The husband is sleeping behind me, so I don’t want to kick on WoW and do a couple dailies before work ’cause I’ll probably wake him up. Then again, probably not. He could sleep through damn near anything. Regardless, I’m attempting the role of a loving wife, so we’ll stick with the first statement. Instead, I figured I’d type a bit because it’s relatively quiet, but I’m sort of stuck right now in my book I’m working on for NaNo. It’s an odd feeling.
The first year I did NaNo, I worked on Book Three in my fantasy series. When I first started writing the series when I was living in France, I wrote tons and tons of notes for the first few books, and over the years, I’d accumulated even more notes for each of the nine novels in the series, most of the notes for the first few books because they were going to be written, well, first. So when I started NaNo back in 2008, I had lots and lots and lots of notes to work from when I began writing. It made it go really quickly, and I broke the 100k mark before the end of November.
The second year I did NaNo, I decided to work on Book Four in the Solennelle & O series. I’d already finished Book Three then Book Two (yes, I wrote them out of order), so Book Four made sense. I had notes for it, but I didn’t have as many notes for Book Four as Book Three because I’d changed entire sections of the plot not long before doing NaNo in 2009, so there were large parts of my previous notes that were now useless. I was also running NaNo write-ins at the library now, so I had more on my plate and less time to write than in 2008. Regardless, I managed to do really well and blow away the 50k goal with no problem. That being said, the book has yet to be finished, and I’ve only just now realized it’s been sitting and festering for two whole years. Blech!
Last year, I knew I didn’t want to work on Book Five in the Solennelle & O series because I hadn’t finished Book Four, but I didn’t know what else to work on. I had a romance novel idea that I’d been tooling around with, but I wasn’t really in the mood to write it. Instead I came up with something fairly different. I had just purchased a bunch of withdrawn copies of Choose your own Adventure books from the library, and I used to love reading those all the time when I was younger. I thought it would be fun to write my own, so I used my main characters and gave them all the simple task of buying O a birthday present then decided to see where it took me. The notes didn’t start accumulating until about a month before NaNo started, but they were really simple to come up with. All I needed to know was who was going shopping, what items they were given the choice to buy, and what locations they were given to buy them from. From there, the only difficulty was in making sure the stories synced up at the birthday party, and that was that. I completed my 50k goal and got a whole book out of it that has already been edited on paper and simply needs editing on the computer. There wasn’t a lot of planning, but the result was the same: book.
This year, however, I’m over halfway through NaNo and I’m pretty lost. Like last year, I didn’t want to work on Book Five in the series because (as I mentioned before) I haven’t finished writing Book Four yet. There are other side books in the Solennelle & O universe I want to write, and I’ve got some notes for most of them though nothing extensive. I’ve even got one of them started up insofar as there’s an introductory chapter and a chapter one. Still, I really feel the obligation to finish Book Four before starting yet another Solennelle & O book. I didn’t know what to write. This year has been hell on me concerning my hectic schedule plus the month-and-a-half-long series of illnesses that have kept me from getting much done anywhere let alone on my writing. With NaNo a week away, I was scrambling for book ideas. I had two that I seriously considered working on: space exploration with some alien conflicts (yeah, I seriously watch a lot of Star Trek) and another about an injured merman getting brought aboard a ship and the crew trying to figure out what to do with him. I had all of about two pages of notes written up for each of these story ideas. I opted for the one that takes place on Earth because I would spend less time trying to come up with alien names and alien races as well as trying to figure out how space works (or should work in my own novel’s universe), but a couple days into working on the book at the start of November, I realized I just don’t know a lot about the ocean and would have to spend as much time just researching different types of research vessels, fish anatomy, and the geography of the Pacific. This is what a lack of notes does: it takes time away from writing when writing should be done and takes precedence because without the research, what is there to write?
Another thing that a lack of notes does is forces me to constantly have to stop what I’m doing and wonder where I’m going. I had parts of this story more or less figured out in my head, but there are huge tracts of time when nothing’s going on. When nothing’s going on, there’s nothing to write and I don’t meet my word count. Mind you, I’m right where I’m supposed to be, more or less, following NaNo’s average of 1,667 words per day, but it’s not like the previous years. The previous years, I was so far ahead that I could stop writing for days and not have it make a dent in my lead. But I’m stuck. I’m not sure where I’m going. I’m not familiar with the characters. I’m not even sure how the book is going to end. I’m not one of those writers who can just start a project with nothing to work from. I need some sort of plan, even a tenuous one, to keep moving forward. The fact that work has been stressing me out really doesn’t help. I’ve been having to take more and more work home because my supervisor won’t give me any time to work on it there. Now that she has her new office, none of us will ever see her at the desk again, and that means I’m going to spend nearly all of my forty hours standing at a terminal when I should be working on the grant, on the craft club, on the movie night programs, on the other programs that other employees are starting to do, on signs and posters, and on a half dozen other things that I work on there. Yeah, it sucks, and that annoyance and frustration follows me home and makes me not want to write but instead to nap or play video games or do any number of things that don’t matter because I don’t want that anger seeping into my novel. I’m losing the small lead I had, and even though I’m taking vacation time next week to work on the novel and relax, not having much in the way of notes means I may not get very far ahead. I think this will be the first year that I’ll be grateful just breaking 50k, not blowing it away.
At any rate, it’s time to head to work. Whee. Maybe when I get home later this evening, I won’t be so exhausted and in pain to prevent me from writing. Not that there’s a chance of that, but it’s a nice thought. NaNo is tough this year. Maybe I should use the rest of November this year coming up with notes for next year.