Skip to main content

NaNo: Week One

It's been a week of furious writing, but I've got almost 25,000 words of a novel to show for it. And most of a short story.

There's something great about National Novel Writing Month that always kicks my ass into gear and makes me want to get so much more done. Part of it is the community. I love being able to interact with other writers who are going through the same thing I am. More often than not, writing is a bizarre and lonely process. I don't get to talk in specifics about what the issues of a day might be. Being around non-writers most of the time means that, at best, I'll talk in vague generalities. Maybe I won't even mention the problems I've got in my work. But during NaNo, that all changes.

There's a support system of people that seem to exist, like fairies in the woods at night, only during November. They have chatrooms and write-ins. I don't feel like such a shut in all the time.

I find that it's also good for me to be keeping track of my word count using their daily tracker. If it were available all year, I'd use it every day and I'd probably write twenty times as much as I do. It also adds a competitive (but friendly) spirit to getting your word count up.

So what has been the challenge for me so far? I think the biggest challenge has been the book itself. This is by far and away my most complicated book to date, but I think I say that every time. I go out of my way to tell stories in different ways or with new techniques every time I start a new novel. I don't think I'd learn as much if I didn't go out of my way to try out new things with every novel. It was something Aaron Allston encouraged in me. He said at our last writing retreat before he passed away that he was always excited to read my work because I was always finding new ways to screw it up. "But that's not a bad thing. You're always correcting the previous issues, you're trying new things. That's remarkable."

I'm paraphrasing him, of course, but that's the gist of what he said.

NaNo helps me make those mistakes slightly more quickly than I ordinarily would.

I've also had more than a few days on this book that felt unreal. Like everything just clicked together, the research I'd done, the anecdotes I wanted to relate and incorporate, and the story and characters themselves. It all just clicked in a way that made flying through 3000 words a cinch. Sometimes, especially as we head into week two of a marathon of writing, it can already start to feel like a slog, but this time I feel like I'm just getting started.

Maybe by week three my attitude will change, but I'm really excited to get people to read this novel eventually. I think it's going to be something special.

Part of that is challenging myself personally as well. Some of the themes in the book are very close to me personally and hit home in a way I don't often explore. And the book itself is set in my hometown in the year I first moved there, so being able to revisit my old impressions and memories has been an incredibly interesting double-edged sword. On one hand, some of the bitterness I had about my upbringing has been hard to take, on the other hand, revisiting some of the most incredible experiences of my life has been a wonderful trip down memory lane. It's a roller coaster, just like my childhood was, I suppose. And if I can infuse some of that into the book and make it more authentic and honest, then that will be good for everyone.

I'm setting out to do it all over again next week, another 25,000 words. Let's see if I can keep up the pace. And the optimism.

As for my writing I did a new piece for Salt Lake City Weekly about an Open Door Policy for being a nerd. You can read it here. 

Holly Frey and I released a new episode of Fauxthentic History as well, this one is about the Legend of the Bounty Hunters' Guild. You can listen in here. 

As a reminder: Please join my short story Patreon here.  Your contributions to the Patreon help me write more like this.

The Aeronaut and Escape Vector are still out and still need your purchases and reviews. If nothing else, they can use you telling people about them. If you want signed copies, visit the shop here on this page.

As far as my work outside of all this: There's a lot of great stuff on Big Shiny Robot! and Full of Sith for you. 

And please, please, please don't forget to check out any of my books, drop reviews of them on Amazon or Goodreads, and follow me on twitter and Facebook!

Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

The Symbiotic Relationship Between Art and Politics

Art is inherently political.

Let's just get that out of the way. We all have things we want to say (or things we want to not say) in our personal lives that shape the art we make. And artists, more often than not, are trying to say something with their art, even if their goal is to not say something.

There is no doubt that this has been a turbulent week in the country I live in. There are many of us that are confused and shocked and afraid of what might be to come in the future. That's understandable. As artists and writers, I feel like we're typically more empathetic than the general population. It's easy to think about what it's like to be in someone else's shoes because we spend so much of our creative time almost literally in someone else's shoes. And we need to pass that understanding on to our readers or viewers or however else they're consuming this art.

I've seen this troubling idea, though, that art needs to be purely for escape and that p…

Anatomy of a Scene - City Lights

We're going to break down another scene this week, and it's one of my favorites in cinema history. It comes from the ending of City Lights by Charlie Chaplin, which I think is the greatest romantic comedy ever made. 
It's a touching film from 1931 and I would make it mandatory viewing for anyone who wants to learn to tell a story.
The scene we're going to be breaking down comes from the very end of the film, so if you haven't seen it, I don't want to spoil it for you. Go watch the film. You can rent it for $3.99 in HD on Amazon or for free on Hulu with a free trial or plus subscription. You should just buy the Blu-ray, though. You're going to want to revisit it.
For those of you familiar with the movie, or for those of you who are going to ignore my pleas to watch it and go ahead with this post anyway, I'm going to set this clip up a bit before you watch it.
City Lights tells the story of Chaplin's Tramp and how he falls in love with a blind flower …

Salt Lake Comic Con 2016 Schedule

It's time again for Salt Lake Comic Con and I have another packed schedule. This is where I'll be occupied for much of my weekend. I would love for you to come out, see me on a panel, catch me at my signing, or just say hello.

Thursday, September 1, 2016

3:00 pm Fixing Fandom and Ending Bullying and Gatekeeping :: 150G

4:00 pm Fauxthentic History - Star Trek :: 151G

6:00 pm Star Wars Trailer Park :: 151G

8:00 pm The Life and Times of Ahsoka Tano :: 151G

Friday, September 2, 2016

12:00 pm Palpatine's Rise: The Cautionary Tale of the Star Wars Prequels :: 255C

1:00 pm Star Wars: The Life and Times of Han Solo :: 251A

3:00 pm Jeremy Bulloch :: 250A

5:00 pm Stuff You Missed in History Class Live: How Does Historical Fiction Get Made? :: 250A

6:00 pm Bryan Young Signing :: Shadow Mountain - Booth 1807

7:00 pm Adventures in Podcasting :: 251A

8:00 pm What is the Balance of the Force? :: 255F

Saturday, September 2, 2016

11:00 am Famke Janssen :: Grand Ballroom

12:00 pm The Many Fac…