Tuesday, November 29, 2011

NaNoWriMo 2011: Another Year, Another Novel

Tomorrow is the official end to NaNoWriMo 2011. For me, it's another year nearly over and another novel begun.
It takes a lot more than thirty days of writerly abandon to write a novel, but it's a good start. There will be months of hard writing and editing ahead, but the hard part is done.
The first draft looks and reads more like a chapter-by-chapter plot outline with chunks of dialogue, place and character descriptions and a few action scenes plugged in here and there as sign-posts.
The opening lines that were so casually written, erased and rewritten in the margins of my outline will probably find their way to the cutting room floor in the editing room in my mind, but for now they stand as a sign that the planning stage is over and real work of writing has begun.
There will be days of nearly blank pages, of using more red-ink than black before it is done. There will lost ideas and poorly constructed paragraphs, missing punctuation, mindless meddling with perfectly good sentences ... and adverbs looking for a place to hide.
Right now it's time to brew another pot of coffee, grab another plate of seasonal cookies and get back to writing.
So, so long NaNoWriMo. It's been fun.  Bon Voyage, and we'll see you next year.

Friday, November 25, 2011

I Hate First Drafts

I freely admit it! I Hate First Drafts... because they suck! 

Whether it's your first or your fiftieth novel or novelette or short story or... It makes no difference. When you're busy writing it, you'll think its the most brilliant and original thing you've done to-date.

... but when the ink dries and you've taken a deep breath, you realise upon re-reading your literary masterpiece just how much it sucks.

But guess what?

I believe that in the grand scheme of things, its supposed to. 

Believe-it-or-not, this is a good thing

By admitting this and giving yourself permission to suck, it allows you to get all the worst of the bad ideas for your novel/screenplay/short story/etc... out of your system. 
  • Regardless of the hours spent in research, character development and world-building. 
  • Regardless of the outline, the storyboard or all the fiddly bits you thought out and planned to put into it.
When you begin the first draft, don't worry about them or the gaps and gaffes and obvious nonsense. Play freely with all the little flights of fancy.

... And ignore the person with the red pen behind the little green screen in your mind.

Because the process of writing doesn't really begin until after the first draft is done. 

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

A Passing of A Legend: Anne McCaffrey

Anne McCaffrey, a wonderfully prolific author of great science fiction, fantasy, and romance novels, passed away today. She was 85.

Anne was born in 1926 in Cambridge, Massachusetts, graduated cum laude from Radcliffe College. After graduation she embarked upon a career in the theatre, acting in operas and operettas.

Anne ended her career on the stage ten years later and began writing fiction. Her first story, “Freedom of the Race,” was published in the Science Fiction Plus Magazine in October 1953, and her first novel, Restoree, in September 1967. 

I began reading her work in the late fifties when The Ship That Sang first appeared as a short story in the Fantasy and Science Fiction magazine. I have been a devoted fan ever since.

We love you Anne, and you will be missed. Rest in peace.

P.S. For those unfamiliar with her work, I include a link to a bibliography page here.