Overly succinct

The secret is revealed to me. I’ve been sluggish in all forms of writing for ages. It wasn’t especially hard to keep myself from starting on my NaNovel early, but once or twice I did think “I should write that down before – no, wait, can’t use anything written before November 1.” And now it’s November and I find myself excited to return home and get back to writing. I am excited to get to writing.

Forcing myself to not do something that I’ve been having trouble making myself do has created some kind of bizarre motivational short-circuit. I don’t know why it works like this, but it does. I have hacked the system.

(Novel word count: 2329.)

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10 comments on “Overly succinct

  1. You should have listened to Deird. Over at Slacktiverse a while back she said that that was one of the ways she was able to get herself to do things.

    Good to see that you’re doing well. I haven’t made progress since the first day.

  2. Ana Mardoll says:

    I started behind and am still 500 words in the hole. My god, this is hard — I’ve got a tremendous amount of respect for those of you who do this every year. I’m sticking with it as long as I can, but I’ve no illusions about making it to the end.

    I’m actually a little sad that I *feel* like everything I’m writing is complete crap-on-a-stick, but since I went in with very little in the way of pre-planning and no outline, that may be part of the problem. I keep repeating the “words go on pages” mantra and remembering the kitty cat.

  3. Will Wildman says:

    I’m managing to make at least the minimum per day, and I got a few hundred extra on day one, so I’m now – actually, I should update my count for the day – I am at precisely 7573. Of course, these have been some of the scenes that I knew best, so the question is whether I will feel sufficiently grounded when I start hitting unfamiliar territory such that I can keep blazing along, or if I will suddenly stumble. I’m still kind of slow – I am rubbish at word sprints; my best so far has been 400 in 15 minutes, while around me people are managing 700 or more. (Mind you, I’ve resisted the urge to add any blatant filler so far.)

    I do feel like there are some questionable or weak bit in there, and I’m just wrapping up a house fire scene that basically had me mentally screaming “There are only so many synonyms for ‘fire’ and ‘wreckage’!” but overall the freedomy feel is still great, even when I think the actual words are kind of a mess.

  4. After running out of words I decided to skip ahead to the things I had already figured out, devoting today to that allowed me to double my word count and make it so I’m no longer behind, it also means that I’ve got almost nothing to look forward to in terms of, “I know how that will go, it should go smoothly.”

    I say almost nothing because some of the things that I have some idea of I can’t write yet because they depends on stuff I haven’t figured out yet. Most everything involving Erin, one of the most important characters in the story, falls into that category.

    So at this point I don’t know what I’ll do from here on out, I’m considering uploading what I have to Stealing Commas in hopes that someone will say something that in some way inspires me to write something. This isn’t necessarily a good plan (I average one comment for every 2.229 posts, most of which will not inspire 1,000 or more words) but at this point I’m not sure I have much in the way of good plans.

  5. Will Wildman says:

    I thought you had worked out a lot of stuff involving Erin already – what’s vexing you at the moment? She has a career which implies certain things about her (i.e., when trying to be an engineer in a city regularly destroyed by super battles, her response is not to find a different city but rather to hunt down a supervillain and get things sorted), and other details are things you can just make up on the fly and deal with later (family, pets, hobbies). I don’t remember if you thought my suggestion that she too would become a supervillain fit with your concept or not – if she is, then possibly she’s got an antiestablishmentarian streak already as a regular old civilian.

    I’m definitely stalling today; only written a few hundred words (which is Not Good since I was hoping to get a head start on next week) but I was at a cafe write-in and made three new friends and possibly joined a tabletop roleplaying group it is not entirely clear to me but I think these are overall positive things? (I kind of think that the girl who said she sometimes goes by ‘Robodyke’ needs to be a superhero. Possibly we will also be forming a vigilante team.)

  6. The problem with things about Erin is that their context depends on stuff I don’t know. I still don’t know, for example, how they meet, and when I tried to just write my way into it I stalled out. More or less everything turns out to be like that. So I’ve got a pretty good idea of her, just not the context in which she is found.

    Which means that I wrote a description of random girl to whom the narrator has a reaction, “She looks nothing like Erin, why does she remind me of Erin?” before I wrote a description of what Erin herself looks like.

