Wednesday, July 17, 2013

The Immature Mind

Suffice to say, I am no closer today to finishing a novel than I was the last time I posted, which was an embarrassingly long time ago.

Honestly, I've already called to attention a couple factors in my decision not to commit myself to Camp NaNo this year, and yes, they are mostly excuses. But upon thinking further about why I really was so loathe to finish this novel, there was one recurring obstruction: I had no idea where I was going with it.

You see, the whole premise that I started off with, I discarded around the second week of NaNo. That's healthy, I was told; explore! However, I never picked a replacement premise. I dabbled around in 90+ pages with several different ones. The 90+ pages I have are winding, aimless, and mostly drabble.

That's not to say that I wrote 90+ pages in November of flowery imagery. What I have for this novel is heading (meandering) in some direction, but it's not the direction I want it to go in, and because I have written myself into a very deep hole, it will be incredibly hard to guide it in the right one.

Here's where I make another excuse for not finishing this novel (at least, right now): I set about practicing the wrong thing. NaNo is all about no holds barred, quick and dirty writing without a plan (or at least it was for me). I thought my problem was getting rid of my inner editor. Wrong!

NaNo helped in a sense, when I had to get up every day and write or face consequences, and for that reason I will still endeavor to participate in the coming years*. It is still immeasurably useful in teaching the importance of carving out a chunk of time every single day and writing.

But what I don't need to practice is heedless writing. I don't need to practice writing without a plan or a purpose for the sake of getting words on a paper. I am a wholehearted advocate of that if you are new to writing, or are writing for fun, etc. I, however, plan on being a professional author. I take that plan extremely seriously, and, let's face it: writing as a hobby and writing as a profession are incredibly different worlds.

What I need to learn is technique- not writing technique, but noveling technique. NaNo is about honing the art of writing, but I need to start learning the art of putting my writing into a cohesive being. I need to learn about pacing, about planning out acts and scenes; I need to hone the skill of ratcheting up tension at just the right moment; I need to learn how to keep a theme running like an undercurrent throughout the novel, tying everything together.

How am I going to do this?

I'm going to read.

And then I am going to write.

As an exercise, and because I still do want to spend most of my summer hanging out with my friends, I will return to my previous habit of reading everything I can get my hands on. Then, when college starts in the fall**, I will apply my newly-formed skills of time management and self-reliance, and start writing every. Single. Day.

Whether that will be towards a novel or just random short stories or projects, I've yet to determine (after all, I've also got to keep a 3.8 to get into the honors college), but as long as I can teach myself the habit of writing every day without an incentive like NaNo, I'll have one more valuable skill to launch myself into the world of authordom.

Sorry for the long post***. In other news, I have finished Broken Verses, Catch-22, and Ocean at the End of the Lane. I am currently reading World War Z. As a reminder, this is all on my Goodreads.

Carpal-tunnel-syndrome-y yours,


*Also, it's tons of fun, and I have a great dream of, one day, making it to the Night of Writing Dangerously.
** After giving myself a grace period to get used to it, because holy shit, college is terrifying.
***Not that anyone's reading. /disgruntled blog owner

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