mbranesf (mbranesf) wrote,
mbranesf
mbranesf

Reflections on my NaNoWriMo Fail 2010

I'm disappointed that I didn't finish NaNoWriMo this year, both because I hate not doing things that I say that I will do, and also because I now fear for the future of my story that I have grown quite fond of. I worry that I will let it sit idle and that any momentum I may have had on it will evaporate. On the other hand, I am still into the story and have added words to it since the NaNo period ended. So if I want to tell this story, I don't really need the NaNo pressure to do it, right? But what went wrong in November?

1) I was just too damned busy to do it all. "Not enough time" is a totally lame excuse. It's the absolute number one lame excuse of lames excuses for people say they'd like to write something and then never do it. Writing just plain takes a whole ton of time, and if you want to do it at any length, then there is nothing else you can do other than just make the time by carving it out of other time-using activities that you value less than writing. But I don't feel like a total slacker on this count, because here are some of the things that occupied my November time other than writing: I published two books, released an issue of my magazine, read for and edited another issue of it, tended to the day-to-day chores of my home, lived lovingly with my partner, watched some of the Halloween DVR cache from TCM, tweeted and blogged and Facebooked, drank a bunch of wine, ate dinner nightly, drank a bunch of beer, cooked dinner almost nightly, took periodic showers, ate ice cream, jerked off, hosted a Thanksgiving gathering, cuddled with kitties, and--oh yeah!--worked about 225 hours at my day job and slept about 190 more. And I still did get about 30K done on the story, so I don't think I was a total slouch during that month. But I did over-extend myself, and the way I keep being late on all my M-Brane deadlines is a result of that. 

2) My story was pretty complex. If I had come up with something that could have taken the form of a straightforward linear narrative with just a couple of important characters and a plot that was either fully outlined or reasonably laid out in my mind before November 1, I might have been able to have just banged out the words at full speed and made it to the finish line. But, no,



instead, I came up with Boy, Converged (Mixed Media on Canvas, 2111), which is intended to be a small-scale science-fantasy epic...if that makes sense. What I mean by small-scale "epic" is that the scope of the action and the number of people involved in it is fairly small, but the space in which it plays out and the final outcome of it is possibly quite large and dramatic. So it's not a vast space opera or a sprawling adventure. It's quite narrowly focused on a single character and his strange circumstances which may or may not have wider implications for his world. But it ranges over four different worlds, which can be considered alternate timelines, and the protagonist exists in all of them and is, at some level, aware of his strange existence in four universes. These worlds are a romantic inhabited Mars (plenty of homage to ER Burroughs' Barsoom as well Kim Robinson's realistic Mars), a contemporary 21st century "real" world, a post-Apocalyptic city isolated from the rest of the world (some homage there to Delany and Dhalgren there), and a steampunkish alternate-future London. A series of parallel circumstances in each of this milieus leads the four incarnations of the protagonist into contact with the other main character, with whom he falls in love each time. And in each of these scenarios he encounters the titular piece of artwork which seems to mean something...but what? The answer to that question remains unknown and might be a big part of why I had a lot of trouble progressing on this story through the month. Also, I spent a ton of time on Mars and in the post-apocalypse city, but very little in Steam Age London and very little in the contemporary timeline. So the more I wrote, the bigger the holes that needed backfilling became. I knew it wasn't going to be a truly complete novel at 50K words even if I had made it to that, but now I think it might need something well above 100K to finish it.

Now I wonder if I will continue in earnest and get it done or if it will languish in its spot on the hard drive. I think I will continue with it, but at my own pace. It's fucking December after all. December!
Tags: nanowrimo, personal life, personal writing
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