If you have read my previous posts about my novel you would know that I’m not much of a planner. I started by thinking about the concept for a while (several months) until I got fed up and just started writing. 30,000 some words later I realized I should probably figure out some things. So I did the basics, I developed a simple timeline and list of characters with their traits and whatnot. It didn’t take long and I had a what I thought was a decent base to work off.
I’m sure more experienced writers see this coming. I was wrong. Now I’m at the 50,000 word mark and have hit a wall, my meager plans were not enough. I finished a chapter the other day and thought, what’s next. I have several ideas but they swirl and shift and I can’t decide on any of them. So now I have to go back to planning. I’m currently in the process of figuring out my characters motivations so I can thoroughly understand what they will do next, not to mention figure out where the specifics of the story are headed.
This is the part I don’t enjoy, I write because I myself want to know what happens. My favourite part of writing is when I’m in the ‘zone’, the story flows almost without conscious thought and I’m watching it play out in my mind. But now I’m stuck in slogging my way through the planning swamp, full of misteps and disjointed paths (thoughts). Which is where the title for this entry comes from, life being the writing, I want to get back to writing instead of planning.
So I might just do that, I’ve been thinking maybe I’ll just choose a path and write, fuck planning. There’s always the edit, right?
This week was a tougher week. I barely managed to write a hundred words. So unfortunately I still am sitting at the 30,000 word mark. Luckily though it’s not as if I didn’t get anything done. I didn’t get much chance to write because life kept getting in the way but I had time to think. Which I did quite a lot. I have 20 sticky notes of thoughts in fact to show for it. These notes range from ideas on the climax, to timelines of the different relationships and lots of other random ideas.
This is something I have been doing since I started writing. See before I started writing my novel I would have said that I am an ‘architect’ or planner. I would have told you I need to plan out everything before ever writing a word. That I would need to have a detailed list of all the characters and the plot, of each chapter and the titles and on and on. However on when I sat down for the first time to start my novel, I had done none of these things. I hadn’t even really intended to write much. I was going to jot a short story quickly and that was all. Several days later of course I found myself 10,000 words into a novel that seemed never ending. I’m clearly not an architect. I’m a gardener, or as some youtubing authors say, ‘a pantser’. Gardener meaning the ideas grow and change as you write the story.
Personally I find being a Gardener interesting, as I write it feels as though I’m watching the story unfold, rather than knowing everything that will happen before it happens. However I’m reaching a point where I need notes to stay on top of all the characters and the plot and make sure everything makes sense. I’m blending the traits, this week it was architecture. Hopefully next week I’ll have some hours lined up for gardening.
I’m writing a novel. I posted about it not long ago, in that post I said I haven’t been posting because of it. True as it is, I’m going to try to change that and write weekly updates about the writing process.
I have been watching hours of youtube, mostly videos of writers explaining the do’s and don’ts or the things to keep in mind, or how to write a good this or that.
This has been helpful, although a great deal of what I have been learning or watching hasn’t been entirely useful yet. Many of the videos discuss things that require a completed first draft. Which I’m still working on. It’s been a fairly slow process (one of the things I’ve been meaning to avoid is pronouns, I just used one, dammit).
I’ll fill you in on what’s happened so far. The story is a historical epic/futuristic apocalypse story. It starts in 2014 with the Ukrainian civil war and follows Anya Liski and others as the world erodes into a dystopia over their lifetimes. A bit ambitious maybe for a first novel. I have no idea how long it will be, or even how it will end. I had the idea brewing for nearly a year before a writing prof of mine told me I should write a novel (a thought I had never had). A few months later I felt the lightening strike of inspiration and wrote about 10,000 words over several days. That was 7 months ago.
That first week of writing was awesome, the story flowed out of me, I did zero planning, just writing. It was a great feeling to just write and write, no mental blocks or wondering if what I was writing was good. After that I tried to continue. I tried to write at least once a week, I managed that for a month or so but around Christmas/New Year’s I stopped. For a while. I didn’t write for nearly 2 months. I thought about the novel constantly but never bothered to write usually out of laziness. I always told myself it was a lack of inspiration but looking back it was definitely lazyness. One day, a few months ago, I suddenly snapped out of it, I picked up my laptop and decided enough waiting for inspiration to suddenly strike, just write. At first it was a bit of a challenge but I pushed on and within minutes of getting something on the page it came back.
I’m up to nearly 30,000 words. I try to write everyday, at least something, even if it’s a plot idea or a character sketch. I want to keep those creative juices fresh and flowing and once I start it’s often hard to stop.
Daily Prompt: If you could un-invent something, what would it be? Why? Are there potential repercussions, or a possible alternative?
I thought about this long and hard. Going through all the things I could think of, but so much of it is useful or has been in some way a progression our species. I thought about guns and weapons, the internet and our obsessions, religion and God. But all of it feels necessary with it’s absence something would be created to replace it. I was stumped.
Then money popped into my head.
It’s All About The Dollars!
Humans are inherently greedy. It makes sense, at least from an evolutionary stand point. However money has allowed us to count are greed. We can literally count how much we are worth to the world. We have become obsessed with money and value and accumulation. We always want more, more money, more things, more something. Nothing is enough, there is always something better.
That kind of thinking isn’t all bad, we need to think that way to progress, to be better. But maybe if money wasn’t around we wouldn’t be so obsessed with things and the accumulation of wealth. Maybe we would think more about our intrinsic value, our value to the world. How much we know, or can do, or have done. Art and creativity might be more highly valued instead of stuff.
I realize that the world would be vastly different without money, and in all likelihood we would replace it with some sort of alternative because things have to cost something. Who knows maybe we might eventually reach a point in our society where money is cast aside, where wealth is thought of differently. Maybe our greed will shift to the pursuit of happiness instead of the pursuit of accumulating the means to buy happiness.