With NanoWriMo upon us, I always feel the need to explain my process, because it’s pretty different (read: insane) than most of what I’d read about when I first started writing – you know, the, this is how you should do it, posts.
I’ve always been contrary. And maybe my insanity will help comfort a few of you who don’t do things in order when you’re writing.
Anyway, I’m sort of unofficially doing Nano. I say unofficially because this is a contracted project that I started back in August because that’s when the proposal was due. And until now, I’ve been working in my dribs and drabs way and then realized, oh, wow, this book is due like, soon. And Nano rules (hate rules) say you must start a story and have 50K written in the month of November.
Hence, Nano-ish participation. I need 60K. Well, right now it looks like 60K. I’ll know more after today and tomorrow, when I stick my hands into the mess and try to piece it together like Frankenstein did to his monster.
(I can hear my students arguing with me – Mrs. T, you’re wrong – Frankenstein was the monster. Same kids who thought Al Gore’s first name was Algore. And they never worried that he didn’t have a last name because they thought he was cool like Madonna. Teaching can melt your brain, but they never tell you that in the MAT program.)
Back to process. What I end up doing is writing longhand, especially at the start of a book. My synopsis is as vague as my editor will let me get away with – I’ve gotten some great guidance from PBW on quick and painless outlining that helps me do a bare minimum without killing my love for the story – if I know everything, I don’t want to write it.
Since I’m now on a Mac, I use Scrivner software. I was using WriteWayPro on the PC (although most of my books were done in Word before I discovered the beauty of the writing program – I recommend both HIGHLY, especially if you tend to write out of order.)
So today, it’s all about moving the stuff around, seeing what I’ve got. It’s pretty fun because I get to watch my word count burgeon without doing much more than cutting and pasting random scenes together and seeing what works.
This will not be fun later, when I have to mesh said scenes, realizing that this means there are pov jumps every other sentence. But hey, there’s a price for out of order freewriting, but for me, that’s where lots of magic happens. I’m not willing to sacrifice magic, no matter how messy.
(Remind me of this in the coming days when I begin to whine excessively about how much CRAP I have to wade through in order to find the story)
Because here’s the thing – no matter your process, no matter how many books you write, it will never, ever get easier. You will get better, and that’s why it never gets easier. You will be faced with thinking, Holy crap, how did I get from beginning to end of that last book and the book before? Because right now, faced with the mess, it seems impossible and insurmountable and has me glaring at the pretty books on my shelves and hating them.
So don’t worry if your process is in order, out of order, synopsis, no synopsis, not like any of your crit partners or publisher writer advice. If it works for you, that’s all that counts. Because creation is messy – it should be. It needs to be.
So, how are you doing? (Ali?) I believe I got close to 3K of new stuff today in between wading through the mess. More tomorrow. Oh, and a HARD TO HOLD mini-countdown starts in a few days with some behind the scenes stuff!