Actually it has been for about ten days now. BUT STILL. It's November. The month all NaNoers simultaneously love and hate has come.
So it's also time for the Beautiful Books link-up with Cait and Sky. Be sure to check out their blogs and join in the fun!
Overall, how is your mental state, and how is your novel going?
Overall, I'm good! I was pleasantly surprised to find that writing 2,000 words a day is actually doable, and I'm thrilled to be (pretty much) on target regarding word count. My novel is going swimmingly. Except for the fact that I my bad guys are about as boring as mashed potatoes with no salt or butter.
(That's okay in a first draft, right? Tell me it's okay in a first draft!)
Heh-heh-heh...you mean I have to show it to you? Okay fine. If you're a writer you'll understand what first drafts look like. :) Here's the first paragraph.
Alice and Jeanie were at their usual table eating ice cream when the cowboy walked in. He wasn't a real cowboy — Alice knew that from the moment she saw him — but he had the best outfit she had ever seen. His hat had a battered, busted look about it, but it hadn't lost its shape. And his boots — well! The floorboards creaked when he walked. The cowboy himself looked only nine or ten years old, though. So he couldn't have been real.
That's probably not going to be the real opening. A lot more needs to be established in the first scene than I thought. So that cowboy might not make his debut appearance until page 3 or so.
(You know what else? That opening line might just be vaguely copied from If We Survive, which is a book I've never ever read but which opening line Anna Deubell has marveled at...)
Who's your current favorite character in your novel?
My current favorite character? Golly, that's a hard one. Well, I really like Trick, the little cowboy at the very beginning. He made things really interesting really fast, and he's such a naughty little stinker, and the soft spot he's got for Jessie is just cute. I like Trick. :) Except he's been using rather modern phrases lately. Tsk tsk tsk. Don't you know you're from the 1800s, kid? You shouldn't be saying the villains are "bad news" and telling people to "grow up."
Michael and Ricky have been disappointing. (Which is probably good, otherwise they'd hijack the story.) Same with Jessie, who is turning out exactly like the Fairy Queen in my middle grade fantasy Lillian. I haven't really gotten to Sophia yet, but I'm hoping she'll live up to my ideas of her and not fall flat like all these other mischievous children of mine.
What do you love about your novel so far?
It's so much fun! It's like writing silly fan fiction with my own characters. There's so much room to play! I get to experiment with about three dozen different settings and a million different characters. And I keep discovering little connections and twists around every corner. It's very fun to decide an insignificant little guard is actually the son of an important someone. :)
Uh...well, there was this sentence:
"Yeah!" Trick sat up, showing his freckled face for the first time in several minutes.
The first time I typed it it turned out like this:
"Yeah!" Trick sat up, showing his freckled face for the first time in several months.
As Trick isn't exactly the Sleeping Beauty type, that made me chuckle. :) Also, I accidentally typed "jumple" instead of "jumble" a couple of times. "Jumple" is a fun word, isn't it? I should name somebody's pet "Jumple" in this book.
What is your favorite to write: beginning, middle, or end - and why?
Eh, I know not. I supposeth the beginning. That's when the story seems to have the most potential and when it's most free of tangles and blank spaces and plot holes. The middle is fun for awhile when I've still got a lot of juice in my creativity tank. It's exciting, then, to see ideas for scenes develop just where and when I need them, like landmarks appearing on a blank horizon as I drive closer to my goal.
The end always sounds fun to write. Towards the end of the middle I rush through my story in an attempt to get to my climax, and then I usually make a jumble (or is it jumple?) of my climax in my eagerness to reach the denouement. And then by the time I get to the denouement I'm ready to slump over the keyboard and pound out "THEN EVERYBODY DIED THE END" just to be done with it.
I write whenever I can squeeze in the time. Lately I've been trying to get all my schoolwork done and then tackle those 2,000 words; but between geometry, Latin, history, chemistry, literature, philosophy, six little siblings, and dirty dishes that doesn't always work out. Usually I get most writing in sometime in the afternoon.
There's no specific writing space I cozy up in; most of my writing time is spent at the family's computer desk or on a couch or outside with a notebook in my lap. Mom bought me a wonderful little pack of mechanical pencils the other day with beautiful soft smooth leads, and I have been reveling in those. And I finally found a use for the notebook my grandma got me last Christmas! Sometimes I make myself a cup of tea if I'm bored. And once in a while I'll listen to Les Miserables or classical/band music or something to pass the time while I'm typing up what's already in my notebook.
How private are you about your novel while you're writing? Do you need a cheer squad or do you work alone (like, ahem, Batman)?
I'm not private about my WIPs at all. I might try to be at first, but I always end up spilling some or all of the beans to my siblings and/or writer friends. It's just to fun to chatter about characters, and too tempting to groan about plot holes. I think a cheer squad really helps me. (If you need a cheer squad, I highly recommend getting a little sister. If she doesn't seem interested in your current book and is stuck on an older manuscript, give her a character of her own to design in your new one. That should work.)
What keeps you writing even when it's hard?
My word count. I don't like being behind. (Although I am, currently. By about 2000 words. Must needs fix that.) Also my encouraging siblings and friends. And being able to jump to a different scene when one POV/conflict/setting isn't working out. *glares with author's exasperation at Michael Mulligan, who just had to stumble into a conversation with the most underdeveloped bad guys in the history of writing*
What are your top 3 pieces of writing advice?
The advice I've been telling myself lately includes:
1. Make writing a priority, but not the priority. Your identity as a writer isn't as important as your identity as a daughter/sibling/student/friend/etc. Take the time to help around the house and spend time with your family, and the time to write will come.
2. Don't think "I've got to follow the writing rules," think "I've got to make something beautiful." Writing advice is great, but there's a danger (at least for me) of falling into a mindset that you have to write the way other people are writing. This mindset can lead to writing in a way you don't really find beautiful -- that you don't really care about. Work hard to make something you think is good, true, and beautiful.
3. Have fun! Lots and lots of fun. Love your characters, love your setting, love your premise, and run with it.
Especially since I'm behind in my word count! Oh...wait...I have homework. That's right, I have homework. Darn.
Well! How is NaNo going for you, my friends? Do tell me I'm not the only one who has been utterly neglecting things like email and schoolwork for the sake of storytelling.