Previously on “NaNoWriMo: A Retrospective”: I discover that being literary is not really my forté.
2012 – Tantantara! Tzing! Boom!
Or, when I jumped the shark.
So. 2012. I had concerns about 2012. Although since 2009 I have been juggling NaNoWriMo around full-time work without too much trouble, this year my work has been a little bit more… demanding. On top of that, I was away until 29 October (squeezing my planning time) and I was off to a conference on the 28th, narrowing my writing time and reducing the odds that I could take leave in November to practically zero. Up until about a week before November, I intended to use NaNoWriMo to knock over Volume III of my webtrilogy, A Frequent Traveller’s Guide to Jovan. Having written mai magnum opus and my WWI feels, I didn’t really have another story on the production line. BUT. December was Big Bang Bang*Bang month at Shousetstu Bang*Bang, and I was deeply immersed in a box-set of all the Gilbert and Sullivan operettas, and… a few days before November 1, I decided to write a ridiculous formula M/M romance about putting on a production of The Pirates of Penzance. After four (or even five) years of Extremely Serious Fantasy, I slid all the way down the other end of the spectrum. I planned out Tantantara! Tzing! Boom! (which, by the way, you can read here, if you like G&S and M/M romance) to be ~30,000 words and allocated the other 20,000 to pushing along Steadfast.
Much to my surprise, I managed for the most part to sustain the 2,000 word pace, with some hiccoughs, although as I did in 2011, I stopped writing when I hit 50,000 and had the last five days of the month off, rather than continuing towards 60,000. Writing in a genre where there was a basic formula (although the Romance forum objected strongly to that claim), combined with the fact that watching ridiculous Canadian Iolanthe qualified as research, combined to make Tantantara! Tzing! Boom! pretty smooth sailing.
It ended up finishing pretty close to my budgeted 30,000 words, at which point I stopped writing for a few days, opened up Steadfast and took a kill-your-babies approach to restructuring it out of the confusing four-story structure and into a more linear chapter-based format, removing some sub-plots that just didn’t work and adding in some other elements that I wanted to include based on my continued fixation with WWI narratives. Then I dove back into writing it. It was a difficult story to pick up, and I didn’t make as much forward progress as I would have liked, because the restructure required a lot of back-writing. However, I know a lot of people say that during November you should just push forward and not edit, but for me editing is necessary. If there’s a structural issue that means that what has already been written needs to change, I have to fix it. I can’t just draw a line under it and move on, leaving it to be edited in December. It feels like building a house on rotten foundations. So my lesson for 2012 would be that if you gotta edit, you gotta edit. Just make sure you leave any culled words in the document somewhere so that you can still count them. *G*
Lesson: if you gotta plan, you gotta plan. And if that means getting a few days behind in your word count, that may be better pushing forward when there are issues in the background.
Next time on “Nanowrimo: a Retrospective”: I return to writing fantasy, but this time with teenagers!