Wednesday, December 4, 2013

IWSG: Does Lightning Ever Strike Twice?


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It never fails. In December, I look at my NaNo draft and think. "Did I really just spend a whole month writing this…drivel?" (I actually use a different word but this is a relatively family-and-tortoise-friendly blog.) Then I start thinking about all the other things I could have, should have, done instead, and I want to throw away the whole manuscript and all the notes I can't read and that make no sense. For example: "The bag is gone!" Whaaaat? What bag? Whose bag? Is that even what it says or could it actually be "The dog is gone!" or "The bag is bone!" Knowing me, that "bone" one makes more sense….)

But I think what hangs me up the most is that every year I look at the NaNo draft as potentially "THE ONE" - the novel that will get me an agent, a publisher, great reviews, loyal fans, etc. That's a lot of pressure to put on a pile of paper and a half formed - at best! - story. Part of that comes from my first ever NaNo experience - many, many years ago - when I did actually snag an agent with that revised manuscript. Nothing ever came of it though, and the agent and I parted ways amicably.

But I continue to see many published authors saying their newly published novel was a 2008, 2009, 2011 NaNo project. I worry that the lightning won't strike twice for me. I wonder what I'm doing wrong. 

But then I look at that pile of paper, and I think the time was well spent after all. I met some interesting people in those pages, and I rode some interesting roller-coaster plot twists.  

And really, what else was I going to do in November anyway? Clean my house? Yeah, right.

32 comments:

  1. Your notes made me chuckle.
    Don't put so much pressure on yourself. If you relax and have fun with it, it'll be the best thing ever. Plus you'll be more apt to experiment and take it new places with no inhibitions.

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    1. Good points, Alex, and I look forward to giving them a try. Thanks! :)

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  2. I think it will strike twice, or maybe even three times. Knowing how great your short stories are I have no doubt your manuscripts are equally amazing.

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  3. I hope 2013 NaNo is the one for you. Congrats on completing it.

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  4. So nice to meet you! I write so I can one day afford to live at the beach. Soooo, I am already envious of you! I can't help but feel frustrated with my first drafts, but then I remind myself that everyone's first draft is crap and what separates the good from the bad and ugly is the edits that writers pour into a piece.

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    1. Don't be envious! I don't live THAT close - I still have to drive to it. :)

      Thanks for joining us here at TSR!

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  5. Why clean when it's so much more fun to write! I'm proud of you for participating in NaNoWriMo. That rocks. Now you have time to take a deep breath and chill for a bit.

    And, hey, who knows…lightening may strike again. Look how many times it hits the Empire State Building. =)

    co-host IWSG
    Elsie

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    1. Oh, it is definitely more fun to write than to clean! And I'll keep the Empire State Building in mind.... :)

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  6. Having never gone as far as even showing one of my novels to a friend let alone an agent I'm afriad I have little advice for the lightning piece. But having authored many terrible, messy piles of paper myself over the past November I can say that I KNOW it's NOT a waste of time. We learn, we grow and every now and again we get some really brilliant ideas down on paper. And yeah, we'll have to revise the hell out of those messy manusripts to turn them into something that works- but that's what it's all about. Love your novel, as much of a mess as it is. That's what I gotta do, at least.

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    1. That's what I'm going to do, too - love my messy novel. :)

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  7. HA! You crack me up! But yes... many drafts to done for me, and NaNo is only the first. I am currently publishing what was a BuNo (my writing group's June equivalent) for 2012, but that was my 13th book, so I HOPE I have learned something. About half of my NaNo/BuNo attempts will at some point be publishable, but only one of them (BuNo 2009) ever got to 'agented and submission' (not sold).

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    1. :)

      And I still don't know how you balance all that you have going on!

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  8. It's definitely worth your time and all your hard work! Your short stories that I've read are beautifully crafted. You have the heart and the soul of a writer. A family and tortoise friendly writer. :)
    Lightning can strike twice.

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    1. Thank you so much! Your comment really made my day. :)

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  9. I still have last year's NaNo novel in its first draft form. I will attempt to make sense of it one day. I think the NaNo novels that get published are much more the minority than you think they are - like you say, it's a lot of pressure to put on a pile of paper, and yourself. I'm sure you'll find the bones of something amazing, when you start to redraft it :-)

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    1. I think believing the bones are there - which I do! - is an important step. Thanks for the reminder. :)

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  10. First, congratulations on getting through NaNoWriMo! The month is about laying out the skeleton outline for your book, so if it's not at final draft mode yet, you're absolutely good. My NaNoWriMo draft was really messy when I was done with it last year. I could honestly say I felt happy and sad at the same time while scanning through it. So I think I know how you're feeling.

    I am hopeful for you that you will continue to make big strides with this current WIP.

    ...Judging by all the comments you receive here, I'd say you already have loyal fans. =)

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    1. What a wonderful reminder, Cynthia! I already do have amazing and loyal fans. Thank you! :)

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  11. That's WHY we write, right, so we don't have to clean house. lol. :) You never know when it's going to be the 'one' this one might be it!

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    1. No wonder I rarely ever lived in a clean room/house. :)

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  12. I have similar issues with scribbled notes, especially the one ones written in the middle of the night.

    I think lightning very definitely can strike twice, just have to keep at it.

    mood
    Moody Writing

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    1. If it was those middle of the night notes, I'd understand. But these are often middle of the day notes, and I still can't read them. Sigh. :)

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  13. I'm in awe of anyone who does NaNo. And nothing you write is ever wasted. That metaphorical lightning will strike again soon I'm sure...

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    1. You should definitely give NaNo a try! They have two sessions of Camp NaNo, one in April and one in July, if those times work better. Also, lots of people go the Rebel route - writing a bunch of short stories instead of a novel, etc.

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  14. Yeah, my NaNo novels have always been REALLY rough, but at least it's something to work with. It's awesome to think that at the end, you've got 50,000 or more words sitting there...from nothing!

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    1. It really is something when you think about it - in the beginning of November, we have nothing but an idea, maybe a few notes, an outline. By the end of the month, a story that never existed before now lives and breathes. :)

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  15. I've had similar thoughts myself. Although I didn't make the goal this year, the writing time was still valuable. Making writing a priority is a part of accomplishing that dream. Don't lose sight of it, you are already on your way! Cheers!

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    1. I try to remind myself that writing, whether it ever sees the light of day or not, is never truly wasted as long we learned something from it. Some days, though, that's easier to believe than others. :)

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  16. awesome post!!!
    the good, writing accomplishment!
    the bad, all for nought? doubt
    the ugly, cleaning house alternative

    the result, a happy ending, promise of new great story! congrats!

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