Wednesday, November 14, 2012

11-14-12 On Writing part 2

Yep, it's Tori-official. There is no way in hades I am making the NaNoWriMo 50,000 words by the end of the month.

I gave it a try, but I knew when I started the odds of me being able to play along was a long shot. "Thirty Days and Nights of Literary Abandon!" as their theme isn't in my nature. 

I can't do literary abandon. I can do literary frenzy, occasionally,  but I cannot leave what I've already written behind me, abandoned in the pursuit of a word count.

My word count has hardly budged because I've gone back and deleted large swaths of prose, rewritten, changed, improved . . . because, for me, it has to be done in that order. I can't bang the whole thing out from start to finish without looking back. When I was on Chapter 5, I realized a major point of the the plot I'd planned was a cheat. It wouldn't work. I had to go back to the beginning and fundamentally change several things to make it set itself up right. 

We all want progress, but if you're on the wrong road, progress means doing an about-turn and walking back to the right road; in that case, the man who turns back soonest is the most progressive. ~C.S. Lewis.

And today, driving back from dropping Sam off at school, a plot twist so huge it made me gasp and giggle and look generally like a madwoman driver came to me in a thrilling flash. It also casts long shadows on the chapters I'm currently working on. Nothing gives me more pleasure than the idea that, one day, a reader is going to catch the tiniest of hints and foreshadowing and smile when it all pays off. But that "one day" isn't going to be anywhere the end of this month. 

And I'm okay with that.

I also discovered just today that I am not writing a young adult novel anymore. I'm writing horror. And I've hardly ever even read horror. But that's where it's going and I'm excited to see where it leads.

So, since I left you with some gems from King's On Writing in the last installment, here's a couple more for good measure:

"In fiction, the paragraph is less structured -- it's the beat instead of the actual melody. The more fiction you read and write, the more you'll find your paragraphs forming on their own. And that's what you want. When composing it's best not to think too much about where paragraphs begin and end; the trick is to let nature take its course" (Location 1620).

"We are talking about tools and carpentry, about words and style . . .  but as we move along, you'd do well to remember that we are also talking about magic" (Location 1696).


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