Posts categorised ‘Writing’

Isn’t this always the way? Best way to get ideas for a section of my novel I’ve been struggling with = try very hard to work on a different section of it, and see the ideas for the first section suddenly start to flow. I’m not complaining – it’s been a very productive day ideas-wise – but 🤯

Today I actually dared to reread my novel (well, two novels? I reread part 1 and then my NaNoWriMo draft of part 2). Surprisingly, part 2 was not as bad to reread as it felt while I was writing it. I even feel like I have a better idea of where to take it now. So, yay!

Link: “Don’t Just Create One Big Story, Build a Mosaic of Tiny Stories!” by Charlie Jane Anders

Original post found at: https://buttondown.email/charliejane/archive/dont-just-create-one-big-story-build-a-mosaic-of/

I really like stories that have a lot of other, smaller stories embedded within them, like a glittery mosaic. A rich, layered world is often one where there are stories everywhere you look — and the same goes for a complex, interesting character. A really interesting story, often as not, is one that atomizes down into a bunch of smaller stories that feed into the main narrative.

When I started reading, I was like, “Argh, oh no, I don’t need any more encouragement to keep filling my novel with side stories!” But then I kept reading, and I was convinced: I totally do need to add more side stories.

Anders demonstrates with a couple of descriptions of the same fictional New England town, one which doesn’t make passing reference to all kinds of events that have happened there over its recent history and one that does. She compares them like this:

[…] the second feels more intimate than the first: the narrator knows the town and the people, and there’s a familiarity. In the first version, the narrator is looking in from outside, and the town feels smaller and sadder. Packing in all those details about why things are the way they are gives more realism and adds more, I dunno, texture.

Nothing ever springs up out of nowhere fully formed, unless we’re talking about pre-fab houses and sports stadiums. Everything comes from somewhere and is shaped by countless happenstances.

She also talks about how she filled in a lot of the details in her book The City in the Middle of the Night, which I really enjoyed, and that largely was due to its awesome world-building. So, you know. As I said, I’m convinced. Stories within stories!

I really need things to be intrinsically rewarding, or else I leave them to the last second I possibly can. So that’s why there’s 54 minutes left of NaNoWriMo and I still need to write 979 more words 😪

UPDATE: ALL RIGHT, at 11:41pm I did it, I made it to 50,000! (50,035 in fact!) 🥳 So excited that this ordeal (which I understand was totally self-imposed) is OVER! Don’t think I’m going to be looking back at much of what I wrote this month for quite a while 😬

Had a pretty bad NaNoWriMo day yesterday, and given how late it is in the month that means I now need to write 4.5k words in two days to “win” the challenge. Doable, certainly, but I don’t think it’s gonna be easy 😪

I don’t think I’ve ever had a NaNoWriMo before where I’ve hewed so closely to the exact word target for each day. Usually I race ahead until I hit a brick wall, then desperately try to think of a way forward before the inexorable march of NaNoWriMo catches up with me and my brick wall, lol.

Anyway, finished today at 41,668 words, so I’m a single word in surplus 🥲 The major issue, which I am leaving for Future Me to deal with, is that I’ve run out of outline again.

I meant to get something like this up a little earlier in the month, so you’d have some idea of what my NaNoWriMo project is, beyond just a series of word counts 🙂 Nonetheless, it’s up now! I’ve published a wiki page about my WIP, with some background on the plot and how long I’ve been writing it and so forth.

As far as NaNoWriMo goes, I had a few above-par productive days, and then a couple of below-par days. Yesterday I ran out of outline, so a large chunk of my time today was taken up sketching out an outline of the next umpteen thousand words. Hoping to do a bit more writing after dinner but I’ve hit today’s par figure – I’m at 30,066 in total – so at least I’m not falling back behind!

For all my worries in the last few days about how tough the writing was going to get once I reached the next part of my outline that seemed like a “talking heads” section, today’s NaNoWriMo writing is actually going great (1,716 words before it was even noon, score!). It turned out that there was more simmering tension in that part than I’d realised, which made it more enjoyable to write 🙂 Onwards and upwards!

NaNoWriMo, Day 13

Overall, I’ve had a tough NaNoWriMo so far. On top of real life making it difficult to find the time for the first third of the month, I’ve been struggling with an outline that really wasn’t anywhere near detailed enough. When I’ve pushed through and forced myself to write anyway – because I’ve kind of had to, if I wanted to complete the challenge – this has exposed a …

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a cartoony avatar of Jessica Smith is a socialist and a feminist who loves animals, books, gaming, and cooking; she’s also interested in linguistics, history, technology and society.