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NaNoWriMo Week 2 – Didn’t Have Time to Write a Short One

November 12, 2012

If you blog at WordPress, you’ve probably seen it too. If you don’t: when I publish a post, I get a sidebar that tells me how many posts I’ve written, what tags I’ve used and some other stuff (I don’t pay much attention). And there’s always a writing-related quotation near the top.

One that turns up every once in a while is,

I am sorry to write such a long letter. I didn’t have time to write a short one.

or some variant of it. I don’t even know who WordPress says it’s from… Google isn’t much help. Might have been Mark Twain, Blaise Pascal, Voltaire, Proust, Pliny the Younger… and I’ll stop now. I saw at least another half a dozen names in one and a half pages of Google results.

Whoever said it… I could say something similar about my NaNoWriMo novel. I’m at 21212 words right now, nearly 3000 ahead of where I “should” be (if I wrote the minimum wordcount, 1667 words, every day), but so much of it is rubbish.

This year, I don’t have any characters who babble on endlessly, like Theresa in last year’s “Goblins”, but there’s still too much pointless detail, and too much pointless running around. Lots and lots that will have to be deleted. (Not in November, of course.)

This week, I’ve been thinking about what/how I want to write. I’ve been reading Ken Follett’s The Pillars of the Earth for the last couple of weeks, and while it’s a good enough book, I often found myself just skimming, skipping lots of lines. I don’t want to write a book like that (and right now, “The Bramble Prince” is going in that direction, 21K and still only two chapters). I want to write a book in which every line either contains information you can’t afford to miss, or is so beautiful that you don’t want to miss it (ideally, of course, both).

Another one of those quotations that I see now and then:

I try to leave out the parts that people skip. (Elmore Leonard.)

But that’s hard work. I don’t have time to think so carefully about every sentence, not in November. At our little write-in yesterday, we talked a bit about our different approaches to writing/planning our novels, and joked about how our they are influenced by our jobs. I don’t know if being a horticulturist and gardener is to blame for it, but I treat stories much like I treat plants: first simply let them grow any way they want, all over the place, and then prune them down into the shape I want them (although I’m also likely to just lose interest halfway through and not bother with the pruning part…)

So right now, I’m just glad that the words are flowing (sometimes), even if they’re just 3000 words about running through the forest, with a lot of whining about side stitches and stumbling. I can always prune it down later, and if nothing else, it teaches me a lot about Larin.

Poor little prince – so many things he doesn’t know, so many things he has never experienced. Makes me stumble occasionally when I’m writing and I realize: Wait a  moment, does he know what death really is? Does he even know what a father is? The poor boy has hardly ever seen any people except for his wet nurse, his mother and maybe a maid until he has to travel all the way across the country, and then gets abducted and plunged into a mad adventure of disguises, hiding among travelling storytellers and fleeing through the forest, not to mention random mayhem like tipped-over water barrels and escaped pigs…

Well, soon he should be safely out of the country and finding out why he had to be kidnapped, and I can move on to freeing his mother. I have no idea how I’m going to do that – but I had no idea how I was going to free Larin, either, until I wrote it!


One Comment leave one →
  1. November 14, 2012 14:40

    Aw, I want to read that novel now. Give me some excerpts in December please? :3

    And the writing influenced by jobs theory is interesting. I’ve always thought of writing as my job, but I guess right now I’m more of a cultural scientist. So that’d mean my style has a short and realistic quality, but I also have lots of symbolism and weird phrases that I made up / altered. There might be parallels to the endless debate of how useful cultural sciences really are…

    Anyway, I’ll stop rambling here. Good luck for the rest of November! You’ve enough time in December to think it through, or if you happen to come to a conclusion this month, you can try to include it and experiment a bit! 🙂

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