So after my big three-year anniversary non-event post, I sat down and did some writing. I was hesitant at first – I wanted to rework the scene with the twist that had made everything seem clear at the time but now felt “too clever”, and was planning to revert back to something super-generic and contrived.
I didn’t do that.
What I did do was go back and rewrite the entire fucking chapter, and then basically double the original word count.
Last Friday Night (yesterday) I wrote 9566 words in just over 5 hours. And it felt fucking awesome, because not only was I writing for 5 hours, but the writing worked.
And I did change the scene. I just didn’t change it the way I thought I wanted to.
I actually kept the twist, and just twisted it into a more conventional shape – one that more resembled a story. And it’s working. I’m still not finished with that chapter; I don’t think I’ll do any writing this weekend, just to ensure that I actually have a break, but all I really need to write is the ending, which is the end of the … I have no idea how many acts I have. I might nut that out over the weekend. Shouldn’t be hard.
In fact, it should be very enjoyable.
Because writing “out of order” is proving to be very useful. Now that I’ve got this chapter all but written and I know it’s a transition from act X into act Y, and because I know that said transition will work in a story, I now have an actually pretty clear path forward from here: I have to find a way to make my story work around it and, because I was aiming for a storytelling exercise rather than a story per se, this new boundary around my creative freedom actually gives me a lot of cool opportunities, and forces me to make some quick, decisive … uh … decisions.
Anyway I’m looking forward to it and I think I’ve set myself up for something really cool.
This isn’t the kind of thing I could have done withTallulah, for instance, and that’s because Tallulah was a story I was working out as I wrote it. It wasn’t meant to be a writing exercise that turned into a story; it was meant to be Profound and Meaningful and Authentic, and if you look closely you’ll notice how none of those words are “story”, and that’s why it didn’t work. Which is also why I couldn’t have written it out of order like this Nano project. I wasn’t happy with convention and going by the books; I had Something To Say with Tallulah – I just couldn’t decide what. So what I’m thinking is that unless I can get to the point with Tallulah where I’m no longer hung-up on my own literary pretensions, it won’t ever get written, regardless of whether or not I’m “officially” writing it or not. Can’t tell a story that’s not a story.
Which is what this shitty YA werewolf thing appears to be after all, and I like it. After much trepidation and doubt, it seems that it’s actually turning out to be exactly what I hoped it would be: an exercise in coherent storytelling that I not only don’t have to think too hard about to make work quite effectively, but that is getting done pretty fast because everything that has to happen to make it feel like a proper story is, by and large, incredibly predictable. As they say, this one basically writes itself.
But not tonight, because I have Interview with the Vampire to read, not just because I’m into vampires enough to acknowledge that Anne Rice is probably someone whose work I should have at least some familiarity with, but also because I’m into vampire enough that I’m going to write about them someday, and this counts as research.
In the meantime my word count for Nanowrimo stands at 30531, which is pretty fucking impressive, even though over half of that was already written. The point is that this novel is three-fifths of the way done if I stick to the Nanowrimo limit, and while I expect it to be a tad longer than 50k words will allow, you never know. We’ll see what tomorrow’s planning yields.
Tomorrow. Sleep now. Or internet.
Probably internet, let’s be honest.