Greetings fellow word burglars, It is day three, and if you haven’t started your masterpiece of a manuscript yet, don’t fret, there is still plenty of time left to face-roll your keyboard and make magic happen.
My quick little update is I read the first two scenes and edited them to make them more alive. I know – I know…that’s breaking a cardinal rule of nano, but because I wasn’t feeling the characters (giggity) and couldn’t get my head into the world I designed, I had to do something against the grain.
So, I broke the rules.
And with the first two scenes in a much better place, I wrote two more scenes right afterwards, closing out the first chapter of the book and changing the entire outline.
In other words: Sometimes you have to do something drastic, or different, or even start over, when the thing you’re trying to do feels right. You’ll know it when it hits the right chord and the band hits the groove. And right now all the players are in the right position for the second chapter. I couldn’t begin to tell you what’s going to happen next, because they haven’t told me. It’ll come out when I start writing.
That’s the nice thing about pantsing a story like this, or nano in general: Some stories require a tight and detailed outline for the pieces to fall into place, and others don’t fit together no matter how hard you try. This story is of the latter. I’m just the conduit while the characters tell me what to do as I watch them play in the sandbox in my head.
And the way this is going – I wouldn’t have it any other way.
In other news, my good friend Moses posted this excerpt the other day and it helped me put more of a perspective on things. Maybe it will help you as well:
“When we start out most of us measure success in much the same way: it’s the dream of being able to write full time, and by that we mean earning enough to do nothing but write. It’s that imagined future that haunts us, but it’s also the one pulling us forward. We’re all stuck in a skewed value system that is most content keeping us in our place, wherever that place may be. So, who or what is your enemy? Here’s a hint from an old hand at this: it only seems to be inside you. Truth is, it’s out there. But, unlike many people, you have both the talent and the ability to face it down, day by day, word by word. Writing and the need to keep doing it may seem like a curse at times, but it’s the opposite. It’s your weapon, and your armor. It’s the white-hot core inside you that no heel can ever crush. We all need to argue against reality, to rail against it, in fact. For all the shit out there, all the fucked up idiocy of a culture and civilization bent on self-destruction, your only answer — your only riposte — is to face that blank screen or blank page, and to conjure up yet one more gesture of humanity. Really, what else can you do? One last thing, not as a warning but as a promise: the doubt never ends, no matter how successful you come to be. Writing, like all art, is (for me) an ongoing reconciliation with failure. And writing is keeping the negotiation alive: there’s no crawling out of, only crawling through, and guess what? It’s fine. It’s livable, when nothing else — for you and for me — is. So take a breath, make a fist, and set out to beat your demons to a pulp. Oh, and if you want more of this, check out lifeasahuman.com, and my essays on writing (Steven Erikson, archived). Cheers, and be well.”
Day 3 should have your manuscript sitting around 5,000 words, but if you’re not close to that number, it’s still nothing to worry about. Try hitting closer to 2000+ a day for the next few days and hopefully the nano site will be fixed by then (it’s been broken since the 1st with all the people trying to update at once.)
P.S. I was trying to plan a Google Hangout or Twitch stream to get everyone together for a few sprints if anyone’s interested. Leave a comment or message on here or Twitter/Facebook/G+ if you’re interested.