Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Oh, My Aching Fingers!

NaNoWriMo word count is 32,609.

What have I learned so far? I've talked about some stuff on earlier posts, so these are just the new revelations:

1) Mind over matter doesn't work with arthritis. I've had pain in my fingers since I was in third grade. Some days it's just this background thing that I can ignore. Other days, it feels as if someone took a hammer to every joint. On any day, I have to be careful not to do too much hand-intensive work or I get to the point where I can't hold anything. So writing every day is thrashing my hands. The impact of typing has made every finger sore in the top knuckle. Must remember to take anti-inflammatory meds before I go to bed or the pangs will keep me awake for hours. (BTW - in addition to the NaNOWriMo word count, I have my weekly article on Oh Get a Grip which runs 1000 words on average, my blog entries here, and I finished two 4000+ word short stories, so my word output for the month is higher than the NaNo count)

2) I can write every day, "inspired" or not. I think that this is the real lesson behind NaNoWriMo. Buckle down and just write! However, there's a huge difference between my output on days that I'm really into it and days that I'm not, so from an artistic standpoint, it would be better to take off those uninspired days.

3) I think another lesson of NaNoWriMo, although possibly unintended, is to show people how very difficult it is to write a novel. Nothing kills the love for a story like having to write every damn word of it.
4) The outline is still working for me, but I skipped about eight scenes when I realized they weren't needed, moved others, and merged a few more. The setting of the ending scenes is going to change, because it made no sense to make all the characters go somewhere they hadn't been before to wrap things up, but the basic ending remains.

5) Research is seductive. It's so fun to spend time looking at ancient paintings of Chinese junks to see if they had a crow's nest, or reading about southeast Asian traditions for warding against ghosts. I love that part of writing. It's a huge time suck though, so if I can't think of a name for a mountain range, I put _ Mountains in the MS. If I don't know a funeral custom, I type ___research funeral custom__ in the sentence and just keep going. On the good side of it, I have tons of research to look forward to on the rewrite.

With 17,301 words to go, I can see that I'm nearing the climax too soon. That's not a problem. I'll write through to the end, then add a few scenes toward the beginning that I know that I need, and I'll clean up some of the scenes I wrote on uninspired days. They aren't hard to find. They're almost entirely dialog. Adding setting and beats could easily take me over the top of 50,000.

No comments: