Friday, November 5, 2010

The Numbers

First off you all have to know how silly I feel doing this. As in, how much more of a dork can I be to participate in this Nanowrimo thing and then, even worse, use it as a jumping off point for my blog? But here's the deal. I'm in it, and as long as I'm in it I may as well play it up for all the dorkiness this process affords. I will say this. Even now as I type away, I've already developed this mindset of stretching sentences out to include superfluous verbiage in the quest to run up the word count in as expedient a manner as possible. The thought has crossed my mind that perhaps this is a dangerous precedent, as the craft of novel writing is to make every word count (okay, I see you rolling your eyes). Keep the reader hungry for more, not fleeing for the nearest exit to avoid a bombardment of excessive letter bombs being flung their way. I'm sure everyone who is a reader has run across a book they simply couldn't finish because they had to stop every three seconds to clear a path through the weeds simply to comprehend what that fifty word sentence was really trying to say. In fact, one of the areas in which I've trained myself to be painfully cognizant of, is that it's very easy for me to overwrite. If there was a support group for this addiction--something along the lines of "Overwriters Anonymous" I would be the first one to jump up, coffee in hand, and introduce myself to the group.

But this "Nano" thing pushes the writer to do exactly the opposite. When you're trying to crank out close to two thousand words a day on a novel, you can't be afraid of adverbs and purple prose. Long, rambling paragraphs that do nothing to move the plot forward should be embraced. Telling, not showing is admired. As their website says, "Thirty days and nights of literary abandon," the operative word in that being 'abandon'. Abandon every thing you've ever read on how to write that bestseller. Write sentences that you would very, very, very much never allow in a final draft. As you may have notice, I'm doing it right now.

So here are my numbers as of day five: Total words written so far = 6,730. Total words written today = 1,404. Total words required today = 1,667. Words until today's goal is met = 263. Current trend - 2 days behind schedule. Words per day to finish on time = 1731. Total words needed to finish = 43,270.

Again, if I was reading this on someone else's blog I'd be rolling my eyes in disdain. This whole thing goes against every principle I've established in my philosophy of artistic expression. I've always been a quality over quantity guy and this...well...this ain't that. But like I said, I'm in it, and if there's one principle I place over all others, it's that commitments should not be made lightly and I've committed to do this because shying away from new experience and alternative lifestyle methods is like poison for the soul.

Hee Haw


Andrea said...

When you are writing are you at a desk in an straight-backed chair? Is it at the kitchen table/office with non GMO snacks? Do you lounge on the couch with a laptop on your, um, lap? Do you stay in bed with the blankets and pillows, all snuggly-wuggly, and write from the horizontal position? (My favorite) Just trying to get an idea of what a serious writer looks like as he is crafting. Maybe I'll look serious one day if only I know what it looks like.

D.A.A. Price said...

I have a small spot underneath the dining room table where my IBM Selectric and I are cloaked behind the over-sized, red-checkered table cloth that hangs down to the floor. I liken it to a snow fort, only not as cold and not nearly as white. While this works pretty well, I'm still trying to figure out how best to beat the ferret, named Jango, to all the good table scraps.