Monday, November 21, 2011

Writing a Novel

The best word to describe my NaNoWriMo approach is: stumbling. Or maybe bumbling. Or fumbling. Something 'bling. At the end of this month I will have written 50,000 words, but they won't be the right words in the right order.

I am sitting here debating whether or not I should go to a coffee shop for a change of scene. In reality I've already made up my mind. I'm brewing a pot of coffee in the kitchen behind me, but it won't seem real until it's poured and in my hands. Despite the inevitability of coffee, I like to think I still have free will.

Truthfully I don't write well in public. I always think I will, but when I get there I am usually too busy watching everyone else or wondering if the staff resents my loitering at one of their tables. Going to weekly sanctioned write-ins has been the only way I can put aside my guilty conscience and write in public.

Yesterday was a loss and I am behind a day. So far this morning I have broken off the narrative again to think through some plot problems. Every time I do this I learn a little more about what my villain wants and what makes him a villain. It's still fuzzy, but it's coalescing.

I am also eyeing the number of stories I currently have out with some trepidation. There are not enough, I think, I should be writing short stories not wasting time on word vomit! And then I think, where's the profit in that? Short stories are fun, but I want to learn how to write a novel. What better time to start than NaNoWriMo? I figure my first three novels will be good efforts but not particularly useful and by novel four I will at least have the confidence to tell the story the way it needs to be told, whatever that means. Sounds good in my head, at least.

I spent some of this weekend searching the web for articles about how novel writing is different than short story writing. Mostly the consensus seems to be, the forms are obviously different. Short stories focus on one idea or change, usually with brevity. Novels have room to develop a central idea or theme around a progression of events leading to an inevitable climax. To me this means transitions will be very important in a novel, as well as causality. I'm not sure how that translates into actual work yet, but it's given me a lot to think about.

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