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 Read the rest of this entry »

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How to Write

Saturday, 20 September, 2008

New series in The Guardian, starting today, entitled ‘How to Write’, including a nice piece by Robert Harris on producing a novel.

Just in time for NaNoWriMo, which I wasn’t 100% sure I’d be taking part in this year, but I think I need to, just for an excuse to blitz some ideas that keep niggling at me and infecting all my other ideas.

On the couch in the front room

Wednesday, 20 August, 2008

THE BLOCK [novel]
This started as my attempt at NaNoWriMo 2007, and I got the 50,000 words done, but didn’t finish the story. Ultimately it’s a big mess of multiple plots and cringe-makingly clumsy prose that has no real focus and a trillion loose ends. It also has some sections and characters and ideas that I love. Reading it over I’ve discovered a few things:
a) I was trying to do too much at once. Thriller meets Lit Fic meets Coming-of-Age Cheese meets Rom Com meets A Great Big Mess. First step is to decide which stories work best together and put everything else on the proverbial clipboard because otherwise I won’t do anything justice.
b) I can come up with some nice little phrases when I want to, engaging characters, decent twists. This is both satisfying and reassuring. I reckon it’s generally a good idea to be not completely talentless. In fact I think that’ll be my mantra. “I’m not completely talentless.”
c) I reap the rewards of hard work, but also, just maybe, hard work on this whole thing is its own reward.

SECTIONS [prose poems]
The first things to get cut from ‘The Block’, which frees both projects up to be what they need to be.

OH, AND…
I love movies. I love them. I love cinema. I love film. I love movies.

Summer of Action

Saturday, 2 August, 2008

ESTHER & JANE [novel]
Came back to an idea I’d had earlier in the year while musing on an unrelated character profile. It’ll be a tough one to get right but I’m finding the prospect of managing it really exciting.

FAM BIO [stories]
Lots of events and scenes from family history that lend themselves to fun short stories.

ASYLUM [screenplay]
Came up with some vague opening scene plans and started thinking about interconnecting plots etc.

NOTE TO SELF
Probably a good idea to concentrate on one idea at a time. Or two at the most. Damn my brain