid answer to the question. And it sounds like you’re doing pretty well. Cheering you on from the sidelines.

    • M.J. Fifield says:

      Well, I just read over the post, and I know I had a different destination in mind when I started out, but it’s all good. 🙂

  13. Chrys Fey says:

    ” I will very likely not write another word the entire damn month…” I’m super late in visiting anyone for IWSG Day, but late means I can point out that you definitely are not clairvoyant (lol), because you have been writing. And a lot of words! Woo-hoo!

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