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on writing
Well, November is over. My annual attempt at NaNoWriMo tanked, again.

I don't know why I'm surprised - I've tried for several years now, and never really got beyond the first week.

Things I've learned:
1. I'm terrible at plot. My characters will wander around talking to each other a lot, but in terms of actual start > middle > end, I suck.
2. My characters talk a lot. Regular readers of the Monty/Molly stuff I'm fond of will most likely nod and say yes, we know.
3. I really *really* like writing Monty and Molly stuff. Those two crack me up.
4. I have what I think are really cool ideas for NaNoWriMo in early October, which then promptly fizzle out come November.

I suspect that I'd do better with some kind of plot outline - I really miss the days when I bounced ideas off the little writers' group we had going. Lunch and talks about stories and character really did feed the imagination. I also should really just sit down and write stuff when I get the ideas, not leave them until November the 1st. Ideas, for me, are best when sparkly and fresh, and I've not had a chance to sit and ponder on them and decide they're actually rubbish.

I'm also terrible at foreshadowing - in the NaNo this year I had an idea that the main character would start noticing odd goings-on, and the fact that the staff all wore these multi-coloured bracelets, which gave them access to different levels of the library, but it always just felt like me shouting LOOK! THIS IS GOING TO BE IMPORTANT! a lot.

Ho hum. Perhaps I should stick to Monty/Molly snippets.
11 thoughts or leave a thought
kniblet From: kniblet Date: December 5th, 2010 10:52 pm (UTC) (linky)
What about Monty/Molly short stories? It makes sense to write what you enjoy and short stories are really just long snippets.
dakegra From: dakegra Date: December 6th, 2010 08:47 pm (UTC) (linky)
yeah, I should try that. I've got a sort of plan for one which might *just* work.

Never know until I try, eh?
kniblet From: kniblet Date: December 7th, 2010 05:42 am (UTC) (linky)
How about a Wodehousian-style story arc? Start with how they meet.
huskyteer From: huskyteer Date: December 6th, 2010 10:42 am (UTC) (linky)
There's a future in snippets. Check out what the_gneech has done with his Fictionlets, which he's made available as a download from Amazon.

I'm rubbish at plot. I try to have a rough idea of how things will end, but usually I make it all up as I go along. Sometimes this turns out great and sometimes my story doesn't go anywhere and I've wasted loads of time.

Hope you can find another writers' group. I have a monthly get-together and it helps a lot.
dakegra From: dakegra Date: December 6th, 2010 09:08 pm (UTC) (linky)
I'm wondering if I can rustle one up at my new job. They seem like a creative bunch...
martinoh From: martinoh Date: December 6th, 2010 01:42 pm (UTC) (linky)
It's about what makes you happy as a writer. For heaven's sake, this is something that you do for the love of it. Don't let your enjoyment be undermined by a sense of misplaced duty.

If you do fancy doing a longer piece, an outline is probably a good idea though don't think you've got to story-board the whole plot. Use the sort of approach that improvisational film-makers like Chris Guest (Spinal Tap, Best in Show, A Mighty Wind) use, essentially saying that by point 'X', things will have happened that resulted in outcomes 'Y' and 'Z' and make up the rest as you go, ducking and weaving as necessary.

Along with that, don't worry about not writing linearly - if you've got some fixed points, write snippets around them, then see if you can add some more points in-between the snippets and work round those until the gaps start to close up. Likewise, don't try to foreshadow - work backwards from the important sequences and add the clues in later :-)
dakegra From: dakegra Date: December 6th, 2010 09:15 pm (UTC) (linky)
I think that's what got to me about NaNoWriMo - the obligation to turn out prose when
a. I didn't feel like it, and
b. what I was turning out felt like dross.

Next time I get a sparkling idea for something, i'm just going to write it. :-)
martinoh From: martinoh Date: December 7th, 2010 07:07 am (UTC) (linky)
Too damned right! <hopeful>And share it? Ultimately?</hopeful>
From: (Anonymous) Date: December 6th, 2010 03:28 pm (UTC) (linky)
I'm terrible at plot. My characters will wander around talking to each other a lot, but in terms of actual start > middle > end, I suck.

Me too, brother. Just be warned by me, and don't give up writing altogether, as I seem to have done.

- Sloopjonb
dakegra From: dakegra Date: December 6th, 2010 09:11 pm (UTC) (linky)
but you're a fabulous writer. You'd better not have given it up, matey. or... or... something!
From: (Anonymous) Date: December 7th, 2010 02:04 pm (UTC) (linky)
Too late, it's gone. I haven't written anything for ... [checks files] more than two years. C. has a theory that I don't write anymore because these days I am happy (due to marriage), and if were to become single and miserable again the muse would once more flow. I do not propose to attempt the experiment.
11 thoughts or leave a thought