The third day of nanowrimo is here and nearly gone and it has been terribly frustrating since day one. Nearly poked my eyes out a few times. The main thing that's getting to me is writing the bloody thing. After procrastinating for a while I managed to write 1,770 words on the first day, which ended up being a pile of poo. Paragraphs of crap aren't great motivators though I've heard they're great for throwing or lighting.
Another thing that wears me down is all this cheeriness coming out of nanowrimo. Great snakes, are they always like that?! What's with all the sappiness? Could it be me and my cheery self? Maybe I'm not used to Americanisms, apologies to Americans, but I swear to God some things on that site are highly irritating.
Enough of that.
Yesterday I managed 0 words! I stared at the screen and couldn't get the words out. Well done old chap! I'm sure the purpose of nano is not to shred holes in my confidence. At the moment it is taking a hammering. I came to the conclusion I have no idea why or what I'm writing. I continued in the same vein today. I managed, however, to type up 1324 words though I've been going for a mindless ride with my nonexistent plot. Here are a few of the scenes I managed to write:
- Two people in a canteen introduce themselves then get down to the serious business of talking about genetics as a lightning storm rages outside.
- A man stands on an abandoned runaway suddenly a helicopter flies overhead with a delivery from Fedex.
- Bob, the hungry milkman, licks his lips as he stares at a sandwich.
- A figure nears the edge of a city that's surrounded by a wall and proceeds to blow it up.
It is not all bad news. Reasons:
- I'm writing.
- I know where I'm going wrong - no bloody plot, no focus and purpose.
- I'm not the only one struggling - I'm certain I'm not alone in
my struggle. Someone else must be feeling the pain as well.
- A few realisations: writers write, it isn't easy writing (damn near impossible), habits must be formed, great stories are character driven, and time management is essential.
I had an epiphany, okay maybe that's too melodramatic, and maybe it's taken me far too long to figure it out but I realise now (bloody spell check at me again with my use of s - yes, I am a crank) that having a focus in the first place is the key. This informs the story and lets the writer know where they're heading. It establishes what drives the characters to act at the start of the writing adventure. I am wildly psychotic when it comes to writing ideas so having no character bios, beats, plot outlines and so forth in the first place lets my characters run riot, in fact they've trampled over me numerous times.
You can argue, of course, and say: "No, you've got it all wrong, let your characters run free. If you establish focus and give your characters traits and guidelines from the word go it holds them back from doing what they want. Don't put them in restraints."
What if I my character wants to frolic in the fields? He wants to dance butt naked - so be it. Aliens want to turn up and capture him and go to work on his ass. Sure let them. And if an asteroid happens to hit him in the middle of a probing session, and due to the collision, not anal probing, he develops superhuman powers let him be. If his only weakness happens to be he's allergic to olives and it turns out he has to stop the world's largest olive oil corporation from falling into the hands of the super villain, Juan Carlos, the olive fiend, let him be allergic.
I could continue in this vein for sometime. Maybe that is my calling, but for now I'd like to establish a focus, something I'm incapable of at times, and get a hold on structure. I could, however, resort to a story about a Mexican cross dresser who has his heart set on becoming a Guinness World Record champion for eating the most guacamole in a single sitting.
I may have a change of heart when nanowrimo is done and dusted. What do you think? Do you think fleshing out plot and character beforehand is beneficial or do you think it's too cruel and restrictive on the creative process?