Tuesday 6 December 2011

My thoughts on a month of hard writing

This year's nanowrimo was a great success - I actually reached 50K words by Nov 30! *confetti*
The story is far from completion though. It's going to need a major ton of revision to get this monster anywhere near something I would even let a beta/critique partner read (I don't have one yet, but you get the drift).

A quick review of a month of writing:
  1. I write better and faster when I've been stewing over a scene for a few days. It's also more defined as I would have gone through several variations of the scene before writing it down.
  2. With reference to point 1, I am very indecisive. One of the major pains to edit this monster is the fact that I changed my mind over some major plot points a few times throughout November and as I was pushing to get the words out (no edits, remember?) there are some very huge plot holes and jumps/shifts in between scenes/chapters. I even have chapters marked "stuff I hate", "revise this to new plotline" and "this does not fit in the story". Ugh indeed.
  3. Writing 1,667 words generally takes between 1 - 2 hours, unless I am distracted by twitter and facebook and blog surfing, in which it probably takes 5 hours. I really need to stop distracting myself.
  4. It is possible, by really pushing myself, to write up to 9K words a day. I think it was almost 10K, but some of it crossed the midnight line. Yea, so approximately 9K. But that was doing nothing else but write and eat. I'm not sure if that is a feasible option unless I resign and take up writing full time. OR if I decide to take leave for specific writing stints (only worth it if I already have a good plot, structure and world already drafted).
  5. It is never a good idea to reward myself for finishing a chapter/scene by reading just one chapter of a book. The one chapter often becomes two, then three, then the whole book. Not a good idea when you're working on a deadline.
  6. Dialogue is still my strongest point, I think, or at the least the easiest for me to write. I don't struggle half as much with writing a conversation between the characters than coming up with suitable narrative to explain something or to get them from point A to point B. This comes to the thought - maybe I should concentrate on my script-writing first instead of pushing for a novel.
  7. World building is tough. There are so many finer points to think of that my brain can't handle (see point 2). It does get rather confusing when in one scene you create a world almost medieval in nature because that was how the idea came to you but in the next scene, because of some key piece of technology that you thought was necessary to the plot it seemed positively modern. Throw in magic into the mix and you have to figure out what kind of magic it is, how it works, how it can or cannot be used, how the characters learn to use it. Language and names also become a bit of an issue. Yes, so all that needs to be predefined before writing the story, not while it is being written.
  8. Talking to someone about the story, the plot, the problems and the ideas is very useful. I managed to catch up with an old school friend before catching Az Samad's performance at China House, and just talking about it helped me to realise more problems with the story, as well as some tentative solutions.

Alright, so I'm giving myself a break from writing in December, during which I'm participating in Novel Publicity's Blog Tour promoting three new authors, so watch this space for reviews! Edits will probably start in February (after the craziness that is called January Deadlines) for an older story, not this one.
I'll also be cracking my brain for some ideas for the upcoming East Asia Graduates Conference (EAGC) happening in Malaysia in 2013 - want to get a tentative timeline for publicity as well as draft format for the website and blog in writing by the end of this year. Argh.
ALSO, Project Dance happens in Penang this weekend (9-11 Dec) and I've been busy getting things up in the blog, tweaking the budget (it's in the black, yay!) and thinking of other miscellaneous things at the oddest of times. If you happen to be in Penang this Sunday, drop by at Queensbay Mall from 1pm to 5pm to catch our free performances. :)

And FINALLY, a very good friend is releasing his sophomore album this weekend! Congrats, Josh! More on that in the next post...