I like the way your butt looks in that chair

It’s National Novel Writing Month and since I still have a strong desire to do ALL the things, I’m doing it for a fourth year in a row. But there’s added difficulty: I’m in Chicago on a business trip until Tuesday and I’m TIRED.

I have gotten very little sleep for the past two weeks so I’m looking forward to tomorrow night when I can go WHUMP and not have to go out or get up. And that means plenty of time to write between episodes of nodding off.

As far as NaNo goes, I’m technically cheating this year. I won last year only by the skin of my infodumping teeth, so I’m hoping to not have to do that this year. And I think I can accomplish this because THIS time I’m rewriting THE BOOK.

I’ve been trying to rewrite this book for years. This was my first NaNo book. I loved the idea (I STILL love the idea), and though I only had the idea when I first sat down, as I was writing I found the heart of the story, and as I kept writing I eventually found the plot. But when I got to around 90k in January and realized I’d made a mess of everything and there were things I didn’t know were important until later. So I stopped writing because I knew I’d have to rewrite the entire thing anyway. And I fucking trunked it for three years.

So last year, when I decided to go to WFC, I wanted to have something to talk to people about in case I met someone that was interested (silly Kelly, cons are for cuddle puddles), so I detrunked the thing and started reading it.

And my fucking EYES BLED.

I couldn’t get past the first few chapters. I would sit down all eager and bushy-tailed with my red pen but by the end of the revision sessions, I looked like this:

No one likes an emo author

My prose was awful. I wandered too far afield. The infodump was EPIC. I couldn’t even bring myself to try and do the sticky note blocking on the wall even after I’d already spent $15 on post-its for that specific purpose.

As such, I didn’t rewrite it. I just stared at the pile of paper on my coffee table, whimpering. But I WANTED to rewrite it. I really, REALLY did.

So while I was at Viable Paradise, I was sitting next to Uncle Jim at dinner one night and decided to ask his advice.

“Rewrite it from memory,” he said.

And I had a complete “Duh” moment. Of course I should do that. There’s a LOT of really cool shit in this book. What I remember is all of the cool shit (and I did fix the problems that had cockblocked me later with an outline that took a grand total of 25 minutes to write – I’m still pissed it had been that easy). Best of all, in those aborted rewrite sessions from a few months back, I saw how I’ve become a better writer. That makes me feel better, not to mention excited, about embarking on this book again.

I loved it because it was the first time I wrote EVERY DAY. And cool things happen when you write every day. More of the technical stuff goes on autopilot and your inner beast gets so much time to run around, it starts clamoring for MOAR WRITING PLEAZ K THX. It also taught me that I could have ideas that I’m still in love with four years later.

Now I get to go through, knowing what the themes are, knowing what’s going to happen to all of these characters, and knowing the world inside and out. All I have to do is focus on following Steve Brust’s advice to cram as much cool shit in there as I can (and I’ve got a lot more cool shit in my head this time around, I’ll tell you that).

And if I can just get to the end of this thing, you know what? It’s gonna be the kind of book I would love to read. And all I’ve ever wanted to do was write a story I would love to read.

But I’ve got to finish it this time.

Butt is in chair. It’s time to do all the things.

This entry was posted in NaNoWriMo, Viable Paradise, Writing. Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to I like the way your butt looks in that chair

  1. That is a good strategy to scrap what you originally came up with and rewrite your story with the central points in the back of your mind. It’s much easier to build on those central points when you’re not battling all of the little details you had originally came up with.

  2. Ooooh. Can I read it when you’re done?

    I agree with Brust about adding cool shit when you’re writing, but I have to add a word of caution about cramming it in when you’re plotting- if you don’t keep the size of the story in mind, the cool shit can push the plot past the size of a single novel. (Not a catastrophe, just something to catch in the early stages so you can break the story up into novel sized portions without doing major rewrites later.)

    How does the sticky note blocking you mentioned work?

    • Kelly says:

      Sure 🙂 I’m gonna be leaning on VPeeps when the time comes for this monster to have beta readers, and you were on my list whether you liked it or not!

      Good warning there. This is most definitely a single novel idea. I’ll treasure the boring bits for keeping the story focused 🙂

      For the blocking, I wanted to try the whole, “Write scenes down” “write character arcs down” “Arrange character arcs according to scenes,” but my brain didn’t like that. I wound up just doing a very brief outline of the arc of the story (which is what got to be a mess before). I know right now I’m gonna have to fix character arcs when the thing is done, since that’s kind of the last bit of exploration I’m gonna do (which is good, since it’ll keep the story kind of fresh).

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