    Most everything about Erin is going to be written in the context of Erin and Ryan’s growing relationship, which I was apparently appropriately worried I’d have trouble writing. Without knowing how they meet I don’t know how they’d decide to see each other again, and with one exception I haven’t figured out what they’ll actually be doing together. There is a certain amount of writing you can do when you have no idea where the characters are and what they’re doing, but not a lot.

    Trouble is, that thing that I’m having trouble working out should be the majority of my story.

    Though saying that has given me two things to write. At some point go jumping off a bridge that Erin designed. Also I’m thinking that, after he and Erin first meet in a way as yet uncertain, Ryan reflects on how you’ll meet people, like them, and then never see them again (single serving friend they were called in Fight Club) and then Erin surprises him by setting up their next meeting. I think Ryan went to the Rally to Restore Sanity. You didn’t happen to see him there, did you?

  7. anamardoll says:

    How they meet… didn’t you say he’s an ethical building with a disguise? Could he get to know Erin on the worksite… maybe as a worker himself… because he wants to make sure that the building design is safe enough that when it collapses from his death ray it does so straight down and doesn’t take out any other buildings? Or maybe as a public service thing, since he keeps knocking over so many buildings? Or….not sure. :(

  8. I’m actually increasingly liking the idea that they meet when something doing something at least somewhat heroic, Lonespark suggested dealing with a natural disaster, but I think I prefer that it be dealing with unintended fallout from one of his feats of villainy. Hero does something Ryan doesn’t expect and it results in danger to huddled masses.

    Trouble is, I haven’t figured out what that would be at all. Though to some extent I feel like it should involved throwing a tanker truck full of gasoline or, alternatively, something happening in a subway tunnel.

    The idea is, something goes wrong, he changes out of villainy apparel and heads to people placed in danger, and he and Erin end up working together to make people safe. The trouble is I have no idea what’s happening.

    If a water main broke and people were stranded in a subway tunnel, what would one do to deal with the problem? Probably just lead people toward the nearest station which isn’t that interesting, plus how would he end up in the subway tunnel in the first place? His exploits are all on the surface.

    If people all know to go into the bunkers when the air raid siren sounding super-fight warning goes off (Godzilla has been spotted in Tokyo harbor, everyone evacuate the city) then how much incidental heroics can there be?

    I keep on thinking I posted this and then realize I never got around to it.

    If subway were flooding because a water main was burst could the solution be to blow up a hole into the storm drain system so that the water wouldn’t fill up the tunnel. Could Erin get to blow something up? It sounds promising but I still have to figure out how Ryan ends up in the subway in the first place and why the hero doesn’t follow him in. Unless it really is just an unlikely coincidence that drives the plot ™.

    (Plus, with what would she blow it up, dear Liza, dear Liza? With what will she blow it up? Dear Liza with what? This would be the time for a Burn Notice moment. In a subway tunnel. Pretty sure there’s not a lot of readily available explody stuff in a subway tunnel.)

  9. Will Wildman says:

    I recommend thinking combinatorily. Tanker truck of gasoline PLUS subway tunnel. Antagahero whips a tanker truck at SuperRyan, makes with the heat ray for explosiony goodness, SuperRyan retreats (he must be good at retreating, since he’s operating in just one city and gets into these fights on a regular basis) but his pre-heist calculations included making sure that the tanker truck wouldn’t get damaged because he knows perfectly well that they’re fighting above one of the old-model subway lines that hasn’t been upgraded to take super-fights into account. The surface level explosion has damaged the tunnel and there’s burning gasoline all over the place – SuperRyan must find a nearby phone booth in which to transform into regular Ryan, stop the train before it runs into the wreckage, and then evacuate everyone before the tide of fire washes down into the tunnel. Erin is present because she was leading some municipal representatives through the area, arguing that YES, they actually DO need to spend the money to upgrade ALL the old subways lines NOW, and now the fight is making her case for her.

    If it seems that they’re having too easy a time of it evacuating everyone from the collapsing tunnel of fire, then either Antagahero should cause some additional damage because he’s convinced SuperRyan is just hiding and can be flushed out, or there’s the two-word solution to all insufficiently tense moments: ‘secondary explosions’.

  10. You have been extremely helpful. Thank you.

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