Thursday, 9 November 2006

NaNoWriMo 2006 - Week Two.

You'll have noticed that my counter hasn't moved for two days now. There are two reasons for this - 1) all the work I managed to avoid in the office defeated my barriers and have come and hounded me - there is no escape; and 2) my inner editor - usually a nice chap with glasses - paid me and my novel a visit, and judged it crap.

What a bummer. Such party-poopingness!

So it is with great joy that I received the weekly inspirational email by Chris Baty (NaNoWriMo's founder) in my inbox today, in which he says:
The plot is draggy. The characters are boring. The dialogue is pointless, and the prose has all the panache of something dashed off by a distracted kindergartner.

If you're feeling any of these things---or find yourself starting to feel them this week---know that nothing is wrong. In fact, you're likely on track for a great NaNoWriMo. Just lower your head, pick up your pace, and write straight into the maw of your misgivings. If you are thinking about quitting, DO NOT DO IT IN WEEK TWO.

If you have to quit, do it in Week Three.

I'm serious.

Because if you quit in Week Two, you're going to miss an amazing moment---the moment when your novel begins to click. You'll miss a genius plot twist you can't foresee right now that will suddenly elevate your book from a distressing mess to a sort-of-tolerable mess. And then you'll miss the euphoric breakthrough that follows that twist, when your book improves itself all the way to not-half-bad.

Not-half-bad will make you scream, it feels so good.

And you know what? The more you write, the better it gets. So make it a priority to write in torrents this week. Allow your characters to change, and have change forced upon them. Follow your intuition, even if it leads away from where you thought your book was heading. And know that writing a novel is like building a car. Your only job this month is to create a clunky machine that will eventually move people from one place to another. If your beast rolls at all at this point, you're doing great. Pretty prose, snappy dialogue, brilliant metaphors---they're all part of the high-gloss paint job and finishing touches we put on *after* the body is built.
Feel better now. I think things should be okay.

Also, I have started reading Naomi Novik's His Majesty's Dragon, a wonderful story that combines naval battles, Napoleonic wars and dragons. I am enjoying it immensely, and if the ratings on LibraryThing are anything to go by, a lot of other people agree. If you're a fantasy geek and you haven't read this yet, you should be ashamed. Ashamed!

At least read it before Peter Jackson puts out the movie(s).


  1. Go for it, Ted, and give a book to your editor to keep him quiet for awhile.

    Chris sends emails to NaNoWriMers now eh? Am tempted to get his book - sounds like just the thing to get you finishing a novel in 30 days!

  2. Ted, congratulations on getting down to your novel and for achieving so much in the last few days/ weeks. I smiled when I read your post earlier that you were going to try something more commercial, non-literary and plot driven because you won't have to work so hard on it. I'm afraid that there is a lot of hard work involved in plotting a novel well, especially something that has action and thrills and spills. I covered a wall with post it notes and wrote a lot of back story notes before I even started writing my thriller. In contrast to you, I'm turning to something less plot driven and more literary as soft option from writing action stories! No doubt, someone will add a comment to say that that's not a soft option at all!

    Keep going, Ted, and keep us updated!

    All the best

  3. Ted, Nov is over, Nanowrimo is over. Where are you? Saw your review in Starmag today. Will read it later.

    If you don't update your blog, me, self-appointed blog patrol will have to earmark your blog for closure.

  4. Oh noes! Ok ok will update soon with er... updates.


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