Thursday, October 25, 2012

NaNoWriMo, or In Which I Lose My Mind

I'm taking the plunge, people. I am all signed up, and am officially a NaNoWriMo participant this year. You can add me as a buddy if you'd like--my name is Lindzee on the site.

I think I'm a little bit insane to do NaNo. As if having toddler twins don't keep me busy enough, I also have a husband who is gone 14-15 hours a day because he is going to school full time while also working full time. So with the tiny terrors and absent husband, I thought to myself, "Life isn't crazy enough." So I joined three--yes, three--critique groups. That means I critique about 300 pages a month. And have to submit my own work 4 times a month.

And now I'm doing NaNo. I somehow think I will be able to write 50k in 30 days and still come out alive on the other side. I've always taken on way more than I can handle, so why should I change things up now? I'm sure other people have busier, crazier, more hectic lives than mine, but frankly, it's a miracle I find time to shower AND put on makeup most days.

I have been a pantster writer in the past, and it has never ended well for me. The LDStoryMakers conference last May totally converted me to outlining. So in May, for the first time ever, I sat down and did an outline from start to finish of a novel. That novel was the Hostage Heart, and I thought my outline was the bomb diggity.

It was not. As I got into the story, I realized my outline wasn't nearly as thorough as I thought it was, and consequently I'm going to have some pretty big edits to do on that draft before it's submittable.

So I decided I would try outlining again for The Good, the Bad, and the Infertile, and this time try to do it right. That's the book I'm going to write for NaNo. I knew, if I was going to make NaNo a success, I would need a very solid outline so I didn't waste time being "stuck" when I should be writing. Enter ywriter, pretty much my favorite free writing program ever. It's an outlining program that has saved my bacon. Yesterday I finished my scene-by-scene outline for GBI. It took me 3 weeks to do the outline, and the book currently will be 50 chapters long. I literally know what will happen on every page of this ms, and I've only written 3 chapters.

This morning, while the twins were (supposed to be) napping, I sat down to go over the outline and tighten it up a bit. I have 5 days left until November, and I want this outline to be solid. I got to chapter 4 (the chapter I've been stuck in the middle of writing for months now) and realized as I was reading the outline I was bored. And then I realized, if I'm not excited to write the scene, then no way is someone going to be excited to read it.

So I'm back to outlining. The whole outline doesn't suck--there are many, many scenes I cannot wait to write--but anything I'm not excited about has got to go or be changed in some way. Because writing is supposed to be fun, and if I'm not having a good time, why am I doing it?

5 days. I have 5 days to make this outline shine, then 30 days to pound out 50,000 words. I have such high hopes for this story. It's so close to my heart, and I just want to do it justice.

I cannot wait.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Why I Write

Sometimes it's hard to put into words why I love writing, but the Novel Doctor did an awesome job of it today. He said it so much better than I ever could. He wrote a great blog post here on what writing is all about, and why it's awesome. Go check it out! Certainly motivated me to keep writing. :)

Saturday, October 6, 2012

First Draft Finished!

I just finished the first draft of The Hostage Heart! I literally could scream, I'm so excited.

Yeah. I'm seriously thrilled.

And, because I'm very organized and stats-based like this, here are the final stats for the first draft of HH. I'm sure I missed something somewhere along the way, but it's pretty accurate. I did this mainly for my own amusement and so I could give myself a pat on the back when I finished. I'm big into the sense of accomplishment these days.

Date began: May 5, 2012
Date completed: October 6, 2012 (almost exactly 5 months, how cool is that?)
hours spent pre-writing: 11 hours, 15 minutes
hours spent writing: 37 hours, 11 minutes
word count: 107,847
page count: 415
average WPM: 48
hours spent editing: 26 hours, 25 minutes
total pages edited: 431 (keep in mind some chapters I edited like a hundred times)

So, in case anyone out there was wondering, that's what it takes to write a first draft. Sometimes, when I think about the fact that it took me five months to write for 37 hours, that's kind of awful. But other times I think, "I wrote a first draft in five months. Awesome!"

I'm sticking with the awesome.

It's a messy first draft. Right now, the ending is pretty atrocious. But that's what rewrites are for. That's why we edit. I might be a messy first drafter, but I'm a pretty good editor.

For now, I'm setting HH aside and working on GBI (The Good, the Bad, and the Infertile, until I can come up with a better title). I'm going to outline a little more on that one, do some good planning, and then write the first draft as quickly as my fingers will move. I'll come back to HH in a few months, when I have fresh eyes, and start looking at some serious edits of the projects.

For now, I'm going to reward myself with a few episodes of Modern Family and some cuddling with the hubby. I guess I should go tell him I finished HH. He'll be so excited!

Happy weekend, everyone! It's been a good one for me.