Thursday, November 3, 2016

Nanowrimo – I'm already behind

It’s November and that means Nanowrimo and three days in, I’m already behind. I’m cheating and I’m already behind.

But I’m working, hard, and that’s enough for me. I guess.

I’ve noticed in my writing now I write more slowly than I used to. 2,000 words per day was once not a problem at all. Now I struggle for a 1,000 or my (and Nano’s) fabled 1,666. I’ve thought a lot about this and think I know why. It’s a couple of things.

First, I’m experimenting. I’m trying new things. I’m in a genre I haven’t written before, science fiction. I’m exploring very complicated social ideas. I’m making a full-on epic as a full-on trilogy from the get go. The scope of the thing is intimidating and intimidates me sometimes.

Second, in new waters of genre and length and meaning, I’m expanding the situation into more complications. It’s not a character study where I follow a single individual though the challenges of their being. It’s not a mystery where I follow a single quest. It’s those multiplied. I have to plan. And not just for a single character or plot line, but for multiple. Multiple multiple.

Third, and this is a little weird to say perhaps, but I’m censoring. It’s not that I'm afraid of saying something wrong, but of saying something again. This is now my 15th novel and I find myself falling into patterns, situations, and sometimes language that I have used before. It’s not always obvious or bad, but it is redundant, to me at least, the only person alive who’s familiar with my entire cannon.

When I finish a chapter, a rare enough event right now, I can’t just turn to the next and begin. Each chapter right now is it’s own compartment, it’s own short story, snippet of a larger thematic texture and woven plot line. It won’t just be poured out. It’s a careful coaxing of words right now, events and character are feeling their way around theme. My broad strokes are solid enough but close up, I’ve got to thread the needles carefully.

So I’m behind. And I’m thinking about my book instead of writing it. Telling you all about it. Explaining why I’m not writing (but am thinking) and distracting myself in the process. Allowing publisher drama (which worked out really well by the way) and personal landmarks (turning fifty this month) to pull my attention away from my distant star system where the fate of man is being forged. I’m telling everyone why I’m behind. In Nanowrimo. Why I’m not writing. I’m writing about not writing…

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