Sunday, October 7, 2012

NaNo Looms …

By NaNo, I of course mean NaNoWriMo. Which starts in less than a month. Me-oh-my, what shall I do?

I'm planning—just like last year—on writing at least the first 60,000 words of a new novel. New to this year's goal (now goals, I suppose) is this: My 60,000 words will be cohesive enough to publish without extensive revisions. I am actually hoping for closer to 70,000 this time around, but I'm not holding myself to that.

This new addition to my NaNo goals has some caveats. I fully expect my characters to evolve as I write. Thus, early scenes may need redrafting to reflect characterization more accurately. I'm not scared of redrafting to fix plot holes, add foreshadowing, etc. What I most emphatically don't want to have to do is redraft to fix structural problems—this being exactly what I'm going through with my first novel, Fnerge!.

(Yes, that last sentence is punctuated correctly. The title, Fnerge!, includes an exclamation point. Interesting related [-ish] point: I haven't decided yet whether the subtitle will be The Two Worlds, plain old Two Worlds, or the hopefully exotic 2Worlds [inspired by my publishing company's name, Step5 Transmedia]. We'll see.)

This looming of the NaNo has, in conjunction with one other factor, produced a significant change in my office layout. About a month ago I converted my desk to a standing desk, by the simple expedient of putting some paint cans and 2x4s under the desk's supports. I've really been liking it. Unfortunately, I messed my hip up somehow (probably jogging) last week. Standing for even an hour is painful, and the two to four hours I will need daily (minimum) are out of the question.

So I've had to lower my desk back to a sitting desk, which is somewhat discouraging, but unavoidable—if I want to succeed at this year's NaNo.

An explanation: I converted my desk to a standing desk for the same reason I've been jogging so much. I'm still pursuing the goal of losing 40 lbs this year. So far I've lost between 30 and 35, so I'm very close. But I've been on something of a plateau for the last few months. The extra calorie burn, plus general energy boost (seriously, definitely kept my metabolism burning harder) has been helping, especially the last week or so. Hopefully I will be able to make up for lost ground after turkey season.

Or, even more hopefully, my hip will get better on it's own before or during NaNo, and I can reconvert my desk. Or de-unconvert it :)

Back to the topic at hand. In order to facilitate a less revision prone draft, I'm taking a few steps. These are the same steps I've come to believe in taking for all my work, so this is not really a surprise. I am doing a reasonable amount of background writing, re: characters, geography, history, etc. I am doing an outline, a much more cohesive (if not less pithy) one than last year. I'm putting way more thought into what I'm going to write, and much further in advance of the actual writing.

Most importantly, I'm going into all this with a clearer understanding of Story elements than I had last time around. Hopefully this will help keep me from running into any major snags as well, like the confusion-of-direction that plagued much of my short story writing earlier this year. Crosses fingers …

I've got high hopes that this year's NaNo will be just the boost my writing needs to make a more permanent transition to (mostly) long-form fiction. I think it will. Wish me luck.

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