First you should see a difference in the site today. I am trying out a new theme. This one just seemed to fit writing better.
Now back to business.
I did what I said I was going to do. Under “I write when I am inspired. And I see to it that I am inspired at 9:00 every morning” DeVires and “First Drafts are Shit”– Hemingway there is now a Phil quote saying “Write ONLY 5 minutes today.”
The end result is I am now ready to finish a short story of about 7,000 words. I am writing something again. And I did over 7000 words this week. I wrote Wednesdays post on Monday. Not bad. If I don’t feel like writing I just look up at that post. I only have to do 5 minutes. The brain kicks in. Yeah, I can do 5 minutes and then I can do something else. No problem. If I type 65 words a minute that is still only 325 words for that 5 minute so I guess we can say I’ve been typing for more than 5 minutes at a time.
Sometimes you just have to con your brain but don’t tell mine I said that. He’ll cop one hell of an attitude if he finds out.
I know the short story needs revised. I am doing it in first person. I read somewhere that it is the easiest to write. Someone had to drunk when they came up with that. It’s harder for me to write in a first person. Maybe it is because I expect it to flow like Odd Thomas. The short story is going to need a lot of rewriting. My inner editor is screaming her bloody head off. I admit it. It’s a she and she looks a damn lot like my mother. That is a whole different post and topic. I need to write up another of those sticky notes: Stephen J. Cannell’s Rule Number One: Give Yourself Permission to be Bad
From his Writing Seminar: Every great writer who’s ever lived has, on occasion, written garbage (in my case it happens all the time). It’s okay to write garbage. You’re a good critic, you’ll fix it later. Shakespeare wrote garbage, Hemingway wrote garbage, Faulkner wrote garbage. It is okay. Every writer has bad days, or a day when he or she isn’t connecting with the material.
Can you picture Shakespeare writing garbage? Feet up on desk, balling up cheap parchment, and tossing it in a corner while saying “Kit, this writer’s block is killing me. I need a drink. Let’s go down to the pub, knock back a few and watch the Bear and Bull fights”
Who the hell is Stephen Cannell? How is live in that cave of yours? Stephen J. Cannell is a writer. You can find a list of his books here. You can find a list of his TV series here. Note he was a junior writer on Adam 12.
That should tell you why I would listen to his advice on writing. You may have seen him on Castle during the poker games. His spot was the chair Castle reserved and wouldn’t let the new guy sit in after Cannell died in 2010. [If I find out which episode, I’ll link to it]
He labels the times you struggle with writing for what it is in his writing seminar. [The link is on the side] “A day when, unknown to us, the story we are writing or the characters we created have been improperly designed. When this happens, writing becomes a struggle. That doesn’t mean you’ve lost your muse or that you’re a creative burnout. It just means that you have a problem in your story structure or with character motivation.”
The short story is flowing because I watched the structure the whole way. I have notes to remind me what I want each section to do and it fairly well flows into that structure. I may think I am writing the next section in too soon but I realized that I am writing exactly what that scene needs.
The novel, Standing Stone? Well now that is a different story. I am at the struggle because the structure is flawed. The characters? I am happy with them but I need to take a closer look at them. I really need to do that. They are good but I actually like the complex trickster character with more complicated motivations better than my two main characters. And there in is the problem. I need to do some work. The candy bar scenes are good but a good book is not all candy bars.
I’ve seen books lately that are just that. They are all candy bar scenes. You never get into the character. She or he are a cartoon cut out of what the writer thinks their person should be. I can be prolific too if all I write are candy bars.
Working on the short story got my mind off the novel enough that I can stand back and take an objective look at it. Yes it needs rewrite. We knew that but now I can see where the struggle is coming in.
The bad thing about NaNoWriMo is you can win it but you have to either have plotted your ass off and know exactly what is going on or be prepared to write only candy bars. I really can’t see anyone getting up speed if they do something else.
Can you write a novel in a month? If you are writing for Harlequin? Yeah, you can. After all a Harlequin Desire is only 50,000 to 55,000 words.
It depends on your market. The other thing it depends on is if you are a writer.
Now before you get your feathers all ruffled, start squawking and flapping your wings in outrage understand how I define writer. We aren’t talking the “Oh gee the muse inspired me and I wrote this cute story for YAs but it turned into a book” writers. I am talking about the Stephen Cannells or the ones who have the drive and skill set to be just like him. They know how to write a book. When you say the structure is flawed they don’t give you a blank look and say “What’s a structure?” because to them it means something like the new Walmart they are building on the end of town.
To the ones who I am not including in this the new Walmart is a structure. These are the ones who have been writing the same book for 5 years and can’t bear to let go of their babies. Conflict? What conflict? Oh you mean the bad guys with the uber long teeth and glowing eyes who sparkle? Those bad guys? Let us face it. We all know people like that. I am not classing them as writers in this.
So for NaNoWriMo, I wrote the candy bars. I know I have a flawed structure. I know now I probably have flawed characters. I need to rewrite the damn thing. The question is can I continue to write the draft and then fix the flaws or not. I don’t know. I’m going to have to think on that.
Get the short story out.
Rewrite short story? Not sure. I may put it aside and work on the novel or I may not
Decide what we are doing with the novel. A lot is going to depend on how flawed it is. Not looking at it or poking at it is going to give me the distance I need right now to make those decisions.
The plan worked. I am writing. I realized what the problem was with the novel. I understand that being a writer is work. Stephen Cannell worked. He had talent but I can promise you he worked his ass off and he studied to be what he was. And yeah, he was damn lucky.
So no matter what? It still ain’t fun and games, Cowboy.
Does that work?