Thursday, November 20, 2008

Bark: Breaking Barriers

I've pretty much resigned myself to not getting anywhere near the 50,000 word count for NaNoWriMo. That's not stopping me from continuing to write however, because I'm really enjoying the process of sitting down and telling a story. I can't vouch for the quality of it as yet, but once I get past the 10,000 mark, I'll probably let people read what I have so far and get some feedback; but assuming my perfectionist streak isn't failing me, I think what I've written is getting on for half decent.

The story has taken a bit of a different tone from what I originally planned: it's gone more contemporary/real world compared to the alternative worlds/sci-fi I was aiming for when I first had the idea for the book, but that's fine. I'm not sure if it's because the plot is more suited to a contemporary theme than a sci-fi one, or because I'm only six and a half thousand words in and it's only now that the story is really starting to take shape.

I'm a little frustrated that I can't simply write faster. I have a good idea of where I'm going to take the plot and most of the characters, so I'm not even remotely blocked - I just can't let go of my urge to edit and revise as I go for quality, context and accuracy (all those hours self-editing my journalistic writings are coming back to bite me on the bum in that regard - old habits die hard), so rather than writing 1500 words a night, I'm only managing 400-500. So with ten days to go until NaNoWriMo ends, I'll be clocking in somewhere around the 10k mark, assuming I lose the odd night's writing to gaming and other (more social) commitments. Which is pretty weak, but still, that's ten thousand more words of fiction than I had a month ago - and I've got no-one to blame but myself for not writing more, really. Though it is a case of bad timing that NaNoWriMo this year should clash with the release of a WoW expansion and one of the busiest social calendars for weekend commitments I've had since the summer.

The words are starting to flow a little faster now that I've introduced the majority of my main characters, and I'm just about to start writing the first big plot event, which should be a lot of fun to write, since I'm trying to inject a fair bit of humour into the narrative and there are going to be quite a few absurd things going on. I'm really enjoying trying to breathe life into my characters, and it's interesting learning how to speak with other peoples' voices, as it were. All my characters take on aspects of their personalities from me and/or people I know well, and my main character, Max, is obviously the closest thing to an author insertion - though he's clearly a more successful, nicer version of me, but he has one exceedingly large character flaw that I don't - though to say more than that would be a huge spoiler. Assuming the finished story ever sees the light of day, that is. I haven't made any direct character insertions into the story, but quite a few of my friends ought to see bits of themselves in some of the characters (and hopefully take it as the compliment it's meant to be) - provided I've done my job as a writer well enough, anyway.

I'm relieved to have finally made it beyond the 5,000 barrier, since I was beginning to get a little paranoid about it - especially knowing that a lot of people wiped past it in two or three days, not weeks. I've been trying to console myself that the stuff I've done must be of better quality, but having never seriously attempted to write long-form fiction before, I don't suppose there are any guarantees of that, either. I'm hoping to make it past the 10k mark as soon as possible, and I have most of Saturday and Sunday to write, so I'm hopeful I can really push up my word count over the weekend. I do have a Wrath of the Lich King review to write as well, though, which is a little bit of a bummer. Though at least I'm hoping I should be able to knock that off relatively quickly - reviews are proving to be much easier to write than fiction. As are blog posts...
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