Last September, I told a man I worked with about NaNoWriMo (national novel writing month). This is normal. I am easily provoked into gushing about my writing projects. This man’s wife heard about it from him. She’d always wanted to write a book. So she joined up. And she wrote her 50k. And then she wrote another thirty-thousand after November, and started revisions.
My co-worker came to me yesterday, and announced that I’d created a monster. His wife has spent the last four months working tirelessly on her book, reading things aloud to him, making him listen to ideas, incarnations, drafts. She now has a near-polished complete novel, and is working on her query letter.
Smug writer pride. I has it.
Hello Internet! … Yep. It’s been a while. What have I been up to?
Well, I fell behind NaNoWriMo, crashed and burned for the first time. It seems that writing a seven main character novel, starting at the twisted middle without a firm outline, and pressing yourself to a sprint and a marathon at the same time is stupid. Limits, I have found them.
Ever since then, I’ve not been able to write on my novel. Not one pained word, no matter how I talked myself up.
So in the three months I’ve been gone, here’s what’s happened instead:
- My contract job didn’t call me back, and I’ve been living on carefully counted pennies and applying to work since. The silence I’ve been getting in response is really depressing.
- I’ve been working on my chat/roleplay epic saga daily with a good writing buddy of mine. As if it were a full time job. It’s not real writing in that the prose is horrible, the viewpoint unsteady, the plot without classic novel structure, but my partner has a very different style than mine, and he’s naturally very good at action, moving plot forward, hurting the characters, and introducing new elements to a story. The story itself will never see the light of day, really, but I like to think it is teaching me something.
- I’ve begun modeling in 3d again, earnestly working on a character from said roleplay saga. (Facial analysis, body reference sheet, modeling turn-around). I mean to complete him– texture maps of all kinds, and then rigged for animation.
- I watched a few movies. I re-read Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing and Twelfth Night. I noticed that Shakespeare always has at least two witty ‘banter’ characters as crowd-pleasers in each play, or at least, he does in his comedies.
And then today I was reading a book called ‘The Writer’s Journey: mythic structure for storytellers & screenwriters’, and something clicked on in my head. A flip of a switch, the music in the background, the rhythm of a galloping horse whilst I drove home through the rain. The whole of my steampunk novel, as a series of structured elements. The ‘journey formula’ this book describes appears, naturally, unintentionally, in my novel. And I can identify where I’m stuck, and what it must lead to to get to the next step.
I’m about ready to start writing again. I think that I know what needs to be done.
I have a theory: working a job while trying to write is good for your book. Or, I think it is, in my case.
I’ve noticed that I don’t write as much when I’m not employed. Often times I’ll drop off writing entirely and try not to think about the novel. I’m not sure why this is. Perhaps my entire system is thrown off without a rigid schedule. I’ve been diagnosed with ADHD since I was six, and most of the literature dealing with the disorder prescribes order and firm boundaries. The only class in college I got a well-earned 4.0 was also my hardest and strictest: History 401: War and Society, taught by a brilliant doctor with a military sense of discipline.
I’ve dabbled with finishing chapter twelve for a while. Months, actually. The difficulty of the plot I’m weaving is completely intimidating.
I start work at Nintendo on Monday morning.
So. It’s been a six month absence since I wrote on here. My apologies to my online friends, for disappearing without announcement. It wasn’t my intention. I needed a break (though I don’t think I understood that consciously).
It’s funny, how much your life can change in six months. I’ve moved back to the Seattle area, where I grew up (from Idaho). I’ve broken off my engagement. My family’s financial position feels like an antique plane spiraling down to the earth, engine smoking, propeller struggling, loose fragments of a wing not quite torn off, but flapping in the wind. And through all of this, I feel like I’m leaning back in my seat, asking, “Where is this going?”
The purpose of this blog has been creative writing, with a few random pieces here and there thrown in. It has always been about writing, and that won’t change. But I understand now, I think, why there is only basic writing tips out on the internet. ‘How to make a character’. ‘How to plot a story’. And it’s because no one really understands what the heck they’re doing.
The more I wrote on this journal, the more I questioned what I really knew. Bits and pieces, fragments of thoughts and incomplete musings. (What do I know, anyway?) But incomplete or not, flawed thoughts or no, I think I’ll hang about a while yet.
It’s good to be back.
So, my CPU died on Monday.
It was a wonderful computer– I built it myself three and a half years ago, and it was a hardy machine. Everything in the computer was saved, of course; the hard drives are fine. The ram was good, but since it’s DDR2, I doubt I’ll be able to do much with it. The graphics card will come in handy until I upgrade it– a Geforce 7900 GTX. Top of the line three years ago, still a decent brand, but all good things must come to an end.
Point being, with my hard drive out of commission until my new computer arrives next week (I’m bastardizing a mac pro with Windows XP– just plugging the old hard drives in) I won’t be around much.
See you next week!
How quickly they grow up…
I haven’t posted pictures of my girls since they were in ratty ugly-chick phase. I must rectify this (so long as I can’t leave home, but feel too restless to lay in bed like a good patient).
The word of the day is ‘leptodactylous’ (lep-teo-DAK-teh-lus).
Adjective. “Having abnormally slender fingers and toes.”
See this? Ring size 3.75. I could have gone down to 3.5. 🙂 In the event of confusion, this is my new promise ring. Sortof like an engagement ring, but without stress, wedding plans, or formal announcements.