Monday, November 1, 2010

No Plot Might Actually Be a Problem!

I have really been excited for the National Novel Writing Month (which will be referred to from this point on as NaNoWriMo), which begins today-- November 1st.  I almost bought a new teapot yesterday to celebrate the kick off.  But I realized I can just warm up my water in the microwave like I have for years and save myself the $25. 

To make it to the 50,000 word goal by the end of the month, I should write about 1,666 words each day. I never use word count, so that number was completely arbitrary to me.

Until this morning.

I've been sitting at my computer since 9am.  Two hours.  I've already started, and restarted my novel twice.  Putting my thoughts into any kind of reasonable order when dealing with a story this long is hard.  I'm already having serious doubts about where my story is headed. 

And I think I'm going to finish it in much less than 50,000 words. I think I might be done with it by the end of the week.  And instead of it being a novel, it might just be a short story.  I may not be drinking loads of tea like I thought I would. One thing I'm feeling good about is the fact that I did not buy the teapot I had nearly convinced myself yesterday that I needed.

I have no idea what I'm doing.  And it's not one of those times where I'm on a big learning curve that feels challenging, but good.  No, this doesn't feel good at all.

This whole idea of "No Plot, No Problem"? Well, I'm re-thinking that now.  It may actually a pretty big problem after all.

Writers, any tips?  Suggestions?


Lisa said...

I'm not a writer and I'm definitely not very good with words but maybe just write stream of consciousness stuff - that might get you going.
Hope your cute baby is okay with the little kitty bandaid on it's nose!
I read your post about the trick or treaters - definitely fewer this year and they mostly seemed grumpy. I could barely get a "Trick or Treat" out of many of them despite my costume and a cheery "Happy Halloween!" Oh well.
Good luck with the writing. Don't get discouraged on your first day!

rob said...

Well here's something that might help conquer one of the hardest parts of writing... the blank page.

I was sitting in traffic yesterday and I was looking around me as I sat at a red light. In the cars around me I saw something that made me think, "man, what are they talking about? What is going on in that car?"

It was a dad and his son of about 12 years old or so. They were driving a car that looked like it was barely hanging on. Smoke puffed from an aging exhaust and dents and rust showed it had seen some time on the road.

The dad was pretty animated as he was talking to his son but I couldn't really tell if he was angry or trying to impart wisdom.

The son looked at him in a way that I couldn't really tell if he was listening with interest or apathy.

Anyway... my point is, if you sit somewhere long enough and just people watch, you can get enough info from someone to have a character (or two or ten) with all their quirks, interest and history but still leave you asking enough questions that you can fill in as a writer to use as your story.

What do you think? Does that make sense at all?

Kerri said...

yes! rob, that does make sense.
i think i'm just over-reacting to my first day at this.
after i posted this blog i went on a run and my head began to clear. this is just the beginning of a month long endeavor. my original intention was to just have FUN with it. so i'm going to let it go in whatever direction it does and not judge it.
thank you, lisa and rob for your comments!

soraya nulliah said...

Kerrie...I just write write my journal where no-one can see! There will be a lot of really bad stuff but also some stuff worth salvaging or rewriting. I really admire all these (really difficult) challenges you take on!!! Last time was writing all those songs in 30 days! Good for you! the Halloween candy by the way!!

Melissa Sarno said...

Just keep going. I'm positive you'll be able to make it through your first day and this week, and the month! I wish I had advice, but I think you just need to keep writing and writing and don't think about what you've written. Your characters will tell you their story, so don't worry about the plot. And you definitely should have bought that tea pot... ;-)

Heather said...

yay for you! enjoy the concert! xx

Kerri said...

yep-- i'm investing in the teapot. :) it will show i'm committed. and i AM!

this free bird said...

Just go with it. I know that sounds nuts, but just start writing. AND GET THE TEAPOT. Microwave = devil. hehe only kinda


Jess said...

I find to unleash the creative pourings you need to just sit down and write anything at all and then once the 'tap' is on, you'll find some good things appearing more and more! good luck, I'm very impressed with people who write! xx

patty said...

Kerri, I have no intention of writing a novel, but I am reading "escaping into the open - the art of writing true" by Elizabeth Berg. I rarely even read novels, but I do like hers so I decided to read the book. She writes more about relationships and down-to-earth stuff than big events and I just really like her style. Anyway, the book is filled with great suggestions. Take your time and do what feels right and don't put too much pressure on yourself!!

Jadyn said...

Yes, I think getting that tea pot would be a good first step... :)
I don't have much advice other than that one thing often leads to the next once we're invested in the process - you might find your short story turns into a novel after all. Or maybe one short story will lead to another and you'll write a collection of short stories. I love hearing how you experienced the first day, I hope you keep sharing your ups and downs. :) Good luck!

Unknown said...

Argh, no suggestions! But I get stuck with graphic design, and it's really difficult, the only thing I can do is just keep designing crap until something hits me, so maybe you should write crap until the muse hits you, lol! We're all capable of producing crap, and producing gems! XX!

Anonymous said...

Writing is like anything else: it flows when it flows! The teapot should definitely help ;)

Besides, how cute is your pooch with a pink Hello Kitty bandage?!?!?

Kerri said...

well the general consensus seems to be:

write, write, write, and write some more.

so i'm going to take that advice.
thank u so much for taking the time to chime in and pep me up when i needed it. i'm good now! :)

and zoe had a bloody nose the other day, but the hello kitty bandage took care of it and she is just fine!! :) thank u, gwynnie for asking!

Rona Gregory said...

Don't stress just write! I am a 'new' writer in the sense that I write and actually get published (albeit in a small local newspaper -gotta start somewhere!)so I don't know half of it let alone all of it! BUT I find if I don't stress about whether or not I can do, can I meet the deadline, what can I write about and just write SOMETHING every day, then pretty soon it just sorta grows. Does that help?

Thank you for popping by my blog BTW, and for leaving your nice comments!

Ro xx

Unknown said...

I also am working on the NaNoWriMo Project, and am finding I definitely need to define my plot. I have 4 characters, and a lot of descriptions and pretty scenery...all with a common my head, however, where are they headed? how will this all tie together? WE shall see....

Laurie said...

Ooh...good luck with this!!! Puppy has an owie???