Nanowrimo Retrospective

Monday, 8 December, 2008

So I ‘won’. 50,542 words of codename/working title ‘Playtime’ written by the deadline of 23:59 on the 30th of November. I actually finished at about quarter past four on Friday morning, the 28th, egged on by various people in the chatroom, and I felt great, but yet again I don’t have a complete draft. That’s got to be my target for next year, to get a complete draft in the month, not just 50,000 ambling words. And fuck, do they amble. We’ve got a past that shouldn’t be dull given what it consists of but it is, a present that I quite like but am not sure where it’s going, a bunch of inserts from a conversation between two of the characters and a couple of ‘out there’ fantasy/dream-ish scenes that aren’t particularly relevant yet, but they will be.

– – –

I posted haphazardly to Viddler during Nano.

I also made a few journal-type notes in separate – uncounted! – sections of my Scrivener file as I went through the month. Most of my scribblings were to do with the mechanics of the thing itself or random personal musings but here’s some of the stuff I wrote about the ‘process’. (Ha.) Just a mini insight into the weirdness of Nano.

FRI 14 NOV 02:16
I’m not exorcising. [I’d decided one of the reasons I was going to do Nano this year was to exorcise some things that keep infecting everything I try to do.] I’m writing what I wanted [it] to be. Perhaps in order to get this to work I need to write what it was. To a point. Alterations only to get to a better ‘truth’, to communicate that truth better. Maybe.

FRI 14 NOV 23:46
I’m writing but these aren’t the people I care about, but I can make them such. This can be anything I want it to be. I can get the bones down, the basics, and then make it mean something. It already means a little bit but it’s an ugly, confused mess. But that’s the story of first drafts.

SAT 15 NOV 02:04
I’m not sure. I’m not sure. Some of it is right. But I have to go through the wrong to get to the right. I have to write the things I don’t need in order to find out I don’t need them. I have to blunder and stumble and fall to find the handholds and the scenic route, because amateur is me.

MON 24 NOV 21:30
Last week.
I wrote a fantasy of mine into it and it got me a few thousand words. Whoops. It’s actually in character for my protagonist, though, it was something I’d planned on doing, but the execution is incredibly self-indulgent and will have to be altered to say what I actually want to say about her, rather than just using the words to… yeah.
I believe in some of this. I still believe in Paragon. Paragon is worth work. This is a very new thing. I still want to go back and look at The Block. There are good things in that. I have an idea for a stronger plot for that. […] So many characters in that I grew to love as well. That’s been a problem with this year’s effort. I’ve written past and present, written a lot of first person, dialogue-free prose, and spent a fair bit of time on characters from the fantasy stuff, so haven’t gotten as attached or as under-the-skin with this year’s people as I did last year’s, but I do really like a lot of them and I’m interested in all of them.
In that back of my mind is The Centre, of course. No way that’s going away.
Okay, shut up now.

FRI 28 NOV 12:48
Finished this morning, about quarter past four, but it’s not finished. I can’t remember what my point was in this thing. About time and reality and questions of what ‘real’ is, what personality is???

And then, when I looked at it before going to bed last night:
SUN 07 DEC 00:51
Write the present and fantasy stuff first. Then play with backstory. Possibly change entire backstory to something less blah. Maybe it’s not blah. I don’t know who she is, that’s the problem. I kind of know. GRAGH.

– – –

So… next year! I already know that I absolutely have to write comedy next time. I am sick to fuck of everything I do turning into self-indulgent, pseudo-philosophical bullshit. Comedy. Really stupid comedy. God, that’d be a relief. But before that comes Script Frenzy in April which I am really excited about. I’m not sure I can hold The Centre back for that. I’m not sure I’d even be allowed to, I have lines of dialogue scattered around my current notebook (and on post-its and on my phone…) that really should go into a first draft. So actually yeah, I can’t use it for Screnzy. Which means it needs to be written before April, before I get distracted by another stupid dystopia/sci-fi/action-drama that was supposed to be comedy.


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