Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Writing Updates and My Views on Writing for NaNo

Spring and summer are my busiest seasons for my business. I travel a lot and it's so hard to write while I am away from home.

And yet, I have still gotten a lot of writing done in-between running around.

I just finished my fairy-vampire novel, the first in a trilogy. The novel is called "Lace" and came in at just over 65,000 words. Camp NaNo (like November's NaNoWriMo wherein you write every day for a month) in April helped me finally get the damned thing done! I'm thinking of the subtitle, "Book One: The Fairy-Vampire Trilogy." But why limit myself? It could be a "series" and then I can write 2 or 10 books in that universe. Still thinking.

I wrote lots of new poetry in April as well.

A wonderful review came out for my latest novel: The Lostling.

Another wonderful review just came out for my brand new poetry book: Turn Left at November.

I also sold a poem to Asimov's SF Magazine called "Build a Rocketship Contest: Alternative Class A Instructions and Suggestions."

More about Camp NaNo: I love these challenges because I think it's so important for a writer to write every day if they can. I don't do that myself (because of the traveling and such) but I believe in it, and even without writing every day, I do an awful lot of it when I am home and in my off-seasons (I finished one novel in Dec. and one in April NOT writing every day.) Writing every day for a month during the NaNo challenges teaches that it can be done and the writing does not have to suffer for it. In fact, the writing becomes better and better as you push through blocks and hurdles to get it done. It's simple: you just write the next sentence. And then one more. And then one more. A daily pushing through various humps along the novel road is the answer to so many writerly troubles, and I have found that "writer's block" is just a myth, an excuse, a whine-time, something I did not know when I was a much younger writer who believed in all the writer myths and used them as excuses.

I never do messy writing or messy first drafts, though a lot of critics say NaNo is the worst thing for writers because it concentrates on word count and therefore quality MUST suffer. Others who approve of NaNo still say, "Allow yourself to write badly. Make a bad first draft file." Uh, no. I feel that's a total waste of time and there is no reason for that attitude! I am the kind of person who does my best as I go while daring myself to go out on limbs and take chances, but I never start out to "write badly." Not ever. Good writing or bad writing, either way, it's just a matter of sitting in the chair and typing and having a fun time. Why not sit there and do it the best you possibly can?

I have had days of over 2000 words of some of my best writing ever, so there is another myth squashed: that writing slow produces better writing. In fact, slow writing allows way too much of the critic's voice to come into play, and that is the great destroyer of the muse, as any artist in any field from singing to acting to painting can tell you. The critical voice inside every writer wants that writer to fail even if it's saying "rewrite so you can be better." Don't listen! This is a critical lie and it destroys internal "voice" and stunts all natural storytelling. The critical voice wants to browbeat you until you give up, and then it can say, "I told you so; you're not good enough." This critical voice must be bound and gagged and sent off to a deep, dark dungeon.

I research on the fly so everything is new and fresh and stimulating. That's just me. Others do it differently. There is no right way. But for me, I have a ton of experience, so it's fairly easy to trust that my subconscious mind knows what it wants to do and how to do it. I let it loose to play and that works for me amazingly well in ways I could not see when I was so young. Trusting the subconscious mind to know what it's doing might sound crazy, but seriously, it produces the best results. It does not ever let me down. Maybe I can do it without qualms because I write so much poetry, and poetry is for me like dreaming, but I honestly think it's a method that can work for anyone. Staunch the critical voice and let go. It's like fairy magic!

So my first drafts come out pretty polished. Thus, writing every day only hones my skills. I do not turn out fluff just for word count. I concentrate and work hard and do my best writing this way. Goofing off, playing around, writing just one paragraph for the day-- that's when my writing suffers. So I do recommend this course of action. Of course, these are just suggestions! Everyone is different.

I leave off with a new poem for today.

in the middle of the night road
a swaying lantern
but no ghost

-- Wendy  Rathbone


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  3. Your your lecture to me from Dean is strong in this post! I also like your list of "this is what I've been doing" because you've been doing a lot and sometimes it's hard to see that until you take a step back.