The Manhattan Project--2016 A to Z Theme

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Monday, November 16, 2009

NaNo: Running on Schedule

             Yesterday marked the half-way point for the NaNo nuts and I barely made it across the line with 25,239 words as of last night.  I had really hoped to be a good bit further than this to take the pressure off some, but I suppose I should feel good that at least I'm still on schedule. And the train keeps on chugging.

          I'm still managing to keep up with my blog posts, comments on other blogs, household duties, and, well heck, I've even been reading a novel which I hope to review on next Tuesday's posting.  Guess I'm keeping my plate too full maybe and I almost feel like I need to go on a diet, but I should probably keep getting fatter in a literary way.

          But yes, my novel, A DESERT PLACE, is shaping up but there is still a lot that I need to figure out.  And the way it's going, I think it's going to be well over 50,000 words in the end.  Guess I'll worry about that later. 

          I still need to take the John Irving advice that Carrie presented in the Heim Binas Fiction blog . The suggestion presented in that post was to write the last line of the novel first and use that as a touchstone.  Well, I've been thinking that I should write the last scene or even the last chapter so I can get a clearer picture of character motivations and the over all tone of the novel.  I basically know where the story is going, how, and why.  But maybe I should write it down. Instead I keep pushing the narrative and trying to meet that crazy word quota, which really is what NaNo is about I guess.  This pushing, and lack of thoughtful planning, makes me feel like I'm rambling at times, but actually I do think I'm managing a good bit of coherence so far.

         One big problem is keeping track of characters--kind of like I do in real life.  I'm one of those people who has a hard time remembering names and sometimes even faces.  I should write down the names on a list to keep beside me,right there with my time line which continues to be a big help.  Why, just last night I was having my main character remeet a character who had been introduced earlier.  I had forgotten that I had already given him a name in an earlier scene and almost renamed him with a new name, but fortunately I remembered  that I might have done this and had to go back to see what his name was the first time.
A list, a cast of characters--that's what I need.

          I have always admired those people who have a good system.  Like the system they teach you in the Dale Carnegie course.  I once had a professor who extolled the merits of this course and would demonstrate by going through the entire class of about a hundred students asking their names and then going back and reciting everyone's name correctly.  I'd make a lousy politician I guess.  Just so I don't ever forget my wife's name--I don't guess I'd ever hear the end of that one for a long time and maybe never.

         It makes sense to keep notes but who has the time.  I guess I'd rather just plod along and then just waste a lot of time looking for something that I should have kept a note about.  Maybe I'll make a note to myself to start keeping notes about things I want to remember. So there, I've done it, I wrote a note to remember to start keeping notes about things I need to remember and I put it on my desk with all of the other notes about things I need to remember.

        You know maybe I should just forget about it and just keep on writing.

       When you are writing or just trying to keep your life organized, do you have any special system to keep everything straight?  What about remembering people and names, what is your method of remembering somebody and placing a name with a face?  If you're a NaNo nut, how's it going and what problems are you facing?  Or are you just so darn organized that NaNo isn't driving you nuts at all?

         Smile and be happy!

5 comments:

  1. Well, I can't believe how much you write!
    I mean, "A-Blog-Bit-A-Day"? I couldn't even imagine that, let alone working on a novel at the same time. I guess you're just the "write" man for the job.

    ~ "Lonesome Dogg" Stephen (who ain't "write" in the head)

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  2. Good for you! You met your goal! And it's not like you write short blogs either! lol Lot of writing this month!

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  3. All the best as you keep writing for NaNo. I didn't participate. I have too much editing to do one another WIP.

    I don't really have any processes for keeping things straight other than to let things get a little bent sometimes :)

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  4. I am TERRIBLE with names and dates. What I usually try to do is engage anyone and be friendly until I figure out where I know them. Networking is such an important tool these days. It is really interesting to see this from an author's point of view. I especially liked how you said that it is hard to keep track of characters. I think the main advice that I would have (even though I have never written a novel) is to try to remember that you are trying to make a connection with the reader. You always want to keep the reader wanting to keep reading. Right now, I am reading The Lovely Bones and I am hooked! I don't know if it is because of how shocking the plot is or if it is because I somehow identify with characters that are nothing like me...but I think that the book appeals to a general feeling of "loss" that we can all attest to. So, if you are feeling disconnected, try to go back to that feeling that made you interested in these characters to begin with. If not, just start on a new chapter. Who knows? You might find your way back to your original plot.

    Finally, I also agree with something you said in one of the other postings. Writing really is the labor of love. It is about trying to create something out of nothing and being vulnerable to your audience.

    Okay, that is all for now! Not sure if any of this made any sense!

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  5. Good comments, Diana.
    And helpful suggestions as well.

    Ironically, before I started writing by novel I went to Amazon to read the first and a couple of random pages from THE LOVELY BONES just to get a feel of a recent best-selling novel and how it started and how it flowed throughout.

    Did you read the debate topic from last week about subsidized welfare families? I thought you might be interested in some of the interchange on that topic.

    http://tossingitout.blogspot.com/2009/11/why-do-we-have-to-keep-paying-for-them.html

    Thanks for your comments.
    Lee

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Lee