Thursday, November 6, 2014

Here we go, NaNoWriMo 2014!

Well, I'm giving it a shot! So far, I have something in the neighborhood of 2200 words written, so I'm on track to achieve my 50K in something like February. But some writing is better than no writing! And I'm hoping my husband will be able to take the three year old to the park or something for longer this weekend, and I can maybe get a bit more caught up.

I deliberated a lot about what to write. I had a dream with this awesome setting. I can really see it working for a Harry Potter-esque young YA fantasy novel in a steampunk/early dieselpunk setting--you know, 1920s again, maybe with more of an art nouveau feel than The City Darkens. The trouble is, it really hasn't had enough time to percolate, so I'm going to put it on hold.

I decided to go with another idea I've been chewing on for the last year or so, which is more of a sort-of cyberpunk, futuristic urban fantasy dystopia story. I still haven't fully decided if I'm going for YA or New Adult in terms of my target audience... the difference is how much sex there'll be in it. I'm being vague about my MC's age for the time being (2200 words in, it's not hard to be vague about that) and I guess when I get to the first scene where sex is an option, I'll see how I feel about it. Oh the joys of NaNo, where you really don't know quite what you're writing until you get to like, the 30K mark.

That said, I did create an outline for this novel, which is unheard of for me. I figure with how little time I have in each sitting, I need a road map or I'm going to get lost. However, yesterday I was looking at it and I'm not sure what I meant by half of what I wrote. So there's that.

I'm a pantser at heart.

How about you? Are you doing NaNoWriMo this year? How well is it going, if so? What kind of story are you writing? Are you a plotter or a pantser?


  1. Oh my gosh, he's already three.

    You could write a version with the sex and write a version without. The version with the sex would be the director's cut. You could even include director's commentary, like the Talmud. With diagrams! Then it REALLY wouldn't be YA.

    I'm such a plotter, in both fiction and term papers: all plot, no metaphoric pants.

    Do you plot gratuitously when you write academic papers? Or are you an academic panster as well?

  2. I haven't done any writing on it since the 2200 word mark, so it's definitely slow going. But I will let you know how the inclusion or exclusion of sex scenes and the Talmut is shaping up when it becomes relevant. ;)

    My process for writing academic papers is do a bunch of reading and note taking, then go back through the notes and highlight with different colors as to theme. Eg. in the paper I wrote on the Enola Gay controversy of 1994-1995, let's say I used blue for all the stuff pertaining to the decision to drop the bombs, green for anything to do with representations of the aftermath, red for different historical stances on the necessity of the decision, etc. Then I reorganize the notes so that I've grouped everything according to color. Then I decide which parts contain the strongest arguments. Depending on how the length is looking I'll maybe drop one or two of the colors corresponding to notes with the weakest arguments. Then I organize by medium-weak-strong, and write the paper following along that organization.

    So definitely different from being a pantser, but I wouldn't really call it outlining, either.

    My biggest problem in grad school was when they'd want the thesis statement turned in before I'd written the paper. I never have the thesis statement done before the paper. I have a question in my head that's really vague, like, "What were the sides of the Enola Gay controversy trying to argue and why?" and then I do everything I just explained above and write the paper and *then* I can tell what the thesis statement is. You know, I look at the whole picture and I'm like, okay, so my point here with this paper is, "The Enola Gay controversy of 1994-1995 sheds light on the 'culture wars' of the 1990s by elucidating the factions that developed--one side, broadly, interested in maintaining a positive memory of World War II untainted by the consequences of the bombing of Hiroshima--the other side intent on using the bombings to hold accountable the 1945 government which may have put the demands of 'atomic diplomacy' ahead of the ethical dilemma over whether the bombings were actually necessary." Except when I looked back at my paper I didn't actually have a very clear thesis statement there. So maybe I just suck at thesis statements. Which I can live with, though it does handicap me a bit as an effective history teacher.